The Ruffy family (the widowed Madame Catherine Ruffy and her five children) settled in Spitalfields in 1687, along with 13,000 other Huguenots who arrived the same year to escape persecution. Not everyone welcomed them – some English people worried that they would take their jobs and homes.
The Huguenots could not speak English, so it was hard for them to say the place names. Can you guess where these places are?
PAROISSE DE STEPNÉ
(WHITECHAPEL, PETTICOAT LANE, PARISH OF STEPNEY, SHOREDITCH)
The Huguenots were very religious people: they did not drink alcohol, swear or gamble; they dressed modestly, prayed and fasted and did not dance or go to parties. They built nine new churches in Spitalfields and around the country, and they were also allowed to use Anglican churches.The Ruffy family were silkweavers. They used enormous weaving looms, and made beautiful brightly coloured silk material with patterns of birds and flowers. This material was very expensive, so only wealthy people could afford it. Each kind of material had a special name; Alamode, Bombazine, Brocade, Tiffany, Tabinet, Ferrandine, Taffeta or Grosgrain.
The weavers sang religious songs while they were weaving, and kept canaries in cages so they could hear the birds singing as they worked.
When the Huguenots arrived in London they were poor, but they became very successful in business because they were honest and hardworking, and the Ruffy family became rich enough to buy a lovely house in Quaker Street.