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Nineteenth-century clay pipes from Ewell, Surrey

1987/2 p3


Nineteenth-century clay pipes from Ewell, Surrey


A great many clay pipes were collected from the bed of the pond, opposite Bourne Hall, in the grounds of Glyn House, by Bill Owen in 1982. During the summer dry weather had caused the pond to dry up and the pipes were picked up and dug out of the bed; only bowls being collected. Some were taken away by others but the majority have been deposited in Bourne Hall Museum. It was clear that many more remain in the pond.


The pipes recovered represent the products of many different makers and seem to date solely to the 19th century and possibly early 20th century. Only one bowl was found that dated to the 17th century (T15), and a couple of spurred type 26 may be very late 18th century. It is interesting that the range of types seems to start in the early 19th century, perhaps about 1820 – there are no clear 18th century forms. It may be that the pond was cleared out and relined at this time, or even that the pond reached its present size at this date from a much smaller earlier pool. The pond is in fact the site of one of the springs forming the head of the Hogsmill River, and in the past would have flowed across the road to the Bourne Hall spring. It is not certain when this section was culverted under the High Street.


Some 107 bowls were recovered, of which 43 bear makers’ marks and 8 are bowl fragments that cannot be identified with certainty. Twelve pipes were complete (ten 4 or 4½-inch ‘cutties’ – a JH 345mm and a plain bowl type of 340mm). A further pipe (a T28 IC masonic design) was 400mm long to a shaved off end.


The highest proportion (11 pipes) are from the Hensher family of Croydon and London (Jane and Henry Hensher), one stem being marked ‘H HENSHER / STEPNEY’. The next highest group (10 pipes) are from the Corney’s (J & R) also of Croydon, one bowl bearing a back stamp ‘CORNEY / CROYDON’. Vining of Kingston is represented and some of the unmarked small ‘cutties’ are probably his products by comparison with examples in Kingston Museum. As to be expected there are examples (4 pipes) of the unknown WT maker, including a masonic and a fox-and-grapes design. Over 140 marked WT pipes are known from Ewell alone (though not before a fox-and-grapes) and it has been suggested that this maker may have worked in the Ewell area. There is, however, as yet no known documentary reference to a pipemaker in Ewell with WT initials. Three finely moulded type 26 bowls are of very similar shape to the WT masonic types and may also be a WT product. Pipes with masonic symbols are quite common in Ewell and this group includes those with marks IF, WT and IC (or G). the IC/G example survived with a stem at least 400mm long.


Other pipes come from London makers – George Balme of Mile End and Williams of Kent Street, EC1. A number of late 19th century highly decorated fancy pipes are unmarked, but are also probably of London manufacture.


Although covering only the 19th century, the group is useful as it indicates the range of makers supplying this area, at that time, and compares well with the range of 19th century types found on the King William IV site. A full list is now with the pipes in Bourne Hall Museum.


Stephen Nelson

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