Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Twyford, Josiah

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TWYFORD, JOSIAH (1640–1729), potter, was born in 1640 at Shelton, near Stoke-on-Trent. About 1690 he was employed by John Philip Elers [q. v.], in his pottery works. Elers had settled at Bradwell Wood, near Burslem, shortly before, and had established a pottery there. His processes were carefully kept secret, persons of small intelligence being selected by him as assistants. His precautions, however, were unavailing, for his secrets were discovered independently by John Astbury [q. v.], who feigned idiocy, and by Twyford, who deceived Elers by showing entire indifference to every operation in which he assisted.

After mastering Elers's processes, Twyford commenced a manufactory of his own near Shelton Old Hall, the seat of the family of Elijah Fenton [q. v.], on the site of the present parish church of Shelton. He made red and white stone wares, and was one of the first to employ Bideford pipeclay in his work. An old porringer, inscribed ‘Mr. Thomas ffenton,’ which was presented to Thomas Fenton (a relative of Elijah Fenton) by Twyford, is still in the possession of Thomas Fenton of Stoke Lodge.

Twyford died in 1729, and was buried in the churchyard of the parish church of Stoke-upon-Trent. The Bath Street pottery in the neighbourhood is carried on by his descendant, Mr. Thomas William Twyford.

[Shaw's Staffordshire Potteries, 1829, pp. 119, 125; Jewitt's Life of Josiah Wedgwood, 1865, pp. 42, 95; Jewitt's Ceramic Art in Great Britain, 1883, pp. 487, 501, 505, 506; Chaffers's Marks and Monograms on Pottery and Porcelain, 1897, p. 693; Lloyd's Elijah Fenton, his Poetry and Friends, 1894, p. 109.]

E. I. C.