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President Donald Trump attended his first Davos meeting, arriving in the Swiss resort on Thursday, January 25.

Only a few media outlets have reported that his attendance is thanks to President Emmanuel Macron of France. On Thursday, the London Evening Standard reported:

It emerged that Mr Macron was instrumental in Mr Trump’s decision to attend a gathering to which he was never invited when a businessman.

Mr Macron told RTS that he had “strongly recommended” that Mr Trump attend during a recent phone conversation “because I think it’s a good thing for president Trump to explain his strategy for the US and the world here in Davos. And that he encounters some form of confrontation and dialogue.”

Recall that Macron couldn’t let go of his new buddy — daddy? — when the Trumps were ready to leave Paris on Bastille Day 2017.

I heard soundbites of Macron’s address to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and he said pretty much the same thing about France as Trump did about the US. Essentially, France is open for business.

By the way, there was a lot of snow in Davos, which begs the question about global warming. Oh, silly me, it’s climate change. Hmm. Snow during winter. Who would have expected that?

Trump arrives

Here is a video of Trump’s arrival:

Everywhere in the media — including the Evening Standard — journalists and pundits predicted a huge flop for the ‘America First’ president. Although protests took place about a variety of issues, including Trump, the reality inside was very different:

(I wonder if Macron saw that tweet. 😉 )

The evil Soros was his usual antagonistic self in his address to the WEF, accusing Trump of setting the United States on the course for nuclear war:

Anyone who thinks Soros is a good guy should read more about the man. He has meddled in US politics for ages and is now targeting at state level with huge donations to pro-Democrat groups and causes:

But I digress.

That evening, the American delegation had dinner with the heads of 15 European companies.

The head of SAP paid President Trump great compliments on what he accomplished in his first year:

The White House has a transcript of President Trump’s conversation with his guests.

Trump’s ideas catching on in Western Europe

Earlier that day, Ireland’s finance minister said Trump was making an excellent case for lower taxes:

The CNBC article says (emphases mine):

Asked if he believed Trump was setting an example on tax policy, Donohoe was positive.

Do I believe the mood is changing on corporate tax globally? The answer is yes,” he said.

You have to look at what President Trump has done, you have to look at the state of the U.K., you have to look at what President Macron said earlier in the week,” he said, referencing the French president’s Davos speech in which he proposed cutting some of France’s infamously high taxes.

In late December, a Republican-led U.S. Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs act, overhauling the U.S. tax system and slashing corporate taxes from 35 to 21 percent. The move, Donohoe said, was making European leaders think again about their own corporate tax propositions.

Bilateral meetings

Trump held a number of bi-lateral meetings.

On Thursday, he met with Prime Minister Theresa May:

I know a lot of Trump supporters are angry with Theresa May. Similarly, a lot of Britons loathe Donald Trump. Both groups should read the following.

To my fellow Britons, Trump did not know about the Britain First group. He gave an interview to Piers Morgan, co-host (and friend from Celebrity Apprentice) on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday:

In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Trump said he had known nothing about the organisation when he made the social media postings.

He told interviewer Piers Morgan that he believed the videos showed “radical Islamic terror”, but if it was the case that they had been produced by “horrible racist people”, then he “would certainly apologise” …

Pressed by Morgan about the Britain First tweets during his first international TV interview since becoming president, Mr Trump said: “I knew nothing about them and I know nothing about them today other than I read a little bit.

“Perhaps it was a big story in Britain , perhaps it was a big story in the UK, but in the United States it wasn’t a big story.

“If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible racist people, I would certainly apologise if you’d like me to do that.”

He said he had made the retweets because he was concerned about the threat posed by radical Islamic extremists.

“They had a couple of depictions of radical Islamic terror. It was done because I am a big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror. This was a depiction of radical Islamic terror,” he said.

Now, for my American readers, Trump told Morgan that he and May get on very well:

On his relations with Mrs May, he told Good Morning Britain: “We actually have a very good relationship, although a lot of people think we don’t.

“I support her, I support a lot of what she does and a lot of what she says.”

The White House has a transcript of their meeting with the media following their discussion.

My message to both sides: stop the hate! Now!

Good things came out of the meeting (same link):

During their 40-minute meeting in Davos, Mrs May also raised the issue of aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, which has a major plant in Northern Ireland and is at the centre of a US trade dispute.

The trade dispute with Bombardier was resolved during that meeting. The Press Association reported early Friday morning:

Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier has won its case against United States proposals to impose massive tariffs on the import of its jets in a ruling which should safeguard thousands of jobs in Belfast.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said rival manufacturer Boeing did not suffer injury from Atlanta-based Delta Airlines’ order of Bombardier’s C Series passenger jets.

The ruling means tariffs of 292% duties will not be imposed on the jets’ import to America.

The move could safeguard thousands of jobs in Belfast, where the C Series wings are produced, and unions said workers would be “breathing a huge sigh of relief” at the news.

The decision comes after Theresa May raised the issue with US president Donald Trump during a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday.

He met with his friend Bibi Netanyahu afterwards:

The White House’s statement says, in part:

The two leaders reviewed their ongoing cooperation across a range of issues and stressed their goal of countering Iran’s malign influence and threatening behavior in the region. They also discussed prospects for achieving an enduring Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

On Friday morning, Trump held a short press briefing:

His first meeting that day was with President Alain Berset of the Swiss Federation (i.e. Switzerland):

Excerpts from the White House transcript of their public remarks made beforehand:

PRESIDENT BERSET: So I want to welcome President Trump and his delegation here to Davos. It’s the first time that President Trump visits Davos and Switzerland. And it has been 18 years since the last visit from a U.S. President here.

And we appreciate the significance of the gesture, Mr. President. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being here

Switzerland and the U.S. — that’s a longstanding, excellent relationship. We share a deep, historic commitment to freedom, to democracy, to human rights, to free markets. And there is one more point I want to highlight to you, one aspect: our mutual economic footprints.

We have very strong economic relations. They are very strong, and they are growing very fastly. This is really interesting: More than 500 Swiss firms in United States and more than 3,500 business locations with a (inaudible) — creation of a half a million jobs.

And I think, I believe, we can even deepen these relations to strengthen our economies, and to build up, together, solutions to global issues

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Mr. President, it is a great honor to be with you. Davos has been exciting. And in addition to that, I think we’re bringing a lot of things back to our country, including tremendous goodwill.

I yesterday and last night — dinner with some of the great business leaders of the world, as you know. And it was very interesting to see and hear. They’re very happy with what’s happening in the United States …

But I just want to thank you for honoring us. We have tremendous respect for you — and congratulations on the election — and tremendous respect for your country. And it’s an honor to be here. Thank you.

He then met with President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda:

The White House has a transcript of their remarks afterwards. President Kagame said, in part:

Rwanda has benefitted tremendously from the support of the United States. In many areas where there is (inaudible) support operations we have carried out in different parts of the world, we had the United States, on our side, supporting us.

You have supported our economy, with trade, investment. We see a lot of tourists from United States to visit us — coming to Rwanda.

And, President, I wanted to thank you for the support we have received from you, personal, and your administration. And we’re looking forward to also working with the United States at the level of the African Union, where we are tightening out reforms of the African Union, so that we get our act together to do the right things. That helps — in cooperating with the United States, it would be more beneficial when we are organized, to know what we want from the United States —

Trump’s Davos address

Then came the moment everyone was waiting for, Trump’s address to the WEF:

The day before, CNBC’s Joe Kernen interviewed Trump.

