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Bernard Livard, Tailor, 1573

Bernard Livard’s name appears on an indictment drawn up on 3 March 1573. An indictment is a legal document setting out the case against those listed. In this case it is a group of tailors who have broken employment rules.

Bernard Livard, is the fifth name on a list of six, all living in High Holborn. His name is followed by the word ‘alienus’, alien, foreigner, showing that he was an immigrant.

The tailors are accused of working for themselves in their own houses, rather than for a master tailor. Many French tailors settled in England during the Elizabethan period. Some probably came here for economic reasons.


Others certainly arrived as Protestant refugees. Protestants had broken away from the Catholic Church and had suffered persecution. The date of Livard’s prosecution is only a few months after the notorious massacres of French Protestants that began in Paris in 1572. Starting on St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August), the massacres spread to other cities and went on till late in October. During that time large numbers of French Protestant refugees, known as Huguenots, sought refuge in England.

In our voice-over we have chosen to imagine that Bernard Livard was one of them.


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