The Golden Falcon

The Golden Falcon

Chapter XVIII/1 - Silk


"God's blessing is surely not only brought upon the parish by receiving poor strangers but also a great advantage hath accrued to the whole nation by the rich manufacture of weaving silks and stuffs and camlets which art they brought with them". (John Stow).


Rev. Charles Henry Winter was born in Ceylon, grandson of George Winter (son of a Clapham bricklayer) and Sarah Cresse, daughter of a postmen of Winchmore Hill who was a descendant of Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields.


Sarah Cresse's grandfather was a silkworker and journeyman* from Spitalfields near the Old Artillery grounds where Huguenots settled, mulberry trees were grown there and French spoke well into the 18th century.


*one who has completed an apprenticeship.


The Winters and Garthwaites seem to have been connected with the silk industry.  One of the silk designers of 1705 was Anna Maria Garthwaite from Yorkshire whose designs are in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Sir Edward Winter of Battersea's great grandson Edward Hampson Winter married Mary Garthwaite on 3.6.1797 at St. Marylebone [Boyds Marriage Index].


Weaving and the cloth industry in England

There was a Fraternity of Weavers or "tellaij" in Saxon times and they had a charter as early as 1155 in the reign of Henry II.  In 1415, the Flemish and Brabantine weavers were in separate guilds which amalgamated during the reign of Henry VIII.  Thomas Cook and Henry Baker belonged to the Weavers Company whose motto was "Weave Truth with Trust". and left bequests to it in 1731.  The woolmen belonged to an older Livery Company, the Mercers’ Company existed since 1393, the Linen Drapers in 1439 and the silkmen in 1631.


Weavers in England were foreign immigrants, mostly Flemings, who worked on wool and flax.  The Flemings, who introduced weaving into England, first came in the reign of William I whose mother Herleva or Arletta was the daughter of a Walloon and his wife Matilda the daughter of the Count of Flanders.


The Flemish settlements in Norman times were in Carlisle and Haverfordwest; in the 1100's in Norwich.  The word "worsted" originated from a small town of that name near Norwich which was settled by Flemish weavers about 1174.  Norwich did not resist an attack by the Flemings under High Bigod (who rebelled against Henry I, supporting the king's eldest son instead) because the citizens of Norwich were weavers not fighting men and of Flemish descent.


Another wave of Flemish immigrants came with Philippa of Hainault, Edward III's Queen.  When John Kempe and his cloth workers established a manufactory of fine wool in 1369, they were opposed by the native English cloth weavers and were taken under the special protection of Edward III.  The family of Kemp must have been involved in cloth manufacture for centuries - one cloth firm of Shepton Mallett was named James Kemp & Co.

The Netherlands had originally been free states and the weavers of the Low Countries formed the most powerful guild of craftsmen who had their own armed companies of volunteers.  One of these was led by de Leste, a silk manufacturer.


The Low Countries were inherited by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy and Count of Flanders but when he died in 1467, his son Charles (d. 1496) made himself absolute monarch.  Charles died in 1496 leaving only a daughter Mary who was forced to give the Netherlands a Magna Carta or "Great Privileges" in return for their help against Louis XI of France.


When her grandson, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Hapsburg, king of Spain, violated the Treaty, the Netherlanders rebelled against him and his son Philip II.


During this period a third wave of immigrants of Dutch, Flemings and Walloons came into England, settling mainly in Norfolk having been invited there by the Mayor of Norwich and the Duke of Norfolk as the worsted trade was depressed.  Amongst the emigrants were silk weavers.


History of the sillk trade.

Silkworms were domesticated in 2000 BC by the Chinese and the manufacture of silk originated in China, called Seres by the Romans, giving the name sericulture to the breeding of silk worms which were brought into Europe in the 5th century by 2 monks who smuggled them in bamboo slips.


The Arabs introduced sericulture to Palermo, Sicily where the ladies of the Tiraz or silk workshop were also courtesans.  George of Antioch, Greek-Levantine admiral of Roger of Sicily, raided Thebes and carried off the Jewish silk workers and dyers of purple.


