Pottery Gallery - Medieval glazed wares

Hedingham Ware jug rim

Hedingham Ware

Site: Various, Bury St. Edmunds.
Period: Medieval (mid 12th-13th centuries AD).
Excavator: Suffolk C.C. Archaeological Service.
Published: internal reports.

Brief description: The Hedingham Ware production centre was based in Sible Hedingham, Essex. This ware is relatively common in other parts of East Anglia and is often found in Bury St. Edmunds, occasionally in Norwich. The fabric is fine, often soft, orange to buff and micaceous. The kilns also produced grey and brown medium and fine sandy coarsewares which occur relatively frequently in south Suffolk and Essex.

The glazed wares consisted largely of jugs glazed with uncoloured ('orange') or green lead glaze. Applied decoration, such as the shield in the picture, is a common feature of most glazed wares of this period. See Grimston Ware (below) for more examples.

Further reading

Cotter, J., 2000, Post-Roman Pottery from Excavations in Colchester 1971-85, Colchester Archaeological Report 7.

Walker, H., forthcoming (2011), Hedingham Ware, East Anglian Archaeology.

Hedingham Ware pottery database

Grimston face jug

Grimston Ware

Site: Dragon Hall, Norwich.
Period: Medieval (late 12th-14th centuries AD).
Excavator: Norfolk Archaeological Unit.
Published: forthcoming.

Brief description: Grimston ware is a dark blue-grey, medium sandy fabric, occasionally oxidised on one or both surfaces, with occasional coarse ferrous inclusions. Most of the products which travelled some distance from the source, in north-west Norfolk, were green-glazed, but unglazed wares were also produced for local consumption.

Grimston is best-known for its face jugs, a popular form in medieval Britain. These jugs were decorated with applied pellets and strips on the body, and applied bearded faces and arms on the neck and rim. Most are dated to the 13th and 14th centuries.

Further reading

Leah, M., 1994, The Late Saxon and Medieval Pottery Industry of Grimston, Norfolk: excavations 1962-92, East Anglian Archaeology 64. Field Archaeology Division, Norfolk Museums Service.

Grimston jug body
Hollesley ware

Hollesley-type Ware

Site: Hollesley.
Period: Medieval (Late 13th-14th centuries AD?).
Excavator: Suffolk C.C. Archaeological Service.
Published: forthcoming.

Brief description: Excavation of a pottery production site at Hollesley produced large quantities of glazed and unglazed wares. TL dating of the kilns indicated a late 13th to 14th century date for the firing, although it is likely that the production period was longer. The main products were jugs, bowls and jars. Jugs were decorated with painted white slip lines and green glaze, and applied pellets, pads and other motifs were also used. The type is similar to Ipswich glazed ware (below), which was being produced at the same time, and forms one of the most northerly examples of the southern East Anglian redware tradition.

Further reading

West, S., forthcoming, Excavations at Hollesley(?), East Anglian Archaeology.

Ipswich glazed ware

Ipswich Glazed Ware

Site: Ipswich.
Period: Medieval (13th-14th centuries AD).
Excavator: Suffolk C.C. Archaeological Service.
Published: unpublished.

Brief description: Samples of this pottery type were collected from two kiln sites in Ipswich. It is a redware in the southern East Anglian tradition, with many sherds exhibiting signs of decoration with white slip. It is very similar in appearance to Hollesley-type ware (above), although microscopically the fabrics are different. Jugs appear to have been the most common product of these kilns, although some baggy jars with upright rims, and bowls with simple squared rims were also made. The distribution of this ware is uncertain at present, although recent excavations in nearby parishes have failed to produce any examples. It may have served Ipswich but not the surrounding villages.

Further reading

Nothing published.

Ipswich glazed