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The Huguenots of Spitalfields

April 14, 2013
by the gentle author

The wooden spools that you see hanging in the streets of Spitalfields indicate houses where Huguenots once resided. These symbols were put there in 1985, commemorating the tercentenary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes which brought the Huguenots to London and introduced the word ‘refugee’ to the English language. Inspired by the Huguenots of Spitalfields Festival, I set out in search of what other visual evidence remains of the many thousands that once passed through these narrow streets and Dr Robin Gwynn, author of The Huguenots of London, explained to me how they came here.

“Spitalfields was the most concentrated Huguenot settlement in England, there was nowhere else in 1700 where you would expect to hear French spoken in the street. If you compare Spitalfields with Westminster, it was the gentry that stayed in Westminster and the working folk who came to Spitalfields – there was a significant class difference. And whereas half the churches in Westminster followed the French style of worship, in Spitalfields they were not interested in holding services in English.

The Huguenots were religious refugees, all they needed to do to stop the persecution in France was to sign a piece of paper that acknowledged the errors of John Calvin and turn up at church each Sunday. Yet if they tried to leave they were subject to Draconian punishments. It was not a planned immigration, it was about getting out when you could. And, because their skills were in their hands, weavers could leave whereas those whose livelihood was tied up in property or land couldn’t go.

Those who left couldn’t choose where they were going, it was wherever the ship happened to be bound – whether Dover or Falmouth. Turning up on the South Coast, they would head for a place where there were other French people to gain employment. Many sought a place where they could set their conscience at rest, because they may have been forced to take communion in France and needed to atone.

The best-known church was “L’Eglise Protestant” in Threadneedle St in the City of London, it dealt with the first wave of refugees by building an annexe, “L’Eglise de l’Hôpital,” in Brick Lane on the corner of Fournier St. This opened in 1743, sixty years after a temporary wooden shack was first built there. There were at least nine other Huguenot Chapels in Spitalfields by then, yet they needed this huge church – it was an indicator of how large the French community was. I don’t think you could have built a French Church of that size anywhere else in Britain at that time.The church was run by elders who made sure the religious and the secular sides tied up so, if you arrived at the church in Threadneedle St, they would send you over to Spitalfields and find you work.

It was such a big migration, estimated now at between twenty to twenty-five thousand, that among the population in the South East more than 90% have Huguenot ancestors.

Sundial in Fournier St recording the date of the building of the Huguenot Church.

Brick Lane Mosque was originally built in 1743 as a Huguenot Church, “L’Eglise de l’Hôpital,” replacing an earlier wooden chapel on the same site, and constructed with capacious vaults which could be rented out to brewers or vintners to subsidise running costs.

Water head  from 1725 at 27 Fournier St with the initials of Pierre Bourdain, a wealthy Huguenot weaver who became Headborough and had the house built for him.

The Hanbury Hall in Hanbury St was built in 1719 as a Huguenot Church, standing back from the road behind a courtyard with a pump. The building was extended in 1864 and is now the church hall for Christ Church, Spitalfields.

Coat of arms in the Hanbury Hall dating from 1740, when “La Patente” Church moved into the building, signifying the patent originally granted by James II.

In Artillery Lane, one of London oldest shop fronts, occupied from 1720 by Nicholas Jourdain, Huguenot Silk Mercer and Director of the French Hospital.

Memorial in Christ Church.

Memorial in Christ Church.

At Dennis Severs’ House in Folgate St.

Graffiti in French recently uncovered in a weavers’ loft in Elder St

Former Huguenot residence in Elder St.

The Fleur de Lis was adopted as the symbol of the Huguenots.

Sandys Row Synagogue was originally built by the Huguenots as “L’Eglise de l’Artillerie” in 1766.

Sandys Row Photograph copyright © Jeremy Freedman

You may also like to take a look at

Huguenot Portraits

Stanley Rondeau, Huguenot

Remembering Jean Rondeau the Huguenot

101 Responses leave one →
  1. sprite permalink
    April 14, 2013

    I would be keen to discover links between Spitalfield Huguenots and the southern part of France where silk worms were farmed and where mulberry trees are still part of the landscape. I went on a tourist visit of a small village in the Ardeche (Alba-la-Romaine) where the guide mentionned that the scars of those religious wars run so deep that people from the area are reluctant to talk about them to this day.

    For French readers, there is a book by Jean-Pierre Chabrol, ‘Les fous de Dieu’ where the plot takes place against the background of such fierce divisions. The first time I visited Dennis Severs house over 25 years ago, he commented on the low chairs in the basement and tight shutters as Huguenots had developped the habit of praying (and reading the Bible) as well hidden as possible, and ensuring that the light of candles could not be seen from the outside lest the Kings Dragons came to exterminate them.

    Anyone interested in following one of the silk thread linking back from Spitalfield to the Ardeche, I’d recommend Alba-la-Romaine which is also a medieval village built next to an ancient Roman site only excavated in the last five decades.

    BTW where were silk worms bred in the UK for the Huguenots craft and trade?

  2. sprite permalink
    April 14, 2013

    PS: Fleur de Lis, if I’m not mistaken, have been part of French Royal coats of arms and was usually associated with royalists.

  3. Peter Holford permalink
    April 14, 2013

    “…the population in the South East more than 90% have Huguenot ancestors.” Hard to believe. My great-grandfather and his father were silk weavers in Spitalfields (from at least 1770) and were also non-conformists but I can find no evidence yet of French ancestors.

    Fascinating stuff and hopefully these places are better protected than a certain Georgian building next to the Geoffrye Museum!

  4. Sandra Dukelow permalink
    April 14, 2013

    Fascinating. Can’t imagine that there would be anything here in Ireland to mark the anniversary of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes! As an Engliswoman married to an Irish man with (as obvious from my surname) Huguenot connections I find it interesting that so many Irish people descended from Huguenot refugees have little curiosity about their forbears. My name is common in the small West Cork village that I live in but even in Cork city I often have to spell it. Since joining Facebook I was amazed at the number of Dukelows there are in the States – all eager to trace their ancestry. Because Ireland has such a small population and only about 3% are Protestant it is often easy to point people in the direction of their Irish connections as most of the Dukelows in the States and Canada came here first.

