Who were the Barnstaple Huguenots?

Jacques Fontaine was a Huguenot who wrote about his family's experiences fleeing France and arriving

Jacques Fontaine was a Huguenot who wrote about his family's experiences fleeing France and arriving in North Devon. - Credit: Archant

Find out about the refugees who helped shape a town at a new exhibition in St Anne’s Community Centre this November.

THE Huguenots fled bloody persecution in France but were welcome with open arms when they came to Barnstaple.

A new exhibition about these enigmatic 17th century immigrants asks Who Were the Barnstaple Huguenots? and is now open at St Anne’s Community Centre.

It is the first exhibition of the new Barnstaple History Group and contains a wealth of information on the refugees from across the Channel, how they were warmly welcomed and how many families became leading lights in the town.

Find out all about the Huguenots, plus what Barnstaple was like in 1685, its streets, businesses and people.


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Learn what talents the Huguenots who came to Barnstaple brought with the, who they were, how they settled and how the local people reacted.

For example, Jacques Fontaine kept a diary of his experiences, the journey from France and how they arrived at Appledore on the December 11, 1685.

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There is also the chance to sample some 17th century biscuits plus a 17th century punch, both made from authentic recipes.

The Huguenot Society, based in London, has officially approved the exhibition, and is supporting it with leaflets and give-aways, plus there are children’s quizzes suitable for all ages.

The exhibition at St Anne’s is open from 11am-4pm each day, with 3pm closing on Saturdays, and admission is free.

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