The Origins of The Wedgwood Family

As a teenager I can remember seeing at Hanley bus station a bus with the words ‘Wedgwood Farm’ displayed on its destination board. How quaint I thought, there must be a farm adjoining the factory down at Barlaston. If I had jumped on it however I would have ended up in the middle of nowhere about a mile or so north of Tunstall. It is often Burslem, the mother town of The Potteries, with which Josiah Wedgwood and his predecessors are associated with, and although this is of course true, the family, as far back as they can be traced, originated from a piece of land in North Staffordshire from which they took their name.

 

It is relatively easy today to trace family origins now that access to the census information of the Victorian period has become more readily available. If your lucky enough to trace back to the earliest returns of 1841 it is standard practice to then switch to the less informative parish registers. Again these are now more readily available through being published by various local history and genealogical societies. If they have survived from when they were first made law they can take the researcher back to the 1530s. Now there comes a stumbling block. There are no registers as such kept beyond this point. There are however a number of sporadic sources such as tax lists and court rolls that provide occasional references to individuals. Fortunately the manor court rolls for both Tunstall and Horton survive from the C13th and C14th respectively and it is with these that the origins of the Wedgwood family can be traced.

 

But to return to that mysterious ‘Wedgwood Farm’. The name survived in this particular place for at least 800 years. The origin of the word itself refers either to ‘the way by the wood’ or quite literally a piece of wedge-shaped woodland. Tunstall, along with much of North Staffordshire, was one of the many manors that belonged to the barons of Audley. Wedgwood was one of the tithings that lay in the manor of Tunstall. This was a system of local government in medieval England in which every householder formed part of a group of either 10 or 12 who were responsible for bringing members of their community to the manorial court. At these courts the Audley family had what was known as ‘the view of frankpledge.’ That meant they could oversee the governance of law and order, together with the daily business of the manor, such as the assizes of bread and beer, but not of higher justice such as condemning a person to the gallows.

 

By the end of the C13th the Audley’s had practically no demesne lands. This meant that feudal service or customary labour appeared to have been converted into fixed rents, with land being held not at the will of the lord, but according to the custom of the manor. The manor of Horton remained in the hands of the Audley family until the estate was divided between the 3 co-heiresses of James, the last Lord Audley towards the end of the C14th. By the marriage of his daughters the estate passed to the Touchett, Hillary, and Fitzwarren families. Eventually the Hillary portion also passed to the Touchett family who sold this, along with their own part to the Egerton family of Wall Grange during the Elizabethan reign. In 1556 John Wedgwood of Blackwood married Mary the daughter of William Egerton. Just over 150 years later the Fitzwarren portion, then in the hands of the Bellot family, was sold to the last John Wedgwood of Harracles in 1711, meaning that he became lord of the entire manor. But to return to the origins of the family…

 

The first occurrence of the Wedgwood surname appears on the Tunstall court roll of June 23rd 1266 when one Richard de Wedgwood was granted safe conduct to attend the king’s court to stand trial. This may have been for fighting alongside his lord, Sir James Audley at the battle of Evesham on the side of Simon de Montfort. Nothing more is known about this individual.

 

The next occurrence of the Wedgwood surname was Randulph in the Inquisition Post Mortem of Nicholas, Lord Audley, dated 17th Sept 1299. Inquisition Post Mortems were held by the king’s escheator or deputy upon the death of a tenant-in-chief of the crown to establish the extent of the estate and to confirm the rightful heir. Nicholas’s heir was his son Thomas who died just nine years later in 1308. His Inquisition Post Mortem was more detailed and again mentions Randulph de Wedgwood holding one messuage and half a carucate of land valued at 18d, along with Henry de Wedgwood holding one messuage and half a carucate of land worth 6s 8d. The variance in rents could suggest that Randulph was probably an earlier landholder whose rent had been fixed many years earlier, while Henry was a new rack-rented holder. The same Inquisition Post Mortem of 1299 and 1308 also record under the manor of Horton a Simon de Wedgwood holding one messuage and one bovate of land at a customary rent of 5s. (A carucate was originally the amount of land that a team of 8 oxen could plough each year. It varied according to the quality of the land but was approx 120 acres. A bovate was also a variable land measurement of between 10 to 18 acres, again depending upon the quality).

 

These tenant-farmers, under the jurisdiction of the Audley family, and known as being ‘of Wedgwood’ became labelled with this during the crystallisation of surnames. Therefore Wedgwood is a toponimic surname, and was passed on from father to son, carrying the name with them as they moved as Simon Wedgwood of Horton demonstrates. Occasionally however, it’s not always that straightforward. Simon’s children for instance did not carry the Wedgwood surname. It appears that when Simon first arrived at Horton he built his home near to the pool and to his neighbours he became known as Simon-by-the-pool. His sons Randle and John therefore became saddled with the name of Poleson meaning literally the son of Simon by the pool.

 

During the early months of 1326 there appeared to have been some discrepancy between a William de Wedgwood and a John de Wedgwood who were possibly brothers or cousins. The Tunstall court on April 29th recorded that John justly raised the hue and cry against William. At the same hearing William was reported by the ale-tasters for brewing, although the case was dropped and William forgiven because he kept the assize (probably meaning that the beer was of sufficient quality and not sold in short messures). In 1355 a Thomas Wedgwood was also recorded with the occupation of ale-taster.

