Huguenots of Spitalfields

October 2020 Newsletter - Issue 26

The Charity continues to formulate its future plans and we would appreciate your input. Please let us know your thoughts by completing our Online Survey.


Fundraising Autumn Lecture Series

Amber Butchart

Amber Butchart: Huguenot Silks and Historical Fashions - Online Zoom Lecture

Thursday 29th October - 12:00 - 1:00pm

£8 (inc. booking fee)

Book a ticket here


We first met Amber Butchart while she was filming BBC’s Civilisations: Our First Refugees, working with the children of Thomas Buxton Primary School. 

We are delighted she has agreed to participate in our fundraising series for the Charity. You may have seen Amber on BBC’s A Stitch in Time.

Dr Tessa Murdoch in Conversation with Miriam Hanid, Contemporary Silversmith - Online Zoom Lecture

Thursday 5th November - 12:00 - 1:00pm

Free, though donations are appreciated

Zoom link -


Dr Tessa Murdoch has been an inspiration, a teacher and a friend to the Charity since its inception.

Tessa is pictured with her latest grandchild with whom over the years she plans to share her expertise gained as a curator and scholar. Coming from a star-studded family background, we are delighted that Tessa will be a speaker at this talk, focusing on Goldsmiths past and present with the hugely talented silversmith, Miriam Hanid. Click to see some of Miriam’s stunning designs.


Huguenot Footsteps: Spitalfields Walks

Sunday 29th November 

Guide: Paul Baker 

Starts: 12 noon 

Donation: £10

Book a ticket here


Sunday 31st January 2021

Guide: Julia Kuznecow

Starts: 2pm

Donation: £10

Book a ticket here


Tickets are selling fast because numbers are limited.  If you would like to be put onto our waiting list please email us and another date will be scheduled.


Did you know? ...

…Royalty, Huguenots and silk have a lot in common. Princess Beatrice, for her wedding, commissioned the Huguenot Silk Weavers Company, Hand & Lock, to embroider 'Mrs M M' on the left sleeve of her Georgina Keeley silk robe. Robert McCaffrey, Communications Manager at Hand & Lock, told us: “We are in awe of the Princess’ wedding dress and tiara which were lent to her by the Queen, remodelled and fitted specifically for Beatrice. Mrs Mapelli Mozzi was gifted a silk robe, monogrammed by us, for her special day.”

Hand and Lock embroidery

…for a real treat, see the achievements of Mary Schoeser and Kate Wigley, two remarkable women who have created the School of Textiles in Coggeshall, by signing up to their engrossing Newsletter.


…or, immerse yourselves in 18th century fashions by following Kitty Pridden on Twitter - @18thCent_Kitty


Huguenot Organisations

The Huguenots, Louis XIV and the Courts of Europe: A talk by Philip Mansell organised by the Huguenot Society on Wednesday 11th November at 8pm on Zoom. To book a place, email and quote Huguenots of Spitalfields.


Another fascinating blog post has been added to the Huguenot Society website on Strangers in the House: Immigrant Business in Parliament in the mid-17th Century – well worth a read.


It was heart-warming to see so many familiar faces at Dan Cruickshank’s recent Zoom talk on the Huguenots of Soho. Copies of Dan’s book, Soho: A Street Guide to Soho’s History, Architecture and People, will soon be available in the Huguenot Museum shop (or by mail order), along with a range of other books on the Huguenots, historical novels and Huguenot Society publications. The Museum is closed 25-29 October but then open as normal from 30 October.

Contact or 01634 789347.


For details of Huguenot Church services visit The Huguenot Church in Soho and Canterbury Cathedral.


We were asked...

Why is there a memorial to Captain Edward Riou RN in St Paul’s Cathedral and what had he achieved to merit such a prestigious position?

We need to thank Robert Nash of the Australian Huguenot Society for his scholarship, which has revealed that Captain Edward Riou (1762-1801) was the grandson of a Huguenot refugee from the Vivarais in the South of France. He joined the Navy at the age of 12 and served as a Midshipman on 'Discovery' and 'Resolution' on Captain Cook's final voyage. In 1789, at 26 years old, he was given command of HMS Guardian in the Second Fleet (going to Australia).

