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Further Comments on the Pottery from Romsey Abbey, Hampshire

Ben Jervis Archaeological Report 11

By Ben Jervis MA PIFA

INTRODUCTION

This report provides some additional comments on the pottery excavated at Romsey Abbey, Hampshire and is designed as a supplement to the pottery report in the site archive by Dr. Andrew Russel. The report has 2 principle aims, firstly to discuss the pottery in terms of the site phases outlined in the Romsey Abbey monograph and secondly to better define the wares present, following the further analysis of pottery from elsewhere in Romsey as well as the study of pottery from elsewhere in Hampshire. Pottery from later excavations, in 1996, as well as at Abbey Meads and the Vicarage are also discussed here. The types mentioned here are defined in Jervis, B. Forthcoming “Medieval Pottery from Romsey: An Overview” and fabric descriptions have been lodged with Hampshire Museum Service.

DISCUSSION BY PHASE

Phase 2: Earliest Soil Horizon Five sherds of Roman pottery were recovered during the excavations in 1988. These will not be discussed further.

Phase 3: Earliest Features Cutting or Sealing the Phase 2 Soil (table 1) Only 2 sherds were recovered, from the 1988 excavations. These consist of a single small sherd of prehistoric pottery, which is residual, and a single sherd of Wessex Coarseware. Wessex Coarse dates from the 11 th -14 th centuries and therefore this sherd is likely to be intrusive.

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware

Count

Weight

Prehistoric

 

1

1

Wessex

 

Coarseware

 

1

12

Total

 

2

13

Table 1: Pottery from Phase 3

No pottery was recovered from phase 4.

Phase 5: Timber Structures and Clay Floor and Phase 6: Graves Aligned NW-SE Two small sherds of prehistoric pottery were recovered from this phase. They are both residual. A single residual sherd of prehistoric pottery was recovered from phase 6.

Phase 7 and 8: Late Saxon Graves on an East-West Alignment (table 2) These two phases are discussed together as there seems to be a degree of uncertainty as to which phase some of the graves belong. A total of 98 sherds were recovered from features of this date but many would appear to be intrusive. The earliest sherds are 9 fragments of Roman pottery, which are

residual. The bulk of sherds are of Late Saxon or Saxo-Norman date. The Late Saxon wares consist of 5 sherds of Flint Tempered Ware. A further sherd of Coarse Flint and Chalk Tempered Ware are also likely to be contemporary. Eight sherds of Flint and Sand Tempered Ware and 21 sherds of Wessex Coarseware are also present. These may be contemporary with the very latest part of this phase, the 11 th -12 th centuries, but do persist into the 13 th and 14 th centuries so are potentially intrusive. There are 11 sherds of Fine Sandy Ware. These may be contemporary, as there is a Late Saxon tradition of wheelthrown sandy wares (to which the products of the Michelmersh kilns belong), however sandy wares of this type are ubiquitous throughout the sequence. Their number does suggest that they are contemporary with the filling of these graves however. All of this contemporary material is fragmentary and all sherds are likely to have been redeposited during the filling of graves.

There is a great deal of intrusive pottery present in these deposits, demonstrative of later disturbance. There are 8 sherds of Laverstock-type Ware and a single sherd of Southampton-type Sandy Ware, both types date to the 13 th -14 th centuries. There are 10 sherds of fabric MQ4, which dates to the 14 th -15 th century and a single sherd of Late Medieval Sandy Ware. Post Medieval Wares are represented by sherds of Tudor Green and Verwood. There are also sherds of 5 undated fabrics present, given the small number of sherds and the disturbed nature of the deposits it is not possible to date them closely on the basis of their presence here:

ARG1 is an oxidised ware with a fairly fine matrix, the only visible inclusions are large clay pellets. It is possible that sherds of this fabric are actually from ceramic building material.

ARGmq1 is pinkish buff throughout. Inclusions consist of occasional sub-rounded, medium sized quartz grains and common sub-rounded, iron rich clay pellets. It is likely to be of 12 th -14 th century date.

FEQfqfe1 is an oxidised sandy ware. Inclusions consist of abundant fine, iron stained and non-iron stained quartz with occasional black iron ore. The date of this fabric is unknown.

MQargf2 is unevenly fired. Inclusions consist of sparse medium sized quartz inclusions with occasional flint and clay pellets. It may be of Saxo-Norman date.

MQfe2 is white/buff throughout. Inclusions consist of moderately abundant, medium sized quartz with occasional black iron ore. This fabric is likely to date from the 13 th -14 th century on the basis of its occurrence elsewhere in Romsey.

Phase 9: Construction of the Norman Choir and Crossing A single sherd of FQ5, a medieval sandy ware, probably of 12 th -14 th century date was present. This may be contemporary with the deposit.

