A Jacobite Gazetteer - France


The village of Pecquencourt is located about ten kilometres east of Douai, near the Belgian border. Just north of the village (on the other side of the N455 highway) is the site of the Benedictine Abbey of Anchin. 1

In 1751 King Louis XV of France, named Henry, Cardinal Duke of York (later King Henry IX) the 46th abbot (the 6th commendatory abbot) of Anchin; several years later Henry was also named commendatory abbot of the nearby Abbey of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. 2 Henry received a substantial annual income from these abbeys; in 1762 the income from Anchin was 70,000 livres. 3

While Henry was abbot, two new entrance pavilions were constructed for the abbey. In 1789 the abbey was suppressed by order of the French National Assembly; Henry thereupon ceased to receive any income from it. All of the abbey was destroyed with the exception of the entrance pavilions; these can still be seen just north of the roundabout on the N455 highway at Route de Rieulay.

Entrance pavilions of the Abbey of Anchin
Entrance pavilions of the Abbey of Anchin


The village of Esquerchin is located about five kilometres west of Douai.

In 1777 the Abbey of Anchin gave the parish church a new bell which was, however, destroyed in 1917. The bell had a Latin inscription which can be translated as follows: 4 "Under the rule of the most eminent Cardinal Duke of York, commendatory abbot, I was named CATHERINE ALDEGONDE by Dom Eustache de BRET, Grand Prior, and by Lady Catherine Aldegonde Joseph de MOURCOU, wife of Piat Joseph HOUSE, lawyer of the Parlement of Flanders, in the year 1777. Made by VILETTE and Ch. DROUOT."


1 In a number of books about Henry the abbey's name is misspelt Auchin.

2 Journal des Savants, année 1852 (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1852), 57. Herbert Vaughan, in his The Last of the Royal Stuarts: Henry Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York (London: Methuen, 1906), 58, mistakenly says that Henry was named abbot in 1748; this is incorrect. In May 1747 Henry's cousin Prince Benedetto Filippo d'Este, son of Duke Francis III of Modena, was named commendatory abbot of Anchin; he did not die until 1751.

3 Jacques de Guyse, Histoire de Hainaut (Paris: Paulin, 1831), 209.

4 "Petit Historique de la Cloche d'Esquerchin", http://pagesperso-orange.fr/esquerchin/Page%20Histo%20Eglise.htm.

This page is maintained by Noel S. McFerran (noel.mcferran@rogers.com) and was last updated January 16, 2008.
© Noel S. McFerran 2008.