Bristol Potters and Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

Bristol Potteries

Research by Reg Jackson

[back to Potteries]

Baptist Mills Pottery

(also known as White’s Pottery)
Millpond Street, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1840-1860 Joseph White II and James White I.
Joseph White I seems to have been associated with the business until his death in about 1854.
William White had also acquired an interest in the business by the time it changed hands in 1860.
1860-1866 Joseph Augustus White and James White II.
1866-1875 Joseph Augustus White.
1875-1890 Frederick James White, trading as J. & J. White.

The pottery closed.

From 1829 until 1840 Joseph White II and his son, James White I, had run the Redcross Street Pottery.  In 1840 that pottery was taken over by William White, the brother of Joseph White II, with Joseph White II and James White I moving to the newly established Baptist Mills Pottery.

It is not know when the White family first acquired land at Baptist Mills and started building the pottery.  However the pottery must have been in use by 1840 when it was first occupied by Joseph White II and James White I.

The White family continued to expand their property ownership in the area of Baptist Mills.  In June 1840 James White I, described as an earthenware manufacturer, purchased a plot of land at Baptist Mills, which adjoined property he already owned, together with seven houses called Henry Row. In September 1842 Joseph White II and James White I leased for 14 years at £60 a year ‘the mill formerly used as a grist mill and afterwards by the Bristol Brass and Copper Company, together with the waterwheel, machinery and the yard, stables and premises adjoining the mill stream, the mill tail, all houses and outhouses, buildings, sluices, floodgates, sewers, etc‘.  In 1844 James White I purchased land at Baptist Mills for £1,200 and in June 1846 he purchased further land and derelict buildings also formerly occupied by the Bristol Brass and Copper Company which adjoined Joseph White II’s land.

Joseph White I, the father of Joseph White II and the grandfather of James White I, purchased premises adjoining the mill at Baptist Mills in October 1845, which had previously been used as a skinner’s yard and parchment factory.  This suggests that he had a financial interest in the Baptist Mills Pottery which he probably retained until his death in about 1854. An advertisement of 1860 confirms that William White was also involved in the Baptist Mills Pottery.

In 1851 Joseph White II was recorded as a master potter, living at 2 Lower Ashley Road, and employing 95 people, while James White I was living at Frome Villa, Lower Ashley Road.

The last reference to Joseph White II and James White I being associated with the Baptist Mills Pottery was in the 1860 directory.  Between 1861 and 1869, but most probably in 1861, James White I emigrated to St John’s, New Brunswick, Canada, where, with his brother Frederick James White, he established the Courtney Bay Pottery at Crouchville.  By 1861 Joseph White II had retired to live near Barnstaple in Devon, later joining his sons at the Courtney Bay Pottery.  In 1862 Joseph White II, then of Waytown, near Barnstaple, mortgaged for £1,000 a property described partly as ‘all that land at Baptist Mills, and all that kiln and other buildings erected thereon now used as an earthenware pottery; all that land and warehouses erected thereon; and all that tenement commonly called the Porch House‘ occupied by James White II and Joseph Augustus White.

In 1860 the Baptist Mills Pottery had been taken over by Joseph Augustus White, the son of Joseph White II, and James White II, the son of James White I. In August 1860 this was confirmed in the following  newspaper advertisement: ‘To earthenware dealers, etc, Messrs J. & J. White (late J. J. & W. White) beg to thank their friends and the public generally for the liberal patronage bestowed upon them, and hope, by the superior manufacture of their goods and promptitude in the execution of all orders with which they may be favoured, to merit that large amount of patronage which has been awarded to the firm for upwards of half a century‘.

It seems likely that Joseph Augustus White was the partner directly involved in running the business.  In 1861 he was described as a master potter employing 37 men, 17 women and 15 boys, and living at Cornwallis Place, St Philip’s parish.  Ten years later he was again recorded as a master potter employing 32 men, 23 women and 12 boys, and living at Claremont Villa, Claremont Place, St Philip’s parish.

James White II died in November 1866 and the business was carried on by Joseph Augustus White alone until his death in November 1875.  In the same month, the pottery was flooded to a depth of 6 feet, and this was the first of a series of floods which eventually resulted in the closure of the pottery.

On Joseph Augustus White’s death his brother, Frederick James White, returned from Canada to run the Baptist Mills Pottery although the business continued to trade as J. & J. White.  During his proprietorship the pottery continued to be seriously flooded by the River Frome: for example, in November 1882 it flooded to a depth of 5 feet 6 inches and in November 1888 ‘at Messrs White’s pottery a mass of clay was washed away, and the works had to be stopped‘.  In 1889 it was reported that the Frome Culvert Committee had entered into an arrangement for the purchase of White’s Pottery at Baptist Mills, in connection with their scheme for preventing the flooding of the river.  In January 1890 Anne White, the widow of James White II, sold to the Mayor and Aldermen of Bristol: ‘all that mill … for many years known as the Baptist Mills and the yard and buildings thereto belonging … building with yard, furnace, pottery … two water wheels … and the three glaze mills belonging to the said mill and pottery, also the smiths shop and outbuildings …‘.

The Baptist Mills Pottery closed with its sale in January 1890 and this also ended the White family’s long association with pottery production in Bristol.  For a short time Frederick James White seems to have had an interest in a redware pottery in Fishponds, three miles north-east of Bristol, and in 1891 he was described as a potter living in Rodford near Westerleigh in Gloucestershire.  However in 1893 he left England to establish a pottery to produce fine stoneware in Denver, Colorado.

Wares produced

Egyptian black and Rockingham teapots, stone jugs, gold lustre ware and earthenwares.

Barton Hill Pottery 1

Barton Hill, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1804-1809 Josiah Duffett.
1809-1836 James Duffett I.
1836-1855 James Duffett II.
1856-c1863 William Hutchings I.
c1865-1872 Alfred Niblett.

The pottery probably closed (see Barton Hill Pottery 2).

Josiah Duffett left the St Philip’s Pottery 2 in 1804 and established the Barton Hill Pottery. The directories showed Josiah Duffett at St Philip’s Pottery 2 in Avon Street until 1809 but this must have been a mistake as Felix Farley’s Journal advertised property in Barton Hill for sale in September 1804 which included ‘a messuage, garden and pottery also adjoining, let to Mt Josias Duffett, at the yearly rent of £28.0.0‘.

Josiah Duffett’s son, James Duffett I, had taken over the pottery by 1809 when he advertised for a journeyman brown-ware potter to work at his pottery at Barton Hill. In 1821 the premises were described in a Sun insurance policy as ‘house … in the tenure of James Duffett £300. House used as a Pottery two kilns therein adjoining the last above mentioned but not communicating therewith with a small stable communicating in the same tenure £450‘.

In 1828 James Duffett I expanded his business, taking over the brick works of his father-in-law, Joseph Gibbs, and he was described in directories as being a redware potter at Barton Hill and a brick and tile maker in St Philip’s Marsh.  Between 1830 and 1838 J. Duffett and Duffett & Co. were exporting earthenware to Waterford in Ireland.

The street directories recorded James Duffett I as working at Barton Hill until 1836 when the pottery was taken over by James Duffett II, who was probably his son.

By 1856 William Hutchings I had taken over the Barton Hill Pottery as the street directories for 1856 and 1857 recorded ‘Wm. Hutchings (late Duffett), red ware, garden and chimney pot manufacturer, Pipe Lane, Temple Back and Barton Hill‘. In 1861 William Hutchings was described as a potter, employing 20 men and 11 boys, although these employees would have been divided between his two potteries at Barton Hill and Pipe Lane.

In 1864 the directories recorded William Hutchings only at the Pipe Lane Pottery and by 1865 Alfred Niblett had taken over the Barton Hill Pottery.  In June 1869 the pottery was offered for sale and was described as ‘valuable freehold premises and building land, at Barton Hill … for sale by auction. Lot 1. A large dwelling-house, known as Queen Anne’s House, a pottery with dwelling house, and valuable parcel of building land adjoining the said premises, situated at Barton Hill, containing together by admeasurement 5A.0R.32P.  The house and land are at present in the occupation of Mr Enoch Goodrope … and the pottery is in the occupation of Mr Niblett … Lot 3. A piece of land, containing by admeasurement 2R.7P, divided by the road from Lot 1. This lot is in the occupation of Mr Niblett‘.

In 1871 Niblett was described as a master potter, employing 3 men and 4 boys.  However, the following year the pottery, described as ‘large and commodious premises, lately in the occupation of Mr Niblett‘, was advertised to let.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, garden pots, chimney pots, bricks and tiles and, under Alfred Niblett, stonewares.

Barton Hill Pottery 2

Barton Hill, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietorship

c1872-1888 Alfred Niblett.
1887-1888 Stephen Hollister.

The pottery closed.

In 2014 the remains of a pottery were excavated at Barton Hill (see Will, J. (ed.) 2015. Archaeological review no.39, 2014. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 133, 246).  It was suggested by the excavator that the pottery was built in about 1872 as an addition to the Barton Hill Pottery 1.  This is a possibility, but it could also have been built as a replacement for the Barton Hill Pottery 1, which was advertised to let in 1872 and was described as ‘lately in the occupation of Mr Niblett‘.

In any event, it is clear that Niblett continued to run a pottery at Barton Hill until at least 1886.