 

Sherd

Sherd

 

Ware

Count

Weight

ASW

Roman Flint tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware Southampton Sandy Ware

 

9

35

4

5

53

11

1

8

8

7

38

5

1

5

5

21

209

10

11

38

3

8

54

7

1

2

2

ARG1

1

22

22

ARGmq1

1

18

18

FEQfqfe1

3

14

5

MQargf2

2

23

12

MQfe2

3

19

6

MQ4

10

59

6

Late Medieval Sandy Ware Tudor Green Verwood Misc. Medieval Unid

1

1

1

3

4

1

3

20

7

1

3

3

5

26

5

Total

 

98

653

 

Table 2: Pottery from Phases 7 and 8

Phases 10-15: Demolition of the Late Saxon Abbey and Construction of the Norman Abbey (table 3) Pottery from these phases has been amalgamated as the report does not clearly determine which phase every context belongs to. As well as including contexts from the 1970’s and 1980’s excavations, a series of layers from the 1996 excavations can also be assigned to this phase.

Seven small sherds of Roman pottery are residual in this phase. Two large sherds of Flint Tempered Ware, of Late Anglo-Saxon date, as well as some of the Fine Sandy Ware may relate to the demolition of the Late Saxon Abbey. Two sherds of glazed Winchester-type Ware are present. There are 12 sherds of Saxo-Norman Flint and Sand Tempered wares present. As elsewhere in Romsey the most abundant ware is Wessex Coarseware, whilst there are also 148 sherds of Fine Sandy Ware, some of which are likely to date to this period. The bulk of this pottery was recovered from layers (6010) and (6012) from the 1988 excavation. Some of the other medieval wares are also likely to be contemporary with this phase, which covers the 12 th -13 th centuries. The 15 sherds of Laverstock- type Ware, 5 sherds of South Hampshire Redware, 39 sherds of Southampton-type Sandy Ware and 4 sherds of Saintonge Whiteware are all contemporary with this phase. Elsewhere in Romsey the flint tempered fabric FQF1 has also been dated to the 12 th -14 th centuries, whilst fabric MQfe2 is also a 13 th -14 th century type. Fabric FQfeq1 is also likely to be of Saxo-Norman date, being a variant of Wessex Coarseware. Fabric MQfe3, an oxidised sandy ware with a reduced core and common quartz and black iron ore inclusions, may also date to the 13 th -14 th centuries. Fabric MQfe4 is an oxidised sandy ware with abundant quartz grains and common black iron ore. The date of this fabric is unknown, There are intrusive sherds present however, consisting of 37 sherds of MQ4 and a sherd

of MQ3, later medieval sandy wares which date to the 14 th -15 th centuries, 2 sherds of Spanish Coarse Ware olive jar, likely to date to the 15 th -16 th centuries and sherds of several post medieval types. The post medieval types include Verwood, Post Medieval Redware, Tudor Green and Refined Earthenwares. Some of these later wares are present in the structural features as well as the make- up and demolition layers, demonstrating that there was a great deal of disturbance in the post medieval period. Most sherds are contemporary with this phase however and it would seem that a fairly typical range of locally produced coarsewares and glazed sandy wares from slightly further afield were being consumed at the abbey, with a small quantity of imported pottery matching the quantity and types present elsewhere in Romsey.

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware

Count

Weight

Roman Flint tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Winchester-type Ware Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Southampton Sandy Ware Saintonge Whiteware

 

7

51

2

38

8

51

4

38

1

2

1

13

2

28

302

3952

149

1630

15

183

5

77

39

686

4

37

FQF1

2

57

FQfeq1

8

126

MQfe2

2

16

MQfe3

3

18

MQfe4

3

79

MQ3

1

2

MQ4

37

664

Spanish Coarseware Tudor Green Verwood Tin Glazed Ware Post Medieval Redware Pearlware Refined Earthenware English Stoneware Misc. Medieval Unid

2

22

2

4

11

309

1

8

7

49

1

2

1

4

1

1

8

89

1

10

Total

631

8251

Table 3: The Pottery from Phases 10-14

Phase 14: Construction of the Cloisters and Domestic Range Some pottery can definitely be assigned to phase 14 and therefore this is considered separately. The pottery comes from 2 distinct areas, so these will be discussed separately.

The 1974 Excavations (table 4)

A total of 22 sherds can be assigned to this phase from the 1974 excavations. Two sherds of Roman

pottery are residual and it is likely that a single sherd of Flint and Sand Tempered Ware is too. Eight sherds of Wessex Coarseware as well as a sherd of Laverstock-type Ware and sherds of FQfeq1 and MQfe3 are contemporary. It is unclear whether the 7 sherds of Fine Sandy Ware are contemporary

or residual. A single sherd of MQ4 is likely to be intrusive.

