“The style of the bowl form is typical of the Shropshire / South Cheshire area and probably dates from c.1670-90.  I do not know who the RG maker is, but I am pretty sure that he worked in or near Nantwich.  I have recorded some 1,500 stamped clay pipes of C17th date from the Nantwich area and just over 20% of these are marked RG!  So far as I know, no-one has done any systematic work in the Nantwich archives to look for pipemakers and only one is currently known from the town (Thomas Newans, 1705) but the archaeological evidence suggests that there was a thriving local industry and I would expect there to have been makers in the town from at least the mid-C17th to the mid Cl8th.

There was also a thriving industry in the Wem/ Burlton/ Loppington area of North Shropshire, where I have documented at least 10 pipemakers during the late C17th to early Cl8th.  One of these was called Henry Galland (Wem, 1686) and, since pipemaking was often a family business, it is possible that he had a relation ‘RG’ - although this is a bit of a long shot.  Wem area pipes are found around Nantwich, but not in huge numbers and my money would still be on RG being a Nantwich maker.  I presume that the Chester RO would hold Nantwich archives if anyone fancied having a go at looking for him.

As to the occurrence of a pipe from there in North Wales, I don’t think this is too surprising.  There was pipemaking at Buckley at this time, but not, so far as I know, at any centres more local to your site.  As a result, the pipes that turn up are usually imported from the border counties or places like Chester, with its shipping trade (c.f. my recent SCPR note on pipes from Snowdonia)”.

David Higgins, B.A, Ph.D, H.I.F.A
e-mail: david@3clarendon.freeserve.co.uk