Silk garments were first imported into England during the reign of Offa, king of Mercia who received 2 silken vests from Charlemagne in 790 AD.  Apart from this only rough woven wool and linen woven in Flanders came into England.


Following the Old Silk Road which ran through the Gobi Desert, Persia and Mesopotamia into the Levent and Byzantium, silk production spread into Japan, India, Persia, Byzantium, Greece, Italy and Sicily, then France through the Languedoc.


The Crusaders brought back with them from the East silk, spices, figs, rings, carpets, brocade, henna, rouge, glass mirrors, the use of opium in surgery and paper manufacture which Arab merchant seamen had learned from the Chinese.


By the 12th century travellers and merchants had brought into Europe more knowledge about breeding silkworms and growing mulberry trees.


Silk became more common during the time of Henry III in about 1251 when it was recorded in descriptions of the marriage of his daughter with Alexander, king of Scots in the Chronicle of Matthew Paris.

When Henry III's Charter of 1225 regarding foreign merchants was confirmed by Edward I, silk was included in the tax gatherers' accounts.  The Merchant Venturers or Hamburg Company (an offshoot of the powerful Mercers’ Company) was established in 1296 during the reign of Edward I.


Silk is mentioned in the documents of the reign of Edward III and there were several trade sanctions against silk because of foreign wars during the reigns of Edward III to Henry VI and records of the lifting of sanctions throughout the reigns of Elizabeth I, William and Mary to the 1800's when the trade died out.


Manufactured silk was not used much, it was imported raw and twisted into thread for embroidery.  Women used it and their guild was known as "The Mystery of Silkwomen" who were exempted from "closed shop" type rules which men had to abide by; they had to work in one class of goods only but women were not thus restricted.  Silk was first used for thread, ribbons and small articles but not used for weaving.  In 1455 a statute for the protection of the "Mystery of Silk Women" was passed.


In 1461 Edward IV had an Italian weaver under his protection when sericulture was brought into France from Italy where it had been carried on during the previous 3 centuries.  Weavers from Italy had been invited to France since 1480 although they only settled in Tours and Lyons in 1521 after the Conquest of Milan.  By then raw silk was being imported from the Orient and Italy.  Silk weaving from Italy and Spain (carried on in the Levante regions of Valencia and Murcia where mulberry trees still exist) was introduced into the Netherlands about this time when the Low Countries were inherited by the Hapsburgs who ruled Spain and Italy.


By 1480 Italian silk weavers had settled in Tours and Lyons; mulberries were cultivated in France by the 15th century and there were silk centres at Ganges and St. Jean in the Languedoc, a Huguenot area.  Cardinal Mazarin possessed much silk and 50 million livres was obtained by sericulture in France by 1753.  Silk woven in Lyons and Tours was exported to England, Spain and Germany; linen woven in Vire, Falaix and Argentine went to Normandy; in Brittany sail cloth was made at Rennes, Nantes and Vitre, bleached cloth at Morlaix, Landerman and Brest and exported into Holland and England.


The silk was reeled from the cocoons, sometimes whilst still alive, as this silk had a lustre that silk reeled from dead cocoons did not have.  Machines were developed in Italy for the manufacture of silk but did not reach England until the 18th century.  Until then the fine silk organzine, usually in thread form, was imported from Sicily.  By the 17th century raw silk was being imported from China, India, Sicily and Italy.  When the Netherlands came under Spanish rule, the cloth cities became famous for their tapestries now made with silk.


The main type of silk was obtained from the mulberry-fed silkworm ("bombyx mori") but there were other kinds such as the tussore silkworms ("ailanthene"), the Eri silkworm which fed on the leaves of the caster-oil plant or the "arundee" from a caterpillar-like insect which spun long threads instead of cocoons.  "Eri" silk came from India and Assam, shantung from China and "anaphe" brown silk from Africa.  Floret or ferret silk was made from silk waste which was first boiled in pea flour to remove the natural gummy substance.  There was even an attempt to spin spider's silk.


Lye of ashes, used as a detergent, was obtained from the ash of mulberry trees, plantain leaves or indigo plants (indigo was used as a dye) or in "sajji" or native carbonate of soda.