 

Certain members of the family made numerous appearances as jurors at both the Tunstall and Horton courts throughout the C14th and C15th. Ale-tasting Thomas was headborough, the man at the head of the tithing, a form of early constable, in 1378. Many of the court appearances simply reflect that the Wedgwood family attended as part of their obligation. Some also appeared because of the method of land transference. A tenant wishing to pass his land onto his son had to first surrender it back to the lord who would then admit that person to the holding. In 1393 Richard, son of Stephen Wedgwood, held a messuage and 37 acres of land at Blackwood in Horton. Between 1396 and 1406 he brewed and broke the assize of ale 4 times during that 10-year period. In 1398 Roger Wedgwood abused Hugh Joneson, and in 1405 Richard Wedgwood and William de Irelond both abused each other. In 1408 it was recorded that ‘Thomas de Roulegh of Stodmareslowe insulted Richard Wedgwood and that the same Richard insulted the said Thomas.’ These petty issues may appear futile today but a persons reputation in medieval England was one of utmost importance. This period was one of a system of widespread credit and without a good reference this may have been difficult to obtain. At the same court the frankpledge of nearby Thursfield presented that ‘Roger de Wedgwood came by night with strangers (venit noctante cum extraniis) and broke the ostia of Stephen Thursfield senior, and that the same Roger and strangers broke in on Stephen Thursfield junior and insulted him. And they broke in on the wife of Stephen Thursfield senior and insulted her and drew blood’.

 

A more serious incident was the slaying of Henry Stodmarslow by William Wedgwood of Horton in 1408. He may have been hung for the offence. One story is that he fled east, eventually ending up in Cambridge where in the 1430s he was elected as mayor. The reason for the killing of Stodmarslow was through a vendetta that had continued for 15 years. The Patent Rolls show that a pardon was granted on 3rd Jan 1394 to Henry de Stodemarlowe for killing Thomas Wedgwood.

 

Another reason for appearance at court was on a tenant’s death. The court of Oct 9th 1448 recorded that Richard Wedgwood held 24 customary acres in Brierhurst with a heriot, an early form of death duty, due to the lord of one cow. In 1456 John Wedgwood yeoman, along with 3 other yeomen from Wolstanton, were being sued by Geoffrey Middleton for breaking into his close at Chartley and taking 21 steers, 10 heifers, 6 horses and 5 mares worth £4.

 

Between the first occurrence of a Wedgwood in 1266 and up to the early C15th there appears about 30 individuals bearing the surname. Due to the sparsity of the information in the court rolls and hindered further by gaps of up to 20 years it is impossible to positively determine the lineage and this is where for a lot of people there’s a strong temptation to join the dots. What is positive is that there were at least 2, possibly 3, large Wedgwood families centred around the Horton area by the early C15th. This lies 4 miles north-west of the market town of Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The small hamlet surrounds the medieval church with the land falling away steeply on the east and west sides and less so on the north. Horton Hall was in existence during the C14th although the current building dates from the Elizabethan period. What was until fairly recently The Crown public house stands on the site on an earlier inn called The Court House that took its name from the manor court of Horton and surrounding manors being held there. The earliest member of the family to which a highly probably link can be attached is:

 

John Wedgwood I of Harracles (c1435-1494)

 

This John was possibly the same figure accused of stealing cattle from Chartley in 1456. He married Margaret the daughter and heiress of John Shaw of Harracles, a mile north of Horton church. Upon either his marriage settlement or the death of his father-in-law he received a house and 23 acres at Harracles, along with a house and 26 acres at Dunwood. The present Harracles Hall dates from the C18th but occupies the site of an earlier building whose north front still contains the Wedgwood coat of arms on its central pediment. There are remains of walled gardens to the north and south and extensive stone farm buildings to the west. On Oct 20th 1480 John’s brother Thomas petitioned against him claiming that he had unjustly detained land in Horton. The sibling rivalry continued and on May 9th 1481 John sued Thomas for a messuage and 36 acres in Horton for which he believed he had the greater right. It was not until the next court held on July 31st that the jury decided in John’s favour, although Thomas was to hold part for life at a rent of 6s 8d. It is also possible that the Stephen who appears in these court rolls and held a messuage and 36 acres of land in Horton was another brother. In 1455 this Stephen was amerced for cutting grass belonging to the Lord of the Manor on Horton Hey and again 10 years later for not clearing his ditches on Lask Edge. In 1484 John was one of the nine parishioners of Horton assembled to prove by ancient custom where each person ought to sit in the church for the messuage that they occupied. Upon the death of his brother Thomas he also acquired a house and 36 acres at Blackwood. This was some time after 1490 when Thomas appeared in court and was amerced for 3s 4d for attacking and wounding Henry Sanderson with an arrow. Shortly after receiving Blackwood he passed this onto his son Richard.

 

Richard Wedgwood of Harracles (c1465-1530)

 

In addition to Blackwood he also received both Harracles and Dunwood on the death of his father in 1490. He first married Alice Shirrot and had a son, John Wedgwood II. It was this Alice who broke the assize of bread in 1497. In 1516 Richard was presented for an affray on Hugh Porter. After the death of his wife Richard remarried Werburga. It is possible that Richard had 2 other sons, Richard who was recorded as holding 101/3 of an acre in Brierhurst in 1520, and William who appeared at the manor court in 1520 when both William and John (II?) both claim to have been insulted by the other.

 

John Wedgwood II of Harracles (c1490-1555).

 

The eldest son of Richard Wedgwood. He married Anne, eldest daughter of Wm Bowyer of Knypersley, esq and lived at Blackwood rather than at Harracles. He appeared twice at the Court of Star Chamber, first in 1528:

 

‘John Wedgwood of Blackwood yeoman, along with seven others, forced themselves with arms and in a riotous manner with bows, arrows, bills, swords and bucklers, entered into land belonging to Christopher Edge and eight others at Horton Hays pleading to be so poor that unless the court was moved to pity they would be compelled to forsake their wives, children and native country.’

