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Monument record MDR4703 - Pottery kilns (site of), Burley Hill, Duffield, Derby

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site
  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

In January 1862 workmen draining a field discovered an amount of pottery and reported the find to Lord Scarsdale, the owner of the land at that time. He in turn showed the material to Llewellyn Jewitt who considered it to be Norman. They visited the findspot together and carried out 'a few hours' digging'. The field is situated on the top of Burley Hill in Duffield, and was described by Jewitt as containing 'two circular barrow-like mounds, at opposite ends of the field, raised some two feet about the surface'. On examining the mounds, Jewitt found them to be 'composed almost entirely of broken vessels, ashes and burnt stone - the remains of the potter's kilns'. He recovered a large number of wasters, particularly of small jugs, porringers, dishes and 'curiously ornamented pitchers'. He published his discovery in March 1862, with the intention of carrying out further excavations once the weather improved. (1) In his report, Jewitt said that he intended to carry out further investigations of the site but no other report appeared. As he did not indicate the exact area of the find, the location of the site had become lost by the 20th century. A pitcher had been discovered in the garden at no 25 Burley Hill in the 1930s but had remained under a hedge until 1957. In that year the site was rediscovered as ploughing during and after World War II brought pottery to the surface, the site having previously been under grass. There are four distinct kiln sites in a forty-acre field enclosed on the north side by Burley Lane and on the east by Duffield Road. One near Burley Lane was chosen for excavation in the 1950s. The low mound, about 20 ft across, produced badly crushed pottery mostly of 13th and 14th century date and kiln debris, including parts of the kiln walls, but no part of the structure remained in situ. Further excavations are contemplated. (2) Waste heaps located at SK 34904126, SK 3496 4128 & SK 3501 4125. (3) There are no surface indications of the kilns. Complete pots from the 1862 excavations are held by Kedleston Hall and Stoke-on-Trent Museum. None of the 1957 finds were retained and no further work is anticipated. (4) An unglazed jug of 13th century date, with applied decoration, was found in the garden of 25 Burley Hill in 1964. Now in Derby Museum, Acc. No. 641-64. (5) Magnetometer surveys were carried out on the site of the medieval pottery kilns at Burley Hill. The site has been known since the last century, and areas of waste material can be seen after ploughing. Just under two acres were surveyed in two days. The survey showed surprisingly little magnetic variation over the field and only three major anomalies were located, one high reverse and two normal. Whilst it is difficult to interpret the reverse anomaly, the two normal anomalies almost certainly represent a pottery kiln and a probable filled-in clay pit or puddling hole. (6) Potsherds, mainly Burley Hill type jug handles, have been collected from rabbit holes and other disturbed ground in the area around SK 349 413. (9)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Article in serial: Jewitt, L. 1862. 'Notice of the discovery of a Norman pottery, nr Derby', Reliquary. Volume 2, pp 216-218.
  • <2> Article in serial: Hughes, R. 1957. 'A medieval pottery kiln site at Burley Hill, Duffield', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 77, pp 57-60.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Corr 6" (S.O. Kay, undated).
  • <4> Personal Observation: F1 FDC 06-DEC-66.
  • <5> Article in serial: 1964. East Midland Archaeological Bulletin, No. 7. p 5.
  • <6> Article in serial: 1965. East Midland Archaeological Bulletin, No. 8. p 5.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Trent Valley Arch Res Com Gaz C1980 9.
  • <8> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 7.2.
  • <9> Digital data: Derby Museum Curators. Derby City Museum Database. pp 60, 88, 99, 114.



Grid reference Centred SK 348 411 (727m by 419m) Centre
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

  • EDR1879
  • EDR400
  • EDR836
  • EDR3825

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Record last edited

Oct 4 2023 4:19PM

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