On 31 October 1888 Alfred Niblett of Barton Hill, a pottery manufacturer, was declared bankrupt.  In subsequent bankruptcy hearings it was stated that Niblett owned the pottery valued at £1000 but it had been mortgaged for £650.  The pottery was eventually advertised for auction in January 1889 when it was described as a ‘capital cottage in good repair with garden in front and contains sitting room, front and back kitchens, and three bedrooms. The pottery comprises substantially built double kiln, four strongly constructed warerooms, pottery, warehouse, mill room with two capital cellars underneath. In the large yard (to which there is a spacious hauling-way) are two carthouses with living rooms over, stable with loft above, good sized kitchen garden, wood cart shed, and other conveniences. Running under the substantially erected warerooms is a roomy covered hauling-way; there is also a well on the property‘.  The pottery was sold at auction for £750.

Between 1886 and 1888 a Stephen Hollister was recorded as running the Barton Hill Pottery and in April 1886 an advertisement stated: ‘S. Hollister, late Niblett, manufacturer of all descriptions of red and rustic ware. Barton Hill Pottery. Established 1750‘.  It is probable that Hollister was running the pottery on Niblett’s behalf due to his impending bankruptcy.

The Pottery closed in 1888 and Alfred Niblett moved to Welton near Midsomer Norton in Somerset, where he worked as a haulier.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares.

Excavation of the kiln and finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Mason, C. 2015. Archaeological excavation. Barton Hill Pottery and the post-medieval redware industry in Bristol. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. 2858/2015.
The site of the pottery was excavated in 2014.  The pottery was entered from Barton Hill, to the north, through a covered way.  On the west side of this covered way was a three-roomed building aligned roughly north-south.  In the central room of this building was a kiln, 4.1 metres in diameter, with five fire-boxes evenly spaced around its circumference and projecting 0.9 metres from the structure.  These fire-boxes contained clinker and red earthenware wasters.  The form of the kiln suggests that it was a simple updraft bottle kiln constructed.  The room containing the kiln had a brick floor.  The room to the north of the kiln had a waterproof asphalt floor and a number of metal bolts in the floor, probably used to secure machinery.  To the south of the three-roomed building was a narrower building containing two rooms one pof which had an un-floored octagonal area, thought to be the location of a blunger for processing clay.
It seems that the only waste pottery from the period of use of this pottery came from the fire-boxes of the kiln.  Other waste red earthenware pottery came from the construction trenches of the pottery and must therefore pre-date its period of operation.
(HER no. 25286; BRSMG accession no. 2012/64).

Mason, C. 2017. Barton Hill Pottery and the post-medieval redware industry in Bristol. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 51.1, 108-131.
This is a report on the archaeological excavation carried out in 2012. A description of the excavated pottery remains, with colour photographs, is followed by illustrations of 33 redware vessel forms including jugs, bowls, pancheons, salting pans, bread crocks, washing bowls, blanching pots, flowerpots, seed pans and chimney pots.

Bedminster Pottery

(also known as the Boot Lane Pottery)
Boot Lane, Bedminster parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1784-1790 Richard Room.
1790-1821 Peter Dean.
1821-1823 Margaret Dean.
1824-1848 Charles Cook.
1848-1851 Emma Cook I.

The Pottery closed.

It is not known when the pottery was established. Richard Room became a free potter in 1784 and took an apprentice in 1786, so it presumably started production between those dates.  A Day Book which recorded the income and expenditure for the pottery survives, covering the period from 29 September 1788 to 17 October 1789.  The Day Book does not give the owner’s name, but one of the employees was Samuel Sheppard, Richard Room’s apprentice.  (The Day Book has been published in full in Jackson, R. et al 1982, Bristol potters and potteries, 1600-1800.  Journal of Ceramic History 12, 213-226).

The Day Book showed that the main markets for the pottery produced were Bristol and north Somerset, with other shipments going to places on the River Severn transport corridor, as far away as Minehead, Chepstow and Tewkesbury.

Richard Room probably died in May 1790 and the Bedminster Pottery was certainly being run by Peter Dean by 1792. In 1817 he exported 2,300 pieces of earthenware to Dublin. Dean was recorded in the directories as a potter in Boot Lane until 1821 when it is assumed he died, the pottery being taken over by his wife, Margaret.

Margaret Dean died in 1823 and the pottery was then operated by Charles Cook. He exported earthenwares, including flower pots, to Waterford, Jersey and Jamaica.

Charles Cook died in March 1848 and the pottery was taken over by his daughter, Emma.  She was recorded in the directories as a potter in Boot Lane until 1851, when it is assumed that the pottery closed.  It was advertised for sale in September 1854 when it was described as ‘a valuable piece of freehold ground, situate in Boot Lane … with the buildings and erections thereon, formerly occupied as a pottery‘.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including flower pots, bread pans, milk pans, salting pans, sugar pots and basins.

Excavation of the kiln and finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Parry, A. 2004. Archaeological excavation of land at Squire’s Court, Bedminster Parade, Bedminster, Bristol.  Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. 957/2004.
The excavated area included part of the north side of Boot Lane and this contained the demolished substructure of the Boot Lane Pottery kiln.  The circular, slightly domed, base of the kiln was constructed from a single layer of brick 0.06 metres thick and 2.9 metres in diameter.  This structure rested upon a 0.25 metres thick bedding layer of fragmented stone, brick and buff coloured mortar.  The 0.8 metres thick outer kiln wall was built of randomly coursed pennant sandstone rubble and brick.  The inner lining of the wall, which formed the circular kiln chamber, was composed entirely of firebrick.  Three of the four vaulted fireboxes used to stoke the kiln were partly preserved. The fourth had been completely removed by a later structure. Each firebox was 0.35 metres wide and 0.42 metres in height.  A metal bar located at the entrance to one of the fireboxes presumably formed part of a grate.  The floor of the kiln, which would have supported kiln furniture and the pots intended for firing, was missing although a shelf in the kiln chamber level with the fireboxes indicated its former position.  Other walls found may have been part of the building surrounding the kiln.
The kiln was thought to have been a coal-fired updraught kiln, fairly typical of a light-industrial pottery of the period.
Red ware pottery that could constitute production waste from the pottery was found scattered across the site.  This material included many garden pots as well as internally lead-glazed hollow-wares and a few unglazed sugar moulds.  Some vessels were misshapen and on others the glaze had not fired correctly. The location of the stacking scars showed that the larger vessels were fired upside down.  A feature interpreted as probably the backfill of a clay pit produced a small but clearly defined group of production wasters. Aside from a small bowl and a jug, the sherds all appeared to come from deep steep-sided vessels with a hammerhead rim form. Some had two large external vertical handles.  They appeared to be three sizes with handles only evident on the larger ones. Ten vessels are illustrated in the report. The fabric of the pottery was fine, firing pale orange to red with a scatter of iron inclusions and occasional irregular fragments of ?limestone (up to 7mm) which were erupting and causing sections of the surface to flake off.  The glaze colour variation was likely to have more to do with irregular firing than specific glaze recipes.
(HER no. 21035; BRSMG accession no. CMAG 2002.0001).

Brislington Pottery

Brislington parish, Somerset.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1652-1659 John Bissicke, Robert Bennett I and Robert Collins.
1659-1668 Alice Bennett/Huntington (the widow of Robert Bennett I, she married Solomon Huntington). Robert Collins retained an interest in the Pottery until his death in 1689.
1669-1671 Robert Bennett II (the son of Robert Bennett I).
1671 Sarah Bennett I/Wastfield (the widow of Robert Bennett II, she married Robert Wastfield). She operated the Pottery alone until she married Robert Wastfield in 1672.
1672-1677 Sarah Bennett I/Wastfield (she operated the Pottery with Robert Wastfield until his death in 1677).
1677-1679 Sarah Bennett I/Wastfield (she operated the Pottery alone until her death in 1679).
1679-1690 Sarah Bennett II/Dickson (the daughter of Robert Bennett II and the step-daughter of Robert Wastfield, she married Thomas Dickson in 1685).
1690-1730 Thomas Dickson (the widower of Sarah Bennett II/Dickson).
1730-1733 Thomas Dickson and Thomas Taylor I were in partnership until Thomas Dickson’s death in 1733.
1733-1747 Thomas Taylor I (he became bankrupt in 1743, but took an apprentice in 1745 and was paying rates on the Pottery until 1746. The apprentice was transferred in 1747 so the Pottery must have ceased production around then).

The pottery closed and was advertised for sale in 1752.

For a detailed history of the Brislington Pottery and a discussion about its location, see the Dissertation section of this website.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.

Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

A number of finds of kiln waste have been made in the vicinity of the Brislington Pottery:
Pountney, W.J. 1920. Old Bristol potteries. Bristol: J.W. Arrowsmith Ltd, pages 23-27.
In 1914 Pountney excavated the site of the medieval chapel of St Anne and found large quantities of kiln waste and kiln furniture.  He also claimed to have found structural remains of the pottery but this now seems unlikely.
(HER no. 20221; BRSMG accession no. 78/1986).

Maxwell, H.W. 1939. Recent excavations in Bristol. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 2.7, 115-119.
In about 1937 Maxwell found waste pottery and kiln furniture during the construction of a reservoir at St Anne’s Board Mills, about half a mile to the north-east of the site of St Anne’s chapel. Two decorated sherds bore the dates 1652 and 1653.  Maxwell mentions in passing that the find spot was ‘evidently the site of a pottery, as some of the fragments were found in a recess in the brickwork of what appears to have been the foundations of a pottery oven’.  Unfortunately he did not elaborate on the structures discovered.
(HER no. 20216).

Louis Lipski, a pottery collector, found quantities of wasters on various sites in Bristol, including Brislington. He did not record the exact location of his discoveries and after his death the finds from the different sites became mixed together and therefore of little use in identifying the products of any individual pottery (information from David Dawson, former Curator of Archaeology, Bristol City Museum, where the finds are now housed).

