Pasquier’s flight to Leiden

This card from 1610 shows the French part of Flanders with Lille and Flandre as its centerpiece. Lille is named Rijsel in Dutch. The people in this area partly spoke french, partly flemish, depending on their status. The Spanish desolation was already several decades ago in these regions. The war had now moved to the North.

Also Armin van Buuren has ancestors who have fled from Bondues before the war with the Spaniards. In the progtam he tells that he already knew a lot about his relatives from Leiden who often worked in the textile industry there.

Hidden past

In this episode of ‘Verborgen Verleden’ (unknown past) in which Armin van Buuren discovered part of his ancestors (look at NPO-start to see the episode), attention was paid to the village of Bondues. This town is located in France, near Lille, just across the border between Belgium and France.

That drew my attention right away. Because also early ancestors of Carla, my wife, come from Bondues. What you see in the pedigree scheme above in the story. The Verbiest’en are, as far as I can verify so far, all habitants of Leiden. And many of the elders of the eldest male siblings were called Theodorus, in daily use they were called Doris or Dorus..

The scheme where you can see that Carla descends directly from Pasquier Segaar from¬†Bondues. This goes back 12 generations but the name only makes one jump when Willemina Segaar marries Theodorus. Here you can also see where the name Carel, which is still in use at the Verbiest’en, comes from the branch of Segaar.

Dorus Verbiest and Mientje Segaar

A marriage under King William I

In the winter of 1825, on Thursday, January 20, when the Netherlands was still a medium-sized kingdom, and King William I ruled the country tightly, the tailoring servant was married to the spinster Willemina Segaar in Leiden. Together they had a child, a son, and this was now legitimized by marriage. Further children followed, including in 1826 Carel Johannes, an ancestor of Carla.

With this marriage the connection was made with the family Segaar who, as you can see, has its roots in France and in the village of Bondues.

For the distant ancestor Pasquier Segaar departed from Bondues to seek his luck in the northern Netherlands and, like many people of Bondues, according to the story of Armin van Buuren’s ancestors, came to Leiden. There he married Catherine Du Bonnet, probably also from France and it is possible that they were already together on their flight.

The village of Bondues still exists but there is little to nothing left from the past. This is not only due to the destruction of the Spanish army in the 16th century but even more to the enormous devastation that took place during the first world war.
In the foreground you can see the Cemetery. I doubt that there are still names to be found dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The mare church in Leiden where Theodorus Verbiest was baptized Dutch reformed.

From Lille to Leiden

In 1796, on sunday, may 15, the youngest Theodorus is baptized in the Mare church in Leiden. His father Doris Verbies and his mother Maria Vervloet are of course there.

It was no coincidence that many people from the Lille area came to Leiden. Before 1560, Leiden was a small town where the textile production was a major source of income. But the reformation came on and put the proportions in the Spanish Netherlands under heavy pressure. After the ‘Beeldenstorm’ in 1566, the uprise of may poor people in the region and when a lot of ¬†statues (‘beelden’) in churches were destroyed, the 80-year war soon began. King Philip II wanted to call his northern subjects to order by force. Spanish troops took a lot of rampage in the vicinity of Lille and Kortrijk. Many deaths, villages and cities were burned down, the population drifted, the poverty increased tremendously.

The inhabitants of Bondues and the surrounding area have left in large numbers between 1565 and 1590 in search of a better existence. Pasquier probably as a young man already left, perhaps alone or with his parents, perhaps with several families at the same time. They were real refugees who tried to escape the war violence and wanted to give their children a better future. In the document you can see here and that is sorted out by an unknown genealogist, you can see that there are quite a few people coming from Bondues. There are also many people from neighbouring regions. A well-known area is for example Hondschoote that lies a bit west of Lille. Pasquier lived and worked in Leiden in 1610. He was ‘clavecimbel’ manufacturer and later a gatekeeper in Leiden. Almost certainly he has not seen his place of birth again in his lifetime.

The Bree Street is the main street in Leiden. There are important buildings such as the town Hall and the municipal theatre that you can see right below. This picture is from 1929.

To Leiden

In that area around Lille, many people lived and worked in the textile industry. They lost their jobs and income and were able to choose between two options. Stay and learn to live or depart with hunger and poverty to better places and hope for a better future. Since almost all people are very attached to their own house, the decision was often difficult. But between 1580 and 1585 many people chose to leave Bondues, towards the North. I suspect they travelled in groups, taking their most precious stuff, as far as that could carry. I think that they also carried lot of tools with them from the textile industry. After a long journey many arrived in Leiden and decided to stay there.

In 1581, Leiden had about 12,000 inhabitants. But the influx of refugees from the partially devastated Flanders was enormous. In a short time the city grew with thousands of newcomers, from far and wide, not only from Flanders. So Leiden in 1622 had about 45,000 inhabitants, quadrupling in 40 years. The city grew more than it could handle.

This will undoubtedly have led to mutual friction, but as soon as it was clear that the people from France and Flanders brought very valuable knowledge and experience. Leiden grew into one of the most important Dutch cities in the golden age, partly thanks to the many Flemish refugees, including the Segaars. This originally French family lives in Leiden for more than 400 years. It is hardly possible to become more Leiden they have become!


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