The history of the Henzell family in France and the migration to England can be found in several publications dealing with the manufacture of glass in Europe and the introduction of glassmaking to England in the last quarter of the sixteenth century.


The material detailed here has been summarized from several sources in an attempt to draw together the many references into one story. Mention of the early history of the Henzey, Tyttery and Tyzack (De Hennezel, De Thitery and Du Thisac) families is given in Chenaye Desbois's "Dictionary of the Nobles of France", as follows:[1]


HENNEZEL ‑ "Original Nobility of the Kingdom of Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) of which the principal branch has been established in Lorraine for about four centuries. It has enjoyed, during that time; the first honors of the Provence, and has allied itself with the houses of the ancient aristocracy and assisted at the assizes. Several branches are actually spread in Champagne and other provinces of the Kingdom. Its luster is everywhere constantly maintained by great alliances, the possession of fifes and military dignities."


Glassmaking in France was considered a gentleman's occupation in which even noblemen might take part without loss of dignity, and Royal privileges were looked on as a patent of nobility. The first of this family, of whom any record is given by Desbois, is


1. Henry  Hennezel who married Isabeau D'Esche, 30th May, 1392. He was possessed of a manor and grounds of Bonvillet and Belrupt near Darney in the Vosges.


2. Henry De Hennezel, who was maitre d'hotel to Charles Duke of Lorraine. He was summoned to the assizes at Nancey in 1417.


3. Jean (Jehan) De Hennezel, married Damoiselle Beatrix de Braizey in 1446. He was named in the charter of glassmakers (1448); founded the village of Hennezel; believed to be the first of this family to practice glassmaking. Besides Didier he had two other sons Claude and Jehan. Claude had a son, posterity unknown.


‑ Didier De Hennezel's first marriage to Isabelle de Simony produced three children Guillaume, Nicholas and Christophe.


‑ Guliiame's son married Claudine de Montague (1538). This marriage produced the following family:


‑ Jacques, founder of the branch of LASYBILLE (Lorraine) extinct on the death of Nicholas in 1875, Jacques great great grandson Charles founded the branch of FRANCOGNEY, extinct since 1832 and his sons Charles and Leopold founded the branches of FRANCOGNEY LA PILLE and GEMMELACOURT respectively. Charles Francois assumed the title of Comte de Hennezel when the BEAUJEU branch (see below) became extinct.


‑ Antione and Pierre, posterity unknown.


- Humbert, founder of the branch of THOLOY, extinct on the death of Charles Louis Felix in 1866. Humbert's grandsons Nicholas and Pierre Louis founded the branch of BEAUMONT (posterity unknown) and of BEAUJEU,(his grandson being created a Count (now extinct).


‑ Josue, posterity unknown.


‑ Christopher, founder of the branch of ORMOIS of which branch Louis Charles Francois was made Count de Hennezel d'Ormois, great grandfather of the present Count from whose book this genealogy has been prepared.[2]


‑ Thiebaut, founder of the branch of ATTIGNEVILLE of which branch Charles Nicholas Antoine 1747‑1833 was created Baron de Hennezel, title extinct since 1882.


‑ Nicholas de Hennezel, founder of the branch of VIOMENIL‑ESSERT still in being (Switzerland) Nicholas' great grandson founded the branch of ST.MARTIN ROVERY (Switzerland), Nicholas grandson Hector founded the branch of CHAMPGINY, believed to be extinct. Hectors great great grandsons Remy Joseph and Claude Francois founded the branches of BAZOILLES (believed extinct since 1759) and BAZOILLES BELRUPT (extinct since 1683) respectively.


‑ Christophe de Hennezel married Catherine de Tyzac. He   resided in 1551 at Tourchon and died prior to 1581.


‑ Isaac, may have been the direct ancestor of Isaac Henza who resided in Newcastle, England. This assumption, whilst reasonable must be accepted with reservation for proof is needed before any definite connection can be made to the Henzell family residing in Newcastle from the early seventeenth century.[3]


Apart from Isaac there was Samuel and Jehan (posterity unknown).


‑ Adam and son Jeremie (posterity unknown).


‑ Didier de Hennezel, founder of the branch of LA TOCHERE (extinct since 1794). Didier's grandsons' Clement and Christophe founded the branches of AVRECOURT‑BEAUPRE (extinct since 1870) and RANGUILLY respectively.


