david mallandin + elizabeth nicholas

St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney
c. 1817

Few records relating to David have been found and to date, no record of his birth, baptism or life in France have been located. His parents’ names are still unknown and there is as yet no link between him and the other branches of the Mallandain family in England. In the official records, his surname appears in a number of variations including Malandin, Mallendine and Malindine.

From the available records, it appears that David was born in France and emigrated to England in the early 1700’s. The first known record in England is a short entry in a Huguenot Society publication titled Extracts from the Court Books of the Weaver’s Company of London which confirms David’s admission into the Weaver’s company:

David Mallendine, on report of John Duchemin, for weaver, of service in France, the like, July 11, 1715.

David married Elizabeth Nicholas at St Dunstan in Stepney on 15 December 1720. On the marriage register, he noted that he was employed as a weaver and that both he and Elizabeth lived in Spitalfields at the time of their marriage.

Their first son Isaac was born on 19 August 1721 and despite their marriage in the English church, David and Elizabeth had Isaac baptised at the French Church on Threadneedle Street on 10 September. His godparents were listed as Isaac Panchaud and Francoise Rodolfe. It is not known if the name Isaac appeared in the family before this or if their son was named after his godfather but in any case, the name continued through five generations of this Isaac’s descendants.

John was baptised at St Dunstan, Stepney on 20 October 1723 when he was 20 days old and although the register lists an address for David and Elizabeth, it is not clear enough to read. Sadly, baby John died one year later and was buried in the church yard at St Botolph Bishopsgate on 16 October.

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Daughter Elizabeth was born on 19 August and baptised at the French Church on Threadneedle Street on 4 September 1726 with Jaques Martinae and Elizabeth Riotou acting as godparents. Their third son David, born 19 January 1729, was also baptised at Threadneedle Street on 2 February and standing as godparents were Anthoine Mazechier and Susanne Martineau.

Their fifth child, also named John was baptised at St Botolph without Aldgate on 27 July 1732 and the entry lists the family’s address as Nightingale Lane. The church still sits at the corner of Aldgate High Street and Houndsditch and with St Botolph Bishopsgate anchoring the other end of Houndsditch, the churches were not far apart even in David’s day.

Although there were several streets called Nightingale Lane, the only one in Aldgate parish was to the east of the Tower of London and ran south from Smithfield Street toward Wapping High Street. The area changed dramatically in the mid 19th century when entire streets were cleared to make way for the expansion of St Katherine’s Dock and today, Thomas More Street follows a path very similar to Nightingale Lane outlined in Cary’s New And Accurate Plan of London And Westminster published in 1795 and it is possible that the street was simply renamed.

There are no further records on the family until son Isaac’s wedding in 1744; he married Susanna Dupre at St Dunstan on 26 August but the register does not record any witnesses to the event. Two years later, their daughter Elizabeth married Samuel Nickols on 22 September and it was recorded in the Fleet Registers. Fleet marriages were considered ‘clandestine’ marriages and although they were conducted by ordained clergy, the marriage was performed without banns or a license issued. The first of these marriages were conducted in the Fleet Prison but soon spread to neighbouring areas while still maintaining the name Fleet Marriage and appearing in the registers as such.

In most cases, these marriages were performed when one party was a minor and could not get parental consent to marry or the parties could not afford to pay the church fees. The marriages were conducted in private houses, marriage houses and even local taverns and one benefit for those expecting a child was the speed at which they could be arranged. The Marriage Act of 1754 put an end to these marriages and required that banns be published or a licensed obtained, all marriages be solemnized in a church by a recognized clergyman, parental consent be obtained for all minors, and two witnesses be present.

There is no record of why Elizabeth and Samuel decided to marry in the Fleet and no evidence that they had any children immediately after their wedding or any time in the future. By 1792, Elizabeth was a widow and applied for entry into the French Hospital.

La Providence

The French Hospital

Known as ‘La Providence’, the hospital was created in 1718 as a care institution for elderly and infirm French refugees. In 1708, Jacques de Gastigny, a French refugee, bequeathed £1000 towards the founding of a hospital in London for the relief of distressed French Protestants. A block of land just north of Old Street in the parish of St Luke’s was purchased and in November 1718, the building was formally opened and the chapel consecrated. The building was erected facing the lane leading from Old Street to Islington, later named Bath Street, City Road, and was originally surrounded by orchards and market gardens.

Elizabeth's admission application confirms that she was the daughter of David Mallandin, from the province of Picardy, who was a ‘refugee pour Cause de Religion’, a common description for those Huguenots who suffered direct persecution from French authorities. Elizabeth was 66 years old when she applied and was noted as being weak and unable to care for herself. She was admitted to La Providence on 28 September 1792 and remained there until her death on 12 September 1804.

No further records relating to David, Elizabeth or their two other surviving children, David and John, have been found.