susanna motteux

Susanna was born in London on 9 January 1702, the daughter of Jean Motteux and his second wife Susanne Despommare. Susanna was baptised at the French Church on Threadneedle Street two days later. She grew up in relative comfort as her father was a successful merchant who ran an import and export business along with her older half-brothers. Susanna married Jaques Mallandain at St Benet Pauls Wharf on 29 June 1736 and they had two sons, Jaques and Jean. Following Jaques death in 1739, Susanna married a second time to Jean Des Claux and they had one son but he did not survive infancy. Susanna died in Spitalfields in August 1762 and was buried at Christ Church.

jean motteux + judith fourgon

This branch of the Motteux family has been traced back to Jean Motteux in the city of Rouen, Normandy. He married Judith Fourgon in the Protestant temple at Quevilly near Rouen on 27 September 1640 and they had seven children who were all baptised at Quevilly as well:

    >> Judith, baptised 30 June 1641
    >> Timothee, baptised 23 October 1644
    >> David, born on 23 November 1644 and baptised on 25 November
    >> Jean, baptised on 5 April 1648
    >> Marie, baptised on 8 April 1650
    >> Ester, born on 20 November 1653 and baptised on 23 November
    >> Catherine, baptised on 12 May 1658

jean motteux + judith lenud

Their son Jean, through whom this line continues, married Judith Lenud at Quevilly on 10 December 1679 and they had six children. Their first four children were all baptised at the temple at Quevilly:

    >> Jean Anthoine, born 16 September 1680 and baptised 5 October
    >> Timothy, born 10 September 1681 and baptised 14 September
    >> Judith, born 22 August 1683 and baptised on 29 August
    >> Catherine, born 1 October 1684 and baptised on 5 October

It appears the increasing persecution of protestants in France following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, forced Jean and Judith to flee Rouen although their exact route remains a mystery. There is an early baptismal record from the French Church on Threadneedle Street — Timothy Benoit was baptised on 11 April 1686, the son of Jean Benoit and Catherine Motteux — that lists both Judith Lenud and Timothee Motteux as godparents. The exact relationship between Jean and those listed in the baptismal record is not know but it is possible that Catherine was his younger sister and Timothee his older brother. There is no way to confirm if Judith was actually present at the baptism or perhaps she was named in the hope that the family would one day be reunited. However, these early English records do appear to show that other members of Jeans family also fled France for England.

The records do confirm that Jean and his family initially took refuge in Amsterdam and there are two baptism records for their youngest chrildren — Pierre was baptised on 29 December 1686 at the Waals Hervormde Kerk or Walloon church and daughter Marie Marthe was baptised on 31 December 1687. Sometime between 1688 and 1693, Jean and his family left Amsterdam and settled in London. By 1693, Judith had died but no death record has been found to confirm whether she died in Amsterdam or in England. If she died in Amsterdam, it may explain why the family moved to London as Jean may have wanted to be closer to his family and the much needed support for his young children.

jean motteux + susanne despommare

A Map of the Liberty of Norton
Folgate in Spitalfields

Following their move to England, Jean married Susanne Despommare on 14 February 1693 at St Savior, Southwark in south London and three witness were listed on the marriage record:  M. Despommare, Magdeline Dupresco and C. Motteux. One month after marrying Susanna, Letters of Denization, a form of naturalization, were granted to Jean on 13 March 1693 along with his children from his first marriage — John Anthony, Timothy, Peter, Judith, Catharina and Martha Mary.

Jean and Susannes first child, Moses, was born on 2 December 1695 and according to Huguenot tradition, he was baptised three weeks later but unusually at the English church of St Dunstan in Stepney rather than in the French Church. The family was living on Artillery Lane in Spitalfields and Jeans occupation was listed as gentleman which means he must have arrived in England with enough money to support his family without working.

Their daughter Susanna was born n London on 9 January 1702 and baptised at the French Church on Threadneedle Street two days later with Jean Anthoine Motteux and Rachel Despommare acting as godparents. The baptismal record notes that the family lived in St Ward Street, Towers Liberty and although the location is not clear, it may refer to the area of Norton Folgate near Artillery Lane which was one of the Tower liberties or wards outside of the Tower of London.

There is another entry in the baptismal records that may relate to Jean and Susanne, on 7 December 1696, Timothy Motteux was baptised at St Dunstan and his parents were listed as John and Susan. It would be unusual if this was their son as Jean already had a son named Timothy from his first marriage.

