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The prevailing illness and numerous deaths last summer rendered it advisable to give up the Conference arranged to be held in London, but it is trusted that this will only cause a greater interest to be taken in the coming gathering of Fellows and their friends at Colchester. No city is more identified with the Huguenot cause than Colchester; and the fact that no less than 85 members of the Dutch congregation there compounded for their estates and paid fines on the taking of the town by the Parliamentary army in 1648 (Mr. George Tayspill, Sr., and Mr. Charles Tayspill, Sr., heading the list with £500 and £485 respectively), shows the importance of the foreign colony there at that time. It is satisfactory to know that the original Register of Baptisms, from 1645 to 1728, is still in existence, although the other Registers are missing, and I would take this opportunity of expressing a hope that it will be printed by the Society as one of the results of our approaching visit to Colchester. Very many names of interest are to be found in its pages, and a transcript of it made by me is at the Society's service.
You will, I feel sure, all join heartily with the Council in expressing thanks to our indefatigable and devoted Honorary Secretary, Mr. Faber, who never spares himself in doing all that is possible for our interests; and also to our Treasurer Mr. Roumieu, who so closely and ably looks after our financial position, and who renders us so good an account of this in the Report of the Council. We have also to thank our assiduous Assistant-Secretary, Mr. Overend, and to congratulate him on his improved state of health which will enable him to again give that attention to the Society's welfare which has always been so noticeable.
In the number of our Proceedings' which is almost ready for issue will be found the very able and interesting paper by M. Belleroche on the Siege of Ostend, which we heard read by him at two of our Meetings. The importance to this country of this memorable siege was very great, as is shown by the almost daily reports of it made to Cecil and the Privy Council. Though the town eventually fell into the hands of the Infanta, daughter of Philip III., which event consolidated and confirmed her father's power over his remaining possessions in the southern Netherlands, the strength of the Spaniards was finally crushed as regarded their power to injure this country. At the same time all hopes of the Reformed Church in the Netherland territories of the House of Austria were finally blasted. Mr. Belleroche's paper is a valuable addition to the history of those stirring times, so interesting to our Society.
The paper on “A Family of Modellers in Wax,” illustrates the artistic talents of the family of Gosset, besides giving its genealogy from the time of its flight to England. The list of Gosset wax medallions will be useful to many collectors, and this memoir of her family by Miss Mary H. Gosset will assuredly be an incentive to others to work up similar additions to Huguenot family history.
I must not omit to make a brief allusion to the very able sketch of the history of the Flemish and Walloon refugees in England during the 16th century, by our Honorary Fellow M. Charles Rahlenbeck, Secretary of the Société d'Histoire de Belgique, which was read at one of our recent Meetings but will not appear in our Proceedings' until the first number of a new volume is issued in the Autumn.* This is the third paper which has been kindly contributed to us by our foreign Honorary Fellows, the others, as you will remember, being on the French Churches of London, by the Baron Fernand De Schickler, and on an episode of Huguenot history in Sweden, by M. Delgobe. It is most satisfactory to receive from our Honorary Fellows abroad such convincing proof of their interest in our work, and we are specially indebted to M. Rahlenbeck for the information he has so carefully collected and put before us in his paper, and also, I may add, for the various gifts which he has, from time to time, made to our Library.
The lists and particulars of the Churches, Chapels, Schools, and other charitable foundations of the foreign Protestants of London in 1739, taken from Maitland's History of London published in that year, and to be included in the number of our Proceedings to which I am now referring, is of great interest. In many cases the names given by Maitland do not accord with those by which the Churches were called by their respective congregations. This is shown by the original Registers. It may be remarked that the Dutch Church of St. James is altogether omitted by him.
We have also been able to give the Address of the Ministers of the Vaudois Churches to His Majesty George II. on his accession, with reference to the yearly pension which our President alluded to at our last Annual Meeting as having been paid up to the year 1885.
The Proceedings also contain a communication from our Honorary Fellow, M. Delgobe, which will be found of high importance in connection with the history of the Austin Friars Church, the information having been quite lost sight of, although
* See page 22 of the present No.
