Huguenot Exodus to England

Huguenot Exodus to England

The following three articles written by fellow Manchee Family researchers are presented here to illustrate the conditions that prevailed when our Manchee forefathers and foremothers were forced to abandon their homes in France and flee to England. That much is known. Note that each contributor also presents opinions about our original Manchee roots, each making it clear that there is much we do not know about our roots. More about the several theories of our roots in the next article.
by W.H.Manchée by Frank Charles Manchee by Victor Neill Manchée
London, 1909; The Family of Manchée derives it's name from the Family of "de Monchy" of Picardy, France. The records of this family are to be found in any old peerage of the French Noblesse and the family appears to be the first in Picardy. The most notable was the Marquis de Hocquincourt, Marshall of France, and the records of the Family teem with the high orders and positions in the Royal Household.

The branch of Sennarpont [Ed note: alt sp.?? - Semerpont, Senerpont] is the one from which the Protestant branch spring, and Jean de Monchy, Marquis de Sennarpont, was the first to give his allegiance to the faith, being converted at Dieppe by John Knox, the Scotch Reformer. For this he lost his post as Lieut-Govr of Picardy.

One Geoffrey de Monchy is stated to have been the first in this country, and he came to Southhampton in 1573, having a son at Rye in 1587, named Daniel. It is probable that the family returned to France, similarly to others who had property there, during the interval between 1572 and 1685, when a general amnesty was granted to the protestants, although they were debarred from holding any service under the Crown or attending Court. It was owing to this that the Huguenots became traders, and that so many of the refugees in 1685 were traders. The Daniel de Monché who is given as the ancestor after 1685, it will be noticed, came from la Tremblade. This was, no doubt, the nearest port that the family could get to, and does not necessarily shew their origin. From the West End of London the family seem to have gone to Spitalfields, then a lovely suburb of London, and where today even is to be seen the mulberry trees planted by our ancestors.

It is a curious thing that all the family that I have met shew a very lively pride in their family though without any reason beyond that they have been told theirs is a good one. This I understood when, having investigated the French records, I found that Royalty itself was glad to ally itself to the Ancient line and that in all the best families of France the name is to be found.

As to the change in spelling, this is very common. The old method of spelling was merely phonetic, and until 1750 it is diffcult to follow the families unless by there parentage. If the names "Monchy" and Manchée be pronounced together, it wiil be seen how very similar they are, and I have little doubt that Miss Catherine Manchee is correct in stating that this is the true derivation of the name. When the name "Gobelins" and "Moleyns" become "Gubbins" and "Mullins", it is easy to imagine our name as being a distortion of "de Monchy".

The ring too, when traced, will show how far I am correct. It must be remembered that the possession of a ring alone shows that the family must be a good one as only nobles were allowed to wear them.

Bearing all this in mind, I do not think that one can be claimed as merely assuming this descent, although the link is not at present discovered. I place more importance when the earlier records have been found on the tesitmony of Miss Catherine Manchee, but to the present, I have found her remarkably accurate in all her statements for an old lady of over 90.

Crests are given where possible, quartered according to French fashion, husband and wife. In England, the quarterings are not found unless the husband marries the heiress of that line. Adopting this I have placed the quarterings with the last French families as the arms for the English branch of that family. This may bring us down very late as for instance my own family only stop with my grandmother. In Mr. John Charles Manchée's case it would cease with the marriage of Mr Manchée with Miss Bligh.

The families of the sons of Daniel and Susanne Cartigny are merely given to show the record obtained of those sons who as far as I can tell were married. this is to assist in placing the Father of Mr. John Thomas.


The above is the Introduction to "The Pedigree of John Charles Manchée", 1909, London

Toronto, May, 1979; Subject to still unconfirmed situations, it would appear that the possible history of the family might be divided into two basic periods, i.e. (i) before the exodus of some family members from France (Picardie) following the massacre of Bartholemew in 1572, and (ii) the period from 1572 to the present. Period (i) dates from 1146 and I define it as the French period. Period (ii) really stems from 1579 with the migration of some members of the family to England in that year, and to Holland in 1636.

Further migrations from England to Canada, U.S.A., Australia and South Africa took place during the 19th century. How­ever, some members of the French lines either remained Roman Catholic or abrogated the Reform Religion and stayed in France.

There are a half dozen situations in period (ii) that require clarification and confirmation, or the available information covering period (i) (incomplete in my records) virtually becomes meaningless as applied to our family. The first key to the problem is establishing whether our common antecedent in England is a Geoffrey de Monchy who arrived in England from Dieppe in 1579 and had two sons, Marc and Daniel, or a Moise Meneche, in Eng1and but originally from Picardy who also had a son Daniel. Current investigations indicate that de Monchy was the more probable source of our lines.

