Sunday, 28 April 2013

(32) Adams family of Greenfield Hall and Woore Manor

The Adams family were landowners in Tunstall from the 13th century and established as potters by 1447.  In the late 18th century they were among the principal rivals to Josiah Wedgwood.   Several branches of the family were often active simultaneously, and since they all tended to use the Christian name William, they can be hard to disentangle.  The last family business was sold to the Wedgwood group in 1966.  In addition to large scale pottery works, the family were landowners in the Burslem-Tunstall area of Stoke-on-Trent and elsewhere in the county.  

Map of the Burslem area, 1775, showing the locations of the places mentioned

Thomas Adams of Burslem, master potter, died in 1563.  His great-grandson, John Adams (d. 1641) left Bircheshead Manor to his eldest son Thomas and property at Sneyd Green, Tunstall and Bagnall near Leek to his younger son, William (d. 1677).  
Bagnall Hall, as depicted in a photograph published in 1904.

William’s son William died unmarried in 1710 and he bequeathed Bagnall to his brother Edward, who was succeeded in turn by his son William (1702-75), grandson Richard (1739-1811) and great-grandson William (1772-1829).  William Adams also leased Fenton Hall, but this seems to have been given up after his widow’s death and was demolished in 1847.  

His son William Adams (1798-1865), perhaps the most distinguished potter the family produced, lived at Greenfield Hall, Tunstall (acquired through his marriage to Jane, daughter and heir of Jesse Breeze) and purchased Newfield Hall, Tunstall from Sir Smith Child bt. in 1858.  His son, William Adams (1833-1905) inherited both properties and also acquired Moreton House, Wolstanton (Staffs).  Greenfield Hall passed to his eldest son, William Adams (1868-1952) but was demolished shortly before 1908 for coal mining; William lived thereafter at Oaklands, Barlaston (Staffs).  Moreton House was inherited by a younger son, Percy Walter Lewis Adams (1875-1952), who later acquired Woore Manor (Shropshire).  William’s son, William Anthony Adams (b. 1909) lived at Lea Head Manor, Aston (Salop) and Crawford, Oulton Cross, Stone (Staffs) in 1969.  Percy’s son, Joscelin Francis Whieldon Adams (b. 1919) then lived at Coombe House, Uley (Glos).

Fenton Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

The house stood on the low ground to the south-west of the manor house, and was a five bay, two storey pedimented house, probably of the late 18th century, with an early 19th century veranda, which was tenanted by William Adams (1772-1829) and subsequently his widow.  Adams was no doubt responsible for adding the verandah.  The house was demolished in 1847 to allow the construction of the North Staffordshire Railway.

Basford Hall, Wolstanton, Staffordshire

Basford Hall, Wolstanton, from a photograph published in 1904.
A five by three bay, three-storey pedimented late 18th century house, extended in the early 19th century.  The original house was made deeper and given a single-storey wing on the left hand side, into which a new pedimented entrance was formed.  The house was demolished in the 20th century, although some of the farm buildings associated with it survive.

Descent: Built for William Bent (fl. c.1780)...sold 1839 to Edward Adams (1803-72); who sold to nephew William Twigg (d. 1867); sold to Edward Challinor (d. 1879),  to nephew, Charles Challinor (d. 1893) who occupied the house by 1872 and began the development of the estate for housing.

Greenfield Hall, Tunstall, Staffordshire

A brick house with two original wings joined to a five bay central block by single-storey connecting links, built in 1791 for Theophilus Smith and originally called Smithfield.  Smith also created the nearby settlement of Smithfield and built a pottery there in 1793, but was bankrupted in 1800.  His assignees sold the house in 1801 to John Breeze, who renamed the house Greenfield.  His granddaughter, Jane Breeze married William Adams (1798-1865) in 1827, and they made additions in 1842.  The house descended in the Adams family and was demolished for coal mining shortly before 1908.  The site is now occupied by a housing estate.  In the late 18th century the estate was noted for its trees and lawns and a private swimming bath.

