Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Tyneside. North-East England
I gather Richard H. Bezdek passed away recently; and going by the one publication of his that I have acquired, I have to declare it is a tremendous loss to the sword collecting community.
So I want to do two things here (and Mr Moderator, if I am breaking forum rules please forgive me and delete, then I will know not to make the same mistake again), first, to acknowledge just how much work the man did in this field; and second, to clarify the beginnings of the Shotley Bridge endeavours - following my indication in an earlier post that it began with Johannes Dell (Bell), Peter Henekels and Heinrich Hoppe in 1685.
I will now quote from Mr Bezdek's book, because he has collated the odds and ends of information I had previously discovered quite perfectly, and if I had read his book first I could have saved myself a lot of searching:
Swords and Swordmakers of England and Scotland.
It all started when Sir John Heyden, while on a diplomatic mission in Holland (probably Rotterdam) on behalf of King Charles I, encountered some German swordsmiths. The Germans were supposedly refugees fleeing from the terrors of the Thirty Years War. He persuaded some of them to immigrate to England and work under royal patronage.
These swordsmiths were members of several sword-related crafts from Solingen, including Schwertschmeides (swordsmiths), Klingenschmieldes (bladesmiths/blade forgers), Schwertschleifer (sword/blade grinders), Schwertfegers (sword/blade polishers), and Schwertharters (sword/blade hardeners).
The route to England from Solingen went through the Netherlands and coastal Holland to Rotterdum and then to London. That is why many documents of the time referred to the Solingen Germans who immigrated to England as Dutch and why they called their blades Dutch blades.
The leading Germans who set up blade mills were bladesmiths of some stature in Solingen (i.e., guild members) who employed other Germans.
The following German bladesmiths (probably blade mill owners) signed their blades:
Peter Munsten the Younger (changed name to Peter English), c. 16291642
Johann Kindt (Kinndt, Kennett), c. 16291659
Johannes Hoppe (Hoppie) the Younger, c. 16331642
Caspar Karn (Carnis), c. 16291642
Clemens (Clamas) Meigen, c. 16291642
Caspar Fleiseh, c. 16291642
Johannes Dell (Bell), c. 16491685
Other known German swordsmiths and bladesmiths working in Hounslow were:
Johann Konigs (Connyne), c. 16291642
Clemens Horn the Younger, c.16291642
Ceile Herder, c. 16491659
Peter Henekels (Henkell), c. 16601685
Johannes Meigen, c. 16291642
Heinrich (Henry) Hoppe (Hoppie) the Elder, c.16291642
Joseph Hoppe Hoppie, c. 16291642
When the parliamentary forces took over the Hounslow sword and blade center in 1642, they confiscated the mills of the German bladesmiths obedient to the king. The only bladesmiths to remain obedient to the parliamentary forces were the Germans Johann Kindt (Kinndt), Ceile Herder and Johannes Dell (Bell); and Englishman Henry Risby.
The other German bladesmiths followed King Charles I to his new headquarters at Oxford, where they would have worked at the blade mill at Glouster Hall, Oxford, or the sword mill at Wolvercote, near Oxford. They were Peter Munsten (English) the Younger, Caspar Fleisch, Clemens Horn the Younger, Johannes Hoppe (Hoppie) the Younger, Heinrich (Henry) Hoppe (Hoppie) the Elder, Johannes Meigen, Clemens (Clames) Meigen, and Caspar Karn (Carnis).
OK, back to me:
The perspicacious amongst you will note the absence of Peter Henekels; an oversight probably or... where was he before he showed up at Shotley Bridge? It's just such little mysteries that have me chasing red herrings but occasionally turning up interesting facts along the way.
Respect, Mr. Bezdek.