Huguenots in Lisburn

But the northern counties of Down and Antrim were, more than any other parts of Ireland, regarded as the sanctuary of the refugees. Lisburn (formerly called Lisnagarvey), about 10 miles south-west of Belfast, was one of their favourite settlements.

The Government of the day, while they discouraged the woollen-manufacture of Ireland, because of its supposed injury to England, made every effort to encourage the trade in linen. In 1697 an Act was passed with that object, containing various enactments calculated to foster the growth of flax, and the manufacture of linen cloth. Before the passing of that Act, William III. invited Louis Crommelin, a Huguenot refugee, then located in Holland, to come over into Ireland, and undertake the superintendence of the new branch of industry. In 1698 Crommelin accepted the invitation, and pitched upon the village of Lisnagarvey (now Lisburn) as the most suitable site for the erection of a linen factory; and William appointed him “Overseer of the Royal Linen Manufactory of Ireland.”

Among the other French settlers at Lisburn was Peter Goyer, who there established the manufacture of silk and cambric; the silk manufacture there, however, was destroyed in 1798, but that of cambric has survived.

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