Dyes were made from vegetable substances which were fixed or made fast with various mordants.  The dyes were obtained from woad ("crucifere"), welds ("resedaceae"), madder ("rubiaceae") and the cochineal insect ("coccus cacti") which was imported from South and Central America after the Conquest of Mexico in 1518 by the Spaniards.  This gave a crimson colour if boiled in a tin vessel or mixed with tin.


In 1592 the "Madre de Dios", a Portuguese carrack going from Lisbon to Goa captained by Ferdinand de Mendoza, was captured by English privateers under Drake.  She was brought into Dartmouth and her cargo was found to consist of "costly raw silk and silk stuff and other piece goods, taffaties, sarcenets1, cloth of gold, calicoes, lawns2, quilts and other rich commodoties."


1sarsenet - thin tissue of silk

2lawn - fine linen or cambric, fine white linen from Cambrai, Flanders.


She also carried the "Notable Register or Matiscola of the whole Government and Trade of the Portuguese in the East Indies."  Seven years later, when the Dutch put up the price of pepper, London grocers petitioned Elizabeth I on the lines of the this document to grant a charter to the "Governor and Companies of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies."


"Thus it was upon silk and pepper that the foundations of the mighty volume of commerce between England and the Asiatic continent were laid".


Silk was imported from India after a treaty with Jehangir, the Mogul Emperor of Agra with whom business was negotiated by Thomas Roe.  Four factors with knowledge of silk culture were subsequently sent to Cassimbazar and Madras.  Mulberry cultivation was encouraged in Bengal, the only place where the trade flourished and by 1704 Bengal and Chinese silk was imported to Leadenhall to be used by the Spitalfield weavers.  The efforts of the East India Company failed but private enterprise succeeded.  By 1850-60 after the Indian Mutiny, the East India Company's rule ended and the duties on foreign manufactured silks into England were lifted.


Louis Pasteur was interested in investigating a silkworm disease called "pebrine" which had caused havoc in the French and Italian silk industries so an Indian scientist Mukerji was sent to study in Pasteur's laboratories and a Pasteur Institute was set up in India.


Rudyard Kipling's father, John Lock Kipling, extended silk culture in Kashmir, centre for the famous Cashmere shawls.


In 1791-1805 there were 12 mills for twisting Bengal silk for the East India Company in Bradford.  It was the import of silk from the Indies that caused the decline of the industry in England.


A quarter of the Livery Companies in England were involved in the silk trade including the Merchant Venturers founded in 1296 by Edward I.


There was a flourishing silk industry in France which Louis XI (1461-83) had established at Lyons and Tours and this had been encouraged by Henry IV (1589-1610), a former Huguenot.


The first Protestants from the Continents to settle in England during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI were Flemish weavers and Dutchmen to whom Edward VI gave the church of Austin Friars in 1550.  Southwark had a settlement of Flemings and silk weavers in 1571, so did the parishes of St. Olave's, St. George's, St. Saviour's, Bridge-without, St. Thomas and Bermondsey up to 1618.  Dutch, French, Flemings and even Spaniards settled in Bishopsgate Ward.  There was also a Dutch colony in Sandwich, Kent by 1561 from where they spread elsewhere in the county.


The flow increased after 1567 when Fernando Álvarez de Cordoba, Duke of Alba (d. 1582) was appointed Captain-General of the Netherlands.  He executed 18,000 Protestants and drove 100,000 to emigrate after the Sack of Antwerp known as the "Spanish Fury" in 1585.  By 1568 there were 1,132 Dutchmen (including 339 Walloons) in Norwich, by 1581 this had increased to 4,000 (about a quarter of the population) and by 1583 they numbered 4,679.  In 1570 John Throgmorton conspired against the Flemish weavers in Norwich.


The Protestant Calvinists called Huguenots, a word deriving from the German "Eidgenossen" (meaning "confederate") given to the people of Geneva when that canton joined the Swiss Confederation.  The French Protestant leader Jean Calvin (1509-64) born in Noyon, settled in Switzerland, first at Basle and then in the city of Geneva from where Calvinism was orchestrated.


