Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'The Delaforce Family History' - Chapter 10
The Delaforces in 17th Century London

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Chapter 10

Oxford Book of Ballards
"They sent him up to fair London, an apprentice for to bind"

The Delaforces in 17th Century London

Although there were many Delaforces living in London at the end of the 16th century mainly in Tower Warde, the main emphasis for most of the next 50 years was on Jacques and Mary De La Force, who produced a large well-documented family, nearly all of whom were silk weavers, whose descendants live in London today.

Jacques was the fourth generation of this name, and was born about 1570. He married (as "James Le Fort") his wife, Mary, about 1591, when she was 18, probably in London. The John Fosse, Yeoman, St. Clemence Danes, who died in 1625 and left a will (PCC 144 Clarke) was probably Jacques' younger brother, born about 1572. See the family tree page on this link.

1595-8 Jacques was a business merchant spending part of his time in London, and then for another 20 years or so, most of his time in Valenciennes, northern France. He was in partnership with Anthony de Liniall and the arrangement, which lasted for 21 years, ended with Anthony's death in October 1616.

Jacques bought "Lawns and fine cambrics to be purchased in Valentienna of Lyonesse in the Province of Flanders and woolen clothes bought in England by Anthony." Each purchased the others goods and sold them respectively in northern France and England. Almost certainly Jacques' brother John in Lille also sold the woolen textiles in his area, and possibly the other merchant Delaforces in Calais traded as well.

The partnership was successful, profitable and amicable. It was continued with Anthony's widow Rachel de Liniall (nee de Bavoy), who took her husband's share of the partnership on his death. Jacques visited London frequently on business but many of his children were born in or near Valenciennes (and therefore needed to be naturalised English later on). He was in London in 1620 as Church witness at the Chambeau family wedding.

On his death on 24th August 1626, aged about 56, his widow Mary de La Force continued the business, but unFortunately the two widows fell out and litigation followed, with Rachel suing Mary for loss of profits! (Chancery Proceedings of Charles I D13172 233).

Each widow was assisted - Mary de la Force by her son Francis and her son-in-law John Fountaine, and Rachel by her nephew Paul de Bavoy and a friend Robert Thiery. Rachel claimed that for 6 years Jacques "had kept all the profits and did a great trade for himself overseas during which time Rachel sent him moneys, as her factor, for goods. After Jacques' death Mary de la Fosse his relict and executrix took all the whole estate and did not give Rachel her share estimated at £1600" - a large sum at that time. Mary, in her turn, counterclaimed for moneys due to her in the accounts. (Chancery Proceedings C241574 Pt. 1). Her son Francis also made a Town Deposition when he was aged 30 living in Coleman Street (between St. Olaves, Hart Street and St. Katherines Cree and close to St. Botolphs without Aldgate and Threadneedle Street Church).

London Bridge in the 17th Century.

Mary de La Force died 7th February 1645 aged 67 in St. Botolphs, Bishopsgate parish (probably in Coleman Street) leaving a substantial family behind. The Court proceedings showed that she had two children born in Valenciennes about 1617-1618.


James Fosse was probably born - the 5th James in line -about 1595, and died about 24th January 1625/6. Probably he and his wife died in the plague of that year. In his will he left £50 each to Catherine Waterton (aunt on father's side to look after the three children - Jas (James), John and Thomazin Fosse, a daughter, who were each also left £50. James was a Yeoman in the City of Westminster when he died. As the eldest son he probably retained links with diplomatic circles because of James, his grandfather, who also lived in Chelsea and Westminster.


John Dellforce, the second son, was born in 1599, probably in Valenciennes, married Marie Jacqueline Cuvelier (Caullier) in 1619, a sister of Elisabeth Caullier who married John's younger brother Francis in 1627. Marie died on 3rd February 1659 in Kent. John helped in his father's business in Valenciennes, but as John Delforto, was admitted in London as a foreign weaver member (by certificate of the French Church) on 25th May 1635.

John and Marie had a son John, born about 1620 (a tailor, who married Anne Lewis), and a daughter, Jenne/Jane, who married in 1634, John Le Threvillier, a merchant of London. John De La Fforte was then living in Coleman Street, London, probably with Francis and their widowed mother, Mary. Other children were Jacques baptised 1624, Pierre baptised 1622 and possibly Thomas, baptised 11th November 1629. Also Francis Laffosh baptised 1623, died 12th January 1635, aged 12. John died in 1664 aged 65 in St. Botolphs parish, Bishopsgate.


Francis Dellafoss was born in 1602 and married twice: initially to Elizabeth, shown in the Church Records as 'Franchhoys, fils de feu Jaques, native de Valenciennes, et Ellysbet, fille de Barthlemyeu Caullye, natyve de Canterbury", on 6th February 1627. As Frances Defours, stranger, he was made Free as a Weaver member on 28th November 1627. He was naturalised as Francis de la Fosse on 11th January 1637.

