Visitors to Boughton House this month who expect to find a cosy "heritage" display of family treasures may be in for something of a shock. A room in one wing of this English answer to the palace of Versailles sets the scene for its summer exhibition. An explanatory panel has a photo of one of those familiar but still shocking signs from the boarding-houses of lates London: "No Coloureds". Next to it stands a recent picture from the southern Mediterranean of a tiny boat crammed with desperate migrants. Read the captions, and the point strikes home. In the years after when Ralph Montagu, Earl and then first Duke of Montagu, was beautifying Boughton, Protestant refugees in their thousands risked their lives in frail, overcrowded craft to cross the Channel from France and seek refuge on a more tolerant shore.
For example, her father was baptised at the French Artillery Church in Spitalfields in and returned to his Huguenot refugee roots to be buried in in Christchurch, Spitalfields. The 10 volumes amounted to around 1, words but presumably they just dipped into it! An English version by Eliza Haywood was available soon after the volumes were published, but as Susannah writes the title in French, I think they must have been reading this and Cyrus in the original French.
Susannah was probably encouraged to keep an account of any money that she had and she does occasionally make entries in the right hand side accounts section:.
He will have been aware that the year was going to be an eventful one for all of them with moving house, a new baby and a long trip abroad. Here, then, is Susannah, the younger daughteron 1 st January,writing:. Susannah never once refers to anything that they ate. At her age and in her social situation, the provision of food was clearly organised by someone else or she might have mentioned it, but it also leads me to think that perhaps their food was repetitive and un-noteworthy.
Huguenots, and particularly French Huguenots, were persecuted Protestants in 16th and 17th century Europe who followed the teachings of theologian John Calvin. Lucy Dalbiac must have lived in Spital Square for around 50 years by the time she died in April - one of the last members of an original master weaver refugee family to have lived there continuously - and her Will shows that she left sums of money to 3 local French Huguenot-based charities. On Thursday 29th April , Susannah visits London and notes, "We slept at Grandmama's. Huguenot's best FREE dating site! Free Online Dating for Huguenot Singles at cheapfalconsjerseys.com Our free personal ads are full of single women and men in Huguenot looking for serious relationships, a little online flirtation, or new friends to go out with. Start meeting singles in Huguenot today with our free online personals and free Huguenot chat! Huguenot is full of single men and women like you looking .
Or might it have been bad manners to mention food? Breakfast: is mentioned twice as a specific meal first thing in the morning.
The contents of breakfast seems to have varied between town and country but would probably have consisted of bread and butter and perhaps jams and marmalade.
Eggs and cold meat are another common theme for breakfast. Dinner: the main meal of the day - was eaten sometime between 3 and 5pm. The meal might consist of 3 courses, the first chiefly meat, the second a combination of meats and puddings, followed by fruit and sweetmeats. InJames Woodforde in his Diary of a Country Parson gave a dinner which, although he lived in the country, may give an idea of what the Dalbiac family ate, consisting of:.
Writing her diary at the age of 14, there is an implied significance to the fact that Susannah has stayed behind specifically to make the tea for her father and cousin.
A certain amount of equipment had to be acquired for the proper taking of tea including a tea table, a tea kettle, a tea caddy, a tea pot, a tea strainer, tea cups, a slops bowl and probably a milk jug and sugar bowl, and I feel sure that Susannah must have enjoyed the responsibility of presiding over the tea table. By the s they would mostly likely have been drinking black tea such as Bohea, Congou, Pekoe or Souchongall imported from China by the British East India Company, who by the s, along with the Dutch East India Company, were importing tonnes into Europe each year.
Was it the best time of the day for Susannah and Lucy? After the formality of Dinner, was it a chance for them to sit round chatting with their cousins without any obligation to read difficult sermons or do their sewing? I am a great tea drinker and I wonder if they were all a bit dependent on the caffeine too! For her father, tea time may have been either an important part of his business day or a chance to socialise with friends. Drank Tea there.
I happen to have visited Boston earlier this year and was fascinated to read about the colonialists and some of the history of the colonies in the 18 th century. The harbour apparently smelt for weeks.
The colonialists were protesting against taxes imposed by Britain and the destruction of the tea was both a symbolic act and the cause of great financial damage, and was a key instigator of the beginning of the American War of Independence. The answer to this question is by no means immediately clear. Susannah noted no addresses and she only occasionally refers to places.
However, after a deal of pondering and detective work, I have deduced that her little entry on Tuesday 23 rd January may tell us what we need to know. We went to Wansted after Dinner.
Although the family were still intimately connected to other Huguenot families - the evidence being the number of French names mentioned in the diary - and were still connected to Huguenot establishments in London such as the French Hospital, the Dalbiacs had presumably long lost the desire to go back to France. Inwhen Susannah would have been 2, her father, Charles, bought a property at Durdans, just outside Epsom in Surrey.
Durdans was originally a large house said to be on a par with Nonsuch Palace. But his luck ran out when it burned down just before completion of the building in Mr Belchier, perhaps cast down by his ill-luck at Durdans, abandoned the site and built another house nearby and a few years later, inhe sold the Durdans property to Charles Dalbiac.
Charles employed a young London architect, William Newton clerk of works and architect at the Chapel Royal, Greenwichto design a new house in the modern style. This house was then apparently sold by - a year after the diary. It is therefore possible that Susannah and her sister spent some of their childhood living at Durdans.
This house is also noted as having been sold by Mr Dalbiac in I also wonder if Durdans was the house he lived in with his first wife, Susanne, and their two little girls, Lucy and Susannah, and then after she died and he married again, he and Anne, his new wife, may have wanted to start a new household, which is why they moved to Bookham Grove.
