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THE FRENCH CHURCH IN SOUTHAMPTON
was held in this Church, by command of the King, as also in all the English Churches, in order to beseech the Lord to abate His wrath, and to make His judgments to cease which now prevail throughout this Kingdom, the Capital City, London, being for the most part consumed by fire."
Dr. Speed wrote in 1008 : " They (the French Congregation) still have, by leave of Queen's College, and the license of the Bishop of Winchester, the use of the Chapel of God's House, which is usually called the French Church or Chapel."
The Church was governed by a Consistory which was composed of the Elders (les Anciens) and the Deacons, but in February, 1705, a change was made, and thenceforward the Consistory was to comprise Elders only. In addition to the Minister there was a Reader, who read prayers in his absence, and gave him other assistance.
From their first occupation of the Chapel of St. Julian, in 1567, the Refugees had worshipped in accordance with the tenets of the Reformed Churches of France and Holland, and were, therefore, according to the law of England, Dissenters.
In 1635, Archbishop Laud attempted to enforce conformity on the alien Churches, but without success, and his arrest, which took place shortly afterwards, left them still undisturbed.
After the accession of Charles II., conformity was again urged upon dissenting communities, and in 1683 the Magistrates of Southampton, imbued with the orthodoxy of the time, petitioned the Bishop of Winchester that, " the Minister of this Chapel (of God's House) be ordered to use the Liturgy of the Church of England in French, as at the Savoy in London."
It was not, however, till nearly thirty years later, in 1712, that the desired result was obtained. In that year the Authorities of Queen's College notified to the French Congregation at Southampton that unless they consented to adopt the Anglican rite the further use of the Chapel of St. Julian would be prohibited.
A meeting, consisting of the Minister, M. Cougot, and of the Elders and others of the Congregation, was promptly summoned, and, upon the question being put to the vote, a majority decided in favour of the required Conformity. A similar view was taken by the friends of the Southampton Congregation who resided in the Channel Islands, and, notwithstanding a strong protest made by the Walloon Church in Threadneedle Street in London, the Liturgy of the Church of England was adopted for use in the Chapel of St. Julian.
It may seem strange that this Community, which had for so long a period held the tenets of the Reformed Churches of the Continent, should have thus readily conformed to the Anglican use. The Church of England, however, was not regarded with hostility by the Refugees at Southampton. Successive Bishops of Winchester had dealt kindly with the " strangers," and had granted licences for the conduct of their worship. M, Cougot, moreover, their minister at this time, had
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