pierre mallandain + anne despommare

A Street in Fecamp by Claude Monet

Following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the French King, Louis XVI, ordered the destruction of Huguenot churches including their bibles, hymn books and records. As the Huguenots fled persecution, they moved or hid their church records whenever possible but only a small number of these have survived and as a result, few records relating to Pierre and Anne have been found.

Unfortunately, neither their baptism records nor confirmation of their parents’ names have not been found so the line cannot be traced back further with any certainty. However, Anne’s age was listed in a later English record and this puts her year of birth at 1636 and Pierre is assumed to be of a similar age. The family was originally from the port town of Fecamp in Normandy.

Only three Huguenot baptismal records have been found for their children — on 11 September 1659, Anne Mallandain was baptised at the French Protestant church of Hougerville in Colleville near Fecamp. The baptismal record notes that Anne was the daughter of Pierre Mallandain and Anne Despommare and her godparents were listed as Pierre Despommare and his wife.

In the 17th century, there were no Huguenot churches or temples in the town of Fecamp but there were two located in villages to the east and south of the town that served the needs of the protestant community. The first temple was located in Gerville to the south and the second in the Chateau Hougerville in Colleville to the east. Both temples were built in 1624 however, Louis’ King’s Council issued an order in 1681 that restricted their use and the temple at Gerville was destroyed soon after. The temple at Hougerville survived and is one of the few Huguenot churches that still exist today.

On 20 May 1663, their second daughter, Suzanne, was baptised at Hougerville and her godparents were listed as Daniel Mallandain and his wife whose name unfortunatley was not noted. Daniel’s relationship to the family is not listed but he could have been Pierre’s father, brother or a more distant relative.

Daniel Mallandain

There is a Huguenot marriage record for Daniel Mallandain and Marie Boissel in Criquetot L'Esneval in 1682. Their ages are not listed although it is noted that Marie was the widow of Pierre Durand. Daniel was listed as a labourer and his parents were named as Daniel Mallandain and Suzanne Richer.

A later entry in the Threadneedle Street Church records confirm that at least some members of this branch of the family also escaped to England. In 1687, Jaques Malendin, the son of Daniel Malendin and Suzanne Richer, married Anne Grou, a native of Lintot. Jaques was listed as a native of Sanceute Mare in Normandy and the entry confirms that both of his parents were deceased. Sanceute may have been a phonetic spelling of Sausseuzemare near Goderville. Jaques and Anne had one son, Pierre, who was baptised at Threadneedle Street on 28 July 1769 with Pierre Vallentin and Madelaine Gaillard acting as godparents. Jaques and Anne have not been traced further in England and there is no record of any contact between them and Anne Despommare or her family.

Pierre and Anne’s third daughter, Madeleine, was baptised on 10 August 1666. Her godparents are listed as Moise Vereul and his wife Madelaine Mouchy. Moise’s occupation is listed as ‘fourrier de la fauconnerie du Roy’ which translates to ‘the quartermaster of the King's falconry’ and since most records do not list the occupations of the godparents, this entry must reflect the importance of the man and his position.

Based on the details in later English records, Pierre and Anne had at least one more child while living in Fecamp — a son, Pierre who was born about 1670 — and the records also suggest a link to another daughter, Marie. When Marie married Jaques Alleume at the Crispin Street French Huguenot church on 4 April 1711, Pierre Mallandain and Gabriel de Goullaine were listed as witnesses. Marie Alleume also acted as godparent at the baptism of Pierre’s son Daniel in 1716 which again indicates a close relationship between them.

The Dragonnades persecuting a Huguenot family

There is no record of when the family left France or whether they travelled together but it does appear that Pierre died years before they left. Following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, many Huguenot properties were confiscated when the owners refused to denounce their protestant beliefs. One document, l'Election de Montivilliers, lists the names of some of the Huguenots who were forced to abandon their properties in 1685 and this list includes an entry for Anne Despommare, the widow of Malendin, who gave up several houses in Fecamp.

Anne most likely travelled to England with her adult children and her daughter in law, Marie Houtville. When they arrived, Anne and her children settled in the existing Huguenot community of Spitalfields and joined the French Church on Threadneedle Street. They first appear in English records on 23 February 1700 when Pierre Mallandain and his wife Marie Houtville were admitted to the Threadneedle Street church on the testimony of Pierre’s mother, Anne Pommare. A marriage record for Pierre and Marie Houtville has not been found so it is assumed they married in France but there is no record of them having children before arriving in England. Their first known son, Pierre, was baptised at Threadneedle Street on 14 November 1703 and his grandmother Anne, who was once again listed as a widow, acted as godparent.

Two of Pierre and Anne’s daughters also married in London; their eldest daughter Anne married Gabriel de Gouillaine at St Jean, Spitalfields on 8 February 1708 with her brother Pierre acting as a witness. The marriage record notes that Gabriel was a native of Pousoges in Poitou (which could refer to Pouzauges) while Anne was from Fecamp. Their daughter Madeleine married David Fremy, a widower, at Threadneedle Street on 21 July 1706; no witnesses were named but Madeleine was listed as the daughter of Pierre Mallandin, deceased, and Anne Pommare while David is listed as a native of Senserre en Bery and the son of Jaques Fremy and Anne Rienbeau. There is only one as yet unconfirmed record that could relate to their daughter Suzanne and that is an admission record to the Threadneedle Church for Suzanne Malandin on 14 May 1699 on the testimony of Marie’ but there is not enough detail to make a conclusive link.

18th century Weaver's cottages
Hanbury Street & Brick Lane

In 1705, Anne Pommare received assistance in the amount of £3 from the the Royal Bounty sponsorship scheme started by King James in 1685 to provide funds to poor French refugees. The payment records note that she was 69 years old, a resident of Spitalfields and the widow of Pierre. A second entry shows she received a further £5 two years later and while the financial assistance to Huguenot refugees continued until 1724, the list of recipients was only published for the years 1705, 1707 and 1721–24. It is possible that Anne continued to receive assistance after 1707 but the documentation to confirm this is not available.

Anne died in Spitafields and was buried at St Dunstan in Stepney on 6 July 1710. Her daughter Anne was widowed in 1741 following her husband Gabriel de Goullaine’s death and she died seven years later and was buried at Christ Church, Spitalfields. But there are no further records relating to her daughters Suzanne, Madeleine or Marie. Since they were all in their forties when they married in England, it is unlikely that Anne, Madeleine or Marie had any children and so the line continues through their brother Pierre.