Huguenots of Spitalfields

November 2019 Newsletter - Issue 23

Can you join us for the last Huguenot Footsteps of the year on Sunday 24th November in Spitalfields? An ideal place for Christmas shopping, the market is looking lovely with its decorations and autumnal trees. 


It has been a wonderful year at Huguenots of Spitalfields: we have reached over 500 pupils with our educational programme; made new friends at our walks and events; and organised our first Huguenot Ancestry Workshop with Dr Kathy Chater.


Our walks, talks and events fund our primary school educational projects. As a result we are expanding the 2020 programme to include Huguenot Footsteps walks starting on Sunday 26th January and running (almost) throughout the year (we omit December). Walks in Soho and the City of London have also been added to the annual Clerkenwell and Greenwich walks.


A new walk, ‘Living and Dyeing in Spitalfields’ starting in the Spring will focus on the daily life of Huguenots and how they lived, worked and worshipped, ending with a special visit to Dennis Severs’ House hosted by the curator, David Milne. Email for details.

Believe! Faith, Freedom and Football’ is the City of London Corporation’s initiative for 2020. The Huguenots may not have been the sportiest of people but they certainly embodied faith and freedom! We are thrilled to join forces with the Rector, Rabbi and Imam of Christ Church, Sandys Row Synagogue and Brick Lane Jamme Masjid Mosque for a very special event: Three Faiths and One Humanity.

Brick Lane Jamme Masjid, originally a Huguenot chapel and subsequently a synagogue.

Huguenots prayed in each of these three buildings. The event will be hosted by Dr Daniel DeHanas of King’s College London. Email for details.


Details of these events (and others in the pipeline) can be found on our website. We would love you to share this information with your friends and family as we are keen to use every opportunity to spread the word about these remarkable people.


Key Dates for your Diary

Huguenot Ancestry Workshop with Dr Kathy Chater at Town House, Spitalfields, on Saturday 7th March.


On Tuesday 21st April, Tim Kidd will conduct a one-hour tour highlighting the Huguenots' role in the City of London. This will be followed by a talk at the Bank of England Museum to celebrate the 300th anniversary of its founding by Sir John Houblon.

Winchester Cathedral, which contains examples of Huguenot silver.

Join Charlie de Wet for a visit to the Whitchurch Silk Mill in Hampshire on Saturday 18th July – with time for a visit to admire the Huguenot silver in the Treasury at Winchester Cathedral and stand in humility at the tomb of Jean de Serres of Montauban. The life span of anyone sent to the Galley Ships was two years – one can only imagine the horrendous ordeal of Jean de Serres who, as inscribed on the tomb, managed to survive for 27 years.

There may be Huguenot places that you would like to visit but not on your own, for example Paradise Mill, Dunham Massey and Dyrham Park.  Just let us know as we are always keen to explore and we can include it in a future programme.


We are currently planning a wine tasting fundraiser. Email for information.



Taking school children around historic Spitalfields is always a pleasure but to take 90 ten year olds from Kingshill School in West Malling on a Heritage Hunt was an utter delight. It was rewarding to see their reaction to stories about rush, tallow and beeswax candles, soil and night-watchmen, growing vegetables and flowers and shopping and cooking in 18th century London.


Sudbury Silk Festival

Hats off to Sudbury Town Council for staging the most wonderful Silk Festival. 4,000 people visited the Festival where silk Manufactures, weavers, designers and many other artisans raised the profile of the weavers who spent so many years working in the town. It was an outstanding success and Sudbury Town Council is already planning another Festival for 2021. Our charity took a stand, and Dinah Winch, Director of the Huguenot Museum and Jonathan Bouffler, one of the charities much valued advisers, answered questions about the Huguenots all day from local residents. 

Sudbury Silk Festival 2019

On display was the new collection of heritage postcards sold to raise funds for the educational programme. Contact if you would like to purchase a set of 10 postcards for £5.



We have registered with an AmazonSmile account. AmazonSmile is an Amazon platform with the same products and prices. The difference is that Amazon donates 0.5% of the net purchase price (of eligible purchases) to the charitable organisation of your choice. Visit, sign in to your account and search Huguenots of Spitalfields if you would like to choose us!


We were told…

…of a stunning portrait by Johann Zoffany of Huguenot descendant, David Garrick as Sir John Brute, a part played by him throughout his life, in The Provok’d Wife. Click here for more information. The performance in this oil painting took place at Drury Lane on 18 April 1763 and was given to Garrick by the painter Johann Zoffany to hang in his dining parlour at Hampton.


…about Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, a beautiful structure on the riverside at Hampton, built by Garrick in 1756 to celebrate the genius of William Shakespeare. 


Uppark House in West Sussex holds a remarkable Grand Tour Art Collection amassed between 1748 and 1753 by Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh (Uppark’s second resident) and his wife’s brother, Benjamin Lethieullier, a Huguenot descendant, and his half-brother-in-law, Lascelles Iremonger. It includes six scenes from Luca Giordano’s ‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son’.


