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Was Richard Hyckes Successful?

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Barcheston Church
Barcheston Church
©Hilary L. Turner

Only 12 men are known to have worked at Barcheston in the forty years it is thought to have functioned, 1570-1611. Of those, some are found amongst the arras men in the Great Wardrobe in London at age when they could have completed an apprenticeship - Henry Geerts, aged 33 and Richard Cattell, aged 24. Others, with personal links to the area but not necessarily to the workshop, include Simon Mumford of Brailes, Joas Dowler of Shipston, Anthony Diston and William Huckvale. Hyckes, as Queen’s arras maker, probably found them the job - but it suggests there was little local market for tapestry.

More on Émigré Weavers in London: Index of pdf files

Finding the weavers (pdf) -->

How much tapestry was produced, and for what market, is also difficult to ascertain. A family friend paid for his coat of arms to be woven in 1568. Law suits reveal the steward of another family friend tricked Hyckes into parting with a tapestry never ordered by his master and later sold on; Barcheston's vicar was accused of not paying for four pieces of tapestry provided by Hyckes; another man demanded hangings for two rooms and furnishings for a bed to be provided as part of the settlement of a debt owed by Ralph Sheldon (pdf file).  


©Hilary L. Turner

None of these tapestries is known to survive, even if they were ever woven. If they were, only one - with the coat of arms - could possibly be identified. Without them, there are no certain clues to the kind of tapestry or to its standard, Hyckes, or any one he trained, was capable of weaving.

There are only three wills written by tapestry weavers although Worcester diocesan records have preserved vast numbers for other trades. One was an arras man who owned a sword and dagger, a horse with saddle and bridle and £116, in cash. Another was clearly a cloth weaver, although he had also worked in the Great Wardrobe in London.

The third is Richard Hyckes' will, written in October 1621. He was only moderately well off when he died. He bequeathed £21 in cash and goods to his two children, Alice Huckvale and his son Francis, who followed him into the business. They also inherited the lease of a property in Shipston on Stour for three lives which would produce a rent.



More on Francis Hyckes (pdf file)

....................©Hilary L. Turner

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