Huguenots - Faith hope and charity
Huguenots were forged by adversity. They were persecuted, imprisoned, even put to death, but their indomitable spirit was neither beaten or broken but simply strengthed.
There are many records listing the crimes against these people, just because they chose to follow a different path to God rather than the recognised faith of their homeland.
Stoically, as the years passed, they eventually tried to practice their faith unobtrusively, but when this became impossible they were left with little choice but to start again in a new country.
Across Europe these French protestants were welcomed yet this disapora soon became a global one as they sought to begin again in far flung countries and continents such as South Africa, North and South America.
More about this disapora in the next blog.
Some were able to take their most treasured possessions with them, but these would only be small objects - perhaps a family bible. In some cases their money was smuggled out with them but, for many, they arrived in a new land with just the clothes they stood up in.
Huguenots were very supportive of each other. Those able to financially assist their fellow countrymen and women did so with a kind heart.
As is often the case with large scale immigration, new ideas were also transported to their adopted homelands. We have the Huguenots to thank for benevolent societies that had first begun in France in the 16th century.
The most famous example of benevolence in England is the French Hospital, now sited in Rochester, Kent, established and run by Huguenots for the benefit of their less able compatriots - men, women and children.
Or indeed these almshouses are another fine example of benevolence. The cost of the houses was paid for by the Houblon sisters, daughters of Sir John Houbon, whose ancestors had fled to these shores from France.
The Pensions Archive Trust Research Guide - Huguenot Friendly Benefit Societies, P2.
Tessa Murdoch and Randolph Vigne. The French Hospital in England, pp13-40.
Richmond Charities, Houblon Almshouses, P2.