 

His 2nd appearance was ten years later in 1538 when:

 

‘John Wedgwood the elder along with seven others riotously arrayed with force and arms on Jan 24th 1538 and on several other occasions before and since at Horton Hey unlawfully assembled themselves together and cut down 300 trees and carried away 200 loads of underwood to the destruction of the wood.’

 

The defendants were found not guilty as they managed to convince the court that they had the right to the wood. That John was referred to as ‘the elder’ suggests the existence of a younger John that had come of age, probably his eldest son, b c1515. Another son, Richard b c1520 and from who Josiah Wedgwood was descended, is mentioned in a Horton manor court roll of 1541 when John Wedgwood the elder and John Kelwardy, both made land at Horton to Richard, expressly stated to be the son of John Wedgwood. The transfer was probably made on the marriage of Richard to Kelwardy’s daughter.

 

In 1546 John bought a family pew in Horton church previously belonging to the Edge family. After 3 months on July 31st:

 

‘at about ten of the clock one night one William Barlow of Norton Woodhouse, yeoman and Lawrens Shepelbotham of Horton with divers others rioutous and evil disposed persons to the number of ten, by the command of Richard Edge, William Edge, Thomas Bedull and Thomas Bradwall, assembled with force and arms against the peace of the late King, and with malles, cheselles, axes, swerds and staves did break the doors of the chapel and the said form did break and cast down. William Sneyd, steward of the manor, afterwards came to the chapel to see that a new form was set up and Richard Edge and William Edge, along with others rioutously assembled and would not allow Sneyd to erect the form. Upon which riot Lord Stafford, Edward Aston Kt., and Richard Skrymshawe, 3 of the Justices of the Peace did put the rioters under sureties, and therby John Wedgwood had a new form set up by the steward. This form, then newly erected, Thomas Ulsenham and James Ulsenham by the commandmant of the same, did break on 19th Aug 1546’

 

resulting in John pleading that

 

‘the accused should be brought before the court of Star Chamber to set the perilous example of such hole offenders in tyme to come yf condyne punishment be not had with spede.’

 

By 1546 John was constable of Horton manor. On Sept 16th he, along with William Sneyd, the steward of the manor, arrested a Thomas Wolsenham for stealing a mare, for which Wolsenham was sent to Stafford Gaol. He discovered that the man from whom the mare was stolen was a relation of Wolsenham and therefore would not prosecute. He wished that ‘the mare had been eaten by ravens when it was foaled’ and that ‘he had rather another man than he should hang the said Wolsenham.’ By 1556 John had died, for his son John Wedgwood III, in a chancery suite of 1568, expressly stated that he had been in receipt of the issues and profits of the manor of Horton for 12 years.

 

John Wedgwood III of Harracles (c1515-1572)

 

Eldest son and heir of John Wedgwood II. He married Agnes and had 4 children, Margerie, John, Margaret and Richard. The historian Sampson Erdeswicke in 1590 wrote that ‘he raised himself from a freeholder’s son to the rank and estate of a gentleman.’ In a subsidy roll of 1557 he appeared as the largest contributor in Horton paying 10s. His estate consisted of 10 messuages, 2 cottages and 1856 acres in Leek (Final Concordes Jan 20th 1563 and June 18th 1565). These were chiefly bought from Thomas Gerrard and Ralph Bagnold who had both acquired large amounts of land at the dissolution of the monasteries, including Dieulacres in Leek. In May 1565 he surrendered 2 messuages and 31 acres in Brierhurst to the use of his son John. He was appointed bailiff and collector of the lands of the dissolved monastery at Ronton [sic] and high collector of the subsidy for the Hundred of Pirehill. In addition to this his brother Thomas who occupied the original holding at Wedgwood died childless in 1561 and made John his heir with a messuage and 23 acres in Wedgwood and Stodmorelowe. John died in 1572 and his will is dated May 22nd of that year:

 

‘In the name of God Amen the xxiith daie of Maie in ye yeare of

 

or Lord god 1572 and in the yeare of the raigne of or Sovaigne Ladie

 

Elizabethe Quene yt nowe is ye foureteinthe I John Wegewod of Blackewodd

 

in ye pisshe of Horton wthin ye countie of Stafford Gentlema'

 

[Lived at Blackwood as he had already given Harracles to his son John. It also suggests that he was highly prosperous as he describes himself as gentleman rather than yeoman or husbandman]

 

Allthoughe

 

of good and pfecte healthe and remebrance (laude and pse be unto Almightie

 

God therefore) yet consyderinge ye certentie of death and ye uncertayne

 

houre of ye same ordayne and make this my testamet cotayinge therin my

 

laste wyll in maner and forme folowinge

 

[Described himself as being well so he’s not, as is often the case, on his deathbed dictating his wishes to a scribe. This will has been drawn up as a precautionary measure]

 

Fyrste I bequeathe my soule

 

unto almyghtie god my creator and maker and unto Jesus chryste his onely

 

sone my redemer and Saviour by whose deathe and precious blodde sheid-

 

inge I truste to have remyssion and forgeveness of my synnes and my

 

bodye to be buryed in ye churche of Horton

 

[Standard Protestant clause of the bequest of the soul suggests that he had converted from Catholicism to the recently instigated faith]

 

Itm. I geve and assigne unto

 

John Wegewod my sone ye leace of one little pasture called ye parke. It.

