Wilder Street Pottery

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by webfooted

9 Wilder Street, St James’s parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

pre-1752 Henry Allbright.
c1753-1787 William Matchin I.
1788-1812 William Matchin II.
1812-1814 Edward Matchin.
1815-1819 Jane Matchin.
1819-1820 Benjamin and Edward Matchin, trading as B & E Matchin.
1821-1837 Benjamin Matchin.
c1837-1843 John Duffett II.

The pottery closed.

Henry Allbright was probably the ‘potmaker’ of Westbury-on-Trym who was granted a licence to marry Elizabeth Morley in 1732.  At some time he must have moved to Bristol and set up his own pottery, probably in Wilder Street, which was mentioned in his will of October 1746 when he gave to his wife, Elizabeth, ‘all that my messuage and tenement wherein I now live together with the garden, workhouses and all appurtenances thereunto …’.  The will was proved in January 1753 and in August 1753 William Matchin I, a potter of St Mary Redcliffe parish, married Allbright’s widow, Elizabeth.  This is presumably how Matchin acquired the Wilder Street Pottery.

By September 1755 William Matchin I was paying rates on a property ‘behind the Full Moon’ in Wilder Street.  In Sketchley’s directory of 1775 he was described as a potter of 15 & 18 Wilder Street.  In November 1780 it was reported that ‘Wednesday died Mrs Matchin, wife of Mr Matchin, potter, in Wilder Street’.

William Matchin I stopped paying rates on his property in Wilder Street in September 1787 and he had probably died.  Subsequently the rates were paid by his son, William Matchin II.  In December 1789 he advertised: ‘William Matchin, junr. respectfully informs his friends and the public, that he continues his fine glaz’d pan and garden pot manufactory, wholesale and retail, as usual, in Wilder Street, St Paul’s … a report having been propagated he has declin’d the business, W.M. in justice to himself offers this to the public, to inform them such report is groundless, and humbly solicits their favoure, which will ever be gratefully acknowledged. N.B. Country shopkeepers supply’d on the shortest notice’.

William Matchin II died in May 1812 and the pottery was then run for two years by Edward Matchin who may have been his brother.  In 1815 it was taken over by Jane Matchin, possibly the wife of William Matchin II, but in 1819 it reverted to Edward Matchin who ran the pottery until 1820 with Benjamin Matchin, the firm trading as B. and E. Matchin at 9 Wilder Street, as a ‘wholesale stone, red and glazed ware, chimney and garden pot manufactory’.

From 1821 the pottery was being operated by Benjamin Matchin alone and in 1832 his property was described as a ‘house & pottery’.   Benjamin was last listed in the directories as a potter in 1837 and in 1838 the pottery was referred to as ‘the Old Pottery, near the bottom of Dean Street, St Paul’s’.

In 1843 a one-sixth share of the Wilder Street Pottery was advertised for sale when it was described as being ‘void’ and ‘lately in the occupation of Mr John Duffett’.  It seems likely that John Duffett II had taken over the pottery from Benjamin Matchin in about 1837.  However, in 1841 John Duffett II was a prisoner in H.M. Goal, Bedminster, and the pottery may have gone out of use at that time.  John Duffett II was later working as a potter at Cranham in Gloucestershire.

Wares produced

Red earthenwares, including fine-glazed pans, garden pots and chimney pots.

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