INDUSTRY IN STOCK AND BUTTSBURY
CHARLES PHILLIPS
Stock's main claim to fame with industry is bricks. The name Stock Brick is supposed to have originated in Stock. This explanation is in fact false. According to the Oxford English Dictionary in brick making in the middle of the mould for a brick is a piece of board fastened with nails which is called a 'stock'.The stock is about half an inch thick and is just big enough for the mould to slip down upon it. And again according to the Oxford English Dictionary a stock brick is brick made on a 'stock'. This proves that the name 'stock brick' did not originate in the village. It is pure coincidence that bricks were made in Stock.
The historian Philip Morant writing in his History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (1760-1768) says 'In some places the soil is gravely; but towards the Common the soil is a kind of loam called by the inhabitants Brick and Pot Earth because there is a kiln for each manufactures: lying however in Buttsbury. The bricks made here are reputed the best in these parts; and the pots are strong, but a coarse ordinary ware. Going back to a somewhat earlier in time F G Emmison in Elizabethan Life - Home, Work and Land (1976) quotes the will of Walter Dadrye alias Rawlyn of Buttsbury (1566), brick maker leaving to his son William 'my house with the tylekell (tiln-kiln) and working house adjoining and the will of Thomas Castell of Stock (1590) brick maker bequeathing to his son James 'my dung carts and all my tools, planks, boards and implements about my workhouse'. . According to the Rev F W Austen in The Rectors of Two Essex Parishes and Their Times (1943) from Blunts Manor Roll for 1606 that James Castell, William Starlinge, William Hankyn, John Spilman, Thomas … John Bundock and Thomas Charvell sought permission from the lord of the manor for making clay to complete their bricks
According to Kelly's Post Office Directories for 1845 and 1851 'On Stock Common very fine earth is found, and a large manufactory is carried on of Stock bricks, which derive their name from this place'. By 1867 the industry was more or less dead and Kelly's directory does not mention the brick making industry. However according to Donald Jarvis in Stock, Essex - Its History and Romance (1934) 'There was a brick-works in the Mill Road until about 1900 and was for many year a flourishing concern. Within living memory as many as 50 hands were employed there'. The site is now occupied by Cobblers, the home of Sir John and Lady Carter. Whilst there are minor traces of the brick workings in the grounds and the house does contain a few Stock bricks any major traces of the brickworks have disappeared. The last building in Stock to have been constructed of Stock's local bricks is Christ Church in the High Street, which can be viewed from the exterior
The village's other main industry was pottery. Morant as quoted above describes the pots as 'strong, but a coarse ordinary ware'. According to the Rev F W Austen in The Rectors of Two Essex Parishes and Their Times (1943) there is evidence of pottery being carried out in the village as early as 1482 as evidenced from one of the witness to a document Thomas Camper of Shenfield - the witness in question being John Palmer (potter) and the document was given at Buttsbury on 17th February 1482. The Rev Austen also quotes from the Blunts Manor Rolls for 1607 that William Hankyn should remove from outside of house in Stock refuse dung and other things in connection with his trade of pottery. The same court also said that year that all potters and others who dug for loam, white clay on Stock Common had to fill in the hole. According to F G Emmison there was evidence of some form of organised group, dare one say guild in 1622 when the Stock and Buttsbury potters complained about an unapprenticed neighbour who was 'taking away the living of married persons who wife and children'. In Colchester Museum there is an example of Stock pottery - the Braintree Ringers Jug made in Stock in 1685. Whilst in 1926 when the then owner of Brick House was trying to find a well in his garden he dug up a lot of pottery fragments. It is not absolutely certain when the pottery industry in died out in the area, but according to Donald Jarvis it seems to have been in the early 19th century, who also mentions the location of one pottery - the site of the house known as the Lattices. Jarvis also suggest that there was one in the vicinity of Brick House and Tudor Cottage. From what the owner of Brick House found in 1926 it may suggest the latter.
It will be seen from above that the brick making industries were related.
There were other industries as well. The manufacture of potash. According to Donald Jarvis there was a potash works on the Billericay Road towards Ramsden which were at one time owned by a Mr Porter. There was also a 'Potash Office' situated on the road to Impey Farm below Brookmans Farm, but it is not known if potash was manufactured there. George Walker in The History of a Little Town (Billericay) (1947) mentions a potash manufactory existing in Buttsbury until nearly the end of the 19th century.
A lesser known industry was weaving and spinning. A F J Brown in Essex at Work 1700-1815 (1969) and Prosperity and Poverty Rural Essex 1700 -1815 mentions weavers and spinners existing in Stock and Buttsbury.. I was recently told that the Hoop public house was originally a weaver's house.
And finally there is some evidence of a bell foundry at Buttsbury in the 15th century as one of the bells in Coppford church was from the foundry of Henry Jordan of Buttsbury who died about 1470.
I suppose one should also include milling in this as well. It is known that there was a watermill at Buttsbury at the time of the (Norman) Conquest at Wluesdon at the foot of the hill by the bridge which carried the medieval road to Ingatestone, whilst there is known to have been a windmill in Stock by at least 1476 as Sir Charles Tyrell is recorded in that year as having windmills in Shenfield and Stock. The profession of miller seems to have attracted somewhat unscrupulous characters at one time as in 1548 the Stock miller was fined 12d (or 1s(hilling) or 5p) for charging too much. The man's family obviously didn't learn as in 1554 another member of the family was fined 2d (just under 1p) for the same thing. There is also known to have been a watermill at Fristling as there is evidence in the Petre family archive for the building of the Fristling watermill in 1590. The exact location is not known, but it is quite possible that the watercourse that supplied it has since diminished or dried up completely. I would suggest that the location was at the end of the footpath going from Swan Lane past Turkshill Wood and not turning right toward Margaretting, but rather continuing to where it meets at tributary of the Wid.
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