Letter from Huguenot Society

I found some notes amongst papers left to me by my Aunt, Miss Belle FISHER of Lyminge and later Biddenden and Tenterden in Kent. They include the transcript of a letter to me from the Huguenot Society written in 1966 by a research assistant, Miss Pearson.

I shall continue the hunt for the original but meanwhile, thanks to her careful note taking and my best endeavour to read her writing, I thought you might like to read its content and the extent of our knowledge at that time.

Please post any observations you may have and any corrections to names and places which have been incorrectly copied. I have some other items which I will post in addition to this.

[ Reading these notes again in 2009, it occurs to me that there is much we have yet to follow up and possibly some clues to records of Jean THEVELEIN prior to 1643, the birth of Pierre Le Roy THEVELEIN in Guemps. ]


The Library, The Huguenot Society of London,
University College, Gower Street, London, WC1

Dear Mr Bates,

I have pleasure in enclosing my report on the TEVELEIN/THEULIN family. You will see they came from what is now Belgium and came over here in the 16th Century when that part of the country was occupied by Spain. They settled in Canterbury and East Anglia which connects with your knowledge of the family. I am sorry I cannot trace your family up to the time of your ancestor [Jean Tevelein] whom you mention in your letter.

The Society has published the register and history of the foreign Protestant Churches in this country and Ireland from 1550 onwards, but after about 1759 these records become increasingly rare since, by that time, the descendants of the refugees were English speaking and no longer attended the French speaking churches. Their records became dispersed among those of the parishes and unless we can find which parish church they attended it is impossible to trace them further. The records at Somerset House begin in 1837 and it is very difficult to fill the gap between the end of the records in the Huguenot churches and the beginning of the official records in 1837.

We do however, possess some of the parish registers of Canterbury including (I think) St Margaret’s. These are in the library of the Society and I’ll check through them on my next visit there, probably the week after next. I will let you know if I find anything further.

Yours sincerely,

Signed I V Pearson
Research Assistant

The letter has the following attached

"Notes of the Huguenot family of TEVELEIN/THEUILLIN"

The family was Walloon, i.e. French speaking from Flanders, there is an early mention of Ypres and Guemp and also of Tavinaias (Belle’s script is not clear - CB) original homes of the family. This part of the Low Countries was under the occupation of Catholic Spain in the 16th Century and formed part of the Spanish Netherlands. Protestants from this part of the continent were the earliest refugees to come to this country and established settlements in Sandwich and later at Canterbury, Colchester and Norwich.

Among the documents and records retained at the Walloon Church of Norwich (Huguenot Soc. Publ. Quarto Series Vol 1) are lists of people who were among those who signed an "accord" or agreement with the Court of Egmont in 1577 to be allowed to reside in Ypres upon their return from Norwich (the refugees were sometimes allowed to return to settle their affairs and property which was usually confiscated. In this list is "Olivier THEVELEIN, fils de Walfaert, célibataire, zeemreeder, loge chez Jean THEVELIN a Ypres est revenu de Noozwyts, 15 Feb 1577". The term "zeemreeder" means something to do with the making of looms. These were made with reeds in a wooden frame and the making of the looms and the weaving of tapestry upon these looms were part of the many skills which the refugees from Flanders established in Canterbury and Norwich.

Also in the records is a list of the members of the Reformed Religion at Ypres and among them is: 1566 Jacob Thevelin at Ypres.

Among the records of those families actually in Norwich are two letters; one from Walfaert TEVELE to Addrien von Walle of Tempel Street, Yepres in 1567 and one from Jan THEVELE in 1568 about property which had been confiscated. This is obviously the Jean THEVELIN back in Yepres in 1577 (see previous page). Finally in Norwich 1602 there is the marriage record of Catelinne TEUELIN with Jonas NEUEN.

The spelling of the names varies considerably but it must be remembered that the letter "h" is not sounded in French when it appears as "th" and that the letter "u" and "v" are interchangeable in old script. There is one more entry in the records of the Norwich Church, that of Jacob TEVELE in 1621 among a list of the company of Dutch Congregation.

From Registers of the French at Canterbury (Quarto Series vol 5)

Marriage Contract between Louis TEVELIN and Francoise DE LA RUE. 20 Jan 1597. Mention is made of Joseph, Susanne and Rhode THEVELEIN, their children of the said Loys by Ann LANSEL, his late wife. Mention of the property of the said Loys at Lille.

