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The Fourth foreign Church at Dober,



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The history of the various Foreign Churches in Dover, which preceded the one founded in 1685, has been treated by Mr. Overend', who had it as part of his scheme to deal with this Church also. That he has found himself unable to carry out his intention cannot but be matter of regret to all of us. This however being unfortunately so, Mr. Overend handed me the materials which he had begun to collect, requesting me to undertake the task.

Admitting my unworthiness to take Mr. Overénd's place in a matter involving considerable antiquarian knowledge and research, I would, however, submit two reasons why, failing him, the work should fall to me. The fourth Church at Dover, with which this paper is to deal, grew directly out of the dispersal of the Church at Guînes; and, as one of the editors of the Registers of that Church, I cannot but feel a considerable interest in the fortunes of those with whom I became so well acquainted while engaged in that work. Secondly, I am constrained by a feeling of filial piety. For more than thirty years the conduct and prosperity of the fourth Church at Dover depended very largely on Isaac Minet, who remained its last member at its dissolution in 1731, and with whom also then remained what was left of its property. I have in another place dealt with some aspects of the life of Isaac Minet?, and, seeing that the story of the Church of which he was the mainstay and support must form to a great extent a part of the story of his life, it seems but fitting that, failing Mr. Overend, the duty of writing its history should fall to Isaac Minet's direct descendant.

Proceedings, vol. iii, pp. 91, 286. ? Huguenot Family of Minet: London, privately printed, 1892. VOL. IV.NO. II.



The fourth Church of Dover was founded in August, 1685, as an outcome of the closing of the Church at Guînes in June of that year, as well as of the persecutions which accompanied the Revocation in the district of Picardy. The Church of Guînes had been a large and flourishing one; but it is not to be expected that all its members should have been firm enough in their faith to sacrifice their fatherland and their possessions rather than surrender it; nor have we any means of knowing how many of those who had formerly worshipped at Guînes fled from France at the Revocation. The number must, however, have been considerable-of one hundred and seventy seven refugees whose names are recorded in the Dover Church books as having landed there during the years immediately following the Revocation, no less than one hundred and thirtyseven were from the Church of Guînes; and if, as a further means of proving how completely the Dover Church owed its origin to that of Guînes, we take the names occurring in the Registers, we shall find that out of sixty-five names of those who had belonged to foreign Churches, forty-one were certainly from the Guînes district.2 Moreover, it must be remembered that these, the only available statistics we have, are far from complete; the "Reconnaissances' do not give the names of all those who landed at Dover, nor do the Registers contain the names of all the Members of the Dover Church.

Before beginning the story of the Church, let us briefly review the materials on which it is based. First among these must be placed the Guînes Registers-not, it is true, an actual authority; yet; seeing to what an extent the Dover Church was the successor of that at Guînes, they are of value as giving us the earlier history of many of its members. Next, and by far the most important, are the books of the Dover Church, in the possession of Mr. F. A. Crisp, who has placed them at my disposal, with the same liberality as he formerly did at that of Mr. Overend. These books are three in number:-i. The Registers (which have been printed by Mr. Crisp). ï. The book containing the accounts (from 1646 to 1731) and having also a summary history of the Churches from 1642 to 1731, written, in 1737, by Isaac Minet. iii. The book containing the 'Actes' of the Consistoire, and (at the other end) the ' Reconnaissances,' of those who, coming from abroad and having in any way fallen from the faith under persecution

1 For details as to these, see the preface to the Transcript of the Guines' Registers ; quarto Publications of the Society, Vol. iii.

• See Appendices II and III.

now re

testified on arrival at Dover their sorrow, and were admitted to the Church; these Reconnaissances 'are valuable as giving us the autograph signatures and place of origin of no less than one hundred and seventy-seven refugees. Lastly, we have the 'Actes’ of the Church of Canterbury, which during 1693 and 1694, throw considerable light on the Church at Dover. I am indebted for permission to use these to Mr. F. W. Cross, of Canterbury, in whose keeping the originals now are.

It has been a difficult question how best to utilize the abundance of material which these authorities provide. Two courses were open to me: one to write the story of the Church, using the materials at my disposal ; the other to allow the documents to tell their own story, simply arranging them in what seemed the best order, and weaving them together with what information might be gleaned from other sources. Seeing, however, that one of the objects of our Society is to preserve and make available for students the actual records of our ancestors, I have chosen the latter course, and in the following paper I shall give verbatim the documents preserved to us.

I am the more drawn to this decision by a feeling that any tampering with the actual language used by those to whom the records are due, would rob them of much both of their charm and of their utility.

The foundation of the Dover church then is, without doubt, due to the dispersal of that of Guînes. As it was formally established on August 1st, 1685, the exodus from France, which was the cause of its foundation, must have been going on for some considerable time previous to this date, and may, in the Picardy district at all events, be dated from the appointment of Claude le Tonnelier de Breteuil to the see of Boulogne, in 1681. We know from other sources that at least for two years before the issue of the Edict of Revocation (October, 1685), the zeal of this prelate had burned fiercely against those of the faith.

By 1685, a sufficient company must have been gathered at Dover to make it possible to constitute a church; the story of its foundation is told in the Minute book of the Consistoire NOSTRE AIDE ET COMMENCEMENT SOIT AU NOM DE DIEU, QUY A FAIT LE CIEL ET LA TERRE, Amen.