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware

Count

Weight

Roman Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware

 

2

30

1

13

8

104

7

63

1

2

FQfeq1

1

49

MQfe3

1

12

MQ4

1

3

Total

22

 

276

Table 4: Phase 4 Pottery from the 1974 Excavations.

The 1988 Excavations (table 5)

Considerably more pottery was recovered from features from the 1988 excavations at the northern side of the abbey. Again the most abundant type is Wessex Coarseware, of which 215 sherds are present. Two small sherds of Flint and Sand Tempered Ware may be residual however 2 larger sherds of Fine Sandy Ware are likely to be contemporary with this phase. Definitely contemporary are 3 sherds of Laverstock-type Ware, 2 sherds of South Hampshire Redware and 4 sherds of Saintonge Whiteware. A similar range of less common wares are present to in the phase 10-15 deposits, including FQfeqf1 (possibly of Saxo-Norman date), Fqarg1 and Mqfe2. There is intrusive material present, in the form of sherds of MQ3, MQ4, Late Medieval Sandy Ware and Post Medieval Redware, indicating some later disturbance to the deposits.

Phase 15: Later 13th Century Rebuilding (table 6)

A total of 195 sherds were recovered from deposits dated to phase 15. Much of this would seem to

be intrusive and may relate to dumping during the dissolution. Several sherds can be dated to the later 13 th century; 5 sherds of Laverstock-type Ware and a sherd of Southampton-type Sandy Ware. There are a number of residual sherds present, including 3 sherds of Roman pottery and Anglo- Saxon/Saxo-Norman Flint and Sand Tempered and Chalk Tempered Wares. Several sherds date to the later 14 th or 15 th century, including 3 small sherds of MQ4, 2 sherds of maiolica, 8 sherds of Tudor Green and 4 sherds of Spanish Coarseware. The remaining sherds date to the 15 th -19 th century, including fragments of Border Ware, Verwood, Post Medieval Redware and industrially produced wares. Some of the 14 th -15 th century types may relate to use during this period, the later wares clearly demonstrate later disturbance.

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware

Count

Weight

Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Saintonge Whiteware

 

1

4

1

4

215

3008

2

36

3

44

2

18

4

24

FEQfqfe1

1

6

FQarg1

1

10

MQfe2

22

364

MQ3

1

8

MQ4

28

694

Late Medieval Sandy Ware Post Medieval Redware Misc. Medieval Unid

1

6

1

20

40

171

1

64

Total

 

324

4481

Table 5: Phase 14 Pottery from the 1988 Excavations

Phase 16: Construction of the Additional Parish Aisle on the North Side Two small sherds were recovered from this phase. A sherd of Fine Sandy Ware is likely to be intrusive, whilst a sherd of MQ4 may be contemporary with this construction activity.

Phase 17: Dissolution(table 7) The dissolution saw a number of demolition layers form across the site. These comprise a mixture of contemporary and residual pottery. The presence of some intrusive material is demonstrative either of later disturbance or some of these deposits dating to several centuries after the dissolution.

When dealing with the residual wares it must be considered that some of this pottery may not have come from the Abbey Precinct, and may have been brought in from elsewhere in Romsey. That said, the wares present are typical of those in the earlier phases, although it must be pointed out that a similar range of wares were consumed within the Abbey as elsewhere in the town. These residual wares consist of Saxo-Norman Flint and Sand Tempered Wares, Wessex Coarseware and the usual range of 13 th -14 th century glazed sandy wares. There are sherds of Saintonge Whiteware present, as in earlier phases. There are 2 new types present however, 2 small sherds of Rouen-type Ware and 2 sherds of Surrey Whiteware. Both of these types are known elsewhere in Romsey and it is conceivable that these were consumed in small quantities at the Abbey.

Only a small proportion of the sherds date to the late medieval and early post medieval periods. There are sherds of Late Medieval Sandy Ware, including MQ3 and MQ4 which are common in Romsey. Surrey wares are present in the form of both Tudor Green and Border Ware. Sherds of Verwood and Post Medieval Redware are likely to be intrusive, as these did not come into currency in large numbers until the 17 th century. The same can be said of sherds of Tin Glazed Ware and Refined Earthenware. Imports are also present. There are 5 sherds of Rhenish Stoneware and a single sherd of Westerwald Stoneware, types known elsewhere in Romsey. More unusual are sherds of Maiolica and Spanish Coarseware, although these are both present in small quantities elsewhere.

Their presence may be suggestive of consumption of these wares and their contents within the Abbey, although they could have been waste brought in from elsewhere. Two small sherds have been identified as Low Countries Redware, however this is not known elsewhere in Romsey and may actually be Post Medieval Redware.

The dissolution saw massive demolition activity, leading to the redeposition of residual material and the dumping of contemporary waste in the Abbey Precinct. Much of this may not have been used within the Abbey itself. The presence of later wares is demonstrative of continued dumping in this area, potentially into the 19 th century.

