Post-Medieval Pottery Kiln, Polesworth

Description of this historic site

The site of a pottery kiln, used for the firing of pottery ware, dating to the Post Medieval period. It was situated north of Potters Lane, Polesworth.

Notes about this historic site

1 Large quantities of pottery waste, kiln bricks etc. found by members of Polesworth Historical Society.
2 It is unlikely that a reference made in 1938 to a kiln, was the kiln responsible for recent finds. In 1977 a search by the Archeological and Historical Socierty uncovered a small number of kiln bobs along Potters Lane. Then in 1986 more pottery, in the form of pottery wasters and kiln furniture, was found in foundation trenches at the eastern end of Potters Lane. The recovered pottery was a good indication of the range of products of the Polesworth industry, which included slip decorated vessels, lead glazed jugs, pancheons and jars, unglazed types including horitcultural wares and finer yellow and black wares. Bricks with a vitreous coating were also found. In 1996 a third marked vessel was discovered. The yellow ware puzzel jug had the inscription “Polesworth Pottery”, the style of the lettering was the same as a dated jug in the Fitzwilliam Museum. As of yet the site of the kiln has not been located . However layers of ash and coal fragments found in the fill of an old clay pit in 1986 provide a clue to the design of the kiln. The use of coal to fire the kiln indicates that it would have been a circular, multi-flue type in keeping with the tradition that streches from Yorkshire down through the Midlands. Polesworth kiln was likely to have had a brick structure – similar to those found in Staffordshire . It seems likely that the clay pit had originally been dug for potting clay. If this is the case then the clay used in Polesworth fabrics would have been the pale yellow/grey Coal Measures clay.
3 An archaeological evaluation to the north of 8 Potters Lane did not reveal any evidence for kilns or the pottery industry. The geological natural was sand and gravel rather than clay.
4 Further handwritten notes on the pottery, corroborating 2.

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