Robin Gwynn – The Huguenots in Later Stuart Britain

Readers of the Dissenting Experience blog will be delighted to learn about the publication of Robin Gwynn’s recent monograph, The Huguenots in Later Stuart Britain: Volume I – Crisis, Renewal, and the Ministers’ Dilemma (Sussex Academic Press, 2015).

As the publisher states, ‘The Huguenots in Later Stuart Britain is planned as one work to be published in three interlinking volumes (titles/publication dates detailed below). It examines the history of the French communities in Britain from the Civil War, which plunged them into turmoil, to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, after which there was no realistic possibility that the Huguenots would be readmitted to France. There is a particular focus on the decades of the 1680s and 1690s, at once the most complex, the most crucial, and the most challenging alike for the refugees themselves and for subsequent historians. The work opens with the Calvinist French-speaking communities in England caught up in the Civil War. They could not avoid it, with many of their members largely assimilated into English society by the 1640s. Generally they favoured the Parliamentarian side, but any victory was pyrrhic because the Interregnum supported the rights of Independent congregations which undermined their whole Calvinist structure. Weakened by in-fighting, in the 1660s the old-established French churches then had to reassert their right to exist in the face of a sometimes hostile restored monarchy and episcopacy, a newly licenced French church emphasizing its Anglicanism and its loyalty to the crown, and the challenges of the Plague and the Fire of London which burnt the largest French church in England to the ground. They were still staggering to find their feet when the first trickle and then the full flood of new Huguenot immigration overwhelmed them.’

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