French persecutions of Huguenots in the 1560's began an immigration to England especially after the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve in 1573.


The Massacre took place during the reign of Charles IX (1560-74), son of Catherine dei Medici and Henry II who had come under the domination of Gaspard de Châtillon, Sire de Coligny (1517-72), Admiral of France and leader of the Huguenots.  The religious issue was exacerbated by a feud between the families of Guise-Lorraine (descendants of Rene d'Anjou, titular king of Jerusalem) and Bourbon.


Four days after the marriage of Catherine's daughter Marguerite to the Huguenot Henry of Bourbon-Navarre (later Henry IV) on 1.8.1572, there was an attempted assassination of Admiral Coligny.  He was second husband of Louise, sister of Anne, duc de Montmorency, Constable of France (1492-1567).  By her first husband Ferry II of Maily, Louise was grandmother of Eleanore de la Roye, wife of Louis I Bourbon, Prince de Conde (1530-69), grandson of Louis IX (1310-41) and leader of the Huguenots, killed at the battle of Jarnac.


As Coligny was crossing the Rue des Fosses-St-Germain, reading a letter, he was shot at and wounded in the arm and forefinger by the Guises's henchman Maureval, employed by Catherine and her son Henry, duke of Anjou, later Henry III (1574-89).  The arquebus belonged to Anjou's body-guard.


Catherine convinced Charles of a Huguenot plot, told him of her part in Coligny's attempted assassination and taunted him about his fear of the Protestants.  Enraged Charles leaped up and shouted "Kill them, but kill them all, so that not one may remain to reproach me for my treachery, and by God's death, give the order promptly."


Henry of Guise was put in charge and a few hours later Charles fired on the Huguenots himself from the windows of the Louvre whilst the bells of St. Germain d'Auxerrois were rung.  Coligny was killed and his body flung out of a window for Guise to make sure he had avenged his father's death.


About 1,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris and between 10,000-20,000 in the provinces.


Charles IX died two years after the Massacre.  Henry of Bourbon escaped and fled from the court in January 1576 to the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle.  Henry III then had Henry of Guise murdered at Blois.  On Henry III's death on 10.6.1584 Henry of Bourbon became heir and after renouncing Protestantism saying Paris was worth a Mass, became king as Henry IV (1589-1610).  He promptly divorced Marguerite of Valois and married Cartherine's kinswoman Marie dei Medici.


On 13.4.1598 he signed the Edict of Nantes (drawn up Cardinal Richelieu) giving toleration to Protestants.  He had Marie crowned and anointed at St. Denis on 13.4.1610 and appointed her Regent in his absence.  Whilst on his way to the Arsenal the next day, he was assassinated at the Rue de la Ferronerie by François Ravaillac at the instigation of the Jesuits.


Conflict between Huguenots and Catholics continued in France.  In 1622 during the reign of Louis XIII (1610-43) when Marie dei Medici was virtually Regent, Cardinal Richelieu destroyed the political power of the Huguenots and then advised the king to issue an Edict of Pardons in 1629, giving them liberty of worship and equality under the law.


Richelieu’s successor, the Sicilian-born Cardinal Guilio Mazarin (1621-61), Minister to Louis XIII and Louis XIV, followed the same policy.  Persecutions followed his death but Louis XIV's minister, the Huguenot Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-83), son of a draper and contemporary of Madame de Sévigné, protected his co-religionists.  After Colbert died in 1683, the Edict of Nantes was revoked on 22.10.1685 by Henry IV's grandson Louis XIV (1661-1715) at the instigation of his various mistresses and the Jesuits.  He was persuaded to forcibly convert the Protestants who fled anew to England, Holland, Switzerland and America.  They were persecuted in France up to 1775.


100,000 Huguenots (mostly scarlet dyers) arrived in England from the Languedoc, Guienne, Poitou, Saintonge, Normandy, Picardy and Brittany and settled mainly in Bethnal Green and Spitalfields where there was already a small silk industry established after the Protestant Walloons and Huguenots came there after the St. Bartholomew's Eve Massacre.