published in Zwergius' “Siellandske Clerisie,” Copenhagen, 1754. This is nothing else than the names and particulars of the families of those strangers who found it necessary to fly from these shores on the accession of Queen Mary. It will no doubt be interesting to the American family of Astor to hear that “Philippus van Aster” with his wife and their children were amongst the number of these refugees. In the report of the Rev. W. D. Macray to the Master of the Rolls in 1886, it is mentioned that there exists “ a small parcel of copies (made at Copenhagen in 1736) of letters in Danish from Peter Godske to the Burgomaster of Copenhagen and to the King's Secretary, Corfitz Wulfeldt in 1553, with the reply of the city relative to the refugees, together with lists of exiles (in all between 140 and 150) who came over with their families in different ships.” These Danish vessels, three in number, sailed from Gravesend on September 17th, 1553, the refugees from popish tyranny being under the charge of Johannes A Lasco, Superintendent of the dispersed Butch Church of London, Martinus Micronius, Minister of the same Church, Johannes Utenhovius, Elder of the same, and Martinus Comelinus, Elder of the French Church at London. Particulars of this flight and the subsequent wanderings of the unhappy band are given in a rare volume entitled Simplex et fidelis narratio, by Johannes Utenhovius, published in 1560. In 1555 many of the refugees were at Frankfurt, a haven of rest also to a band of English subjects driven from their country because they chose to remain Protestants. In connection with this matter our Fellow, Mr. William De Neufville, most kindly made research at my request a few months ago whilst at Frankfurt, and sent me a complete list of the names of these English refugees taken from documents in the possession of the French Church of that town.* He found that in the spring of 1554, the Walloon refugees arrived in Frankfurt under Valerandus Pollanus. They were followed shortly after by the Flemings under John A Lasco and Peter Dathen, and on June 27th, 1554, the English arrived led by Edmund Sutton, William Williams, William Whittingham, and Thomas Wood. John Knox was also there at the same time. These all returned to England in 1559, but it was soon after their arrival at Frankfurt that the troubles arose in connection with the Book of Common Prayer and the use of Rites and Ceremonies. A work entitled “A brief Discourse of the Troubles” was printed in black letter in 1575, and reprinted in 1846. It is worthy of note that, unlike the majority of refugees to England, those from England to Frankfurt in 1553 were either of noble birth who lived on their patrimonies, merchants living on their means without exercising any trade, or students.
* See under Notes and Queries in appendix to this No.
The present year will be ever memorable for the publication (so long and eagerly looked for by ourselves and all students of Huguenot history) of the grand work of M. le Baron Fernand de Schickler on the French Churches in this country. The many visits to London made during some years past by the devoted and learned President of the Société de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Français, have been given to the study of the Archives of the French Church of London, which had become the repository of the numerous registers and documents of the other French Churches, as they one by one ceased to exist. It will be satisfactory to the Fellows of our Society to find by a perusal of these most able volumes that the work we ourselves have been already able to accomplish, has to some small extent assisted the noble author in the achievement of this most valuable and important addition to Huguenot history in England. Those who may undertake to write historical introductions to future publications of the registers of the French churches in this country, will have a far easier task than heretofore in consequence of the fresh sources of information imparted to them by Baron de Schickler.
M. Ranson, Juge de Paix at Ardres, has recently published and presented to the Society an exhaustive history of that town. In this book he alludes to the considerable number of Huguenots living in the neighbourhood in the 17th century, and gives an interesting list of some hundred persons who abjured at Ardres from the 21st August, 1658, to the 11th December, 1687. In this list appear several names which may be also found amongst those of Fellows of the Society and their connections, e.g. Plateau, Hardy, Le Long, Delamare, Minet, and Godde.
The Société de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Français held its fortieth General Assembly on the 28th April last in the Temple de l'Oratoire at Paris. A cordial invitation was sent to the officers of our Society to take part in it, which however to their regret they were not able to do. A full report of the proceedings may be expected in the forthcoming number of the Bulletin ; meanwhile I may mention that they included an address of M. Charles Read, the founder of the Société, and an account of Guizot, the Pasteur of the Désert, by his descendant, M. Guillaume Guizot, together with an excellent selection of old Huguenot music.
Among the interesting articles to be found in the Bulletin of the French Society, M. Cesar Pascal gives an historical study on Louis XIV. and the Huguenot refugees in England at the time of the Revocation, 1681—1685, from the despatches of the French King and his ministers. The careful researches of M. J. W. Lelièvre have brought to light several Reformed Church Registers, those namely of Vic-le-Fesq, Cannes, Clairan, Crespain, Montmiral, Congenies, Combas, Sauve, Junas, Souvignargues, and Bossieres. This ardent lover of Huguenot registers has every reason to hope that the officials of the registries of a large majority of other places have similar records in their keeping, as of the ten localities in which he had enquired of the 'Etat Civil, only one had nothing to produce.
Before quitting the subject of France, I may refer to Pierre Loti, whose name is more or less familiar to all of us, though possibly it is not so generally known that this brilliant French novelist and naval officer is by birth a Huguenot. Perhaps I need hardly say that Loti is merely a nom de guerre and that his real name is Louis Marie Julian Viaud, the Viauds being an old Huguenot family long settled at Rochefort. Loti has recently been elected a member of the Académie, and is, I believe, with only one exception the youngest man who has ever attained that envied honour, the highest that the literary world of France can bestow. We do not usually associate the idea of anybody or anything Huguenot with even the best of French novels, but it is pleasant to meet with an instance in which we can do so thus satisfactorily.
The Bulletin of the Commission pour l'Histoire des Eglises Wallonnes at Leyden continues to maintain its high reputation, and to testify to the good work done by our sister Society in the Netherlands. The numbers for last year give, amongst other interesting articles, one by our Honorary Fellow, M.J. A. Enschedé on the Reformed Church at Lille during the occupaof the Allies from 1708–1713, together with a list of the families who had publicly renounced the Roman faith, and promised to live and die in that of the reformed religion. The paper on the Walloons at Bremen, by the Rev. F. Icken of that town, gives the history of those who took refuge there on account of religion as early as 1554, their successors being entirely absorbed in the German population towards the end of the 17th century. The Rev. T. A. Lublink Schröder of Apeldoorn, gives a similar account of the French or Walloon Church of Franeker established in 1686. It is interesting to VOL. IV.NO. I.