Ponsford, M. & Jackson, R. (eds.) 1996. Post-medieval Britain and Ireland in 1995. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 30, 245-320.
In 1995 Oliver Kent found waste material in two areas:
NGR ST 62327292: Redevelopment work uncovered a quantity of biscuit ware and kiln furniture.  Forms included distinctive chargers with wide rims, mugs, bowls and drug-jars apparently dating from the second half of the 17th century.
(HER no. 20217).
NGR ST 62217277: A deposit of kiln waste was found on the east slope of the valley of the Brislington Brook. This appeared to date to the second half of the 17th century.
(HER no. 20215).

See the Dissertation section of this website for a full report on the waste pottery and kiln furniture found during the excavation of a garden pond at 30 Wootton Road in 1975 (NGR ST 62327283).  In summary, the dump of material covered at least 6 square metres and was up to 20 centimetres thick.  The types of wares recovered included plates, dishes, bowls, bowls with lobed handles, cups, mugs, albarello-type containers, storage vessels, jugs, a flower vase and salts. Kiln furniture consisted of saggars, girders and trivets. One hundred and ten sherds are illustrated. It is argued that the group may be dated to the last quarter of the 17th century.

It has been suggested by Oliver Kent that most of the tin-glazed waste found in Brislington is re-deposited (Medieval Pottery Research Group Newsletter 18, September 2016, pages 2-3).  My own research also indicates that this is the case.  Kent goes on to suggest that the presence of Agate ware and red earthenwares show that production continued at this site into the 18th century.

Bristol Victoria Pottery

(also known as the Victoria Pottery)
Feeder Road, St Philip’s Marsh, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1867-1872 The Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited.
1873-1878 Halsted Sayer Cobden, trading as Pountney & Company.
1878-1883 Patrick Johnston and Mr Rogers, trading as Pountney & Company.
1883-1884 Patrick Johnston, trading as Pountney & Company.
1884-1905 Thomas Bertram Johnston, trading as Pountney & Company.

The pottery closed in 1905 when Pountney and Company moved their production to a new factory at Fishponds.

In about 1864 a prospectus was published for the sale of share capital in the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited.  The directors of the new company were a number of prominent Bristol citizens and the managing director was John Ellis II, the proprietor of the Redcross Street Pottery.  The company had been formed for the purpose of ‘purchasing from Mr John Ellis, the new erections, buildings and works now nearly completed, in St Philip’s Marsh … called the Victoria Pottery and of carrying on there the business of a pottery in all its branches‘.

Problems were encountered in completing the construction of the pottery on St Philip’s Marsh and in March 1866 it was reported that the ‘directors had taken the business, with stock and plant, of Mr J. Ellis, at Redcross Street, on terms they consider satisfactory, and the business of the company was commenced there on 8 December 1865.  The pottery is in full operation and the business of the company will continue to be carried on there until the premises at St Philip’s Marsh are completed.  The works at St Philip’s Marsh are progressing most satisfactorily, and it is expected that the mill and engine house will be completed by May next …‘.  In August 1866 it was reported that ‘a hope was expressed [in March] that the mill and engine-house would be completed in May, which expression has been fully realised as far as the building and machinery for the mill house are concerned; but the directors regret that a portion only of the steam engine has yet been delivered at the company’s works …‘.

In August 1867 it was again reported that ‘the building and machinery were still incomplete, and had consequently been only partially employed‘.  Despite the company paying a dividend to their shareholders at a rate of 6% in 1868 John Ellis, the managing director, remarked ‘they had not yet got more than half their works employed’. A serious fire destroyed the interior of the printing room and its roof in August 1869 and in the same month it was noted that John Ellis had left the company ‘in consequences of differences between him and his co-directors‘.  Ellis went back to running his Redcross Street Pottery leaving the Bristol Victoria Pottery still in only limited production.

Troubles at the pottery continued and in January 1870 a part of the premises known as the saggar house was almost entirely destroyed by fire.  In August 1870 the directors had to report that they ‘are compelled to express their disappointment that their anxious efforts have not been more successful, and that an actual loss has accrued on the trade of the year.  They believe this may be attributed to the alterations in the manufacture consequences on changes in the management.  The repairs and additions for the year have been very heavy.  Very heavy repairs have been necessary by the sinking of the foundations in the boiler and engine house, causing great damage to the engine and machinery.  New foundations have just been constructed under the boilers, which have been raised in such a manner that the directors hope this cause of evil will be arrested.  Raising the boundary wall for security of the premises, building a new hardening kiln, and some minor additions, are properly chargeable to capital if any were available … and, as additional capital must be provided, they propose to issue 141 of the unissued shares to the proprietors at £10 each …‘.

Further misfortune followed when in September 1870 another fire broke out in the saggar and printing rooms destroying a large amount of property, so it probably came as little surprise that in May 1872 the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited was declared bankrupt and the pottery and its stock in trade were advertised for sale:
In Chancery. In the matter of the Companies Acts 1865 and 1867. In the matter of the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company (Limited). To be sold by private contract, all that very valuable pottery works and premises, called or known as the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company, situate in St Philip’s Marsh … together with the stock-in-trade, machinery and fixtures belonging thereto. The works, which are freehold, are situated immediately opposite the Feeder, having a water frontage of over 200 feet, and cover an area of about two acres.  They are built in a most substantial manner, and the offices and rooms are exceedingly commodious and well designed. The stock-in-trade consists of printed, sponged and cream coloured earthenwares. The machinery consists of horizontal steam engine, with cylinder 27 inch diameter, stroke 4 feet 6 inches; two Cornish boilers, 20 feet long, 7 feet diameter, with domes, furnace doors, and frames, double safety valve, etc; throwing wheels, turning lathes, squeezing press and dies, jiggers and benches, stoves and piping, three jollys, steam lathe, crab winch, flint and stone mills, two patent clay presses, with all necessary fittings, etc.; and there are capital kilns on the property. The works are in the fullest and most complete working order, and afford an opportunity rarely to be met with. They have, besides, an extra advantage in adaptation to uses of other business where space is of importance’.

The pottery was again advertised for sale in July 1872 and in August 1872 the stock in trade was advertised for sale separately:
In Chancery, in the Matter of the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company Limited … to sell by public auction on Monday the 4 day of November 1872 and following days, the whole of the stock-in-trade now lying in the warehouses of the pottery … consisting of pheasant soup tureens, vegetable dishes, gravy dishes, salad bowls, plates, dishes, and bakers; willow soup tureens, sauce tureens, gravy dishes, vegetable dishes, dishes and bakers, mocha and printed measure jugs, cream coloured dishes and bakers, cane jugs and spittoons, white and cream coloured jugs, brown top mugs and jugs, printed wash bowls, ewers, chambers, brush trays, soaps and sponge trays, of various patterns; printed soup tureens, sauce tureens, vegetable dishes, butter boats, dishes, bakers, gravy dishes and plates of various patterns; toy cans and jugs, dipped, sponged and printed jugs; cream coloured stool pans and bed pans, printed and sponged tea and breakfast cups, milk pans, printed bowls and mugs, sponged and cream coloured wash bowls‘.

In 1873 the pottery was purchased by Halsted Sayer Cobden who already owned the Water Lane Pottery where he traded as Pountney & Company.  In August 1873 it was reported that ‘the workpeople employed at the Bristol Pottery and Bristol Victoria Pottery, numbering upwards of 300, had an excursion to Burnham … Mr Cobden by whom both potteries are now carried on, was present throughout the day, and, engaging with his employees in their amusements, added much to their pleasure‘.

In 1878 Pountney & Company was taken over by two London solicitors, Patrick Johnston and a Mr Rogers.  Rogers retired in 1883 and Johnston died in July 1884, when the business was acquired by Patrick Johnston’s nephew, Thomas Bertram Johnston, who closed the Water Lane Pottery in 1885, concentrating production at the Bristol Victoria Pottery.

On the morning of 13 April 1900 a fire occurred in the machine-room at the Bristol Pottery.  The machine-room and its contents, and also a staircase, were severely damaged but the cause of the outbreak was not known (Western Daily Press, 14 Apr 1900).

Pountney & Company moved to the newly built pottery at Fishponds in 1905 and the Bristol Victoria Pottery closed.

On 9 June 1906 the Bristol Victoria Pottery was advertised for sale by auction and was described as:
‘Lot 1. A valuable freehold property comprising warehouses and offices, with kilns erected thereon, situate at Feeder Road … to which it has a long and valuable frontage, at present forming part of the property recently occupied by the Victoria Pottery Company, and containing 2,878 square yards.
Lot 2. A valuable property adjoining, situate on the south side, and adjoining the last Lot, comprising sheds and buildings erected thereon, having a frontage of 117 feet to Glass House Lane, and containing 2,242 square yards.
Lot 3. The desirable site adjoining Lot 2, also forming part of the before-mentioned property, having a frontage to Glass House Lane and York Street, and containing 2,245 square yards.
Lot 4. The long warehouse, situate immediately opposite Lots 2 and 3, adjoining Glass House Lane, and containing 654 square yards.
Lot 5. Fourteen cottages [in Atlas Road and Atlas Terrace], situate adjoining the last Lot, in the occupation of various tenants.
Lot 6. Two dwelling-houses, situate almost adjoining Lot 5.
Lot 7. The warehouses and sheds, with cottage, situate adjoining Lot 6, having frontages both to Feeder Road and Glass House Lane, containing an area of 775 square yards’ (Western Daily Press).
On the 23 June 1906 it was reported that the cottages and sheds did not sell and that the Victoria Pottery was withdrawn at £8,000 (Western Daily Press).

On 30 January 1909 Pountney and Company offered nos, 9 to 25 Atlas Street, St Philip’s Marsh for sale (Western Daily Press) and on 14 July 1915 the whole of the pottery site and the associated dwellings were again advertised for sale by auction (Western Daily Press).