  5. Elaine Napier permalink
    April 15, 2013

    My family were orris (silk and gold and silver wire) master weavers in the East End. However, I believe they were English and continued in trade in the area until the last one died in 1921. They did narrow weaving (trimmings manufacture) and worked in a number of places around the area, including within the City and, finally, in Dalston where they had premises within their house (opposite the house later occupied by the Mole Man of Hackney). (If you live at 110 Mortimer Street, those were the final premises of W Appleby and Co.)

    I’d love to know if anyone has any advice on places to search for information on orris/silk weavers who were not Huegenots please.

  6. Christine Swan permalink
    April 15, 2013

    My father is convinced of our Huguenot heritage but our ancestral surnames of Dighton (Deighton, Dyton or Diton) and Taylor, don’t appear to be French in origin. The Dighton’s were pretty much all silk weavers with the rest as “fancy trimming” and jacket makers. Would love to know if anyone does recognise this name and if my Dad is correct. I enjoy speaking French at any opportunity so I do wonder…….

  7. sprite permalink
    April 16, 2013

    Could the Huguenot heritage come from the women folks therefore not given away by ancestral surnames. With such a high concentration of Huguenots in Spitalfield, it seems very likely that the english weavers joining in would have intermarried.

  8. Stu Pond permalink
    April 16, 2013

    I’m descended from Sophia Camroux (my great-great-great grandmother), and her family were Huguenots originally from Nimes who settled in the East End and married into a family called the Hartlands. The Camroux family tree was researched by a lady in Switzerland, and it appears they came to England via Berlin. Other relatives came via Canterbury and were from Brittany and Normandy and I now have a fair list of French names in my family tree.

    We visited the East End a couple of years ago, walking from Whitechapel up through Spitalfields and on to Shoreditch and it was quite emotional seeing where they lived. Although I have no relatives in the East End I know of there is still a very strong cockney thread in the family, especially with the older folk.

  9. sprite permalink
    April 20, 2013

    I believe the repression was quite strong round Nimes. For anyone speaking French there is a strong book, God’s madmen (les fous de Dieu) by Jean-Pierre Chabrol about the ‘dragonnades’, the persecussion by the king’s soldiers to the growing numbers of protestants. It is set in the Cevennes where a lot of Huguenots (Camisards) stem from.

  10. Irene Fisher permalink
    April 22, 2013

    THank you for this great, informative website!

    I have just discovered that my ancestors were Hugeunots living in Bethnal Green. Their surnames were Debuse and Wallin.

    I would love to hear from anyone searching these families.

  11. bobby permalink
    April 30, 2013

    Good website.
    I missed the Hugeunots of Whitechapel Festival.

    I have walked all around the East End years ago and have always been interested in the history of areas that see big changes of cutlure over time. Liverpool had no shortage of this.

    In Liverpool 13 there is a pub called ‘The Glass House’ which is said to remember the time when the area had a community of Hugeunot glass workers.

  12. Christine Perez permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Through the work of cousins using I can trace my maternal grandfather’s family to Spitalfield. Their name “Field” was thought to be Anglicized from de la Field and were French Hugeunots. Interestingly enough, my great-grandfather, William Field, born in Spitalfield, has his named engraved on the Liver Building in Liverpool, a member of the committee of management and instrumental in seeing the building through to completion.
    So, here in California I continue to search for more information about this family from Spitalfield.

  13. Benjamin W. Labaree permalink
    October 17, 2013

    Does anyone know if there is a listing of Huguenots living in Spitalfields in the period 1690-1720 or so. A city tax list, perhaps, or a French church membership list, or birth, marriage,death records?
    I am trying to find from whence my Huguenot ancestor Peter Labaree (or Laboree or similar) came. He ended up in Salem and/or Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA where 2 or 3 daughters and at least one son (also named Peter) were born between 1710 and 1724.
    Thank you for whatever help you can give me.

  14. November 10, 2013

    I have been amazed and fascinated by many of the comments above. Quite by chance my son has met a man with the same surname and spelling – living in Ballarat, about an hour from Melbourne in Australia. He is from the East End originally and told my son that his cousin, living in Bournmouth, had been tracing the Payton family tree, but the trail went dry when a branch of them moved to Surrey. Imagine the excitement when my son and I thought we could be that missing link, as my grandfather moved his family (his wife, my father and my aunt), from Bethnal Green to Surrey in the early 1930′s. My father had told me many times that we were Hugunotes from Flanders, settled in Spitalfields and were silk weavers……… I have searched all day today and have traced the family back to 1815 when Joseph Payton was born (so many Joseph Payton’s in my family tree!), and I can find a couple of references to ‘weavers’ but nothing that links us to Flanders, so I too have have reached a dead end – so to speak. I do know that we are not related to the Payton in Australia – they originate from Cambridge, although did move to the East End, which is a shame, as my son and I are the last of the Payton’s from my grandfather’s move to Surrey. Also, I have discovered that Payton is a very old English name and there are many around the West Midlands and Manchester area – so am I really descended from Hugunotes from Flanders at all………..

  15. Mike Crossley permalink
    November 14, 2013

    I am British born and descended from the Guildersleve family of silk weavers (possibly flemish), appearing on various censors at Bethnel Green. My paternal grandmother was french and her name was Cordell. I have now retired to the South of France near Perpignan. I am very interested in discovering more about my french and flemish connections, also from where my family originated. A very interesting website!

  16. Jean-Pierre Lemonde permalink
    November 18, 2013

    I just discover a baptism of Benjamin Lemonde in august 1617 whose parents seems to be Samuel Tont Lemonde and Marie ?Does anyone know more about them?

  17. Jean-Pierre Lemonde permalink
    November 18, 2013

    I forgot to mention that this happen from Chapel of the Hospital in Spitalfields, Benjamin family was Walloon or french protestant

  18. November 21, 2013

    i love it

  19. Marilyn permalink
    December 14, 2013

    Message for Christine Perez

    I believe our Field ancestry derives from Hubertus De La Feld from near Colmar in France, he was a knight and came over to England with William the Conqueror and given lands in the North of England. My other French origins come from Peirre Dulieu from Nerac and his wife Marguerite Rouviere from Vesenobres. Both silk weavers in Bethnal Green. Regards Marilyn

  20. Gillian Ingle permalink
    December 16, 2013

    This is a reply message for Irene Fisher.

