Bristol Potters and Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

About

The purpose of this website is to bring together the research I have carried out over the last 40 years on the Bristol pottery industry and to make it available to anyone interested in the subject. The site was established in 2012 but is still evolving.

Background to the Research

[back to top]

I became fascinated by archaeology in the 1960s and first worked on an excavation in 1965 on the Roman settlement at Sea Mills, Bristol. Excavations followed at Westbury College and Bristol Castle and other city sites. The discovery in 1971 of a dump of clay tobacco pipe waste during the work at Bristol Castle, and the need to identify the manufacturer of the pipes, led to a search of documents in the Bristol Record Office. It soon became clear to me that there was a tremendous amount of documentary material relating to the clay pipe industry that required investigation and this led, in collaboration with Roger Price, to the publication of Bristol clay pipe makers: a study of makers and their marks in 1974 (Jackson & Price 1974; see the Bibliography below). Further research resulted in the private publication of Bristol clay pipe makers – a revised and enlarged edition, containing biographies of some 1,500 pipe makers, in 1979 (Price & Jackson 1979). Roger is still continuing research into the clay pipe industry. Fired by my interest in clay pipes, in 1983 I was one of the founders of the Society for Clay Pipe Research which now has an international membership.

During research into the clay pipe makers I was also making notes on references in the documents to potters and the pottery industry and this has become the main subject of my research over the last 30 years. In 1980 Bristol potters and potteries, 1600-1800 was published as volume 12 of the Journal of Ceramic History by Stoke-on-Trent Museums. I have since carried out considerable work on the 19th-century pottery industry in Bristol, particularly on the census returns, court records, parish records, street directories and port records.

In 1999 I wrote a dissertation on The origin and development of the seventeenth-century tin-glazed earthenware industry in Brislington and Bristol, resulting in the award of an MLitt degree by the University of Bristol. The dissertation is reproduced here in full (see website section: Brislington Pottery) although with some alterations to the layout. In addition to information on the Brislington and Bristol pottery industry, the dissertation also provides details of the history of tin-glazed earthenware and the methods used in its manufacture, including kiln technology.

From 1994 I have worked as a self-employed archaeological consultant, and directed a number of large excavations for Bristol and Region Archaeological Services on deeply stratified medieval and post-medieval sites in the city. These have resulted in my three monograph reports, published by Oxbow Books and Bristol and Region Archaeological Services, on sites at St James’s Priory (Jackson 2006), Inns Court (Jackson 2008) and Union Street (Jackson 2010). I also have a number of reports published in local and national journals. Work on these sites and their finds has enabled me to develop my knowledge of the products of the Bristol pottery industry and, combined with documentary research, refine their dates of manufacture. Particularly good groups of medieval and post-medieval pottery are contained in the reports on Upper Maudlin Street (Jackson 2000a), St Thomas Street (Jackson 2004), St James’s Priory (Jackson 2006), Courage Brewery (Jackson 2007), Queen Square/Welsh Back (Jackson 2009) and Union Street (Jackson 2010).

My reports on research into medieval and post-medieval pottery kiln waste have also been published: 14th-century pottery from St Peter’s church (Dawson, Jackson & Ponsford 1972), late 17th-century stoneware from Tower Harratz (Jackson 2003), 18th-century tin-glazed earthenware from the Limekiln Lane Potteries (Jackson & Beckey 1991), and 19th-century redware from the Temple Back area (Jackson 2000b). A group of 17th-century kiln waste from the Brislington Pottery was described and illustrated in my dissertation.

In 2005 I took the opportunity to publish my research on the post-medieval pottery industry in Westbury-on-Trym, a suburb of Bristol, in the Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (Jackson 2005).

Historically, early research was carried out into the Bristol pottery industry by Hugh Owen (1873) and W.J. Pountney (1920) and the information contained in these two books established the groundwork for all subsequent work.

Other work on the Bristol pottery industry published by various authors includes: information on medieval potters (Price 1990), 13th-century material from the excavation of a kiln at Ham Green (Barton 1963), early 18th-century salt-glazed stoneware and yellow slipware (Barton 1961), the connection between Magnus Lundberg of Sweden and the Bristol potteries (Charleston 1963), a major group of 18th- and 19th-century waste from Temple Back (Price 2005), and a chemical and petrographic comparison between yellow slipwares from Bristol, North Staffordshire and South Yorkshire (White 2012).