…currently the portraits of Ann Courtauld and John Jacobs are being conserved and will soon be on show at the Huguenot Museum in Rochester.


…about an exhibition of East End paintings by Peri Parkes at Town House, Spitalfields from 22nd November - 8th December. Peri Parkes painted the East End throughout the 1980s and many of his paintings are being hung for the first time in this show.


…Henry Compton, Bishop of London from 1675-1713, was a consistent friend to French Protestants and found himself at the centre of events in 1685 when James II came to the throne. The Bishop was one of the seven signatories to the letter inviting William of Orange to invade the Kingdom and, in the new regime, was able to assist the establishment of the Huguenot presence in London and beyond.


…two Huguenot families were significant in the running of the Worshipful Company of Dyers during the 17th century: the Lhieulliers and the Houblons. One James Houblon baptised his son, also called James, in 1592 in the Church of the French Congregation in London. The family prospered with several members in the Company, some becoming Prime Warden. One, Peter, became a Captain in the Blue Regiment in the Trained Bands in the Civil War. Another was a founding director of the Bank of England, established by his cousin Sir John, a member of the Drapers Company. Thank-you to Ian Mackintosh, Honorary Archivist at the Worshipful Company of Dyers, for this information.


…You can now see a silver double-lipped sauce boat designed and made by Anne Tanqueray on display at the Huguenot Museum and purchased in memory of Randolph Vigne (whose scholarship did so much for Huguenot legacy). This was a new form of sauce boat introduced to Britain by Huguenot goldsmiths along with the soup tureen. Vincent La Chapelle, the Huguenot cook to Madame Pompadour and the Earl of Chesterfields and other members of the aristocracy, Vincent La Chapelle, who ran a cookery school in Mayfair and published recipes in the 1730s and 1740s.  He wrote three books: Volume I, Volume II and Volume III.


Essential reading if you ever find yourself faced with cooking a banquet with over 100 dishes!


...Christians are still suffering for their faith today. For details contact:

Open Doors

Barnabus Fund

Christian Solidarity Worldwide


We were asked…

There are some wonderful evocative structures placed all around the City of London that give the names of women involved in different trades? Are there any Huguenot women featured?

Yes, there are two female Huguenot descendants featured: Susannah Passavant, who was apprenticed to the Company of Spectacle Makers in 1728; and Marie Anne Viet, who was a jeweller. See their trade cards on display at Paternoster Square and the Royal Exchange.

Is the Whitechapel mulberry tree that the Gentle Author is trying to stop being pulled down, the oldest mulberry tree in this country?

Not quite, Syon Park has the oldest mulberry tree in Britain. It is not known exactly when the tree was planted but William Turner described it in 1548.

The oldest Mulberry tree in Britain at Syon Park. Credit: The Gentle Author

The Whitechapel mulberry tree is thought to be between 150 and 400 years old, making it the oldest mulberry in the East End and the fight is still on to save it.


We are paying a trip to France shortly and wondered if you could tell us a few places to visit with Huguenot connections?

Jean Goujon and Palissy are well represented in the Museum of Renaissance, a 45-minute train and bus journey north of Paris: Further north you can find Calvin’s House in Noyon.


If visiting the south of France, located between Marseille and Lyon is a rare example of a Protestant church, which was not destroyed following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.


In Lyon, La Maison des Canuts showcases the history of the silk weavers.



There are stunning pictures and evocative words capturing what it is like to live in an historic building, in Philippa Stockley’s, Restoration Stories: Patina and Paint in Old London Houses.


Suzannah Lipscomb’s book, The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex and Marriage in Reformation Languedoc, is based on the evidence of 1,200 cases brought before the Consistories of the Huguenot church of Languedoc between 1561 and 1615.



For a fascinating record of the 18th century French and English silk industries and their commercial practices, read Lesley Miller’s, Selling Silks: A Merchant’s Sample Book 1764.


Thank you

…to Dr Kathy Chater who shone a light on the problems we all run into when researching our ancestors during the Huguenot Ancestry Workshop.


…to Lesley Miller, Senior Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A, for an outstanding lecture revealing the difference between the weavers of Lyon and Spitalfields.

Lesley Miller, Senior Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A, talking to Stella Herbert at the 7th Annual Huguenot lecture at the V&A Museum.

Can you help?


…by following us on Twitter and re-tweeting our posts. Our handle is @Huguenots_E1.


….share any interesting Huguenot information with us by emailing


Some interesting websites

Costume Society

The Society for Court Studies


Hermes Paris

Stephen Walters

Whitchurch Silk Mill events

Canterbury Cathedral French Church

Dunham Massey

Paradise Mill

Hand and Lock

Thank you.

We warmly appreciate all the support and help that you give to the Huguenots of Spitalfields Charity.

The views and opinions expressed in these article are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Huguenots of Spitalfields charity.

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