Who were the Huguenots and Walloons? The Huguenots were French protestants, most of whom were Calvanists, and due to religious persecution were forced to flee to other countries in the 16th and 17th centuries.

You have to remember that at this time most of Europe was catholic and also in these days religion was a huge part of everyday life. These protestants were seen to be against both religion and the king and an edict was issued in 1536 for their extermination. A period
followed of bitter religious wars. There are records of terrible tortures inflicted upon them.

Despite this, their numbers increased and at one point they were recognised and given a certain level of religious freedom. Within a hundred years, it began to rankle once again and persecutions began again in earnest. Thousands of Huguenots fled from France to countries all over the world. Many of them found their way to Canterbury. They were predominantly craftsmen and professional people so they brought very welcome skills to their new homes and must have been a loss to French society.

The name “Huguenot” seemed to have come from an old word “Huis Genooten” This means “house fellows” and describes very well their lifestyle of having to study the bible in secret.

The Walloons were French speaking Belgians who came from the Southern provinces of Wollonia. They fled to England to escape the religious persecution by the Catholic Inquisition which was even more severe in the Netherlands that in France. The Walloons suffered a lot worse during the plague than their Canterbury counterparts and they lost a good number of their community

Huguenots discovered in this family tree:

Mary Lamotte
Sarah Vallenduc