Stow in his “Survey of London” wrote:


Gates in the Wall: The third and next toward the north, is called Bishopsgate, for that as it may be supposed, the same was first built by some Bishop of London, though now unknown when, or by whom, but true it is, that the first gate was first buillt for ease of passengers toward the east, and by north, as into Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire etc. the travellers into which parts, before the building of this gate, were forced, passing out at Aeldgate, to go east till they came to the Mile’s End, and then turning on the left and to Blethenhall Green [Bethnall Green] to Cambridge Heath, and and so north, or east, and by northe as their journey lay.  If they took not this way, but the east out at Aeldgate, they must take then way by the north out at Aeldersgate, through Aeldersgate Street and Goswel Street to Iseldon [Islington], and by a cross of stone on their right hand, set up for a mark by the north end of Golding Lane, to turn eastward through a long street, until this day called Alder Street, to another cross standind, where now a smith’s forge is placed by Sewersditch [Shoreditch] church, and then to turn again north towards Totenham, Endfield, Waltham, Ware etc.


And now for reparing the same, I find that Henry III, confimed to the merchants of the Haunce [the German Hansa], that had a house in the city called Guildhalla Theutonicorum, certain liberties and privileges.  Edward I also confirmed the same; in the tenth year of whose reign it was found that the said merchants sought of right to repair the said gate called Bishopsgate; whereupon Gerard Marbod, alderman of the Haunce and others, then remaining in the citry of London, for themselves, and all other merchants of the said Haunce, granted two hundred and ten marks sterling to the mayor and citizens; and convenanted that they and their succesors should from time to time repair the same gate.  This gate was again beautifully built in the year 1479, in the reign of Edward IV, by the said Haunce merchants.


Moreover, about the year 1551, these Haunce merchants, having prepared stone for that purpose, caused a new gate to be framed, there to have been set up, but then their liberties through suit of our English merchants, were seized into the king’s hand; and so that work was stayed, and the old gate yet remaineth.


In the year 1197, Walter Brune a citizen of London, and Rosia, his wife, founded the hospital of our Lady, called Domus Dei or St. Marie Spittle, without Bishopsgate of London; a house of such relief to the needy, that there was found standing at the surrender thereof, 9 score beds, well furnished for receipt of poor people.


Next I read in a charter, dated the year 1235, that Walter Brune, citizen of London, and Rosia his wife, having founded the priory or new hospital of our blessed Lady, since called St. Mary Spittle without Bishopsgate, confirmed the same to the honour of God and our blessed Lady, for canons regular.


Bishopsgate Ward: The next is Bishopsgate ward; whereof a part is without the gate and of the suburbs, from the bars by St. Mary Spittle to Bishopsgate, and a part of Houndsditch; almost half thereof also without the walls, is of the same ward.


From Fisher’s Folly, up to the west end of Berwards’s Lane, of old time so called, but now Hogge Lane, because it meeteth with Hogge Lane, which cometh from the bars without Aldgate, as is afore showed, is a continual building of tenements, with alleys of cottages, pestered etc.


Then is there a large close, called Tassel Close, sometimes for that there were tassels [teazels] planted for the use of clothworkers, since letten to the cross bow makers, where in they used to shoot for games at the popinjay; now the same being inclosed with a brick wall, serveth to be an artillery yard, whereunto the gunners of the Tower do weekly repair, namely, every Thursday and there levelling certain brass pieces of great artillery against a butt of earth, for the purpose, they discharge them for their exercise.