    I am a descendent of the Huguenots and have started researching my family tree. My grandmother on the maternal side was Susan Lillian Flemming and her Father George Thomas
    Married Harriet Wallin and I believe the name Debuse appears some way back.

    Would be very interested in communicating further with you.

  21. DENISE GOLDING permalink
    December 23, 2013

    My Huguenot ancestors were:

    Judict Madalaine ‘Judith’ Raby.
    Birth 18 Aug 1717 in Spitalfields.
    Death 7 Apr 1792 in La Providence French Hospital, London.

    She married Charles Cecil who was apprenticed as a Silk Weaver at the Bridewell Royal Hospital, which at that time was near the River Fleet in the west of the city of London. From 1730 to 1738. He set up a shop in St John Street, Spitalfields.

    Judict Madalaine Raby’s Father was Daniel Samuel Raby, B: 1696 and his Father was Daniel Raby, B: 1658 in Lore, Cher, Centre, France. “He is my 7th Gt Grandfather”.

    My Raby and the Cecil where ALL Silk weavers and lived in Spitalfield and Bethnal Green.
    The Cecil’s have an “extensive family”.

    I love this message board. It is fantastic hearing other peoples family stories.


  22. maree chisholm permalink
    January 18, 2014

    Hi Everyone, I am facinated to read your stories of your hugenot ancestors. I too believe that I have hugenot ancestors as my my mums maiden name is Duthoit which I think was derived from Dutoit. I have traced mmy ancestors back to about 1700 in Yorkshire but I have now come to a brick wall. Can anyone help? My Mum thinks her ancestor was a Jacques Dutoit who came over when the protestants were being persecuted but is vague about dates.

  23. Anne Coletta permalink
    January 19, 2014

    I have just discovered that my 5 x great grandmother could be descended from Huguenots. Her name was Marie Douxsaint and she was born in Spitalfields in 1754. Her father was Pierre Jacques Douxsaint and her mother Elizabeth Douxsaint, nee Pain. In 1775 Marie went to Canada and married a French Canadian, Pierre Lamontage. Their daughter Sarah Marie Lamontagne was born in 1777 and in 1799 Sarah returned to England and married my 4 x great grandfather, Walter Russell, in Bath. She died in Bath in 1857.

    In articles I have read about the Huguenots in Spitalfields, I have not found any reference to the Douxsaint name.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Anne Coletta

  24. January 24, 2014

    I have been tracing my family tree for years but recently have joined an online research site which has jumped the researches back amazingly. My family have always considered themselves “Cockneys” but it turns out that the oldest Londoners were in fact French . I have found a marriage between Abraham Reneau (surname spelling varies enormously) son of Isaac Reneau and Marie De La Mare and Marie De La Haye Daughter of Abraham De La Hay and Marguerite Wesson. Protestants despite what appear to be Jewish names Piece 4595: Eglise de Wheeler Street, Spitalfields (French Protestant), 1712-1727. married on Saturday 1st July 1721 If anyone has any information on the families mentioned I would be delighted to receive it

  25. Susan Cooke permalink
    January 29, 2014

    I have just come across this site whilst researching my Norton Folgate ancestors.
    Really enjoyed reading all the interesting comments. My ancestors were called Beavis and they made Engine Looms in Blossom Street (10) other members of the family were silk weavers
    They seem to have been living there from at least late seventeen hundreds. I am assuming they were of Huguenot decent. I have managed to obtain a copy of the will John Beavis(1814) he states he is leaving the Engine Loom Company to his sons and the oldest son Benjamin who was also the Beadle for Norton Folgate was to be the Executor. I would love to hear from anyone who may have heard of the Beavis family or anyone who knows anything about the making of Engine Looms. I was sorry I missed the Spitalfields festival, Ihope they do it again.

  26. John Cecil permalink
    January 29, 2014

    I noticed in the comments the name Payton. My Fathers brother, Alfred James Cecil, born Abt 1883. Killed in action , France Flanders 17 May 1917,husband of Catherine Hannah Née Payton of 11 Clare Street, Bethnal Green. Married 1908, Ref: Vol 1c ,Page 297.
    Does anybody know if the Mulberry trees ( 2 ) are still growing in the playground of Morpeth Street School, reminders of a bygone age or have the Health and Safety mob had their way.
    Great site, keep up the good work.

  27. Tammy permalink
    February 1, 2014

    My ancestors were Gastineau’s. From what I know so far they came from Lusignan, Vienne, Poito-Charentes, France. They were stocking makers and weavers. Their shops were on Threadneedle Street.

  28. February 2, 2014

    Can anyone assist in tracing the family name of Vauqulin or Vauquelin or Vauquelin de la Fresnaye from Normandy many years ago.
    Any family history or knowledge appreciated

  29. February 11, 2014


    I am researching the following person/family. Are there any photos of the said church where he was baptised?



    Jean Dorée (1721 – 1798)
    2nd great grandfather of wife of grand uncle of husband of grand aunt

    Name: Jean Dore
    Event Type: Baptism
    Father: Jean Dore
    Mother: Susanne
    Baptism Date: 11 Jul 1721
    Baptism Place: Spitalfields, Middlesex, England
    Denomination: French Protestant
    Piece Title: Piece 4591: Eglise de St Jean, St John Street, Spitalfields (French Protestant), 1713-1733

  30. Diana Bush permalink
    February 23, 2014

    I am trying to track down the Duval family ( my paternal grandmothers family_ who it seems came from Normandey sometime during 1700,s – Pierre Duval (1710-1794) who married Marie Boulle (1713-1755) (parents Jean Boulee & Marie Goujat) We have believed (anecdotally) that this family was involved in the weaving – teddy bears.? Other family members have been silk importers. Would love to have some of this confirmed or otherwise – or any other information !!.

  31. Helena Gibbons permalink
    March 20, 2014

    My husband’s ancestor was Isaac Ferrieres and he married Elizabeth Robinson. They lived in Islington but Isaac had his cotton business in the Centre of London. If anyone knows more about this family I would be very grateful. Isaac was born in 1718 and died in 1780 but I have found it impossible to trace his parents.

  32. mary hurry permalink
    April 7, 2014

    I think I may have Huegenot ancestry though could have been Jewish – Isaiah Harris born 1781
    my father told me we had come from France, after reading how many ‘Jewish’ or old testament names used by Heugenots, this may be the link I am looking for and I notice a Harris name a list of names. Anyone Harris have Huegenot ancestry??

