Ancient Monuments

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Pottery kiln south of Whitney Bottom

A Scheduled Monument in Donyatt, Somerset

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Latitude: 50.9182 / 50°55'5"N

Longitude: -2.964 / 2°57'50"W

OS Eastings: 332332.254354

OS Northings: 113636.264926

OS Grid: ST323136

Mapcode National: GBR M7.QDWT

Mapcode Global: FRA 46PP.140

Entry Name: Pottery kiln S of Whitney Bottom

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1978

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002961

English Heritage Legacy ID: SO 500

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Donyatt

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Donyatt

Church of England Diocese: Bath and Wells


Post medieval pottery kilns 270m north east of Pottery Farm forming part of the Donyatt Potteries.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 September 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes post medieval pottery kilns forming part of the Donyatt Potteries situated on a gentle north facing slope of Whitney Hill beside a small stream. Following a magnetic field survey in 1971 the kilns were excavated during 1972. Three kilns were revealed, an earlier one situated beneath two later kilns, along with two semi-detached brick and stone built cottages and an 80m deep well. The earliest and most complete kiln had two fire mouths orientated east to west, had double flue up-draughts, baffles just inside the fire mouths and still contained its last load of pots. These vessels included bucket pots, jugs and jars together with waste deposits containing kiln furniture, tile and pottery. The waste was levelled following the abandonment of the kiln dated to approximately 1600 – 1650. The second kiln had a south facing mouth and a large stoke pit and contained a large post hole. The third had a north facing mouth and had been largely removed. Archaeomagnetic dating for the last firing confirmed a date of 1750. An important assemblage of 16th century pottery including barrel costrels and jugs with thumbed bases was recovered in a drain connected with the cottages. Significant pottery finds associated with a much earlier 14th century kiln were also recovered but the kiln itself was not identified. An area of burnt clay was possibly the remains of a 19th century kiln which had been re-used in around 1920 to burn rubbish. Pottery had been made at the Donyatt Potteries since medieval times. Significant quantities of pottery of varying date have been found throughout the immediate vicinity. The potteries were basically family affairs producing utilitarian wares and highly decorated pottery and many potters were predominantly involved with agriculture.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Potteries were industrial sites where ceramic wares were formed and fired. Some potteries were small scale enterprises worked by a single potter, while others were much larger concerns. They usually survive in the form of below ground archaeological remains situated in rural areas close to sources of clay, water and wood, although the earliest, pre-12th century medieval potteries were often located within towns. Kilns for firing the clay vessels are usually the most prominent and easily recognised surviving components. Investigations have revealed that medieval kilns developed from the simple clamp, or bonfire type, in use during the early part of the period and leaving few recognisable traces, to more substantial structures with clay- lined walls, partly excavated into the bedrock or subsoil. These kilns had a firing chamber, a sunken circular or oval pit up to around 3m in diameter, into which the unfired clay wares were placed. Leading from the firing chamber were one or more flues with stoke pits containing the fires for firing the pottery and drawing air through the kiln. The larger, later kilns could have as many as six flues. Kiln roofs are believed to have been temporary structures, dismantled after each firing, and traces of these rarely survive. Some kilns had surrounding walls or windbreaks, and a few had sheltering roofed structures. Situated close to the kilns were pottery waster heaps, workshops, drying sheds, storage buildings, yards and hard-standing, clay pits and drains. The whole pottery complex was sometimes enclosed by a boundary ditch or fence. There was some regional diversity in kiln form and construction. During the medieval period, pottery vessels were a low status, everyday item. Although each pottery produced plain, decorated and/or glazed wares for local or regional markets, the most commonly manufactured items such as cooking pots, jugs and bowls, were similar in form throughout the country. Potteries are distributed over most of England, in areas where suitable potting clay was available. The post medieval pottery kilns 270m north east of Pottery Farm forming part of the Donyatt Potteries are important because they provide information regarding the assemblage and fabric of pottery produced by this important industry which is traceable in the assemblage to many archaeological sites and indicates trade patterns and economic significance of such wares.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-1300286

Source: Historic England

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