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Margaret, Duchess of Parma (28 December 1522 – 18 January 1586), Governor of the Netherlands from 1559 to 1567 and from 1578 to 1582, was the illegitimate daughter of Charles V and Johanna Maria van der Gheynst. She was a Duchess consort of Florence and a Duchess consort of Parma and Piacenza by marriage [1]. On the 31st May in the year 1566 she wrote to Emperor Maximilian to Vienna three letters of recommendation for cannoneers, gunpowder makers and gunmakers. Maximilian was in need of such expertise having Sultan Suleiman I and the Ottoman Empire looking war-hungry at his lands again in 1566.

Two of the recommended makers of guns, cannons and gunpowder are not very much known to us “Peter Copper” and “Adam von Wesnik”. But the third letter went with “Wendel Wurm of Heilbronn” and he is a Master of the Marxbrüder.

Empfiehlt den gegenwärtigen Briefszeiger, Wendel Wurm von Hailbrun, besoldeten Büchsenmeister zu Hesdin, der auch des Pulverbereitens kundig ist und ein erfahrener Kriegsmann sein soll.
Margareta von Parma an Maximilian, 1566 Mai Brüssel, Wien, St.-A. Hausarchiv. Belg. Korresp. 2. Konzept. – Brüssel. Arch.

He is recommended as a gunsmith and a experienced soldier who is able to make gunpowder. Another of the Marxbrüder Masters capable of handling weapons in wartime and not only in the Fechtschule.

At the time of the recommendation Wendel Wurm of Heilbronn is a employed gunsmith of the city of Hesdin. Hesdin in the Northwest of France (other names Morinum, Théouanne, Teruanam, Heusden) was utterly destroyed in 1553 on the order of the Emperor Karl V. (Charles V). Ambroise Paré (1510-1590) gives us a good description of the siege in 1553 in his “Journey to Hesdin”.  Hesdin was rebuild 6km (3.7 mi) away from the old fortified center on the banks of the Canche. This reconstruction took several years and meant good income for craftsmen. Gunsmiths were often bell-founders, bell-makers, creating church bells as well as cannons.

27 years earlier in 1539 Wendel Wurm lived in Worms. He is a citizen (Bürger) of that old German city. He is a gunpowder-maker and he has finished his training as a master swordsman and on the 14th September he received his got his admission to teach the art of swordfighting, getting the title of a Meister des Langen Schwerts of the Marxbrüder. His master and Captain of the Guild is Blasius Felten of Ravensburg.

Ittem Auff Sontag nach marie geburt Ist bei mir Blessius Velten zu Maister geschlagen worden, Sebold Fischer von Niermberg vnnd wendel worm von hailbrune Pulluermacher Burger zu wormbs vnd seind Ire 2 ß noch Schuldige Bliben
Cod. I.6.2° 5 (Sigmund Schning)

 
 
 
 
Books and Webpages used for that article:
[1] Wikipedia on the Duchess of Parma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Parma)
[2] Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Neuere Geschichte Österreichs, Band 14, H. Böhlaus, 1916