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The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

Brickmaking: A History and Gazetteer


Alan Cox in his book "Brickmaking: A History and Gazetteer" identifies two sites for kilns to the north of Clophill

There 180 sites in the book and these are numbers 50 and 51. The information that he gives, along with the sources, is shown below.


First Kiln

Tile and possible brick kiln north of village, to north of Kiln Farm.

Exact location unknown and may have been more than one site at different times.

Date: Probably in existence by 1619 and continued until at least 1691, and possibly until 1740 or later.

Operators: Owner in 1619 was William Burden. The following brickmakers of Clophill may have been operators: William Nodden (died 1631), Trustram Heath (died 1660), Thomas Water (died 1689), John Waters by at least 1686 (died 1711), Charles Harris (died 1740).

Further Information: Burden's Will in 1619 mentions "At Clophill Tylekill, houses or ground, ware sold not paid for, ware ready made not sold, .....hurlocke, woode & other stock for the kill." In 1692 and 1714 there are references to "Tilekiln close, next old tile kiln" suggesting perhaps that one site was then redundant. It may be the kiln had then been moved to a site at about NGR: TL 085 388. This assumes that "Harris Close", which in 1746 may have included a kiln, can be equated with "Charles close" on the Enclosure Map of 1826 (See Charles Harris under Op, above). Certainly considerable amounts of tile have been turned up in this field. See also G51 immediately below.

Date

Source*

Comment

1619

BHRS Vol 20 (1938) p83

Inventory - William Burden "A Claphill (ie Clophill) tyle kill - "

1630

Will ABP/W 1631/208

William Nodden, brickmaker

1655

Conveyance L4/53

"road to Clophill tile kiln" "'tile kill' way"

1656

Conveyance L4/38-9

"lease 27-11-1656 to Rbt. Heath of 1 tilekiln"

1660

Will ABP/W 1660/28

Trustram Heath, brickmaker

1678

Will ABP/W 1689/63

Thomas Water of Clayhill, brickmaker. Died 1689

1686

Bond X520/258

John Waters of Clophill, brickmaker"

1711

Settlement W1690

"On the marriage of Edward Hurst and Eliz., daughter of John Water (dcd) of Clophill, brickmaker"

1714

Conveyance L4/129-130

"next old Tile kiln within Knives"

1719

BPR XXI B39

Marriage 5 th November 1719. Charles Harrish (Harris) brickmaker married Mary Day.

1740

ABP/W 1740-1/92

Charles Harrice [Harris] brickmaker 13th November 1740

1740

BPR XXI

Burial 18th November 1740 Charles Harris "brick kill"

1746

L26/295-296

Memorandums about Mr Goodman's farm  "then Harris house & close ??kiln??"

1746

L4/386

"the brick kiln is not to be used or sublet by tenant but may be used by landlord"

1747

Admission BS 343

Rich Hitchin "non-payment of £200" "Tile kiln field" No mention of brickmaker!

Second Kiln

Brick kiln to north of main village, at Kiln Farm. National Grid Reference: TL 083 386.

Date: Not shown on map of 1716. May have been in existence by 1740s. Shown on maps of late 18th century and 1826. May have been operating until at least 1850.

Operators.: The following brickmakers of Clophill are possible operators:
Thomas Peck (died 1749);
Thomas Humberstone (died 1766) and his son also Thomas Humberstone (died 1785);
George Crouch between at least 1847 and 1850. (Thomas Humberstone, Senr., and Crouch were also at Campton G46, and Crouch was subsequently at Upper Stondon G170).

Further Information: It is possible that some of the operators given above may relate to G50 and some of the operators listed there may have actually worked this kiln.

Condition: Deep, thick brick footings, which are probably the remains of a Scotch kiln, have been uncovered below outbuildings at Kiln Farm.

Date

Source*

Comment

1746

L26/295-296

Memorandums about Mr Goodman's farm "then Harris house & close ??kiln??"

1749

BPR XXI

Burial Thomas Peck, brickmaker.

1758

BPR XXI B21

Baptism James son of Thomas and Sarah Humberston, brickmaker.

1761

Will ABP/W 1766/15

Thomas Humberstone, Clophill, brickmaker. "Clophill Kiln"

1763

BPR XXI

Baptism George son of Thomas and Sarah Humberstone, brickmaker.

1773

BPR XXI B24

Baptism Catherine daughter of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1774

BPR XXI B25

Baptism Thomas son of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1776

BPR XXI B25

Baptism Elizabeth daughter of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1777

BPR XXI B25

Baptism Susan daughter of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1778

BPR XXI B26

Baptism James son of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1780

BPR XXI

Baptism Ann daughter of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1783

BPR XXI B27

Baptism Hannah daughter of Thomas and Catherine Humberstone, brickmaker

1784

BPR XXI B69

Burial Catherine wife of Thomas Humberstone, brickmaker.

1785

BPR XXI B70

Burial Thomas Humberstone, brickmaker.

1785

Will ABP/A 1785/3

Administration Thomas Humberstone, brickmaker.

1850

Slater's Directory

p4 Brick and Tile Makers - Crouch, George, Clophill.

* These are the indexes to the original documents at the Bedford & Luton Records & Archives Office.