Monument record EUN 035 - Brick kilns and wash pits at Wash Pits Field, Bardwell Road, Euston, Suffolk

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Two brick kilns 16th - 18th century, wash pits, quarry pits and associated features, also Roman ditches indicating a field system.


Grid reference Centred TL 9224 7717 (301m by 311m)
Map sheet TL97NW


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

2012: Detailed fluxgate gradiometer survey at Wash Pits Field, Bardwell Road, Euston, Suffolk was successful in recording nine discrete positive anomalies, large areas of magnetic disturbance, six narrow weak positive linear anomalies indicative of agricultural land drains and a plethora of dipolar 'iron-spike' anomalies (S1).

2012: An evaluation was carried out with a total of forty-five trenches excavated. The works revealed that the site had been used in the mid-late 17th and early 18th centuries for the quarrying of clay and subsequent firing of bricks, with various quarry pits and two kilns being recorded, with the eponymous Wash Pits forming part of the clay purification process. Two field drainage systems may have been associated with this phase of activity. The main finds from this period consisted of misfired brick and tile fragments. Several other post-medieval ditches and non-quarry pits, thought to be associated with the brick-making activity, were also recorded. Earlier features were found on the northern and southern edges of the site and consisted of Roman ditches, producing Roman pottery, as well as two undated ditches and an undated pit, which are assumed to either be later prehistoric or Roman. The features were all well preserved as the site had not been heavily ploughed, having been planted with trees in the post-medieval period (S2).

2014: Strip, Map and Excavation revealed a prehistoric or Roman pit and a ring ditch near the southern corner within the area of the Roman ditch network and contained 8 pieces of worked flint made up of one scraper and seven flakes, thought to be Bronze or Iron Age. Evidence of Roman occupation is made up entirely of ditches forming what is probably a single field system network that was heavily truncated by later quarrying. The main area of interest was the discovery of a 16th century brick and tile kiln and a larger and more elaborate late 17th/18th century version. These both showed evidence of various repairs and were associated with the widespread quarrying identified in the earlier evaluation and geophysical survey. These works would have been associated with Euston Estate and its manorial house, which are recorded in the Domesday records. Further work may be able to identify whether the construction works could be directly linked with the tiles and bricks produced by the two kilns. Two wash pits and their associated settling ponds were also recorded. These were used for purifying and draining the clay, prior to it being moulded, dried and finally fired.

The 16th century kiln was rectangular in plan and was following the same alignment to that of the later kiln. All that survived of the kiln was the subterranean structure that served as the firebox chambers to heat the bricks and tiles, which would have been stacked on archway kiln bars, just above ground level. The above ground walls had been razed sometim after the structure fell into disuse and these would have served to insulate and shelter the kiln and the bricks and tiles. The kiln was built into the ground to provide better insulation. Two internal firebox chambers ran the length of the kiln and were divided by a central spine. A double drain was set into the base of the chambers.

The 18th/19th century kiln was rectangular and the alignment was identical to that of the earlier kiln. All that survived was the subterranean structure., the walls served as the firebox chambers to heat the bricks and tiles, which woul dhave been stacked on archway kiln bars, just above ground level. Not only was the kiln larger than its earlier counterpart but it was also built in a more elaborate and robust way with improvements to the design as well as a general increase in the thickness of the walls. A number of repairs were also carried out on the archways and internal walls of this kiln and the brick floor at the end of the south-west stoke hole had been worn away by repeated firings and raking. The brickwork was in places laid in English bond.

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Schofield T. 2012. Detailed Magnetometer Survey, Wash Pits Field, Bardwell Road, Euston, Suffolk.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Brooks R. 2013. Archaeological Evaluation Report, Wash Pits Field, Euston.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Brook, R.. 2015. Strip, Map and Excavation Assessment Report, Wash Pits Field, Euston Estate, Euston, Suffolk.
  • <S4> Unpublished document: Craven, J.. 2012. Desk-Based Assessment, Wash Pits Field, Bardwell Road, Euston.

Finds (7)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Sep 20 2017 1:56PM

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