Huguenot Symposium A Lasting Legacy

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 1st May 2014


You know the feeling when you look forward to something and when the time comes, because of the anticipation, matters don’t match up to expectation.

Well on Saturday I experienced the total reverse. I was looking forward to the Symposium but it was so good it exceeded all expectations.

There were about 90 of us and they had a waiting list.

We had some very very interesting speakers and it would be difficult to pick out the most special.

Having once attended silver classes and understanding some of the intricacies of working with the metal, I was particularly interested in the talk given by a charming French lady – Mlle Mélodie Doumy who is the Assistant Curator of the Gilbert Collection at the V & A. I knew of Paul De Lamerie but didn’t know he was a Huguenot. The Huguenot silversmiths who decamped to England brought different and in many cases better techniques which influenced our native silversmiths. There are some stunning pieces and Mlle Doumy showed us photos of part of the collection.

I’d no idea the Huguenots influenced and enhanced this country in so many different ways.

After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, so many military officers and men decamped to England that the French military was sadly depleted.

There was a talk by Leslie du Cane entitled ‘From flight to fortune’ telling the story of his family coming here as penniless refugees and making a fortune.

We also had an address by the Deputy Governor of the French Hospital – Peter Duval.
The Huguenot Society has received a substantial grant from the Lottery Fund and it will be used to turn the current Tourism Office in Rochester into a Heritage Museum. At the moment the Museum and its artefacts are kept in a charming house at the entrance to La Providence (the Huguenot Hospital/Alms Houses). There were finger lamps designed to be hooked over a finger for light and easily extinguishable should the Dragonnades be in the vicinity. There were a great number of very interesting artefacts and a very beautiful illuminated family tree proving that William and Harry are of Huguenot descent on their mother’s side.

I took so many photos, I don’t know which to choose for the blog but I will put some into the Gallery over the weekend.

OK - I’ve decided that I’ll post a photo of the bust of Admiral Coligny which stands close to a Medlar Tree in the garden of La Providence.  Admiral Gaspard de Coligny was a powerful man and hated by Queen Margot.  He was the first casualty of the Massacre on the Eve of St. Bartholemew.  We have a portrait of him in the Huguenot Chapel and I've seen the magnificent life-size stone sculpture of Coligny which stands outside the Eglise Protestant in the Rue Rivoli close to the Louvre in Paris.


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