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The 16th century Huguenot bible baked in a loaf of bread

a photo of an old open bible

Huguenot Museum / French Hospital Collection

This Bible was baked in a loaf of bread by Huguenots in France during the sixteenth century

The Fasquest family lived in the Drôme area of France in the late sixteenth century – a time of great persecution when Huguenots were forced to hide their faith. This is their bible, which dates around 1588-1590 – a time when the French state wanted Huguenots to give up their Calvinist Protestant faith and become Catholic, persecuting those who refused.

Their family story tells that preceding a search of their home this bible was baked in a loaf of bread to hide it from state soldiers. The title page has also been removed to conceal the printer’s identity.

The family bible was evidently more than just a sacred text – its pages also list a record of Fasquet family births, marriages and deaths until 1625.

There were an estimated two million Huguenots mainly in Southern and Western France by 1562 and as their influence and visibility increased so did the majority Catholic hostility toward them. Between 1562 and 1598 a series of religious wars broke out known as the French Wars of Religion, and a series of massacres saw many Huguenots flee.

It is thought between 60,000 to 80,000 Huguenots settled in England, mainly in the South East in London and Kent. They brought with them crafts such as silk weaving, silversmithing and furniture-making, together with expertise in banking and insurance.

The Huguenot Museum, in Rochester, tells the story of the Huguenots via many fascinating objects in the French Hospital Collection, which includes oil paintings, silver, documents, silk samples and personal items telling the important story of Britain’s first refugees and the impact they had on Britain.

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Huguenot Museum

Rochester, Kent

Discover your story at the Huguenot Museum. Discover your story. The Huguenot Museum tells the story of Britain's first refugees: the skills they brought to the UK, their descendants, and relevance to the story of refugees today. "We help people to better understand the present by learning about the past,…

 

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