‑ Claude de Hennezel who had issue Francois (posterity unknown).


‑ Francois de Hennezel (posterity unknown).





To understand the life lead by families such as the Henzells in the period 1400 to 1800 some discussion of the glassmaking trade could be of interest. An informative discussion can be found in a book by Ada Polak.[4] The book traces the history of glassmaking throughout England and Europe. Several references are made to the Hennezel, Thiétry and Biseval families.


Glass until the time of the industrial revolution was made from and worked exclusively with materials, which in their simplest form were easily accessible in many places. The basic materials required were sand, plants to burn for ash, lime to give stability, clay for pots, sandstone for furnaces, wood, coal or peat for fuel. Good sand was available in the Lorraine and Bohemia. The early English glassmakers in the Sussex Weald made do with local sand, but it did not make very good glass.


Guttery in his book "From Broad‑glass to Cut Crystal"[5], states that the de Hennezel, de Thiétry and du Thisac families had been "gentlemen, tramps and broad‑glass makers" and from the early fifteenth century when they left the woods of Bohemia and began their long trek to the Darney Forest in the Vosges. This statement conflicts with other record that state that the families were already established in the late fourteenth century. The supply of fuel dictated the sites of the furnaces and when exhausted they moved to another site. The Vosges forests seemed to provide an inexhaustible supply.


Glassmaking appears to have originated in the Middle East and gradually moved to the West via Italy. Forest glassworks started to appear in the 13th century in the form of mobile workshops. Workers moved from place to place as fuel supplies were exhausted. Good areas for the glassmakers were Lorraine, Thurngar, Hessen and the Bohemian Forest.


France was the centre of the manufacture of flat glass for use in buildings. In the Middle Ages the Lorraine was the centre of this industry.


The glasshouse required a large staff of qualified workmen of many different skills. The head of the enterprise was the glass‑house master, known in French as "maitre verrier". He knew the secrets of glassmaking and its constitution and was responsible for mixing the batch. He planned the work‑program for each day, decided what was to be made in what quantities, and divided the men into teams. His duties were once defined to:


"keep a watchful eye on the furnaces and to see that all that is necessary to bring and keep a furnace and glass‑house in good order was available: wood for fuel, clay for pots, stone for furnaces, ash and other materials, and take care that nothing is missing as great trouble can ensue; he shall see that hard‑working journeymen are retained, and shall keep them in order, also see that nobody sells or takes home his work for the week, but make sure that everyone each week gives what he has done to the glass‑house clerk."


The glass‑house master, seems normally to have risen from the ranks of glassmakers, and could when necessary work alongside his men. He occupied a very high position in the hierarchy of the glassmaking world. He lived in a house of his own, while glassmakers lived in rows of tenement houses. He took important decisions about finance and other matters that concerned them all; he negotiated with landlords, entrepreneurs and management; in some cases he actually owned the glasshouse. Among the glassmakers his authority was great; he settled disputes among them, as well as meting out reprimands and punishments. At best he was a dignified and paternal figure, whose authority men accepted without question or demur.


Before the 18th century window glass was a luxury. Only the rich could afford to glaze their windows. The poor were more likely to use shutters, strips of animal horn or oiled cloth. Windows became bigger as factories began to produce cheaper glass by the crown or cylinder method, but individual panes were small due to the limitations of these blowing methods.


The Henzell family were skilled in making flat or window‑glass. Makers of window‑glass, or "grand verre" as the French called it, were in many ways the aristocrats among glassmakers. They could produce flat glass either by blowing a large cylinder, which split along the side and flattened out, or by the crown method. Crown glass windowpanes were made by gathering molten glass onto the blowpipe and blowing it into a large sphere. An iron rod known as a pontil was attached to the sphere opposite to the blowpipe, which was then cracked off. The glass sphere was then re‑heated and spun rapidly to cause it to open out into a slightly concave disc, over a meter in diameter, known as a table. This was separated from the pontil and cooled gradually in the annealing kiln. When cooled it was cut into small panes. Either method required great physical strength from the glassblowers (no fewer than eight men were needed to make a Normanby crown), and considerable financial risks were involved in making one of these, the largest of the glassblowers' products.


The crown or table of window glass was marked into panes and when cut would produce about a square meter of glass. The glass often had a pale greenish tinge and slight imperfections. The point where the pontil was attached, the bullion or 'bull', was regarded as a waste product but sometimes used as a cheaper second. In time the bullion glass became fashionable as a period detail. The waste around the edge of the crown was either cut into smaller panes or re‑cycled as cullet in a new batch.


