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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
There is no access to the site as it now
in lawn (clay pit) - see distant bank
Looking down into
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
(not at Bures)
Bures Brick Kiln
cottages although now modernised
with front extension.
Cottages circa 1930.
These are located at the bottom of Lamarsh Hill.
The turning to the lefis the road to Wakes Colne.
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
Garrad Brick, circa
"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