On 26 December 1905 the Western Daily Press published the following description of a celebration held to commemorate the opening of the Fishponds factory:
‘To celebrate the opening of the fine new works, the directors of the company had the pleasure of entertaining their employees to a tea and concert on Friday evening in the Vestry Hall, Pennywell Road.  There were upwards of 400 people present, and they were treated to a substantial repast.  During the evening souvenir boxes of chocolates were presented to each of the ladies, whilst the gentlemen regaled themselves with cigars and cigarettes at the invitation of the directors.  After full justice had been done to the good things provided, the tables were quickly cleared and rearranged for the musical part of the entertainment.  Mr T. Bertram Johnston (managing director) opened the proceedings with a few well-chosen remarks and called upon Mr W.H. Bell (director) to address the employees.  In the course of his speech he remarked that three things were necessary in a big undertaking such as the Bristol Pottery.  For instance, capital, brains, and labour.  Well, they had capital, and certainly brains, and it behoved the workpeople to do their utmost in the matter of workmanship and economy in production.  Then there would be no reason why the undertaking should not attain the highest success and become one of the first-rank concerns in the pottery industry.  All the items on the programme were admirably rendered, and several encores were demanded.  The second part of the programme was the signal for much excitement and enthusiasm, this being the occasion of the presentation of illuminated addresses to Messrs T.B. Johnston and Chas. Burn (joint managing directors) who have been associated together in the business for upwards of 20 years.  Mr G.F. Golding, the senior representative of the firm, made an admirable speech, in which he particularly drew attention to the kindness and forbearance that could always be expected from Messrs Johnston and Burn, and in mentioning the fact that their new pottery was one of the finest – if not the finest – in the world, he sincerely hoped and believed that if the employees would continue to work hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder, the name of Pountney and Co. would be known all over the world as manufacturers of the highest class of pottery (Applause).  Mr Golding then introduced Messrs H. Bullock and T. Blake (two old employees) to make the presentation on behalf of the workpeople, which duty they carried out in a satisfactory manner.  The addresses were most tastefully designed and executed by Mr W. Moore-Binns in the Adams style, with a characteristic old Bristol design introduced, and were worded as follow:

“To T.B. Johnston, Esq., and to Charles Burn, Esq., upon the occasion of the opening of the new pottery, Fishponds, Bristol, 1905: Dear Sir, We, the undersigned members of the staff as representing the whole body of the employees of Messrs Pountney and Co. Ltd., desire to take this opportunity of offering our respectful congratulations upon the gratifying progress of the business during the last few years, under the able management of yourself and your co-director, Mr Charles Burn or Mr Johnston.  We feel also that so important an epoch in the history of the Bristol Pottery as the opening of the new factory at Fishponds should not be allowed to pass without an expression on our part of the most hearty appreciation of the energy which has resulted in so great an undertaking.  We earnestly trust that the success which has attended your efforts in the past may be greatly supplemented in years to come, and we desire to assure you of our loyal co-operation in our respective departments, believing that you will see in the added prosperity of the business an adequate return for the anxious care and labour which you have bestowed upon it”.

In acknowledging the handsome presents, both Messrs T. B. Johnston and Charles Burn – who were received with loud cheers and musical honours – expressed in suitable terms their appreciation of the artistic and beautifully executed addresses, assuring the employees that they would always be cherished by them.

A vote of thanks to the principals for their kindness in providing such a splendid repast and pleasant evening’s amusement, was proposed by Mr J. Marks, which proposition was most ably seconded by Mr W. Flook.  Another vote of thanks to the committee for the trouble they had taken in arranging such an excellent programme was responded to by Messrs A.L. Adams and G.A.C. Thynne, who remarked that if the entertainment had given satisfaction, they felt amply repaid for what they had done.  The animated photographs by Mr Bromhead, of Clifton, gave immense satisfaction, and in no small measure contributed to the enjoyment of the evening.  The whole proceedings were under the presidency of Mr T. Bertram Johnston, who, bye-the-bye, is the Unionist candidate for Bristol East at the forthcoming general election, and he was ably supported by his co-director Mr Charles Burn.  Among the numerous guests were Mrs Bell, Mrs Burn, the Misses Burn, Mr and Mrs H. Green, Mrs Adams, Mrs Golding, Miss Harley and Messrs W. Moore-Binns, J.H. Watling and G. Pike.  The proceedings came to a close with the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem, and the pleasant evening will undoubtedly by long remembered by those present’.

Wares produced

General earthenwares, including transfer-printed, hand-painted and sponged wares.

Castle Green Pottery

Castle Green, Castle Precincts.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1770-1773 William Cookworthy
In partnership with Joseph Fry, Joseph Harford, Thomas Frank II and Richard Champion.
1773-1781 Richard Champion.

The pottery closed.

(Note: for transcripts of the newspaper advertisements for the wares produced by the Castle Green Pottery, see the biographies of William Cookworthy and Richard Champion under the Potters List section of the website).

It is not clear when William Cookworthy established his porcelain manufactory in Bristol.  According to Owen an advertisement for china ware painters, possibly required for a pottery in Bristol, appeared in the Worcester Journal in March 1770.  The pottery certainly existed by 1771 and was located in Castle Green in premises previously occupied by a Widow Tomlinson. The poor rate returns for 1769 show Tomlinson’s premises as void (i.e. unoccupied).  Unfortunately the return for 1770 does not survive, but in 1771 the occupiers of the premises were ‘Fry & Co’.  Joseph Fry was one of the original investors in Cookworthy’s porcelain works, together with Richard Champion, Joseph Harford and the potter, Thomas Frank II.  In October 1771 William Cookworthy and Company were advertising for a quantity of dry oak billet wood, about four feet long, ‘fit for potter’s use’, for their china manufactory in Castle Green.

It is possible that Cookworthy continued operating the pottery until 1773, although Richard Champion was taking apprentice potters in January 1772 and was clearly involved in the running of the pottery by that date.  Champion continued operating the pottery after Cookworthy sold him the business and his patent, which is thought to have occurred in 1773.  Champion purchased the business using money advanced by Dr Joseph Fry, his sister Sarah Champion, Joseph Harford, James Brice and Thomas Frank II, forming the firm of Richard Champion and Company.

In 1775 Richard Champion was described as a china manufacturer with his works at 15 Castle Green and his house at 17 Castle Green.

In November 1780 Josiah Wedgewood wrote to Bentley that: ‘Amongst other things Mr Champion of Bristol has taken me up near two days.  He is come amongst us to dispose of his secret – his patent, etc., and, who could have believed it – has chosen me for his friend and confidante!  I shall not deceive him for I really feel much for his situation.  A wife and eight children (to say nothing of himself) to provide for and out of what I fear will not be thought of much value here – The secret of China making.  He tells me he has sunk fifteen thousand pounds in this gulf, and his idea is now to sell the whole art, mystery and patent for six …’.

In 1781 a group of Staffordshire potters purchased the patent and the services of Champion and started the New Hall Pottery at Shelton in 1782.

This marked the end of the Castle Green Pottery whose premises were subsequently used by Israel Cary, a clay tobacco pipe manufacturer. In March 1782 Richard Champion was made Deputy Paymaster General to the His Majesties Forces.  He died on 7 October 1791 near Camden in South Carolina, North America.

Wares produced


Counterslip Pottery

Counterslip, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1764-1776 Charles Read.
1776-1783 The pottery was carried on by Edward Lacon for the benefit of Charles Read’s under-aged sons, Joseph and William Read.
1783-1785 Joseph Gadd and Thomas Patience.
1786-1796 Joseph Gadd & Company.
1796-1797 Joseph Gadd and Charles Price I.
1798-1802 William Maynard II.

The pottery closed.

It is not known when Charles Reed established the Counterslip Pottery. The first reference to it was in March 1764 when the following advertisement appeared in Felix Farley’s Journal: ‘At Read & Co’s Pothouse at Counterslip near Temple Cross, Bristol, merchants and others may be supplied with all sorts of stone bottles as cheap as imported. Also pickling jars, etc, 30 per cent under common selling price in this city.  Also all sorts of muggs, etc, at lowest prices’.

Sketchley’s directory recorded him as a potter at 3 Counterslip in 1775.  However, he had died by 26 March 1776 when his executor advertised that: ‘All persons who have demands on the late Charles Read, potter in Temple St., are desired to send their particulars to Mr Edward Lacon, linendraper, Bristol, Admin., who respectfully acquaints the friends and customers of the deceased that the trade is carried on at the usual place by and for the benefit of his sons Joseph and William Read (till they come of age) where any orders they may be favoured with, shall be punctually executed and gratefully acknowledged by them as well as their obedient humble servant Edward Lacon’.

The Counterslip Pottery was taken over by Joseph Gadd and Thomas Patience in 1783, with a firm called Joseph Gadd and Company running the pottery after Thomas Patience’s death in December 1785.

In November 1796 Joseph Gadd had entered into a partnership with Charles Price I which was referred to in his will as ‘the joint trade or co-partnership with Mr Charles Price of the said City of Bristol; in the art or trade as manufacturers of brown stone ware’. In 1797 Gadd and Price transferred their business to the 124 Temple Street Pottery.

In 1798 William Maynard II took over the Counterslip Pottery, having previously been running the St Philip’s Pottery 3 in Bread Street.  He ran the Counterslip Pottery until 1802 when it closed.

Wares produced

Stonewares, including bottles, pickling jars, mugs and water pipes.
Red earthenwares, including garden pots and chimney pots.

Crews Hole Pottery

(also known as Amatt’s Pottery)
Crews Hole, St George.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1819-1827 Anthony Amatt.

