List of French Protestant refugees in Rye

Historical Background

Order from the Lords of the Council, 28 October 1571, ordered a survey to be made of strangers (foreigners) in the town and for undesirables to be expelled :


“Besides a great multitude of good, honeste and devoute poore and afflicted people, there are allso another nombre of evill disposed people under color of religion and pietie lately entred at sondry portes and crekes into the realme, whereby the naturall good subjectes are like not only to be corrupted with the evil conditions of them which are nawght, but allso by the excesse nombre of bothe sortes…“ (ESRO: RYE 47/2/9)


Rye officials replied on 13 November 1571. It states that members of the French church of Rye, who had arrived before March that year, “are of very honest behaviour”.  Many of the names recorded here – for example, Francis Cauchie – occur frequently in local records.


The page reads:

Decimo die Novembris anno regni domine Elizabeth Regine nostre Anglie etc. xiijo 1571.

The names of thoes which be of the Frenche church in Rye, the daie and yere abovesaid:

Which have dwellid       ( Christopher Falloyse, his wiff & servant           ,           ) all Woalons

longe before March        ( with two or thre children                                              )  and

last in Ry, of very         ( Ambrose Demoye and his wiff                         )  marchantes

honest behaviour           ( Cornelize Soyer, his wiff and servant               )

                                   ( John Mercer, a widower, & his servant             )

                                   ( Bonaventure Dussemille & his wiff                     a booke


All theis French             ( Guillamme Boucheret, his wiff & servant                         marchant

men, of honest  ( Alain Henri                                                                   marchant

conversacion, and         ( Claude de Hue and his wiff

inhabitinge before          ( Piere Sommellier & his wiff                                clockmaker

March laste                  ( Jan de Torchy                                                   merchant

                                   ( Nicholas le Tellier, minister, his wiff and

                                   ( servant

                                   ( Jan le Febure for his wiff

                                   ( Jan de le Croix and his wyff                               marchant

Theis persons underwrytten remayne in the towne, and have ben of continuance before March last, but of no churche that is knowen:

All of good and              ( John Frottier and his wiff, a lockesmith

honest conversacion     ( John Swayne & his wiff, a cowper

so far as is yet              ( Peter Blocket & his wiff, a Frenchman

understandid                 ( Frauncis Cauchie, his wiff & mother

                                   ( Jaques Oucktell & his wiff

                                    ( John Matier, a Flemynge, his wiff & certaine children

                                   ( Robert Castell, his wiff & foure Children



See also Rye Great Box accounts for the midsummer quarter of 1575.  Dues were paid into the Great Box in return for rights to carry out certain trades.  This page records shops from Landgate to Strandgate and includes at least four French tradesmen: Andrew Harry, and unnamed French tinker, joiner, and shoemaker (ESRO: RYE 65/5)


  • Date details

13 Novembre 1571

  • Institution

East Sussex Record Office

  • Original reference

RYE 47/2/12

  • Period

Early modern Period

  • Thematic


Politic and military links


Brighton – East Sussex Record Office

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