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My Rieusset Family - A brief overview

 I believe that my Rieusset Family originated in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region in Southern  France.

Early documents spell the name Rieussec as well as Rieusset. It means literally "Dry Creek".

My Rieusset ancestors were Huguenots or French Protestants persecuted for their religious beliefs by the Catholic hierarchy who held considerable power at the time. Many were put to the sword or burned at the stake as heretics. Although edicts of toleration were proclaimed they continued to labour under many disabilities. They were excluded from civil office and political employment and thus devoted themselves to industrial pursuits. They were acknowledged to be the best agriculturists, winegrowers, merchants and manufacturers in France. In the south around Languedoc, by diligence, skill and labour they subdued the stubborn soil, with the cantons and valleys inhabited by the Protestants celebrated for their richness in vegetation as the best cultivated and most productive.

 

 

     

From my research, visiting and talking to some great French Rieussets, it appears that my family could have come from the Brissac / Coupiac area where there is an 11th Century Chateau and a Rieusset House (right above)

     

There are several small villages and houses around the Languedoc Region bearing the name Rieussec, all are beside dry creeks.

 

     

Between Vagnas and Salavas is an old Rieusset house built beside the Roman Road.

At dawn one January morning in 1703 Jean Cavalier with 800 Protestant Camisards fought a pitched battle with 700 Catholic Regional Militia under the Baron de Lagorce at the Rieusset location. The Camisards won the day, but soon after were wiped out by a 2000 strong Catholic army brought by General Jullien from  nearby Barjac.

              

  A large number of Rieussets still live in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, some in Brissac and others spread from Nimes to Narbonne.

However, I believe my ancestors fled in the 17th century from France to Ireland.

Following the English Revolution of 1688 and three years of civil war in Ireland, the Irish Parliament granted naturalization to such Protestant refugees as should settle in Ireland. The records detail a small number of Rieusset families in Dublin.

Two brothers Peter and John Rieusset moved from Dublin and settled in Bath County, North Carolina, America. but another Peter, son of Andrew Rieusset, born in Languedoc and John Rieusset, son of John Rieusset applied and were granted English Naturalization around 1705-1708

Settling later in London, my ancestors became well known as artisans and craftsmen.

Peter Rieusset worked for Ralph the 1st Duke of Montagu between 1697 and 1708 on his houses at Montagu house in Great Russell Street in the Bloomsbury district of London which later became the first home of the British Museum. Then at Ditton Park, Datchet in Buckinghamshire and for several years at Boughton House, near Geddington in Northamptonshire.

Boughton House

 The use of the ‘Parquet de Versailles’ flooring in many of the State rooms at Boughton house was quite new to England. In addition to supplying and laying the parquet floors, Peter Rieusset supplied countless other joinery items from garden rakes, chests, desks to billiard tables. His huge billiard table at Boughton House is still in working order although the legs have been replaced.

 

Peter Rieusset Junior married  Maria Teresia Haedy in London in 1782. Maria was the daughter of Christopher and Anna Maria Haedy. Christopher ran a Glass manufacturing business at 287 the Strand (now the site of Australia House) and was quoted as claiming "He was the German who was the first that brought the art of cutting and engraving glass from Germany". He probably came from Bohemia (Steinschoenau) present day Kamenicky Senov, Czech Republic.

287 Strand, London

In April 1854, my Great-grandfather Augustine Benedict Rieusset  was born in the home of his father's cousins, Elizabeth, Annie and Louisa Haedy. The large property, aptly named Steinschaenau at Southwood near Ramsgate, ran half the length of Queen Bertha Road. The spinster Haedy sisters were daughters of Christopher Haedy Junior, lawyer and steward to the seventh Duke of Bedford. Augustine Benedict appears to have been brought up by the Haedy sisters and remained in Ramsgate studying at St Augustine's College and Monastery from 1862 until 1870. Augustine Benedict's older sister Mary Ann Rieusset married James Downey in St Augustine's Church in 1870 and eight years later (September 1878) Augustine Benedict married James Downey's sister Jane in Liverpool.

 
Graduating in Liverpool as an architect Augustine Benedict sailed with his wife, Jane and two sons to Australia in 1883, settling first in Melbourne and later moving in 1895 to Perth, Western Australia,  where he designed many fine buildings, houses and both Catholic and Anglican Churches as shown below.

       

                                                                                         St. Ann's Catholic Church,            All Saints Anglican Church, Donnybrook, W. A.

                                                                         Hehir Street, Belmont, W. A.

                                                                                 (Sketch by M. Mclean)

My father Benedict Daniel Rieusset was born in 1908 in Subiaco, W.A. In his early twenties he moved to Melbourne to work in the newspaper industry with his father. Dad eventually moved with his family to Hobart  to work with The Mercury newspaper in 1954.

I continue to live in Hobart and have a wide variety of interests.