His son Bertholome' was baptised 18th November 1628, and daughter, Mary, on 20th August 1629 at St.Botolphs without Aldgate. But Mary and her mother both died in August 1629 possibly from Childbirth (Guildhall MSS 9233). Their names in the Register were Deleforce and Dellforce. Almost certainly young Bertholome' died in infancy.

He remarried on 29th March 1630 as "ffraunces Delefosse to Hellin Cressoone" (Cresson) at St. Stephens Church, Coleman Street. The Caullier family were also present at this wedding and obviously had a longstanding friendship with the Delaforces.

In 1643 Elaine De la Force and Marye Caullier were witnesses at the same wedding. Francis and Elaine, to give her correct name, (which included Eline, Ellen, Helen and some others) had a large family.


Jacques was baptised 9th January 1631, St. Dunstans, Stepney He was alive in 1662.


Marie 25th March 1632 but died 2Oth October 1634 St. Botolphs without Aldgate.


Elisabeth February 1633 St. Stephens, Coleman Street died 5th January 1634 St. Botolphs without Aldgate.


Bartholomew baptised 1634, but died in 1654 and left a will to his father Francis. His grandfather Bertelemy Caulier, who died 19th October 1653, left money to his grandson.


Elisabeth (again) 12th November 1635 Threadneedle Street.


John 21st December 1638 St. Botolphs, died 1666, left a will to his widowed mother, Helaine.


Francis Fortey baptised 1641 - died 1st April 1643.


Estienne/Stephen 6th June 1641 Threadneedle Street married Mary Largilee 1666.


Pierre 19th November 1643, as Peter Delaforse died 1645 aged 2.


Pierre 20th February 1648 Threadneedle Street, alive in 1662 aged 14.


Jenne/Jane 14th December 1645 Threadneedle Street.


Marie (again) 7th October 1649 Threadneedle Street.


Benjamin February 1651 St. Botolphs, Bishopsgate, but "a still-born son of Francis Delforce died 1651 St. Botolphs.".

In 1630 Francis and brother John and probably mother Mary were living in Coleman Street. In 1638 Francis De Le Fore of St. Botolphs paid £10 rent per annum, Gunn Alley, Cock Yard. In 1651 Francis and Elene were wedding witnesses in Canterbury.

A Francis Defore baptised 1643 was apprenticed silk weaver 18th February 1657 to Phillip Defore. This might have been another Francis' son apprenticed to his Uncle Phillip.

When Francis died in 1662, aged 60, he left a will benefitting his widow Helaine and surviving children, Elisabeth, 27; John 24; Jane, 17; and Peter, 14. The children each got 1/- and Helaine his estate.


Antoine Lafosse, born 1612, married Jeane Farbu(t) 29th August 1633, Threadneedle Street Church. A son Antoine, was born 1634, and Marie in 1635, then James/Jacques about 1636 (admitted a forraigne weaver in 1664). Anthony lived in Stenheath, Middlesex. Francois, his brother, was a witness at Marie's baptism. Marie married David Mund in 1666 at St. Botolphs, Bishopsgate - her name spelt Deleforce. Antoine died 15th August 1636, aged 24.


Phillipe baptised 1609, married Mary de Rante, a widow of Mathieu Renier, when he was 35 and his wife about 30, on 7th May or 12th April 1646 at Threadneedle Street Church. He might have had an earlier marriage because a Phillipe was born 1633, a weaver, died 1684, age 51. Phillipe's name was shown as de la Fosse and Du Fore. In 1640 Phillip del Fose visited Amsterdam Huguenot Church as a Temoin (witness).
Phillipe died 7th November 1689, aged 80. He certainly fathered a Phillipe alive about 1647.


Marguerite de la Fosse, "fille de feu (the late) Jaques," married Balthazar de Marc, son of Jean de Marc(k) of Valenciennes on 13th November 1628. She was probably born about 1610.


Marie de la Fosse, daughter of Jacques married Jaques Mangon on 28th January 1630, at Threadneedle Street Church. She was probably born about 1612.


Collette de la Fosse married Peter Mershe February 1638/9. She was probably born about 1618 in Valenciennes.

This was a large, prosperous family, and Mary, who outlived her husband by 19 years was obviously a strong-minded matriarch, which was needed in the days of the Gunpowder Plot 1605, Shakespeare in his prime, the massacre of Protestants in Ireland, the outbreak in 1642 of the English Civil War, all during the reigns of James I and Charles I.

The trend from merchanting to becoming individual weavers started with this family, with most of the sons being admitted as foreign weavers.

The next generation of Jaques' and Mary's grandchildren takes the family into the late-l7th century.

The sources for the 17th century depend mainly on Huguenot Society publications, on the CFI index of baptisms, on silk weaver records at the Guildhall library, on Chancery Proceedings (Bernau index at the Society of Genealogists) and on wills located at the National Archive, Kew

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
©1980-2004 Patrick Delaforce. All rights reserved Last revised 16/12/2005