 

I geve unto ye same John my sydd borde wth. ye formes as they stand in

 

ye hall my square table in ye hall a cobborde wth. shylfes as ye stand in ye

 

butterie a mayle whitche and a make whitche in ye nether house wth. a

 

mayte bord theire a croe of iron and three yeokes iii bedstydds in ye lower

 

chamber ii in ye upper seller and ii in parler a saultinge Turnell a little

 

vergys barrell in ye Lower chamber two quysshens two cheares ii chystes

 

one at my beddeshed and an other at ye feete and one featherbed [So from the will its apparent that the dwelling had a hall with a sideboard, a square table and forms. The lower chamber contained 3 bedsteads, a little barrel and a salting turnell, 3 yokes and an iron crow. The upper seller and parlour both had 2 bedsteads. In the buttery was a cupboard with shelves and in the nether house a meat board and a male witch and a make witch. In addition to these and not assigned to any room was a featherbed, 2 chairs, 2 chests (one at the head of his bed and the other at his foot), 2 cushions and other household goods. His livestock consisted of heifers and sheep]

 

Itm. All ye reste of my househould goodes I geve unto ye v. chyldren of my

 

daughter Margerie Itm. I geve unto John Wegewod my sone Johns base

 

gotten sone one Incaufe heyfer or one that hath had a caufe It. unto my

 

sone Richards sone wch. he had by his wyfe I geve a heffer in like manor

 

It. unto John Wegewod my sone Richards base gotten sone a heffer lykewyse

 

moreov my wyll is yt yf one of theise my said childre or two of them do

 

dye before or under the age of xiiij yeares ye survyver to have all and

 

furthermore I wyll yt Wyllm Keyinge and Wilim Edge have ye Rule and

 

oversyghte of ye pte geve unto my sone Richardes base gotten sone And

 

John Wegewod my sone and John Leake to have ye rule and ovsyghte of ye

 

portion unto ye other ij cheldre herin appoynted Itm. I geve unto evie

 

one of ye childre of John Whytehurste a sheipe Itm. my dettes legasies and

 

funerall expenses beinge payde and descharged ye rest of my goodes I geve

 

unto John Wegewod of ye Haracles my sone whome also I ordayne consty-

 

tute and make my true and lawfull exequtor togayther wth John Whytehunte

 

and John Leake to fulfyll and pforme this my laste wyll and Testamet also my ovsyers Willm Bowyer of Knypersley esquyer and Sir Andrew Bowyer

 

pson of Assheley These being witness – John Thorley clerke, Thoms Bosseley, Thoms Godwayne, wth others moe.

 

Dettes owinge unto me the said testator-

 

In prmis…Willm Bayrenton………………………………………….xx s.

 

It yt I lent of hym lykewyse…………………………………………..vi s.   viii d.

 

It receved therof in a bushel of barleye iv s. all ye wch said

 

          dette I geve to John Whytehurste

 

It I lent of Raphe Ryddyerd gentlema…………………………………vi s.  viii d.

 

It Willm Ford of ye Mosse theldr diseassed……………………………vi s. viii d.

 

It Willm Ford theldr now lyvinge for ye cliffe…………………………vi s. viii d.

 

It Thoms Roker of Byddulphe viii s. wherof yf he paye it quietly

 

          I geve hym………………………………………………………ii s.

 

It Ric Smyth of ye Knowles…………………………………………….x s.

 

It James Pakema wch I geve to Thoms Pakema and Marie…………….iiii s.

 

It ye same James wch I geve to Mrgrett Mydleton……………………..iii s. iii d.

 

It John Malken of ye Lane head for ret v s. wherof yf he paye…………iii s. iii d.

 

          without law I geve hym ye reste.

 

It John Malken of ye holehouse for rent………………………………..x s.

 

                                                Summa totalis………………£ iii  xvi s. x d.

 

[Illustrates the rural system of credit. Not huge sums but does reveal a wide network]

 

Dettes wch I ye wthin Testator doe owe

 

Inprmis to the Earle of Bathe for two hariots………………………….liii s. iiii d.

 

It to Willm Sherat………………………………………………………liii s. iiii d.

 

                                                Summa totalis………………£ v vi s. viii d.’

 

‘The Inventorie of ye goodes and cattells of John Wedgwood late of Blakewood diseased sene levied and prsed by John Whytehurste Hughe Bentle John Bosseley Willm Keilinge and John Watson ye xxix of August anno dni 1572 et anno de nre Reg xiiii.

 

Inprmis five kyne ye prce……………………………………………£ vi  xiii s. iiii d.

 

Itm two oxen styrkes ye prce……………………………………………..xxx s.

 

It xv sheipe ye prce……………………………………………………….xl s.

 

It one boore ye prce……………………………………………………….viii s.

 

It a wayne iii yeokes, a plowe and a harrow ye prce………………………xx s.

 

It ye beste potte one panne wt all other heire lomes geve unto

 

          John Wegewood ye prce……………………………………………xl s.

 

It all other househould stuffe geve to ye v children of

 

Mrgerie Keilinge……………………………………………….£ iii  vi s. viii d.

 

It corne and hey at Grotton and Roghe hey cote ye prce…………………xxvi s. viii d.

 

It one sylvey spone ye prce………………………………………………..iiii s.

 

It his apperell and ye monie in his purse ye prce………………………….liii s. iii d.

 

It ye worthinge uppon ye grounde ye prce…………………………………xl s.

 

It ye corne and ye hey in ye barne at Blackwod ye prce………..……..£ vi  xiii s. iiii d.

 

                                                Summa totalis…………….....£ xxix xv s. iiii d.’

 

[Livestock and husbandry equInquisition Post Mortement together suggests mixed farming. The pot mentioned was probably not E/W but more likely to have been brass or iron]

 

The fact that no Inquest was held suggests that he had already passed his lands onto his eldest son John. Their youngest son Richard was probably the Richard who was one of Queen Elizabeth’s Guards, and appeared in the following chancery suite:

 

‘One night at Longsdon he [Richard Wedgwood] lent jewelry worth £20 to Agnes Malkin, whom he was to marry. While away being an attendant on the Queen Majesty as one of the Guard Agnes married a William Golding.’