Then have you the late dissolved priory and hospital, commonly called St. Mary Spittle, founded by Walter Brune and Rosia his wife, for canons regular.  Walter, archdeacon of London, laid the first stone in the year 1197, William of St. Mary Church, then bishop of London, dedicated to the honour of Jesus Christ and his mother, the perpetual Virgin Mary, by the name of Domus Dei and Beate Mariae, extra Bishopsgate, in the parish of St. Buttolph [Botolph]; the bounds where of, as appeareth by composition betwixt the parson and prior of the said hospital concenring the tithes, beginning at Berewards’s Lane toward the south and extendeth in breadth to the parish of St. Leonardd of Shoreditch towards the north; and in length, from the King’s Street on the west to the bishop of London’s Field called Lollesworth, on the east.  The prior of St. Mary Spittle, for the emortising and propriation of Bikenacar, in Essex, to his said house of St. Mary Spittle, gave to Henry VII £400 in the 22nd of his reign.  This hospital, surrendered to Henry VIII, was valued to spend £478; wherein was found, besides ornaments of the church, and other goods pertaining to the hospital, one hunded and eighty beds, well furnished, for receipt of the poor; for it was an hospital of great relief-


In place of this hospital, and near adjoining, are now many fair houses built for receipt and lodging of worshipful persons.


A part of the large churchyard pertaining to this hospital, and severed from the rest with a brick wall, yet remaineth as of old time, with a pulpit cross therein, somewhat like to that in Paules churchyard.  And against the said pulpit on the south side, before the charnel and chapel of St. Edmond the Bishop and Mary Magdalen, which chapel was founded about the year 1391 by William Enesham, citizen and paperer of London, who was there buried, remaineth also one fair built house, of two stories in height, for the mayor and other honourable persons, with the aldermen and sheriffs to sit in, there to hear the semons preached in the Easter holidays.  In the loft over them stood the bishop of London, and other prelates; now the ladies and aldermen’s wives do there stand at a fair window, or sit at their pleasure.  And here is to be noted, that, time out of mind, it hath been a laudable custom, that on good Friday, in the afternoon, some especial learned man, by appointment of the prelates, hath preached a semon at Pauls Cross, treating to Christ’s Passion; and upon the three next East holidays, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the like learned men, by the like appointment have used to preach on the forenoons at the said Spittle, to persuade the article of Christ’s Resurrection; and then on Low Sunday, the other learned man at Paules Cross, to make rehearsal of those four former sermons, either commending or reproving them, as to him by judgement of the learned divines was thought convenient.  And that done, he was to make a sermon of his own study, which in all were five sermons in one.  At these sermons, so severally preached, the mayor with his brethren the aldermen, were accustomed to be present in their violets at Paules on Good Friday, and in their scarlets at the Spittle in the holidays, except Wednesday in violet, and the mayors and his brethren on Low Sunday in scarlet, at Paules Cross, continued until this day.


Touching on the antiquity of this custom, I find, that in the year 1398; King Richard having procured from Rome confirmation of such statutes and ordinances as were made in the Parliament, begun at Westminster and ended at Shrtewsbury, he caused the same confirmation to be read and pronounced at Paules Cross and at St Mary Spittle, in the sermons before all the people.


On the east side of this churchyard lieth a large field, of old time called Lolesworth, now Spittle field; which about the year 1576 was broken up for clay to make brick.


Spitalfield included Artillery Lane and other streets up to Shoreditch Church and then continued up to Bethnall Green.


Brick Lane, Bethnall Green extended from Whitechapel to Shoreditch and was an entrance into Spitalfields from the east.  It was named Brick Lane because carts carrying bricks from kilns, used it.  In 1669 the inhabitants of Spitalfields petitioned Council to restrain people from digging earth and burning bricks because this spoilt cloth drying in the adjoining fields, altering and changing their colours.


Henry VIII granted the Artillery Grounds to the Tower of London.  It became a Liberty of the Tower and was used by the Ordnance until 1640 when it was moved to Finchley.  The grounds were then used by the London Trained Bands.  As Sir William Winter was Master of Ordnance, he would have had responsibility for the Artillery Yard.