Jean set up as a merchant in St Mary Axe and began importing and exporting goods to the continent and his sons Jean Anthoine and Timothy also worked with their father before going on to be successful merchants in their own right. His children from his first marriage settled in to life in London and the records show that they quickly anglicized their names, married and had children of their own. His daughter Judith was the first to marry, to David Hubert, on 11 November 1708 at St Saviour Denmark Park and they went on to have six children between 1709 and 1721 including five girls and one son.

Son Pierre was working as an apothecary on Smock Alley in Spitalfields and he married Sarah Harris about 1712. They had four sons over the next ten years but sadly only one survived infancy. Sarah died some years later and Pierre remarried to widow Mary Towle at St Mary at Hill in Eastcheap in 1737 but they did not have any children.

Pierres only surviving son, also named Pierre, apprenticed with his father as an apothecary and carried on working at the shop on Smock Alley after his fathers death in 1748. He married Anne West in 1750 and they had three children but only their daughter Anne survived infancy. Pierre was later listed as an apothecary and surgeon and later moved his family to Charter House Square north of the city of London in the borough of Islington. Anne West died in early 1768 and her will was proved on 13 July; at the time of her death, she possessed £700 and left the majority of this to her husband. Later that year, her daughter Anne married John Bosquain at St Sepulchre but there is no record they had any children.

His eldest son, Jean Anthoine, did not marry until 1735 and he and his wife, Anne Roy, had one son named John in 1736. Anne was a widow when they married and had four children from her first marriage to Jaque Dubec — Magdelaine, Anne, Jaques and Frances. Sadly, Jean died only four years after they married leaving her a widow for the second time. Anne Roy died in 1757 but her will was not proved until four years later. She left legacies to her daughters from her first marriage and her son John (who was listed as merchant from St Mary Axe) and smaller legacies to her sister, Mary Towle and Pierre Motteux from Charter House Square.

Timothy married Jane Monford at St Helen's Bishopsgate in 1712 and although they had six children, none of them survived infancy. Jane died in 1733 but Timothy never remarried and died in 1746.

In 1720, Jean Motteux died intestate but Letters of Administration were granted to his widow Susanne Despommare and his son Jean Anthoine which allowed them to settle his estate. One probate record notes that they applied for a dividend payment on £300 worth of stock invested in the South Sea Company. The full value of his estate is not known but it was likely enough to support Susanne and her family. Her son Moses had apprenticed as mason in 1713 and was just finishing his seven years service when his father died while her daughter Susanna remained at home until she married in 1736.

Following her husbands death, Susanne Despommare continued to live in the Old Artillery Ground area of Spitalfield until she died died. She was buried at Christ Church Spitalfields on 23 December 1749. She left one shilling to her sons Moses and John and all of her jewelry, personal items and household goods to her daughter Susanna. Moses died ten years later and was buried at All Hallows Church on Lombard Street; there is no evidence to show that he ever married or had children.

Don Quioxte and Sandringham

Two other, more famous, members of the Motteux family appear in London in the 18th century but they do not appear to be directly related to the descendants of Jean Motteux and Judith Fourgon. The first is Pierre Motteux who was famous for his translation into English of Don Quioxte and the works of Rabelais. He also published a journal called the Gentleman's Quarterly and wrote plays, operas and poetry. These artistic works did not make him rich and he supplemented his income by working as a merchant — he ran a large china warehouse in St Mary Axe and sold wares from India and south China. He married Priscilla Sherman and they had seven children but only three survived to adulthood. Pierre's death was just as dramatic as his life - he died in a bawdy house under mysterious circumstances.

The second famous Motteux was Jean who purchased the 5000 acre Sandringham estate in Norfolk in 1836 for £76 000. He was also a merchant and operated John Motteux & Co from Walbrook Street for many years. His father is often noted as being called John and said to be of lineal descent from the above Pierre Motteux but this has not been confirmed. His father was purpoted to be a merchant — both an 'eminent Hamburg merchant' and a tea merchant. This Jean purchased an estate in Sussex called Stanstead Place which passed to his son when he died in 1791. The second Jean Motteux never married and he left the bulk of his estate to the son of his good friend, Lord Cowper. It was Charles Spencer Cowper who later sold the Sandringham estate to the royal family.