If Bookham Grove was sold init seems quite possible that they actually moved out in early Susannah gives just a few clues to the possibility that they are leaving the house and the area. Initially I was rather puzzled by this but it transpires that chamber organs were popular in the 18 th century often going into use in churs in the 19 th century and I imagine this was therefore a domestic instrument being carefully dismantled and packed up to be moved to another house.
Perhaps this refers to the same instrument arriving at their new home! Two examples of chamber organs from the late 18th century.
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But the reference I like the most is to Mr and Mrs Cooke. Jane Austen was born in December in Hampshire so would have been a new-born at this date, but her large extended family were close and in regular touch by letter.
Jane herself stayed with her cousins in Great Bookham in around and again in and is said to have modelled Highbury from Emma on Great Bookham. The origin of the name Huguenot is unknown but believed to have been derived from combining phrases in German and Flemish that described their practice of home worship.
In Januarythe Edict of St. Germain recognized the right of Huguenots to practice their religion, though with limits. Huguenots were not permitted to practice within towns or at night, and in an effort to sate fears of rebellion, they were not allowed to be armed. On March 1,Huguenots holding religious services in a barn outside the town wall of Vassy, France, were attacked by troops under the command of Francis, Duke of Guise.
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More than 60 Huguenots were killed and over wounded during the Massacre of Vassy. Francis claimed he did not order an attack but was instead retaliating against stones being thrown at his troops.
In Toulouse, a riot resulted in the deaths of up to 3, people, many of them Huguenots. The battling continued into February of when Francis, Duke of Guise, was assassinated by a Huguenot during a siege on Orleans and a truce was agreed upon.
Religious violence escalated again soon enough. The worst of it came as the St.
Violence and murder followed in 12 cities over a two-month period after the St. Violence such as the St. Huguenots used their freedom to organize against the French crown, gaining political power, amassing loyal forces and forging separate diplomatic relationships with other countries.
Germain and made Protestantism illegal. More bloodshed ensued, and over the next several years, more thanHuguenots fled France for other countries. InLouis XIV decided he wanted to prevent Huguenots fleeing to the south to Protestant communities known as the Waldensians, or Valdois, who were settled in the Piedmont region of Italy, which was just across the French border.
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Troops ravaged the Protestant villages, with 12, Protestants rounded up into camps, where most starved to death. The few that did survive were sent to Germany. The departure of the Huguenots was a disaster for France, costing the nation much of its cultural and economic influence.
In some French cities, the mass exodus meant losing half the working population.
Huguenots were particularly prolific in the textile industry and considered reliable workers in many fields. They were also an educated group, with the ability to read and write. Many countries welcomed them and are believed to have benefited from their arrival.
Some fleeing Huguenots made their way to Geneva first, but the city could not support so many people, and only some in the clock-making profession ended up staying there. The city of Brandenburg went so far as to advertise their eagerness for Huguenots to settle there. Some 4, Huguenots settled in Berlin and are considered to have been the spark that transformed it into a major city. The most significant population ended up in the Netherlands, with Amsterdam received the most Huguenot transplants.
Other cities were keen to attract Huguenots and competed to entice them, believing that the influx of skilled, literate workers could help revive their economies. About one-fifth of the Huguenot population ended up in England, with a smaller portion moving to Ireland. The offer was initially made inbut only a handful of Huguenots showed interest. As Louis XIV intensified the pressure on their faith, the ambitious courtier invited painters, architects, designers, carvers, smiths and weavers to adorn his famously lavish London home, Montagu House in Bloomsbury.
Reputedly rir than the king, the first Duke did not do modesty. It must have been the ultimate bling residence - absolutely spectacular. In the midth century, the Montagus moved their London pad to more fashionable Whitehall.
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Boughton now holds many of its surviving portable treasures, such as the panelling designed by Daniel Marot - whom Bour calls the "overarching creative genius" behind the style of the Montagu houses. However, the "Huguenot web" now honoured at Boughton stretd from engravers to bakers, gardeners to gunsmiths, doctors to upholsterers.
Its artefacts range from Jean Rocque's earliest "A-Z" maps of London to pistols, tapestries, porcelain, flower paintings, furniture and music scores.
They take in a billiard table by Peter Rieusset and the "parquet de Versailles", then a novelty flooring in this country. In doing so, "He built a Huguenot house from floor to ceiling, and he staffed it with Huguenots".
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As we pass from room to room, Tessa Murdoch points out the provenance of the furniture, panelling, tapestries, timepieces and ceramics created by Huguenot craft dynasties. It may come as a surprise that so many of the designers and decorators who embellished the glory of the ultimate Catholic monarch at Versailles were, in fact, sober Protestants by faith.
Louis XIV and his ministers knew how much of his awe-inspiring splendour rested on "heretic" talent. Around the time of the Revocation instar artists and artisans would often be pressured to convert to Catholicism as the price of continued employment. At Boughton, some of the most memorable legacies of refugee skill come in humble forms. Dotted around the house are pairs of earlyth-century candle-holders, manufactured from glass and designed with such understated elegance that they might still draw covetous eyes in a smart decor emporium.
Later, we scan the meticulous account books that set down in dates and sums the patronage that restored dignity and status to the exiles.
For Tessa Murdoch, "These archives are the absolute backbone They bring the whole thing to life. More than three centuries on, these artefacts, and the story of the immigrants who made them, may illuminate the present as much as the past.
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