Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet

BRICKWORKS (Dated circa 1830 to 1909)




1904 Map
Brickworks located in Bures Hamlet.

Very little is known about the brickworks, as documentary evidence is very sparse.
However, the "Brick Kiln Land" was listed in the tithe maps of 1840.
Evidence is available to show in 1840, that it was occupied by John Moss who describes himself as a Brickmaker and farmer.
As this was listed in a trade directory of the time, we must assume it was working well before that date.
A local historian in the 1930`s wrote "The yard was operating in 1837 and certainly earlier"
This can be substantiated as we have farm labourers cottages built in Water Lane dated at 1830, made of locally sourced bricks.

Map dated circa 1876, indicates that the current allotments were part of the Brickworks.

1845-1861:- Owned by John Garrad and occupied by Robert Garrad.
Robert Garrad advertised as brickmaker and maltster (1848). John Garrad died in 1874 and was still listed as brickmaker.
Brick making was seasonal work (Summer) just like Malting(Autumn/Winter).  
As the Maltings was next to the brickworks and shared the same owner, it was quite likely that the brick makers found employment in the adjacent maltings during the winter/bad weather.

CLICK HERE for detailed information on the Garrad family

Likewise the Bures maltsters finished work about March/April when the barley was finished and switched to other work for the summer months returning in September at harvest time. It is feasible the maltsters may have helped out in the brickworks when their own maltings shut down during the spring.

1848:- John Usher Brown - he was a brick and tile maker at nearby Alphamstone.
He may have lived at Bures (and therefore used a Bures address) but not necessarily made
bricks at Bures?

1856:- Rate Book dated that year, register the occupiers as James Walsh, Edith Manning and James Bray.

1862-1872:- Edward Manning,
Edward Manning advertised as a brickmaker and coal merchant in 1862 and 1870.

1886 -1906:- Robert Allen & sons of Ballingdon - they also owned the Grove Brickworks at Ballingdon.

1892:- Charles Deaves (why the same date as above?)
Reference is also made to Mr Deaves operating the Gas Works

With the Brickworks located in such close proximity to the Railway Station and also to the River Stour this would have helped to facilitate the movement of material to and from the works.
We know from other records (see navigation page) that bricks and coal were carried in vast quantities by river lighters.
In 1866 & 1864, 3,245,450 bricks arrived at Mistley Quay downstream from Sudbury. Nearly all of the bricks were subsequently shipped to London by sea going barges (Brickies)
Although the majority of the bricks carried to Mistley Quay, came from Ballingdon and Bulmer it seems implausible that Bures bricks were not part of that tonnage.

The `Kilns` would have also required large amounts of fuel such as coal, which would have been mined in the North of England.
It arrived by steamer at Mistley and transported to various customers along the River Stour by lighter.
Records indicate in 1860, 22,813 tons of coal was transported upstream from Mistley Quay.
We know it was offloaded at the local wharf for the Gas Works, so it doesn`t seem unreasonable to assume, it was also taken to the brickworks.


A local family "Bitten" lived in the Brickworks.
Samuel Bitten is recorded living there during the 1891 census
Samuel Bitten 56 Brickmaker
Eliza Bitten 58 (wife)
Arthur Uriah Bitten 13 (son)
Arthur`s own diaries record him working at the brickworks from 1897 until 1907. However, he is still recorded living at the Brickworks in 1911 aged 33.

The brickworks finally shut down sometime before the first World War (1918), most probably 1909.

Nothing remains of the Brickworks apart from deep depressions in the landscape at the top of Maltings Close. These workings would have been where the clay was extracted to be used in the brickmaking process.
There is no access to the site as it now Private Property.

Works works
Deep depression in lawn (clay pit) - see distant bank
Looking down into derelict workings

Pug-Mill - now covered in roses.
Steel frame covered a wooden barrel which contained the wet clay. A vertical wooden paddle to stir the mixture was rotated usually by a horse.

Top of Pug-Mill showing hole for wooden shaft


Typical Pug-Mill in operation.
(not at Bures)

Bures Brick Kiln cottages although now modernised
with front extension.

brickfield cottages

Brickfield Cottages circa 1930.
These are located at the bottom of Lamarsh Hill.
The turning to the left is Parsonage Hill, leading to Colne Rd

View across the valley from the Lamarsh Road
The buildings to the right of the image
probably Brickwork Cottages

This is an extract taken from a document by a local historian dated mid 1930`s:-

Continue around the corner passing two derelict cottages of the same date where the foreman of the maltings lived. Left into Maltings Close and the former brickyard also owned by the Garrads and down to the end.
Ahead of you are Brick Kiln cottages (see above right) where the labourers lived. The yard was operating in 1837 and certainly earlier and closed before the First World War.
The moonscape configuration indicates where the brick earth was dug out. Notice where the right-hand cottage has been shortened to allow for the building of the embankment.

Walk to the end of the close toward the left of the cottages. Here built into a garage are the remains of one of the three kilns, which stood on this site Two more have substantial remains behind the garage in the [private] garden. The pug-mill where the clay was mixed by a horse walking around it turning the blades, still stands a few yards inside. [Local children called it the pug-wash.] The soft, red bricks were shaped in wooden moulds and dried under little timber shelters two to three feet high roofed with pantiles. Once air-dried they went into the kilns for three to four days firing, were stacked for cooling and then wheeled on flat wheelbarrows to the railway on a wooden runway eight to nine foot high

brick brick
Manning Brick
Garrad Brick, circa 1850.

"Bulmer, Brick and Tile" works located near Sudbury still produces bricks made from local sourced clay and manufactured by the same method used at Bures. Each brick is individually cast by hand using a wooden mould and fired in a traditional kiln.

Acknowledgement to Peter Minter, Bulmer Brick Works for the technical information..
Colour photographs by Alan Beales
Updated 03/03/2015 wirth late 1800 map