Lambert Twent

Other name: 
Lambrecht, Lambregt, Twert
neighbor, Delft's first postmaster
Birth or Baptism date: 
September 2, 1642
Death or Burial date: 
September 14, 1697

Lambert Twent was born in Kampen. When he was a teenager, his sister Barentge Zegers Twent married Cornelis Jansz Bijlewet, who lived on Gasthuislaan (DTB inv 128 fol 74) in Delft. In 1665, Lambert's other sister, Oetge, married Cornelis Adriaensz van Bergen, a widower living on Oude Delft. At her marriage, she was listed as coming from Kampen but living on Gasthuislaan with her sister (DTB inv 23 fol 5). Her name was spelled Ada on the record of the baptism of her first child, Maria, in March 1667 (DTB inv 11 fol 25v), where her brother Lambert was a witness.

Lambert had been living in Delft since at least 1666, when he apprenticed as a cloth worker (lakenbereider). The image on the right (click for larger version) shows cloth getting shaved and folded. He then worked in the cloth trade at a time when Leeuwenhoek had probably replaced that income with his city job as camerbewaarder. By 1675, Twent was one of the leaders of the St. Nicholas(?) guild, a position he retained for the rest of his life. Leeuwenhoek was a member of that guild; he paid dues until the end of the century.

His first wife was Margaretha van Bleyswijck, daughter of Adriaen Everts van Bleyswijck and Clara van Hoogenhouck. Margaretha and Leeuwenhoek had the same great-grandmother, Neeltje Jans Hogenhouck.

In 1675, Lambert began a business delivering letters at a time when Delft had only messengers (boden) who worked for the City or another institution, such as the church. On September 10, 1679, he was named first postmaster of Delft, which gave him the ability to enter into contracts with similar people in other cities to exchange letters. In the Republic, the inter-city canal system and the well-developed canal boat services made this a cost-effective service. Postage cost a couple of stuivers per letter, depending on distance.

He and Margaretha had several children, all of whom died, though one outlived his mother, who died in January 1678. In April 1679, Twent married thirty-year-old Clasina Coeckebacker. They had five children, four sons and a daughter, all of whom seem to have survived childhood.

We don't know whether Leeuwenhoek made use of Twent's service. He lived on the Oude Delft, on the west side across from the chapel at the end of the Nieuwstraat. Leeuwenhoek lived at the other end of the Nieuwstraat on the corner of the Nieuwe Delft.

In 1681, Lambert became a member of the chivalrous brotherhood named De Confrérie van de Handbusch binnen Delft (The The Brotherhood of the Pistol in Delft).

In 1683, 1687, and 1689, Twent was the City's shooting champion (schutterskoning; Boitet p. 520).

In 1688, he became an official citizen (poorter) of Delft.

The painting on the right by Martin de la Court in 1695 shows Lambert and his four sons, from oldest to youngest: Nicolaes, Zeger, Abraham, and Adriaen.

Nicolaes became postmaster after his father even though the son of a regent family was named the official postmaster. Since both this father's wives came from regent families, it made sense for Nicolaes to marry into one, too. However, he seems to have had some problems when he tried to marry Francoise Helene van der Graeff. In 1705, her parents objected and she called off the marriage. (For details of the story, see the document from the Ondertrouwboek as an image attachment below.) A year later, however, Nicolaes and Francoise married in the Franse Kerk (French church).