William Levett (Rector Of Buxted)
William Levett (ca. 1495 – 1554) was an English clergyman. An Oxford-educated country rector, he was a pivotal figure in the use of the blast furnace to manufacture iron. With the patronage of the English Crown, furnaces in Sussex under Levett's ownership cast the first iron muzzle-loader cannons in England in 1543, a development which enabled England to ultimately reconfigure the global balance-of-power by becoming an ascendant naval force. William Levett continued to perform his ministerial duties while building an early munitions empire, and left the riches he accumulated to a wide variety of charities at his death.
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