  33. Ron Jaycock permalink
    April 20, 2014

    Any Jaycock, Jacoq? My grandpa born Hackney 1860s. Name could be waloon or hebrew.

  34. Janet Tocqueville permalink
    April 21, 2014

    These comments make fascinating reading. My Macaree (originally Macaré ) ancestors originated in Valenciennes, Pas de Calais and arrived in Canterbury between 1602 and 1611. They were mainly silk weavers. My branch of the family moved to Spitalfields between 1696 and 1702 when my 6 x great grandfather ( Etienne Macaree ) was born in Booth Street and was christened in L’eglise de l’hopital. The family carried on weaving for another 100 + years before my 3 x great grandfather Joseph, bucked the trend and became a watchmaker.

  35. John Barry Cox permalink
    April 28, 2014

    I am descendant from The Gauron and Lewling (Silkweavers) family. The Gauron name was so widespread in the local community. John Francis Nicolas Joseph Gauron, Lambert Boneventure Gauron and Ralph Lewling.

  36. Philippe Lacombe permalink
    May 11, 2014

    The Douxsaint Family,

    I’am a descendant of Tobie Douxsaint, royal solicitor of Maringues in Auvergne, son of Daniel Douxsaint, royal solicitor of Maringues, and Jeanne Maigne.

    His brothers emigrated in London and in Hamburg at the time of the revocation of the edict of Nantes.

    You can contact me to exchange informations

    Philippe Lacombe

  37. Iris Lowes permalink
    June 1, 2014

    My great grandmother was born in spitalfields and her surname was Lacohee or LaChoie and her family came from Wallonia. Does anyone have any information on the Lacohee family

  38. June 11, 2014

    Wonderful website! As a descendant of the Senecals, of 37 Spital Square, Spitalfields (my great grandfather Robert was a silk manufacturer there in the mid 19th Century) I am intrigued by the query subscribers have raised that Jewish names featuring in some of our Huguenot ancestors might actually point to a shared (or sympathetic) faith in earlier centuries?

    My paternal grandfather was Joseph John Daniels, son of Joseph Samuel Daniels, also of Spitalfields (at one time Master of Spitalfields Market): I’ve always assumed Jewish blood on their side because of those Old Testament names, not to mention the surname. But perhaps the Daniels were Huguenots (D’ Aniels? D’Aniel?)), yet traditionally using Jewish first names? Certainly Protestant and Jewish faiths were closely linked, Catholicism possibly being alien to both faiths. Did Jewish people ‘marry out’ several generations back? If the Daniels were indeed from Jewish blood, then it’s interesting to note that my family name appears in early 19th Century records with the Senecal surname: i.e. Robert Daniels Senecal. And then again, two generations on, when my grandmother Rosabel Senecal married Joseph John. They lived in Fournier Street.

    Of course, as the Jewish influx into the East End was reviled by hard working folk in Spitalfields fearing for their jobs by the late half of the 19th Century, maybe it was expedient for the Daniels to deny their bloodline and assume a French (Huguenot) background. I can remember with shame my father slightly decrying the Jews (as if flying the family flag) but what really lay behind that need to convince? Does anyone have any clues? It’s a mystery – and I would love to hear any connections, links or observations. I am happy for my email address to be given to responders.

  39. Mos permalink
    July 3, 2014

    I’m not sure if we have a Huguenot connection but my mother’s family were the Burman family who lived in Spitalfields from the 1600s to the early 1900s. I have had family living in Fournier St., Brick Lane, Fashion Street and others… My mother was born ‘under bow bells’ as she once told me, and was a true Cockney. If anyone has a connection to the Burman family please get in touch…

  40. Terry Basson permalink
    July 6, 2014

    I think my ancestors landed in Spitalfields around 1745.
    They then went to Oxford I have traced my great great grandmothers grave in Long Crendon
    her name was Rebecca Basson she was the school mistress of the village. She died in 1876

  41. Frederick Roberts permalink
    July 6, 2014

    I live in Nova Scotia Canada.The surname Roberts in my paternal line was originally
    Rouviere.Matthew Rouviere and Anne Henriette Bauda were married 19 Jan 1749 in
    Amsterdam,Netherlands.They very soon thereafter arrived in London England.Their
    son Pierre Philippe Rouviere was born 23 Dec 1752 at London England. At some point
    he appeared in the American colonies as a member of the British military.In 1778 he
    was sent to Prince Edward Island .My paternal line came to the present Roberts.

  42. Mr G.E.Moss permalink
    July 9, 2014

    My Father was born, I think in Shoreditch in approximately 1925 he passed away in 1981. He never spoke much of his Father Joseph O’Mossey , Mossey /Moss. He did however speak of my Grandmother Rose Amelia Moss Nee O’beney. He said her family were weavers and came to England from France and they made the costumes for and travelled with Madame Tussauds . Unfortunately I think all my fathers siblings have now passed away and I have no other means of traceing the family history .Other reletives in Australia have tried traceing the name O’beney and they just found watered down versions such as awbeney. no one has mentioned , Huguenots. I heard of this site this afternoon and it seemed to bear all the hallmarks of my maternal Grandmothers History.I Just wondered if anyone would recognise the names or the details I have put down here? I look forward to hearing from anyone who may be able to shed some light on the subject.

  43. Christine permalink
    July 13, 2014

    Thank you, Marilyn, for your response!
    I have my dna results from and although my mother’s family lived in England for hundreds of years, and my father’s family lived in Latvia and Eastern Europe, I am more French than British. Other family surnames from Bethnal include Chambers, August, and Savage. My great-grandfather, William Field, was the CFO of the Liver Assurance Company, and his name is on the plaque on the Liver Building foundation and inside the foyer. He convinced the other members of the board to finance the building of what became the first European skyscraper. He was born in Spitalfield and his wife, my great-grandmother, Rebecca Chambers was born in Bethnal.
    I would love to learn more about these ancestors .

  44. Denise Lockyer permalink
    July 15, 2014


    My mother’s maiden name was Lecomber and when tracing her family tree I have found a connection with the Huguenots in Spitalfields – my 5 x grandfather was Daniel de la Combe born 1669 who was a silk weaver. He is registered as living in Spitalfields in 1708 in Angel Alley and he married Anne in 1705. His father was born in 1635 and came to London in 1680 – I can’t find a trace of his name.

