James Kynvyn (Biographical details)

James Kynvyn (scientific instrument maker; fibre/textile worker; goldsmith/metalworker; British; Male; c.1590fl - 1615)

Also known as

Kynvyn, James; Kynvin, Jacobus (will)


Scientific instrument maker during the 1590s. Born in Lantilio parish, Monmouthshire, perhaps c.1550, he later settled in London, apparently going into business there. Honoured as a 'citizen and Merchant Tailor' in 1573, he married Elizabeth Coke in 1574. In 1582 his name was on the Subsidy List for St Bride's parish.
He seems to have started as an instrument maker rather late, and his relatively weak calligraphic skills in earlier examples suggest a lack of prior engraving experience. His 12 signed and attributed scientific instruments were all made in the span of a decade and cover a range of types. Some were made for or associated with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and Sir Robert Dudley.
He died in 1615, his wife having predeceased him, leaving money both to St Bride's, where he was buried, and to his former parish in Lantilio.


Turner 2000, pp25-27 and passim; instruments 66-75; pls 5, 13, 14b.