The two men have known each other for several years. The transcript gives a flavour of what Trump wanted to communicate in his address. Excerpts follow:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So when I decided to come to Davos I didn’t think in terms of elitists or globalists. I think I thought in terms of lots of people that want to invest lots of money, and they’re all coming back to the United States, they’re coming back to America. And I thought of it much more in those terms. After I said that I was going there were massive stories about the elite, and the globalists, and the planes flying in, and everything else. It’s not about that. It’s about coming to America, investing your money, creating jobs, companies coming in. We’re setting records every week, every day we’re setting records …

KERNEN: Yes. You’ve moved a little towards the center. But so Macron’s saying that globalism doesn’t solve problems. Suddenly other countries are saying, you know, “We need to take care of, you know, our own country to some extent.” So it’s almost like the differences between America First and Davos. I think there’s plenty of room for you …

PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s a lot of room. And we love global, but we love home. We have to take care of our home.

KERNEN: Right. It’s not usually exclusive.

Now back to Friday, before his address:

This was Trump’s message in a nutshell — please note the teal blue box:

The president spoke for around 17 minutes:

The White House has a transcript, excerpts of which follow:

America is the place to do business. So come to America, where you can innovate, create, and build. I believe in America. As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also.

But America first does not mean America alone. When the United States grows, so does the world. American prosperity has created countless jobs all around the globe, and the drive for excellence, creativity, and innovation in the U.S. has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and far healthier lives.

As the United States pursues domestic reforms to unleash jobs and growth, we are also working to reform the international trading system so that it promotes broadly shared prosperity and rewards to those who play by the rules.

We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others. We support free trade, but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal. Because, in the end, unfair trade undermines us all

Represented in this room are some of the remarkable citizens from all over the world. You are national leaders, business titans, industry giants, and many of the brightest minds in many fields.

Each of you has the power to change hearts, transform lives, and shape your countries’ destinies. With this power comes an obligation, however — a duty of loyalty to the people, workers, and customers who have made you who you are.

So together, let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people — to lift their burdens, to raise their hopes, and to empower their dreams; to protect their families, their communities, their histories, and their futures.

That’s what we’re doing in America, and the results are totally unmistakable. It’s why new businesses and investment are flooding in. It’s why our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in so many decades. It’s why America’s future has never been brighter.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Even CNN had to acknowledge it as a win:

CNN’s Chris Cilizza had to admit he was wrong. He expected Trump to go in all guns blazing (sigh):

More broadly — aside from any specific piece of rhetoric — Trump’s framing and tone in the speech was more kumbaya than confrontational.

No kidding. As if a successful businessman is going to berate other successful businessmen.

These media people are all the same — terrible, disingenuous and dim.

Trump’s cabinet

Members of Trump’s cabinet arrived a day ahead to participate in meetings regarding the economy and trade. They included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn and Secretary for Transport Elaine Chao.

The Conservative Treehouse noted that, on Wednesday, January 24:

… we saw U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross commanding around 80% of panelist discussion, and factually 100% of all questions and attention from the Davos audienceTeam U.S.A. is the epicenter of the economic universe and Secretary Ross was well prepared for the severity of attention.

On Thursday, Steven Mnuchin participated in a panel discussion, The Remaking of Global Finance. The Conservative Treehouse (same link) says:

If the dollar is strategically lowered by policy, the U.S. can suck money directly out of China (or any large economic multinational) because their vaults hold dollars as an outcome of trade surpluses with the U.S.  The globalists are scared shitless that POTUS Trump and Secretary Mnuchin will start crushing their global goals by utilizing this inherent trade leverage.

There is a potential for POTUS Trump and Secretary Mnuchin to weaponize the U.S. reserve currency if they don’t get the deals they want.  That looming threat exists and is an existential threat to the entire construct and worldview of ideological globalists.

The globalists, multinational corporations and banks, and those who gain by exporting U.S. economic wealth, always want a high dollar valuation.  They spend billions on lobbying efforts because they are used to controlling U.S. policy by influencing DC politicians; and using Wall Street finance constructs to purchase influence on U.S. monetary policy.

Probably why Soros was talking about Trump and nuclear war. Anything to obfuscate the reality.

Prior to Trump’s arrival, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao gave an eloquent answer to someone objecting to Trump’s and his cabinet’s presence at Davos. The video clip does not include the question, and the answer was not aggressive as the tweet below suggests. Essentially, Chao said — politely and calmly — that those who do not wish to hear what they have to say can leave. She said that Davos is a forum where different ideas and perspectives are discussed. Worth watching to hear her words:

Melania Trump

Meanwhile, amidst salacious accusations, which have been debunked

… First Lady Melania Trump visited the Holocaust Museum on Thursday, January 25, just before Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Saturday, January 27:

January 25 was also the Trumps’ wedding anniversary.

Mrs Trump is garnering empathy from the American public. Here is a reply to her communications director, Stephanie Grisham:

I couldn’t agree more.

Back home on schedule

The president planned to be back mid-evening on Friday, January 26:

And duly was (if you cannot get the video from the tweet, click on the Periscope link — in the tweet — to see the landing):

I hope that the Trumps were able to finally enjoy a belated presidential anniversary and wedding anniversary celebration at the weekend!

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On Sunday, January 7, 2018, Peter Sutherland died at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

He had been ill since he suffered a heart attack in September 2016. The Irish Times reports:

“He was substantially impacted by this and was in hospitals in London and Dublin since then. Despite great efforts by his medical staff and his own indomitable spirt, he succumbed to an infection,” the family said.

The paper had a thorough obituary, which began with his background:

Peter Sutherland, the former European commissioner, attorney general and chairman of Goldman Sachs International, has died. He was 71.

Mr Sutherland served in a number of senior positions in the worlds of law, business and government during his career. Most recently, he was the United Nations special representative for international migration.

In a long career, he also held the positions of director general of the World Trade Organisation; chairman of the London School of Economics; a member of the UN commission on human security; chairman of the European Institute of Public Administration and chairman of British Petroleum.

Born in Dublin in April 1946, Mr Sutherland was educated at Gonzaga College in Ranelagh before going on to study law at University College Dublin. He worked as a senior counsel for more than a decade before being appointed attorney general in 1981 by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition, the first of two spells in the role.

Many of us in the UK will remember him as a globalist, particularly with regard to migration policies. A number of YouTube videos discuss his views. In fact, he was considered to be the ‘father of globalisation’.

He disliked European culture and wanted more immigration from non-European countries.

In 2012, the BBC reported that he disliked Britain’s immigration policy, which was and is quite open, then and now:

He also suggested the UK government’s immigration policy had no basis in international law.

He was being quizzed by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee which is investigating global migration.

Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development , which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.

He told the House of Lords committee migration was a “crucial dynamic for economic growth” in some EU nations “however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states”.

An ageing or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the “key argument and, I hesitate to the use word because people have attacked it, for the development of multicultural states”, he added.

“It’s impossible to consider that the degree of homogeneity which is implied by the other argument can survive because states have to become more open states, in terms of the people who inhabit them. Just as the United Kingdom has demonstrated.”

He also said that European countries were biased against immigrants:

The United States, or Australia and New Zealand, are migrant societies and therefore they accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds than we do ourselves, who still nurse a sense of our homogeneity and difference from others.

And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.

Never mind the countless millions of immigrants European countries take in every year. He made it sound as if we are insular, which could not be further from the truth.