 

Richard later married someone else but was dead by 1572 leaving a legitimate son (Thomas) and a bastard (John), both of who were mentioned in their grandfather’s will. Thomas was possibly the same Thomas Wedgwood of Hilderstone, residing there in 1596.

 

John Wedgwood IV of Harracles (c1540-1589)

 

Eldest son of John Wedgwood III. First married Anne, the widow of Thomas Burdocke in 1555. The following year this marriage was declared void, although a son John had been born and now technically a bastard and was sent to London and apprenticed to be a merchant. In 1556 he married again to Mary, daughter of his neighbour Thomas Egerton esquire of Wall Grange and Egerton’s portion of the manor of Horton, along with the patronage of the church, passed to him. He succeeded to his father’s estates in 1572 and continued to increase his landholdings. Near Stanley in Endon was a farm called Dearneford that belonged to Richard Mosse. He was hung for murder and the farm escheated to the Crown, which was then bought by Ralf Edge for 40s. The Barons of the Exchequer were told that it was undersold and declared the bargain fraudulent at the insistence of the Sheriff Richard Bagot who then sold it in 1577 to John for £10. During the 1580s he also bought 133 acres at Rushton James and 134 acres at Leekfrith (Final Concords Oct 6th 1580 and Oct 29th 1584). By his 2nd wife Mary who predeceased him by 7 years he had 8 children, their eldest and heir being John Wedgwood V of Harracles. He died on 6th April 1589 leaving his children in very prosperous circumstances. His will measuring over 21/2 ft long and on 2 sheets of parchment sewn together dated 28th Oct 1588 [so again drawn up as a precautionary measure].

 

The inventory was extremely detailed as shown below. From it can be constructed the house consisting of a great hall chamber, little hall chamber, parlor chamber, little chamber, maids chamber, gallery, kitchen chamber, ‘the two kitchens’, buttery, stables and workhouse.

 

The xxixth daye of August Anno Domini 1589

 

An inventory taken the day and yeare above written of

 

all the goods and chattayles of John Wedgwood Esquier

 

deceased by the handes of Raphe Rudiard gent, Thomas

 

malkin, John benteley and Nicholas Ryley as followeth

 

 

 

his moveables

 

                                                                                      li        s        d

 

Imprimis viij oxen the price ………………………………….....     xxx    x

 

Item v Steares the price ………………………………………….  xi

 

Item xvij kyne the price …………………………………………     xxxvj xvj     viij

 

Item one bull the price ………………………………………….               liij      iiij

 

Item two heifers the price ………………………………………     iij

 

Item vj calves the price …………………………………………     v        vj        viij Item viij horses, price ………………………………………….. xx

 

Item 328 sheepe price …………………………………………..   lxxx

 

Item ix Swine, price …………………………………………….      iij       xij

 

Unmoveables

 

Imprimis corne in the barne and garner …………………………..        xiij

 

Item the corne uppon the grownd ………………………………  xiij

 

Plate

 

Item iij white boales of silver ………………………………….      vij      xiiij

 

Item one silver boole gilt ………………………………………                xlvj

 

Item one cupp parcell gilt ……………………………………….             xlij     vj

 

Item foure [?tonnes] parcell gilt with a salt

 

          and a cover gilt ………………………………………..          xiij     vij

 

Item one castinge bottle gilt …………………………………..                xxxv

 

Item one little salt gilt …………………………………………                  ix

 

Item five stone potte garnished with

 

          silver and gilt ……………………………………………                  xxv

 

Item one gilt salt ……………………………………………….                 xlix    vj

 

Item one other gilt and salt ………………………………………            xviij

 

Item one chayne of gould ………………………………………    xxxv

 

Item xiiij spones ……………………………………………….                  xlvj    viij

 

ffurniture of the house

 

and first in the little hall chamber

 

Imprimis one standinge bedd with the appurtenannes, one

 

chest, one grate, one fyershovell, a peare of tonges

 

the hanginge of dornes …………………………………….……   viij

 

In the great hall chamber

 

Imprimis one standinge bedde and one truckle bedde

 

with the furniture therto belonginge one truncke

 

one chest of bords locked with tow springes

 

where in is tow basons tow yoners tow great

 

voyders, viij deepe potage dishes, iiij brode platters

 

three little deepe dishes, three little sallet dishes,

 

ix new pewter candlesticks, two long quart potts

 

one spowt potte, one pewter salt, sixe pewter

 

potingers, iiij chamber potts vj little sawcers : Item

 

one other chest in the same chamber wherein is xi

 

great deepe platter dishes of pewter, xvi broade

 

platters a little lesse then the other aforesaid

 

and xi other little dishes, one little pye plate, xviij

 

broade deepe potingers, tow little sallet dishes xxxiij

 

platters, one wessell boale contayning a gallande, one

 

flower pott, one other pye plate ………………………………..    x

 

In the parlor chamber

 

Imprimis one standinge bedde with the furnitures

 

one yeallow velvet cheare, one cheare wrought with

 

needle worke and one other little chear, one round

 

table, one cupborde, three trunckes, one great

 

yeallowe cheast, wherein is xxviij payre of flaxon

 

sheets xiiij pillow beares, one picture of Susanna

 

one other little picture, one Iron grate, one peare

 

of tongs. In an other wenscote cheast five other

 

long table cloths of damaske

 

[interlination:] vi towels of flaxen v table cloths of flaxen iiij towels of damaske

 

five round table

 

clothes, tow cupbord clothes wrought with blacke

 

tow dozen of Diaper napkins ………………………………….     xxvj   vj       viij

 

In the kitchin chamber

 

Imprimis one standinge bedd and one truckle bedd with

 

there furnitures, one great chest of bordes one

 

redd leather chest, one paynted cheast, one blacke

 

leather chest, three cheares, one payre of londryroms ………….      vj

 

