The Cyples Family
The Early Potters
The area of England known to day as Stoke-on-Trent, has been a hive of industry for hundreds of years. It became a flourishing centre for the manufacture of porcelain and then fine bone china, from the early eighteenth century. As a result of this the area has taken on the name "The Potteries".
The abundance of local raw material, in the first place, led to the establishment of the pot-works or "potbanks" as they were referred to locally.
Longton, became the centre for the production of fine china (which later relied on imports of kaolin from Cornwall). Initially the finds of red clays from the Etruria Marls and later the lighter coloured clays from the Peacock Marls, excited the local potters into business.
Another factor being an excellent supply of good quality coal, for the firing process, was also at hand locally. Added to these already known assets, was the skill of the resident work-force and the availability of cheap land on which the new factories could be built. It is of little wonder that Longton became a centre of excellence for pottery products.
This map (c.1800) represents an area of less than one square mile. The number of bottle ovens (as shown in pink) demonstrates the density of pottery production in the Longton area at the time.
"Cyples Lane" is highlighted in green.
Unfortunately the name of Cyples, has not stayed in the place that it once held. Joseph Cyples and the Cyples family were involved in the production of pottery from the mid 18th Century.
The family's involvement lasted some decades before bankruptcy caused the final loss of the works.
Several generations of the family were involved with the founding and running of the Cyples Pottery.
It is believed that the first established potbank in Longton was founded by a member of the Cyples family. The factory that was situated between Cyples Lane and Smithy Lane was contemporary with Wedgwood.
The family produced a type of ware that was known as "Egyptian Black". Examples of this type of ware can be seen in the Ceramic section of Hanley Museum.
The first named potter of the Cyples family was Joseph. During this early period an impressed mark was put on the base of the ware but there was no individual letter to denote who had been the actual producer. It has become difficult to establish the exact date of many pieces since they carry the same mark---"Cyples Old Pottery 1793". The "date", in these cases, is not referring to the actual date of manufacture, but rather to the origin of the ware.
The Cyples factory also produced what is known as Embosa ware. This type of pottery, as the name suggests, does not have the usual smooth surface, but instead has the design picked out in relief. Some of the designs have depicted pastoral scenes while others have had a foreign influence, the latter being of Oriental or Dutch origin.
The names of the contemporaries of the Cyples family such as Wedgwood and Wild have lived on and earned greatness but alas this was not to be for the name of Cyples.
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