William Cookworthy (1705-1780), a porcelain manufacturer, the first to exploit the deposits of kaolin in the south-west of England, was also born at Kingsbridge.
WILLIAM COOKWORTHY (1705-1780), English potter, famous for his discovery of the existence of china-clay and chinastone in Cornwall, and as the first manufacturer of a porcelain similar in nature to the Chinese, from English materials, was born at Kingsbridge, Devon, of Quaker parents who were in humble circumstances.
The manufacture of porcelain was at the time attracting great attention in England, and while the factories at Bow, Chelsea, Worcester and Derby were introducing the artificial glassy porcelain, Cookworthy, following the accounts of Pere d'Entrecolles, spent many years in searching for English materials similar to those used by the Chinese.
But Cookworthy deserves to be remembered for his discovery of those abundant supplies of English clay and rocks which form the foundation of English porcelain and fine earthenware (see Ceramics).
Many of the early converts to the New Church were among the most fervent advocates of the abolition of slavery, one was the medical officer of the first batch of convicts sent to Botany Bay; from the house of another, William Cookworthy of Plymouth, Captain Cook sailed on his last voyage.