Edward Riou

It contained 25 convicts and many valuable stores but on 24th December struck an iceberg and was severely damaged. Many of the crew abandoned ship in small boats, but Captain Riou stayed behind with others of the crew and managed to get the vessel back to Cape Town after a nightmare voyage of eight weeks.


Sadly, Captain Riou was killed at the Battle of Copenhagen on April 2nd 1801, whilst in command of the frigate HMS Amazon. Lord Nelson described him as 'that good man and excellent officer'.


Stuck for a Christmas present idea?

Whether you have Huguenot ancestry or not or just love London, a two-hour dedicated tour with a Huguenot Guide might be the best Christmas present you could give.

Price - £150

To book, email –


The 18th century silk merchant’s house, TownHouse at 5 Fournier Street, is open for unusual and stylish Christmas presents as well as a cup of coffee and delicious homemade cakes. Click here for opening hours.



 We were told...

…that Pierre Harache was the first Huguenot to be admitted to the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1682. You can see some of his outstanding work at the Ashmolean Museum.


…of a new plaque that has been unveiled in St Bride’s Church Fleet Street to Robert Papin, an early Huguenot immigrant and engineer and associate of Robert Boyle, who was buried there but whose grave was unknown until recently. Find out more here.


…about a new digital exhibition called Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS at the Migration Museum, including Huguenot Stories in the Medical Migrants timeline section.

…that the graves and monuments to the Huguenots in Wandsworth Historic Huguenot Burial Ground are being restored and, in some cases, rebuilt. As a result, Historic England has removed five of its Listed tombs from its “At Risk” register. Mount Nod, which covers half an acre, was created as a burial ground for the Huguenots who settled there for the hat and dress-making industry. 

Proof that, despite everything, work is progressing at the Historic Huguenot Burial Ground in Wandsworth (photo credit Mike Dudgeon)

The earliest tomb dates back to 1687 and the burial ground closed in 1854.


…of a talk delivered by broadcaster and Canterbury Cathedral Guide, Jan Leeming.  Listen to the podcast discussing the Black Prince and his Chantry Chapel.


…talking of podcasts, historian and genealogist Dr Kathy Chater delivered a first-class talk for the BBC World Service on Who Were the Huguenots which is well worth a listen.


…of a gravestone in St Giles Churchyard, Camberwell, to Dame Mary Champion of the influential Crespigny family who came from Normandy after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It reads :

Huguenot Silk. Image: courtesy of Sworders Fine Auctioneers

“In memory of Dame Mary Champion De Crespigny, wife of Sir Claude Champion De Crespigny - Died 20th July 1812 - Aged 63”.


…of a number of beautiful Huguenot silks came up for auction at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Mountfitchet. If you hear of any more Spitalfields silks up for action, please let us know.

Huguenot Families

Can anyone shed a light on where the Huguenot, Etienna Massé, lived in Spitalfields?


Or, on the Lewis Barbar family, who left Poitou in 1688 and who were Gentleman Armourers to George I and George II? There may be a Manchester or Liverpool connection?

We are always interested to hear from people with Huguenot background. This is an original seven-year Weavers’ Apprenticeship Agreement sent to us by Sarah Eyles.


Emeritus Professor Roger Juchau sent us a fascinating article on his ancestor, Tom Juchau who was English Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1765-1766. Click Here to read more.

1807 Weaving Apprenticeship Agreement

Get involved!

Volunteers are a crucial part of our team. Our volunteers support us by sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for Huguenot heritage. We need help to expand our directory of Famous Huguenots on our website and if you will research and write a brief paragraph on some high-achievers, please email us at Take a look at our Famous Huguenots page to see examples of what we are looking for.

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.

Please contact with your comments, views and contributions or requests for previous issues of the Strangers' Newsletter.  The charity is currently led by volunteers so do bear with us if there is a delay in the reply to your message.

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