The pottery closed.

Anthony Amatt was born in Wirksworth in Derbyshire and had allegedly worked as a china enameller at the Cockpit Hill Pottery in Derby.  In Bristol, possibly from 1798, he worked as a worsted and cotton manufacturer until 1818 when he advertised his factory for sale.

It was around this time that he established a pottery on the south bank of the River Avon at Crews Hole.  He is certainly recorded as being in Crews Hole in the St George rate book for 1819.

In September 1827, at the age of 66, he advertised his pottery for sale in the Bristol Mercury: Lot 1 was an excellent newly-built dwelling house, comprising a kitchen, arched cellar, larder, wash-house, dining room, with a verandah fronting the River Avon, a parlour behind, china pantry, three good bedrooms and two attics. Also ‘an extensive manufactory adjoining, and measuring 204 feet in length, and of an irregular depth throughout from 42 feet east to 17 feet west, consisting of a ground-floor and two stories, three large burning kilns, slip kilns, stoves, clay-house, drying-rooms, warehouse, lathes and wheels, pot-boards, squeezing-box, plaster-moulds, colour-mill, crane, and every other convenience necessary for carrying on an extensive trade in the manufacture of earthenware.  A never failing stream of excellent clear water runs through the manufactory.  The premises have been substantially built within the last 8 years … The whole ranges in front of the River Avon … for which there are every facility for loading and unloading goods, and there is also a constant communication by canal boats and barges passing to and from Bristol, Bath, London, and all the towns upon the lines of the Kennet and Avon, and the Wilts and Berks, canals.  There is an abundance of coal within three quarters of a mile …  Lot 2 a coal yard adjoining Lot 1, and extending 112 feet in length by 54 feet in depth at the west and 32 feet at the east end … Also a capital newly erected warehouse thereon, 55 feet long and 17 feet wide, with a stable and slip-kiln … Lot 3 a large and productive garden opposite Lot 1, and fronting the south, containing about half an acre, and well stocked with fruit trees in full bearing’.

Pountney (1920, 17-18) stated that ‘Another noted pottery was close to the Lamb at Crew’s Hole, where two fairly large kilns, built of pennant stone, are still standing.  They were situated within a large building of two floors, and the cones pass through the first floor and roof, and extend to a considerable height above the latter.  On both the ground floor and the first floor levels are arched entrances, used by the potters for stacking the saggars when loading the wares into the kilns.  These and the furnaces around the base can still be seen’.

In 1938 the City and Council of Bristol made a Clearance Order for nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 Stacey’s Rank; The Pottery, Crews Hole Road; and cottage occupied by Jones, Lamb Hill (Western Daily Press).

Wares produced

Fine industrial slip wares and mocha wares.

Crown Pottery

Cloud’s Hill Avenue, St George.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1870-1885 John Ellis II.
1885-1887 Arthur Ellis.
1888-1904 Crown Pottery Company.

The pottery closed.

John Ellis II had been the managing director of the Bristol Victoria Pottery Company and on leaving that concern he founded the Crown Pottery which opened in December 1870.  The Bristol Times and Mirror recorded the opening: ‘Mr John Ellis, formerly the enterprising managing director of the Victoria Pottery, St Philip’s, has just completed a new and very extensive establishment at St George’s and the inaugural dinner was held yesterday evening.  The meal was served in the spacious sale and sorting rooms … and upwards of 120 employees and friends of the proprietor were present … Mr David Johnson then presented to Mr Ellis, on behalf of the employees at the Redcross Street works [the Redcross Street Pottery] and the new pottery, a very handsome timepiece’.

In 1881 John Ellis II was described as a master potter, employing 19 men and boys, and living at Plummers Hill, St George.

He died in March 1885 and the pottery was taken over by his son, Arthur Ellis.  Unfortunately Arthur died in March the following year and in June 1886 the Crown Pottery was advertised for sale in the Western Daily Press: ‘In consequence of the death of the late proprietor, the executor of the estate is prepared to sell this very desirable and compact business which has been carried on so successfully for some years past, and was in full work until very recently. The business presents an admirable opportunity for investment of a moderate capital, and can be continued at once as a going concern’.

In August 1886    the Crown Pottery was advertised in the Bristol Mercury for sale by auction and it was described as ‘all that close of freehold land, containing 2 acres (more or less), and situate at St George’s, with the various buildings erected thereon; consisting of a commodious dwelling house, counting house, capital warehouses, kilns, workshops, etc. The valuable machinery and plant, including a 20 horse-power steam engine and boiler, and the goodwill of the business will be included in the sale. The pottery is situate within easy distance of Bristol, but being just outside the city boundary the taxes are low. A never failing stream of pure water runs through the premises.  The late Mr Ellis carried on a lucrative business for many years on the above premises, and as the same are in full working order, a capital opportunity is now afforded to any gentleman desirous of embarking in the pottery trade’.

The pottery was acquired by Thomas Bertram Johnston, trading as Pountney and Company, who was also running the Water Lane Pottery and the Bristol Victoria Pottery.  The Crown Pottery Company was listed in the directories until 1904 although it is possible that it had closed by 27 July 1901 when a J.H. Crawley  stated that he was intending to use the pottery as a soap boiling manufactory.

Wares produced

Earthenwares – possibly transfer-printed earthenwares.

Lawrence Hill Pottery

Lawrence Hill, St Philip and Jacob parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1808-c1845 Uriah Alsop I.

There is also a reference to an Ann Cantle working in Lawrence Hill in 1819.
There are no subsequent references to the pottery.

Uriah Alsop I was first noted as a potter in Lawrence Hill in the Tolzey Court records for March 1808.  He was also recorded as a potter in Lawrence Hill in the poll books and street directories from 1808 to 1830 and in the lists of electors for 1832 and 1834.  He took his son Uriah Alsop II as an apprentice in 1823.

He was noted as a stoneware potter on the marriage of his daughter in January 1845, but this does necessarily mean he was still alive.  There is a record of Uriah Alsop, aged 62, being buried in Bristol in 1832, although this is contradicted by his appearance in the 1834 list of electors, suggesting perhaps that the Uriah Alsop buried in 1832 was not the potter.

Wares produced


Leek Lane Pottery

Leek Lane, St Paul’s parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1809-1810 Daniel Organ.
c1812-1834 John Hassall & Company.

The pottery appears to have closed.

It is not known when Daniel Organ established the Leek Lane Pottery.  It was presumably operating by November 1808 when he took an apprentice and between 1809 and 1811 he was described in the street directories as a manufacturer of brown stone ware, melting pots, etc. in Leek Lane.

However by September 1810 he had been declared bankrupt and Felix Farley’s Journal carried the advertisement: ‘To potters, chymists, distillers, spirit merchants, and the public at large.  To be sold by auction by W. Vigor.  On Tuesday the 25th of September, and following days, at ten o’clock, on the premises, in Leek Lane, St Paul’s, Bristol.  All the stock in trade of Daniel Organ, potter, a bankrupt, together with the implements, etc used in and about the same trade; consisting of crucibles from an established maker, and every description of brown stone bottles, barrels, jars, jugs, pitchers, pots, etc usually manufactured by a potter, as also a large quantity of clay.  The whole to be sold without reserve in suitable and convenient lots for the accommodation of the buyers.  There being a quantity of ware marked with the customers’ names, the same may be taken immediately, with a reduction of 25 per cent from the wholesale price, and a considerable abatement will be made on every other part of the ware.      The premises are to be let on lease, and are very convenient for carrying on the above business, should any one be disposed to take thereto, and to the stock’.

In March 1812 the same newspaper advertised to let ‘Extensive premises, situate in Leek-lane, in the parish of St Paul’s, lately used as a brown stone manufactory, and fitted up with kilns, etc, etc, compleat – These premises may be altered so as to suit any large manufactory or business requiring room …’.

The Leek Lane Pottery was rented by John Hassall, trading as John Hassall & Company, who was recorded in the street directories from 1813 to 1834 as a brown stone potter or stone ware manufacturer in Leek Lane.  In 1834 he was operating in Leek Lane and Thrissell Street and in 1835 in Thrissell Street only.  There is no further known documentary reference to the Leek Lane Pottery and it appears to have closed by 1835.

Wares produced

Stonewares, including bottles, barrels, jars, jugs, pitchers and ‘melting pots’, which were probably the crucibles used in glass furnaces.

Lewins Mead Pottery

Lewins Mead, St Michael’s parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1771 The pottery operated by John Gates was offered for sale.

Nothing else is known of this pottery.

All that is known about the Lewins Mead Pottery is that it was being operated by John Gates for some time before August 1771 when it was advertised for sale in the Bristol Gazette: ‘Now selling off, under prime-cost (on the premises) All the stock in trade, belonging to the pot-house, opposite the White Friars in Lewins-Mead, Bristol, lately in the possession of John Gates; consisting of brown stone ware, viz., oil-jars, pickling pots, pitchers, quart, pint, and half pint mugs, etc.  Also the pot-house compleat, to be let, with a kiln built on the premises, four good wheels standing, plenty of pot-boards, and all sorts of utensils necessary for a pot-manufactory, Likewise four dwelling rooms, belonging to the said pot-house, with every other useful conveniency for such a work – The premises may be viewed and further particulars had by applying to John Gates, aforesaid’.

Wares produced

Stonewares, including oil jars, pickling pots, pitchers, quart, pint and half-pint mugs.

Limekiln Lane Pottery 1

Limekiln Lane (also known as Cow Lane), St Augustine’s parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1706-1723 Henry Hobbs.
1725-1734 William Pottery and John Weaver.
1735-1738 Charles Christopher.
1739-c1741 Josiah Bundy.

