Huguenot Jo

Puritanism has been described as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”.  It’s taken me a long time to realise that my upbringing in a tiny Strict Baptist sect was essentially a Puritan upbringing: our chapel was an isolated little pocket of Christian fundamentalism, right at the edge of ordinary, workaday Protestantism.

Quite how my family got itself stuck in a fundamentalist rut is one of the puzzles I try to excavate in the Huguenot Jo blog.  Our mulish opposition to religious conformism and the state arose from our Huguenot roots - and our ancestors’ secret flight from savage persecution at the hands of French Catholics.

The Blog

The blog is the heart of the Huguenot Jo website.  You can sign up to follow it by email (at the bottom of each page) or via social media.

In the blog, I’m exploring what happened to my family within the wider story of the Huguenots and their part in European history and culture. 

Protestantism has a particular take on the role of women in society: women's rage and "the outcast woman" are recurrent themes. 


The About page outlines the origins of the blog, and lists Huguenot names borne by my forebears.

The Bibliography lists all the books and films I’ve consulted, reviewed or recommended as sources; the Resources section lists recommended websites for further leads.

Frequently Asked Questions tries to answer the most common questions about Huguenots, Strict Baptists and the blog.  The Gallery is a great place for inspiration and to browse pictures illustrating Huguenot history.


“…those electrifying moments in your blog posts when you bring personal experience to bear on an historical or cultural theme…”
~ Professor Jon Cook, University of East Anglia

Recent posts

Slavery, statuary and Huguenot villainry

Thanks to Black Lives Matter and the toppling of a Bristol statue, I’ve just found out about the part a number of Huguenots played in the transatlantic slave trade.  It’s left me breathless.  All that Bible reading did such Huguenots no good when it came to...

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In the secret places of the heart: The Mirror And The Light

It was comforting to slide back into the familiar mind of Thomas Cromwell as imagined by Hilary Mantel.  If you haven’t tackled Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, it’s a very apt project for the lockdown – three enormous tomes, all of them quite hard work, all worth the...

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Calvinism, devilry and wicked, wicked women

The Witch is being shown again on Film 4, on Thursday 16 April at 11.20pm, and I urge you to watch it – or to record it, if it would freak you out too much in the long, dark hours of the night. Early adopters of this blog were horrified that I reviewed the film in one...

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The other side of the tracks

Sarah is 80 this year. She idolised my mum who, admittedly, was good with small children not her own. In any case, this was in the years when my mum was a Sunday School teacher and must have had child-amusing tricks up her sleeve. Sarah is one of my long-lost cousins...

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