    I wonder if anyone can make a connection? I’d love to hear from you.

  45. Stacy Ogier Hancock permalink
    August 5, 2014

    My maiden name is Ogier. I have Huguenot ancestors that were silk weavers in Spitalfields. I found this interesting UK archaeology site, CBA Research, where they had published a study of Huguenots from evacuated bodies buried in Christ Church. I am a direct descendent of Peter Ogier – and Ogier was one of the families they profiled. Anyway, you can download their findings and it gives insights about the lives and deaths of Huguenots. Actually has a pictures of several of my ancestor’s skulls. A portrait of Peter next to a picture of his skull is on the first page. The CBA research also offers genealogy information, photos (portraits ,skulls and bones,and silk samples), diary passages, wills, etc… from several Huguenot families.

    Peter’s son went to the colonies-even fought in the revolution against the Crown-so I am an American. I would love to go to London and see the Ogier home (19 Princelet Street) and spend time looking through the Huguenot Society resources. I emailed them and they even told me the museum where his bones were now housed-so I can make an appointment to pay my respects. I wish it wasn’t so far away and so much money too get there!

    Anyway, please check out the link. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how the Huguenots lived and how their contributions added so much beauty and compassion to their adopted country.

  46. Lindsey Bailey permalink
    August 9, 2014

    Hi, I’ve recently found out that my 6xgreat grandmother was Mary Alliaume. She married Samuel Haley. I’m not certain when she was born although I’ve found two baptisms for a Mary in 1729 – one in St Andrew by the Wardrobe to James and Elizabeth and the second in the French Hugeunot Church in Threadneedle Street to Pierre and Marthe. An Abraham Alliaume was a witness at Mary’s marriage to Samuel but the only Abraham I can find was baptised in the Savoy de Spring Gardens church in Westminster.

    If anyone else has any information, please get in touch.


  47. Matthew permalink
    August 21, 2014

    Does anyone have any background on the Duce family ( ancestors on my maternal grad others side) who were weavers in whitechapel ?

  48. September 7, 2014

    Excellent, thank you. I am ensconced in genealogy research of my ancestors.

    There were rumours about a Huguenot ancestor, Sarah MARTIN, and yesterday I found her ancestry. Father was Guillaume MARTIN, mother Elizabeth MASON, married 1740 in Spitalfields, and their children baptised at the “French Protestant Church” in Threadneedle Street. Your article has supplied my first understanding of what “being a Huguenot” was all about.

    My former wife was a descendant of the MYNOTT family, which they also believed to be Huguenots – so I now have better understanding as I further research her lineage for our children.

    Kind regards from Auckland, New Zealand.

  49. September 7, 2014

    Incidentally – my ex-wife’s father was a manufacturing goldsmith and jeweller. I found something he didn’t know: beginning with his grandfather, and for four generations back (so far) – each of his paternal line were goldsmiths and jewellers.

  50. Jane M W Hughes permalink
    September 26, 2014

    Fascinating website – most interesting! I am keen to make contact with Denise Golding as I am also descended from Charles Cecil of Bridewell Hospital. Is this possible?

    Best wishes


  51. Denise Golding permalink
    October 9, 2014

    Hi Jane (M W Hughes)

    I have just seen your post about getting in touch with me.
    I am not sure how this site works and weather it is possible for people to contact each other on here but I am also keen to talk to you ‘re Charles Cecil (Bridewell Hospital).

    Perhaps the administrator could help.

  52. October 12, 2014

    I have Lecomber in my tree I have gone back to Barnard Lecomber 1715 who married an Elizabeth Guiller 1715

  53. DR JOHN DANIELS permalink
    October 29, 2014

    In response to Rosie March Smith’s posting of June this year, I wonder if she can contact me at In brief, it is unlikely that her Daniels family members were of Jewish origin. A much more probable scenario is that they were of Protestant English background or perhaps of Huguenot origin.

  54. Peter debuse or debues permalink
    November 1, 2014

    My family were Huguenot silk weavers . Pierre Debuse arrived in 1685. Many of his descendants are listed in the records of the(now demolished) French hospital in Soho, I was born in the London Hospital as we’re my grand father,father and my thee children.
    I now live in Australia .I would like to contact any other deBuse,debues or the other spellings

  55. November 1, 2014

    Diana Bush, I’ve just read your post of February 23, 2014. I have just followed a family connection back to Pierre Duval, born 1738. The Duvals were a family of weavers according to baptismal records.


  56. Daniel Dupree permalink
    November 2, 2014

    This is a fascinating website, my father is Frank Henry Dupree his father was Frank Charles Dupree and his father was Harry Dupree descended from the Dupree silk weavers who fled France after the revocation of the edict of Nantes , I believe the family originally came from Lyon but I’m not overly sure the names Thomas Frank and Abraham were relations who settled in the spitalfields area originally and gradually dispersed gradually out to mile end stepney walthamstow , I think one of my ancestors had an oil shop in Bethnal green area and other ancestors who moved to the USA , I know this is all a bit sketchy the Dupree family was massive and did have property in spitalfields originally it would be interesting if anyone out there could help trace my genealogy feel free to contact me on

  57. Carol permalink
    November 23, 2014

    Wonderful website – like a previous comment, I now understand much more about the Huguenots in London.

    I am interested in the RENEAU family. My family tree might include LT HENRY RENEAU born 1792, married Sarah Pearce 1820 St Marylebone, buried 1847 St Martin in the Fields – and MARY RENEAU married Henry Constantine Jennings 1814 St Marylebone but I have no information about birth or death. I have suspected they might be brother and sister but, so far, haven’t been able to connect them – to each other – or to ABRAHAM RENEAU and MARIE DE LA HAYE and their family.

    Does anyone have any helpful information?

  58. Barbara Reid permalink
    November 25, 2014

    I am a descendant of the huguenot Cazalar family from France who resided in Spitalfields and Soho. My direct ancestor is Etienne (Stephen) Cazalar and his brother is Bertrand Cazalar who lived in Crispin Street.

