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so give a general insight into the progress of the fictile art in Staffordshire.

My object has been to show, what has never before been shown, a continuous chain of evidence of pottery having been made in the district from the earliest—the pre-historic -times, down through every successive change of periods and of races, to the present, and to bring my narrative down to the time of the great Josiah Wedgwood, and to give a slight-and but a very slight-insight into the state of the art at the time when that famous master of his craft first entered into existence.

I have shown that the art of potting was practised by the ancient British inhabitants of Staffordshire; have given reasons for believing that it was followed in the district by the Roman occupiers of the soil; have shown that the Anglo-Saxons practised it in the neighbourhood; and that through the whole of the mediaval period, and without intermission to the present day, pot making has continued in the locality. I have given illustrative engravings of some of the characteristic examples of the different periods, for the purpose of enabling the collector to appropriate correctly such specimens as may come into his hands; and having done this, I proceed in the next part of my work to speak of the great master of his craft, Josiah Wedgwood, and to trace by the events of his life the progress of the art which he dignified and brought to perfection. Other great potters the Turners, Booths, Woods, Spodes, Mintons, Mayers, Neales, Yateses, and other art-heroes-and the important parts they have played in bringing the district to its present flourishing position, and the manufacture to the high state of perfection it now enjoys, must be left for a future work.

THE WEDGWOODS.

CHAPTER I.

BURSLEN A HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO. —WOLSTANTON.

JAMES BRINDLEY, “THE SCHEMER.”—THE WEDGWOODS OF
HARRACLES AND THEIR ALLIANCES. —HAZELRIGG, VEN-
ABLES, AND FENTON FAMILIES. - HORTON HALL, CHURCH,
AND MANOR.- THE DE BURSLEM FAMILY : THEIR ALLIANCE
WITH THE WEDGWOODS.-GILBERT WEDGWOOD AND MAR-
GARET BURSLEM.-BURSLEM WEDGWOOD. -DESCENT OF
THE
" OVERHOUSE,

CHURCHYARD,” AND “ BIG HOUSE
FAMILIES.—THOMAS WEDGWOOD AND MARGARET SHAW.-

WILLS OF THOMAS, RICHARD, AND MARY WEDGWOOD. BURSLEM, the birthplace of Wedgwood, is called the “ mother of the potteries,” while Wedgwood himself is usually styled the “father of potters.” With these two close relationships to the potters of England my narrative of the career of the “great Josiah” will, of course, begin, and as it proceeds will trace out the progress of the one and the works of the other, and show how the perseverance, the industry, the energy, and the taste of the latter have conduced, not only to the prosperity of the former, but to that of the whole district and of the commerce of the kingdom. During the early part of the century which saw the birth of Josiah Wedgwood, and in the latter portion of the preceding one, the potters of Burslem, which in Plot's time was the principal seat of the trade, had, as I have already shown, made much progress in improving their art. Men had risen up amongst them who produced wonders when compared with what had been done by their forefathers, and they began to feel that their art, as yet in its infancy among us, would grow strong and healthy, and become one day what it soon proved to be, a successful rival to foreign workers in the plastic art.

At the time of which I write--a hundred and fifty to two hundred years ago—Burslem was a small, unassuming, straggling little place, with the houses and pot-works, few in number, scattered about in its gardens and by its lane sides. In its centre was a huge May-pole,* around which the “jolly potters ” danced and held their festivals, and in every direction were clay pitst and “shard-rucks,”† where, from time immemorial, their ancestors had dug the native clay, and thrown by their “wastrels "S till they had accumulated to a considerable size. Pitfalls and hillocks, the results of the hard labours of the early potters, were thus the principal features of the place, where now the busy and thriving town, raised by the increase of their trade, so flourishingly stands. The wares then made in the district were the coarse brown ware, the finer cane-coloured ware, also made from native clay, Delft ware, crouch ware, a comparatively fine red ware, and clouded, mottled, or marbled ware; and some of the productions, years before the birth of Josiah Wedgwood-who is by many people popularly believed to have been the founder of the art in Staffordshire—are of remarkably good form, of excellent workmanship, and are indeed such as it would almost puzzle even an experienced potter of the present day to reproduce. I name this en passant, because I wish to remove the impression which seems in some places to prevail, that until Josiah Wedgwood's time the productions of the neighbourhood were confined to the manufacture of coarse brown butter-pots, porringers, and other clumsy vessels alone,

• The May-pole stood where the Town Hall now stands.

