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Josiah Spode I: Death and Legacy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SpodeWith his factory secure, his sons in their own businesses, and new Spode products claiming a significant share of the market, Josiah Spode should have had many happy years to reflect on his accomplishments. But in 1797, at the height of his success, he was suddenly taken ill and died.  He made and signed his will the same day he died-- 18th August 1797. 

Obituaries in the press were unusually free  in their praise for Josiah Spode's character and life. The London Times was one of many newspapers which reported that, He possessed many amiable and endearing virtues, which rendered him an ornament to society and a service to mankind: in domestic  attachments he was tender, generous and affectionate; in friendship, faithful and sincere;   nor was he less distinguished for charity and liberality to the poor.  In short he lived universally respected and died not less generally lamented.

He had lived, worked, and died within the sound of the bells of St. Peters ad Vincula, parish church of Stoke-upon-Trent.  He was buried on the grounds, but it was probably after the church was rebuilt between 1826-30 that a group of five chest tombs were errected for the Spode family. Made of stone with simply carved panels between fluted pilasters,  the tomb's inscriptions commemorate members of  the family who died between 1797 and 1827.   These tombs, along with earlier Saxon remains, make St. Peters ad Vincula an important part of the country's architectural and cultural heritage. The English government recognized its significance by listing it among the top ten percent of important national sites.

With the untimely death of its founder, the fates of the factory and the family business were in the hands of Josiah Spode II.  His father's will asked him to consider moving from his successful retail concern in the bustling, cosmopolitan London to assume the responsibilities of an industrialist in a small English town. In 1797 Josiah Spode II came home.  

spode tombs

spode death

spode I tombstone

Tombstone of Josiah Spode I