1st Edition

Probate Inventories of French Immigrants in Early Modern London

By Greig Parker Copyright 2014

    Probate inventories provide an unparalleled and intimate glimpse into the lives of the inhabitants of early modern England. After death, the items within the deceased’s home would frequently be itemised and valued room-by-room. As well as providing invaluable information about the rich diversity and value of domestic material culture, the inventories also offer insights into the different tastes, domestic arrangements and range of activities that took place within the early modern home. Inventories also enable scholars to reconstruct the informal social and business networks that are crucial for understanding this period, but which might otherwise remain hidden. By offering a critical introduction to the use of probate inventories for historical research, and by providing transcriptions of inventories from French immigrants to early modern London, this book provides a new and important resource for students and researchers interested in the early modern household, material culture studies, and the domestic lives of the Huguenot refugees. The book begins with a detailed introduction that provides historical background on the French immigrant community in London. This is followed by an original analysis of the key differences that existed between French and English domestic interiors during this period, along with a discussion of how these trends are visible within the included inventories. The book subsequently provides a critical discussion of the issues and challenges involved in studying probate inventories and the difficulties in their interpretation. Following a description of the methodology used for the current study and the general characteristics of the sample included, the volume provides transcriptions of ninety-two probate inventories from members of London’s Huguenot community. In addition, the book contains a fully referenced historical glossary of the items of early modern material culture listed within the inventories. Taken together, the book ha

    Introduction, Inventory Transcriptions, Appendix A: Names, Appendix B: Occupations, Appendix C: Glossary


    Following undergraduate and master's degrees at Sheffield, Greig Parker moved to Canada, where he worked as a field archaeologist on numerous projects and as a GIS research assistant at McMaster University. In 1999 he moved to southern California, becoming Archaeological Project Manager/GIS Coordinator for TRC, Inc. In 2005 he returned to Sheffield, and was awarded his Ph.D in 2011. He is the author of several articles, book chapters and conference papers on different aspects of Huguenot archaeology and material culture.

    "This book is a useful reference volume for those of us interested in the material culture of early modern London and the difference immigrants brought with them when they settled in their new homeland."

    - Tracey Wedge, Independent Scholar, Aotearoa/New Zealand

    "These 92 inventory transcriptions, supported by a glossary, bibliography and indices, are thus a very solid addition to the existing corpus and ... this book should be in any serious library."

    - Newsletter of the Furniture History Society

    "The transcriptions are packed with interesting and puzzling items that will surely provoke discussion. ... This volume would be a welcome addition to the shelves of both researchers and teachers."

    - Sixteenth Century Journal

    "...a useful and necessary resource for historians studying French Protestant immigration, acculturation of immigrants to London, material culture and cultural studies."

    - Seventeenth Century

    "Without a doubt, Parker’s contribution to Huguenot scholarship and domestic history will be invaluable to researchers and students in migrant communities in early modern London, as well as those interested in the material culture of the urban middle classes."

    - French Studies