Two books have been published on 19th- and 20th-century pottery production in Bristol: a history of Pountney’s Pottery at Fishponds from 1905 to 1969 (Levitt 1990) and a list of Bristol potters and potteries working from 1775 to 1906, based on information obtained from street and trade directories (Henrywood 1992).

The Website

[back to top]

Potteries

This section of the website is still under construction. At this stage it provides detailed information on the medieval pottery industry in Bristol and its immediate neighbourhood. This has been compiled from the results of archaeological excavations, documentary research and a study of published works. The apparent absence of potters working in Bristol during the 16th and early 17th centuries is noted. This is followed by a list of the potteries working in Bristol during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries arranged in order of the type of ware they are known to have produced. It is hoped that this section of the website can be expanded to include an over-view of the development, expansion and decline of the Bristol industry.

Potteries List

This section of the website is still under construction. At present it contains an alphabetical list of 53 potteries working in Bristol during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries arranged, generally, by the address of the pottery. A list based on the names of the owners or proprietors would be difficult to compile as most potteries had multiple owners or proprietors during their period of operation. This section will be expanded in the future to include more detailed information from the documents and the reproduction of plans and photographs of the potteries showing their location and layout.

Potters List

This section contains all the information so far obtained on the Bristol potters, arranged alphabetically by surname. Over 2,000 potters are now listed dating from the medieval period to the 20th century.

Where there is more than one potter with the same name they are arranged in chronological order and are numbered, for example: James Alsop I and James Alsop II.

Information given in bold type under the potter’s name shows that he or she owned or operated the pottery named between the given dates. Full details of the individual potteries will be shown eventually under the Potteries section of the site.

If no occupation is given against a particular entry then it can be taken that the occupation provided in the document is ‘potter’.

St Philip and Jacob parish has sometimes been abbreviated in the text to ‘St Philip’s parish’.

When taken as a whole, the various rate and tax books for a parish often form a fairly complete series spanning the eighteenth century. These books rarely give occupations and it is only possible to identify potters who, from other sources, were known to be resident in a certain parish. The address for a particular potter may appear to change from year to year, but it seems that this was often due to variations in the names used for streets. The presence of a square bracket before or after the date of a rate or tax book entry shows that the potter does not appear in the immediately preceding or succeeding book.

The documentary reference to each piece of information is given as an abbreviation in brackets after the entry: for example, (71C) is the 1871 census return. A complete list of the abbreviations used and the documents to which they refer are listed below.

The published reference to a particular piece of information is also given in brackets after the entry and is listed in the bibliography below.

Before 1752 each year commenced on the 25 March. Thus a date such as 14 February 1692 given in a document is, by the modern calendar, the 14 February 1693. All dates given here have been converted to the modern calendar.

Exports List

Full details of all the pottery exports I have recorded are given in this section of the site. Research for my dissertation led me to examine the pottery exports contained in all the Bristol Port Books (held in the National Archives) for the period from 1662 to 1696, while for the period from 1697 to 1726 approximately every fifth year was examined.

Subsequently all the Presentment Books (also recording exports, but held in the Bristol Reference Library in printed form) from 1802 to 1867 were studied, after which date pottery exports were rarely recorded.

More details of the use of Port Books together with statistical analyses are given in Chapter 6 and Appendix B of my dissertation.

Below are explanations of the headings used in the lists and the type of information provided:

Date: year followed by day/month (for example, 17th June is given as 17/6).

Ship: the name of the ship carrying the cargo.

Potter as exporter: Cargoes were usually put together by merchants and exports made by potters under their own names were, to begin with, rare. For the 17th- and 18th-centuries I have recorded all pottery exports, whether they were made under the name of a merchant or a potter. The names of merchants are not given but potters’ names are – for example, the first potter to be recorded as exporting under his own name was Edward Ward in 1684. Due to the large number of pottery exports after 1800, only exports made by a potter under his or her own name are given.

Cargo: Quantities of pottery exported are shown. The abbreviations used are: ew = earthenware; Eew = English earthenware; hds = hogsheads; p = pieces; pls = parcels; sw = stoneware.

Destinations: The modern name of the destination is given where this can be determined, but otherwise the contemporary spelling used in the document is provided. Not all destinations can be identified.