Josiah Bundy died in 1741 and the pottery appears to have closed.

The pottery was built on the site of a walled garden adjoining Brandon Hill by Henry Hobbs who was described as a carpenter in 1693.  It is not known when he established the pottery but it was some time between about 1700, when the site of the pottery was referred to as a garden, and 1706, when Hobbs was first recorded as a potmaker.  The pottery was described as ‘new erected’ in 1707 and in the same year Hobbs was recorded as exporting earthenwares.  Between 1706 and 1708 he took apprentices with a ‘co-partner’, but the identity of the co-partner is not known.  Hobbs was recorded as a potmaker or a gallypotmaker.  He probably died in 1722 or 1723 when he stopped paying land tax on the pottery, which was noted as ‘void’ (i.e. unoccupied) in the first half of 1723.  He was certainly dead by October 1725.

The pottery was then taken over by William Pottery and John Weaver, probably by 1724 when Weaver took his first apprentice.  Pottery and Weaver were recorded as jointly paying rates on the pottery in 1728/29 and they were both taking apprentices as gallypotmakers between 1724 and 1734.  John Weaver died in 1734 and William Pottery established the Limekiln Lane Pottery 2.

The Limekiln Lane Pottery 1 was taken over by Charles Christopher who was certainly working there in 1735.  However, the land tax returns for September 1737 to September 1738 recorded the pottery as ‘void’ and Charles Christopher must have given up the business.

It was occupied by Josiah Bundy by 1739 when he took over the apprenticeships of James Grant and John Bowen from Charles Christopher. Bundy had died by November 1741 when his apprentices were transferred to James Gaynard and his wife had left the trade.  The pottery closed after his death.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.

Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Jackson, R. & P. and 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.
The report describes the recovery in 1984 of tin-glazed earthenware kiln waste from the vicinity of the Limekiln Lane potteries, compares this with contemporary material excavated from London and Bristol, and argues that the kiln waste was produced between about 1715 and 1725 by Henry Hobbs and Company. One hundred sherds of waste pottery are illustrated which includes plates, bowls, dishes, albarello-type and cauldron-type containers, chamber pots, mugs, storage vessels, other domestic vessels, ‘number pots’ and tiles.  The kiln furniture is also illustrated and includes saggars, kiln tiles and pegs.
(HER no. 534; BRSMG accession no. 35/1984).

See also under Limekiln Lane Pottery 2.


Limekiln Lane Pottery 2

Limekiln Lane (also known as Cow Lane), St Augustine’s parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1734-1739 William Pottery.

The pottery closed.

In the land tax return for March to September 1734 William Pottery was paying tax on a pottery in Limekiln Lane which, in the return for 1734/35, was referred to as ‘Mr Pottery’s New Pothouse & dwelling ho’.  This was the Limekiln Lane Pottery 2.  However it only existed for a short period of time, as it was described as ‘void’ in the land tax return for March 1739 to March 1740.  The pottery does not seem to have operated subsequently and William Pottery died in June 1742.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.

Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

There have been a number of finds of kiln waste from the area of the Limekiln Lane Potteries, although it has not been possible to determine which of the two potteries they came from:
Pountney, W.J. 1920. Old Bristol Potteries. Bristol. In note 13, p.xxxii.
In 1920 Pountney recorded that when buildings were being erected on the site of the Limekiln Lane potteries the workmen removed much soil containing saggars, drug jars and other vessels, and used this material to fill a quarry on the south side of Brandon Hill.

Maxwell, H.W. 1939. Recent excavations in Bristol. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 2.7, 115-119.
In 1939 Maxwell published details of his excavations at a site on Brandon Hill which was described as being south-west of the quarry mentioned by Pountney (see above).  He uncovered large quantities of wasters which were found close to the surface.  He felt that the wasters had been dumped on the surface of the hill at the back of the potteries and had become covered with a thin layer of soil washed down the hill.

Lipski, L.L. 1969. Dated English delftware. Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle 7.2, 149.
Lipski refers to digging being undertaken on Brandon Hill after 1948 and he was given the finds from that work when he excavated the same site a few years later.

Fowler, P.J. (ed.) 1973. Archaeological review for 1972. Bristol. p.61.
In 1972, during re-seeding of the southern slopes of Brandon Hill, considerable quantities of kiln furniture and wasters were found and recovered.  Apparently two sherds of soft paste porcelain dating c.1700-1740 were found at the same time.
(HER no. 2).

Potter, K. 2006. Archaeological watching brief at Brandon Hill, Clifton, Bristol. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. 1599/2006. Appendix 3: The tin-glazed earthenware kiln waste by Reg Jackson.
An assemblage of tin-glazed earthenware kiln waste was recovered from a cable trench during a watching brief on Brandon Hill.  There were 71 fragments of kiln shelves, 14 girder fragments, cylindrical saggars, some with triangular side openings, and sherds of vessels including cauldron-type containers, bowls, plates, an urn-shaped vase, mugs and jugs.  The waste was thought to date to after about 1720.
(HER no. 4274; BRSMG accession no. 2006/11).

Lund’s Pottery

Location unknown.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1749-52 Benjamin Lund and William Miller.

The pottery was sold in 1752 and appears not to have operated after that date.

The first reference to Benjamin Lund in connection with the production of porcelain in Bristol was in March 1749 when he was granted a licence for a term of twenty one years to quarry soap rock from Gewcrease in the parish of Mullion, Cornwall.  He was to begin operations within three months of that date, to pay dues of 10s a ton to the landowner and to draw at least 20 tons of the rock a year.

Considerable research has been carried out into the quarrying of soap rock by Robert Felce and was published in 2011 in his book, Soaprock Coast. The origins of English porcelain (ISBN 978-0-9569895-0-5).  He quotes the licence issued to Lund by the landowner John West which allowed him ‘to break up, take and carry away such parts and parcells as he and they shall think proper of all that soft rock commonly called or known by the name of the soaprock lying in Gewgreaze Cove within the tenement or Great Inclosure called or known by the name of Kinance [Kynance] in the parish of Mullion in the county of Cornwall … and also to dig or search for ye same or ye like clays or rocks in and throughout those parts of the said tenement or inclosure which now or late were in ye tenure or occupation of Barnard Richards Richard Sampson and James and John Harry or any or either of them their or any of their undertenant or undertenants and to raise and break up and take and carry away ye same to and for his and their own use and uses and at his or their own wills and pleasures (provided and so as ye said Benjamin Lund … and all workmen and labourers and others to be employed by or under him do as little damage as possible to ye said tenement …’.

In November 1750 Dr Richard Pococke, an Irish traveller, wrote to his mother about a visit he had made to a Bristol porcelain factory in 1750: ‘I went to see a manufacture lately established here by one of the principal manufacturers at Limehouse which failed.  It is at a glasshouse & is called Loudn’s Glass-house. They have two sorts of ware, one called Stone china which has a yellow cast, both in the ware & the glazing, that I suppose is made of pipe-clay & calcin’d flint. The other they call Old China, that is whiter & I suppose this is made of calcin’d flint & the soapy rock at Lizard point which ‘tis known they use, this is painted blue & somewhat like old white china of a yellowish cast; another kind is white with a blewish cast; & both called fine ornamental white china; they make very beautiful white sauce boats adorned with reliefs of festoons which sell for sixteen shillings a pair’.  It is not known who Pococke was referring to as ‘one of the principal manufacturers at Limehouse’.  There is no record of either Benjamin Lund or William Miller having been connected with the Limehouse porcelain works in London.

In November and December 1750 Lund’s name was associated with an advertisement concerning the introduction into Bristol of a manufactory for producing imitation China Ware and the request for parents and guardians to place children over the age of fourteen with the business to learn the ‘Art of Pottery, as practised in Staffordshire’ and to be taught to draw and paint on the ware ‘either in the India or Roman taste’.

In July 1751 and January 1752 advertisements appeared giving notice of sales of ware made in imitation of foreign china or porcelain at the proprietors’ warehouses in Castle Green and next to the Bell Inn in Temple Street.

In February 1752 Richard Holdship of Worcester, a glover, purchased from Benjamin Lund a ‘mine of clay or soft rock called or known by the name of Kinance in the parish of Mullion, in the County of Cornwall, which earth or clay was used in making of certain earthen ware in imitation of China Ware commonly called Bristol Porcelain Ware’ and also from Benjamin Lund and William Miller ‘their stock, utensils and effects and the process of the said Bristol Manufactory’.  Advertisements in July and August 1752 notified the public that the proprietors of the manufactory in Bristol were now united with the Worcester Porcelain Company and were selling off their remaining stock at their warehouse in Castle Green.

In his bankruptcy hearing in February 1753 Benjamin Lund was described as ‘late of parish of Saint Philip & Jacob … dealer in copper and brass but now of the City of Worcester, china maker’ (PRO ASSI 45/25/1/89-90 Bankruptcy Order Book).

Wares produced


Pipe Lane Pottery

Pipe Lane, Temple Back, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1817-1831 John Duffett I.
1831-1842 Susannah Duffett and John Duffett II, trading as S. Duffett & Son.
1843-1854 Charles Duffett.
1856-1873 William Hutchings I, trading as William Hutchings & Company.
1873-1878 William Hutchings I and William Hutchings II, trading as William Hutchings & Son.
1878-1882 William Hutchings II.
1883-1906 William Hutchings II and George Hutchings, trading as W. & G. Hutchings or William Hutchings & Company.

The pottery closed.

John Duffett I had been running the 124 Temple Street Pottery since 1805 when he started the Pipe Lane Pottery in 1817 and transferred all his business there in 1821.  John Duffett I died in June 1831 and in his will he specified that his firm should be carried on by his wife Susannah and his son John Duffett II, the profits to be split two-thirds and one-third respectively and, in the event of Susannah’s death, the firm was to be run by John alone.

