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  • Andre Melet (bef.1711 - d.)
    Piecing together Graham & Boucher’s snippets of information (below), it seems that Marie Gautier of Marenne Saintonge (daughter of Jacques Gautier & Marie Roulain ) must have been the niece of Anne Rou...
  • Jacques Therond, SV/PROG (1668 - 1739)
    Jacques Therond ( now spelled Theron) came to SA on board the "Oosterland" as a soldier in 1688.He became a free "burgher" on 31 May 1688. He was the owner of the farm "Languerdoc, Heemraad.Bronne: Ges...
  • Gilles Soullier, SV/PROG 2 (b. - 1746)
    Sollier, Gillis, brother of Durand, had been a burgher at the Cape since 1697. In 1718 he was permitted to return to Europe with his wife Anna Roulin and son David. In 1731 he returned to the Cape with...
  • Marthe Petel, SM/PROG (b. - 1715)
    , Pieter. 1988. Die Hugenote Van Suid Afrika 1688-1988: Cape Town, Tafelberg.= Marthe Petel, in BoucherBotha, who confuses the families of Gilles Sollier and the settler Durand Soullier, is evidently c...
  • Antoine Martin (1664 - 1699)
    List of Huguenots embarking from France * Huguenot Heritage Ship Lists * Coertzen, Pieter. 1988. Die Hugenote Van Suid Afrika 1688-1988: Cape Town, Tafelberg.= Antoine Martin in BoucherA Jacques Theron...

Please attach the profiles of French Huguenots who were born in Languedoc. If possible, also add their names into the text below, according to their country of emigration.

  • All welcome to join & contribute (Map: Coertzen, Pieter. 1988. Die Hugenote Van Suid Afrika 1688-1988: Cape Town, Tafelberg.)

Background History of Languedoc at the time of the Huguenot Diaspora

The lands of Languedoc..are situated in the south-east, with the country of Foix and a late acquisition, Roussillon, won from Spain in 1659, to the south…

The peoples…differed considerably in type and speech. French had long become the language of culture, but there was a wide variety of dialects, based in the south upon the langue d’oc, rather than upon the langue d'o'il, with Basque and Catalan spoken in the far south-west…Languedoc[%E2%80%99s] .. closest associations outside the south-west are with Provence to the east. This is reflected in the prevalence of surnames among those worshipping in the various Calvinist temples. …

…[C]athedral cities included Nimes, Uzes and Ales in Languedoc… [a] part of France in which Calvinism was at its strongest… Many rural communities were entirely or almost entirely Protestant in the middle years of the seventeenth century; several towns too, large and small, had a Calvinist majority, including … Nimes in Languedoc…In about forty parishes south of Nimes the population was almost 90% Protestant; two-thirds of those living in the villages west and south-west of Uzes were Calvinists…On the other hand it must be remembered that these areas of dominant Protestantism were not thickly populated. The inhabitants, Catholic and Calvinist, of all three districts mentioned numbered only about 70 000….

There was .. a Mediterranean trade from the Languedoc coast. … [and]silk mak[ing]..was a flourishing industry in Languedoc, showing phenomenal growth in Nimes during the seventeenth century. Much of the raw silk came from the Cevennes and Calvinists from that mountain region were encouraged to bring their techniques to the papal Comtat Venaissin across the Rhone in order to increase production there.

But it was … particularly in Languedoc, that Protestantism retained its strongest hold in the days of persecution. This was in part an accident of geography, for Calvinism flourished in remote areas of the midi; in part because this region of firmly entrenched Protestantism was essentially agricultural and there had been no decrees to prevent Calvinists from continuing to till the soil and to tend their flocks. Again, at an individual level, those engaged in commerce and industry did not suffer persecution to the same extent as did those among the professional classes. The Calvinist merchants of the western seaboard retained much of their prestige, even though Calvinism among the masses declined greatly in that region, since it was a minority faith.

The population drain from rural Languedoc cannot be entirely divorced from the decline in agriculture which Le Roy Ladurie has noted between 1679 and 1686. A series of hot, dry summers caused widespread ruin. Water supplies dwindled, stock suffered and crops withered. Moreover two cold winters destroyed many olive trees.161 The revocation may have provided a final impetus to flee to a peasantry already enduring economic hardship.162 Nevertheless, in comparison with other regions, the tide of emigration flowed sluggishly in Languedoc.