  59. Bill permalink
    November 27, 2014

    My mothers family are Mehews (spelled many ways) from Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire. The name Meheui or Mahieu might have been the origin of the name. Mahieu were Huguenots from Spitafields. Jacques was born in 1591 at Artillery-French, Huguenot, in Spitafields. His father Abraham was in England and married Susanna Amille (?) and had Jacques. Their name is connected to Leiden, The Netherlands as well.

  60. Jennifer Keen permalink
    December 14, 2014

    Message for Mike Crossley. My mother’s maiden name was Gildersleve and they originally were silk weavers in Bethnal Green. They themselves were not French, Flemish or Huguenots but they married into the Grimault family who did come over from Ile de France, Paris in the late 17th century. Enoc Grimault, his wife and his sons made reparation in the Savoy Church Westminster for having been forced to become nominally Catholic whilst still in France. One of his sons was Augustine Grimault and his son was Pierre whose daughter Mary Grimault married Samuel Gildersleve.
    By the way the Gildersleve (Guildersleve or Gildersleeve) surname is one of the oldest recorded surnames in England dated back to the 13th century.

  61. Bob Carey permalink
    December 15, 2014

    It is most interesting to read the comments following the article “The Huguenots of Spitalfields”. I am related to a family of Huguenots through my great grandmother Eliza Heudebourck. The Heudebourcks (more than 40 alternative spellings) arrived in England in the late 1600s. Mostly silk weavers, they first settled in Canterbury before moving to Spitalfields with some later movement to the West Country.
    The names of Guillier (Guiller), LeComber and Silversleves are also remotely connected to my tree. Elizerbeth Guillier for example according to, is my 1st cousin 1 x removed of husband of 3rd great grand aunt!
    If anyone is researching the Heudebourck name, I would be interested in making contact.

  62. Iris Hills permalink
    January 15, 2015

    Fantastic comments.
    My Huguenot ancesters were CARLIER and LE FEVRE.
    My family have inherited many of the huguenot skills such as clock repairs, gardening and even song birds!
    I had an amazing time in Picardy, France where the CARLIERs lived and worshipped.
    Je suis Huguenot (Well, a part of me is!)
    and proud of my ancestors.

  63. Madeleine Read permalink
    January 31, 2015

    My Huguenot ancestors were Anthoine Lagache b 1560 in pas-de-Calais. married Marie Regnard?(12th great grandparents) Lagauche changed to Agache to Agass by 1827 all living in the Spitalfield,Hackney area.Still digging !! What an interesting era.If anyone has anything to help please feel free to add.
    regards maddy

  64. January 31, 2015

    My late husband was Major Charles V.R. de-Bues. His family hail from the Hackney area of London. He was born in Witney and moved to Essex when he was 5.
    His father was Arthur Robert de-Bues, son of Matlilda. He was born in Hackney, London.
    If this is any help/ relevant to the gentleman in OZ… I have a little more.
    Do contact me if I can be of any help.
    Joan de-Bues

  65. February 7, 2015

    I noticed reference to Morpeth Street playground and mulberry trees, that was my school long ago and reference to the name Holford, I sat next to a boy same school same surname, Kenneth Holford.
    I was also in my 20s in the Hon. Artillery Company T.A. Finsbury Barracks and they had mulberry trees in their gardens, I imagine possibly another Huguenot connection as it as a very old site.
    Re surname Fisher we have a friend with that surname and he says his family (Swiss) are of Huguenot origin.
    My sisters (twins, living in Brittany and South London) both attended Central Foundation School in Spitalfields and Eileen frequently visits the area.
    My Moffat connection is my husband’s family and I maintain the Clan web site, there are French variants of the name,
    the London/Chelsea part of family are Tirrell and my husband’s Telford
    both of Norman origin (Taillfer and Tirel are both depicted on the Bayeux tapestry).
    “No man is an Island!”
    Betty nee Jacobs, formerly of Quilter Street E2

  66. Jenny Duce permalink
    February 8, 2015

    re Matthew’s comment from Aug 21 2014: my husband is descended from a family of weavers with the surname DUCE in Spitalfields and Bethnal Green. John DUCE migrated to Queensland in 1861 as did several other Duces in the mid 19th century.

  67. February 21, 2015

    I am trying to trace any instances of intermarriage between spitalfields jews ( particularly from spanish refugee families) and french huguenots. The girl is from the huguenot side.

  68. February 27, 2015

    my grate parents lived in Paris 1n700 and I need know if they were huougernows they lived in Bethnal green all so aunts and uncials. please can some tell me

  69. February 27, 2015

    there names Catharine le vior and thresea hatter

  70. Dossett permalink
    March 6, 2015

    I believe my husbands family are decendents of hugenots living in Spitfields a Jonathan Dowsett married Rachel Orange born1740 her family goes back to Jean Orange Born 1560 living in France wpould anyone have information on this family regards J Dossett

  71. March 10, 2015

    I am married to a Burman and do have quite a bit of info on their family

  72. March 23, 2015

    I have recently been advised there is a distinct possibility that my Beavis ancestors may well have been Huguenots. My 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers, both named John Beavis were watch motion makers. My 4th great grandfather, another John Beavis has been difficult to identify. I have found evidence of his marriage, baptisms of his children and burial in a C of E church graveyard, and would have been born around 1741. I suspect that he may also have been a watchmaker. I have found earlier Beavis’s who were also watchmakers, but have not found a link between John born 1741 and the earlier Beavis watchmakers. All of the above were born in and around areas from Finsbury to Hackney. Does anyone know if there are records of Huguenot watchmakers living in East London that I could access to try to track down my ancestors? I live in Australia.

  73. jane cooper permalink
    April 14, 2015

    my father (surname Vernon) maintained his ancestors were French watchmakers from the town of Vernon in France. Is there any truth in the fact that many fleeing france took the name of the town that they were leaving?

  74. April 30, 2015

    To Sheila Priest (her message dd Feb 2015):

    Your ancestor’s name may have been or come from the name LeVoi, Levoi or similar which is a Jewish surname and worldwide. The surname was probably derived from Levy and many are known as Levy LeVoi. There is a huge family tree of people of or connected to this surname, many of whom are in London and the rest of the UK. One of my uncles was the grandson of Mary LeVoi.