It turns out he was a devout Catholic. In 2015, he became president of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).

People like Peter Sutherland don’t have to live with the consequences of their policies. The Irish Times obit says he attended Mass at Brompton Oratory in London, which implies he lived in one of the richest boroughs of the capital — Kensington and Chelsea.

Peter Sutherland did average Europeans a great disservice. That’s putting it politely.

One of my readers, Sackerson, a fellow member of the Martin Scriblerus group, sent me a link earlier today to a marvellous story for the day after Christmas, ‘King of the Birds in Ireland’.

In Ireland, December 26 is referred to as St Stephen’s Day rather than Boxing Day. In Kerry, a boys’ parade takes place every year remembering the King of the Birds.

This is an instructive story for young and old. It begins like this:

On the south coast of Ireland is a secret green wooded valley which faces the blue sea. Among the animals of Ireland it was known as Glen-na-hEan – the valley of the birds – because that is where the birds of Ireland meet from time to time to discuss and organise their affairs and sort out any problems they might have.

Now the most important time they ever met was when they came together to choose their king. On this occasion all the trees in the valley were lined with birds of all kinds. There were little birds like the redbreasted robin and the tiny wren, medium-sized birds such as the wood pigeon and the white dove, the crow and the black and white magpie and of course the bigger birds such as the cormorant, the seagull and the golden eagle with his fierce eyes and razor sharp claws.

The birds discussed the matter all day and late into the night.

But they could not agree as to who should be king …

Find out who won. You might be surprised!

Boxing Day clip artHappy Boxing Day to readers living in countries where December 26 is a public holiday.

December 26 is also the feast day of St Stephen, the first martyr.

My previous posts for this day continue the Christmas theme:

Come let us adore Him

Keeping the hope of Christmas alive

Thoughts on Christmas (Murillo’s Holy Family with dog)

Concerning today’s illustration, a clearer, black and white version of George Cruikshank’s 19th century engraving can be seen at The History Notes.

On the subject of Boxing Day, journalist Cameron Macphail wrote a fascinating and witty history of December 26 for The Telegraph. I highly recommend reading it in full.

A summary follows.

Why ‘Boxing Day’?

Boxing Day was observed in some sense — if not as a public holiday, then as a day of giving — going back at least a few centuries.

In the 17th century, Samuel Pepys recorded Boxing Day preparations in his diary.

Gift boxes were for servants and tradespeople.

Servants worked on Christmas Day for their employers. Boxing Day was their day off and the opportunity to be with their own families. Employers gave each servant a box with a gift, bonus and, sometimes, Christmas leftovers.

The first weekday after Christmas was also the time when customers gave a present or a sum of money — gratuity or account settlement — to tradespeople.

Macphail cites Pepys:

… a diary entry from December 19th 1663:

“Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something to the boys’ box against Christmas.”

Five years later Pepys was not feling so generous complaining in a December 28th entry from 1668:

“Called up by drums & trumpets; these things & boxes having cost me much money this Christmas.”

St Stephen

St Stephen is the patron saint of horses.

Macphail says this is why so many horse races and hunts are held on December 26.

The Irish refer to December 26 as St Stephen’s Day rather than Boxing Day.

Other amusements

On December 26, the British continue their Christmas celebrations with family activities.

These include attending the theatre or participating in charity events.

Football fixtures are played around the country. These used to take place on Christmas Day afternoon until the late 1970s, when they were thought to detract from spending the day together as family.

In more recent years, Boxing Day is the date when post-Christmas sales begin. Whilst the men in the house can watch football, women can go to the shops.

Additional Christmas holidays

If December 26 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is always a public holiday in the UK and Ireland. This is the case in 2015.

Boxing Day is also observed in Commonwealth countries such as Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

A contentious subject among some English historians is whether the Huguenots were involved in lace making in our country.

Each side makes its own case for or against.

The case against

Those discounting Huguenot involvement say that an English cottage industry of lace making already existed by the time they arrived in the 16th century. This is true. However, very few examining this aspect of history ever said the Huguenots or their Flemish counterparts actually brought lace making to England.

What could be said is that the Huguenots and the Flemish improved our lace by bringing Continental techniques and materials to England.

Another aspect which needs to be taken into account is the association of certain types of lace with the Huguenots. Some of the laces linked to them were not devised until long afterward. However, it is possible that a few older historians misunderstood or accidentally mis-stated this.

An example of this can be found on the Wikipedia talk page for the Huguenots entry, which has an extensive analysis of lace making in England and Huguenot involvement. This involves the foremost history of English lace making, Romance of the Lace Pillow, written in 1919 by Thomas Wright. Emphases mine below:

3. The whole of Wright’s argument then turns on his statement “From this time Bucks [Buckinghamshire, southern England] point lace developed: it is a combination of Mechlin patterns on Lille ground.” In effect he is arguing that the two groups of refugees must have been responsible for the development of East Midlands lace because its style is derived from the two styles of lace of the regions from which the refugees came. Although this argument may sound plausible to the layman, it is based on the fallacy that what is now known as Mechlin lace existed at the time of the immigration from Flanders, which according to Wright was several years before 1572 (i.e late sixteenth century).

On what evidence is our knowledge of the history of lace based? Lace was primarily a fashion item, and the most extensive evidence for the development of styles of lace is from portraits, which can generally be dated accurately. Written records document the existence of lacemaking and lacemakers in particular regions at particular times, which is the basis for saying that lace was made in the East Midlands as early as 1596. However we know very little about what type of lace was made there in the seventeenth century because no descriptions have been found.

What we do know from portraits is that the lace now known as Bucks Point did not appear until the end of the eighteenth century. (It was at this time that the Lille ground was adopted by lacemakers all over Europe because it could be made more quickly than the Mechlin ground.) Santina Levey, a textile curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, writes in her highly respected “Lace, A History” (Maney, 1990: ISBN: 0-901286-15-X) that Mechlin lace developed in the first half of the eighteenth century (pp.45 and 47), while Lille lace with its typical mesh ground first appeared towards the end of the eighteenth century (p.90).

Therefore, according to this potential editor, Socialambulator:

One final point that I haven’t addressed previously (because my views on this are subjective) is why the idea gained currency that the Huguenots influenced English lacemaking. Like Seguin and others, I think it was probably economic. French lace was regarded as of higher quality, and commanded a higher price, than English lace. Associating E. Midlands lace with the Huguenots would have been used to give it a French association (and price tag). It should be mentioned that, Harry Armstrong, the publisher of Thomas Wright’s “The Romance of Lace Pillow”, himself sold lace under the name of ‘Mrs’ H Armstrong.

The case for

One of the problems in pinpointing Huguenot influence and involvement is that many records from the time no longer exist.

Yet, Irish historians have little problem linking Huguenot refugees with lace making. A short piece from the Irish Times states:

After the end of the Williamite wars, large Huguenot settlements were established in Portarlington, Youghal, Cork, Dublin, Waterford and Lisburn, where they became celebrated for their expertise in textiles, specialising in weaving, lace-making, and glove-making. In the course of time, they became thoroughly absorbed into Irish society through intermarriage, and names such as Boucicault, Maturin, Le Fanu and Trench are still familiar in Ireland today.

Therefore, if Huguenots were involved in Ireland’s industry, why not England’s?

Lace making researchers from Buckinghamshire and elsewhere in England point to Huguenot participation in the craft.

The Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney, Bucks, has exhibits on various aspects of Georgian life. Of local lace making, a related page states:

Lace was probably made in the Eastern Counties (Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire) prior to 1563. This was, and still is, a flax growing area. The first wave of lace makers from the continent came in 1563 to 1568. They were Flemish Protestants who left the area around Mechelen (Mechlin / Malines) when Philip II introduced the Inquisition to the Low Countries …

Second wave of lacemakers, many from Lille, left in 1572 after The Massacre of the Feast of Saint Bartholomew. Exactly how many is not known but many hundreds came to Buckinghamshire and Northampton.

Local noblemen, the Museum says, offered these refugees sanctuary:

In 1586 Lord William Russell, son of the Duke of Bedford, owned property near Cranfield, Bedfordshire. This is about 10 miles from Olney. He had fought for William the Silent in the Low Countries and he was married to Rachel, daughter of the Huguenot Marquis de Rivigny. He invited many refugees to settle under his protection. Another English gentleman, who had fought for William of Orange, was George Gascoigne: he invited other Huguenots to settle near his manor at Cardington, Bedford. Huguenot emigration continued untiI the Edict of Nantes in 1598. However when the Edict was rescinded in 1685 by Louis XIV, there was another wave of religious refugees. About 10,000 left Burgundy and Normandy. The lace makers found their way to the by now well-established lace villages in the counties of Buckingham, Bedford and Northampton. Flemish and Huguenot names still common in this area are listed below; naturally most have been Anglicised over time.

The Olney Lace Circle page says the same thing but goes further:

It was the Flemish Protestants who brought lace making to England during the 1560’s. Many of these immigrants were lace makers and as they moved out of the overcrowded ports they began to settle into areas now regarded as the historic centres for the craft of lace making. In the county of Buckinghamshire these immigrants settled in Newport Pagnell, Buckingham and of course Olney

During the following decade the Huguenots fled France and a great many French lace makers also settled in this area.

A Genealogy page on bobbins also states that this technique came from the Flemish and Huguenots:

Bobbin lace making was a cottage industry probably introduced into England by Flemish refugees in the sixteenth century. They were Protestants escaping from the Inquisition. Many drifted to the Midlands, particularly Olney, Newport Pagnell. and Buckingham, and on into Northamptonshire. The Huguenots, lace makers from Lille in France, soon joined them. These refugees brought with them the tools of their trade and their expertise. Thus pillow lace making was established in the Midlands.

The Geni page on Huguenots tells us about their settlement in neighbouring Bedfordshire and Norwich:

Other Huguenots arriving in England settled in Bedfordshire, which was (at the time) the main centre of England’s lace industry. Huguenots greatly contributed to the development of lace-making in Bedfordshire, with many families settling in Cranfield, Bedford and Luton. Some of these immigrants moved to Norwich [East Anglia], which had accommodated an earlier settlement of Walloon weavers; they added to the existing immigrant population, which comprised about a third of the population of the city.

The Pierre Chastain site has an extensive timeline of Huguenot history. The entry for 1567-1568 reads as follows:

Huguenot thread and lace makers established in Maidstone [Kent], England. Others escaped to Cranfield in Bedfordshire and others to the shires of Oxford, Northampton and Cambridge. Huguenots established glassworks in London during this period.

An essay by a family member about the Godfrey sisters in Buckinghamshire, lace makers in the early 20th century, states:

The elderly lacemakers pictured are but three of a long line of Godfrey’s dating back, in my records, to 1654, and probably of Huguenot stock, `Godefrai’ by name. My maternal grandmother Elizabeth was one of a family of eight, and the trio pictured are her three maiden sisters with whom she lived when not out nursing at homes in the vicinity. Earlier she had married Richard Green of Olney, but he died shortly after my mother and her brother were born.

The development of lace making in England

A Sixteenth Century Industry traces the history of lace making in England. It was written in the early 20th century and discusses the making and selling of lace as well as working conditions. The photographs are marvellous.

The 32-page PDF compilation of articles and essays tells us that Continental Europe was much more advanced than England in this cottage industry (PDF pp. 9, 11):

It is true that the English made what they called ‘lace’, but this was really embroidery, whether drawn linen or cut work, very attractive certainly, but not lace as we now understand this term.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, those who could afford it were married and buried in lace (p. 10).

Lace making, rightly associated with the poor, was also a hobby among gentlewomen. It has often been said that Catherine of Aragon, one of Henry VIII’s six wives, introduced the art to Bedfordshire when she retired there at Dower House in Ampthill Park (pp. 11, 12).

Mary Queen of Scots also made lace, which kept her occupied during her years of captivity (p. 12).

By the time Elizabeth I began her reign, lace making and design were much more sophisticated (p. 12).

Protestant refugees from Flanders and France helped to advance the industry (pp. 13, 14):

The Flemish and French Huguenots may be looked upon as the real founders in this country of the lace industry

Bucks Point is adapted from the Lace of Lille and Mechlin. It is possible that it was recognised as a distinct lace under Queen Elizabeth, and was probably made to some extent in the reign of James I, but it was firmly established in the reign of James II and William III.

The development of Bucks Point points to the influence of the Flemish from Mechlin and the French from Lille. The sentence does not say that this is the Mechlin lace of the 18th century nor that it was created in Elizabethan times.

Giddylimits‘s page on lace making tells us of another French influence:

One of the most popular and widely practised forms of lace making is Torchon Lace – this word comes from the French for dishcloth or duster. Another name for Torchon Lace was beggar’s lace and was not widely thought of but now it has made a renaissance and is popular with modern lace makers. It is also thought to be a good lace to start with as it has a structured form which is easy to pick up and follow.

The Revd Louis Fitzgerald Benson’s The Huguenots: their settlements, churches and industries in England and Ireland (1932) states:

Some lace-makers from Alenyon and Valenciennes settled at Cranfield, in Bedfordshire, in 1568 ; after which others settled at Buckingham, Stony Stratford, and Newport-Pagnell, from whence the manufacture gradually extended over the shires of Oxford, Northampton, and Cambridge. About the same time the manufacture of bone-lace, with thread obtained from Antwerp, was introduced into Devonshire by the Flemish exiles, who settled in considerable numbers at Honiton, Colyton, and other places, where the trade continued to be carried on by their descendants almost to our own time — the Flemish and French names of Stocker, Murch, Spiller, Genest, Maynard, Gerard, Raymunds, Rochett, Kettel, etc., being still common in the lace-towns of the west.

In the 17th century, men as well as women wore lace. Charles II wore a lot of it, with elaborate cuffs and jabots. William III once spent an unimaginable £2,459 on lace alone one year (p. 13, A Sixteenth Century Industry). Most of his subjects would have struggled to earn or spend £1 at any one time.

Lace in 18th and 19th century England

As the lace industry developed in England, more styles from other countries were absorbed into the repertoire. By the 18th century, the migration from Flanders and France had largely ended.

Fashion changes and the elaborate lace clothing of the centuries before gradually gave way to more modest trim. New styles refreshed the linens market: tablecloths, d’oyleys (p. 21), towels, bedclothes and curtains.

Maltese was a highly popular style in the 18th century. Buckinghamshire lace makers developed an offshoot of this called Bucks Cluny which also incorporated aspects of old Italian lace on display at the Cluny Museum in Paris (p. 18). Auvergne was another lace style also popular at the time.