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware

Count

Weight

Roman Flint and sand tempered ware Flint tempered with coarse sand Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Wessex Coarseware Laverstock-type Ware Southampton Sandy Ware

 

3

17

1

2

1

20

4

11

1

13

2

32

5

94

1

5

MQ4

3

12

Maiolica Spanish Coarseware Rhenish Stoneware Border Ware Tudor Green Verwood Post Medieval Redware Post Medieval Brown Glazed Tin Glazed Ware Pearlware Porcelain Refined Earthenware Creamware English Stoneware Flower Pot Misc. Medieval

2

21

4

200

12

666

13

687

8

69

1

21

13

556

5

75

1

8

11

104

6

24

47

188

39

164

8

61

3

46

1

3

Total

195

3099

Table 6: Pottery from Phase 15 Deposits

Phase 18: Post Dissolution (table 8) As with the phase 17 deposits it must be considered that much of the residual material was brought in from elsewhere in Romsey, whilst later pottery may also represent deposition from elsewhere in the town. Much of the pottery from these deposits has simply been recorded as ‘medieval’ Because of this the deposits will not be discussed in detail, but peculiarities will be pointed out. Several early medieval wares are present in these deposits, including sherds of Shell Tempered Ware (rare in Romsey as a whole), Portchester-type Ware (the only sherd of this ware in Romsey) and Crystalline Tempered Ware. A single sherd of Saintonge Polychrome Ware is present. There are a number of

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware

Count

Weight

Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Winchester-type Ware Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Southampton Sandy Ware Surrey Whiteware Saintonge Whiteware Rouen-type Ware

 

3

24

2

1

1

7

3

98

1

10

52

605

14

119

32

351

3

7

8

133

2

12

4

22

2

4

FEQfqfe1

1

7

FQarg1

13

105

FQfearg1

1

15

FQfeq1

3

42

MQargf1

1

36

MQfe3

3

64

MQfearg1

1

2

FQ5

2

28

MQ3

1

8

MQ4

23

248

Late Medieval Sandy Ware Low Countries Redware Maiolica Spanish Coarseware Rhenish Stoneware Westerwald-type Stoneware Border Ware Tudor Green Post Medieval Sandy Ware Verwood Post Medieval Redware Post Medieval Brown Glazed Tin Glazed Ware Refined Earthenware Flower Pot Misc. Medieval

3

13

2

7

1

2

1

19

5

98

1

19

1

28

36

148

1

8

77

2207

3

116

2

18

1

8

123

7596

5

18

12

109

Total

 

450

12362

Table 7: Pottery from Dissolution Deposits

Ware

Sherd Count

Sherd Weight

Roman Flint tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Shell tempered Ware Portchester-type Ware Crystalline tempered Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Saintonge Whiteware Saintonge Polychrome

2

11

2

17

6

174

5

17

1

8

3

26

1

8

1

16

3

128

39

378

9

90

5

91

4

85

9

103

1

8

CQfe1

1

9

FEQ1

1

14

FEQfqfe1

3

8

FQarg1

2

50

FQfeq1

1

15

MQargf1

1

5

MQfe2

2

112

MQfe4

1

8

MQfearg2

1

8

MQ3

5

121

MQ4

4

38

Low Countries Redware Maiolica Spanish Coarseware Rhenish Stoneware Border Ware Tudor Green Raeren-type Stoneware Frechen-type Stoneware Westerwald Stoneware

1

3

1

2

1

44

4

42

1

10

8

29

1

39

2

18

2

20

Post Medieval Sandy Ware Verwood Post Medieval Redware Post Medieval Brown Glazed Tin Glazed Ware Porcelain Red Stoneware Staffordshire White Salt Glazed Stoneware Refined Earthenware Industrial Slipware Creamware English Stoneware Flower Pot Misc. Medieval Misc. Post Medieval

4

72

162

3478

9

256

3

18

4

32

8

41

1

8

5

8

100

655

1

1

13

90

54

1583

17

115

1021

10659

1

48

Total

1537

18819

Table 8: Pottery from Post-Dissolution Deposits

industrially produced ‘Staffordshire-type’ wares, including Creamware, White Salt Glazed Stoneware and Industrial Slipware present. Their presence is demonstrative of continued dumping in the Abbey Precinct.

POTTERY FROM UNPHASED DEPOSITS (TABLES 9, 10 AND 11)

A further 261 sherds were recovered from unphased deposits within the Abbey Precinct. Most of these sherds are Wessex Coarseware or of post medieval date. Some wares are present in these deposits which are not known from elsewhere within the precinct. These include a sherd of Mid- Saxon Organic Tempered Ware as well as sherds of various minor wares. These include FEQ1, possibly a Dorset Whiteware and FQ2 a form of Fine Sandy Ware. It is not possible to date these wares based on their presence in these deposits.

