Friday, November 2, 2012

November 02, 2012

Huguenot Trivia: How Much Do You Know About French Protestantism?

Since I have always been extremely interested in the plight of the French Huguenots throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries (and have Huguenot ancestry myself) I decided to put together a sort of “quiz” with little known trivia and tidbits about the much-beleaguered French Protestants. Good luck!

(1)    A “mereau” was a very important part of the Huguenot service, and one could not    partake of communion without one. What was it?

(2)    Why was an influential 18th century Huguenot settlement in New York known as “New Paltz”?

(3)    At least one Protestant pastor spoke these words at Communion in the 16th century: “Let us lift our spirits and hearts to heaven and to Jesus Christ . . .” was that the end of the prayer? Or was there more?

(4)    In the 1670s and 1680s, King Louis XIV’s dragoons threw French Protestants into an uproar, trashing their homes, stealing their belongings, and destroying religious books. Due to their brutality in trying to force the Huguenots to convert to Catholicism, they were known sarcastically as “booted _____”

(5)    How many religious wars did the Huguenots fight in France? What was the final war called (involves a popular man’s name at the time)?

(6)    The Puritans of the 16th and 17th centuries often wore rather dark, plain colors and modest cuts both at home in England and after crossing the Atlantic to settle in America. Did the Huguenots (also Calvinists) dress this way?

(7)    The Huguenots did not often refer to themselves as “Huguenots,” since it had begun as a derogatory term. What did they call themselves?


(1)    A méreau was a coin given to those who had proven themselves spiritually and had attended all previous services without hindrance. If they handed over their coin at the Communion table, they were allowed to partake

(2)    “Paltz” is the German word for “Palatinate,” a region of Germany from which many Frenchmen had recently arrived. “New Paltz” was effectively “New Palatine.”

(3)    Yes, there was an ending to the prayer: “. . . and let us not be distracted by these terrestrial and corruptible elements, which we see with our eyes and touch with our hands”

(4)    The dragoons were known as “booted missionaries.” A great amount of sarcasm was attached to that term

(5)    There were eight Wars of Religion. The eighth was called the “War of the Three Henrys,” as the three main players were named Henri. One of these was Henri de Navarre, who later converted to Catholicism only so he could gain the French throne, a move which made his former Protestant allies distrust his motives

(6)    Not necessarily. Though the Huguenots placed a high premium on dressing modestly (paintings seem to know that the women wore darker colors and more puritanical cuts than men) and did not grow enamored with an abundance of jewelry and worldly trappings, period artwork seems to suggest that Huguenot men over wore the same cuts, colors, and patterns of their Catholic counterparts. There were some, of course, who preferred the high-necked black doublets with modest lace ruffs, and some who wore an abundance of black or other dark clothing, but it seems to have been a personal preference. Ministers and figures of authority, of course, would dress more somberly

(7)    The Huguenots preferred to call themselves “Réformées,” “Reformed,” though they likely used “Huguenot” after it had become popular. I am unaware of how often they used the term “Protestant” or if that was restricted to other countries at the time.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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