Descent:  Theophilus Smith (fl. 1788-1801); to assignees in bankruptcy who sold 1801 to John Breeze (d. 1821); to son, Jesse Breeze (d. 1826); to daughter, Jane Breeze who married in 1827 William Adams (1798-1865); to son, William Adams (1833-1905), whose unmarried brother, Thomas, and sister, Jane, lived in the house; to son, William Adams (1868-1952), who demolished c.1908.

Newfield Hall, Tunstall, Staffordshire

A large three storey house with a five-bay entrance front and seven-bay side elevation, built between 1764 and 1770 for Capt. (later Admiral) Smith Child (d. 1813).  A pottery works was built on the estate before 1800, but the house remained in private occupation until the mid 19th century, when it was divided into apartments.  In 1858 the estate was sold to William Adams for mining purposes and that family retained the hall until after c.1945.  It was then unoccupied and was demolished c.1948, with the site being reused for an industrial warehouse.  Some of the outbuildings survived in 1963.

Descent:  Thomas Baddeley (d. 1770); gave the estate 1764 to his nephew, Admiral Smith Child (d. 1813); to grandson, Smith Child (fl. 1838), who let to the Admiral’s partner, John Henry Clive until c.1825; sold 1858 to William Adams (1798-1865); to son, William Adams (1833-1905); to son, William Adams (1868-1952), who demolished c.1948.

Moreton House, Wolstanton, Staffordshire

Moreton House, Wolstanton

A five bay three-storey house of 1743, built for Ralph Moreton (d. 1787).  It was acquired in the late 19th century by William Adams (1833-1905) and passed to his younger son, Percy Adams (1875-1952), who sold it on acquiring Woore Manor.  The house had become derelict by the 1970s but has since been restored.

Woore Manor, Shropshire

Woore Manor, 2012

A five bay two storey house of around 1800, probably built for George Watkin Kenrick as a replacement for a house which had been in the Kenrick family since c.1600.  Older work may survive in the large rear extension, which is mainly late 19th and 20th century.  The house was for sale in 2013.

Descent: George Watkin Kenrick (1770-1839); to son, George Kenrick (1810-81), who sold... Percy Adams (1875-1952), who sold to Douglas Moore Kenrick (1912-98).

The Adams family of Greenfield Hall and Woore Manor

Adams, Edward (1660-1727) of Bagnall.  Second son of William Adams (d. 1677) of Sneyd Green and Bagnall (Staffs); baptised 29 August 1660.  He married 5 May 1687 Elizabeth (d. 1733), daughter of John Meare of Handley Green (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) William Adams (1702-75) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Adams (b. 1709), baptised 5 February 1709; m. Martha, daughter of Joseph Adams of Burslem and had issue one son (William Adams (1746-1805), potter, who seems to have been apprenticed to Josiah Wedgwood);
(3) Elizabeth Adams, m. Joseph Hulme of Bagnall Grange.
He inherited his family's estate at Bagnall from his elder brother c.1710-12.
He died 12 February 1727.

Adams, William (1702-75), of Bagnall.  Elder son of Edward Adams (1660-1727) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Meare of Handley Green; baptised 5 November 1702.  He appears to have had an interest in The Hadderidge pottery at Burslem.  He married 1st, Dorothy (c.1710-35), elder daughter of Francis Meare of Norton Green Hall, and 2nd, 15 July 1735, Sarah (d. 1787), widow of Samuel Braddock of Hayward Park, Cheddleton (Staffs) and daughter of William Whieldon of Kingsley (Staffs), and had issue:
(1.1) Elizabeth Adams (1730-1806), m.1, Joseph Warburton (d. 1769) of Rushton Grange (Staffs) and m.2, 1773, Joseph Smith of Sene Park, Burton-on-Trent (Staffs), but died without issue;
(1.2) Dorothy Adams (1732-44), died young;
(2.1) William Adams (1736-1802) of Bagnall, who died unmarried and without issue;
(2.2) Edward Adams (b. 1738), who died unmarried and without issue;
(2.3) Richard Adams (1739-1811) (q.v.);
(2.4) Thomas Adams (b. 1741), died in infancy;
(2.5) Ralph Adams (1742-1800), m. 1770 Martha Bell;
(2.6) Sara Adams (1744-69), died unmarried?;
(2.7) Mary Adams (b. 1746), m. 28 February 1774, Thomas Gee of Caverswall (Staffs).
He inherited his family's estate at Bagnall from his father in 1727.
He died 20 December 1775.