Pottery has also been recovered from 2 other small evaluations which took place outside of the precinct. These have not been related to the main Abbey phasing and will be considered separately.

At Abbey Meads a series of layers were excavated. Most of the pottery would appear to be of 13 th - 14 th century date, consisting of 41 sherds of Wessex Coarseware, with Laverstock-type Ware, South Hampshire Redware, Southampton Sandy Ware and Local Whiteware all being present. (table 10) There are also sherds of Saintonge Whiteware and Saintonge Polychrome Ware. Therefore the 13 th - 14 th century assemblage is similar, in broad terms, to that from elsewhere in the Abbey Precinct. There is a single sherd of Medieval Chalk Tempered Ware. Definite late 14 th century type are present in the form of MQ3, MQ4 and Late Medieval Sandy Ware. FEQ1 may be a Dorset Whiteware whilst FEQ3 appears to be a late 14 th century ware.

 

Sherd

Sherd

Ware Name

Count

Weight

Prehistoric Roman Mid Saxon Organic Tempered Flint tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Winchester-type Ware Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Southampton Sandy Ware

 

2

65

10

122

1

3

4

64

11

60

8

44

1

7

3

13

1

7

38

376

10

84

1

29

4

70

1

96

FEQ1

1

4

FEQfqfe1

2

7

FQ2

2

13

FQarg1

2

13

FQarg2

1

3

FQarg3

1

12

FQc1

1

6

FQfeq1

1

15

MQargf1

3

80

MQfe2

2

16

MQfe4

1

4

FQ5

2

15

MQ4

6

105

Spanish Coarseware Border Ware Tudor Green Raeren-type Stoneware Westerwald Stoneware Post Medieval Sandy Ware Verwood Post Medieval Redware Post Medieval Brown Glazed Tin Glazed Ware Refined Earthenware Creamware English Stoneware Flower Pot Unid

1

63

3

20

9

19

2

13

2

15

14

67

74

3263

1

5

1

3

3

12

15

94

3

22

9

191

3

111

1

40

Total

261

 

5271

Table 9: Pottery from Unphased Deposits

Ware

SC

SW

Winchester-type Ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware

2

111

3

19

1

4

41

619

11

108

FQfeq1

4

90

Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Southampton Sandy Ware Local Whiteware Saintonge Polychrome Saintonge Whiteware Medieval chalk tempered ware

13

159

3

112

2

23

2

15

1

7

3

50

1

14

FEQ1

2

7

FEQ3

1

6

FQ4

2

88

FQarg1

3

64

MQ3

3

39

MQ4

7

72

Late Medieval Sandy Ware Misc. Medieval

1

4

5

121

Total

111

1732

Table 10: Pottery from Abbey Meads

Excavations at the Vicarage site in 1988 uncovered a stream channel as well as a series of layers overlying it. The 380 sherds are generally earlier in date than those from Abbey Meads (table 11). The most common type is Wessex Coarseware (120 sherds), but there are a number of Anglo-Saxon and Saxo-Norman types present. These include sherds of Flint Tempered Ware, Flint and Sand Tempered Ware, Chalk Tempered Ware, Flint and Chalk Tempered Ware and Crystalline Tempered Ware. Thirteen sherds of Fine Sandy Ware may also date to this period. Some later 13 th -14 th century types are present, in the form of sherds of Laverstock-type Ware, Southampton-type Sandy Ware and Surrey Whiteware. The latest sherds are 2 pieces of MQ4, whilst sherds of other flint tempered (MQargf1) and chalk tempered (FQc1) of uncertain date are also present. There are also 7 sherds of Roman pottery, which are residual. Most of the pottery was recovered from the stream channel and this would suggest that this feature was filled during the 11 th -14 th centuries. Most of the later wares came from a single context (19), perhaps indicating that the stream was filled over a long period of time. The average sherd weight is generally low (10g for the assemblage as a whole), perhaps indicating that the stream channel was filled with redeposited material, perhaps with material which entered the stream during natural silting. Sherds of earlier types are generally larger, perhaps indicating some secondary deposition in the stream channel during the Saxo-Norman period, but this is difficult to determine on the basis of such a small assemblage.

Ware

SC

SW

Roman Flint tempered ware Flint tempered with coarse sand Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Crystalline tempered Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware Southampton Sandy Ware Surrey Whiteware

7

78

1

18

174

1414

2

37

11

85

1

5

24

390

5

32

120

1586

13

172

11

74

3

13

1

1

FEQfqfe1

1

7

FQc1

1

4

MQargf1

2

34

MQ4

2

2

Misc. Medieval

1

10

Total

380

3962

Table 11: Pottery from The Vicarage Excavations.

