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Page history last edited by Peter Tipton 14 years, 3 months ago

Who was William Geale, King's Cupmaker?

Contributed by Peter Tipton and written for St Peter's Millennium Exhibition, 2000


William Geale was buried in Yateley in 1638. We have his will, but there is no mention of his occupation. Unlike Sir Richard Ryves and John Ball, who both left cash sums totalling hundreds of pounds to each of their children, William Geale left a sum of £40 to his daughter Joan to be provided out of the sale of a freeholding, and a further £10 immediately. He left cash sums ranging from £5 to £2.50 to his other children.


The Geale family had lived in Yateley for several generations, and had previously held the copyhold Hilfield estate as tenants of the Dean & Chapter of Winchester. This is the same estate where John and Sarah Ball lived later. The Geales also owned substantial freehold land in Sandhurst. William's brother Lawrence lived in Alton and established the almshouses there. The Geale family was comfortably off, but not in the big league.


Was William Geale a famous silversmith, by royal appointment, who made the Crystal Cup for Yateley church? It is very unlikely.


Recent archaeological excavations and analysis by the Museum of London indicates that pottery from the Hampshire/Surrey border provided a very high proportion of domestic pottery in London from about 1500 to 1700. Large finds of Borderware pottery, locally made in the second quarter of the 17th century, exactly when William Geale was active, have been excavated in London in the last couple of decades.


It now seems much more likely that William Geale could have had the equivalent of a 17th century royal warrant to supply pottery to the royal household, than to have been a royal silversmith.


Back to The Crystal Cup Myths  

Link to Borderware Home Page

Link to Heathland History Biographical Dictionary 

Note added by Peter Tipton, March 2010

William Geale's daughter Joan married Edward Burroughs on 27 April 1641. The couple continued to live in Yateley since they baptised 5 children between 1642 and 1669. They may have then moved from Yateley since neither appear in the St Peter's burial registers.

There were two young ladies named Joan Geale in Yateley who married within two years of William Geale's death. The first to marry (on 1 Oct 1640) was identified as "Joane Geal daughter of Richard Geal."  Her story is worth investigation since she married "Roger Milcton."  John Milkton was a potter who died in 1638 in Farnborough. We have not yet obtained his will and written his biography.


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