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one shâitut, "tay care o' yerselns." At that, on a sudden, th' bottom waws crack'n't; th' meysns geetn oaff the scaffuts an âit o' th' wey as fast as e'er they cudn; an dâhin coom aw on't to th' grund in a cratchin.
T. Wal, Rafy, it's aw varry trew, oi know; bu'-yerr thi'! Enoch's bell's ringin' noine. We'n jist hay t'other noggin, an then we'n gooa whomm.
L. Thenk ye, Mester. Mun oi howp ye t' toddle up th' lane to'art Stonfeilt?
T. Nou, thenk thi, Rafe. Oi hanno' misst mi wey theer an ogen for th' last 60 year; an thee'lt think oi know th' road pratty weel.
L. Bu' Mester, oi munna hay no moore gin nâi, els oi may no' foind my wey whomm miseln; oi yoost t'au cud ha' studn drink better til nôi.
T. Wal, only this one noggin, Rafy, an then good neet to thee.
[They separate, to retire home.]
OBSERVATIONS.-BURSLEM FORMERLY A SMALL VILLAGE-STATE AND POPULATION ABOUT 1750.-POTTERS ABOUT THAT TIME. DEPENDANCE ON NEWCASTLE.-ERECTION OF THE MARKET HALL. ORIGIN OF THE MARKET.-MANAGEMENT THEREOF.-APPOINTMENT OF FRESH TRUSTEES. FIRST
LAND-ROAD. LOYAL MANIFESTATIONS. PEACE FESTIVAL, 1814.POLITICAL BEARING. OLD FREE SCHOOL.
WESLEYAN SUNDAYSCHOOL.-MANAGEMENT THEREOF.-OPPOSITION OF THE PREACHERS, &c.-DISPUTES WITH THE TEACHERS. THEIR EXPULSION AND SECES
SCHOOL. - CHURCH AND
OF THE CHURCH.
MARKET POWERS OF TRUSTEES AND RATES.-ANNUAL MEETINGS.-LIST OF CHIEF CONSTABLES.-IMPROVEMENTS OF TOWN.-VIEW OF NEW MARKET-HOUSE.-COST THEREOF.DESCRIPTION. INCOME OF MARKET. RATE OF TOLLS. ANNUAL
TO WITNESS the sterility of winter succeeded by the opening buds and expanded blossoms of spring, and the genial influence of the summer's sun nurturing the fruits of autumn;-to mark the gradual developement of the powers of the youthful mind, and their regular progression, till the character of the man is formed;-to contemplate these pleasing changes in the course of Nature's operations, will be admitted to be interesting in a very high degree; nor less so is it, to notice the various steps by which the once rude and homely efforts of English in
dustry have, within a century past, or thereabouts, advanced to their present state of elegance and perfection; and towns, and places of small account, have risen to the rank of cities, and become important links in the chain by which our national greatness is upheld.
BURSLEM probably never received the notice of any historian until Dr. Plot mentioned it, as being, in his time, the seat of the greatest Pottery in the County ;* though it then could have been no more than an inconsiderable village; for, at the distance of between eighty and ninety years afterwards, the Rev. J. Wesley spoke of it, as a scattered town, on the top of a hill, a description to which the plate before inserted most correctly answers.
The table of inhabitant householders about the year 1750, which we have given in the Appendix,§ and collected from the information of aged persons now deceased, who well knew every man, and woman, and nearly every child, of their cotemporaries, leads to the conclusion, that the town of Burslem might then have contained nearly 1000 persons, and the Register of Burials renders it pretty certain, that, including the out-parts of Cobridge, Hot Lane, Sneyd Green, The Hamell, Brownhills, and Longbridge, there might have been a total population of rather more than 2000.
Aaron, the grandson of Gilbert Wedgwood, who died in the year 1743,|| and had, for a considerable period, been extensively engaged in manufacturing white stoneware, was succeeded by his sons, Thomas and John, who erected the first brick-built manufactory in Burslem; and, about the year 1750, to the wonder of their
* Vide ante, pp. 25, 45. + Page 32. No. XVII.; and note, that the figures on the corresponding figures in the Table.
He, and his wife, Mary, were both buried the same day, as recorded on their tomb, near the north-side of the tower of the ParishChurch.
Map refer to the
ERECTION OF TOWN-HALL.
neighbours, reared a large messuage, still called the BIG-HOUSE, as we formerly mentioned.* Soon after that time, John Taylor, and William Taylor, each erected respectable dwelling-houses, with Potworks adjacent; and John Shrigley, a little previously, built what still remains a good-looking house, on the north side of the present Town Hall, with a Potwork in the rear. They, and several individuals of the name of Wedgwood, were the principal potters in Burslem, before the time of Josiah Wedgwood, who commenced business, on his own account, in the year 1756, and soon introduced important improvements in its manual and chemical operations, as will be fully noticed hereafter, by means of which an influx of wealth and population ensued. Before this period, there was nothing like a respectable shop for grocery, or drapery goods, in the Town; but most articles of family use were fetched weekly from Newcastle.
In the year 1760, the more opulent inhabitants set on foot a plan for erecting a public Building, in the present Market Place; in furtherance of which, they presented a memorial to Sir Nigel Gresley, Bart., and Ralph Sneyd, Esq., the Lords of the Manor, praying a grant of a piece of waste land, "where the Maypole did formerly stand," on which to erect a piece of building for a School, stating that there was but one School in the Town; for which reason, two parts of the children out of three were put to work without any learning. This document, of which we give a copy in the Appendix,‡ is couched in very submissive terms, (according to the respect shewn to gentlemen of superior station, at that day;) and the names of the applicants, with the sums subscribed by each, are appended. But the object for which the grant was solicited, seems to have undergone some extension; for, in the Lease which followed this
* See page 42, and Table E., page 202.
↑ No. XVIII.
See the Map, page
application, and bears date the 24th June, 1761, a piece or parcel of waste ground, situate in the Town of Burslem, opposite to the dwelling-house of John Shrigley, containing, in length 16 yards, and in breadth 10 yards, is demised to 30 Trustees, for the term of 500 years, at the yearly rent of sixpence; with power to such Lessees to erect thereon a public edifice, or building, for a Market Hall, School, or such other public use and purpose, as should be thought needful; and to enclose a court, or yard, to the same, from the adjoining waste land, not exceeding 8 yards in breadth, from the side or end walls of the building. Thus originated the present Town-Hall of Burslem. The exterior has, however, undergone subsequent improvements, by a coating of Roman Cement, a slated roof, (supplanting the old tiled one,) with a balustered parapet, an elegant cupola, and a new clock with four dials, one of them illuminated; and the building now presents a handsome appearance to the eye of the passing stranger, as the plate introduced hereafter indicates.* The upper story is partitioned, and the east end used for the Police-Office. The other portion is a large and handsome room, in which public business is transacted, and the Magistrates hold their sittings. The arched basement is partly used as lock-up rooms for delinquents.
THE MARKET Commenced about the time of erecting the Hall, and grew by little and little; some country butchers, and others, occasionally bringing a carcass or two of meat, and a few bags of meal and potatoes for sale. Its increase, within the following 30 years, was considerable; and tressels and boards were provided by the Trustees of the Hall, for the use of the butchers and other chapmen, for which they paid a weekly sum as rent or toll; the income being expended in keeping the Town-Hall and Market-Place in repair. The original Trustees having followed one
* Page 257.