Adams, Richard (1739-1811) of Bagnall and Cobridge Gate. Third son of William Adams (1702-75) of Bagnall, born 17 August 1739.  About 1759 he borrowed money from his father and established himself as a potter at Cobridge in Burslem, making unmarked salt glaze and white stoneware; about 1780 he expanded the works and transferred to the production of painted and enamelled creamware; he retired in 1793.  He married Elizabeth (d. 1834), daughter of John Jackson of Greenwood Hall and Whitfield (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) William Adams (1772-1829) (q.v.);
(2) Richard Adams, died in infancy.
He inherited his family's estate at Bagnall from his elder brother in 1802.
He died 19 April 1811.

Adams, William (1772-1829), of Bagnall and Fenton Hall.  Only surviving son of Richard Adams (1739-1811) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Jackson of Greenwood Hall and Whitfield; born 20 July 1772.  He was a pupil of Lewis Heath of The Hadderidge pottery, Burslem, in which he acquired his grandfather's interest.  He sold this in 1804 and took the Cliff Bank works in Stoke-on-Trent, and gradually expanded the business, so that by 1818 there were five potteries, producing Queensware and transfer-decorated earthenware.  He married 18 January 1793 Sarah, elder daughter and eventual heiress of Lewis Heath of The Hadderidge, Burslem, and had issue:
(1) William Adams (1798-1865) (q.v.);
(2) Edward Adams (1803-72) (q.v.);
(3) Lewis Adams (1805-50), of The Watlands, Wolstanton; first chief bailiff of Stoke-on-Trent, 1839-40; died unmarried and without issue;
(4) Thomas Adams (1807-63), of Liverpool; died unmarried and without issue;
(5) Anne Adams, m. Joseph Trigg of Bank Hall, Burslem and had issue;
(6) Sarah Adams (d. 1831), m. James Guest of Medlock Grange (Lancs) and Bowdon (Cheshire) and had issue one daughter;
(7) Lettice Adams (d. 1827), died unmarried and without issue;
(8) Elizabeth Adams (d. 1862), died unmarried and without issue;
(9) Frances Adams (d. 1879), m.1, John Massey Morris and m.2 John Walton of Bowdon (Cheshire) but died without issue;
(10) Susanna Adams, died unmarried and without issue.
He inherited his family's estate at Bagnall from his father in 1811, but lived at Fenton Hall, which he rented, and which his widow occupied after his death until it was demolished in 1847.
He died 2 September 1829.

Adams, William (1798-1865), of Greenfield Hall, Tunstall and Liverpool.  Eldest son of William Adams (1772-1829) and his wife Sarah, daughter of Lewis Heath of Burslem; born 9 November 1798.  He worked as a potter in the Stoke-on-Trent area, taking over the management of his father's concerns with his brothers, and in 1834 building the Greenfield pottery in Tunstall. He developed his company's American market, and visited America in 1821 and 1825, after which the firm produced transfer-printed china with scenes taken from American engravings.  In 1853 he dissolved the partnership and sold all the works except the Greenfield site, which he continued to operate himself. He married 9 May 1827 Jane (d. 1864), elder daughter and co-heiress of Jesse Breeze (d. 1827), potter, of Greenfield, and had issue:
(1) Lt-Col. William Adams (1833-1905) (q.v.);
(2) Thomas Adams (1836-1905), born 19 October 1836; died unmarried and without issue, 23 February 1905;
(3) Sarah Adams, m. Harry Ward Astbury of Stand Lodge, Radcliffe (Lancs);
(4) Jane Adams (d. 1889), died unmarried and without issue;
(5) Lettice Adams, m. Charles Challinor (d. 1893) of Basford Hall, Wolstanton (Staffs) and had issue;
(6) Mary Adams, m. William Simms Bull of Tyn-y-Coed, Llanaber (Merioneths.) and had issue;
(7) Ann Adams, died in infancy.
He acquired Greenfield Hall, Tunstall, through his marriage in 1827, and made additions to it in 1842.  He subsequently bought Newfield Hall from Sir Smith Child, bt. in 1858.
He died at Rhyl, 23 October 1865.  Will proved in the Principal Probate Registry, 18 December 1865 (estate under £20,000).

