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 1726 and baptised at the French Church on Threadneedle Street on 4 September 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. So 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 in a clandestine marriage ceremony at the Fleet Prison. A clandestine marriage was one conducted by an ordained clergyman anywhere outside an Anglican church and although recognized in common law, it was not recognized in canonical or church law. The majority of these marriages occurred in or around the Fleet Debtor’s Prison, near the Old Bailey, by imprisoned clergy who would marry anyone for a fee and although most occurred in the prison chapel, many took place in inns and rooms around the prison.

Not all inmates were imprisoned within the prison itself and some were allowed to live in the immediate area but were still bound by the rules or restrictions of the prison. Over time, this authority became known as the ‘Rules of the Fleet’ and clandestine marriages were often referred to as ‘Fleet marriages’ or ‘under the Rules of the Fleet’ as they were conducted with the approval of the prison wardens who received a portion of the fee paid. Most of those who chose a Fleet marriage did so because they were not subject to the same checks or requirements as church marriages. Couples could be married immediately rather than waiting a month for the banns to be called (which was handy if the bride was already pregnant) and under age couples could marry without the consent of their parents. Another advantage was the fee for a Fleet marriage was less than the cost of a licence to marry in a church. Thousands of Fleet marriages took place from the early 17th century until the introduction of the Marriage Act in 1754 which formalized the requirement for a marriage by banns or licence in an Anglican church in common law.

There is no indication of why Elizabeth and Samuel decided to marry in the Fleet rather than the local parish church 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.