The first reference to a brick and tile works at Dryleys is in 1817 but it has been postulated that the works started as early as 1792.
In 1817, a John McGregor took over the lease of the farm at Dryleys and the brick works from a David Scott. It is probable that his son followed his father as tenant. In 1833, a James Gordon is the leaseholder.
The census of 1841 shows David Crowe described as “a farmer and brick and tile manufacturer at Dryleys”. He arrived in Montrose in 1838, having been born at Glenbervie, Kincardinshire with 103 servants and as a farmer of 708 acres and as a brick and tile maker.
A branch line of the Scottish North East Railway Company was constructed in 1848. This enabled the transit of coal and Dorset clay to the works, and subsequently to transport finished goods from the works.
It is likely that the pottery production started shortly after the railway was completed.
Crowe left Dryleys in 1856. His lease came to an end and he moved to Scremington, Berwick, Northumberland, to a much larger farm. A sale notice appeared in the Montrose review of 26th December 1856. The sale took place on 3rd January 1857. As well as agricultural equipment, tile materials, pipe and tile machines and ‘articles belonging to the pottery works’ were listed.
Thomas Tailyour took over the Dryleys enterprise after Crowe. Tailyour was the owner of the estate. He employed a manager to run the business, John McCondach, and he was in post for all of the Tailyour period.
An advertisement appears in the Glasgow Herald on 2nd February 1867 to let the Dryley’s brick, tile and pottery works. Most of the Scraffito bowls which are attributed to Dryley’s date from this period.
It would appear that in this period under Tailyour, the brick and tile works, and perhaps the pottery, was expanded. Seven kilns were in operation and between 60 – 80 people were employed.
The last reference to a potter is one William McCrae, who was in Montrose for the birth of his daughter in 1868 but had returned to Glasgow in 1870 for the birth of his son.
More research is required on the potters recruited to Dryley’s.
David Crowe’s son John had business interests in the Stoke-on-Trent area and David was listed at his son’s residence at Cobridge Hall, Burslem during the 1871 census.
Could this connection have provided workers with the skills required for Dryley’s?
After 1867, it is likely the works returned to being a brick and tile manufacturer only, probably under the name “Myers and Lymen”. Myers was Tailyour’s factor and town clerk of Montrose.
The works were eventually taken over by the Seaton brick and tile company. Their lease expired in 1888.
The works were advertised for sale in November 1888 for £6,300 but there were no takers and it was further offered in 1895 at the sale of the Borrowfield Estate, but again failed to attract a buyer.
It was finally acquired by a builder in the early years of the 20th century.
Initially brick and tile manufacture.
Scraffito slipware bowls, redware, slip ware dishes for the local domestic market.
The Scraffito bowls are attributed to the Tailyour period.
Articles in SPHR
Articles in Bulletin (Members only)
Typical Backstamps & Marks
Crowe, Dryley’s Crowe, Montrose
- None known and it is unlikely any patterns were used in pottery production