Richard Brettell

The history of the Brettell family of Brettell and Amblecote just north of Stourbridge touches on a couple of the families discussed in this site – notably the Bendys of nearby Shut End and the Trysull branch of the Barneseley family.

The key document is the will of Richard Brettell, written in 1649 and executed in 1653. It shows Richard Brettell was the father of seven children. He had married Isobel Southwicke on 11 Jul 1610. His eldest  daughter was Anne Brettell (bap 4 Sep 1611), who married Roger Addenbrooke and whose grandson went on to found Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. His second child was Elizabeth who married George Bague, the son of Gload de Bague a Huguenot glassmaker from Lorraine, His eldest son was Richard Brettell (bap 1 Feb 1617) who married Anne Barnesley (bap 7 Apr 1611), sister to Mary Bendy (bap 1 Sep 1593), the wife of William Bendy. His youngest son William Brettell (bap 29 Sep 1632) married Sarah Bendy, the daughter of the same William Bendy, sliding a generation.

Richard Brettell was probably the grandson of John Brettell who left a will of 1615 and therefore the son of Thomas Brettell, whose admon papers and inventory of 1617 also exist. These ancestors suggest the Brettells at around 1600 were middling yeoman class. Their inventories consist largely of household possessions and livestock. Richard himself was illiterate.

However, in Dugdale’s visitation of 1663 Richard Brettell, the son, is seemingly described as a gentleman of Brettell Hall. Dugdale cannot name his father but implies there is an uncle (or cousin) called Samuel Brettell. This Samuel Brettell was married to Jane Woodhouse (b 1626), daughter of John Woodhouse of the Woodhouse in Wombourne also discussed on this site. Samuel is unlikely to be a brother to Richard the elder because of the age difference. Because these Woodhouses could be classed as ‘gentry’, Samuel may more likely the brother of Thomas Brettell who marries Anne Grove (nee Wilmer) in 1660 (see para below)

Whatever the case, Richard, the elder, almost certainly did have other siblings (or at least first cousins) who were closely involved in the formative glass making industry in Stourbridge.

After his death, Richard’s widow Isabel apparently remarried a Jeremiah Bague on 25 Oct 1655, (who in his own will of 1664 conveniently names Richard Brettell junior as his ‘son-in-law’). Jeremiah Bague, another Huguenot glass maker was the uncle of George Bague and brother to Gload de Bague.  Jeremiah’s first wife had been Suzannah Henzey (m 1619). Unlike the Brettells the ‘noble’ Henzey family, another Huguenot glass making family,  at this time is well documented. It seems more than a coincidence that Suzannah’s sister Mary married a John Brettell on 15 Sep 1617 and her brother Joshua Henzey married a Joan Brettell on 29 Sep 1619. It is a possibility therefore that both John Brettell and Joan Brettel could be elder siblings of Richard. The connection of these Brettells with these two French Huguenot families puts them at the heart of the foundation of Stourbridge glassmaking history.

The other Brettell that crosses the families discussed on this site is a Thomas Brettell who marries the widowed Anne Wilmer in about 1660. She was doubly descended  through Thomas Wilmer from the Sutton family of Lord Dudley. One suspects that this Thomas Brettell (bap 1621?) was probably the son of John Brettell and Mary Henzey and completes a rapid social advancement for the Brettell family from yeoman farming to being involved in a groundbreaking industry to the doorstep of the declining aristocracy. These were very much the kind of social forces, of course, behind the English Civil War and accompanying Revolution being played out simultaneously at the national level.

There is no indication about the political beliefs of Richard Brettell but we can assume with the connections to the Roundhead lawyer William Bendy and the Huguenot immigrants that he was likely to lean to supporting Parliament.


  • Will of Richard Brettell, the elder, Yeoman of Brettell, Probate 1 Jul 1653, PCC
  • Will of John Brettell, Yeoman of Kingswinford, Probate 26 May 1615, Lichfield Record Office
  • Inventory of Thomas Brettell, Admon 30 Aug 1617, Lichfield Record Office (Possible Father)
  • Will of George Bague, Gentleman, Probate 6 Nov 1670, PCC (Son in law)
  • Will of Jeremiah Bague, Glassmaker, Probate 2 Feb 1663/64, PCC  (Wife’s Second Husband)
  • Will of Joshua Henzey, Glassmaker, Probate 27 Nov 1660, PCC  (probable brother in law)
  • Sir William Dugdale: Visitation of Staffordshire 1663
  • Collections for the genealogy of the noble families of Henzey, Titterel and Tyzack (1877)



Last updated on 13 January 2020 by JJ Morgan