It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a word origin, and there’s one that’s always intrigued me that cropped up again recently. I’ve been preparing material for a possible new book as a follow-up to my Franklin biography Deadly Winter – devoted to the fascinating correspondence of Sir John Franklin and the poet Eleanor Anne Porden whom he eventually married.
I’m also including entries from the journal of Jane Griffin, who became Franklin’s second wife after Eleanor’s tragic early death, and I discovered that Jane was from a ‘Huguenot’ family.
It’s a strange word, which applied to French Protestants who were driven out of that country by persecution in the 17th century. Many took refuge in England – especially London where they often worked in the silk weaving – and as a result introduced into the English language the word refugee (from the French réfugié).
(One added bonus of this posting is that I’ve finally learned how to spell Huguenot!)