Brislington Pottery

This section gives the full text of my dissertation together with tables, figures and appendices. The layout has been altered slightly in order to make it more easily searchable.

Contact

Please contact me if you have any queries concerning Bristol potters or the information contained on the website. Any further information on Bristol potters or potteries not recorded here is always welcome.

Reproduction of Information Contained in the Website

[back to top]

Please use my name and the name of this website as the reference if you reproduce in a printed or digital format any of the information contained here. For example, ‘Reg Jackson in www.bristolpottersandpotteries.org.uk’.

Acknowledgements

[back to top]

I would like to acknowledge the enormous help received from the staff of the Bristol Record Office, the Bristol Reference Library and the National Archives. Thanks also go to my co-authors and researchers and my colleagues at Bristol and Region Archaeological Services, in particular Ann Linge who produced illustrations for, and designed the layout of, my reports.

I cannot thank my partner, Frankie Webb, enough for the tremendous support and encouragement she has given me during my seemingly endless research and report writing over many years.

Joe Baron of Web Design Bristol has done a terrific job of designing a website that could accommodate such a large quantity of information in a searchable form.

Bibliography

[back to top]

  • Adams, E. 1973. The Bow insurances and related matters. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 9.1, 67-108.
  • Adams, E. 1976. Ceramic insurances in the Sun Company archives, 1766-1774. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 10.1, 1-38.
  • Barton, K.J. 1961. Some evidence for two types of pottery manufactured in Bristol in the early 18th century. Transaction of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 81, 160-168.
  • Barton, K.J. 1963. A medieval pottery kiln at Ham Green, Bristol. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 82, 95-126.
  • Bigland, R. 1791. Historical, monumental and geneaological collections relative to the County of Gloucester; printed from the original papers of the late Ralph Bigland. Vol. 1. London: John Nichols.
  • Blakeley, H. 1978/9. Sun Fire Insurance Policies. Northern Ceramic Society Journal 3.
  • Brown, J. 1798. Rise, progress and military improvement of the Bristol Volunteers. Reprinted 1916. (BRO 11177(b)).
  • Charleston, R.J. 1963. Bristol and Sweden; some delftware connections. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 5.4, 222-234.
  • Charleston, R. 1967. Lundberg and Ljunberg: give and take in the ceramic industry of the 18th century. Opuscula in Honorem Carl Hernmarck, Sweden, 39-53.
  • Cottle, B. 1980. Robert Southey and Bristol. Bristol Branch of the Historical Association.
  • Dawson, D. 1979. A survey of St John the Baptist churchyard, Bedminster, Bristol. In Rescue Archaeology in the Bristol Area: 1. City of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery Research Monograph 2, 77-109.
  • Dawson, D.P., Jackson, R.G. & Ponsford, M.W. 1972. Medieval kiln wasters from St. Peter’s Church, Bristol. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 91, 159-167.
  • Edwards, R. 1974. London potters circa 1570-1710. Journal of Ceramic History 6. Stoke-on-Trent City Museum.
  • Evans, D.H. 1981. Documentary evidence for clay-pipe makers in Wales: an interim statement. Bulletin of the Welsh Medieval Pottery Research Group 4, 38-64.
  • Henrywood, R.K. 1992. Bristol potters 1775-1906. Bristol: Redcliffe Press.
  • Jackson, R. 2000a. Archaeological excavations at Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol, in 1973, 1976 and 1999. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 17, 29-110.
  • Jackson, R. 2000b. Two groups of post-medieval pottery kiln waste from Temple Quay, Bristol. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 17, 111-118.
  • Jackson, R. 2003. Late 17th-century stoneware waste from the Tower Harratz Pottery, Bristol. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 37/2, 217-220.
  • Jackson, R. 2004. Archaeological excavations at nos. 30-38 St Thomas Street and no. 60 Redcliff Street, Bristol, 2000. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 19, 1-64.
  • Jackson, R. 2005. Pottery production in Westbury-on-Trym during the late 17th and 18th centuries. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 123, 121-132.