Records are a problem. It is really only in the past twenty-five years that the French have been trying to piece together the records of Hugenot families and they have a long way to go. During and after the French religious wars, Hugenot churches (chief repositories) and records were burned by their opponents. Incidentally, like many Picardian families, a majority of the de Monchy clan took up the Reform Religion, and dozens and dozens of the male members were killed in the religious frays. A number of those in France, who retained or returned to the “old religion”, and their descendants, became important figures in France in later years.

Sommerset House in London England only began a national recording of births, etc., in 1825. Prior to that the records were kept by the individual churches throughout the country, and/or privately by families.

At various times after Elizabeth I (Queen 1558-1603), religious factions plundered and sometimes burned a number of both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and many records were lost. Similarly, with changes in “land use” many churches lost their congrega­tions and records were lost or dispersed. Bombings in two world wars also took their toll.

As well as various sources, and discussions with dis­tant kinsmen in England, I have been through the records in the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, and other places such as Amien, etc. in France, and the Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in Holland. Also, I have met with key de Monchys in both France and Holland. The latter have been helpful, but, and despite their geniality, the former have been quite secretive about their records. One source suggested that although senior in France, they might not be the “over-all” senior branch. However, as I indicated near the outset of this letter, that aspect of the subject may be meaningless to us.

Substantial and costly work is required in England. Whether or not I shall undertake it is subject to time and dollars. My records of Canadian, U.S., and Australian mem­bers of the family are reasonably complete up to my father’s generation.

Up until, and in some situations, in the 18th century, even some of the nobility in Britain and Europe could not read or write. Consequently, much of the record keeping was done by “clerks” who often wrote names as they were pronounced phonetically. This practice alone has been responsible for many variations in the spelling of surnames - e.g. in England, the broad English “a” was and often is pro­nounced in the same way as the French “o” - thus the angli­cization of Manchee or Manchy (17th century) from the French - Monchy. The double “e” appeared in the place of “y” about the time of Charles II (King 1649-1685) apparently to accen­tuate the English Protestant aspect of former French Refor­mists, i.e. Babee, Mabee, Manchee, Sturdee, etc., etc. The “de” (e.g. deMonchy) was often dropped for the same reason and about the same time.

Possibly you are already aware of the contents of this missive, but perhaps it may contain the odd item that may be of interest.


The above was taken from a letter from Frank to Lois Steury dated 7 May, 1979.

Oct, 2002; I have obtained considerable information re the French Huguenot connections but there are still many gaps. The French family "de Monchy" is well documented in France from about 1200AD until the end of the eighteenth century and the English connection was researched by WH Manchée in the 1920s. WH was not convinced of the "de Monchy" ancestors but I think this is now accepted by most people. The various spellings (Monché, Manché, Manchée with or without "é") of the Anglicised version of de Monchy are well accepted and put down to poor literacy or bad transcriptions etc.

There are two stories as to when the de Monchy left France to come to England both as a result of the Catholic persecution of Huguenot Protestants. Two dates are postulated - c1650 & c1700 - but I have not been able find an accurate date nor have I been able to find any direct link between the end of the de Monchy line in France and the start of the English de Monchy/Manchée. One story is that the family escaped from Le Harve and the other that they came from La Rochelle. I have been in contact with the archivists in both cities but have not been able to establish any direct link.

What is accepted is that a branch of the de Monchy family settled in East London - Spitalfields - in the 1690s as silk weavers and where they remained until the 1900s at least. The earliest information I have is of Daniel(I) and Marie de Monchy/Manchée who "testified (to their faith)" (temoinage) at a "Reconnaisances et Abjurations" meeting at Leicester Fields Chapel in London on 3 June 1694. Daniel(I) had one son, Daniel(II) who married Susanne de Joncourt who was born 12 Dec 1697.

[Neill comment: This conflicts with one of your Daniels who was born 28 Jan 1711 and married Susanne de Joncourt in 1755 - 58 seems a rather late age to marry and bear children! - the manuscript family tree on "daniel.jpg"].

{Ed note: Neill's Daniel II is the same person as Frank's Daniel, 1711. The only conflict is who his parents were. Also, Neill apparently read the chart wrong, Daniel and Susanne married in 1735}

Daniel(II)had two children, Simon Peter(I) (c1730-?) and Daniel(III) (28 March 1736-?). Simon Peter(I) married Marie de Sourdeau/Dodo on 15 May 1758. Daniel(III) married Susannah de Carligny/Cartinie in 1755. Most of the above comes from records held by the Huguenot Society in London.


The above was taken from an email from Neill to myself dated 14 Oct, 2002.

Created ... May 12, 2004