Peter Henesit (1540s? - 1593) Hammerman of Westfield

Peter is the first of the Hunnisett family whose descendants can be traced to the present day and he was almost certainly a descendant of one of the early immigrants from Namur. Although we don't know when or where Peter was baptised we do know that he married Clemens Tole in Fletching, Sussex, on 28 August 1569. At this time he was probably working at Sheffield Forge in Fletching or at Fletching Forge. Both were owned by Lord Buckhurst and Fletching Forge was run by Richard Leeche. Peter and Clemence are known to have had the following children:


ca. 1571


14 Feb 1575/6

bapt. at Mountfield


25 Aug 1577

bapt. at Mountfield


9 Jul 1580

bapt. at Mountfield


7 Apr 1583

bapt. at Mountfield


24 Sep 1586

bapt. at Westfield



bapt. at Westfield (page incomplete)

Peter was a hammerman (a person who worked crude iron into wrought iron) and he must have moved to Mountfield in the early 1570’s. Here he would probably have worked at Mountfield Furnace and Forge, which was active at the time and run by Richard Weekes. After about 10 years at Mountfield he moved to Westfield where he (and his son Clement, who also became a hammerman) would have worked at Westfield (Crowham) Forge which had opened between 1574 and 1580.  A canon, dredged from the stream there, is now displayed in the Anne of Cleeves Museum in Lewes.

On 9 January 1592/3 Peter made a will, extracts from which are shown below.

..... The ixth day of January 1592: I Peter Honisett of the parish of Westfield in the countie of Sussex hammerman .....

..... my bodye to be buryed in the churchyard of Westfield ....

..... to my sonne John Honisett one colte & foure sheepe .....

..... to Clement Honisett my sonne one cowe, one twelvemonthlinge, and four sheepe .....

..... unto Joane Honisett my daughter one cowe, and a twelvemonthlinge, and one shepe .....

..... unto James my sonne one sheep ......

...... All the residue of my goods and chattles whatsoever I give and bequeathe to ...... Clemence my wife ......

Of Peter's children:

  • Clement married Anne Hunt in 1593/4.
  • James Hannison married Priscilla Vinten in Crowhurst in 1609. James Hunneset was buried in Westfield on 4 April 1614. Clement of Hastings may have been their son.
  • Joane married John Tassill in Westfield on 21 October 1604. She was buried there on 18 May 1624.
  • Peter married Katherine Beldam in Westfield on 3 February 1611/12 and they had a son Clement baptised in Westfield on 18 December 1614. Peter was buried on 9 July 1632 and Katherine on 9 December 1637. His son Clement may have been the Clement who lived in Westfield, had a son Peter in 1650, and was buried in 1667.