The Welcome Stranger

The story of Dutch, Walloon and Huguenot incomers to Norwich 1550-1750

The Welcome Stranger


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Categories: Local History, Norwich
Tags: Strangers


The ‘Strangers’ was the name given in Norwich to the many incomers to the city from Europe (especially the Low Countries and northern France) in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At one time they made up more than a quarter of the population, and they had a great effect on the city’s industry, trade and public life.  The way in which the city and its residents coped with this massive influx is not just historically important, but has obvious relevance and parallels today. Many people today in Norwich and Norfolk, and well beyond, have ‘Stranger’ ancestors, and their influence is also apparent in the close links today between Norwich and the Netherlands.

Frank Meeres explores the Strangers’ experiences and their impact, providing details of many individuals from all walks of life.  This is the first detailed study of Norwich’s strangers, looking at where they came from, when they arrived, how they lived in Norwich and how they integrated with the native population. It discusses their work, their homes, their leisure activities, their health, and where they worshipped, were christened, married and buried. It includes information on many specific individuals and families, some of them well known even today, and others long forgotten.

This is a re-issue of the book, first published by Lasse Press in 2018.


  • Norwich and the Netherlands;
  • The Dutch Revolt;
  • The invitation;
  • The first rush, 1567–68;
  • First impressions: writing home;
  • Later immigrants, 1568 onwards;
  • Governance; The making of livings;
  • Where they lived; Personal lives;
  • Some Dutch families;
  • Some Walloon families;
  • Births, marriages, deaths;
  • Languages, literacy, schooling;
  • Health and welfare;
  • Plague and the immigrant community;
  • Connections – links with other communities;
  • Support and opposition;
  • Merging in and moving on;
  • The Huguenots;
  • Some Huguenot families;
  • Afterwards;
  • Bibliography;
  • Index.


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About The Author

Frank Meeres

Frank Meeres came to Norwich in 1974 as an archivist at the Norfolk Record Office. Born in Exeter, he is a graduate of King’s College, University of London, with the Diploma in Archive Administration from the University of Liverpool. He has organised and listed several series of important archive groups relating to the history of the city and had special responsibility for the records of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich. He is well known for the many exhibitions he has organised and for his talks and evening classes on the history of Norwich and the work of the Norfolk Record Office.

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