Taking a break

Now that the first stage of our My Ancestors project is complete we are taking a break from this blog while we plan out the next stage. But there is lots going on over on our Rich & Lou’s Loudhailer website, so you can follow our blog there Loudhailer Blog http://loudhailer.net/


Thanks! Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard Visit our Loudhailer website


Film editing this week

editing mawf
Interview with Richard and Louise

We spent a day last week editing the My Ancestors were French Celebratory Event film at the Lincoln School of Media. Janice had done a great job putting a draft together. There’s just a bit more to do. Quentin is working on the Refugee Week workshop film which is nearly ready too.  Looking forward to seeing the finished films.

Lilybeth’s Poems

Lily Writing

Goodbye Loved Ones

I’m leaving now
I’m going away
To my lovers
I can’t stay
It’s not you
It’s just me
A new country
That is me
A fresh start
A new life
A different culture
Will shine bright
Goodbye my friends
I’m going now
A new life
I start now


My name is Lily
I’m a flower
With flower power
With my personality
I shine bright
Share my story
It’s my life
In new places
I share life
What I have
Is my personality
I am polite
In new places
What I offer
It’s my name
Lily the flower

Lily's Poem in Colour

By Lilybeth Goodwillie

Free Auricula Suite Gig for Refugee Week

FREE Auricula Suite gig for Hull Refugee Week, on Wednesday 19th June 2013 upstairs at Creator College, 6-8 King Edward St, Hull, HU1 3SS, UK doors 7.00 pm, band on stage 7.30 pm.

Songs telling of a journey to a new land, a story of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning; inspired by folk tales of the alpine Primula auricula and its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees.

My Ancestors were French – Amanda, Quentin, Louise, Richard

Written by Richard & Louise Duffy-Howard and performed by My Ancestors were French – Richard & Louise (guitars and vocals), Amanda Lowe (hammer dulcimer) and Quentin Budworth (hurdy gurdy).

“The music was intricately beautiful, the songs informative and real, the performers were fascinating to watch and the whole entertainment and feel of the evening was celebratory. The interweaving of the instrument sounds and the vocals painted exciting pictures…get the CD it is a beautiful recording of the material. ” Gifford Rolfe

“What a fantastic evening the Auricula Suite concert is – beautiful people, music, and flowers. A room bursting with colour, love & enriched with mesmeric music…we all absolutely loved it!” Lynn Beaumont

“The songs are lovely, memorable and haunting.” Liz Goodwin

“Thank you for your performance, great music, lyrics, colours and auriculas!” June Hennige

Songs, stories, flowers, photographs…and those flowers take me back…

My Ancestors were French – Part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

Please note that there are stairs up to the concert room.

Our Workshop Film

Thanks to all who have been to our workshops. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone. There was lots of excellent conversation and the amount of superb work created –  poems, stories, drawing – was amazing.

Quentin made this short film of Amanda and Louise and the participants at the Willerby Methodist Hall session, so you can see what went on.

We used music, poetry, local film and storytelling to explore the themes of the My Ancestors were French project. It was easygoing, no pressure and we had lots of good discussion over tea and biscuits.

It’s all part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

Work produced at the workshops are displayed at the project exhibitions celebrating the stories uncovered and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Richard took the photos.

A Huguenot, and feedback
A Huguenot, and feedback

Valentina and Raoul, standing by the wall…

Abby Wright has created this exquisite illustration inspired by the famous painting of A Huguenot by John Everett Millais. Millias’ painting was an inspiration for the story which we tell in our set of songs ‘The Auricula Suite’

Small My_Ancestors_Were_French_Abby_Wright Web Small

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, (1852) by John Everett Millais: Set in the French Wars of Religion, the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf which would protect him from persecution and possibly death. He, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith.

Painted in Victorian England, the picture uses The Language of Flowers, showing Canterbury Bells and Nasturtiums to express faith and patriotism.

a huguenot biggest
“They wrap each other up, but also pull in opposite directions” S.P Casteras

Olivia’s Poems


Olivia B
Olivia B

Foreign Land

Baking in sunshine
Rolling green hills
Wind taking me
Toward my destiny

Skill to acquire
People to meet
Strange new world
Walked on by
My own feet

Beautiful new land
Breath taken away
As I’m walking
I’m led astray

Primula auricula Lincoln Bullion (a haiku)
Flower found in France
Of many colours and shapes
Full of history

By Olivia Batt


Sophie’s Story


I take a deep breath in. Absorbing every piece of the fresh clean air. I grab hold of the deep squelchy mud and grasp hold of grass, feeling the cold freshness of the plant. The sun shiny with all it’s hear and warming me from the inside. I climb to the top of the tallest hill and look out to the distance and see my old brown house with many colours of flowers. The house has five windows, two doors. I sleep in the attic, it is how I like everything, it’s mine. My bed, my rug, my posters, my music, my clothes, my life. My room is covered in animals I like, music I like, or my favourite colour, blue. I look down the hill to see my best mate Matt coming up to see me. He has been my best mate for as long as I can remember, and if I need help I would always go to him first. But little did I know I would have to say the thing that has been on my mind for ages….

By Sophie Evans



My Ancestors were French

One of the themes of My Ancestors were French is the impact of faith on people’s lives throughout history. Today, because of migration and travel, the world seems smaller, and there are many choices – but not necessarily answers to all our questions. The closing song is that of a young woman living in northern England today. She doesn’t know much about her family history, but like many English or American people she is of Huguenot descent. This young woman starts to look back into her family history and begins to find the faith to help her through the pitfalls of life. She learns stories from her family, and discovers that the scent of the auricula has a special quality, which takes her back to childhood memories. Memories of grandparents’ potting sheds…and even further back…when you suddenly think ‘how can this memory be older than me…?’

My ancestors were French,
And, for what it’s worth, faith ruled their lives.

Me, I’ve never been to church, and I haven’t been good.
But I’ve made my mark,
And I got in trouble,
Listening to my devil in the dark.

Y’know I’ve always landed on my feet,
And I’ve got a sense of history.
Yeah I’ve always landed on my feet,
And those flowers take me back…

The devil inside, he’s sittin’ on my shoulder,
Pushin’ me out so I’m sittin’ on a boulder
In the middle of the lake.
And the devil can’t swim,
So I’m feelin’ brave and I’m gonna get him.

It’s gonna get colder, if he falls in the lake.
He’ll be off my shoulder, off my back.
There’ll be no more trouble,
Gonna make a fresh start.
Stop listenin’ to the devil…
Gonna listen to my heart.

Gonna listen

To my heart.

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard, Corey Clough-Howard

Stingray Lou