Tittensor Pots and Potters


Works of the Tittensor Potters

To date I have identified only two named and dated Tittensor pieces; a plaque made by Jacob Tittensor dated 1789 (mentioned below), and a biscuit porcelain portrait bust of Edward Price signed “Tittensor Fecit July 1840” which was sold at Sotheby's in January 1865 [4].
Haggar [1] writes “A number of figures with tree backgrounds impressed at the back with the name TITTENSOR have been listed. They appear to be transitional between the earlier glaze-coloured pieces of the eighteenth century and the fully enamelled ornaments of John Walton, and a distinctive feature is the use of translucent green on the bases”. Haggar categorizes the surviving Tittensor figures into two types, “(1) with rather stiff naïve figures in costumes of about 1820, with branching tree backgrounds, and (2) figure groups consisting of urns or tablets supported by cherubs, which appear to be derived from earlier works by Neale and his contemporaries. The bases of the former are usually simple in form and scored diagonally from left to right. The modelling of the flowers and leaves which form the bocages is very perfunctory, the flowers themselves always appearing crushed. The colouring, however, is distinctive, comprising a range of cool pigments which is very attractive - strong blue, green, yellow, and orange-yellow. These figures are usually attributed to Charles Tittensor in Shelton about 1815-25.”
Anthony Oliver in his “Staffordshire Pottery. The Tribal Art of England.” noted that in 1981 only 11 marked Tittensor pieces had been recorded. In the course of my research I have identified further marked works, taking the total to 33 (so far). For further details read the pdf document below:-

  • The works of the Tittensor potters

    I would be very grateful for any further information or observations on these pots, on any other marked Tittensor pots, or pots attributed to the Tittensor family.

  • Geoffrey Godden in his “Encyclopaedia of British Porcelain Manufacturers” [4] also suggests that a second mark, an impressed or incised capital “T”, may also have been used by members of the Tittensor family. As well other figures, this and other classes of pot to those attributed to the Tittensor family, including cow creamers, plates, dishes, bowls, and teapots.

    The Tittensor Family of Potters

    There are many tantalizing snippets of information about Tittensor potters; however, it is very difficult to draw any definite conclusions about how they are related. A summary of the different potters, based on that published in Reginald Haggar [1, Chapter VIII], is presented below. This has been corrected and expanded in the light of new information found as part of my research. I would be grateful to receive any comments or additional information.

    William Tittensor earthenware potter

    Haggar says “The first potter of the name of Tittensor to be recorded as such was William Tittensor, who in the marriage registers of Stoke was described as an earth potter.”
    William Tittensor was the son of John and Abigail Tittensor of Stoke. He was baptized at Stoke St Peter on 7th March 1741. He was married at the same church on 11th February 1763 to Hannah Simpson, and their first child, Thomas Simpson Tittensor, was christened there on 15 May 1763. Little more is known concerning him except that in 1783 he attended the first annual venison feast of the “mock” corporation of Hanley. William Tittensor of Hanley appears in a list of potters dated 1790 in Wedgwood’s commonplace books. In 1802 he signed his name as a witness to the dissolution of partnership between Robert Pope and John Brown, potters, of Hanley. He lived, and presumably worked, in the Hanley Hills area of Hanley [2]. He died in 1803 and was buried in Stoke churchyard on 18 May. Judging by an advertisement which appeared in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 1 December 1804, his affairs were not cleared up until sometime later. His will names his six children; Charles is described as a potter in the will, and sons William (below) and Ishmael are referred to as potters in other documents.

    William Tittensor junior

    William Tittensor junior, son of William Tittensor earthenware potter, was born c1764 and was buried at Stoke St Peter on 3rd October 1808. The London Gazette for 9th August 1794 includes notice of the dissolution of the partnerships between William Tittensor junior and Thomas Fletcher, manufacturers of porcelain and earthenware, Shelton. There are also bills addressed to Tittensor and Fletcher for “ware and printing” in 1794 in the Wedgwood archives. Thomas Fletcher is well known for his transfer printed wares. I therefore conclude that William was also associated with this type of pottery, and possibly other types. Note that Haggar attributes the transfer printed wares to Charles Tittensor but, in light of the newspaper notice, it seems more likely that they should be attributed to William Tittensor junior.

