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Brickmaking in Buckinghamshire

Brickmaking was once a major industry in Buckinghamshire. In the 19th century there were literally hundreds of brickworks, mostly small. Today only a handful are left.

"Brick and tile-making became a specialist industry in the south Chilterns around Nettlebed using the local clays and fuelling the kilns with beechwood. Inb 1365 Nettlebed produced 35,000 tiles for Wallingford Castle, and the earliest use of the term ‘brick’ is in 1416-17, when Thomas Stonor paid Michael Warwick £40 for making 200,000 ‘brykes’ and a further £15 for carriage from the kiln site at Crocker End to Stonor."
(Leslie Hepple and Alison Doggett, The Chilterns (Chichester 1994) pages 108-9).

A ‘Gazeteer of Buckinghamshire Brickyards’, compiled by Andrew Pike, appears in Buckinghamshire Papers 13: Buckinghamshire's Industrial Heritage, published by the society and available by mail order (see publications).

Two local history websites offer accounts of the brickmaking process:

H G Mathews themselves have been hand-making bricks at Bellingdon since 1923 and are suppliers to many historic houses in Buckinghamshire and beyond. Their website itself offers much information about traditional brickmaking and includes two videos which illustrate the processes involved: