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  You are in: Home > History > The Huguenots in Later Stuart Britain  

The Huguenots in Later Stuart Britain
Volume II – Settlement, Churches, and the Role of London

Robin Gwynn

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 hiistory 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 While Bayle’s remark was true enough when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, by 1700 England had emerged as the most significant refugee centre.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

List of Maps, Tables, Figures and Illustrations     
Chronological Table and Note on Dates 
Glossary of Terms           

Introductory Chapter     1
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


Reviews to follow


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
320 pp. / 234 x 156 mm
Release Date:
December 2017
  Illustrated:   Yes
Hardback Price:
£120.00 / $170.00

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