Named after the French seaport, La Rochelle, in the Bay of Biscay, which had close links to the Huguenot community. The port town was granted to the protestants as a stronghold in the Treaty of Montpellier in 1622 following the French religious wars. But five years later the fighting began again and Cardinal Richelieu ordered the town be placed under siege, efforts by the English to relieve the port failed and it surrendered in 1628. Many of them later fled France after years of persecution from the Catholic majority escaping to London where they set up new communities and a weaving industry around Spitalfields.
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