Huguenots in Portarlington

Another colony of French and Flemish Protestant refugees was established by General the Marquis de Ruvigny at Portarlington, which town they may almost be said to have founded. The Portarlington estate had belonged to Sir Patrick Grant, but was confiscated by William III., who granted it to the Marquis de Ruvigny, whom William created “Earl of Galway;” but, while the grant was revoked by the English “Act of Resumption,” and the Earl of Galway ceased to own the Portarlington estate, the interest which the new settlers had acquired by lease was secured to them by Act of Parliament, in 1702; and they were made partakers of the rights and privileges of the borough. In the petition which they presented to the House of Commons, it is stated,

“There are about 150 families, English and French Protestants, planted in the lands of Portarlington, the forfeiture of the late Sir Patrick Grant, who have laid out their whole substance in purchasing small leases now in being; which lands were part of the grant of the Earl of Galway, who hath thereon erected an English and French church, and two schools, and endowed them with pensions, amounting to near £100 per annum, which hath been constantly paid till the said lands were vested in us.”

The French colony[6] at Portarlington was considerably increased by the breaking up of the French regiments of King William III., when many officers and privates settled there. In 1713, the town of Portarlington could scarcely be said to exist; that town is of modern growth, on the site of the ancient village of Cootletoodra; its school long enjoyed a high reputation for the classical education there imparted. M. Le Fevre, founder of the Charter Schools, was the first schoolmaster in Portarlington.

The refugees early formed themselves into a congregation at Portarlington, and a church was there erected for their accommodation.


[6] Colony: Among the early settlers at Portarlington were:

The Marquis de Paray, the Sieur de Hauteville, Louis le Blanc, Sieur de Percé, Charles de Ponthieu, Captain d’Alnuis and his brother, Abel Pelissier, David d’Arripe, Ruben de la Rochefoucauld, the Sieur de la Bossière, Guy de la Blachiere, de Bonneval, de Villier, Fleury, Champagné, de Bostaquet, Franquefort, Châteauneuf, La Beaume, Montpeton du Languedoc, Vicomte de Laval, Pierre Goulin, Jean la Ferriere, De Gaudry, Jean Lefaurie, Abel de Ligonier, de Vignoles, Anthoine de Ligonier, and others.

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