Although we think of lace as being crafted exclusively by women prior to mechanisation, men and boys also made it. An article in The Agricultural History Review tells us that, in the countryside, it was a good means of making an earning when fields lay fallow. A farmer’s wife and daughters would often make it all year round. Farmers and their sons were also known to make it seasonally when not tending the fields. In towns and cities, lace making was taught to the poor, particularly children. Lace schools developed, run by a lace mistress. The primary activity was supplemented with just enough reading, writing and arithmetic to get by. Lace making was also promoted as a good way for the disabled to make a living. As long as their fingers were nimble, these people had the possibility of a livelihood.

Pay was minimal. Lace sellers made the most money. Middlemen paid a pittance for the lace they bought from home workers. The slightest flaw could cause a worker’s lace to remain unsold. Middlemen also expected undivided loyalty. A lace maker who sold wares to a competitor might find herself or himself unable to sell any further without considerable difficulty.

By the end of the 19th century, mechanised lace making was widespread in cities, especially in Nottingham. ‘A Brief History of Hosiery and Lacemaking in Nottingham’ describes the changes that the Industrial Revolution brought to the industry.

John Heathcoat had patented a mechanical way for bobbins to be ‘thrown’ one over the other. When his patent expired in the first half of the 19th century, these machines were widely reproduced by other manufacturers. Some were small enough to fit in a house, enabling piece work from home for those who were unable to work in a factory.

Nottingham boomed. There were bobbin makers in and around the city. Piece workers had to have their mechanised lace bleached and presentable for sale, so small industries grew to meet this need. Office occupations — bookkeeping, stocktaking — were also a part of keeping all sorts of factories running profitably.

In the West Country, lace making centred around Honiton and nearby towns, especially Branscombe and Beer. An essay from Branscombe Parish on lace making says that the lace from this area was called Honiton Lace because it was shipped from there. The area was already making lace by the time Huguenots arrived in the 16th century. The Honiton pillow technique used fishbones for pins and small sheep’s bones for bobbins. Branscombe and Beer each had their distinctive designs.

As with Nottingham, Honiton’s industry boomed during the 19th century. As the Napoleonic Wars had disrupted European trade, English lace could easily be made and shipped overseas. Queen Victoria ordered the lace flounce for her wedding dress from Tuckers of Branscombe in 1839. In 1863, Tuckers supplied lace for Princess Alexandra’s wedding dress. The Ford and Chick families also had successful lace businesses.

As successful as the Honiton industry was, it was still handmade and, therefore, could not compete long-term with Nottingham’s mechanisation. (Tiverton, Devon, also had a mechanised factory, Heathcotes.) There was local disapproval, too, of working conditions. Lady Trevelyan began commissioning her own work directly to avoid middlemen. She paid lace makers a higher price than the established businesses.

20th century decline

Although small-scale lace making continues in the Honiton area and is still commissioned by the Royal Family, it largely died out by the 20th century.

Buckinghamshire’s lace makers could not compete with ‘cheap Chinese and other foreign lace’ (p. 24, A Sixteenth Century Industry). ‘Mrs H Armstrong’ — in reality, Harry Armstrong — established The Cottage Lace Workers’ Agency at Olney. The Agency supplied thread, took orders and sold lace ‘in a businesslike way’.

Meanwhile, in Nottingham at the turn of the century, 20,000 people — mostly women — were employed in lace making. However, the French and German lace making industries were more competitive and the city endured periods of boom and bust, depending on what was in vogue when.

The Great War hit the city hard. One of the pre-eminent firms, Thomas Adams Ltd, had problems collecting debts from South America and Russia. Even when the war ended, the firm never recovered and had to close parts of the business and sell part of its premises to other unrelated companies.

During the Depression, the city’s Lace Market was gradually broken up. Printers, booksellers, box makers and others moved in. A decade later, Nottingham suffered damage from air raids. The lace manufacturers produced mosquito netting and camouflage nets for the war effort. After the war ended, although new lace markets developed overseas, the new products for export required new machines and new premises. These were built on the outskirts of Nottingham.

Thomas Adams Ltd closed in 1950.

Efforts from Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils have been under way since the 1960s to preserve the buildings of the once-great Lace Market.

Conclusion

Debate will continue to go on as to the influence that Huguenots and possibly the Flemish had on English lace making. As the objection to Huguenot involvement is recent, I can only think that they — and the Flemish — helped to perfect our styles and technique, making us more competitive for a while.

If we did have the pillow technique before their arrival, they might have brought us better-quality ones along with superior bobbins. Their weaving techniques were no doubt different, too. One can imagine that thread from Antwerp was probably finer than our original product as well. After all, Huguenots and the Flemish transformed our silk weaving dramatically.

Whatever the answer turns out to be, we had a once-great industry. Sadly, as with silk weaving, it died a slow death in the battle with progress.

As I mentioned last week, London’s small silk weaving industry was based in Spitalfields in the East End. In its infancy, it employed mostly Irish weavers.

When the Huguenots settled there, they were able to expand England’s silk weaving industry. It wasn’t long before Spitalfields was known as ‘Weaver Town’. Exodus (“Movement of the People”) explains that more silk coupled with French styling proved fashionable with the British upper class. It wasn’t long before Weaver Town’s Huguenot owners of silk weaving workshops became wealthy men with hundreds of employees. Their large family homes are still standing today.

From the time of the first arrivals in London, Huguenots quickly established their own churches and charities. One church, La Patente, was in Spitalfields. Another, the French Church, was further west in Soho, in present-day central London. The French Protestant Hospital, La Providence, in Old Street came later, having been established in 1718. It took care not only of the sick but also the destitute. Institutions such as these provided an informal job network, particularly for those who arrived with no contacts, such as would-be apprentices.

A Birkbeck (University of London) PhD thesis by William Farrell, Silk and globalisation in eighteenth-century London: commodities, people and connections c.1720-1800, tells us how many were employed in textiles from the records of the three aforementioned institutions (p. 85 of the document). In the 18th century, La Patente’s register showed three-fifths textile employment, the French church in Soho four-fifths and La Providence hospital 48%.

Farrell writes that earlier Huguenot records with regard to silk industry employment are unclear. However, his research reveals that the more successful weavers and artisans settled in East London between 1610 and 1694 (p. 81). Not surprisingly, Spitalfields became a nexus for Huguenot silk weaving and a century later, was a well-established community where new arrivals could seek employment.

The same was true in Ireland, although their initial settlement in the 17th century was easier than that of the Huguenots in England. William of Orange facilitated this in two ways. He recruited Huguenots who had fled to the Netherlands to his army to fight the Battle of the Boyne. He also appealed to them through the Statute of King William for Encouraging French Protestants to Settle in Ireland (p. 81).

Whilst many silk industry workers were successful, movement was sometimes fluid for those who were less in demand or beset by bad luck in short-term employment. Some moved from Ireland to London. A few dared to travel back to France for work when the British silk seasons were slow. In any event, migrations were undertaken quickly once a worker determined where he wanted to go next (pp 81, 82).

Natalie Rothstein’s Canterbury and London: The Silk Industry in the Late Seventeenth Century tells us that Huguenot silk weavers came from Normandy’s Pays de Caux region which comprises the cities of Dieppe and Le Havre. She notes that those settling in Canterbury would have found a familiarity about the region. Kent’s topography is similar to the Pays de Caux’s with its fertile farmland. In terms of employment, there was a rich market to be plumbed. The seat of the Church of England is there and, at the time anyway, there were many wealthy farmers and members of the landed gentry in the surrounding area.