  75. April 30, 2015

    PS To Sheila Priest (Feb 2015)

    The Levy/LeVoi/Levoi & their connected families married both within and without of their Jewish faith throughout the generations (at least, from the 1800s to the present day) & seemingly, without dispute. My uncle’s father William Kennedy was a Northern Irish Protestant. His wife had family connections to East London, Islington & Kent; At one time, c 1870, William & Mary lived in Bethnal Green. As far as I know, there is no Huguenot link.

  76. Damaris permalink
    May 10, 2015

    I’m a Brit – in part. Father’s side is Norman / Breton French while my mother has Huguenot origins emanating from the East End. Like many others posting to this site- I’m eagerly searching family records.

    I currently live in a small town in Hessen, Germany – called Friedrichsdorf. The town was given to the Huguenot refugees by Friedrich II. von Hessen-Homburg and the main street is called Hugenottenstraße.

    The old houses in the town differ from that of the neighbouring (traditional German) villages and are built side-on to the street with courtyards in between.

    There are many folk here with French names and my neighbour (born Garnier), tells me her father could speak fluent French. Another local, tells me of persecution suffered by the town’s French community during WW2.

    The name Agombar(t/d) which appears in the Walloon or French Protestant records in London, also pops-up here in Friedrichsdorf. One Salomon Agombard arrived in 1686 from Brancourt-l’Grand. The Homburg hat was manufactured here by a Huguenot descendant – Rousselet.

  77. Mos Day permalink
    May 17, 2015

    To Maureen Burman – 10th March 2015.

    I would be interested to hear about the information you have on the Burman family connected to Spitalfields/Bethnal Green/Mile End. There are a number of Burman families living in the area, but I would love to know if there was a common ancestor, and if any Huguenot women married into any of the Burman families. I have information going back to the 1600s and would love to compare notes…

  78. Mrs Jean Brown permalink
    May 18, 2015

    My Great Grandmother was Lucy Ellen Lestourgeon (1853-1944).She was the third daughter of Charles Lestourgeon (1808-1891) a surgeon at Addenbrooks hospital Cambridge and a well- known Huguenot. My Grandmother Elizabeth Foster Marrack nee Butler was born in his house. The Lestourgeons fled France in 1685 and resided in Holland but they then came to England in 1711 and many of them resided in Spitalfields. Charles Lestourgeon’s Grandmother was Caroline Douxsaint (1742-1785). She married Aaron Lestourgeon in 1768 and she died after the birth of her youngest child Julia and was buried in the family vault in Christ Church Spitalfields.. The Douxsaints worshipped at Christ Church Fournier Street.

  79. Elaine Murphy permalink
    May 25, 2015

    Marilyn, I am most interested in your ancestor, Marguerite Rouviere. I also have Rouvieres among my ancestors – a Pierre Rouviere born c1754. Do you have any other Rouvieres in your family tree?
    Elaine Murphy, Florida, USA

  80. john sherratt permalink
    May 29, 2015

    message for Robert Phillips
    I have just come across an unusual watch made by Thomas Mynott London
    was wondering if this was a descendent


  81. Susan Winch permalink
    June 8, 2015

    I am researching my husband’s Huguenot ancestry. His ancestor was PIERRE ALLIAUME and MARTHE ROSIER/ROZIER.
    Pierre was an ivory snuff box maker in Spitalfields. The Alliaume name, probably from pronounciation, is sometimes found in London records as HOLYHOME/HOLEHORN.
    I would love to hear from others descended from the family.
    I see one person here, Lindsey Bailey, who is descended from a Mary Alliaume. I would get in touch but no e-mail address!
    Mine is
    My tree is also on Ancestry. Just search out the name, and the tree should come up.
    Sue Winch, Somerset, England.

  82. Yvonne permalink
    June 16, 2015

    I have discovered that I am related to the BOUCHARD family who moved from France to Bethnal Green in the early 1700s. My 6 x grandfather was FRANCOIS BOUCHARD born in france in 1704.

    Anyone else related to this family?

  83. Penny permalink
    June 26, 2015

    Does anyone have knowledge of Bristol Huguenots? – Artisans in shipping areas by the 1800s – and including surnames: Bennett, Tilley, Millichamps….. ‘The French Chapel’ was specifically built and services were held in French, from 1687 to about 1807. Apparently a fairly small community.

  84. Nicola permalink
    July 29, 2015

    I am told that my surname “Le Rougetel” is Huguenot and I’m wondering if anyone knows if it’s possible to find out whether any of my ancestors may have been weavers? As a weaver myself, I’d be facinated to know if the profession is in the blood!

    Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Best wishes,

  85. July 31, 2015

    Query from Matthew [21/8/2014] re Duce.
    Two brothers, John & Alfred Duce, wives and children arrived in Queensland in 1861 & 1862. Alfred came from Bethnall Green. These may be the Duce families you are searching.

  86. Lydia Harrison permalink
    August 4, 2015

    Message to Iona Levine. I have some interesting information. please see the interesting article called “The Huguenots and the Jews Entwined in the Pathways of History”. You can find it on the net. My 5X Great-Grandmother from southeast London in the mid 1700′s was Elizabeth Silk, presumably a Hebrew name in origin but obviously not observant and attended a Church of England – St. Alphege in Canterbury in Kent. At least, she was married there in 1765 to George Browning. They had a son John Valentine Browning baptized there on Feb. 16, 1766. valentine is a recurring name in my family. I would love to hear from anyone out there who has any information on the surname “Silk”, especially during this time frame. I am also searching the surname “Alais”. That family came to live in southeast London in the late 1600′s or early 1700′s from France during the Oliver Cromwell period. This is just so interesting one cannot make this stuff up. Wish very much that I had an email address. Hard to send.


  87. Lydia Harrison permalink
    August 4, 2015

    This message is also for Rosie March Smith. Hope you receive the message and I would love to hear from you.


  88. Ann Jefferyes permalink
    August 7, 2015

    My ancestor was le chevalier Charles Antoine de la Garde and his wife was Charlotta Christiana Von Behm. Arrived in London 1797. Both died 1845. Lived in Vere Street Soho, Upper Rathbone Street. Am told he was a Huguenot possibly from Bordeaux region. Had 2 sons born in St.Pancras and possibly Camden Town. They were George William and Charles Theodore Louis de la Garde. He was. Professor of languages and worked as a translator of Arabic for the War Office in London for 7 years. They died as paupers in 1845 The Strand area. Has anyone seen this name or know anything about them please.

