Edward Heylyn

Edward Heylyn

Edward Heylyn (1695- April 10 1765) was a merchant and entrepreneur who was one of the founders of the Bow porcelain factory.

The Heylyn family originally came from North Wales. Heylyn was the third son of John Heylyn, a saddler of London who is said to have made a fortune supplying saddles for the Duke of Marlborough’s army, and his wife Susanna Sherman. His brother Dr John Heylyn, known as The Mystic Doctor, was a powerful preacher and prebend of Westminster Abbey. Edward was born in Westminster and took an entrepreneurial role in various businesses in London and Bristol, being a member of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers in London and described as a clothier in Bristol. His fortunes fluctuated, rendering him repeatedly bankrupt and avoiding creditors. By 1741 he is said to have become a glass-maker with a glass-house in Bromley, Middlesex. He was one of the nominees on a patent for Bow porcelain manufactory there in December 1744 in partnership with Thomas Frye. Edward could have met Frye through his uncle Thomas Sherman, master of the Saddlers Company, who had obtained commissions for Frye. He may have become involved as a result of his experiments with glass making. A clay known as Unaker was used to begin with at Bow; this is known to have been shipped from North Carolina, where another brother Henry Heylyn had interests

Although his name did not appear on subsequent patents he remained involved with the Bow works as his name appears in the insurance papers. He also had a business at Cornhill and a porcelain warehouse at St. James's. It is not clear if he was an agent for Bow or in competition, but these businesses appear to have failed in 1757, and he died on the Isle of Man, a haven for people escaping creditors

There exists today a Heylyn Square and Wrexham Road nearby in London E3.

The Diary of John Heylyn the Younger is conserved at the Bristol Record Office.


* Adam Elizabeth and David Rodstone "Bow Porcelain" – Faber Faber London
* Frank Hurlbutt "Bow Porcelain" (1926) G Bell & Sons Ltd
* Geoffrey Wills "The Bow China Factory and Edward Heylyn", "Connoisseur" 132 (1954), pp. 100-102.

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