Samuel Pepys wrote:


20 April 1669: In the afternoon we walked to the Old Artillery Ground near the Spitalfields, where I never was before, but now by Captain Deane's invitation did go to see his new gun tryed, this place being the place where the officers of the Ordnance do try all their great guns: and when we came, did find that the trial had been made, and they going away, with extraordinary report of the proof of his gun, which, from the shortness and bigness they do call Punchinello.  But I desired Colonell Legg to stay and give us a sight of her performance; which he did, and there, in short, against a gun more than as long and as heavy again, and charged with as much powder again, she carried the same bullet as strong to the mark and nearer and above the mark at a pointblank, than theirs, and is more easily managed, and recoyles no more than theirs; which is a thing so extraordinary as to be admired for the happiness of his invention, and to the great regret of the old gunners and officers of the Ordnance that were there, only Colonell Legg did do her much right in his report of her.  And so having seen the great and first experiment we all parted that were there, I seeing my guests into a hackney-coach: and myself, with Captain Deane, taking a hackney-coach, did go out towards Bow, and went as far as Stratford, and all the way talking of this invention, and he offering me a third of the profit of it; which, for aught I know, or do at present think, may prove matter considerable to us; for either the King will give him a reward or it if he keeps it to himself, or he will give us a patent to make our profit of it; and no doubt but it will be of profit to merchantmen and others to have guns of the same force at half the charge.  [Diary of Samuel Pepys”]


The pulpit at Spital Square was used for the Easter sermon until the reign of Charles I.  After the Restoration until 1797 the sermons wwre preached at St. Brides, then at Christchurch, Newgate Street up to the present.


Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke (who was supposed to have known the Winters) had a house in Spital Square and another in Battersea.


John Evelyn wrote about the persecution of Protestants:


3.11.1685: "The French persecution of the Protestants raging with the utmost barbarity, exceeded even what the very heathens us'd: innumerable persons of the greatest birth and riches leaving all their earthly substance and hardly escaping with their lives, dispers'd thro' all the countries of Europe.


The French tyrant abrogated the Edict of Nantes which had ben made in favour of them, and without any cause; on a suddaine demolishing all their Churches, banishing, imprisoning and sending to the gallies all the ministers; plundering the common people and exposing them to all sorts of barbarous usage by souldiers sent to ruine and prey on them; taking away their children; forcing people to the Masse and the next executing them as relapsers; they burnt their libraries, pillag'd their goods, eate up their fields and substance, banish'd or sent the people to the gallies and seiz'd on their estates.


There had now ben number'd to passe thro' Geneva onely (and that by stealth, for all the usual passages were strictly guarded by sea and land), 40,000 towards Swisserland.


In Holland, Denmark and all about Germany, were dispers'd some hundred thousands; besides those in England, where though multitudes of all degrees sought for shelter and wellcome as distressed Christians and Confessors, they found at least encouragement, by a fatality of the times were fallen into, and the uncharitable indifference to such as should have embrac'd them; and I pray it be not laid to our charge.


The famous Claude fled to Holland, Allix and severall more came to London and persons of greate estates came over, who had forsaken all.


France was almost dispeopled, the bankers so broken, that the tyrant's revenue was exceedingly diminish'd, manufactures ceas'd and everybody there, save the Jesuits, abhorr'd what was don, nor did the Papists themselves approve it.


What the further intention is time will shew, but doubtlesse portending some revolution.


One thing was much taken notice of, that the Gazettes which were still constantly printed twice a weeke, informing us what was don all over Europe, never spake of this wonderfull proceeding in France, nor was any relation of it publish'd by any, save what private letter and the persecuted fugitives brought, whence this silence I list not to conjecture, but it appear'd very extraordinary in a Protestant countrie that we would not know nothing of what Protestants suffer'd, while greate collections were made for them in forreine places, more hospitable and Christian to appearance".


4.12.1685: Persecution in France raging, the French insolently visite our vessells, and take away the fugitive Protestants; some escape in barrells.

24.1.1686: "Unheard of cruelties to the persecuted Protestants of France, such as hardly any age had seene the like, even among the pagans."


5.5.1686: "This day was burnt in the old Exchange by the common hangman, a translation of a booke written by the famous Monsieur Claude, relating onely  matters of fact concerning the horrid massacres and barbarous proceedings of the French king against his Protestants subjects, without any refutation of any fact therein so mighty power and ascendant here had the French Ambassador, who was doubtless in greate indignation at the pious and truly generous charity of all the nations, for the reliefe of those miserable sufferer who came over for shelter.

Home | Previous | Next