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Zachariah Boyle & Son(s) (Maker)

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stoke big works
The Big Works, Stoke-upon-Trent

Zachariah Boyls was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1783. He was a member of a large family, most of whom were engaged in the textile industry.  By 1817 Zachariah was listed as an auctioneer, draper, glass dealer &c. 87, Kirkgate.[1] By 1822 he had dropped the drapery side of the business and appears in alphabetical lists as an auctioneer, glass dealer &c. 65 Briggate and is listed under Earthenware Dealers in the trades section.[2]

Eventually Zachariah Boyle decided to become a pottery manufacturer rather than a dealer. Despite having a number of potteries nearby in Leeds he moved to Staffordshire. By 1828 Zachariah Boyle & Son is listed at an earthenware pottery in Keeling’s Lane, Hanley, Staffordshire, most likely at the pottery of the recently bankrupt partnership of William Willat and William Marsh.[3]  He must have been there a very short time for the factory was offered to sale or to let in September 1828 and was still available in 1830. 

Meanwhile in 1828 Boyle took over the lease of part of the Big Works in Church Street, Stoke-upon-Trent, a large earthenware pottery with eight ovens, formerly operated by Robert Hamilton.[4] Zachariah Boyle & Son and the family successors occupied this factory for about 20 years.  The firm made a wide range of wares apparently aimed for the mass middle-class market including blue printed earthenware, hand painted bone china, and colourful ironstone china.

John Boyle, he eldest son of Zachariah, left family pottery and joined Herbert Minton in 1836 following the death of Herbert’s father Thomas Minton.  The Minton & Boyle partnership continued until 1845 when John died.

Zachariah Boyle died in 1841, the flint mill was auctioned in 1844 and by 1848 the the Big Works was advertised to let.[5] These sales may have been as a consequence of Zachariah’s long and complicated will.

Zachariah’s fourth son, Samuel, briefly took over the Fenton Stone Works in 1848/9 after the bankruptcy of C.J. Mason, but his own bankruptcy followed in 1852 and the manufactory and flint mill was sold to E. Challinor. [6]


[1] Baines, Edward. 1817. Directory, general and commercial, of the town & borough of Leeds, for 1817, containing an alphabetical list of the merchants, manufacturers, tradesmen, and inhabitants ... to which is prefixed, a brief ... history of the borough ... with a map. Leeds: Printed by Edward Baines.

[2] Baines, Edward. 1822. History, directory & gazetteer, of the county of York with select lists of the merchants & traders of London, and the principal commercial and manufacturing towns of England, and a variety of other commercial information : also a copious list of the seats of the nobility and gentry of Yorkshire. Leeds: Printed and published by E. Baines, at the Leeds Mercury Office. p.49 & p.110
 
[3] J. Pigot & Co. 1828. Pigot and Co.'s national commercial directory for 1828-9. London: J. Pigot. Only one factory is known in Keelings Lane, in Piggot’s 1822 Directory it was occupied by ‘Marsh & Willot (sic)” a partenership whose bankrupty was declared in 1822 London Gazette 7 May 1822.
 
[4] Markin, Trevor, 1992 ‘Robert Hamilton and William Arrowsmith of Stoke-upon-Trent’  Journal of the Northern Ceramic Society, Volume 9. p.87
 
[5] Hampson, Rodney. 2000. Pottery references in The Staffordshire advertiser, 1795-1865. Hanley: Northern Ceramic Society. p.17
 
[6] Hampson, Rodney. 2000. Pottery references in The Staffordshire advertiser, 1795-1865. Hanley: Northern Ceramic Society. p.17