  89. Georgina Briody Nee Burnham permalink
    August 9, 2015

    I am a descendent from Nicholas Marchand who came over from Alencon,Normandy, a lacemaking centre and settled in Duke Street, now Fort Street, in Spitalfields. His granddaughter, Sarah, married a Hurlin, a Weaver, and was buried in the crypt of Christchurch, Spitalfields.

    I am told there are Hurlins still living in or near Spitalfields. I would love to hear from any. I regularly visit Spitalfields.

  90. August 14, 2015

    In response to Diana Bush [Feb 23rd 2014] inquiring about the Duval family. I have a Duval bible published 1717. The Bible has two brass presentation plates one in the centre of each cover. They read ‘Ano Dom 1727. The Gift of Elizabeth & Marie Davall, Spinsters. Daughters of Thomas Davall late of London Merchant’.

  91. Toni Brown permalink
    August 23, 2015

    I have links with the Burman surname (grandfather) from the East End. Would be interested in finding out more about this side of the family tree, beyond 1800s if anyone has any information?

  92. peter morrish permalink
    August 25, 2015

    My father who was born in 1880 told me that we were descendants oh the huguenots who landed in devon.

  93. Amanda Smith permalink
    August 30, 2015

    Message for Lydia Harrison … I don’t have a lot of information about the Silk family, as I’ve just started on this part of my family tree, but my Silks, if they are indeed Jewish – which I suspect, do marry Huguenots/Walloons in the 18th Century.

    I have Thomas Silk (unknown date of birth), father of Moses Silk (1655-1684) m. Jane George, parents of Peter Silk (1694 – 1739) m. Catherine/Katharine Greaves (not her first marriage), parents of Peter Silk (1724 – 1763 m. Hester Patrick, parents of ELIZABETH SILK (1763 – 1838 – living in Bethnal Green at the time of her death) m David Nials.

    I don’t think my Elizabeth Silk is the same person as yours but perhaps my Silks are related in some way – still need to do a bit of work on the dates about but they are, I think, reasonably accurate.

    Hope this helps.

  94. AJG permalink
    September 4, 2015

    For Irene Fisher, Peter Debuse or Debues and Gillian Ingle.

    I have Debois/Wallin in my family tree, and Pierre Debuse. Happy to compare notes.

  95. P Smith permalink
    September 4, 2015

    My family are from Bethnal Green and Spitalfields. The Huguenot connection is on my father’s mother’s side and the names were LeSadd and Lefevre. As a young child I remember my uncle saying that our ansestors were Flemish Silk Weavers and that one went on to build a cinema.
    LeSadd’s seem to be few and far between but indeed Fredick LeSadd did build the Capital Cinema in Barking.
    My Great Grandmother who died as late as 1935 is listed as a silk weaver on one of the 19th century census.

  96. Bob permalink
    September 10, 2015

    To AJG post 4/9/15

    James Wallin b1750 And Esther Debuse B1751 are my 3x Great grand parents.

    I have bee told that Esther’s father was Paull Debuse and that his father was Pierre Debuse or De Buze who came into the UK in 1685 and was from Dieppe in Normandy. Iwould love to find out more about Pierre and his son Paul have you any further information that you would share.


  97. Janet Sills permalink
    September 16, 2015

    Camroux history anyone, so far have gone back to Daniel 1645 Grossargues Nimes.
    Sussanah Camroux m Thomas Lay who was my grandmothers father.

    Any facts very welcome deaths and dates of births etc.

    Kind Regards
    Jan Sills Daughter of Annie Preston, daughter to Annie Plumb nee Lay

  98. September 20, 2015

    My gt. gt Grandma was Sarah Cresse(Cressy) daughter, of David Cresse who married Anne SAVONY in 1779. We have traced our Cresse Huguenot ancestors back to Paris as Sarah’s Gt Gt grandfather, Daniel Cresse’s Temoignage was dated 1675 in PARIS . Two of his daughter’s were also born there . His wife was Marie Lucas. Family letters state that Sarah’s family were also refugees and came from the family of De Sevignes of which we have found three branches.The family information does say that their property in Vitre was burnt down and this we found to be true thru’ research into the family of the Marquis de Sevigne of LesRochers and his wife , Madame de Sevigne famous for her letters who sat at the court of the Sun King , Louis XIV .All very interesting. This direct failed in the mail line and so did one other , but the 3rd did have a son thru’whom some de Sevignes of Canada trace their family.//However while trawling thru’ the registers of the East End where the Cresse’s were silk weavers etc . I found another Daniel ,the grandson who was born in 1701 OF BRICK LANE in Bethnal Green
    Strangely my grandfather Anthony Samuel White was baptised at St Matthews, Bethnal Green. I do know that English Parish Clerks had trouble with French names and that IRISH weavers also worked there. White is a common surname in Ireland so were they Irish or was the name a straight translation for Le Blanc to White??I have also seen the names, Savony, Seveny, Saviny, ,Sevinge etc in Parish register of East London and wonder if there are any folk still bearing these surnames??I would like to hear from them.

  99. Ian permalink
    October 12, 2015

    My grandmother Charlotte Pantin, had ancestors originally from Rouen who passed through 3 generations of Anglo-French Hugenot settlement in London before coming to Trinidad.If anyone has a Pantin ancestry please contact me at you

  100. Liz Ridlington permalink
    October 31, 2015

    My ancestor was James Eykelbosch born around 1750. I believe that he (or his father) was a Flemish Huguenot. James was a bootmaker for the king’s army and lived in Princes Street, Leicester Square. Does anyone know any more?

  101. Mark permalink
    November 22, 2015

    Hi all,

    As with most I am researching my family, over a number of years. I have the name “Senecal” in my tree, it is on my maternal side. I can’t be 100%, you never can this far back, but I am sure a “Peter Senecal” born about 1720 is my 6 x great grandfather. One of his decendents, “Sarah Ann Senecal” was my 3 x great grandmother who married a “John Elias James Martin”. All these people worked or was associated with the silk weaver trade, if not silk weavers. My main question is was this “Senecal” family French Huguenots, if so does anyone have any idea when they arrived in England. My guess is that they arrived around 1680-90 ish and that the Peter Senecal above was the first born in England with his parents/father coming from France. Any help/guidance would be so very appreciated.

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