The Sir Derek George Jacobi’s story on Who Do You Think You Are? was one of equal contrasts. Though we found out that he is from working class roots in London, with a boot maker for a grandfather, as we delved further back in time we discovered that his family are from much grander stock, one having mixed with Louis the Sun King until his religious belief had him imprisoned and he escaped to England.
Sir Derek’s ancestor was Joseph de la Plaigne, a financier and French Protestant from Bordeaux who had to conceal his religious beliefs from his monarch in order to remain in favour with the Catholic Louis XIV. In 1701 de la Plaigne was found out to be a Protestant and incarcerated in prison at Loches in the Loire Valley. Making his escape he, like many Huguenots, made his way to England.
In 1708, at the age of 70 and living in England, Joseph de la Plaigne married Salome de la Bastide. Researchers have found that the wedding took place on the 7th August at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London. The couple’s son, Guillaume, was born soon after this with his christening taking place on the 28th May 1709. The now elderly Joseph died not a long time later and researchers from TheGenealogist website have been able to find his will in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills collection accessible on TheGenealogist where if you are a subscriber you will be able to search for images of the actual Wills that had been lodged with the PCC for probate. In de la Plaigne’s case the document shows that Joseph was born at Bordeaux and was living in the Parish of St Anne’s, Westminster when he made the will.
To see a copy of the will and to read TheGenealogist’s full article on Sir Derek Jacobi’s family history click this link. TheGenealogist website has a broad suite of resources to find ancestors in the records.