Humfrey, William

SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
[br]
b. c.1515
d. 14 July 1579
[br]
English goldsmith and Assay Master of the Royal Mint who attempted to introduce brass production to England.
[br]
William Humfrey, goldsmith of the parish of St Vedast, was appointed Assay Master of the Royal Mint in 1561. At the Tower of London he assumed responsibility for the weight of silver and for production standards at a time of intense activity in recoining the debased coinage of the realm. Separation of copper from the debased silver involved liquation techniques which enabled purification of the recovered silver and copper. German co-operation in introducing these methods to England developed their interest in English copper mining, resulting in the formation of the Mines Royal Company. Shareholders in this government-led monopoly included Humfrey, whose assay of Keswick copper ore, mined with German expertise, was bitterly disputed. As a result of this dispute, Humfrey promoted the formation of a smaller monopoly, the Company of Mineral Battery Works, with plans to mine lead and especially the zinc carbonate ore, calamine, using it to introduce brassmaking and wire manufacture into England. Humfrey acquired technical assistance from further skilled German immigrants, relying particularly on Christopher Schutz of Annaberg in Saxony, who claimed experience in such matters. However, the brassmaking project set up at Tintern was abandoned by 1569 after failure to make a brass suitable for manufacturing purposes. The works changed its production to iron wire. Humfrey had meanwhile been under suspicion of embezzlement at the Tower in connection with his work there. He died intestate while involved in litigation regarding infringement of rights and privileges claimed from his introduction of new techniques in later lead-mining activities under the auspices of the Company of Mineral and Battery Works.
[br]
Further Reading
M.B.Donald, 1961, Elizabethan Monopolies, London: Oliver \& Boyd (the most detailed account).
——1955, Elizabethan Copper, reprinted 1989, Michael Moon.
JD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Humfrey — can refer to* William Humfrey, goldsmith and Assay Master to Queen Elizabeth I of England. * Humfrey Malins, British Conservative polititican. * Humfry Payne (1902 1936), English archaeologist * Various fictional characters in The family of… …   Wikipedia

  • William Humfrey — (also Humphrey or Humphreys) (d 1579) was a goldsmith and Assay Master to Queen Elizabeth I of England. He had a patent from the Queen for the mining of various ores and the extraction of metals from their ores. These rights were transferred to… …   Wikipedia

  • William Turner (composer) — William Turner (1651 Oxford ndash;13 January 1740 London) was an English composer and singer. Turner began his musical training at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford as a chorister under Edward Lowe. In the early 1660s he became a chorister at the… …   Wikipedia

  • William Humphrey (disambiguation) — William Humphrey may refer to:*William E. Humphrey, American politician, d.1932 *William Humfrey, also spelt William Humphrey , goldsmith to Queen Elizabeth I of England, d.1579 *William Humphrey (writer), American novelist, d.1997 *William J.… …   Wikipedia

  • William Salesbury — also Salusbury (c. 1520 c. 1584) was the leading Welsh scholar of the Renaissance and the principal translator of the 1567 Welsh New Testament.Salesbury was born in about 1520 in the parish of Llansannan, Conwy. He was educated at Oxford… …   Wikipedia

  • William Crowne — William Crowne, (1617 ndash; 1682), had a varied career as an officer of arms, a Member of Parliament, a colonel during the English civil war, and one of the early colonists of North America. He was also the father of the playwright John… …   Wikipedia

  • Humfrey Wanley — (21 March 1672 at the Vicarage House adjoining Jesus Hall, Coventry 6 July 1726, of dropsy, at Clarges Street, Hanover Square, Piccadilly) was a librarian, palaeographer and scholar of Old English, employed by manuscript collectors such as Robert …   Wikipedia

  • William Humphreys — may refer to: *William J. Humphreys, US politician *William Humphreys Jackson, d.1909 *William Humfrey, also written William Humphreys , Elizabethan goldsmithee also*William Humphrey (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • Humfrey — This most interesting and curious surname is ultimately of Old French origin, and is a Welsh patronymic form of Humphrey, which derives from the Old French male personal name Humfrey , composed of the Germanic elements hun , bear cub, and frid,… …   Surnames reference

  • Humfrey, Pelham — ▪ English composer born 1647 or 1648 died July 14, 1674, Windsor, Berkshire, Eng.       English composer and lutenist, especially admired for his anthems and sacred solo songs.       Humfrey was a chorister in the Chapel Royal under Capt. Henry… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.