This website tells some of the early history of a large family, now scattered in their thousands around the world, whose ancestors were among the last Huguenots to flee to England. Some said they came from Paris, others from Picardy in northern France. Photographs of the villages linked with the de Croisettes, through a genealogy whose provenance is pretty doubtful, can be seen in these pages by clicking here.

A persistent story is that they escaped in a bread basket (these were large items). In any event for near enough 60 years the belief has been fostered in some quarters of the family that we belong to a branch of the French nobility and are descendants of Colard de Croisettes who lived in the early 1400s.

Some insist there are links with the Sabatier family of silk weavers from the old Protestant stronghold of the Languedoc and that we are descendants of a man called David Sabatier. As could happen in France, he may have acquired the de Croisette title through marriage to Margeurite Doulle. The Doulle family are known to have had links with the Croisettes, and it is possible the title passed down through a daughter (as could happen), who married a Doulle. Their own child Marguerite then, through marrying David Sabatier, would have passed on the title in that way. Sadly, records for this period in Protestant history in France are very scanty.

David Sabatier disappeared, perhaps losing his life in a shipwreck. A 'Jean Sabatier', of high birth, but penniless through fire and shipwreck (when he said he lost his oldest son), petitioned the Queen for support. David's son Jean, it is thought, dropped the Sabatier surname and baptised his children using the defunct title.

Believe what you will, but click on the links below to read the intriguing story of how Ethel Smith Le Croissette laid the foundations for a search that continues today through steady cooperative effort among cousins. Without her curiosity we would still be struggling to discover our lineage back to the original Huguenot family. It was her own persistence that led to her sister-in-law tracking down the Benfleet Bible which put the final flesh on the bones. There, laid out for later generations to read, were the links back from known ancestors (such as my own great-great-grandmother, whose name I knew as a child), to a baby named Jean baptised in London in 1697 by his French parents. In 2005, another family Bible came to light, known now as the 'Catharine Bible'. This belonged to young John Isaac Lecroisett and his bride Catharine Wohlmann. The details in it to do with their own children tie in exactly with those in the Benfleet Bible, which this couple also seemingly also held to pass down. Read the story here.

For this reason, we do not set out to celebrate here the work of anyone other than Ethel, her sisters-in-law Nellie Le Croissette and Patricia Padfield, and Patricia's own daughter who had the idea of going to France where the Croisettes genealogy was waiting to be discovered. We acknowledge here too the efforts of Ethel's own children, Eileen and Dennis Le Croissette, who spurred on their cousins to resolve the final mystery of the link back to France. Not forgetting the tireless efforts of Gwyneth Daniel, great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Armour Descroissettes, in cataloguing the family tree for these webpages then in 2006 visiting the Beauvais  library to clear up some puzzles about the villages in Picardie with which  some de Croisettes were known to be associated, in particular those claiming descent from Colard de Croisette. Her collection of fine photographs taken in these villages  gives a real sense of what it must have been like to have lived there.

Finally, it has to be said, that the eminent French historian (click to read about it) Bernard Guenée challenges this genealogy.  In his view, someone (perhaps Pierre de Croisettes) got a genealogist to cook up the lineage back to an utterly fictitious Colard de Croisettes. The Coat of Arms shown above is, he is adamant, a fiction. So the problem remains. Who did the descendants of Jean de Croisettes really descend from? And was he even a 'de Croisettes', or someone who married one of the girls, or owned land that was called 'Croisettes'? Or just plain Jean Sabatier, a family who were on the run as Protestants too? We will probably never know.

With grateful thanks to the owners of the Benfleet and Catharine Bibles


Who were the Huguenots?

Why did the de Croisettes family flee to London?

Where did the de Croisettes live in Picardie?

1940s and 1950s research by Ethel and Priscilla Le Croissette

Research by Eileen and Dennis Le Croissette

Beauvais document transcribed from the original French

CLICK HERE for hundreds of genealogy pages covering nearly 5000 individuals, including British Huguenot descendants and linked families. These pages have been assembled by the website owner as a genealogical resource for family, friends and those interested in family and social history.



Site last updated 16 July 2008