Many Protestants did choose to leave France, most moving to Great Britain, Germany and the Dutch Republic. This exodus deprived France of many of its most skilled and industrious individuals, and it included the DeMede family, for the name also first appears at Hildesheim and in Prussia at this time.
Samuel Mettayer who had been the pastor at the Protestant Church of Harcourt in France, about forty miles northwest of Marsauceux, moved to England in 1687 and was the pastor of the French Church at Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex for twenty years until 1707. The Demedes became members of his congregation. This might suggest that they arrived in Thorpe in 1687. They were certainly there by then, because had their daughter Marie christened there on 15 November 1687. After giving birth to at least six children, Marie died on 10 November, 1705 at Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex.
Their fifth child was Pierre, who was born on 7 September 1697, and christened on 12 September. He lived for just over 50 years, for he died on 12th December 1749, at St Osyth in Essex. Pierre’s younger brother, Abraham, was the first surviving member of the family to be recorded with that common family first name, and was born on 30th August, 1700; hewas christened at Thorpe le Soken on 15 September of that year. He died on 16th May 1755 at Little Clacton in Essex. Thus the family was firmly part of the French Protestant church community in the countryside south and east of Colchester for many years.
We do not know when Pierre married Mary, or what was her maiden name. The first record of them comes when they had Peter, who was born and died in the same year 1723. It may be significant that they christened their son with an English version of his father’s name, and that his mother’s name is recorded as English while her father is still spelt “Peirre”. Abraham, who was their sixth surviving child, was born on 13 February, 1736 and was probably named after his uncle.
In turn, Abraham married Lucy Feakes, who was born on 15 Aug 1745 on 23 Nov 1765 at St Osyth, Essex. They had eight children before their ninth, also called Abraham, was born on 19 Dec 1775.
Abraham married ELizabeth Simons in 1800 and had a son, recorded in the 1881 census as having been born in Thorpe in 1816 and whom they also named Abraham. In the family bible, Abraham’s birthday is recorded as 11 January. In 1841, he was to marry Rebbekah Allen, who was also born in Thorpe-le-Soken, the daughter of John and Mary Allen of Ridgewell Essex. In 1843, Abraham and Rebbekah were to name yet another of their children with the name of Abraham de Maid.
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