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Page history last edited by Peter Tipton 14 years, 6 months ago

HERMAN REYNOLDS, Potter of Farnborough

Page prepared by Peter Tipton


There are three references to Herman Reynolds on the Hampshire Record Office CALM database. The earliest is an entry in Roger Davey's book in the Hampshire Record series: The Hampshire Lay Subsidy Rolls, 1586. Under Farnborough "Harmon Raignold allian" is listed assessed to pay 4d.


The second reference is to a shievalty bond in the Herriard Collection dated 30 Oct 1591. The record is a bond payable by Harman Reynold of Farnborough, potter concerning payment to the sheriff or under-sheriff.


The third document is his will dated in February 1609.


Was he an immigrant from Germany?

The evidence from the subsidy is that he was a foreigner. Herman is a German first name. By the time he died he had been in Farnborough at least 22 years, so his surname would have become anglicised. If he was German, what was his original name? The earliest spelling was 'Raignold'. We can postulate that his original German name was HERMAN REINOLD, and hope that a researcher of German potteries, seeing this, will tell us where the REINOLD or REINHOLD family operated as potters in the 16th century. Herman appears in the Farnborough parish records in the same year, 1586, he was listed in the lay subsidy. On the 27 Apr 1586, Herman and his wife baptisted Judith, a daughter. Sadly a year later (6 May 1587) Judith's burial was recorded. She appears to have been the last child. The two daughters mentioned in Herman's will, Alice and Grace, were born before the parish registers for Farnborough commenced. Herman's first wife Julyan (Gillian) was buried at Farnborough on 1 Aug 1595. It may be possible therefore to find the details of his second wife Margaret, whom he mentions in his will.

Why did Herman Reynolds migrate to England?

It has been suggested by Jacqui Pearce and Phil Stevens that Herman Reynolds was probably a refugee escaping the religious persecusion of Protestant communities in the Rhineland. The style of the pottery escavated in Farnborough suggests his origin was in the Rhineland. His skills in Farnborough would have enabled locally made pottery in the Rhenish style to substitute for imports from the Rhineland. Was he a Protestant fleeng from persecution or was his presence in Farnborough a calculated business decision by Reynolds, or someone sponsoring him, to create a manufacturing base in England to substitute pottery imports? New evidence from research into the shrievalty bond suggests that Reynolds may well have been a Catholic paying recusancy fines. Research is ongoing.


Was Thomas Reynolds of Cove (will 1636) his son?

Herman makes no mention of having a son Thomas in his will. This makes it unlikely that Thomas was Herman's son. If we postulate that Herman had already given his pottery business to Thomas and then left no goods or money to Thomas, Herman is still likely to have made small bequests to Thomas' children, and he is likely to have made Thomas his executor. However since property was conveyed in common law, the fact that Thomas is not mentioned in the will does not rule him out completely as son of Herman. I think that it is more likely though that Thomas was a close relation, possibly a nephew, and possibly brought over from Germany by Herman to continue Herman's pottery business. However it should also be noted that, whereas Herman operated a pottery in Farnborough, Thomas's pottery was in Cove, and Thomas Reynolds was apparently an Englishman. It is thus more likely that Thomas' father, possibly a brother to Herman, was already in England, and that Thomas was born here.  Although Thomas may have acquired his skills and knowhow from Herman, Thomas ran a separate business from Herman. Is there any evidence of Rhenish style pottery being excavated in Cove? There have been recent archaeological assesments of redevelopment sites in Cove in 2009, but no Rhenish style pottery has yet been found. It is therefore possible that by the time Thomas set up in Cove Rhenish style ware was already out of fashion in England. On present evidence I conclude that although Thomas Reynolds may have been a close relative of Herman, who was probably born in England. That leaves the possibility that Herman was encouraged to set up business in Farnborough by relatives already settled in England.


Can we locate Herman Reynolds' pottery?

Since Herman Reynolds was an alien he was not allowed to own property. In his will he only bequeathed cash, and there was no inventory made of his belongings. He therefore probably never took out denization papers. He may well therefore have been working as a skilled craftsman for somebody else who owned his house, the wheels and the kilns where he worked. If Herman Reynolds did not own his own pottery then we must first find out who did own the property. Records of the Manor of Farnborough can be found at various repositories but as yet I can find no records of possible pottery sites before 1600.


How did Herman Reynolds market his pottery?

The fact that Henry Brooke of Chertsey owed Herman Reynolds the very large sum of £44 may indicate that Brooke was a merchant dealing in pottery. On the other hand Brooke may have been an early banker of some sort. Further research into Henry Brooke has not lead to any firm conclusions as to his occupation.


Connection with the Watts family

Each of Herman Reynold's two daughters was married to a different man named Nicholas Watts. The Watts family had been one of the largest landowners in Hawley and Cove from the 14th century. There are 49 Watts wills recorded in the Yateley Society database. One of the earliest wills is of Henry Watts of Bramshot 1559. One of Herman Reynold's sons-in-law was Nicholas Watts, yeoman of Bramshot. Bramshot is an ancient farm in the parish of Yateley. Nicholas Watts' inventory was made on 30 Jan 1636 by three appraisers, all of whom were gentleman, Most items of value are related to husbandry. Elizabeth Lewis states that in 1614 a William Watts of Yateley parish was apprenticed to Thomas Browne, whom she identifies as a stoneware manufacturer in Queenhythe, London. Her reference is from a 141 page article by Rhoda Edwards (London potters circa 1570-1710. Journal of Ceramic History 6 (1974) page 41).   In the Visitation of London, 1633,1634,1635 Thomas Browne identifies himself as potter to King Charles anno 1634.  Browne was Master of the Company of Tylers & Bricklayers, 1623-24. Elizabeth Lewis also mentions the Watts family in connection with Ash potteries. These references appear to be the only ones connecting the Watts family with the border potteries. Do the two son-in-laws of Herman Reynolds indicate that the Watts family had deeper connections with the potteries on the Hampshire Surrey borders and in London? I think so. Research to find this connection in ongoing.


What happen to Herman Reynold's pottery after he died?

Please see next page


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