My 2nd Great Grandmother's birth certificate arrived today.

She was born in 1858 and according to the entry the place of birth was:

Brick Kiln, Motcombe

Brick Kiln

The registration district was Shaftesbury in the county of Dorset.

I have tried to research Brick Kiln and located this website. It states:

All that part of the Parish of Motcombe called Tout Hill, Enmore Green, Cuttables, Brick Kiln, Calves Lane, Butter-Print, Coles Lane, SherBorne Causeway, Turnpike, Locks Lane, and Duncliff Farm.

But this doesn't tell me much about this actual area. Subsequent searches take me to a cottage:



I did come across this interesting article which includes audio narrative and in part it states:

David Preston has researched Enmore Green’s brick industry and he was keen to show me some of the historic records related to the brick kilns, which once operated around the village. “The one at Hawker’s Hill is well known and there’s a fair amount about that because it went on for much longer. Nobody knows much about the Long Cross one, and the brick kiln on Buttermilk Lane though,” said David, adding, “Brickworks are essentially a bit ephemeral. They are usually on farmland so if the brickworks closed down, the farmer cleared it away. There’s not much left.”

These brickworks were situated at the bottom of the hill, below Shaftesbury, because that’s where the clay lies. David reckons that there were possibly a dozen brickworks in operation. “It wasn't a huge enterprise and it was a bit seasonal because brickmaking was weather dependent. You needed to be able to dry the bricks so there wouldn't be much going on in the winter.” The industry started here in the Georgian period. “It was in the middle of the 18th century. They did it for about 100 years,” David explained.

Brickmaking would not have been a major source of employment in Enmore Green. “You do find in early records that people were described as brickmakers but not very many of them. Most of the people would have been agricultural workers and there were a lot of cheesemakers or cheese dealers, for some reason.”

The road on which St John’s Church is situated is now referred to as Church Hill. But its name used to refer to the brickmaking industry. “It was known as Brick Hill,” said David. “It seems to have changed around 1910 because that’s when some people give their address as Church Hill and others give their address as Brick Hill in the school admissions. Presumably it was because it was more relevant to call it ‘Church’ rather than ‘Brick’ Hill.”

You can spot the local bricks, if you know what you’re looking for. “There is a distinctive type of Shaftesbury brick. It’s red with blue ends and you can see some of them on Bell Street.” The thatched cottage on that town centre street features this architectural detail. “Those would have been bricks from Long Cross,” explained David. “The blue was something to do with the way that they fired them. It sometimes depends on the type of sand or clay that you are using to make the brick in the first place.”

Since Enmore Green is heavily associated with Motcombe, it would seem to me then that "Brick Kiln" was just a specific kiln there in the village. That said, the audio refers to a map of the kilns but I do not know where to find that.

There is also a specific reference to a Brick Kiln here:

Dorset Record

This could be related to this issue?

1 Answer 1


The brickworks and kiln were located just south of Motcombe Park, as shown on this 1890 OS map:

enter image description here

See the National Library of Scotland website to view this and other historic maps.

  • This is most interesting. Thank you. I have checked the same area on Google Maps and can see some buildings around there. Don't know of any are still standing from the original time period. So does this mean that most likely the family were living at that house on the road edge (adjacent to Wincanton 10) or can't we be sure? Sep 3, 2019 at 15:05
  • 1
    Just a word of caution here. I looked at the 1851 census for Motcombe (district 1c on Ancestry) and there is "Brick Yard", with the Mundy family, and "Brick Kiln" with the Foot and Harris families. They're a few pages apart so might be spaced out somewhat on the map. So the kiln on this map may be the same one where the birth was registered, or it could be a bit further up the road. It must be close, in any case.
    – AndyW
    Sep 3, 2019 at 15:17
  • @AndyW What about on the complete map linked to in the answer? Does it show on there? Sep 3, 2019 at 16:51
  • @AndyW Maybe that area is for both. The houses look like a little terrace. Don’t know. Sep 3, 2019 at 16:59
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    @AndrewTruckle Possibly. But the household numbers are 68 (Brick Yard) and 91 (Brick Kiln), and there aren't many dwellings on the map to fill that number of entries. Fern Farm lies in between them. If (big if) that's Fernbrook Farm on the map, then it's a fair way along from the Brick Works, which could mean the Kiln is further still. I think you need to work out the census taker's route if you want to figure out exactly where the Kiln might be (or have been).
    – AndyW
    Sep 5, 2019 at 7:59

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