Adams, Lt-Col. William (1833-1905), of Greenfield Hall, Newfield Hall and Moreton House, Wolstanton.  Elder son of William Adams (1798-1865) and his wife Jane, daughter of Jesse Breeze of Greenfield; born 13 June 1833.  Educated at Rugby School.  Worked as a potter, in the family business; he closed the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent and transferred the company to the works at Tunstall; JP for Staffordshire; Lt-Col. of 1st battalion, Staffordshire Rifle Volunteers.  He married 20 May 1864 Laura Eliza (d. 1914), elder daughter of Andrew Jukes Worthington of Ball Haye Hall, Leek (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) William Adams (1868-1952) (q.v.);
(2) Hugh Worthington Adams (b. 1870) of Highfield, Barlaston, HM Coroner for North-West Staffordshire, born 12 February 1870; m. 24 July 1900 Clarice Sophia (d. 1959), daughter of Charles Bennett Roche of Daventry, Flecknoe and Silverstone (Northants) and had issue two daughters;
(3) Frank Pemberton Adams (1872-1919) of Leek (Staffs), died unmarried;
(4) Percy Walter Lewis Adams (1875-1952) (q.v.);
(5) Laura Mildred Adams (d. 1912), died unmarried 3 June 1912;
(6) Cecily Janet Adams (d. 1946) of The Little Croft, Wolstanton, died unmarried, 28 June 1946.
He inherited Greenfield Hall and Newfield Hall from his father in 1865, and purchased Moreton House, Wolstanton in the late 19th century.
He died 5 March 1905.  Will proved at London, 29 April 1905 (estate £15,782).

Adams, William (1868-1952), of Greenfield Hall and Oulton Grange (Staffs).  Eldest son of Lt-Col. William Adams (1833-1905) and his wife Laura Eliza, daughter of Andrew Jukes Worthington of Balle Haye Hall (Staffs), born 12 August 1868.  Operated the family pottery business in partnership with his brother Percy.  He married 16 November 1904 Mildred Mary (d. 1966), daughter of Rev. James Jordan Serjeantson of Hanlith Hall (Yorks), rector of Lichfield St. Michael (Staffs), and had issue:
(1) William Anthony Adams (b. 1909), m. 10 July 1936 Margaret Elizabeth, daughter of William Edward Carter of Eccleshall Castle and had issue two sons;
(2) Richard Patrick Adams (1911-46), died unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Greenfield Hall from his father in 1905, but demolished it c.1808 for coal mining in the area.
He died 27 December 1952, aged 84. Will proved at London, 15 April 1953 (estate £99,159).

