The Brickmakers of St Albans
A Talk given to the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society at St Albans on 7th January 2003

John Ball
Brickmaker - died 1515

John Ball, brickmaker, died in 1515, and left 10 shillings a year for a perpetual obite to be kept for his soul, and that of his wife, Elizabeth, and his parents, John and Chrystyan.

A brass rubbing in St Peter's Church, St Albans, showing the daughters of Roger Pemberton. High Sherriff of Hertfordshire, who died in 1627.

The brass plate is palimpset and on the back is an earlier memorial to John Ball.


The inscription was only discovered in 1886. There is no evidence that he lived or worked in St Albans and he may be the John Ball, "brykmaker" of "Mary Matfelon, Stepney" who is recorded as entering into 12 recognisances of 40 with six others on 27 October 1507.

Talk: The inscription is of particular interest as it is probably the oldest memorial inscription anywhere in England to a brickmaker. However there is no evidence that John Ball had any connection with St Albans.

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Supplementary Information

Calendar of Close Rolls, 1500-1509, p307 - from Dr Ronald Firmin
Herts Advertiser, 10th April, 1886
Picture from Hertfordshire Brasses by Mary Rensten

If you can add to the information given above tell me.