The Multimedia encyclopedia has a short history of glassmaking, which is quoted below:




Glass was used in Egypt for decorative objects, mainly as a colored glaze on stone or pottery beads, before 3000 BC.  The art of making glass was perfected about 1500 BC in Egypt and the Near East.  GLASSBLOWING, which was probably discovered about 50 BC in Phoenicia, greatly extended the type of objects which could be made of glass.  It also made them easier to fabricate and more transparent.  The art of glassblowing spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire, while special centers of glassmaking were established in Phoenicia, Rome, Egypt, the Rhineland, and the Rhone Valley.  GLASSWARE became common and relatively inexpensive.


For many centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, glassmaking decreased in importance in Western Europe, as did many other technologies and arts, and artistic glass almost disappeared.  In Byzantium, however, Greek and Syrian glass centers continued to prosper.


Beginning in the 11th century, several new centers of glassmaking arose in Western Europe.  In Bohemia, ash from plants (potash, which is high in potassium) was used as a raw material to make a glass with a lower melting point.  The most important European center of glassmaking developed near Venice, where new compositions, colors, forming techniques, and artistic skills were developed.  The Venetians added manganese, in the form of the mineral pyrolucite, to oxidize iron impurities in glass, clarifying the glass and removing the green or brown tint caused by the reduced state of iron.  By adding lead, borate, and more soda to glass they increased its working temperature range and were able to make more intricate shapes, thinner blown glass, and finer enamels.  They also learned to color the glass with special additives.  Although the Venetians tried to protect their proprietary knowledge of glassmaking by making it illegal for technicians to emigrate, many escaped anyway and spread the new techniques throughout Europe.  Nevertheless Venetian glass was preeminent in Europe until the 18th century.

So‑called crystal was developed in England in the late 17th century to compete with Venetian cristallo glass.  Purer raw materials, oxidation of iron, and addition of lead gave a more transparent glass; this transparency, together with the higher index of refraction resulting from the addition of lead, gave sparkle to faceted cut glass.  London became an important center of glassmaking at this time.


In the 19th century techniques of glassmaking advanced rapidly. The scientific community's growing need for improved optical glass stimulated the development of manufacturing processes that would strictly control bubbles, stria, refractive index, and color.  Michael FARADAY advanced scientific understanding of glass and characterized it as "a solution of different substances, rather than a strong chemical compound," a view that is still valid.

Clay pots heated by a wood fire were used to melt glass until the end of the 18th century, when coal and then oil and gas became the preferred fuel.  Pot or batch melting of glass is used today only for specialty, laboratory, and certain optical glasses.


Production of Flat Glass for Windows


Traditionally, window glass was made by hand by either the crown or cylinder process.  In the crown process a gob of glass was blown out and one side of the resulting globe was flattened.  A solid iron rod was attached to the flat part and the blowing pipe detached.  The globe was then reheated and rotated until it formed a flat disc about one meter (3 feet) in diameter.  Panes of glass were cut from the disc after it was slowly cooled.  The part attached to the rod was the "bull's eye," which can still be seen in some older windows.  In the cylinder process the blower made a large cylinder that was then split open and flattened. Cylinder glass was also made by machine.



Glassmaking was a highly exclusive craft, being based on secrets, which were carefully preserved among members of certain families. Close and easy co‑operation between the members of a working team was of vital importance to successful glassmaking, and this was most easily assured within a family framework, fathers working with sons, brothers alongside brothers and cousins.


It was a rule that "nobody shall teach glassmaking to anyone whose father has not been known to glassmaking". The regulations among the glassmakers of Lorraine were even more stringent. Here the art of "le grand verre" was permitted to be practiced only by male children of legitimate marriages within the families of Hennezel, Thiétry, Thisac and Biseval. When sons of these families entered the craft at the age of twelve they had to swear "on the peril of the damnation of their souls and the risk of what part they might have in Paradise, not to teach, show, instruct, directly or indirectly, the said noble art, usage and science of making flat glass" to anyone outside.


In some areas the glassmaking profession carried with it noble rank. Most famous of the glassmakers are "les gentilshommes verriers" of France. The idea of a French nobleman being a hard‑working glassmaker seems hard to accept but some French glassmakers were of noble rank. In the Charter granted by the Duke of Lorraine to the glassmakers of that area of 1448, they were described as "gens nobles extraits de noble linge".