In the lyttle chamber

 

Imprimis one bedd furnished and one great

 

Iron bound chest …………………………………………………   iij

 

In the maydes chamber

 

Imprimis tow beddes with the furnitures and one

 

Iron bound chest ………………………………………………….  iiij

 

In a gallery chamber

 

Item two beddes with there furnitures …………………………   iij

 

In a presse in the gallery

 

Item three Irish blankets, foure other blankets

 

viij blankets of an other sorte, one redd Irishe

 

blanckett, three boulster tickes on blew silke

 

quilt, one coverlett of arace, one longe carpett

 

of arace, one rounde carpitt of redd and yeallow worke

 

one round carpitt of sett worke, one cobert cloth of

 

redd sea wrought about with needle worke one

 

other lyttle cupbord cloth of tapestrye, v silke

 

curtaynes of redd and yeallow silkes, and vallones

 

of the same, three quishons of black velvett two

 

of redd velvet, ix of needle worke, one quishon

 

of silver, velvet and silkes ……………………………………….. xx

 

In the butterye

 

Imprimis foure square table clothes, xiiij flaxon

 

napkins, a bason and yewer, three great pottle

 

potts, two wine pottle potts two wine quart

 

potts, one ale quart pott, one deepe bason, two

 

shreedings knives, vj candlesticks, three pewter

 

three brazen, iij pinte potts, two vergesse potts

 

one pewter salt, one cullender, one cupboard dishe

 

one egge dish viij great broad platters, v little

 

pewter dishes, x sawcers, v pewter potingers

 

two pye plates, two goblets, one lyttle basen, one

 

perfuminge panne, v chamber potts, iiij flower potts

 

one gallieish ……………………………………………………..     iij

 

The two kitchins

 

Imprimis foure great pannes, foure little pannes

 

iiij great brasse potts, vj middlinge and little

 

brasse potts, one kettle, ij chafers, one katt

 

panne of coxpre, one bakinge panne, ij yron

 

dripinge pannes, xij spitts, ij morters one

 

pestle, three brandirons, two gridirons, one jacke

 

ij great salt barrels, iiij payre of potthoockes,

 

one payre of cobirons, one payre of rackes

 

iij skellets, ij morters of alblaster two grats

 

of yron with other implements ………………………………..       x

 

In the Parlor

 

Imprimis one chest, ij cupbords, one long table

 

iiij formes, ij cheares, one square table, iij pictures

 

one greene carpit of for the long table, one other for

 

the square table, ij landirons of brasse, one

 

grate, one fyershovell, one lute one payre of

 

virginalls ……………………………………………………….         vj

 

In the hall

 

Item tow cheares two long tables one

 

cupbord, i corslet, v plate [        ] …………………………….        iij

 

In the stables

 

Item saddles and brydels …………………………………………          xx

 

In the work house

 

Imprimis husbandrie stuffs …………………………………….     vj       xiij     iiij

 

Item baken at the roffe …………………………………………     iij

 

Item seelinge and glasing ………………………………………    xx

 

Item v goulden rings ……………………………………………               xl

 

Item one cignet ringe ……………………………………………              xxx

 

Item his apparel and money in his purse ………………………….       xx

 

Item one cupborde and household stuffe at

 

Blackwood ………………………………………………………                xx

 

                                                          Suma totalis        ccccxxvj     xvj

 

As he held part of the Manor of Horton from the Crown, an Inquisition Post Mortem was held at his death that gives particulars of his freehold land. This consisted of both Harracles and Blackwood, as well as a messuage in Milne Street in Leek and one in Cheddleton. In addition to these was land at Leek, Leekfrith, Lowe and Longsdon together with their accompanying tithes. He was also responsible for building the new watermill at Harracles during the 2nd half of the C16th.

 

About 1600 his children erected a pious Brass Monument in Horton Church to the memory of their parents and also commemorating themselves. It consists of an engraving of the family, parents in the middle, boys on one side and girls on the other, flanked to the left by a quartered coat of Egerton, Hill, Houndhill and Hawkstone, and to the right by that of Wedgwood. Underneath lies the inscription:

 

‘Hic jacent sepult corpora Johis Wedgwood de Haracles, armigeri et Marie uxons ejus, filie Thomae Egerton, de Walgrange, armiger, qui obierunt, hic sixto die Aprilis, anno Dom : 1589 ; illa quinto die Septembris, anno Dom : 1582. Sobolem post se relinquentes filios tres, filiasque quinque, quorum animas cum justis remanere speram. Johes duxit Margaret Forde. Egerton celebs mor. Radus duxit Aliciam Leighe. Maria nupt Ambro Arden. Anna nupt Jacob Gibson. Maria nupt Tho Smith Eliza nupt Rico Foxe. Felix nupt Rico Hilders.’[Translation: Here lies buried the bodies of John Wedgwood of Haracles [sic] Esquire and of his wife Mary, daughter of Thomas Egerton of Walgrange [sic] Esquire. He died this 6th day of April in the year of our Lord 1589, she on the 5th of September in the year of our Lord 1582 leaving issue, 3 sons and 5 daughters. Let us hope that their souls will rest with the righteous].

 

John Wedgwood V of Harracles (1571-1658)

 

Eldest son of John Wedgwood IV baptised Sept 20th 1571. He succeeded his father in 1589 and married Margaret, daughter and coheiress of William Forde of The Mosse in Cheddleton in 1601 and had 7 children. John continued to buy land, including the tithes of Macclesfield Forest in 1605 and a large 560 acre estate in Heaton in 1606. As he held over 40 librates of land he was forced to pay £17 10s to avoid being made a Knight in 1631, called ‘compounding for Knighthood’, under the rule of Charles I. He was also called upon in the Musters of 1634 and 1640 to provide one light horseman for the King. He was too old to be an active participant in the Civil War, but his son was on the side of the Parliament (and therefore probably a Protestant). He died at the age of 87 and was buried in the churchyard at Leek on 5th April 1658. His wife Margaret died 5 years later at her son Egerton's house in Combridge and was buried in Leek beside her husband.

