Religious persecution of Protestants in Catholic Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries led many to escape and settle in England. Flemish silk-weavers brought their expertise to Canterbury, which became a major English centre of silk weaving. The industry prospered after Huguenot refugees arrived. They were expert at making lighter cloth, much in demand.
Huguenots were French Protestants. Many fled France after the 1570 St Bartholomew’s Day massacre in Paris, but most came to England after King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Poignant among items on display is a well-thumbed Huguenot Bible, brought from La Rochelle to Canterbury via Guernsey by boat.
Huguenot Bible. © Tim Stubbings.