    Jacob Tittensor

    Jacob Tittensor is known to us as a working potter only through the inscription on the back of a plaque modelled in relief with a figure of a toper hugging a large jug. The inscription reads: “Jacob Tittensor made this October 2, in the year of our Lord 1789”. It is modelled in the style of Voyez, and may have been made in his studio or workshop.
    Jacob Tittensor is an evasive character, and very little contemporary evidence confirming his activities has been discovered. He was born c1757. He married Joyce Tittensor on 15 April 1781 at Newcastle St Giles. Baptisms records exist for three of their children; 1780 Ellen at Stoke St Peter, and 1791 Roland and 1801 William at Creswell St Mary. They had at least one other child; Jacob born c1796. Joyce was buried at Stoke St Peter on 23 May 1801. Jacob was married again, to Elizabeth Penny at Whitmore on 28 August 1803. He was buried at Stoke St Peter on 04 November 1821, and the parish register gives his age as 64 and his residence as Penkhull.

    Charles Tittensor I

    The words that follow are reproduced from Haggar [1]. Further work is required to confirm whether all these events are associated with the same Charles Tittensor, and to which branch of the family he is from.
    Charles as a more important member of this potting family, and one of whom we have fairly continuous record over a considerable number of years, was Charles Tittensor [1]. He was christened at Stoke on 15 January 1764, and was the son of William and Joice Tittensor of Lane-Delph. When he commenced to make pottery is not known, for he is not recorded in Tunnicliffe's Survey of 1787 or in the directories published by Tregortha and Allbut in 1800 and 1802 respectively. In 1800, however, he was concerned with John Mollart, engraver and modeller, who worked for Wedgwoods of Etruria from 1800 until 1811, as well as for other potters, in the utterance of erroneous statements concerning Thomas Baggeley, who was employed at the factory of Samuel Hollins in Shelton. This was ultimately traced to a conversation between Tittensor and Mollart at the house or factory of John Yates on 16 March, in consequence of which a caution or apology was published in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 29 March, which contained the following withdrawal or denial, “We hereby declare, that we do not know that he ever did defraud Mr. Hollins at any time, and we are sorry such reports are circulated to the detriment of his character.”
    On 4 February 1802 Charles Tittensor entered into partnership with Robert Pope at a small pot-works in Hanley, but this did not last long. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 1 July 1803, the business being carried on by Charles and John Tittensor. John Tittensor may not have been a practical potter, for later on he was concerned with the New Hall China Manufactory as traveller and subsequently as manager. John Tittensor probably parted company with Charles about 1807 when the firm became Tittensor and Simpson, and under this style it continued until 1813. Later Charles Tittensor potted on his own account and in 1818 and again in 1823 he was recorded in trade directories as living or working in Queen Street, Shelton.

    Charles Tittensor II

    Another Charles Tittensor, who must not be confused with the figure-maker, travelled for New Hall Porcelain Manufactory, and died on a journey for the firm at Lancaster in July 1815 (Staffordshire Advertiser 22 July 1815).

    John Tittensor

    His early associations with Charles the figure-maker have already been noted. When the other Charles Tittensor died he seems to have succeeded him as New Hall's traveller. He remained in the service of New Hall until its closure in 1835, as accountant and in the closing years of the history of this company he acted as manager. Haggar suggests that chimney ornaments were included among the stock of the New Hall concern when it closed down and he may have been responsible for their manufacture. Following the closure of New Hall he moved to Bucknall and then to Congleton. He was buried at Longton St James on 16 Feb 1860 age 77 (so born c1783).


  • [1] Reginald Haggar, Staffordshire Chimney Ornaments”, Phoenix House, London 1955.
  • [2] Peter Roden, "Copyhold Potworks and Housing in the Staffordshire Potteries, 1700-1832", Wood Broughton Publications 2008.
  • [3] Anthony Oliver, “Staffordshire Pottery: The Tribal Art of England”, Heinemann 1981.
  • [4] Geoffrey Godden in his “Encyclopaedia of British Porcelain Manufacturers”, Barrie & Jenkins, 1988.
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