Jacques/James Hanyset (before 1517-1560)

Jacques was among the first ‘Hunnisetts’ in England, arriving from France in about 1517. ‘Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalisation for Aliens in England’ (Huguenot Society of London Vol VIII) has the following entry for 14 April 1541:

Jakes Hanyset from France - In England 24 years, having an alien wife.

The 1541 denization rolls were a result of Henry VIII believing that war with France was imminent so he needed to identify those aliens living in England. Unfortunately the records don’t give us their ages or how long they had been married. It is possible that Jacques had come to England as a child and that his parents had died by 1541.

Jakes Hanizett was assessed for the sum of 4 shillings in the 1543 Subsidy Rolls for the Hundred of Rotherfield. This was the highest assessment recorded for aliens for whom the poll tax was 2d and anything above that was paid on goods, for which the minimum was 4d on goods worth £1. Jacques clearly had a substantial income and was almost certainly the one recorded in the 1541 Denization Rolls.

The hundred of Rotherfield contained the parishes of Rotherfield and Frant and the parish registers of Frant contain a few ‘Hunnisett’ entries in the 1540s although none specifically mention Jacques. An infant John Hanneset was buried in 1544; Elizabeth daughter of James Hanneset was baptised in 1545; and Elizabeth daughter of John Hanneset was baptised in 1546. Hunnisetts were clearly living in this area in the 1540s and as James is the English form of Jacques it may be that the 1545 baptism refers to him.

Some years later and 25 miles to the West the parish records of Horsham, which date back to 1540, show that a number of Hunnisetts were living in this area from at least 1556 and of particular interest is James the Finer. A number of entries seem to refer to him and his family:

1 Aug 1556 Mercy Hanysue, wife of Jaques, sponsor for two baptisms
4 Jul 1558 Parnell Onysed, daughter of James the Finer, buried
2 Dec 1558 Marcy Onysed, wife of James, buried
23 May 1559 James Henwysee married Anne Carle
17 Mar 1561 Anne Henwysey, widow, sponsor for baptism

The last of these entries shows that James died between 1559 and 1561. James Henesye of Nuthurst, an adjacent parish, made a will on 3 July 1560 and was buried there four days later. There is little doubt that this is the same James and suggests that he lived near the border between the two parishes. Unfortunately the Nuthurst parish records only date back to 1559 otherwise more entries may have been found for him.

James may well have worked at the nearby St Leonard’s Forge, known to have been operating in 1561 and possibly since 1547. It is likely that James was the Jakes Hanyset who appeared in the denization rolls in 1541 and lived in Frant in the early 1540s. His will indicates that he had children who were at least teenagers and a daughter Elizabeth who may well have been the one baptised in Frant in 1545.

The following is extracted from a transcript of James’ will:

……The yere of our Lorde God 1560, 3 July, I James Henesye of the parishe of Nutthurste …….
……Fyrste, I will that Agnes and Elizabethe my daughters, ether of them a cowe, and ether of them a fether bed, and eche of them iij payre of shetes.
I will that Nicholas my sonne to have my cloake, and Peter my sonne my best coate, and the resydewe of my rayement to be devided betwene the foresaiede Nicholas and Peter.

The fact that he left clothes to his sons suggests that they were not small children but perhaps fully grown and certainly children by a previous wife, possibly Mercy.

Of James’ surviving children:

  • Peter appears to have married Katherine Lambert in Horsham on 24 June 1565. They had a daughter, Dorothy, the following year but she died while only a few days old. Peter appears to have been buried in Nuthust on 18 May 1576.
  • A Nicholas Henwise had a son Hugh baptised in Horsham on 12 May 1567.
  • Elizabeth probably married Lambert Barnowe in Horsham on 1 August 1574.