Kent Archaeological Review extract

Medieval Pottery from Deal.
by N E Tomaszeweski.

The purpose of this article is to place on record a site in Deal, which over the past few months during field surveys, has yielded ever increasing amounts of pottery which can be identified as originating from the Tyler Hill kilns near Canterbury, circa 1300 AD. With this pottery, and contemporary with it, many sherds of Saintonge ware with the characteristic lustrous, mottled green glaze and polychrome types have also come to light.

The Museum of Maritime and Local History at Deal holds a quantity of both types of ware removed from the site over the past two years. Some rather fine bases from these vessels bearing thumb pressed indentations similar to those taken from the Worth well (Reference KAR Number 44 (1976) Page 96/97) are in the museum.

The site (NGR TR 35 368 558) lies to the north of the isolated Chequers Inn (formerly Halfway House, built circa 17th century) at Sandown, Deal and is adjacent to the ancient highway which follows the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club through the Sandhills between Deal and Sandwich.

A site in this position producing medieval ware is interesting as it gives some idea of topographical changes here over the past seven hundred years. The archaeological evidence afforded goes some way to suggesting that the Shingle Bank along the foreshore, upon which the town of Lower Deal was built during the 16th/18th centuries, was sufficiently consolidated by the 13th century permitting the slow drying out process of the marshland to the north of Deal. Certainly a track between Deal and Sandwich was in existence through the marshland around this time and the theory has been advanced that hereabouts may have stood an embryo boat station with connections closer to Sandwich rather than Deal which during the 13th/14th century consisted merely of a cluster of cottages nestling around the Parish Church of St Leonard at Upper Deal, some three miles distant.

The writer has in his possession a fine Edward I, long cross silver penny found on the Chequers Inn site by Mr Andrew Oxford a member of the Deal and Walmer Local History and Research Group, which with the continuing finds of Tyler Hill and Saintonge ware goes some way to supporting the suggestion that a settlement existed here between 1250 to 1300 AD.

The Tyler Hill kilns and the ware they produce has been adequately described by Mr Brian Philp in KAR Number 36 (1974) page 175, and Mr Gerald Cramp, KAR Number 19 (1970) page 26, but an explanatory note should be given on the distribution of the pottery of the Saintonge.

Saintonge Pottery.

Production of this ware was centred around Saintes, a town situated 47 miles north of Bordeaux where several important kiln sites have been identified in the vicinity of the chapel at La Chapelle-des-Pots, the bulk of the sites being grouped around the valley of the river Charente. During the 13th century the export trade with Britain began to flourish and the great bulk of the exported material can be dated to the late 13th century and early 14th century. The most important town for the importation of Saintonge wale to Britain appears to have been at Stonar (near Sandwich), once a flourishing port. Saintonge ware may be classified as a standard green-glazed ware; and a poly-chrome ware. The latter representing the finest achievement of the Saintonge potters. Research carried out upon castle sites occupied during the reign of Edward I allows a rigid dating for the importation of polychrome ware into this country, i.e. to the period circa 1280-1310.

The Deal and Walmer Local History and Research Group have applied to the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club to conduct excavations on the Chequers Inn site and the club Secretary, Col. R.T.D. Hicks has kindly permitted this. The project will begin shortly and reports will be submitted to the Review as the work progresses.

Other references.

G C Dunning, Medieval Pottery and Stone Mortars Imported to Aardenburg from England and France (1965) Pane 203. Reprinted from Berichten van de Rijksdienst your het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek Jaargang 15-16, 1965/66.
K G Barton, Archaeological Journal CXX. The Medieval Pottery of the Saintonge pages 201-14.
Close Window
Accessed this page via search engine or bookmark? Full K A R Index here.