  • Jackson, R. 2006. Excavations at St James’s Priory, Bristol. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services Monograph. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
  • Jackson, R. 2007. Archaeological excavations at the former Courage Brewery, Bath Street, Bristol, 2000-2001. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 21, 1-58.
  • Jackson, R. 2008. A Roman settlement and medieval manor house in South Bristol – Excavations at Inns Court. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services Monograph.
  • Jackson, R. 2009. Archaeological work at 22-25 Queen Square and 42-44 Welsh Back, Bristol, 2002-2006. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 23, 1-66.
  • Jackson, R. 2010. The archaeology of the medieval suburb of Broadmead, Bristol. Excavations at Union Street, 2000. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services Monograph.
  • Jackson, R. & Price, R. 1974. Bristol clay pipes: a study of makers and their marks. Bristol City Museum Research Monograph 1.
  • Jackson, R., Jackson, P. & Beckey, I. 1991. Tin-glazed earthenware kiln waste from the Limekiln Lane Potteries, Bristol. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 25, 89-114.
  • Jackson, R., Jackson, P. & Price, R. 1982. Bristol potters and potteries, 1600-1800. Journal of Ceramic History 12. Stoke-on-Trent City Museums.
  • Kent, J. 1976. Wesleyan membership in Bristol, 1783. In An Ecclesiastical Miscellany. Records Section, Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society.
  • Levitt, S. 1990. Pountneys: The Bristol Pottery at Fishponds 1905-1969. Bristol: Redcliffe Press.
  • Mackenna, F. S. 1957. William Stephens: Bristol china painter. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 4.1, 33-44.
  • McGrath, P. & Williams, M.E. (eds.), 1979. Bristol inns and alehouses in the mid-eighteenth century. Bristol: City of Bristol.
  • Morland, S.C. (ed.) 1978. The Somerset Quarterly Meeting of the Society of Friends 1668-1699. Somerset Record Society 75.
  • Mortimer, R. (ed.) 1971. Minute Book of the Men’s Meeting of the Society of Friends in Bristol 1667-1686. Bristol Record Society 26.
  • Nance, E.M. 1935. Soaprock licences. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 3, 73-84.
  • Nightingale, J.E. 1881. Contributions towards the history of early English porcelain from contemporary sources. Salisbury: Bennett Brothers.
  • Owen, H. 1873. Two centuries of ceramic art in Bristol. London: Bell and Daldy.
  • Pountney, W.J. 1920. Old Bristol potteries. Bristol: J.W. Arrowsmith Ltd.
  • Price, R. 1990. Further notes concerning medieval potters. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 9, 49-50.
  • Price, R. 2005. Pottery kiln waste from Temple Back, Bristol. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 20, 59-114.
  • Price, R., Jackson, R. & Jackson, P. 1979. Bristol clay pipe makers – a revised and enlarged edition. Privately published.
  • Ralph, E. & Williams, M. (eds.) 1968. The inhabitants of Bristol in 1696. Bristol Record Society 25.
  • Ray, A. 1968. English delftware pottery in the Robert Hall Warren Collection. London: Faber & Faber Ltd.
  • Scottish Pottery Society. The Court of Sessions Process for the Delftfield Pottery Case. Bird v. Dinwiddie and Others. 1st November 1750. Scottish Pottery Society Records 81/76.
  • Selleck, A.D. 1978. Cookworthy: a man of no common clay. Plymouth: Baron Jay Ltd.
  • Southey, Rev. C.C. 1849. The life and correspondence of Robert Southey. London: Longmans.
  • Toppin, A.J. 1954. The proprietors of the early Bristol china factory: identified as William Miller and Benjamin Lund. Transaction of the English Ceramic Circle 3.3, 129-140.
  • Underdown, D. 1973. Somerset in the Civil War and Interregnum. Newton Abbot: David and Charles.
  • Underdown, D. 1985. Revel, riot and rebellion: popular politics and culture in England 1603-1660. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Walker, I.C. 1977. Clay tobacco pipes, with particular reference to the Bristol industry. Canada: Parks Canada.
  • White, H. 2012. The problem of provenancing English post-medieval slipwares: a chemical and petrographic approach. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 46.1, 56-69.
  • Williams, I.J. 1932. The Nantgarw Pottery and its products: an examination of the site. Archaeologia Cambrensis 87, 108-43.
  • Wilson, D.M. & Moorhouse, S. (eds.) 1971. Medieval Britain in 1970. Journal of the Society for Medieval Archaeology 15, 124-179.