The directories show that the firm traded as S. Duffett and Son until 1842, by which time John was in prison and presumably Susannah had given up the business (she was still alive in 1851 and living with her son, Charles Duffett I).  John Duffett II later moved to Cranham in Gloucestershire, where he continued to work as a potter.

The Pipe Lane Pottery then came into the ownership of Charles Duffett I, who was John Duffett I’s younger son, and from 1843 to 1854 the directories listed the firm as ‘Charles Duffett (late S. Duffett & Son)’.

By 1856 the pottery had been taken over by William Hutchings I, the directories listing the firm as ‘Wm. Hutchings (late Duffett)’, and operating both the Pipe Lane and Barton Hill Potteries.  In 1861 William Hutchings I was employing 20 men and 11 boys, presumably divided between his two potteries.  He gave up the Barton Hill Pottery in about 1863, setting up a brick and tile works in St Philip’s Marsh but continuing to run the Pipe Lane Pottery. The Pipe Lane Pottery was advertised to let in April 1873 although it continued to be run by William Hutchings I who, in the same year, entered into partnership with his son, William Hutchings II.

William Hutchings I died in April 1878 and in October of that year his son, William, advertised that ‘the red ware pottery trade will be continued by the deceased’s son Mr William Hutchings, at Temple Back’ [i.e. at the Pipe Lane Pottery].  In 1883 William Hutchings II entered into partnership with George Hutchings, who was probably his brother, the firm trading as W. & G. Hutchings or William Hutchings and Company.

The Hutchings brothers were tenants and the buildings and land were advertised for sale on 5 October 1901, when ‘The Pottery’ was described as having two kilns, a moulding loft, a drying shed, store rooms, various sheds and buildings, and a small office at the entrance.  To the rear was a piece of land used for clay storage.  The Hutchings were paying an annual rent of £45 on the pottery and £12.10s on the piece of land.  Following the sale the Hutchings brothers must have retained the tenancy as the pottery continued to operate.

The Pipe Lane Pottery last appeared in the directories in 1906 and must have closed after that date, William Hutchings II becoming a red ware pottery agent.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including flower pots, garden pots, chimney pots and fancy pots.
Stoneware is referred to between 1881 and 1882 but was probably a mistake.

Finds of pottery waste and kiln material

Jackson, R. 1994. Archaeological evaluation of Quay Point, Temple Meads, Bristol. Bristol and Region Archaeological Services unpublished report no. BA/C077.

An evaluation trench was excavated across the site of the pottery during redevelopment work at Quay Point.  No pottery buildings were found and it was assumed that they must have been removed prior to the construction of railway yards in the 20th century.  A stone-built well contained groups of late 19th-century red ware vessels, wasters and kiln furniture which almost certainly came from the pottery.
The upper fill of the well (context 331) produced storage jars, garden urns, flower pots of various sizes, jugs, jars, lids of various shapes and sizes, art wares, shallow dishes, a tray, pancheons with applied horizontal handles on their rims, collanders, a chicken waterer and roof tiles.  Kiln furniture included supports with the remains of vessel rims adhering to glaze runs. Two vessels contained deposits of red and green powder which may have been pigments used in the pottery.
The lower fill of the well (context 332) produced storage jars, pancheons, shallow trays, lids, a chicken waterer, flower pots of various sizes, roof tiles, and garden urns decorated with rouletting and applied motifs in relief in the form of bunches of grapes and vine leaves.
Drawings of four of the complete vessels are illustrated in Appendix 4 of the report and Plate 15 is a photograph of 18 vessels from the well.
A trench close to the pottery also produced large quantities of red earthenware wasters including pancheons with horizontal handles applied to their rims or with looped handles, storage jars, storage vessels and pancheons with ledge rims for seating lids, jugs, bowls, flower pots of various sizes, and a sugar loaf mould.  It seems very likely that these wasters came from the Pipe Lane Pottery.

Jackson, R. 2000. Two groups of post-medieval pottery kiln waste from Temple Quay, Bristol. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 17, 111-117.

This is a report on the red earthenware waste found on the site of the Pipe Lane Pottery during the archaeological evaluation in 1994.  Twenty-one vessels are illustrated and the significance of the find is described.

Redcliff Back Pottery 1

(also known as Frank’s Pottery)
Redcliff Back, St Mary Redcliffe parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

1705-1706 James Margerum had converted William Clark’s glasshouse into a pottery.
He may have been in partnership with Thomas Frank I.
c1707-1708 John Franks (possibly a mistake for Thomas Frank I).
c1709-1738 Thomas Frank I.
1738-c1744 Thomas Frank I and Richard Frank.
c1744-1765 Richard Frank.
1766-1777 Richard Frank and Thomas Frank II.

The pottery closed and Richard Frank moved his business to the Water Lane Pottery.

The land tax and poor rate records for St Mary Redcliffe parish show that James Margeram took over a glasshouse belonging to William Clark and that, in 1705, he was paying rates on a ‘pothouse’.   This may have been the ‘James Margarinn’ who was apprenticed to the London potter John Campion on 13 October 1681.  The land tax and poor rate books are missing for 1706 but in 1707 and 1708 a John Franks was paying rates on the pothouse.  Nothing else is known about John Franks and these entries could have been a mistake for Thomas Frank I, who was paying land tax on the pothouse from 1709.

Thomas Frank I had become a free gallypotmaker in June 1698 and took his first apprentice to the trade in July 1698, although it is not known where he was working at that time.  He was exporting earthenware from at least 1705 which strongly suggests that he was involved with the Redcliff Back Pottery 1 from that date, perhaps in a partnership with James Margerum.  Between 1709 and 1736 he took a further fifteen apprentices and continued paying various rates on the pothouse, a warehouse and a dwelling house on Redcliff Back.  In 1704 Thomas Frank I was paying rates on St Anne’s Mill in Brislington, which had previously been owned by the potter Edward Ward I, and it is assumed that he used this mill for grinding materials used in his  glazes. From 1705 until 1726 (the Port Books studied to date) he was regularly exporting earthenware to Nevis, Montserrat, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados, St Kitts, Boston, Carolina, Pennsylvannia, New York, Philadelphia and ports in Ireland.

From 1738 Thomas Frank I was running the Redcliff Back Pottery 1 with his son, Richard Frank, and they were both paying rates on the pottery.  This continued until about 1744, from which date Richard was paying the rates and operating the pottery alone, his father presumably having retired from the business.

In 1754 Reinhold Angerstein from Sweden described in his travel diary a mill for stamping and grinding pottery glazes which was located on the bank of the River Avon opposite the Hotwells.  He said that the mill belonged to ‘Mr Franco’, presumably Mr Frank (Richard Frank), who had a ‘glass’ furnace near St Mary Redcliffe church.

In 1759 the poor rate returns referred to ‘Richard Frank’s stone pot house’, which is the first known reference to the production of stoneware at the Redcliff Back Pottery 1.

In June 1760 a lease of land on Redcliff Back mentioned ‘all those two messuages or tenements and potthouse sometime since erected and built thereon now in the several possessions or occupations of James Cox, limeburner, John Hope, potter, and Richard Frank, potter …’.  A further lease in March 1762 of void ground on Redcliff Back referred to it being bounded on the south by a warehouse belonging to Richard Frank, potter.

From 1766 the rates on the pottery were being paid by Richard Frank and Son, Richard having entered into partnership with his son, Thomas Frank II.  The Port Books show that the firm was importing stoneware bottles, ‘worp’ [thrown] mugs and jugs, and chamberpots from Rotterdam in 1770 and 1775, and those were almost certainly manufactured in the German Rhineland.  They were also obtaining ‘Irish clay’ from Carrickfergus in Ireland.

From 1767 the Franks were employing Magnus Lundberg, who had previously worked at the Rörstrand Pottery in Sweden before moving to England and running a pottery warehouse in Bristol, as foreman at their pottery and a description of the Redcliff Back Pottery 1 was given at that time in the Swedish newspaper, the Goteborgska Spionen: ‘There are forty-two persons at work here, whose different tasks we watched. The work is very extensive and repays description.  The clay of which this [ware] is made, and which is quite up to our blue and white Stockholm clays in fineness, is obtained partly here near Bristol, at Dondery [Dundry] and Stacent; partly fetched from Ireland. The clay which is found here is altogether fat, and no work could be done with it alone; they have to mix it with the lean Irish clay. These clays are sieved, wetted, and kneaded together. Before the piece of clay can be put on the turning-machine it must be worked on like a piece of dough. First the dough-lump is shaped on a stool into whatever form it is to assume, jug, can, bowl, basin, punch-bowl, or whatever is desired.  It is subsequently sent to another workman to be shaped more neatly, and is finally fired for the first time.  Every piece is set in a sort of case made of sheets of clay, which are fastened together with little nails also made of clay. These often burst, but are tied together again with sail-thread.  Little ‘positures’ as well as tea-cups, etc., can be put in the containers alongside the larger vessels, and so be fired at the same time.  Great quantities of wood are expended in this. Coal is unserviceable. All the wood comes from Wales, and is sold here at a much higher price than in London.  On this stone are placed all manner of colours, which takes place in the drawing-room.  This work goes slowly.  Afterwards it is glazed, N.B. after the first firing has taken place, the plate is dipped in a sort of substance which looks like white lime: as soon as this has run over it, it becomes immediately dry again.  The vessels which are to be brown [presumably stonewares], are similarly dipped in a lime-substance composed of reddle, etc. … The substance for the glaze is composed of ‘frätt’ which is made of one part of soda and three parts sand, tin-ash of one part tin and three parts lead, cobalt, salt, arsenicum alb.  All this is mixed together and burned to a flux, then crushed and ground, mixed with water, and applied to the glazing of the porcelain’.

