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Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 8 months ago

Richard Wright, Potter of Farnborough, died 1582


Page prepared by Peter Tipton


Richard Wright's will and inventory is the earliest which I have found so far for a Blackwater Valley potter. He does not appear on Elizabeth Lewis' list since he does not describe himself as a potter in his will. However a potter he undoubtedly is. Robert Wright, the potter who died in Cove 14 years later, was his son, to whom he specifically left six loads of clay, and rather interestingly, all his timber and wood, perhaps implying that it had greater value that the clay.


Richard Wright bequeathed two more loads of clay, his kiln and one potting wheel to Henry Shorter. This is a new name for our list of potters. Since Henry Shorter inherited this important kiln site we now need to research whether he was a close relation - perhaps Richard Wright's step-son.


Richard Wright's will demonstrates that Robert Wright was already active in the pottery business in 1582, presumably already in Cove, since he did not inherit his father's kiln.


It will be very helpful to try to reconstruct the potter families in this fourth quarter of the 16th century, since this is the date of the kilns at Farnborough Hill excavated by Holling et al. This is a somewhat difficult task since there is little documentary evidence to enable me to cross-check possible family connections. Farnborough parish registers had only just started when Richard Wright died.


Richard Wright's wife, as given in his will, was Marie or Mary. There were two marriages of Ric Write in Ash: in 1551 (to Ales Taylor) and 1564 (to Julian Gunner). Nither of these wives is named Mary, but both belonger to families known to have potters at a later date. Richard Wright left an income to his daughter Anne which had originally been left her by her grandfather Robert Gunner. It is possible that Richard Wright the potter had been previously married to Gillian Gunner in Ash in 1564. This would make Anne less than 21 when the will was written in 1582. So Richard's son Robert, the potter of Cove, would have to have been the son of a previous marriage, perhaps to Alice Taylor, perhaps resulting in the subsequent Alices. This rather neat solution relies on the only records of local Wright marriages but neglects the fact that Farnborough itself, and most surrounding parishes may have been the homes of many unrecorded Richard Wrights. More wills of Gunners and Taylors must be checked. But if this hypothesis is correct then Richard Wright may have two previous marriages recorded in Ash Parish Registers but this may not in itself demonstrate a close relationship between the potter fraternities in Farnborough and Ash, potteries in which villages had been in existence for perhaps hundreds of years.


Checking the 4 Calendars of Surrey Lay Subsidies by Cliff Webb for the West Surrey FHS it appears that the Gunner family was long established in Frimley. Three Gunner males were assessed in Frimley in 1546 including Robert Gunner for £1 in lands. Robert Gunner was assessed again in 1558, this time for £5 in goods. A Robert Gunner was assessed in 1571 for £5 in goods. I now need to find Robert Gunner's will, and hope that there is an inventory.


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