John Tresilian

John Tresilian

John Tresilian (c. 1450 – after 1515) was a master smith who worked for Edward IV of England.

All we know about Tresilian comes through few documents in Windsor Castle and his surviving handiwork. His name is Cornish but the dates of his birth and death unclear.

According to official documents, John Tresilian was a "principal smith" that worked in Windsor Castle from 1477-1484. His annual wage was £24 5s or 16 pence a day. Documents mention his in connection to a 1479 creation of a large anvil that was brought to Windsor. In the King's Book of Payments for the year 1515 Tresilian was paid 30s 5d for clockmaking. He probably died within a couple of years. His successor was Anthony Trassillion, who might have been his son.

Other clues are based of his unique handiwork. Based on the craftsmanship, Tresilian was involved with making gates to Edward IVs tomb and suite of door furniture for his chantry at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, between 1477-1484. Before 1841 these had been attributed to Brabant painter Quentin Metsys (who lived 1466-1530). Tresilian's other works would be the lock and ring plates to the door of Edward IVs chantry, the lock plates originally on the north and south sides of the choir and Henry VI offertory.

References

*Jane Geddes, "The Search for John Tresilian, Master Smith to Edward IV" ("History Today" April 2002)


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