1619, Paul Vinion asks for permission to make glass despite a new royal prohibition

Paule Vinion. SP 14/105 f. 25 (1619)

To the Kinges most excellent majestie

The humble petition of Paule Vinion.

Sheweth that whereas your peticioner haveing bene from his childehood exercised and trayned up in the mistery of arte of glasse makeing which hath alwaies bene the meanes of his livelyhood and maintenance, and that before your majesties proclamacion of restrainte from the said trade, your petitioner had provided and laid to the value of 250 pounds in a stock of wood and other materialles to be imploied and used in his said trade of glasse makeing for the which stock hee standeth still indebted unto divers of his freinds to whome he is no waies able to make payment or satisfaccion nor keepe and maintaine himselfe from misery and out of prison, unlesse your majestie be soe gracious unto him, as to grant him [leave?] for the space of 14 moneths to worke out his wood and materialles for his saide [trade?] provided: the like have bene granted unto Isaack Bungard and Edward [and?] Tobie Hensey glasse makers by the right honourable the lordes of your majesties most honourable privie counsell

Most humblie therefore [beseecheth?] your royall majestie that you would be pleased out of your princely […ency?] and in comisseracion of his poore and distressed estate to allowe and grant your petitioner your gracious leave that hee may worke out his said materialles for the time before specified

And hee (according to his bounden duty) shall daylie pray to the lord to blesse you with many peacefull and happie yeeres.

[paratext:] At the court at Royston 10 January 1618 / His majestie is gratiously pleased that the lords of his majesties most honourable privie councell doe consider of the contentes of this peticion and thereupon [make?] such order for the peticioner touchinge his request as their lordships in their wisedomes shall thinke fytt. / Raphe Freman / Paul Vinion

Report by Sally O’Donnell

This is one of a series of petitions submitted in response to the King James I’s ‘Proclamation touching Glasses’ issued in 1615.[1]  James I had passed this proclamation in an effort to protect ‘Wood and Timber’, because ‘that timber thereof is not only great and large in height and bulk, but hath also that toughnesse and heart, as it is not subject to rive or cleave, and thereby of excellent bie for shipping, as if God Almightie which had ordained this Nation to be mighty by Sea and navigation’.  The concern was that the ‘wastfull destruction and consumption of them … hath been exceeding great and intolerable by the Glass-houses and Glasse-workes, of late in divers parts erected’.  It points out that new methods have been discovered and perfected to make glass with ‘sea-cole, pit-cole and other fewell, without any manner of wood’.  It also prohibited the importing of ‘any manner, kind, or fashion of Glasse or Glasses whatsoever’.[2]

This was not the first legislation passed to protect the woods and forests, Colin Clark in his thesis on ‘The Glass Industry in the Woodland Economy of the Weald’, refers to previous laws passed by Henry VIII and Elizabeth, who were becoming increasingly concerned about the timber shortages.  Timber was used for house building, domestic fuel and as fuel in various industries but in particular, for the building of Navy ships.[3]

However, although this petition in January 1619 is on behalf of Paule Vinion, he was detained with Peter Comley.  In fact, Vinion and Comely (Comley), who made green drinking glasses with wood fuel in Sussex, were the last of the wood-burning glassmakers called in person before the Privy Council[4] and this was at the instigation of Sir Robert Mansell.[5]  Jose Bellido also refers ‘refers to the two glass makers arrested in 1618 ‘for infringing the monopoly (using wood rather than coal) and that they were only released once they entered bonds guaranteeing good behaviour in the future’.[6]

On the 4 May 1618 Sir Robert Mansell makes a request to Sir George Calvert, Clerk of the Council, that Paul Vinion and Peter Comley, glass makers, against whom he complained for making glass with wood, contrary to the King’s proclamation may be released on bond not to repeat the offence.[7]

Then on 10 January 1619 Paul Vinion petitions the King for permission to work up the stock of materials for glass-making, which he had laid in before the King’s proclamation of restraint.  He also offers to pay Sir Robert Mansell for permission or to sell him his materials.  Paul’s further petition for licence to make green drinking glasses ‘would greatly prejudice him (Sir Robert Mansell) in his patent for the sole manufacture of glass and is founded on fallacious statements’.[8]

Sir Robert Mansell was a dominant figure in glass making at this time.  He was an Admiral and when he retired in 1617 acquired an interest in the glasshouse of Sir Edward Zouch.  Then around the same time he built the Broad Street Glasshouse in the City of London for the making of crystal glass. In 1623 he succeeded in obtaining a patent granting him a monopoly for producing all sorts of glassware made by using coal and he maintained this until 1642.[9]  However, there were several attempts to break his monopoly, led mainly by Isaac Bungay (Isaack Bungard, Bungar),[10] mentioned in the original petition along with Edward and Tobie Hensey (Henzey).

