Find your ancestors in Thomas Philip Le Fanu, Registers of the French Church of Portarlington, Ireland, 1694-1816

Published by the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland in 1908, this volume, edited by Thomas Philip Le Fanu, is of vital importance to anyone researching Portarlington, Co. Laois.

Le Fanu describes how the Huguenots came to settle in Portarlington, and the influence they had on the town, which is still very much in evidence today. Le Fanu describes the establishment of the French colony at Portarlington, the trials and tribulations of the disparate army pensioners. In the early eighteenth-century visitors to Portarlington reported that it was a dwelling of most congenial of society and this society made up of mostly literate refugees soon sought the means to educate their children born in Ireland. In 1714 the wife of Mark Champlorier, established the first elementary school. However, the school was soon joined by others, including schools that taught French and Latin. The proliferation of education establishments was such that by the mid-eighteen century the small village of Portarlington could boast of possessing sixteen educational establishments, including the renowned school of the Rev. Thomas Willis, where many eminent scholars received their early tutelage.

The registers recorded here run from the ministry of Jacques Gillet in 1694 to September 1816. It was then the records stopped being recorded in French, which marked the beginning of the end of the exclusively French church, which was subsumed by the Established Church in 1841.