Following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in October 1685, which ordered the destruction of Huguenot Churches and the closing of Huguenot Schools in France, it is estimated that as many as 900,000 French Calvinists fled their homeland. They went to places such as England, Sweden, Holland, and Denmark in their search to find religious freedom.
The Huguenot were skilled craftsmen, and noted for silversmithing, cabinet making, and watch making, among other things. Because of these talents , they were usually well off, although they did have to leave much of their wealth behind when they left France.
For many Huguenot, Jersey appeared to be an ideal bolt hole – it was close at hand and the population spoke French. Consequently, St.Aubin became their first landfall after leaving France.
Just a short distance up Mount Arthur lived a man who seemed particularly welcoming to these poor refugees. He would wait at the quayside, ready to meet the boats crowded with Huguenot, who were desperately searching for a new life where they could pursue their religion without fear.
At the quay, he would welcome them warmly, saying that he thought that they were being treated very badly in France, and how he agreed with their beliefs. He would say that they must have had an arduous journey and how tired they must be, and he would offer them a meal and a place to rest for the night, saying that they could find somewhere more permanent the following day.
They were exhausted after the sea voyage, and gratefully took up his offer. At his home he gave them food and drink, and looked after in a very generous way. After having eaten , they retired to bed and soon fell onto a deep sleep.
After an hour or so, when he felt confident that they were lost in their dreams, their host crept in and cut their throats, and stole their belongings.
The terrified screams of his victims rang out the length of Mount Arthur, putting the fear of God into his neighbours. Even when this monster died, the screams continued to echo around the area. It was only when the ‘House of Death’, as it was known , was pulled down, did the screams stop!
© Arthur Lamy