Pottery pieces found in the moat site of Vesey's Manor

Identification and dating

By Terry Lynch and Robert Skeen

The two fragments of old pottery had lain in a box for several years.  They had originally been dug out of the moat in our garden.  Both looked “interesting”.

Our moat, which is one of several in the village, had been dated some years ago as probably 13th century.  It appears to have been a garden fashion! 

Robert Skeen kindly arranged to have the pieces dated for us and the results were interesting, as both pieces were dated to the 11th century and therefore pre-date the moat in which they were found.  Please see below for further details.

Terry Lynch, May 2011

1 – Part of rim with thumb impression – 7 x 6cm

Photo:The piece of Thetford ware

The piece of Thetford ware

Photograph by Robert Skeen

This is a piece of Thetford ware and is part of the rim of a substantial storage jar. 

Thetford ware is so-called because the kilns for the manufacture of this Late Saxon wheelmade pottery were first uncovered in Thetford.  However, it is likely that the pottery developed in Ipswich where kilns have been excavated and was first made by Ipswich potters in the late 9th century.  This is a medium sandy greyware, although fine and course fabrics are known.

The main forms are plain jars with everted rims, but other forms include spouted bowls and pitchers, large strapped storage jars and lamps.  Decoration typically includes bands of diamond rouletting (produced using a tool similar to a pastry cutter), applied thumbed strips (as is the case in this example) and occasionally incised wavy lines.

This piece is probably from the 11th century.


2 – Rim with small spout – 5 x 4cm

Photo:The piece of Stamford ware

The piece of Stamford ware

Photograph by Robert Skeen

There are speckles of glaze around this piece which suggest that it is probably Stamford ware.  It is redder than usual but is probably oxidised.  Probably 11th century.

The following example is from the Ashmolean Museum website and shows how the spout was probably fixed to the pot.

Photo:A piece of Stamford ware, showing how the spout was probably fixed to the pot

A piece of Stamford ware, showing how the spout was probably fixed to the pot

Ashmolean Museum

  • Common name Stamford ware
  • Class Spouted pitcher
  • Height 170mm
  • Identifier PW52
  • Production centre at Stamford in south Lincolnshire
  • Distribution throughout central and north England
  • Use for decanting wine or ale
  • Date 10th-12th century AD
  • Published in Hobson 1903, B.200, 52 - 6 
  • Historic context a property at the eastern end of the High Street, Oxford
  • Presented to the British Museum in 1887 by A W Franks

It is interesting to note that the above piece was originally presented to the British Museum by A  W Franks, the man who also presented the Meldreth Hoard to The British Museum.

Both moat site pieces are from the same period and are late Saxon ware.

Robert Skeen

This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 23/05/2011.