A Douure, le 1 Juillet, 1685. La Prouidence de Dieu ayant conduit au milieu de nous le Huguenot Family of Minet: p. 19.

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Sr Salomon de le Becque, cy deuant ministre en l'église de Prouuillel ou ce receuilloit celle d'Amiens, pour exercer son ministere en l'église francoise de ce lieu, en vertu de la vocation quy luy en a esté adressées, ses exercises pub estants interrompus depuis quelques années, nous auons esté obligés pour en procurer le rétablissement de recourir au bon plais" de sa majesté quy a eu la bonté de nous faire expédier le Breuet dont suit icy la coppie.


SIMON CONIET. JAMES R. Trusty and well-beloued we gred you well, and have thought fit hereby to signify our will and pleasure to you that you permit such of the French nation as inhabit in and about Dover to make use of the French church built there in ye time of our Royal father, King Charles the first of blessed memory, prouided they make use of the seruice of the church of England according to the rubrick, and as it is used by the French congregation at the Sauoye here: wherein if they faile we do authorise and require you, or the mayor and juratts of our said town, to shut up the church dores and suffer them to meet no more, and for so doing this shall be yk warrant, and so we bid you farewell.

Giuen at our Court at Whitehall, the 30th day of July, 1685, in ye first yeare of our reigne,

By his Majties com’and. COLONELL STRODE.


Du 9 Aoust, 1685. Le sieur Salomon Delebecque aiant consenty de nous donner son ministere suiuant les conditions dont nous sommes conuenu, scauoir qu'il se contenteroit de la contribution vollontaire et anuelle à laquelle les particuliers ce taxeroient, sa vocation luy a esté confirmé; en consequence de quoy nous luy auons


Dept. Somme ; Arr. Doullens. ? This date is 30 days later than that of the minute in which it is recited. The date of the warrant is the same as in the copy to be found in the Tanner MSS., and in the State Papers, Dom., Entry Books (Eccl. War.) v. 57, p. 3, and must, therefore, be taken as correct ; moreover it is confirmed by the accounts, where we are again told it was July 30. We must, then, assume that the minute is wrongly dated, and that it should be August 1st. One is loth to begin by accusing the records of the Church of inaccuracy, but I can see no other explanation.

donné une lettre d'enuoy adressé a Monseigneur de Cantorbury pour le supplyer de l'approuuer et de luy conférer les ordres du St. ministere selon les loix de l'église Anglicane.


Du 15 Nouembre (1685). Comme sa Majesté nous ordonne par son Breuet du 30 Juillet derer de nous Conformer à la Pratique de l'église de la Sauoye ou il y a un consistoire formé, et que d'ailleur cet usage est conforme à la Parolle de Dieu



toutte chose se face honnestement et par ordre en son église ; les chefs de famille extraordinairement assemblés cejourdhuy dimanche quinziesme Nouembre 1685, present Monsieur Robert Jacob, Majeur de cette ville, pour procedder a la nomination et élection d'anciens conformement aux susdittes ordonces: ont esté élus pour exercer cette charge les Srs Isaac de la Croix,

1 The lettre d'enuoy' will be found in the Tanner MSS., preserved in the Bodleian Library, and is as follows:

“A Monseigneur,
Monseigneur l'Archeuesque de Cantorbery,

en son hostel,

A Lambeth. Monseigneur, Le Sieur Salomon de le Becque qui sera nostre pasteur souz votr. bon plaisir, vous rendra cette lettre d. notr. part, par laquelle nous prenons la liberté de vous supplier tres humblement que, veue la permission que sa Majte. a eu la bonté de nous faire expédier pour prescher en l'église Francoise de cette ville selon la lithurgie Anglicane. Il vous plaira, Monseig. neur, fauoriser de votre Protection et de votre Saincte Bénédiction l'établisse. ment dudit Sieur au milieu de nous pour la consolation des families ( ? isolées) de France quy se sont icy retirées, et quy pourront s'y retirer cy-apres.

Il vient se présenter devant vous pour rendre ses tres humbles soumissions, et pour recevoir de votre Grandeur le Pouvoir d'exercer le St. ministere en cette église. Mais, Monseigneur, comme nostre église n'a pas encore tous les moyeus de faire un entier subsistance pour le ministre, et que nous sommes bien persuarlez de votre grand charité par les preuves manifestes que vous en donnez aux églises Francoises nouuellement establies en votre diocese, qu'il vous plaise nous pardonner si nous implorons le secours de cette libérale charité en vous supplyant tres humblement de nous en faire sentir les fauorables etfets par quelques petites gratifications quy nous aydroient fort a l'établissement de l'église, et a la subsistance de notre pasteur.

Nous sommes, avec un profond respect, Monseigneur, Vostr. hum. & tres obysst. seruitrs. les chefs de famille de l'église francois, receuillis a Douvres, et pour tous.


ISAAC DE LA CROIX. ABRAHAM STOCK. A Douvres, le 25e Aoust, 1685.

(Tanner MS. xcii, 103.) Two of the names appended to this letter do not appear in any other document connected with the founding of the Church ; Stock was a name we find in the third church ; de la Force is a common Guines name,

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