France Huguenots

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In France the term Huguenots was used to denote French Calvinist Protestants.[1]

A first synod of church reformers in Paris in 1539 constituted a Reformed Church, Eglise réformée, on Calvinist lines whose adherents became known as Huguenots. They grew to become a significant minority in many areas of France by the time of their second synod in Poitiers in 1561.

Not all French protestants were Huguenots: the Lutheran church, la Confession d'Augsbourg was legally tolerated in Alsace and their church registers date back to 1525. If you have protestant ancestors from Alsace, it is important to know if they were Lutheran or Huguenot.



French churches were already established in London, Canterbury and Norwich by the time of the St Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 which prompted the first great wave of refugees to Britain. Increasing persecution from 1661 which culminated in the 1685 Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) led to the second great wave. It is estimated that some 40,000–50,000 Huguenots settled in England, mostly in London.

The Huguenot Society of London was formed in 1885 and is now known as The Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland.


Did you know?

Local Huguenot churches were called temples whereas Catholic churches were called églises.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Huguenots" in Gordon Campbell (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance (2003, Oxford University Press) ISBN-13: 9780198601753 via Oxford Reference Online (2012) eISBN: 9780191727795 accessed 15 February 2013.