french-canadian, Genealogy, Huguenot, Quebec, Quebec City

The Protestant Churches of Quebec City, 1629-1759

Some 15 or 20 years ago, someone asked me to research and compile a document addressing the earliest Protestant churches in Quebec and find out where the church registers are. Listed here are Quebec City region Protestant missions organized from 1629 to 1759. None of the church registers have survived.

A number of Huguenot merchants from La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Rouen, France were present in Quebec City in September, 1759 when the British army conquered the French forces at the BattIe of the Plains of Abraham. More than a century before those events, Huguenot merchants were members of a small Calvinist church in Quebec City.

1629 Lutheran Chapel – It is on record that the Kertk (Kirke) brothers, and a small group of French Protestants (Huguenots from France), who captured Québec in the name of King Charles I of England on the 20th of July, 1629, built a Lutheran Chapel in Nouvelle France at the time. David, Louis, Thomas Kertk (Kirke), their wives, plus two other women and an undisclosed number of men worshipped until 1633 in Québec.

1631 – Temple Calviniste – A small community of Huguenots (Reformed Church of France) established a Calvinist Temple in the old city of Québec in the early 1630s or shortly after. The small temple would have been located near the Couvent des Ursulines. Most of the Huguenots at the time in Québec were traders who imported goods from French ports such as Auray, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Brest, Caen, Calais, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Dunkerque, Fecamp, Le Havre, Honfleur, La Rochelle, Lorient, Nantes, Paimboeuf, Port Louis, Rochefort, Rouen, Royan, Les Sables d’Olonne, Saint Brieuc, Saint-Malo and Vannes. These same Huguenots were also merchants, mainly in the purchasing and exporting of fine furs and selected hardwoods in New France. This small but thriving Protestant community was instrumental in opening-up trade partnerships between Nouvelle France and fellow Huguenot associates in France and other European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the British Isles.

1759 – Chapel of the Ursulines  – First Anglican Church service in Québec on September 27th 1759 – Rev. Eli Dawson, presiding – Chaplain of the British Forces headed by the late General James Wolfe, Commander in Chief of the British Imperial Army – In attendance were French speaking Huguenots from the Québec region.

 

 

Genealogy

The Huguenot of England Part 1

The Huguenot Cross.

A window at Canterbury Cathedral England where Huguenot descendants still worship every Sunday, in French.

‘Huguenot’ What does that mean to you? For me, living in Quebec, Canada it is a part of Quebec and France’s history but did you know that England also has a vast amount of history about Huguenot? I was amazed to learn that!

After I recently read a short article about English Huguenot, it made me want to find out how and why they ended up in England.

The Edict of Nantes (french: édit de Nantes), signed in April 1598 by King Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in the nation, which was still considered essentially Catholic at the time.

The Huguenot were Protestants in a largely Catholic populated country and after Louis XIV cancelled their civil rights granted to them by the ‘Edict of Nantes’ in 1685, about 50,000 fled France across the English Channel.¹

Once in England, they spread out not only to London but to 20 towns from Canterbury to Norwich, Plymouth to Rochester. As time went on, many of them drifted towards the Church of England and names became anglicized. Ferret became Ferry and Fouache became Fash most often due to mistakes made by English clerks!

In the 1600’s, Huguenot in England was called Journeymen journéee – ‘day’ in French – because they were, yes! paid daily. Journeyman is a word still in use in England today. Huguenot homes included a feature that marked a journeyman weaver home or a ‘sign’ such as the one below.

This Spindle is the Sign of A Silk Weaver On A Huguenot House in Spitalfields, London England

They set about settling in and transformed their homes to suit the valuable silk trade. They enlarged the windows in the attic to let in the maximum light for the weavers and designed a staircase positioned right by the front door to allow access to the upper floors without entering the workshop. This protected the expensive silks from dirt and soot from the streets. As the silk trade in the East End took off, they formed a community of working-class tradespeople that transformed Spitalfields into “Weaver Town”.

These talented artists brought to England many high-skilled trades. In addition to being famous for their silk weaving and beautiful fabrics, they brought to England paper-making, hat makers cabinet makers watchmakers gunsmiths goldsmiths jewellers and many more skilled trades.

By 1710, at least 5 percent of the population of London – then around 500,000 – were French Protestants. In the French enclaves of Spitalfields and Soho, that proportion was much higher.  London soon had 23 French Protestant churches. Within a few years, a society totally unacquainted with mass migration had given a home to the equivalent – in terms of today’s population – of 650, 000 new arrivals.

According to one estimate, one in every six Britons has some Huguenot ancestry. Some famous Huguenot names in England include Simon Le Bon, from the pop group Duran Duran actor Sir Laurence Olivier, author Daphne Du Maurier and Samuel Courtauld (1793 – 1881) an English industrialist who developed his family firm Courtaulds to become one of the leading names in the textile business in Britain.²

Today, in the lively East End area of London, there is an area known as Spitalfields. Home to artists, creative fashions and food, Spitalfields is well known for its history of silk weavers. Fournier Street – built in the 1720’s – with its grand old Georgian terraced houses of the master weavers attracts visitors each year.³

There is a thriving Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland formed in 1885.

In Fournier Street, at number 18 the elegant home belongs to the Artist Denis Severs. He bought a dilapidated 10 room property in 1979 and used it to re-create a Huguenot home for his own pleasure. Word got around and it has now been open to the public for 35 years.

https://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/

Huguenot Silk Weavers Houses on Fournier Street

There is still so much to write about the English Huguenot so look out for part 2.

Sources:

¹https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Nantes

²http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/refugee-week-the-huguenots-count-among-the-most-successful-of-britains-immigrants-10330066.html

³https://oldspitalfieldsmarket.com/

https://www.huguenotsociety.org.uk/

NOTE:

This link is to the ‘Huguenots – Index of Names’ within Quebec.

Posted by Genealogy Ensemble author, Jacques Gagné.

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/03/06/848/