Huguenot and Walloon weavers in Canterbury established a workshop in the 16th century. Edward VI granted them the whole of the western crypt of Canterbury Cathedral for worship purposes. The workshop was in steady use until 1830.

Rothstein’s paper puts together the pieces of the puzzle with regard to the workshop’s closure and the death of the silk industry in Canterbury. It must have been quite a challenge. What is available says that the original records are difficult to come by and some have even been destroyed.

However, in the mid-18th century, the War of Austrian Succession disrupted the shipment of raw silk from Asia, Italy and Turkey (Farrell, p. 83). Dublin’s silk industry shrank dramatically between 1730 and 1763. Many weavers moved to London.

Another serious challenge came around the same time: mechanisation. Punch card looms put many weavers out of work, not only in Britain but also elsewhere in Europe. By 1801, embroidery had been mechanised, too.

Yet another difficulty, despite Huguenot expertise, was that the climate in the British Isles was never going to be conducive to a large-scale silk industry.

In the end, finished Indian and Chinese silks took over.

The Exodus article says that 30,000 workers in the 18th century were affected by the downturn. Violent clashes took place between owners and employees. The 1801 Spitalfields Acts attempted to calm things down by improving wages and conditions as well as protecting the English silk market.

However, the Huguenots of Spitalfields ended up moving to what were then London’s suburbs (likely to be in the centre of the capital today). Another chapter of artisanal history had come to a close.

Although commercial controversies surrounding Huguenot trading in England had been largely resolved, Charles I’s reign brought a return of threat to French worship.

A book from 1871, Protestant exiles from France in the reign of Louis XIV or, The Huguenot refugees and their descendants in Great Britain and Ireland, details this story. A summary and excerpts follow.

The ill-fated Charles I began his reign on March 24, 1625. His relationship with Protestant practice was compromised by his Catholic family members and friends. He didn’t feel able to embrace the Huguenot cause as James and Elizabeth had done. However, he also did not want to be seen to reject them for fear of going against public opinion. In 1626, he declared official recognition of ‘existing immunities’ of foreign Protestants and their children.

In 1633, the Most Reverend William Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury. He remains controversial to this day, and people either love him or loathe him. Laud boldly declared ‘brotherhood’ with Rome and wanted to change official statements of Protestantism as ‘the true religion’. He then forbade Huguenot children born in England from worshipping in their parents’ French churches; they had to attend English-speaking Anglican parish churches. He also proscribed French language liturgy in Huguenot churches.

Ten years later, the Civil War began and Parliament abolished the episcopacy on November 5, 1643. Members of the Commons and the Lords wanted to establish a British Church of a Calvinist nature. Certain English clergymen involved knew Calvinist practice in Scotland and France well and could speak French. Other clergy helping them in this regard were Huguenots in England.

In 1660 — the year of the Restoration — the Church of England’s structure was re-established along with the monarchy. Reports circulated about some of the Huguenots who had worked for Cromwell in diplomatic missions to France during the Interregnum. A few were suspected of being closet Catholics who worked against Cromwell, helping to bring about Charles II’s ascension to the throne. Others were suspected of being anti-monarchists and had to leave England for good. It was a time of religious and political intrigue. Jesuits were suspected of stirring the pot and plotting with renegade Huguenots against Cromwell.

In 1681, Charles II proposed citizenship for Huguenots. Oddly, given supposed public support of the French Protestants, legislators did nothing for the next 20 years. Favourable public opinion to the Huguenots did not extend to giving them the same rights and privileges as natural-born Englishmen, especially in London:

Any Englishman proposing such an act, was upbraided as an Esau, guilty of flinging away precious means of provision for himself and his family, the restrictions for foreigners being providential blessings for Englishmen. Any Bill to give foreigners a share of the Englishman s right was unpopular with the City of London, and with all boroughs and corporations.

In 1694, a naturalisation Bill was quietly dropped before the requisite readings could begin.

Therefore, it was only by through special measures — patent-letters from the King or private Acts of Parliament — that individual Huguenots, families and small groups could become citizens of England.

What follows is the text of a King’s Letter granting citizenship to one Peter de Lainc (emphases mine):

CHARLES, R. In pursuance of our Order of Council, made the 28th day of July last past [1681], in favour and for the relief and support of poore distressed protestants, who by reason of the rigours and severities which are used towards them upon the account of their Religion shall be forced to quitt their native country and shall desire to shelter themselves under our Royall protection and free exercise of their religion, of whom Peter de Lainc Esq., French Tutor to our dearest brother James Duke of York his children, is one, as appears by sufficient certificate produced to one of our principall Secretarys of State, and that he hath received the Holy Communion. Our will and pleasure is that you prepare a Bill for our royall signature, to pass our Create Scale, containing our grant for the making him the sayd Peter de Lainc, being an Alien borne, a free denizen of this oure kingdome of England, and that he have and enjoy all rights, priviledges and immunities as other free Denizens do. Provided he, the said Peter de Laine, live and continue with his family in this our kingdome of England, or elsewhere within our Dominions ; the said denization to be forthwith past under our great Scale without any fees or other charges whatsoever to be paid by him. For which this shall be your warrant. Dated at Whitehall, the 14th day of October, 1681.

By his Majesties Command,

To our Attorney or Sollicitor General.” I,. JENKINS.

Those naturalised included doctors, inventors, teachers, tutors, watch-makers, jewellers, tailors and  wig-makers.

In the 18th century, some Huguenot clergymen joined the Churches of England or Scotland. One prominent case concerned The Duke of Devonshire who was the patron of John-Armand du Bourdieu. The Duke gave him the Rectory of Sawtrey-Moynes in 1701, where du Bourdieu remained until he died in 1726.

Surnames became anglicised in some cases, for example:

As to the surname, Cabibel, I have often thought that the important modern name, Cabbel, was derived from it. As a beginning of changing French names into English equivalents, observe the entry “John Greene alias Vert.”

Queen Anne’s reign (1702-1714) produced little or nothing in the way of Huguenot naturalisation in the early years. Nonetheless, they were considered responsible and productive persons, as if they were English.

Finally, in 1709, a group of MPs managed to get a citizenship measure passed, the Bill for the Naturalization of Foreign Protestants:

The Bill became an Act of Parliament on the 23d March 1709; the qualification was the taking of the usual oaths, and there was also a Proviso, “that no person shall be naturalized, &c., unless he shall have received the Sacrament in some Protestant or Reformed congregation within this kingdom”.

The fee was sixpence.

Not every Huguenot took advantage of this long-awaited opportunity. Some hoped to return to France. Taking English citizenship would annul their French nationality.

Some Huguenots went to live in Ireland early on as administrators for Elizabeth I. Others went in commercial capacities or were given property. Later, Huguenot officers were enlisted to help fight in the Battle of the Boyne under General Schomberg for William of Orange. These officers were well-received and known for their military prowess and self-discipline. Some went on to serve in the West Indies and others to fight against France in 1706.

One example of the high esteem the English nobility had for these men concerns a Major Ovray at the end of his career:

The surname Ouvry occurs in the registers under the various spellings of Oufrey, Oufry, Ovre, Ouvres, Overy. On 5th June 1708, the Duke of Marlborough writes to the Earl of Pembroke, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in favour of Major Ovray, who, having served the crown for thirty-six years was about to retire from the army in order to settle in Ireland, and “always behaved himself, as his officers inform me, with honour and reputation.” The purport of the Duke s request to the Earl is. “Bestow upon him some mark of your favour and goodness. Enable him to support himself and his family with comfort, and in a manner some way suitable to the character he has borne.”

