Captain Peter Lekeux (1684-1743) was one of most prominent master weavers in the English silk industry and one of the ten most wealthy Huguenots in Britain.
Peter Lekeux was born in London. The Le Keux family were Walloons who were living in Sandwich and Canterbury in the 1560s, some of them were Pastors at the French Church in Canterbury. The Lekeux family were among the most important in the English silk industry; Peter Lekeux’s uncle Colonel Peter Lekeux was Founder of the Royal Lustring Company and helped to formulate policy in the Weavers’ Company. His son, also named Peter, was also a weaver of Flowered silks and rose to become Upper Bailiff, the highest rank in the Weavers’ Company
Lekeux and James Leman were the first Huguenots to serve on the Court of the Weavers’ Company and he soon became a trusted member, representing the Company on committees and giving evidence to Parliament and the Commissioners for Trade. Lekeux bought at least 18 designs from Anna Maria Garthwaite, for very expensive and fashionable designs woven with silver thread. He became very prosperous (he would have been a millionaire many times over by today’s standards) and owned a large house in the new quarter of Spitalfields, the Old Artillery Ground. He left £7,400 in his will which would be over £1 million today.
His title of Captain refers to his rank in the local militia. The militia (sometimes called Trained Bands) were an important part of defence and served as a reserve force. They were made up of small groups of local men,usually of moderate wealth, who purchased their own weapons and trained together for the purpose of providing local defence.
Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century: Natalie Rothstein
Huguenots in Britain and France: Irene Scouloudi
The Early Silk weavers of London and Spitalfields: Richard Edmunds