 

John Wedgwood VI of The Mosse (1604-1652)

 

Eldest son of John Wedgwood V baptised on Sept 17th 1604. He was enrolled at Trinity College Oxford in 1621 afterwards returning to live at the Mosse in Cheddleton which he inherited from his mother. He married Jane Hazelrigg in 1632, Daughter of Sir Thomas Hazelrigg of Noseley in Leicestershire. They had a total of 7 children, the eldest of which was William. John died during his father’s lifetime and was buried at Leek on 14th Jan 1652, leaving Jane a widow. By the time of her death in 1685 she was living with her son John in Stafford.

 

William Wedgwood of Harracles (1635-1677)

 

Eldest son of John Wedgwood VI baptised 26th July 1635, succeeded his grandfather in 1658. He married Elizabeth Cotton in 1665 and had 3 children, the eldest son died aged 13 and so it was the youngest, John that inherited Harracles. In 1666 he was assessed for taxation on 7 hearths at Harracles, confirming this to have been a substantial dwelling. William himself died 10th Dec 1677 and was buried at Leek where there is a monument to him in St Edward’s Church.

 

John Wedgwood VII of Harracles (1669-1757)

 

Eldest son of William baptised 14th Oct 1669 and like his grandfather also studdied at Oxford. He married Susannah, daughter of Sir Charles Wolseley c1694. John acquired the other moiety of Horton manor but his 2 sons, both of who had studied at Oxford, predeceased him without issue, and so on 11th Jan 1757 ended the male line of the Wedgwood’s of Harracles. The Harracles and Horton property then passed by his will to Pheobe, Lady Boothby, and was sold in 1790 by the 6th Baronet to Thomas Mills of Barlaston.

 

To put into context how Josiah Wedgwood who built Etruria fits into the story we have to return to John Wedgwood II of Harracles. His youngest son was:

 

Richard Wedgwood I of Mowle-in-Biddulph (c1520-1589)

 

He married Agnes who brought with her 163 acres on Mow Cop near to his mother’s family, the Bowyers of Knypersley. About a mile west of Biddulph church on Mow Cop is a short lane still known as Wedgwood Lane where this branch of the family lived from 1539 to about 1700. Their eldest son:

 

Richard Wedgwood II of Mowle (c1545-1626)

 

Inherited the 163 acre estate in 1567, the same year that he married Margaret Boulton. The property consisted of a messuage, barn, garden and orchard together with 60 acres of land, 40 acres of pasture, 30 acres of meadow, 3 acres of wood and 30 acres of heath and furze. However, 20 years later, his mother Agnes, who had a life interest in the property, conveyed it to William Bowyer of Knypersley. Bowyer’s will dated 10th Dec 1598 reveals that the WEDGWOODs of Mowle had now become rent-paying tenants. Richard went on to become deacon of Biddulph in 1598 and is presumed to be the Richard Wedgwood buried there on Dec 12th 1626. They had 6 children and it was the youngest of these Gilbert from who Josiah Wedgwood was descended.

 

Gilbert Wedgwood (1588-c1668)

 

Baptised 26th Nov 1588. He married Margaret the daughter and co-heiress of Thomas and Mary Burslem in 1612 and shortly afterwards moved from Mowle to his wife’s family home at The Overhouse in Burslem. This stood at the junction of Wedgwood Place and Scotia Road and the whole estate consisted of 2 messuages, 3 cottages, and over 200 acres of land in Burslem, Tunstall and Sneyd. These later became The Overhouse potworks and were probably originally farm buildings mentioned in the will of Margaret’s sister Katherine Colclough (nee Burslem, 1669). Here the Burslem, Colclough and Wedgwood families lived from about 1596 to 1809. Gilbert and Margaret had a total of 12 children, 8 sons and 4 daughters, although 5 died in infancy. The eldest son was named Burslem (b. 20th Sept 1614) and next to him was Thomas (b. c1617) from whom Josiah Wedgwood was descended. On the marriage settlement of his son Moses in 1649 Gilbert described himself as ‘potter’.

 

Whereas Gilbert married Margaret Burslem, her sister Katherine married William Colclough of Grays Inn, in 1617 and the Overhouse passed to her and William as part of her marriage settlement. A transaction in June 1620 suggests that William Colclough purchased the property outright relinquishing any rights that other members of the Burslem family, including Margaret and Gilbert may have had in making a future claim on the property. Yet on the extinction of the heirs of William Colclough in 1699 Burslem’s son, also called Burslem, appeared to have made a claim on the premises as a reversionary heir of Thomas Burslem. This claim was provided against in the will of William’s widow, Katherine Colclough. She outlived her husband and their 3 children and died on 25th Sept 1669. Katherine’s will dated 23rd June 1666 was drawn up with the provision to prevent Burslem from claiming the whole inheritance from his uncle Thomas Wedgwood, her nephew, the 2nd son of Gilbert and to who she had left the estate. Burslem was offered a bribe of 2 cottages and a large part of the estate in Burslem subject to the charge however of £950 for legacies and settlements, an agreement that he accepted in Feb 1670. In order to raise the finance he was forced to sell a large part of the estate. It was this Burslem whose tile was originally in a barn wall belonging to him. Although described as gentleman he was actually a potter. The selling of estate lands meant that the Wedgwood family were no longer the massive owners that they had been previously. Even so, the Overhouse estate still comprised of 97 acres in the heart of modern Burslem.