What a lovely sentiment and way in which to recognise Huguenot character.

Yesterday’s post discussed the rancour that English merchants and London Companies (guilds) had towards the Huguenots.

However, the Huguenots’ refugee-asylum status often had local or city ordinances attached with regard to work. Geni‘s article on their settlement points out that, in Canterbury, they (emphases mine):

practised the variety of occupations necessary to sustain the community distinct from the indigenous population, as such separation was the condition of the refugees’ initial acceptance in the City.

Therefore, it is hardly surprising that they were highly successful in employing skills they already had, that these skills were different to those of the indigenous population and that, eventually, these conditions were going to cause problems in terms of competitiveness.

Huguenots were kept apart from English trade, at least initially. They worked amongst themselves. Their talents and workmanship attracted the attention of the great and the good, as their products were elaborate and techniques new. It is understandable that the established London Companies and specialist manufacturers were going to resent their success and seek to rein it in.

Exodus (“Movement of the People”) tells us:

By 1710, between 40,000 and 50,000 refugees had made their way to the safety of England. Historians estimate that around half that number settled in Spitalfields [in London’s East End] where housing was cheap and the trade guilds held less economic power.

In general:

The Huguenots came from all walks of life, though many were intellectuals and highly skilled tradesmen with backgrounds in weaving, clock making, and financial services. Textile manufacturing, in fact, was the prevalent occupation amongst the refugees, and they found their services in high demand among the British upper class.

Their general demeanour also intrigued the British:

Their high fashion and language set them apart from the general population, and over time they achieved a level of respectability — particularly in contrast to the squalor and immorality of many Londoners.

No doubt that was a source of irritation to their detractors.

Another Geni page on British migration says that the Huguenots arrived when the silk industry in Spitalfields was small and employed mostly Irish weavers. The French were able to expand it greatly and add the manufacture of velvet.

Elsewhere in London:

Some were expert in making clocks and scientific instruments. Others were goldsmiths, silversmiths, merchants and artists.

And:

Because of their hard work and skills the Huguenots were known as ‘the profitable strangers’. During the 18th century members of the Huguenot and Jewish communities gave major financial support to both state and army.

Outside of London, I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the Huguenots favoured towns along the southern coast of England. Geni tells us that in Kent, besides Canterbury, they also settled in:

Sandwich, Faversham and Maidstone—towns in which there used to be refugee churches.

Canterbury Cathedral still holds a service in the French Reformed rite every Sunday at 3 p.m. in the chantry chapel of the Black Prince.

Elsewhere in England, Bedfordshire and Norwich were popular destinations. Bedfordshire:

was (at the time) the main centre of England’s lace industry. Huguenots greatly contributed to the development of lace-making in Bedfordshire, with many families settling in Cranfield, Bedford and Luton. Some of these immigrants moved to Norwich, which had accommodated an earlier settlement of Walloon weavers; they added to the existing immigrant population, which comprised about a third of the population of the city.

Weavers who settled in Ireland often went to Dublin and the Liberties district of the city. There:

they became part of the existing weaving fraternity. Many of them were experienced silk weavers and their expertise contributed to the establishment of a thriving silk and poplin industry.

The Irish weavers seem to have been more integrated than their English counterparts. When Dublin’s weavers needed a new guildhall in 1745, a Huguenot, David Digges La Touche, advanced the necessary sum of £200.

Ensign Message‘s article says that many Huguenots who settled in England came from northern France, particularly Picardy (John Calvin’s home region), Normandy and Brittany. Brittany has a centuries-old tradition of lace making. A significant number of — though not all — silk weavers came from Lyon, which is still the centre of France’s textile industry.

The footnotes to Ensign Message‘s essay are illuminating. One neatly summarises the advances British industry was able to make thanks to the Huguenots:

These skilled workmen brought in new methods of work, and in many cases new trades. Take the silk trade as an example. Before these French refugees came into the country, the silk trade in England was a very small affair. But among the newcomers was a large body of silk-weavers from Lyons, the headquarters of the French silk industry.They settled chiefly in Spitalfields, and with their aid the English trade advanced by leaps and bounds.

Among other trades introduced by these refugees were the making of sailcloth, of paper, of hats, of velvets and damasks, while other trades much benefited were those of watchmaking, clock-making, lock-making, cutlery, glass and pottery.

One industry, that of hat-making, seemed to come over bodily to England. The art of dealing with the beaverskin was brought to such perfection among the Huguenot refugees that from the factory in London even the Cardinals of Rome used to obtain their hats.

The other footnote has a marvellous quote from historian John Finnemore’s 1924 book, Social Life in England (italics in the original):

Between 1670 and 1690 no less a number than 80,000 French Protestants came to England.They were well received, and they were worthy of a welcome. For one and all belonged to the thrifty, hard-working, deft-handed class which has always been the salt of France.

More posts on the Huguenots in Britain will follow next week.

Many around the world are still wondering how a notionally Catholic country such as Ireland could have voted for single-sex marriage in May 2015.

A post on the Catholic site exHORTATIO explains the American money and Alinsky-style pressure behind the referendum result. (H/T: Stand Firm) Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

The “yes” campaign was massively funded by American groups, the article claims – and LifeSite is not alone in drawing attention to this fact.  In a May 9 article in The Irish Times, Breda O’Brien points us to a step-by-step plan funded by pro-gay group Atlantic Philanthropies, and states:

Groupthink has been exalted to an Irish sacrament. While journalists were targeting tiny bootstrap conservative organisations and accusing them of being American-funded, GLEN, the most successful lobby group in Irish history, was swimming in greenbacks.

How big an impact did American money have on the “yes” campaign?   Well, over on the National Catholic Register, Elizabeth Adams reports that Atlantic Philanthropies alone donated $4.7 million to the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), enabling it to create a  “full-time, highly professional lobbying machine” to work “inside the machinery of government” in Ireland, seeking to “embed long-lasting social change.”

Furthermore, Atlantic Philanthropies funds many Irish NGOs that “coincidentally” supported the “yes” campaign.  In total, those campaigning for an overturning of the common understanding of marriage were funded to the tune of $17 million dollars, fifty times that of those who supported what has oddly come to be called “traditional” marriage.

The activity was not restricted just to funding and verbal persuasion. Vandalism, website hacking and verbal abuse — directed at Polish Catholics living in Ireland — also took place.

Scare tactics went so far as to include threats that Big Business would leave Ireland without a ‘yes’ result. Overall:

The Catholic Church came under particularly venomous attack, leaving people “frightened and confused, while the other side became bolder and more vicious.”

This is a post well worth reading in full, especially by Italians, who might be voting on this issue in the not too distant future.

It hadn’t occurred to me to write about this feast day until this week.

French radio this week has been loaded with adverts for crêpes, Nutella, cidre (mildly alcoholic cider) and rum (this particular brand from Bardinet distillers). What’s the occasion?

Candlemas — or in French, La Chandeleur — falls on February 2. This is a time to meet with friends and eat crêpes — with rum in the batter — and enjoy them with a glass or two of cidre. (Television adverts from France make a point of instructing the British not to say ‘cider’!)

As a youngster, I always confused it with St Blaise Day, which is February 3. Any of us who has done that can be forgiven, as church candles are blessed on Candlemas and priests bless throats of the faithful with two beeswax candles arranged in an X the day after. On the nearest weekend, these feasts are sometimes combined at Mass.