Some of the privileges granted to French glassmakers, such as freedom from taxes, were of a kind which naturally went with noble rank; the fact they lived on the land, some of them in manorial style, gave an aristocratic appearance to their daily lives. What divided them from the higher grades of nobility was that they worked for their livelihood by the sweat of their brows and that they leased their land from a landlord against the payment of rent.


Once glassmaking became dispersed, family names were held in great respect, and when a Continental glassmaker was engaged by some foreign patron it was a great asset to be a Perrotto from Altare, a Gerner from central Germany or a Hennezel or Thizac from Lorraine.



To understand why many of the glassmaking and other craftsmen left France for England and other countries a short discussion of French politics and religion of the time is useful.


The De Hennezels and their connections the De Thiétry and Du Thisacs were Huguenots, and were driven to England probably by the first persecution in the second half of the sixteenth century.


The term "Huguenot" was used commonly by 1560's to describe French Protestants. As French Protestants became more closely organised, it became even more enmeshed in politics and in sixteenth‑century conditions any movement which undermined the legally sanctioned Church was bound to cause political problems.  The Church was vitally important to the State, so an attack on its structure would not be welcomed. The enormous wealth of the Church provided the Crown with taxation revenues and a major source of patronage through which its servants were rewarded.


The Calvinist organization was becoming stronger and provided a link between provinces, while Calvinist belief offered a means of binding together the interests of noblemen and artisans. As a result Monarchs found themselves confronted with whole regions of rebellion, linked by ideology and an organizational structure led by the ruling class. This helps to explain the bitterness, which existed in France leading up to the civil wars.


Protestant persecution intensified after the edict of Chateaubriand of 1551. Serious problems in the Royal family following the death of Henry II and a succession of young Kings, Francis II aged 15 followed by Charles IX aged 9 who was dominated by his mother the Regent, Catherine de Medici. Henry III (1574‑89) proved unable to win the trust of his subjects, and his reign was notable for its intrigue, assassination and bloodshed.


The peace of Chateau‑Camresis (1559) brought about mainly by economic exhaustion of European powers engaged in war, bought some lasting peace, but rising prices put pressure on the population and nobility who had spent years fighting for the Crown for no reward. The Regent Catherine de Medici and her royal offspring attempted to find religious agreement between the Catholic and Calvinist leaders. On one hand there were the militant Catholics who controlled most of the army, and on the other Huguenots with their Genevan ties and led by nobles who commanded regional strength. Amongst the most influential were the houses of Guise, in Lorraine together with other houses throughout France who had a vested interest in seeing that Crown privilege did not fall into the hands of the opposition.



Catherine hoped for a military stalemate but this was only achieved after the civil war. Neither side had the strength to dominate. Periods of peace ensued only to be followed by further violence. The Huguenots were guaranteed some protection from the military following the Peace of St Germain in 1570 at the end of the third war. This peace was shattered by the Massacre of St Bartholomew in 1572, which began in Paris and spread to the provinces. The massacre changed Huguenot attitudes and prospects and hit the nobility particularly hard.


These conditions in France led to the Huguenot migrations to England from 1520 and especially the 1560's and 1570's. This was the period when the first Henzells moved to England.


The Huguenots, although a neglected minority, were active over a wide front. They were important in the development of the arts, crafts and horticulture, in insurance and The Bank of England and in the development of silk, textile, paper and glassware industries.


     [1]Chenaye Desbois "Dictionary of the Nobles of France", second edition, Vol.8, pages 25-31, published 1774.

     [2]Henzell d'Ornois, J.M.F. de. "Gentilbommes verriers de la Haute-Picardie, Nogent-le-Ratvov, Charles-Fontaine, 1933.

     [3]The genealogy of the Isaac Henzells - a family tree tracing the history of a branch of the Henzell family of Newcastle throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

     [4]Ada Polak, GLASS - its makers and its public, Windfield & Nicholson, London.

     [5]Guttery, D.R., From Broad-glass to Cut Crystal, A history of the Stoubridge Glass Industry, Leonard Hill [Books] Ltd., London, 1956.

Gwynn, Robin D., Huguenot Heritage, The history and contribution of the Huguenots in Britain, Roulledge & Kegan, London, 1985.