Adams, Percy Walter Lewis (1875-1952) of Moreton House, Wolstanton and later Woore Manor.  Fourth son of Lt-Col. William Adams (1833-1905) and his wife Laura Eliza, daughter of Andrew Jukes Worthington of Balle Haye Hall (Staffs), born 24 January 1875 and baptised 4 April 1875.  Educated at Rugby School.  Operated the family pottery business in partnership with his brother William.  JP for Stoke on Trent.  Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and published the parish registers of Wolstanton.  He married 26 April 1916 Ada Gladys, daughter of Archibald Douglas of Salwarpe (Worcs) and had issue:
(1) Ralph Douglas Gresley Adams (1917-64); died unmarried and without issue;
(2) Maj. Joscelin Francis Whieldon Adams (1919-91), of Coombe House, Uley (Glos), JP, born 22 March 1919, m. 5 June 1952 Pamela Joan, daughter of Lt-Col. Reginald Wilmot Blomefield Peel OBE and had issue two sons and one daughter; died April-June 1991;
(3) Lettice Carol Adams (1920-93), born 7 November 1920, m. 10 July 1947 Frederick Thomas Lawrence McCallum Dawson of The White House, Hadstock (Cambs) and had issue; died August 1993.
He inherited Moreton House, Wolstanton from his father in 1905, who sold it on purchasing Woore Manor.  He sold Woore Manor prior to his death.
He died 6 December 1952, aged 77.  Will proved at London, 20 April 1953 (estate £31,639)

Adams, Edward (1803-72), of Basford Hall.  Second son of William Adams (1772-1829) and his wife Sarah, daughter of Lewis Heath of The Hadderidge, Burslem; born 16 July 1803.  He married Mary (d. 1863), daughter and co-heiress of Jesse Breeze of Greenfield, and had issue:
(1) Capt. Edward Richard Adams (1835-95) of Basford Hall and afterwards of Leek, Capt. in Kings Own Staffordshire Militia; born 22 June 1835; married 19 June 1873 Grace, daughter of Charles B. May and had issue one son; died in Melbourne (Australia), 1895;
(2) Edward William Adams (1838-66); born 15 June 1838; died 10 October 1866;
(3) Frederick Thomas Adams (b. 1840); born 17 January 1840; married 22 January 1870 Hannah, daughter of John Tomkinson, but died without issue;
(4) Elizabeth Adams (b. c.1842); married 13 September 1864 William Holt, elder son of George Wells Holt of Great Yarmouth and had issue;
(5) John Adams (1844-84) of Birmingham, MRCS, born 26 October 1844; married 11 August 1875 Margaret, daughter of William Wordley of Liverpool and had issue one daughter; died 16 May 1884;
(6) Albert Adams (1846-97); born 7 June 1846; died unmarried 12 March 1897;
(7) Sarah Marian Adams (b. c.1847); married 1 November 1870, James Johnson Charlesworth MD of Longnor (Staffs) and had issue;
(8) Charles Lewis Adams (b. 1849); died unmarried.
He acquired Basford Hall before 1839, and was succeeded as owner by his eldest son.
He died 1 January 1872.  Administration of goods granted at Lichfield, 5 December 1872 (effects under £100).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, p. 3 and Supplement, p.2; W. Turner, William Adams: an old English potter, 1904; VCH Staffordshire, vol 8, 1963, pp. 81-104, 205-24; T. Mowl & D. Barre, The historic gardens of England: Staffordshire, 2009, pp. 51-52;, accessed 7 September 2012;, accessed 27 April 2013

Where are their papers?

Adams family of Greenfield Hall and Woore Manor: deeds and papers, 1670-1933 [Stoke-on-Trent City Archives, no ref.]


  1. Percy Walter Lewis Adams (1875-1952) of Morton House, wrote & published:
    "A History of the Adams Family of North Staffordshire & of their Connection with the Development of the Potteries, With Numerous Pedigree Charts & Notes on Allied Families".
    The large book also contains many photographs, copies of paintings, images of the named people, letters & Wills etc. Limited copies of the book were published in 1914 in London by The St Catherine Press, 34 Norfolk Street, Strand, W.C. A copy is held at Leicester University Library.

    1. Yes; the book is also available to Ancestry subscribers at

    2. Hey, this is my family tree! Is there a way I can purchase a copy of this book? I'm looking at it on Ancestry and I don't think I can read it this way.
      Many thanks,
      Tracey Rogers

    3. You can buy a modern reprint here: I can't guarantee the quality.

  2. Hi thanks for creating this. I am a descendant of William Anthony Adams (b. 1909)- he was my grandfather


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.