The fatal divisions in Calvinist ranks between zealots and moderates had broken the resistance of the reformed church in the Nimes area during the period of passive opposition in the south of France in 1683. The arrival of dragoons there in October of that year drove the more energetic pastors Charles Icard and Jacques Peyrol into exile in Switzerland. At the end of September 1685 the troops returned to pillage the smaller centres of Lower Languedoc and to threaten the larger. Nimes surrendered on October 4, 1685 and the ministers Elie Cheiron and Pierre Paulhan abjured at the hands of the bishop, Jean-Jacques Seguier de la Verriere. Thousands more bowed to the inevitable in the last weeks of a church which in Languedoc sometimes called itself, with more pride than legality, ‘Teglise crethienne refformee” [%E2%80%98Christian Reformed Church’ Sharon Nov 2016]. The intendant Basville was the instigator, but although his predecessor Henri d’Aguesseau would have disapproved of the methods used, the result would have pleased him. He liked neither Calvinists nor Calvinism and laid the faults of the faithful at the door of the faith. The temple at Nimes, he wrote in 1683, was a centre of disturbance and “les Espritz y sont naturelem' rudez et grossiers”[%E2%80%98The Espritz are naturally rude and gross’? Sharon Nov 2016]. All carried arms and those who came down from the mountains were particularly fierce and brutal. France had not yet heard the last of the men from the Cevennes and in the city itself Protestantism was to re-emerge in strength in years to come ..

Calvinism resisted sporadic attempts to eradicate it in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In was here in the Cevennes that the protracted Camisard revolt took place, spearheaded by Abraham Mazel’s attack to free Calvinist prisoners in 1702 at Le Pont de Montvert, home of the Gauch family. Here too, as the Therond letter indicates, private devotions kept the faith alive and it was in Languedoc that the pastors of the Desert were especially active, bringing the consolation of the reformed religion to those who continued to reject Catholicism and endeavouring to keep isolated congregations together in some semblance of synodal unity. For it was the absence of spiritual leadership which led to the excesses of the Camisard revolt, with its mystic and prophetic undertones, and the use of the old Protestant liturgical language, French, by latter-day saints who “spoke in tongues”. .. Active Calvinism was contrary to the intentions of 1685 and led to reprisals: executions, among them those of the pastors Claude Brousson at Montpellier in 1698 and Pierre Durand in the same town more than thirty years later; imprisonment; the harsh life of a galley-slave, endured by many from Languedoc . Others took the road to exile and as late as 1752 thousands left for Switzerland to avoid the re-baptism of their children christened by the pastors of the Desert. .. We do not know how the Cape settlers from Languedoc reached the United Provinces, but they probably took the road to Switzerland across Dauphine.

  • M. Boucher (1981). French speakers at the Cape: The European Background. Pretoria, UNISA: Ch 6: Cape settlers II: from the Rhone to the Atlantic pp 140-3; 151-2;156 -9

Countries of Dispersal

The Netherlands

  • Isaac Cabrit (1649-1721), from Saint Jean du Gard (Languedoc Roussillon) in the valley of the Gardon River at the foothills of the Cévennes. Married Jeane/Janne Mazelle/Mazel (ca 1666-1733) in Amsterdam on Aug 23 1696. She was also born in Languedoc Roussillon. Their children, all born in The Netherlands had their surname registered as CABRI.

South Africa

  • Pierre Benezet, from Languedoc in 1688. Settled at Languedoc, Drakenstein. Returned to Europe in 1700
  • Jean de Camau, from Tolouse, Languedoc in 1706. Settled in Drakenstein
  • André Gauch ( -1698), from Le Pont-de-Montvert, Languedoc in 1688. Settled in Drakenstein. Possibly murdered by his wife's lover
  • François Guilliaumé, from St Laurant d' Aigouze near Aimargues, Languedoc in 1726. Settled in Tafelvallei
  • Jean Imbert ( -1723), from Nimes, Languedoc in 1688. Settled at Languedoc, by the Palmietrivier in Klein-Drakenstein
  • Antoine Martin (1664 - 1699), from Uzes, Languedoc in 1689. Settled in Drakenstein
  • Andre Melet from Nimes, Languedoc. Came to the Cape in 1731 with his wife, Marie Gautier (who was Gilles' Soullier's wife's niece)
  • Marthe Petel, from Clermont L'Herault ou Nimes, Languedov in 1697. Settled in Tafelvallei
  • Durand Soullier (- 1739), from Clermont L'Herault ou Nimes, Languedoc in 1697. Settled in Drakenstein & Tafelvallei
  • Gilles Soullier (- 1746),from Clermont L'Herault ou Nimes, Languedoc in 1697: brother of Durand. Settled in Drakenstein & Tafelvallei. Returned to Europe in 1718. Returned to the Cape by 1731
  • Jacques Therond (1668 - 1739), from Nimes, Languedoc in 1688. Settled in Klein-Drakenstein, then Languedoc

North America



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