Site of Medieval Pottery Kilns at Chilvers Coton

Description of this historic site

The site of numerous Medieval pottery and tile kilns which were situated at Chilvers Coton.

Notes about this historic site

1 In 1967 the demolition of an old cottage in Heath End Road led to the discovery of a large quantity of sherds and waste material from a Medieval pottery kiln. Further scatters of pottery were found in Cornish Crescent and a number of sites were excavated by Phil Mayes for MPBW in 1967. Further excavations at Harefield Lane were undertaken between 1967 and 1971 by K Scott. The Heath End area of Chilvers Coton was probably the Potters Coton mentioned in documents of 1394. The name persisted until at least 1799. A total of 42 pottery kilns were excavated on 19 sites. An attempt has been made to develop a chronological sequence for the kilns and a trend from 2-flued to 5-flued kilns is evident. The kilns produced pottery from 13th to 15th century and also some roof tiles and decorated floor tiles.
2 This outline is the extent of the industry identified through excavation, as opposed to the potential full extent of the industry (see WA 7370).
3 Archival material about excavation costs.
4 Correspondence from 1968.
5 Brief details of the two kilns.
6 Further references to Keith Scott’s excavations within a wider discussion of Medieval pottery. This includes details of kiln construction: “P.97 At Nuneaton, in fact, kilns were built into existing waste heaps and the dumps themselves dislodged many times during the life span of the site.” and of particular methods of stacking pottery: p.99 “Sophisticated methods of separating or supporting the pots are known. One example was used in the kilns at Nuneaton. Here small crudely shaped pots about the size and shape of a modern plant pot had a diagonal slice cut from their bases. Their function was demonstrated by a collapsed jug which has one of these pots fused to it, showing that the pots were placed in threes to support the lowest layer of jugs in the kiln stack. They were inverted with the cut on their bases placed against the shoulder of the inverted jug.”
7 Plan.
8 Excavations in 1969. Five kilns have now been excavated; some pottery was still in situ.

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