NB. It will be seen how the spelling varies here - even Louis and Loys (French form and Flemish).

There is a further entry for the daughter Susanne TEVELEIN who married Pierre de RICQUEBOURG and had a son Albin in 1607, baptised at Canterbury. The daughter Rhode turns up in the registers of the French Church in Threadneedle St., London, where in 1610 Rhode daughter of Louis TIEUELIN of Canterbury married Jehan TIEFRY, native of Tournai.

There was a large centre of Protestantism in Guines, near Calais and among the registers of the Church there(Quarto Series vol 3) there are the following entries:

1675    Jacob THEVELIN, labourer aged 24 son of Jean THEVELIN, assisted by his brothers Pierre and Isaac THEVELIN, married Anne CHEVALLIER. Their son Jacob THEVELIN was baptised here in 1676.

1679    Pierre TEVELIN, labourer, 26 years old son of Jean, native of Guemps living at Marcq married Marie RAIRE assisted by his brother Isaac.

1682    Isaac TEVELIN son of Jean, married Elisabeth DOSSELART.

The above mentioned Isaac TEVELIN and his wife Elizabeth left Guines for Canterbury and in the registers of the French Church at Canterbury (Quarto Series vol 5) there are the baptismal records of their children:

to Isaac TEVELEIN and Elisabeth DOSSELART - Jacob 1696; Jeaune 1698; Marie 1702: Abraham 1705; Dina 1709; Isaac 1707; Anne 1715; Jeune 1716; Jean 1718; Marie 1722; Jacob 1725. (Where the Christian name is repeated I think it is safe to assume that the child died in infancy).

There is also mention of Jacob TEVELEIN and his wife Esther whose children Isaac (1719) and Benjamin (1736) were baptised here. This Jacob was a sponsor at the Canterbury Church in 1702 so that he was probably the Jacob THEVELIN, son of Jacob and Anne CHEVALLIER and baptised at Guisnes in 1676. There seems quite a gap between the birth of the two children Isaac(1719) and Benjamin(1736) but there were probably children in between baptised elsewhere.

Jacob was a weaver since we find an entry for his name in the Court Book of the Weaver’s Company of London: 2 Oct  1711 Jacob TEVELIN apprenticed to Abraham CANTER, although since apprentices were taken at an early age, this was probably his nephew.

Other early entries for the family occur in the registers of the Walloon Church at Southampton (Quarto Series vol 4) where there appears to be another branch of the family, one of whom was the minister at this church

List of Church Members

1568    the wife of W THEVELIN

1573    Gillenette THEUELIN, wife of Jan LAMY.

1569    Mr Wallerand THEUELIN, ministre de l’Église de Hampton.

In the burials at this church there is:

14 September 1584 Maistre Walran THEUELLIN, nôtre pasteur.

The remaining entries are in the registers of the French Church in Threadneedle St. (Quarto Series vols 11,13,16,21). This Church served both French and Walloon and dated from 1550.

1601     Marriage of Jean THEULIN, son of the late Martin THEULIN "de Leunson en Flandre" and Charlotte BRODE native of Tournai.

1616     Marriage of Jan TIEUELAIN son of Martin native of Chatel de Lille and Jeune STERLAN, native of Danvers. (His second wife)

1617      Baptism of Elizabeth daughter of Jan TIEVELEN and Jeune STERLING.

Baptism of the children of Abraham LE MOINE and Elizabeth THIEUELIN:

Marie (1642), Judich (1655).

The sponsors at this Church include:

Jehan TIEUELAIN (1614); Jan THEUELIN (1602); Anne TEVELIN (1607); Anne THEULIN (1608); Jean TEUELIN (1621); Hodde TEUELIN (1608)

Finally there is a brief mention of the Anne TEVELIN who acted as sponsor in "French Protestant Exiles", by D C Agnew:

"John LAMOT, son of Francis LA MOTTE, a refugee from the Low Countries settled at Colchester. Their son John, born 1577 moved to London and became a merchant. His first wife was Ann TIVELIN, a widow of David KING and a daughter of refugee parents settled at Canterbury."

This ends my report, but as I have said in my letter, if I find any further information in the parish registers of St Margaret’s Canterbury I will let you know.


Signed I V Pearson