huguenot textile designer anna maria garthwaite plaque princelett street spitalfields

2013 Anniversaries: Anna Maria Garthwaite & the Edict of Nantes

2013 is the year of two significant anniversaries in the intertwined history of the Spitalfields district in London and the silk weaving industry created by the Huguenots.

It is the 250th anniversary of the death of Anna Maria Garthwaite  (1690-1763), an outstanding English textile designer who played an important part in the story of the Spitalfields silk weavers.

It is also the 415th anniversary of the signing of the Edict of Nantes, on 13th April 1598. This decree by Henry IV of France served as a guarantee to the Protestant Huguenots that their rights to worship would be respected. However, it was later revoked by Louis XIV in 1685 with the result that large numbers of French protestants fled to England to escape persecution. Over twenty thousand settled in Spitalfields where there was already an established weaving community.

In April 2013 the first Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival marked these prominent anniversaries.

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