† Pits from which the native clay for the manufacture of earthenware was dug by the potters.

I Shards, broken pots; rucks, heaps. Thus "shard-ruck" was a heap of broken pots—a rubbish heap, in fact, made up of the refuse from the pot-works.

$ Pots spoiled in their manufacture.

WOLSTANTON. -JAMES BRINDLEY.

71

and that anything approaching towards art, or even moderate utility, was unknown. Of some of these early potters I have already spoken, and have endeavoured to show that Staffordshire could boast not only of master-minds, but of skilful and expert hands, long before the period to which the first approach to art in the district is generally ascribed.

The family of Wedgwood, for many generations before the birth of Josiah, had been potters at Burslem, and indeed a considerable portion of the place belonged to one branch of them, having passed into their hands by marriage with the heiress of the De Burslems, the original owners of the place, in the beginning of the seventeenth century. They were thus people of note in the district, and it is affirmed that one-third of the inhabitants of Burslem at one time bore the now honoured name of Wedgwood, or were descended from them.

The Wedgwoods originally, I believe, were of Wedgwood, a parish in the township of Wolstanton, in the very centre of the Potteries. The church of St. Margaret, Wolstantona fine and particularly interesting building-standing on the summit of a high hill, forms one of the most conspicuous and pleasing objects in the district. It lies on the high road from Burslem to Newcastle-under-Lyme, and commands one of the finest views which can anywhere be obtained of the busy hives of potting industry by which it is surrounded. In this church James Brindley, the engineer—or schemer," as he was popularly called—-married, when half a century old, his young, loving, and priceless wife of nineteen, Anne Henshall, on the 8th of December, 1765; and in the same parish, at New Chapel,* not far from his residence at Turnhurst, he was buried, in less than seven years afterwards, after passing a most worthy and industrious life, and earning for himself a name and a fame which are

• Brindley was buried in the churchyard at New Chapel, his tombstone bearing the simple inscription

“In Memory of James Brindley, of Turnhurst, Engineer, who was Interred here, September 30, 1772, Aged 56."

a

66 the

imperishable. The Wedgwoods appear to have been seated at the township bearing their name, from a very early date, "and in 1370 (13 Edward III.) Thomas de Weggewood was frankpledge, or headborough, of the hamlet of Weggewood. When they left their original patrimony is not known; but about the year 1470, John Wedgwood, of Blackwood, or Dunwoodl, "descended from a family that took its name from Wedgwood, in Wolstanton parish, whence they came, married Mary, daughter and heiress of John Shawe, and had with her Harecels (Harracles, in the parish of Horton, near Leek), to which I shall have occasion again to refer later on.

Richard Wedgwood of Harracles married Jane Shirrot, and had by her a son, John Wedgwood, who became High Collector of Subsidy in 1563; and another son, Richard Wedgwood, of the Mole in Biddulph, who married, on the 14th of September, 1567, Margaret Boulton, and had by her three sons—Richard, Randle, and Gilbert, the latter of whom (baptised at Biddulph, November 6th, 1588) married Margaret, daughter and beiress of Thomas Burslem, of Burslem, by his wife, Mary Ford, and had by her Burslem Wedgwood, baptised at Burslem, December 11th, 1614, and Thomas, who became ancestor of Josiah Wedgwood.

John Wedgwood, the High Collector of Subsidy, married Anne, daughter of William Bowyer, of Knypersley (whose sister married William Ford, of the Mosse, about the year 1565), and had by her John Wedgwood, of Harracles, who married Mary, daughter of Thomas Egerton, of Walgrange and Horton, “ with whom he had part of the mannour.” This John Wedgwood, who died April 6th, 1589, had by his marriage with this lady, who died September 5th, 1582, eight children—viz., John, of whom presently; Egerton, who died without issue ; Ralph, married to Alice Leighe; Mary, married to Ambrose Arden ; Anne, married to James Gibson ; Margaret, married to Thomas Smith, of London, goldsmith, and afterwards to Richard Rand, of London; Eliza, married to Richard Foxe, and afterwards to William St.

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