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Page history last edited by Peter Tipton 15 years, 1 month ago

Aldershot Potteries

Page initiated by Peter Tipton, April 2009


There were three potteries listed in the Aldershot Tithe Apportionment of 1843.  The National Monument Record also identifies a possible pottery kiln at 131 Newport Road during some sort of investigation in 1966.  I will show below that none of the Victorian potteries was located at the grid reference given for this fourth site, therefore it must have been a earlier pottery which had closed before 1843.


There are only 6 surviving wills or adminstrations of Aldershot potters: the earliest from 1683 and the latest from 1853.  The five wills were all proved at the lowest ecclesiastical court, and there are no wills for Aldershot potters at the National Archives at Kew. This means that there were probably not as many Aldershot potters, and they were not as wealthy as potters at Farnborough or Cove, for which communities many more potter wills exist, some proved in the PCC.  However only Cove and Aldershot had as many as three surviving potteries in the 1840s, and it appears that Aldershot potters migrated to potteries elsewhere. Aldershot was also physically nearer to the sources of clay in Farnham Great Park and in Tongham.  So we may not yet be aware of the full story of Aldershot's role in the Borderware pottery industry.



Three of the five Aldershot wills are from the C19th for Collins brothers, sons of John Collins who appeared in court for assault in 1778. His sons Charles and William ran one of the potteries listed in the Tithe Apportionment of 1843.  I  measured off on the  original Tithe Map the position of that part of the Collins pottery building fronting onto Aldershot High Street.  It was 18 chains (almost 400 yards) north-west of the church door and 12 chains (about 265 yards) north-west of the front door of the Red Lion Inn. One of John Smith's daughters was mentioned in the will of Richard Collins, John's son who died in 1836. She was married to John Smith who ran a pottery in Frimley. Charles Collins was unmarried and died in 1853. William was still running the pottery in 1861, but thereafter the search for a pottery in Aldershot goes blank,


The two other Victorian potteries were just to the east of the High Street to the north-west of the Collins property. I have identified the pottery excavated in Redan Hill Gardens in 1996 as owned by Thomas Smith of Frimley at the time of the Tithe Map. It was 21 chains (about 460 yards) due north of the Manor House. Smith's pottery was occupied by "Charles Knight & others".  I had expected to find in the census returns that Thomas Smith was also a potter in Frimley, and that Charles Knight was a potter managing Smith's pottery in Aldershot. In fact there are two possible candidates in the 1841 and 1851 Frimley census who could have been the Thomas Smith who owned the Aldershot pottery. One was a baker in 1841, and probably also a farmer in 1851, and the other was a confectioner in 1841 and probably also a retired grocer in 1851. The 'occupier' Charles Knight is listed in the Aldershot census as a cordwainer.  A James Knight, who had a wife Elizabeth, was a potter when he died in 1758, so Charles Knight could have been descended from a potter family. So neither the pottery owner not its occupier were listed as potters in the census records although both had surnames linked to the pottery business.


A short distance to the east of the Smith/Knight pottery was a third pottery in 1843, owned and occupied by Jane Faigent. That is the spelling of her surname given in the Tithe Apportionment. In the 1841 census her age was given as 55 and her name was there spelt as Jane Fedjent. She was living with her 75 year old mother or mother-in-law Elizabeth Fedjent. I have not yet found any other records. There were other potters listed in the Aldershot census for 1841: Richard Chitty, Robert Mason and William Mullard. At this stage it is not possible to say which of these three worked for Thomas Smith or Jane Faigent.



Having as yet in this article only positively identified four pottery sites in Aldershot, with apparently limited potential from wills and other documentary sources to identify additional potteries, it will be instructive to consider the 13 sites listed in Table 1 of Pots and Potters in Tudor Hampshire (Pearce 2007).  All the Aldershot sites are referenced to the Borders Ceramic Research Group.


The first site (listed in Table 1 at SU878501) is the site now identified as 131 Newport Road in the NMR and AHBR.  This site is also referenced by both Jacqui Pearce and  the NMR Monument Report to Holling F W 1971 'A preliminary note on the pottery industry of the Hampshire-Surrey borders, Surrey Archaeological Society; Surrey Archaeological Collections 68, 57-68 as Site 1 with pottery sherds dating to the 14th century. The NMR report (1262689) states "No recognised wasters were present but the finds have been interpreted as being part of a kiln dump."  The Hampshire County AHBR has two entries for this site (34868 & 34871) referencing the finds to the Col . Cole Collection, giving the Hampshire County Museum Service accession numbers as A1983.22 & 23. This then is one of my four positively identified probable potteries in Aldershot . 


However the NMR also gives the identical grid reference to the Newport Road site (NMR unique identifier 1262689) to another site (NMR unique identifier 1263789) said to be attributed to the "1840 Tithe Map" by reference to Holling 1971.  This is obviously incorrect since the three Tithe Map pottery sites are all to the west of the Newport Road site.


All twelve of the remaining sites in Jacqui Pearce's Table 1 are attributed to cartographic data either directly or indirectly. Nos 12 (Waterloo Road; SU873505) & 13 (Windmill Hill; SU872504) in her table are referenced to maps of 'unknown issue' but the grid references are almost identical to two NMR Monument Records (Uid1263769; SU873505 and Uid1263729; SU872504) referenced by Holling 1971 to the 'Tithe Map 1840'.  This means that of the 13 pottery sites listed in Table 1 nine are directly or indirectly attributed to the Aldershot Tithe Map, three more to an OS map of "1873/4" and one site to a map dated 1855.  Jacqui Pearce does not link the Newport Road site to a Victorian map, and we have shown above that she is correct and that the NMR link to the Tithe Map is incorrect.


The three potteries listed in the Aldershot Tithe Apportionment of 1843 can be matched reasonably closely to the sites in Jacqui Pearce's Table 1 no.11 (Pound Road; SU871505; Smith/Knight), no.12 (Waterloo Road; SU 873503; Collins) no. 13 (Windmill Road; SU872504; Faigent). The latter two sites then match with two of the NMR sites as noted in the previous paragraph.  It should be noted that the grid references as given in Table 1 are not particularly accurate, since Felix Holling did not in 1971 have the benefit of modern digital maps.


We have now accounted for 4 out of 13 of the sites in Table 1.  Of the remaining 9 listings, 5 are referenced to the 1841 Tithe Map by the Blackwater Ceramic Research Group. Having been right through the Aldershot Tithe Apportionment several times I can state that there are only three potteries listed.  There are other field names in the apportionment which include the word 'kiln'.  We must be careful about attributing any such field name to a former pottery. There were at least three other types of kiln in existance at the time: hop kilns, brick kilns and lime kilns. Some of these kilns are marked and named on later OS maps. The use of one of them is obvious from the context: William Tice owned an arable field described as Malthouse Field and Kiln. Three other persons had fields described: Old Kiln Field, Kiln Field and Kiln Plat.  All these fields were in use in 1843 as arable or pasture.  In this subregion of hop-growing and poor acid soils I doubt that these field names are indications of sites of other potteries rather than other types of kilns.


The Hampshire AHBR leads me to believe that many of these 9 sites in Table 1 were actually brickworks. The AHBR lists brickworks at Ayling Lane and Cranmore Lane, corresponding with site names in Table 1, if not precisely similar grid references.  Following further research I suspect that each of these 9 sites will be eliminated as potential sites of working potteries.


This research is still on-going.


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