Building record WSF 061 - Pottery Cottage

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Late 16th century two-cell house


Grid reference Centred TM 0140 7455 (10m by 10m)
Map sheet TM07SW


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Pottery Cottage is a timber-framed and rendered building on the western side of Pottery Hill. It abuts a separate red-brick property known as Pottery House on the north and until its replacement by a new housing estate in 2006/7 adjoined the factory of Henry Watson’s Potteries on the south. The area was labelled The Pottery on the Ordnance Survey of 1885 and in 1838 both Pottery Cottage and Pottery House appear to have formed the dwelling of the eponymous potter Thomas Watson. Pottery House was rebuilt or remodelled in brick between 1838 and 1885 but was still connected internally until the mid-20th century. The timber-framed structure appears to be complete in itself,
however, and to represent an exceptionally small two-cell domestic dwelling of the late-16th or early-17th century – although it could be interpreted as a detached kitchen. The building initially extended to just 7.6 m in total length by 4.25 m in width (25 ft by 14 ft) with walls of 2.2 m in height (7 ft), but was fully framed and contained diamond mullion windows. A central chimney with a single wide fireplace divided a parlour and parlour chamber on the south (left) from a slightly larger hall and hall chamber on the north. The smallest and poorest rural dwellings of the 16th and 17th centuries were often built on waste land such as road margins and former greens, and the distinctive triangular outline of its boundary in 1838 suggests Pottery Cottage may well have originated in such a manner. Documentary evidence
is understood to link the site with pottery manufacture as early as the 16th century, and both its size and isolated location are consistent with what at the time was a low status and antisocial occupation. Most early cottages of this scale failed to stand the test of time, and the building is accordingly a rare survival of considerable historic interest. It was extended to the south in the late 17th century when it was re-roofed and provided with a new cellar. This extension was replaced by the present brick garage after a fire destroyed the nearby factory in 1963, but a large collection of pottery survives in a currently inaccessible section of the cellar beneath. Much of the original wall framing is intact, along with its ceilings and rebated floorboards, but the cottage may not meet the strict English Heritage criteria for listing given the replacement of its roof in the 17th century and the loss of the rear wall when a narrow lean-to
extension was added in the 18th century. Nonetheless it would not normally be possible to gain planning consent to demolish a building of this age and historic significance; an erroneous historic asessment ascribing it to the late 18th c submitted with the application led to demolition of this structure being permitted (S1).

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2013. Historic Building Record: Pottery Cottage, Wattisfield, Suffolk.
  • <S2> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Feb 10 2022 11:45AM

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