CHARACTERISATION OF THE ASSEMBLAGE

Clearly the deposits are greatly disturbed and residuality and later disturbance are problems in interpreting this assemblage. It is possible however to offer a characterisation of the assemblage, both in terms of the wares and vessels present, to allow comparisons with elsewhere in the town. For this purpose a division has been made between pre- and post-dissolution deposits.

Wares Present (table 12) Residual Roman and Prehistoric pottery is present in both pre- and post- dissolution deposits, demonstrating that residuality occurs throughout the assemblage. The earliest medieval pottery is a single sherd of Mid-Saxon Organic Tempered Ware. This was recovered from an unphased deposit, so cannot be taken as evidence of early-mid Anglo-Saxon occupation in the area. A single sherd of Shell Tempered Ware was recovered from a post-dissolution deposit. This sherd is difficult to interpret as this is not a common ware in Romsey as a whole. As elsewhere in Romsey, Chalk Tempered and Flint and Chalk Tempered Wares are the most common Late Anglo-Saxon wares in the assemblage. These were principally recovered from pre-dissolution deposits, however many were residual in later contexts. Therefore, these cannot be directly related to the occupation of the Anglo-Saxon Abbey and may be indicative of the movement of spoil around the Abbey Precinct or from elsewhere in Romsey during the various later construction phases. These may however derive from disturbed, earlier contexts within the Abbey area. Crystalline Tempered Ware is rare and 3 of the 4 sherds are residual in post-dissolution deposits. Its presence in Romsey is important however, even though it may not have been used in the Saxon abbey itself. A single sherd of Portchester-type Ware is present, but again this is in a later deposit. Four of the 6 sherds of Winchester-type Ware came from pre-dissolution deposits, principally the post-conquest construction deposits. As with the other Anglo-Saxon wares these sherds may be residual, however their presence in greater (although still small) quantities at the Abbey than elsewhere in Romsey may be significant. The Anglo-Saxon pottery assemblage is generally typical of pottery from elsewhere in Romsey, however the sherds themselves cannot generally be directly associated with their use within the Abbey. Not all of these

wares are local, and the presence of Winchester- and Portchester- type wares may be indicative of wider contact, as may the sherds of Crystalline Tempered Ware.

A great quantity of sherds were recovered which date to the Saxo-Norman period, and the majority

are associated with the various Norman construction phases. Therefore they may be reflective of the pottery consumed within the Abbey, or alternatively may be indicative of the movement of spoil around the town during the construction of the Abbey. It is likely that both interpretations are true to differing extents. There are a high number of Flint and Sand Tempered wares which likely date to the earlier part of this phase (perhaps the 10 th -12 th centuries), which is followed by a transition to Wessex Coarsewares (dated to the 12 th -14 th centuries). Some of the 194 sherds of Fine Sandy Ware may include Late Saxon pottery produced at Michelmersh or elsewhere in the Winchester wheelthrown sandy ware tradition. Given the ubiquity of these fabrics it is likely that they continued to be produced well into the medieval period. No sherds could be identified as coming from the distinctive Michelmersh-type pitchers. The Saxo-Norman assemblage appears similar to those

elsewhere in Romsey on the basis of the wares present, with the pottery generally being locally sourced and seeing a transition from flint to sand tempered wares during the 10 th -12 th centuries.

The 13 th -14 th century glazed sandy ware assemblage is also similar to that elsewhere in Romsey. Locally produced Laverstock-type Wares are the most common, followed by Southampton-type Sandy Ware and South Hampshire Redware. Other Whitewares are also present in small quantities. Imported wares are present in the form of Saintonge and Rouen-type jugs. These account for only a tiny proportion of the wares present and do not demonstrate that the Abbey was a major consumer of imported pottery. In fact, the wares present are also present in small quantities elsewhere in Romsey and therefore suggest that the Abbey acquired pottery through similar means to the secular households within the town. Much of the Saintonge Whiteware was recovered from post-dissolution deposits, so some of these sherds could have been redeposited from elsewhere in the town.

A wide range of other wares are present in small quantities. These cannot generally be closely dated,

but the variety present does contrast to other sites in Romsey and may demonstrate that the Abbey had some wider contacts. These include fabric FEQ1, possibly a Dorset Whiteware and finer flint and chalk tempered wares possibly indicating some contact with the upper Test Valley or the Kennett Valley. Iron rich sandy wares are common across Hampshire in the medieval period and some of these wares are likely to date to the 14 th -15 th century, belonging to the late well fired sandy ware tradition.

The most common late 14 th -early 15 th century ware is MQ4, a common ware throughout Romsey. MQ3 and other late medieval Sandy Wares are also present in smaller quantities. Their presence in pre-dissolution deposits is likely to relate to their use in the Abbey during the later medieval period.