 

Gilbert was the first of the family mentioned as being a potter in 1646. 10 years later John Colclough, an illegitimate brother of William Colclough, left his ‘pottinge boards and all other necessary implements and materialls belonginge to the trade of pottinge’ to Thomas Wedgwood. His will, dated 7th Nov 1656, described himself as potter, and also reveals that Moses Wedgwood (Gilbert’s son) was already a potter. Four of the sons of Gilbert and at least 7 of his grandsons went onto become classed as potters. This period saw a change in the status of the Wedgwood’s, shifting from husbandman, yeoman and gentleman to that of ‘potter’.

 

Thomas Wedgwood I of Burslem Overhouse (c1617-1679)

 

Second surviving son of Gilbert. Married Margaret, only daughter and heiress of John Shawe of the Churchyard House at Burslem on 9th April 1653 and had 10 children. John Shawe’s grandfather had married the sister and heiress of John Astbury, curate of Burslem in the reign of Henry VIII. Then, without becoming curate himself he managed to annex the ex-curators house and lands. It was this Thomas that inherited the potworks and stock, along with real and personal estate in 1656 from John Colclough, the illegitimate brother of William Colclough, although he may have been a potter before this date. Until Thomas Wedgwood succeeded to the Overhouse property in 1669 he and his wife seem to have lived with John Shaw in the Churchyard House. In 1670 he bought from his cousin Burslem the Little Furlong ‘on which potworks had been erected.’ He also built another potworks on land purchased from William Keen, which was probably the Churchyard Works adjoining his father-in-law’s property, complete with workhouses, shops, ovens and a horse pugmill. The use of plurals when mentioning ovens suggests that he had more than one, which was extremely rare during this early period.

 

The new works stood alongside the south east side of the churchyard. These were occupied by 4 generations of Thomas Wedgwood’s from 1653 to 1756. Josiah Wedgwood bought the works from the last of the 4 Thomas’s, his nephew, in 1780, and leased them for a period to another nephew, Joseph, but on the death of Josiah in 1795 they were sold out of the family. The original house, containing a priest’s chamber, had been demolished before this time to make room for a new sliphouse and kiln.

 

Although probably of yeoman or gentleman status, Thomas described himself as ‘potter’ in his will drawn up the year before he died. He was buried on March 14th 1679, but on the day of the funeral, Mr Mainwaring, the rector of Stoke, being asked to attend, claimed that the churchyard house was still church property. His eldest son John had to pay a cash sum to keep the house and 50 acres of  meadow and pasture. Soon after the death of his father John went to live at the Overhouse, while his younger brother Thomas (II) took over the Churchyard House and works.

 

Thomas Wedgwood II of The Churchyard House and Works (1660-1716)

 

2nd eldest son of Thomas Wedgwood I, baptised at Burslem 20th Aug 1660. He married Mary Leigh on June 28th 1684 and had 10 children. At his father’s potworks he continued to make common black and mottled earthenware. On his death in 1716 his eldest son Thomas (III) inherited the house and potworks.

 

Thomas Wedgwood III of The Churchyard House and Works (1685-1739)

 

Eldest son of Thomas Wedgwood II, baptised 25th March 1685. He succeeded his father in 1716 and continued making the same sort of ware as his father and grandfather at the Churchyard works. He married Mary Stringer about 1711, the daughter of the Unitarian Minister of Newcastle. They had 12 children, the youngest of these being Josiah baptised on 12th July 1730. His will, as did his father’s, both use the name ‘Churchyardside’ to refer to the potworks.

 

Josiah’s eldest brother, Thomas (Wedgwood IV 1717-1773) succeeded his father in 1739 and continued the potworks at the Churchyard. On Nov 11th 1744 Josiah was indentured to serve him at the Churchyard works for 5 years to ‘learn his art, mistery, occupation, or imployment of throwing and handleing, which he the said Thomas Wedgwood now useth.’ Thomas was still operating at the Churchyard works in 1747, but 10 years later he had succeeded to the Overhouse estates on the death of his cousin Katherine Egerton, daughter of John Wedgwood of the Overhouse. By 1757 Thomas possessed 160 acres in and around Burslem, which with the addition of 50 acres belonging to the Churchyard works made him a considerable landed proprietor. He died on 26th Feb 1773 aged 56. His will is dated 18th Nov 1760, and was proved on 29th May 1773 by Josiah. (Note large amount of £60 for furniture). He had 8 children, the eldest son Thomas (V, 1745-1787) succeeded to the potworks in 1773 and continued to manufacture earthenware. In 1780 he sold the Churchyard house and works to his uncle Josiah, who then leased them to Joseph Wedgwood. Thomas Wedgwood V married Mary Allsop and had Thomas VI of the Overhouse, master potter (1775 – 1809). After his death Josiah’s sons John and Josiah II sold the Overhouse property out of the family.

 

So to bring the story to a conclusion lets return to the Horton-Harracles branch of the family. Through a series of fairly consistent court rolls, occasional Inquisition Post Mortems and probate records it has been possible to construct a rough picture of that branch of the family from the early C14th. These tenant farmers prospered during the following 400 years, rising to moderately-sized landholders by the end of the C15th, and to one of the wealthiest families of the district by the beginning of the C18th. This was achieved through favourable marriages and the purchase of additional land as it became available. We’ve had glimpses into their daily lives – the insults, the brawls, brewing, and cattle-rustling. The family also has its own mythology in the tale of one ancestor who fled east, possibly after committing a murder, to eventually become Mayor of Cambridge. We’ve also been able to have a peek into their homes. Like the story of Josiah of Etruria, the self-made man, this branch of the family also raised itself through successive generations to that of gentry, from Constable of the manor in the C15th to Lord of the manor 300 years later.