Élie Bouhéreau

Élie (or Elias) Bouhéreau (1643 – 19 March 1719) was a French Huguenot refugee in Ireland and the first librarian of Marsh's Library in Dublin.


Bouhéreau, according to the burial register of the Conformist Huguenot churches in Dublin, was a "distinguished medical doctor and zealous Protestant of La Rochelle, very knowledgeable and very highly regarded."[1] He was also a scholar, and published a French translation of the third century Christian work Contra Celsus.[1] After the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes Bouhéreau fled to England. He travelled in Europe between 1689 and 1692 as personal secretary of Thomas Coxe, the king's envoy to the Swiss cantons,[2] and again between 1694 and 1696 as personal secretary to the Marquis de Ruvigny, commander-in-chief of English forces in Piedmont. He served in Ireland with Ruvigny (then earl of Galway) when the latter was Lord Justice of Ireland, 1697-1701. In 1701 he was made librarian of Marsh's Library.[3] From the time of his first journey in 1689 to his death he kept a diary, which is kept in the Library.[4]

Conservation workEdit

Bouhéreau had with him documents from the Reformed Church of France, which he had brought from La Rochelle to save them from destruction. They were deposited at Marsh's library, the governors stipulating "that they were to be kept until such time as the same shall be demanded by the said Reformed Church." In 1760 John Wynne, the third librarian, expressed himself "apprehensive lest the papists might have access to make bad use of or destroy them." They were finally returned to the Consistory of La Rochelle in 1862.[5] There are still many works in Bouhéreau's collection in the library that deal with French Huguenot history, including the manuscript of Joseph Guillaudeau's Journal of What Passed at La Rochelle 1584-1643.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Bouhéreau was married to a cousin, Marguerite Massiot. They had ten children, of whom eight survived.[7] His son John was ordained a minister, became a Doctor of Divinity and was the first assistant librarian of Marsh's Library.[8] Marguerite died on 22 May 1704. Her death occasioned an emotional entry in an otherwise factual diary.[7]


  1. ^ a b Newport B. White, An Account of Archbishop Marsh's Library, Dublin (Dublin, 1926), p. 15
  2. ^ L. A. Robertson, 'The Relations of William III with the Swiss Protestants, 1689-1697', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Vol. 12 (1929), p. 137-162 [1]
  3. ^ Ruth Whelan, 'Marsh's Library and the French Calvinist tradition: the manuscript diary of Élie Bouhéreau (1643-1719)', in Muriel McCarthy and Ann Simmons, The Making of Marsh's Library (Dublin, 2004), 219-34, p. 213
  4. ^ Whelan, 'Marsh's Library and the French Calvinist tradition', p. 209
  5. ^ White, An Account of Archbishop Marsh's Library, p. 16
  6. ^ White, An Account of Archbishop Marsh's Library, p. 37
  7. ^ a b Whelan, 'Marsh's Library and the French Calvinist tradition', p. 219
  8. ^ Grace Lawless Lee, The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland (Westminster, 2001), p. 251