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“ that they mind not to use any kind of exercise that shall “be any hindrance to any artificer or man of occupation here."
So that it would appear that though there was a trade in woollen manufacture here, still the valuable Bay and Say trade did not begin until after the arrival of these refugees. I am not sure what Says were, but Bays were a kind of serge. These were not however the only kinds of cloth made, as broadcloths are mentioned, as well as another material called Colchester Whites, a kind of white flannel, which seems to have been of considerable importance.
To the Members of this Society, the period under consideration is probably the most interesting in the history of this town; I fear however I cannot add anything to the knowledge of it possessed by many of its members. No doubt there is much in the Borough records which has never been published, and I very much regret that my time has been so much engaged in professional and other matters since I undertook this paper, that I have been quite unable to make the necessary search. Had I done so, possibly I might have found some references to the French Huguenots in Colchester, a subject quite neglected by all our County Historians.
That there were some of this nationality here is more than probable, but for want of information I must pass them over, merely calling attention to the fact that certain names still existing in Essex, and in this locality, clearly indicate that Colchester benefited by their presence. The Rev. Philip Morant, in his History of Colchester gives a large amount of information with reference to the Dutch and Flemish immigrants, especially interesting as shewing the difficulties they had to contend with from the opposition of the native weavers of the district.
He also notices the establishment of their exchange, the Dutch Bay Hall, and of the manner of stamping those goods which were examined there, which stamping became a guarantee for both the quality and quantity of the goods, of such excellence. that dealers purchased the bales by the examination of the stamps alone. Morant's ? account is well worth referring to, but it would take up too much of your time to quote it in full.
From it we may gather that adulteration and fraud existed at that time as now, and to check this an Act 12 Charles II, but really in the second year of his reign, was passed for regulating the trade of Bay making in the Dutch
Page 76 and 77. 2 Page 75.
Bay Hall, and to prevent certain fraudulent dealings, which had been made with the seals denoting the quality and quantity of the Bays, by the dealers of Halstead and elsewhere.
This Act appears to have been very successful in preventing these and other frauds and maintaining the high character these Colchester goods always possessed, and this excellence enabled the Colchester manufacturers to turn out and dispose of such an enormous quantity of woollens that they produced £30,000 weekly. This successful trade continued for some years, until a war with Spain considerably damaged it, the Spaniards being at this time their best customers.
As frequently happens, by the time peace was declared, this trade had passed into other channels, some had gone to the North and some to the West of England and what remained here gradually decayed, and the Dutch congregation dissolved themselves in 1728, and in a few years, or about the end of the century, the woollen trade which had done so much for Colchester and made several of our best county families, disappeared for ever.
It is only necessary to look at Chapmans and Andres map of Essex, published in 1774, to see how general must have been this industry at that time, so many of the mills being marked “fulling mill,” and even now the name has not disappeared, as some remains of mills are known as Bay Mills; those on the stream at Stanway Hall and Birch, being examples.
As usual, wherever the refugees settled, some provision was made for their religious services, and here as elsewhere, the clergy shewed a very tolerant spirit, giving up their Churches at certain times of the day, to enable them to conduct their services after their own fashion.
Morantı says they met at first in S. Giles' Church, and after that at All Saints', leaving the latter for rooms of their own in S. Mary's Lane, now Church Street North, but he gives no reasons why they moved from these two Churches, and I am sorry I cannot find any information bearing on the subject.
Old people have told me that a room in Foundry Yard, pulled down a few years since, was the first building they occupied as a chapel, but where they obtained this information I have not discovered, nor whether there was any truth in the statement. I therefore only give it for what it is worth.
The Dutch Bay Hall was situated near S. Peter's Church, not S. Mary's as Mr. Cutts incorrectly states ; on the North side of the High Street, on the same site as that now occupied by the Essex and Suffolk Insurance Office. Morantsays the ground floor was the exchange where merchants met, and in the rooms over was conducted the business of the Hall, and the examination and stamping of the goods.
1 History of Colchester, Page 79. 2 Historic Towns, Colchester, Page 168.
The building afterwards became the property of the Corporation, the Corn Market being held on the same spot, until the present one was erected.
I fear I have not been able to give the Members of this Society any new facts bearing on the residence of the Huguenot refugees in Colchester, as I had hoped I should have been able to do, but the time at my disposal after commencing this paper did not allow me sufficient opportunities to go through all our Borough Records of this period, otherwise I feel sure there are many facts hidden there which would well repay research and throw light on the history of this period. I must now thank all for their patience in listening to what I have had to say of the history of this town, the visit to which I hope has been of sufficient interest to the Members of this Society, to induce many of them at some future day to repeat it.
All praise and thanks to God
The Father, now be given
With Them in highest heaven;
Whom earth and heaven adore,
And shall be evermore. (This hymn was written by Martin Rinckart, in 1648, after the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia had given some assurance of religious toleration. )
The Minister shall read these sentences. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us: but, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 St. John i. 8, 9.
Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. Psalm cxliii. 2.
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father ; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done ; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offonders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, О most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
ABSOLUTION. ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment to his Ministers, to declare and procounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins; He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may
pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
O Lord, open thou our lips.
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.
Priest. Praise ye the Lord.