This feast is commemorated by Catholic and some Lutheran, Anglican and Orthodox (celebrated two weeks later) churches. February 2 recalls two events: a) Jesus’s formal Presentation in the Temple and b) Mary’s return to the Temple after childbirth, which carried over into Christianity as a ceremony called the Churching of Women, more about which in another post.

Old Testament Jewish law

Candlemas is always on February 2 because it is 40 days after Christmas and the date when Jewish ceremonies for mother and male child are performed. According to Jewish law (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15), Mary would have had to complete her ritual purification prior to accompanying Joseph and Jesus to the Temple. The presence of the infant Jesus, although circumcised and formally named (January 1), was required so that the priests could conduct the ceremony of the redemption of the firstborn. In those days, Mary and Joseph would also have brought an animal sacrifice. Better-off families would have brought a lamb. The Holy Family brought two doves, the option for poorer couples.

New Testament account from St Luke’s Gospel

Two older Jews were present when Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child entered the Temple. A good, devout man — Simeon — prayed over Jesus. His prayer became known as the Nunc Dimittis (or Canticle of Simeon). It can be found in Luke 2:29-32:

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people: to be a light to lighten the gentiles and to be the glory of Thy people Israel.

Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit told Simeon that he would not die until he had seen Jesus.

Anna the Prophetess, a wise and pious widow, was also present in the Temple.

Giotto Wikipedia 220px-Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-19-_-_Presentation_at_the_TempleThis is Luke’s account, which includes both Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38). The painting by the early Renaissance painter Giotto (courtesy of Wikipedia) illustrates this solemn ceremony (emphases mine):

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Eastern Orthodox Church remembers both Anna and Simeon on February 3 or 16, depending on the calendar used, because, as Luke’s Gospel says, Jesus met Israel, as personified by these two faithful servants of God.

Candlemas in the early Church

Between 381 and 384, Egeria, a nun from the early days of the Church, attended a Divine Liturgy in Jerusalem and recorded that the sermon was based on Luke 2:22. However, there did not seem to be a name for the feast at that time. She wrote back to the other sisters at her convent:

XXVI. “The fortieth day after the Epiphany [February 14, as Christmas would have been celebrated on January 6 at the time] is undoubtedly celebrated here with the very highest honor, for on that day there is a procession, in which all take part, in the Anastasis, and all things are done in their order with the greatest joy, just as at Easter. All the priests, and after them the bishop, preach, always taking for their subject that part of the Gospel where Joseph and Mary brought the Lord into the Temple on the fortieth day, and Symeon and Anna the prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, saw him, treating of the words which they spake when they saw the Lord, and of that offering which his parents made. And when everything that is customary has been done in order, the sacrament is celebrated, and the dismissal takes place.”

Nearly two centuries later, in 541, a plague was devastating Constantinople. Emperor Justinian I ordered that the Christian faithful pray on this day for the deliverance from evil and an end to the plague. The following year, by way of thanksgiving, the Emperor declared this feast a solemn one to be observed throughout the Byzantine — Eastern — Empire.

Late in the 4th century, this feast’s date was moved to the current day of February 2. This was because Rome had declared that Christmas would henceforth be celebrated on December 25. However, it some time passed before the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple took root in Western Europe.

These days, Candlemas is the date by which Christmas clingers-on must take down their decorations. Nonetheless, the feast brings imagery of candles, flames and ashes. These traditions will be covered below. In an ecclesiastical context, however, the Benedictional of St Aethelwold — Bishop of Winchester — includes a blessing for candles to be used at church services. Today, the priest still blesses a year’s worth of candles.

European agricultural and pagan customs

Western unbelievers will argue that the Church somehow stole this date from European agrarian and pagan traditions. Quite possibly. However, ‘stole’ might not be quite the correct term. It seems that the Early and Mediaeval Church might have wished to move feasts to days which were already ‘marked’ in the calendar by much of the population of Europe.

This could be because of the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalia. However, opinion is divided. Whatever the case, an atavistic significance seems to have been attached to this particular day across the Continent and the British Isles.

February 2 was the day when farmers removed cattle from the hay meadows which were to be ploughed for springtime planting. In Scotland, it was — and still is — a quarter day for paying off debt and submitting rent which is due. In Armenia, farmers scattered ash over their fields for a better crop yield;  people even kept ashes on their roofs to ward off evil spirits. Young married women were encouraged to purify themselves by jumping over bonfires in order to ensure a sound pregnancy. Young men needed to do the same. Sailors feared setting sail on this day for fear their vessel might sink.

Among the ancient Celts, February 2 was the pagan feast of Imbolc, involving their totemic Brigid. Many of her attributes have since been ascribed to the sainted abbess, Brigid of Kildare.

Scots also have a saying related to the ancient pagan Brigid:

The serpent will come from the hollow on the brown day of Bridget / Though there should be three feet of snow on the flat surface of the ground.

Today’s pagans continue to celebrate this date because it is the astronomical midpoint between winter and the spring thaw.

Groundhog Day, starring Punxatawney Phil (the groundhog from the eponymous Pennsylvania town), goes back to the Pennsylvania Dutch (of German extraction). From the 1841 diary of storekeeper James Morris we learn that:

Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.

So, it would seem that God granted everyone — believers and unbelievers — some knowledge of what to remember or to look out for on February 2.

Is it Jesus or Mary who is celebrated?

Some church traditions venerate Jesus on this day, others the Virgin Mary. Pope Innocent XII (1615 – 1700) decided in favour of Mary, in direct opposition to Lupercalian traditions. He wrote:

Why do we in this feast carry candles? Because the Gentiles dedicated the month of February to the infernal gods, and as at the beginning of it Pluto stole Proserpine, and her mother Ceres sought her in the night with lighted candles, so they, at the beginning of the month, walked about the city with lighted candles. Because the holy fathers could not extirpate the custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and thus what was done before in the honor of Ceres is now done in honor of the Blessed Virgin.[10]

Protestants commemorating this feast put more weight on it being the feast of our Lord’s first presentation at the Temple.

Other ancient European customs

Various European countries have other traditions and superstitions relating to February 2.

I mentioned the French and their crêpe parties. Apparently, these sweet delights should be eaten only after 8 p.m. Anyone flipping them in the pan whilst holding a gold coin in the other assures their family of good luck that year. Oh my!

Yet, it was at this time that early Christian pilgrims received crêpes on their pilgrimages to Rome. Extra flour from the previous season which would have gone off was used to make them. In that way, no flour went to waste.

The French, like the Germans and Americans, also have sayings concerning February 2 and the weather. Here are two:

On Candlemas, winter ends or strengthens.

Dew on Candlemas, winter at its final hour.

In Italy, La Candelora signals the last cold day of winter.

In the Canary Islands, residents remember Mary, the Virgin of Candelaria — their patron saint.

In parts of Latin America, whoever ‘won’ the coin or token from the Epiphany cake must pay for a meal featuring tamales.

For those countries or regions with festivals leading up to Mardi Gras — Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday — their parade season starts around now.

I realise that people will think it sinful for such syncretic (a mix of the diametrically opposed)  information to appear on a Christian blog. However, like it or not, we are a world of nations made up of various influences dating from our earliest days.

I can appreciate if you think this is wrong, and I can understand your reasoning. I’m not asking you to condone the syncretic; this is merely an explanation of why some Christians do the things they do in the run up to Lent.

Tomorrow: St Blaise Day – February 3

Monday: The Churching of Women

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