St Albans


The Brickmakers of St Albans

William Veyse

fl 1437-1462




Vesey, William (Veysy, Wesey, Weysey), fl. 1437-1462, Brickmaker.

Brickmaker and Kings Serjeant who was appointed on 10 Oct 1437 to search for earth suitable for making tegulae called "brike" and to make such tiles for the work of the King's manors at Shene and elsewhere. On 29 January 1441 Richard Lownde and Vesey were granted the office of searches of beer-brewing, for good services to the King, and this was confirmed on 5 April 1443. Meanwhile, on 4 July 1442 Vesey had been ordered to impress masons and bricklayers for the works of Eton College. In this year he appears as an elector in Middlesex, and on 12 January he was granted wages of 6d a day and a fee of 10 yearly, in addition to his joint patent with Lownde as searcher of beer-brewing, and with a fresh appointment for life to seek brick earth and make bricks and tiles. In February 1448 Vesey founded a chantry in St Stephen's, Coleman Street, London, was MP for Lyme in 1449 and for Wareham in 1449-50; and was Bailiff of the Water of the Thames in 1453 and 1454. He continues to be mentioned until 1462, when the survey of beer-brewers was granted to others.

It is possible, as suggested by Dr W. Douglas Simpson, that Vesey may have been concerned with the design of brick buildings at Eton, and with the similar courtyard plan of Herstmonceux Castle (1441 )

John Harvey, English Medieval Architects, 1954

In 1437 William Veyse, brikemaker to the king, was appointed to search for earth suitable for making brike. In 1440 breke from le Frithe, St Albans [probably the part of Bernards Heath earlier known as Frithewode], was used for making fireplaces and ovens in the royal palace at Kings Langley. In the same year William Veyse supplied bricks from the same source for making the creste of a stone wall at the Tower of London.

L. F. Salzman, Buildings in England down to 1540, A Documentary History, Oxford, 1952

Foil in Talk: William Veyse: 15th Century Brickmaker

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