Abbreviations

[back to top]

  • A Apprentice Enrolment Books
  • Admin Administration Bonds
  • AKL Alehouse Keepers’ Licences
  • Ao Orders for Binding Apprentices
  • APR St Augustine-the-Less Church parish registers
  • Ar Apprentice Rough Entry Books
  • bapt baptism
  • BB Bargain Books
  • BBD Browne’s Bristol Directory
  • BD Bailey’s Bristol and Bath Directory
  • BG Bristol Gazette and Public Advertiser (newspaper)
  • BM Bristol Mirror (newspaper)
  • BMBJ Bonner and Middleton’s Bristol Journal (newspaper)
  • BME Bristol Mercury (newspaper)
  • BO Bristol Oracle (newspaper)
  • BrisPR Brislington Church (St Luke’s) parish registers
  • BRL Bristol Reference Library
  • BRO Bristol Record Office
  • BWI Bristol Weekly Intelligencer (newspaper)
  • BWMD Bailey’s Western and Midland Directory
  • c circa
  • C Court of Conscience and Requests
  • CCP Common Council Proceedings
  • Ch Churchwarden Accounts
  • CPR Clifton (St Andrew’s) parish registers
  • d. pence (old)
  • dec’d deceased
  • ED Evans’s Directory
  • EL Michael Edkin’s Ledger
  • EPR Emmanuel Church, parish registers
  • ED Evan’s Directory
  • F Burgess (Freedom) Books
  • FFJ Felix Farley’s Journal (newspaper)
  • FFJ Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal (newspaper)
  • FM Freedom Memoranda Books
  • G Great Audit Books
  • H Harbour Rate
  • HD Harrison’s Directory
  • HPR Henbury Church parish registers
  • HTPR Holy Trinity Church parish registers
  • Inv Inventories
  • JaPR St James’s Church parish registers
  • JB Jury Books
  • JBPR St John’s Church, Bedminster, parish registers
  • JW John Whitson’s Charity for Poor Women in Child Bed
  • K Alderman Kitchen’s Charity Receipt Book
  • KD Kelly’s Post Office Directory
  • L Land Tax
  • LPR St Leonard’s Church parish registers
  • LS Lamp and Scavenging Rate
  • M Marriage Licence Bonds and Allegations
  • MD Mathew’s Bristol Directory
  • MLPPR St Mary-le-Port Church, parish registers
  • MLPBT St Mary-le-Port Church, Bishop’s Transcripts
  • MO Mayor’s Orders
  • mths months
  • NPR St Nicholas Church, parish registers
  • occup occupier
  • P Bristol Poll Book
  • Pa Pitching and Paving Rate
  • PaPR St Paul’s Church, Portland Square, parish registers
  • PB Port Books and Presentment Books (EXP-Export) (IMP-Import)
  • PBk Proposal Books
  • PePR St Peter’s Church, parish registers
  • PF Petitions for Freedom
  • PPR St Philip and Jacob Church, parish registers
  • PR Poor Rate
  • PRO Public Record Office (now the National Archives)
  • prop proprietor
  • Q Quarter Sessions Records, Sessions Papers
  • QR Society of Friends (Quaker) Records
  • RB Register of persons buried in Bristol
  • RD Reed’s New Bristol Directory
  • RPR St Mary Redcliffe Church, parish registers
  • s. shilling
  • SD Sketchley’s Bristol Directory
  • SFP Servants to Foreign Plantations
  • SMR St Mary Redcliffe parish
  • SP Sessions Presentments
  • SPR St Stephen’s Church, parish registers
  • SRO Somerset Record Office
  • T Tolzey Court Records
  • TBT Temple Church, Bishop’s Transcripts
  • TCS Temple Colston School Minute Book
  • TPR Temple Church, parish registers
  • ThPR St Thomas’s Church, parish registers
  • W Window Tax
  • Wa Watching Rate
  • WD Wright’s Directory
  • Wks Weeks
  • WL Ward Lists
  • WPR Westbury-on-Trym (Holy Trinity) Church parish registers
  • yrs years
  • £ pound
  • 41C 1841 Census Returns
  • 51C 1851 Census Returns
  • 61C 1861 Census Returns
  • 71C 1871 Census Returns
  • 81C 1881 Census Returns

 

[back to top]