In May 1777 the Bristol Gazette advertised that the following property was to be let from midsummer: ‘a house and several large warehouses situated on Redcliff Back adjoining the River Avon, now and for many years past in the occupation of Messrs Frank & Co., potters … the premises lie close to the river, where there is a slip for loading goods, and are very well adapted for the business of a potter, a brewer, a distiller, or any other business that requires room’.

In June 1777 Richard Frank and Son advertised in the Bristol Gazette that their ‘earthen and stone pot works are removed from Redcliff Backs to Water Lane [the Water Lane Pottery] where they continue the same business in all its branches’.

The Redcliff Back Pottery 1 did not operate again after this date.  The land tax return for 1779 shows that it had become a prison.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares and, later, stonewares.

Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Barton, K.J. 1961. Some evidence for two types of pottery manufactured in Bristol in the early 18th century.  Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 61, 160-168.
Waste pottery was recovered from a pit in Ship Lane, Cathay, in St Mary Redcliffe parish.  It was not a stratified deposit, but lay mixed in sloping tip lines.  The pottery types represented were slip wares, lead and tin-glazed wares, iron stained ‘tigerskin’ salt glaze stoneware and fine white salt glazed stoneware.  The salt glazed wares comprised six pieces of kiln furniture and 96 fragments of ware including tankards, half-pint tankards, jugs and globular vessels all probably dating to the first quarter of the 18th century. The slip ware vessels included posset pots and drinking mugs, one bearing the date 1743.  It seems likely that these were made at the Redcliff Back Pottery 1, due to its proximity to Ship Lane.

Dumps of tin-glazed earthenware waste have been found in Redcliff Caves and it seems likely that these came from the Redcliff Back Pottery 1:
Fowler, P.J. 1972. Archaeological review no. 6 for 1971. University of Bristol.
In 1971 a collection of 17th/18th century kiln furniture and wasters, including salt-glazed, tin-glazed and slipwares, was recovered from the Redcliff Caves.
(BRSMG accession no. 72/1970).
Russett, V. 1990/91. Archaeology in Avon 1990/91. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 9, 64.
In 1988 several fragments of tin-glazed earthenware wasters, including saggar, tile and girder fragments, fragments of chamberpots and small bowls, and contemporary stoneware and pantile fragments were recovered from waste heaps in the Redcliff Caves. The fragments were deposited in Bristol Museum.
(HER no. 483).

Jackson, R. 2005. The tin-glazed earthenware kiln material, In Cullen, K. 2005. Redcliff Wharf, Bristol: Archaeological evaluation. Cotswold Archaeology unpublished report no. 05143.
The evaluation produced nine fragments of kiln shelves, a single girder fragment and seven pieces of saggars, the latter of two types: cylindrical vessels and those of an unknown shape but with ‘lobed’ indentations in their sides which have parallels found at Norfolk House, Lambeth.  There were sherds of storage vessels, bowls, cups or teabowls, plates and a tankard. It seems most likely that the tin-glazed kiln waste from this site can be attributed to the Redcliff Back Pottery 1 and that it dates to after about 1720.
(HER no. 4261; BRSMG accession no. CMAG 2005/0085).

Jackson, R. 2007. The tin-glazed earthenware and stoneware kiln waste, In Collard, M. 2007. Redcliff Wharf, Bristol: Archaeological evaluation phase 2. Cotswold Archaeology unpublished report no. 07080.
Tin-glazed earthenware waste:
The evaluation produced fragments of kiln shelves, girders, trivets and saggars, the latter of three types: cylindrical vessels with U-shaped openings in their sides cut down from the rim, cylindrical saggars with triangular holes cut in their sides and those with ‘lobed’ indentations in their sides.  There were sherds of storage containers, bowls, plates, cups or tea-bowls, saucers, posset pots, chamber pots and wall tiles.  It seems most likely that the tin-glazed kiln waste from this site can be attributed to the Redcliff Back Pottery 1 and that it dates to after about 1720.
Stoneware waste:
The evaluation produced fragments of stoneware saggars covered in a thick grey-green glaze.  They all had cuts in their sides and down from their rims.  The saggars are similar in form to those of 18th-century date from the Fulham Pottery, London, where they were used almost exclusively for the firing of tankards.  A thin, apparently circular pad of clay, again covered in grey-green glaze, was probably used to separate saggars.  There were only four sherds of definite stoneware vessel waste and these were all apparently parts of tankards.  It seems likely that the stoneware waste came from the Redcliff Back Pottery 1 and it is known that stoneware was being produced there by 1759.
(HER no. 4397; BRSMG accession no. 2007/36).

Redcliff Back Pottery 2

Redcliff Back, St Mary Redcliffe parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1756-c1759 John Harwell.
c1759-1760 Richard Frank.

The pottery closed.

The poor rate books from March 1756 to March 1759 referred to ‘John Harwell’s warehouse and tenement’ on Redcliff Back and the lamp and scavenging rate books for September 1760 to September 1761 recorded the same premises as ‘John Harwell’s pothouse and tenements’.

John Harwell had become a free gallypotmaker in 1740 and in 1754 the poll book noted him as a gallypotmaker in St Mary Redcliffe parish.  He took an apprentice in February or March 1758 suggesting that he was then operating his own pottery.

The rate books are confusing about when Harwell left the Redcliff Back Pottery 2 as, although the lamp and scavenging rate book listed it as his pothouse between 1760 and 1761, both the poor rate and the watch rate show it as occupied between March 1759 and September 1760 as ‘Richard Frank pothouse & tenement’, ‘Richard Frank stone pot house’ or ‘Richard Frank’s small pot house’.

Between September 1760 and September 1761 it was listed as ‘Richard Frank’s pot house void’ and then between September 1761 and September 1762 as ‘Step. Bagg warehouse late Franks’.

It is clear that the Redcliff Back Pottery 2 operated for only a short time and had gone out of use by September 1760.

Wares produced

Probably tin-glazed earthenwares and, under Richard Frank, stonewares.

Redcliff Street Pottery 1

108 and 109 Redcliff Street, St Mary Redcliffe parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1660-1670 Edward Crofts was living in Redcliff Street.
1668 Edward Crofts was renting a ‘work house’ in St Mary Redcliffe parish.

Crofts had died by May 1671 and the pottery probably closed.

Edward Crofts was first recorded as a potter of St Mary Redcliffe parish in December 1660 when he was one of the persons required that they ‘doe hang out a lanterne and candle lighted at their respective doors during this season from six to nine of the clock evy. night upon paine for forfeiting for evy. default 3s.4d’.  In December 1665 he was a bondsman to a marriage licence granted to John Weston, a clothworker.

Crofts clearly had a close association with the Brislington potters as, in her will made in December 1666, Ann Bissicke, the widow of the Brislington gallypotmaker John Bissicke, bequeathed ‘unto Edward Croftes my great household bible in token of my love … I doe give and bequeath unto Sarah the wife of Edward Croftes one small booke called the Sanctuary of a Troubled Soule. Item I doe give and bequeath unto Sarah the daughter of the said Edward Croftes my silver cuppe with my husbands name and myne ingravin thereon.  Item I doe give and bequeath unto Elizabeth the daughter of the said Edward Croftes tenne shillings in moneys to buy her a ring. Item I doe give and bequeath further unto Sarah the wife of the said Edward Croftes my gold deathes head ring … Item I doe give and bequeath more unto Sarah Croftes daughter as aforesaid of Edward Croftes my small box of drawers …’

In March 1668 Edward Crofts, potter, leased a tenement in Redcliff Street from the Dean and Chapter of Bristol which was bounded on one side by another tenement occupied by Crofts. An analysis of other Dean and Chapter documents showed that the tenement can be identified as what was, in the 20th century, 108 Redcliff Street.

An assessment for St Mary Redcliffe parish for the period from June 1668 to September 1668 included Edward Crofts’ dwelling house and also his ‘work house’.

Crofts was again mentioned as a potter of St Mary Redcliffe parish in January 1770 which referred to a property he had recently built on Redcliff Back.  However, by May 1671 his house in Redcliff Street was in the tenure of ‘Widow Crofts’ so Edward had obviously died by that date.

The reference to Edward Crofts having a ‘work house’ in Redcliff Street strongly suggests that this was a pottery which he had probably been running from at least 1660 to his death which occurred between January 1770 and May 1771.

Frank Britton wrote an article on Edward Crofts entitled ‘Another early delftware connection between Southwark and Bristol’, which was published in 1986 in the Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle, Volume 12, Part 3 (pages 191-192).  In this he suggested that Edward Crofts might be the same Edward Croft who married a Sarah Mills at Allhallows, London, on January 1651.  However, although it is possible that Crofts came from London, there is no evidence to suggest that the Edward Croft married in 1651 was a potter.  Britton also suggested that Crofts worked at the Brislington Pottery, travelling there daily from his home in Redcliff Street, and that ‘he must have been a very important figure in the Brislington pottery, being the only Southwark-trained potter there’.  This argument seems highly tenuous as there is no documentary evidence to suggest that he ever worked in the Southwark Pottery (or, indeed that he came from London at all) or that he worked at the Brislington Pottery, and completely ignores his obvious connection with Redcliffe and the unequivocal reference to him having a ‘work house’ there.

If Edward Crofts did have a pottery in St Mary Redcliffe parish between 1660 and 1670 and this was producing tin-glazed earthenware, then that would make him the earliest known tin-glazed earthenware potter to have been working in the city.

Wares produced

Tin-glazed earthenwares.