The remaining wares date to the post-dissolution period. These clearly do not generally relate to the occupation of the Abbey and may instead be related to other households in Romsey, who dumped waste in the Abbey Precinct. Analysis of this material can only give insights in broad terms into the supply of pottery to Romsey in the post medieval period. Surrey Wares are present in the form of Tudor Green and Border Ware. Some sherds came from pre-dissolution deposits and these may have been consumed within the Abbey in the latter phases of its occupation. Similarly, sherds of Maiolica and Spanish Coarseware may have been consumed within the Abbey, but these are present in small quantities elsewhere in the town. Rhenish Stoneware is present in small quantities and these types are known from elsewhere in the town. A consideration of the earthenwares demonstrates that the

 

Pre-

 

Post-

 

Phase:

Dissolution

Dissolution

Unphased

Ware

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

Prehistoric

4

7

 

2

65

Roman

33

232

 

2

11

10

122

Mid Saxon Organic Tempered Shell tempered Ware Flint tempered ware Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Crystalline tempered Portchester-type Ware Winchester-type Ware

   

1

3

 

1

8

 

8

109

2

17

4

64

8

66

2

15

1

7

12

98

6

124

3

13

1

5

3

128

 
 

1

16

4

139

1

10

1

7

Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware

35

455

 

9

198

11

60

21

144

7

18

8

44

177

1440

   

710

9522

 

91

983

38

376

194

2049

23

209

10

84

Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Southampton Sandy Ware Local Whiteware Surrey Whiteware Saintonge Whiteware Saintonge Polychrome Rouen-type Ware

57

615

 

37

442

1

29

10

207

7

92

4

70

46

729

8

133

1

96

2

15

   

1

1

 

2

12

11

111

13

125

1

7

1

8

 

2

4

Medieval chalk tempered ware

1

14

   

ARG1

1

22

ARGmq1

1

18

CQfe1

   

1

9

FEQ1

2

7

1

14

1

4

FEQ3

1

6

   

FEQfqfe1

5

27

 

4

15

2

7

FQ2

   

2

13

FQ4

2

88

 

FQ5

1

30

 

2

28

2

15

FQarg1

4

74

15

155

2

13

FQarg2

   

1

3

FQarg3

1

12

FQc1

1

4

1

6

FQF1

2

57

 

FQfearg1

   

1

15

FQfeq1

13

265

4

57

1

15

MQargf1

2

34

2

41

3

80

MQargf2

2

23

   

MQfe2

27

399

 

2

112

2

16

MQfe3

4

30

3

64

 

MQfe4

3

79

1

8

1

4

MQfearg1

 

1

2

 

MQfearg2

1

8

MQ3

5

49

6

129

 

MQ4

89

1509

27

286

6

105

Late Medieval Sandy Ware

3

11

3

13

 

Tudor Green

13

77

44

177

9

19

Border Ware

13

687

2

38

3

20

Frechen-type Stoneware Raeren-type Stoneware Westerwald Stoneware Rhenish Stoneware Low Countries Redware Maiolica Spanish Coarseware

 

2

18

 

1

39

2

13

3

39

2

15

12

666

9

140

 
 

3

10

2

21

2

4

6

222

2

63

1

63

Post Medieval Sandy Ware Verwood Post Medieval Brown Glazed Post Medieval Redware

 

5

80

14

67

15

350

241

5701

74

3263

5

75

5

36

1

3

21

625

12

372

1

5

Tin Glazed Ware Staffordshire White Salt Glazed Stoneware Red Stoneware Porcelain Creamware Pearlware English Stoneware Refined Earthenware Industrial Slipware Flower Pot Misc. Medieval Misc. Post Medieval Unid

2

16

5

40

3

12

 

5

8

 

1

8

6

24

8

41

39

164

13

90

3

22

12

106

   

9

62

54

1583

9

191

48

192

223

8251

15

94

 

1

1

 

3

46

22

133

3

111

56

397

1033

10768

 
 

1

48

8

102

 

1

40

Total

1774

22529

1989

31197

261

5271

Table 12: Pottery Present in the Assemblage from Romsey Abbey.

Verwood area was the principle supplier of earthenware pottery to Romsey in the post medieval period. Romsey was also a consumer of a number of industrially produced wares, including Creamware, Pearlware and White Salt Glazed Stoneware from Staffordshire (amongst other places) and Tin Glazed Ware from Bristol or London.

With the exception of a wider variety in the minority medieval fabrics then, the assemblage from Romsey Abbey can be characterised as being fairly typical of assemblages from the town as a whole. Pottery was generally sourced locally, with glazed sandy wares generally being sourced from the Laverstock kilns and Wessex Coarseware dominating the 12 th -14 th century assemblage, with MQ4 being the most common ware in the 14 th -15 th centuries. Whilst their presence is remarkable, the occurrence of Saintonge and Rouen-types is not unusual within the town and cannot be argued to be reflective of the Abbey’s status.

