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John Monger, potter of Ash, Surrey

Will proved Surrey Archdeaconry Court 28 March 1605

page contributed by Peter Tipton with thanks to Sally Jenkinson, Chris Willis and Suzanne Foster


The Monger family is of long standing in Ash, and appears to have run a significant pottery. The will of Clement Monger of Ash (dated 2 May 1544) is now the earliest documentary evidence of a potter working in the Borderware area. Clement Monger appointed John Monger of Ash, potter, one of the three overseers of his will. As yet I am not quite sure who this John Monger was, but it appears likely that John Monger whose will was proved in 1605 was his son or his grandson. I discuss this below.


It is possible that Clement Monger was himself a potter since he described himself in his will as potmaker. Potmaker is a trade which might generally be considered as a metalworker making brass or iron pots, particularly as Clement bequeathed a "great brass pot" to his son Thomas. However Moses Mullard, a potter of Frimley who died in 1728, left all his "old tenement at Pudmore, Churt, Frensham with potkiln, warehouse etc for life (to his son) if he remains a potmaker", so perhaps potmaker was used as an alternate description for potter. If an inventory is available for Clement Monger (1544) it may answer this question.


Who was John Monger, appointed overseer by Clement Monger in 1544, and was he John Monger who died in 1605? We are looking for a John Monger with a brother George since John Monger (1605) names his brother George as an overseer. There are 4, possibly 5, John Mongers mentioned in Clement's will. One is Clement's brother, a wealthy mercer of Guildford. Two other John Mongers of Ash left wills - in 1551 and 1553. One had a son John, but not a son George. Neither of the Johns in the 1550s wills is named as a potter, and the bequests are husbandry. Clement himself had sons John and George. If these brothers were very young children when Clement died then when John died in 1605 he would have been older than 61, and when George died in 1613 his age would have been 70 plus the age he was in 1544. So it is possible that the John and George in Clement's will are John (d.1605) and George (d.1613). John (1605) started a family in 1588 when he would have been older than 44. George (d.1613) started his family in 1591 when he would have been older than 47 had he been a son of Clement. It therefore seems to me possible but unlikely that the brothers John and George who died in the 17th century were sons of Clement. So the progression of the Ash pottery from 1544 to 1605 is not yet solved. One route to the solution will be the manorial court books for Ash.


John Monger, the potter (1605), listed his children in his will. Thomas was the oldest son. The IGI records the baptisms in Ash of Thomas (1588), Philip (1591), Elizabeth (1582), Mary (1584), Agnes/Annis (1600), John (1601) and James (1606), also listed in his will. John Monger's wife's name was Joan, and the other overseer was named as John Dycee. The IGI records the marriage in Ash in 1599 of a John Monger and a Joan Dyas. There is a Winchester will of John Dayere of Aldershot (1597B21) who had lands in Ash. Not yet having seen any of these original documents it is possible that the correct surname is DAYER since there are 18 members of this family listed in the West Surrey FHS Burials CD-4 buried in Ash in the 16th and 17th centuries. However information from Sally Jenkinson makes it far more likely that Joan Mongers's correct maiden name is DYMES/DIMES. There was a Joan DYEMS baptised in Ash in 1575. In view of the 6 year gap between the two sets of John Monger's children I will conjecture that the 1599 marriage was a second marriage, and the bride was Joan DYMES, and that Agnes, John and James were produced by this second marriage.


It appears that John Monger's (d.1605) son Thomas carried on the pottery business. It is likely that it was Thomas' son Benjamin who is the potter potter, Benjamin Monger who left a PCC will proved in 1661.


John Monger's brother George Monger buried 11 May 1613 also left a will proved 17 May 1614. This will confirms that in 1613 George had a deceased brother John and that he had a sister Alice whose surname was WATTS. George Watts, who married "Anis Monger" (IGI) on 26 Jan 1629 at Ash, gave his occupation as potter in his will when he died in 1635. So it seems there was a close relationship between the MONGER and WATTS family.


George Monger's will states that he was a "Woodbrooker". Because Clement Monger's brother John was a prominent Mercer, and both Farnham and Guildford were wool towns, I initially took this to be "Wool Broker" as was John Aslott of Yateley. However, having now read George Monger's will I can confirm that the occupation is "Woodbrooker". I now take George's occupation to be "Wood Broker". This may also be of interest since wood is the fuel used in the potter's kiln.


George Monger's son George was convicted of murder at the Surrey Assizes in 1631. As a result the property which the murderer inherited from his father in the 1613 will was forfeited to Winchester College, Lords of the Manor of Ash. I have transcribed the calendar of these College documents relating to Monger and I am hoping to be able to see and transcribe the originals -- since the murderer is described as a potter in the calendar. These College documents also mention an Ash potter called George Monger who, in 1585, purchased a property in Botley from another potter called William Harmon. So far I have only found one George Monger living in Ash in the period 1575 to 1600. So could the purchaser of the property in Botley (likely to have been a pottery) have been George Monger (d.1613) who had changed his trade by the time he died?


It appears that further research into the Ash potters will prove very interesting...

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