Stephen Romilly was born in Montpellier in 1684. In 1701 he went to Geneva where he met Jacques Saurin and together they made their way to England. Stephen settled in Hoxton, where he established a bleaching business and married Judith de Monsaillier. Together they had four sons. Sadly Stephen died in poverty in 1733.
Stephen and Judith’s third son, Peter, became a prosperous jeweller in Soho. His son became the eminent lawyer Sir Samuel Romilly. Sir Samuel became Solicitor General and was one of the recognised leaders of the Chancery bar. He was also MP for Queenborough and was a director of the French Hospital.
As a lawyer Samuel was known as “a man of mercy, reason and eloquence, he tackled with vigour the tendency of contemporary English criminal law to resort to the death penalty for trifling offences”.