Wainscott is a small village in Rochester, in Kent. It is in the civil parish of Frindsbury Extra, in the Medway Unitary Authority, that is Medway Council. By 1950 it had been absorbed into the neighbouring residential areas of Strood. Wainscott itself is located brusquely next to Frindsbury, and is amid beautiful agricultural land, as well as ancient woodlands. It is speculated that the pronounce is derived from the OE meaning Wagonner Cot or Wagon Shed.
Tilemaking at Wainscott
A map outmoded 1711 shows this hamlet as consisting of a house and a few cottages known as Windscott, the read out probably referring to a collection of cottages in an exposed or windy place. The home was called 'White Horse' and, since the hamlet was situated upon a crossroads on the road to the Isle of Grain, it may capably have been an inn. By 1838, the reveal had been corrupted to Wainscott and a local pottery industry was already in existence by 1842. The main works was the Wainscott Pottery owned by a Henry Hone and adjoining this was a smaller operation owned by Thomas Fox. The excuse for their location is easily explained by psychiatry of the local estate ownership at this time.
Nearby at Four Elms Hill were two clay pits owned by a William Beadle, who was something of an entrepreneur. Beadle also owned the land to the short east of the road in Wainscott and it was here that the potteries were set up. Thus, not unaccompanied did he sell the clay to the potteries but he as well as got the rent from their premises as competently as the next-door workers’ cottages. It must have been quite a monopoly for him as capably as mammal rather lucrative. Both potteries produced tiles for the expanding building industry and some may have found their artifice to London together like the local brick trade.
The tithe records also list an Edward Hone (limeburner at Upnor) and a John Hone (brickmaker at Bill Street). It is not known if they were joined to Henry Hone but it is possible that this was an example of a intimates diversifying into everything aspects of supplying the building industry. Henry higher went upon to own the Kings Arms pub and John the Old Oak Inn.
By 1858, there had been a modify of proprietors and the potteries were now owned by Thomas Baker and Jesse Clark Foster. It is likely that the larger premises belonged to the latter since, in 1877, Foster bought the clay pits from the Executors of Beadle who had by then died. With this assumption, Baker must have sold out after a few years to Messrs Charlton & Matthews since, in the book "Industrial Medway" by J.M. Preston, they are mentioned in an commercial dated 1868. This quotation is interesting past it shows the diverse range of products being produced i.e. oven & paving bricks and tiles; pan, plain & ridge tiles; sanitary & land drainage pipes; chimney, flower & paint pots; garden & edging tiles.
In the meantime, Foster continued to early payment his pottery and took his son Theophilus into partnership in 1867. In 1871 they were shown as brick and tile manufacturers but there is no evidence that they had the necessary equipment at their clay pits to make bricks on site. Since it was a competitive situation locally, it is more likely that they produced specialised bricks at their premises. In 1882 they sold out to Francis Hazell, who produced bricks, tiles, drainpipes and chimney & garden pots.
The 1862 Ordnance Survey map shows a draw competently next to each of the potteries. Whereas these may abandoned be water wells, there is also the possibility that they were chalk wells. The census of 1871 lists a William Eloine of Wainscott who was described as an ‘excavator’. This is a peculiar term before men who dug clay were normally described as merely labourers and it seems to imply line at depth. He could of course have been a local competently sinker but, again, the latter term is usually used in census job descriptions. One clue is firm in an article on deneholes written by F.J. Spurrell in 1882, when he mentions a denehole (properly termed a chalkwell) which was then being used at Plumstead for a tile works. It is known that a small quantity of chalk was extra to usual bricks to prevent shrinkage during firing and possibly this was also finished in the suit of tiles. If products of a yellow colour were required, like the Stock Bricks, a greater proportion of chalk would have to be further to gain the colouration. Thus, it is practicable that the local tile works had chalkwells upon the premises to come by their own supplies of chalk.
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