Vessels Present (table 13)

Only the medieval forms present in the pre-dissolution phases will be discussed here, in order to best consider the pottery forms consumed at the Abbey. Jars/Cooking pots are the most common form in the assemblage. In the Saxo-Norman period these are principally present in Wessex Coarseware or Fine Sandy Ware, demonstrating that these were sourced locally. The later vessels are principally in MQ4. Jars are present in some sandy wares, including the iron rich sandy wares MQfe2 and MQfe4, as well as in Southampton Sandy Ware and a single sherd in of Laverstock-type Ware.

Jugs are the next most common form. A single sherd of Winchester-type Ware may be from a jug, making this the earliest jug at the site. Some Wessex Coarseware sherds have been assigned to jugs, but these may be from tripod pitchers. The bulk of the jugs date to the 13 th -14 th century and are present in the various glazed sandy wares. This demonstrates that jugs were sourced from a wider range of production centres than jars, but all types appear to have been available within the town. In the late medieval period, as elsewhere in the town, there is a change with both jugs and jars being present in fabric MQ4. Tripod pitchers are present in Wessex Coarseware and the iron rich MQfe3, which could therefore be a Saxo-Norman type. Three spouted pitcher sherds are present in Wessex Coarseware. It is noticeable that none of the distinctive Michelmersh-type Spouted pitchers were identified.

Bowls/dishes would appear to be utilitarian coarseware vessels, rather than decorated serving vessels. Most sherds are in Flint and Sand Tempered Ware or Wessex Coarseware. It is likely that vessels in other materials were used for the serving of food. A relatively high number of sherds appear to be from curfews, perhaps related to the various dormitories and kitchens within the Abbey. Other forms include Dripping Pans, Lamps, Border Ware tripod pipkins and a Tudor Green Chafing Dish, the latter 2 dating to the end of the Abbey’s occupation.

     

Tpod

Spout

Bowl/

Chaf.

 

Drip.

     

Form

Jar/ Cpot

 

Jug

Pitch.

Pitch.

 

Dish

Dish

Curfew

Pan

Pipkin

Lamp

Unid.

Ware

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

SC

SW

Flint tempered ware Flint tempered with coarse sand and chalk Chalk tempered ware Crystalline tempered Winchester-type Ware Flint and sand tempered ware Flint and sand tempered ware (Newbury type) Flint tempered with coarse sand Wessex Coarseware Fine sandy ware Laverstock-type Ware South Hampshire Redware Southampton Sandy Ware Local Whiteware Surrey Whiteware Saintonge Whiteware Saintonge Polychrome Medieval chalk tempered ware

3

54

                 

5

55

3

12

5

54

1

10

11

88

 

1

5

1

105

3

34

23

368

 

1

32

11

55

4

39

 

17

105

8

239

2

40

167

1161

445

6088

30

455

6

47

3

498

3

57

17

183

11

504

2

51

193

1639

112

1362

4

53

     

37

306

   

41

328

1

5

25

316

1

14

 

30

280

 

8

182

 

2

25

5

116

34

547

7

66

   

2

15

1

1

 

10

108

1

3

1

7

 
 

1

14

ARG1 1 22 ARGmq1 1 18 FEQ1 2 7 FEQ3 1 6 FEQfqfe1 4 20
ARG1
1
22
ARGmq1
1
18
FEQ1
2
7
FEQ3
1
6
FEQfqfe1
4
20
1
7
FQ4
1
70
1
18
FQ5
1
30
FQarg1
3
70
1
4
FQc1
1
4
FQF1
2
57
FQfeq1
1
26
10
216
2
23
MQargf1
2
34
MQargf2
2
23
MQfe2
1
32
11
118
15
249
MQfe3
4
30
MQfe4
3
79
MQ3
1
8
4
41
MQ4
20
339
39
791
6
186
24
193
Late Medieval Sandy Ware
Tudor Green
3
11
9
71
1
2
3
4
Border Ware
Total
4
161
6
440
3
86
631
8799
192
3138
10
77
3
498
17
490
1
2
54
489
11
504
6
440
2
51
566
4734

Table 13: Medieval Vessel Forms Present in pre-Dissolution Deposits.

CONCLUSIONS

There are considerable difficulties in interpreting this assemblage. These have been caused by the prolonged excavation and the confused state of the site archive. As with other Abbey sites large dumps of secondary waste were not recovered and therefore much of the material is likely to be redeposited. Some material from post-dissolution deposits may not relate to the occupation of the Abbey at all. It has however been possible to characterise the assemblage in broad terms. The wares present demonstrate that the Abbey, in general terms, consumed the same wares to secular households in the town. A similar range of vessel forms are also present, sourced from similar production centres. Whilst these deposits do not really allow us to better refine the dating of the wares present, the assemblage does give us some insight into the consumption of pottery within the Abbey and within Romsey as a whole.