Gloucestershire Places of Worship

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Huguenot Chapel, Bristol
Huguenot Chapel,
Orchard Street / Orchard Lane,
Bristol, Gloucestershire.


We believe the Chapel did NOT have a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1727, and it has since been demolished, but we don't know when.

There is a good description of the foundation of the Huguenot Chapel in Orchard Street in Bristol Past and Present (J.F. Nicholls & John Taylor, 1882):

Many of the Huguenot immigrants who, for conscience' sake, had fled from their own country after the massacre of St. Bartholomew, settled in Bristol, and in 1687 a French Episcopal Church was formed. "It was", Smiles says, "of considerable importance, and was first held in the mayor's chapel of St. Mark the Gaunt; but in 1726 a chapel was built for the special use of the French congregation, on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth's hospital for the Red Maids, situated in Orchard street". The chapel at its first opening was so crowded with worshippers that the aisles, as well as the altar place, had to be filled with benches for their accommodation. From the register of the church it would appear that the Bristol refugees consisted principally of seafaring people-captains, masters, and sailors - from Nantes, Saumur, Saintonge, La Bochelle, and the Isle of Rhe.

According to local tradition, says John Latimer, in The Annals of Bristol in the Seventeenth Century (1900), many of the fugitives were mariners, a class which would have been readily absorbed into the fast-increasing merchant service of the port; but there were also ten merchants, a physician, three surgeons, and nine weavers, who later took the oath of allegiance to the English crown. In his Annals of the Eighteenth Century, he records that the last survivor of the Huguenot families, Mary Ann Peloquin, sister of David Peloquin (mayor in 1751), died on 23rd July 1778. By her will, she left a sum of money in trust, to the Corporation, to pay the interest yearly to 156 poor men and women - "chiefly to decayed freemen or their widows, not paupers, or keeping alehouses"; and £5 yearly to the rector of St Stephen's, and her residence in Queen Square, to be used as a parsonage. "Dr. Tucker, dean of Gloucester, then incumbent of St. Stephen's, forthwith removed from his house in Trenchard Street".

Latimer also mentions other Huguenot names - Daltera, Bonbonous, Laroche... "Daltera and Piquenet are found in the lists of civic officers, whilst some families were lost in the general population by the Anglicising of their surnames, Levraut being changed to Hare, and Leroy to King".

The first of the refugees arrived in Bristol in 1681, but thanks to Huguenot emigrants, "paper mills were opened in this country in 1690; and in September 1693, one of them, Stephen Peloquin, was admitted a free burgess, on the nomination of the Mayor. "A member of this family, David Peloquin, was elected Sheriff in 1735, and Mayor in 1751".

As mentioned above, the Huguenots were first granted the use of St Mark's Chapel. In September 1720, the Chamber gave orders that "the Gaunts Chapel" should be repaired and beautified, so perhaps this is what prompted the building of their own Chapel. Its location, labelled as "French Chur", can be seen on Rocque's Map of Bristol of 1750 - which interestingly, also illustrates how close it was to the Mayor's Chapel. The site was later occupied by a Christian Brethren Hall, and today by a building named Weston House, 24A Orchard Street.


Now or formerly French Episcopal.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Chapel was located at OS grid reference ST5845972931. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 2 Jul 2014 at 08:33.

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This Report was created 24 May 2022 - 00:21:40 BST from information held in the Gloucestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:13.

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