Isaac Bungar (Bungard) was the English-born son of Peter Bungar (Pierre de Bongard) who came with Jean Carré from Normandy to Alford in the Weald of England. The Bungar family included many English glass-makers of the 16th and 17th centuries and specialised in window glass.  Isaac and his brother, Ferrand made Crown glass and by 1605 had secured a monopoly in the London window glass market.[11] He is described as a ‘determined and truculent’ character who managed to take control of the market by undercutting any opponent’s prices.[12]  Furthermore, Isaac engaged in a lasting feud with Sir Robert Mansell over the question of phasing out wood-furnaces in favour of coal.  Unfortunately, with the emergence of Newcastle glass onto the market in quantity, Sir Robert was eventually able to close Bungar’s glasshouse.[13]

However, he was not alone; in 1618 Daniel Henzey was ordered into custody for setting up glassworks and making glass in Sussex, followed by two Tiswicks (Tyzacks) and four more Henzeys, including Edward of West Barrow Greene and Tobias of Alford (both mentioned in the original petition).  But it seems they were not required to ‘extinguish their furnaces immediately and were allowed to run down their stocks of wood before switching to coal’.  The leniency was due to a shortage of glass, but they were required to deliver all glass produced to Mansell.[14]

The Tyzacks and the Henzeys were descendants of the original French glassworkers that arrived from Lorraine in the first half of the 16th century.  Some settled in the Weald of Kent where there was already a flourishing glass industry[15] and others established themselves in the north of England.  In 1556 for example, refugees from Hungary and Lorraine, whose leader was Henzoil Henzey, took up residence in Old Swinford on the Worcester and Staffordshire border.[16]  The Proclamation of 1615 led to the cessation of the industry in the Weald and many of the glassmakers from the area also moved north.

Many of the descendants of the Lorraine glass making families were linked by marriage.  Records show that Peter Comly married Joan Vinion (Vimon) in 1592 at St Andrew Hubbard, London.[17]  Tobias  Hensy married Susan Bungar in 1610 in Sussex.[18]  Furthermore in the will of Angel Apple, widow of Alford in the Weald of Kent (Surrey Archdeaconry Court 1592) she leaves the majority of her estate to her son, John Vinion; other beneficiaries include her sons Peter and Paul Vinion (£100 each at their marriage) and to Peter Comlye £10 in three months, possibly on his marriage to her daughter, Jane (Joan).  Her daughters Jane (Joan) and Mary also get £100 each at marriage and all her household goods except the bed in the middle chamber and its trappings.[19]


  1. By the King: A Proclamation touching Glasses. Proclamations 1615 James I, Imprinted at London by Robert Barker
  2. A Proclamation touching Glasses and ‘James 1 – volume 80: May 1615’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1611-18, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1858), pp. 285-288. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1611-18/pp285-288.
  3. The Glass Industry in the Woodland Economy of the Weald, Colin J Clark, 2006 http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/15153/1/485886.pdf
  4. The Glass Industry of the Weald, G H Kenyon, Leicester University Press, 1967, page 140
  5. Some account of Sir Robert Mansell, Vice Admiral of England and member of Parliament for County of Glamorgan, George T Clark, Dowlais, 1883, page 20
  6. Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property Law, Jose Bellido, page 9
  7. ‘James 1 – volume 97: May 1618’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1611-18, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1858), pp. 538-542. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1611-18/pp538-542.
  8. A History of Glassmaking in London and its Development on the Thames South Bank, David C Watts, 2009; and ‘James 1 – volume 105: January 1619’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1619-23, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1858), pp. 1-10. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1619-23/pp1-10 .
  9. Illustrated Dictionary of Glass, Harold Newman, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London 1977
  10. Ibid, page 53
  11. Ibid
  12. A History of Glassmaking in London and its Development on the Thames South Bank, David C Watts, 2009, page 45
  13. Ibid
  14. Ibid, page 47
  15. The Glass Industry in the Woodland Economy of the Weald, Colin J Clark, 2006 http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/15153/1/485886.pdf
  16. ‘Parishes: Old Swinford’, in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3 (London, 1913), pp. 213-223. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/worcs/vol3/pp213-223.
  17. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBPRS%2FM%2F710675519%2F2
  18. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/86262134/person/38531667122/facts?_phsrc=OzA1169&_phstart=successSource
  19. https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=OR%2FSSL%2FWILLS%2F00087364 and https://www.ancestry.co.uk/interactive/1704/31787_A040359-00014?pid=438802&treeid=&personid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=OzA1164&_phstart=successSource


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, 1600-1625’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.