The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.278331, 1.077631

3 Annotations

First Reading

Pedro  •  Link

For the History of Canterbury Cathedral.

"During the Civil War of the 1640s, the Cathedral suffered damage at the hands of the Puritans; much of the medieval stained glass was smashed and horses were stabled in the nave. After the Restoration in 1660, several years were spent in repairing the building."


Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the 16th century, Walloon refugees settled in Canterbury. Cloth-making had been established there since the Dissolution of the Monasteries when the Franciscan house, the Greyfriars, became a cloth-factory.

These Walloons specialized in the making of silks, and the city soon became, along with London, the two centers of the craft in England.

This was not a case of an industry being set up near the source of its raw material, because the raw silk had to be imported from Italy and Turkey; the important ‘raw material’ here was the skill of the weavers.

As elsewhere in the county, refugees were generally welcomed by the authorities, as they realized their knowledge and industry brought prosperity to the places where they settled.

At Canterbury the Huguenots, as they were called, were granted the use of a chapel in the crypt of the Cathedral so that they could continue their own religious services.
They became loyal citizens, giving no trouble to the authorities, but to some extent ‘keeping themselves to themselves’.
For example, they looked after their own aged and poor, and therefore demurred at paying the City poor rate, although their objection to doing so was overruled by the Judge of Assize.

The silk-weavers thrived to such an extent that, in 1660, over 2,000 people were employed in the industry, of whom 1,300 were ‘strangers’ and 700 English.

After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 more French Protestants fled to England, some of whom settled at Canterbury.

The last few years of the 17th century saw the industry at its zenith. Celia Fiennes, who was a great traveler and kept a diary of all that she saw, remarked on the prosperity of the silk-weavers when she visited Canterbury in 1697: ‘I saw 20 Loomes in one house with severall fine flower’d silks’, she records.

Sadly, the industry was about to collapse. The opening up of trade with the East by the East India Company and the importation of woven silks was a serious blow to the silk-weavers of London and Canterbury. Attempts were made, by Act of Parliament, to protect the home industry by restricting the importation of silk cloth, but were not successful and by 1710 the number of master-weavers at Canterbury had fallen by more than half.

A few years later the industry was practically dead.

EXCERPTED FROM “Industries in the 15th to 18th Centuries“ [in Kent]…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



  • Feb