K1024 2017   Kirche und altes Pfarrhaus

In 1698 and 1699, Henri Arnaud, officer, minister and Waldensian leader, led a group of Waldensian religious refugees from the Chisone Valley / Pragelato Valley through Switzerland to their future home in Wuerttemberg. The “Colony of Simmozheim” was founded on 1st September, 1700 which subsequently became Neuhengstett. The first settlers, 28 families with a total of 134 persons, initially named their new home “Bourcet”. As from 1716, the settlement was officially named “Neuhengstett”.


At first, the settlers did not build any solid houses, but rather sheds, because they hoped that one day they would return to their home country. Life was harsh and austere, but was influenced by an unwavering faith in God. This is also expressed in the Waldensian motto: “Lux lucet in tenebris” (A light shines in the dark).

They retained their language, a French dialect, the so-called “Patois” until 1823. After that, it was officially prohibited at church and at school. Nowadays, no one is able to speak the original dialect and only the French surnames and field names remind us of the past.