Midland Purple Ware wasters and saggars and cistern found at the rear of the Post Office. (1)
An extensive dump of pottery was found at Church Lane when a new house was built in the 1970s; much of this is now in Derby Museum. As yet no potter has been identified for this site. (2)
During the construction of a new house in 2006 a waster tip was excavated in the garden by J Spavold and S Brown, with the assistance of members of Derbyshire Archaeological Society. This produced a considerable amount of material including Midland Purple Ware. The full extent of the site is not known but it probably extends beyond the wall at the east end of the garden into the neighbouring field. However, a cow that died of anthrax is said to have been buried on the other side of this wall. The majority of the material from the waste tip was from saggars, plus some good, large, undecorated water pitchers. However, the key finds were finely potted, well decorated Cistercian wares, many being large sherds allowing the reconstruction of several complete or almost-complete pots. This type of pottery was originally thought to have been made on monastic sites, but it is clear that Ticknall was a major supplier. The Church Lane Cistercian wares have different patterns and shapes from those of other Ticknall sites, indicating that individual potters worked to their own designs. The pots have dark bodies with appliqué patterns made from whiter clays, glazed with lead. This site made two-handled tygs or mugs, where other sites produced three-handled tygs. Decorative motifs are flowers and leaves, raspberry prunts, impressed dots of clay, and various cartwheel stamps. There is a face on one, similar to the German Bellarmine masks, and it may be the earliest English mask decoration found. The potter made at least one set of counters for draughts. (3)
The large deposit of saggars and wasters described above had been used to backfill a probable kiln chamber. The structure had been disturbed by the digging of pits, and little of the kiln fabric remained. Around 4000 vessels were recovered, although over half are unstratified. Once structural remains were uncovered, the excavation strategy was altered accordingly and pottery was recovered by context; this material was the focus for post excavation analysis. Due to the large amounts of pottery present at the site, a selective retrieval policy was put in place to recover a representative range of fabrics and forms. The stratified assemblage includes Midlands Purple ware jars, bunghole vessels, jugs, bowls and cups, although saggars are the most common form. A small amount of Cistercian ware was also recovered. Evidence from other Midlands Purple and Cistercian ware production sites indicate the two were often manufactured together and fired in the same kilns, with Midlands Purple forms evidently used as saggars during firing to protect the more delicate Cistercian ware drinking vessels. Examples of kiln props and spacers were also present. Chemical analysis was carried out on material from the Church Lane site and from the nearby site of Peats Close, which showed that the wares from the two sites could be distinguished chemically. Although dating evidence was lacking, evidence of Church Lane products in other stratified assemblages elsewhere suggests that the production of pottery at Church Lane may date to between the late 15th and mid 16th century. (4)
Index: Derby City Museum. Derby City Museum Sites and Monuments Record Index.
Bibliographic reference: Spavold, J & Brown, S. 2005. Ticknall Pots and Potters. Site 2; pp 39 & 41.
Personal Observation: Stroud, G. Personal observation, map evidence, field visit etc.. Site visit, 7/7/06; information from J Spavold & S Brown.
Article in serial: Boyle, A & Rowlandson, I. 2009. 'A kiln at Church Lane, Ticknall, South Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 129, pp 195-196.
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