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The Huguenots in Later Stuart Britain
Volume II – Settlement, Churches, and the Role of London
Robin Gwynn is a historian of Early Modern England, formerly Reader in History at Massey University, New Zealand. His speciality has long been the study of Huguenot refugees and the French communities in Britain, and in 1985 he was Director of the “Huguenot Heritage” tercentenary commemoration under the patronage of H.M. The Queen. His books include the widely acclaimed Huguenot Heritage (2nd edn, Sussex Academic Press, 2001), and editions of later seventeenth century letters and consistory minutes of the largest of the many French churches in England.
The Huguenots in Later
Stuart Britain is planned as one work to be published in three
interlinking volumes (titles/publication dates detailed below).
It examines the history of the French communities in Britain from
the Civil War, which plunged them into turmoil, to the Treaty of
Utrecht in 1713, after which there was no realistic possibility
that the Huguenots would be readmitted to France. There is a particular
focus on the decades of the 1680s and 1690s, at once the most complex,
the most crucial, and the most challenging alike for the refugees
themselves and for subsequent historians.
This volume explains when refugees fled France, and what drove them to settle in some regions of Britain but not others. Recent scholarship has lowered former estimates of refugee numbers across Europe, but careful analysis of the available evidence suggests that for Britain, previous estimates have been low and need upward revision. European historians have accepted Pierre Bayle’s assertion that the Netherlands were the great ark of the refugees too uncritically. While Bayle’s remark was true enough when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, by 1700 England had emerged as the most significant refugee centre. In particular, London came to house by far the largest Huguenot community in exile, and the reasons for the capital’s huge appeal are examined.
Historians have debated the reception that awaited the Huguenots in Britain. Were they warmly welcomed, sullenly accepted, or consciously opposed? The answer varied over time and place, but this book argues that overall they met an exceptionally sympathetic welcome. Part of the evidence lies in the extraordinary efforts made to give them economic support, involving the creation of a special administrative bureaucracy with a high-powered French Committee to administer relief funds under the supervision of an even higher-powered English Committee which audited its work. A chapter is devoted to the relief process. Appendices list all known lay officers of the French congregations and reproduce some little-known key documents.
Volume I: Crisis, Renewal, and the Ministers’ Dilemma (978-1-84519-618-9) was published in 2015; Volume III: The Huguenots and the Defeat of Louis XIV’s France (978-1-84519-620-2) is due in 2020.
|Hardback Price:||£120.00 / $170.00|
|Release Date:||December 2017|
|Page Extent / Format:||384 pp. / 234 x 156 mm|
|Illustrated:||Plate section, maps and 60 tables|
List of Maps, Tables, Figures and Illustrations
Chronological Table and Note on Dates
Glossary of Terms
I French Communities and Churches in Later Stuart Britain Outside London: Settlements Founded before the Restoration
II The French Communities and Churches in Later Stuart Britain Outside London: Settlements Resulting from Persecution in Louis XIV’s France
III French Communities and Churches in Later Stuart London
IV The Scale of Settlement: Estimating Numbers
V The Allure of London
VI Welcome, Opposition, Assimilation
VII The Welcome Confirmed: Refugee Relief and its Administration
1. Lay Officers
2. Lay Elders of Weld House/West Street [contributed by Robert Nash]
3. The earliest Huguenot settlers at Bideford, March 1687
4. An English Vicar demands his rights: The Case between Mounsieur de Bourdieu French Protestant and the Vicar of S. Martin’s
5. Two contemporary personal experiences of the Dragonnades sent to Bishop Compton, 1685–6
6. Relief authorities account for their distribution of the first public collection of James’s reign and explain the need for a further
collection, 1688: An Account of the Disposal of the Money
Dr Gwynn has devoted 50 years to chronicling the lives of the Huguenots in Britain and this is the second of three volumes which will surely be the definitive study of that resolute and enterprising community. It came as a surprise to this Cambridge dweller to learn that there was a substantial settlement at Thorney in the heart of the fens but one is left with an overwhelming impression of the importance of London as a destination, with churches in Threadneedle Street, Soho Square (still there) and of course Spitalfields. The author shows that it was England rather than the Netherlands which became the refuge for the Huguenots who set up the silk looms they had carried into exile from the persecutions of Louis XIV. The church they built on the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street, Spitalfields, still exists, now a mosque, having previously served as a Methodist chapel and Ashkenazi synagogue: a microcosm of the history of the immigrant history of London’s East End. Fascinating material for scholars of the period.
Dr Stephen Halliday, Gresham College, writing in the Times Higher Education, January 2018
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