Monument record WSF 003 - Foxledge Common (Rom)

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Summary

Large Rom pottery manufacturing complex, first referred to by Dr J J Raven, who noted that men from Watsons, the potters at Wattisfield, in their search for clay at the turn of the century were finding broken pottery just below the surface, but that the ground had been levelled and nothing further was done.

Location

Grid reference Centred TM 019 747 (367m by 151m) Approximate
Map sheet TM07SW
Civil Parish WATTISFIELD, MID SUFFOLK, SUFFOLK

Map

Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Large Rom pottery manufacturing complex, first referred to by Dr J J Raven, who noted that men from Watsons, the potters at Wattisfield, in their search for clay at the turn of the century were finding broken pottery just below the surface, but that the ground had been levelled and nothing further was done. Pre 1920, finds on the field included Rom box tile fragments, a complete, brown, cup curving inward at the top, much broken pottery and animal bones of all types. Brown found artefacts in 1932, reported to IPSMG via Mr H B Watson and an excavation of the first kilns took place in 1935. Small scale excavations continued on and off until 1962, the kilns and finds usually appeared after ploughing by J W Blake (ploughman). In all, 18 Rom pottery kilns were recorded and Basil Brown thought that the potting clay used came from just N of Foxledge Common in Calke or Cork Wood- RKN 011.
During the years of excavation the physical state of the site altered considerably with hedges being removed and the whole of the area known as The Grove, which in the 1930's had been scrub and trees, being put to arable use by the 1950's. Across The Grove from E-W ran an ancient track of road and this showed up very clearly once ploughing began - see photograph BJM 2. Kilns 1,2 & 3 appear to be oval, updraught but kiln 4 may have been horizontal. Kiln 5 was thought at first to have been a brick clamp but there was a brick clamp here until at least 1857 and the Roman remains run beneath this area, so it is possible that kiln 5 was originally a pottery making site. Portion of tested shale torque was found here. Kiln 6 was updraught type. Kiln 7 was circular with central pedestal, completely excavated by Basil Brown, eventually removed in 1938 to IPSMG. 40 feet NW of kiln 7 a 6 feet pit had been cut into the chalk and finds in the fill included an antler pick, bronze ornament, bowl of bronze spoon, base of folded beaker, three dishes and upper portion of jar, a bone pin, melon- shaped bead and a fragment of bone bracelet. A coin of Hadrian (C2) was found near here and other coins found on the site are Allectus (C3) and Constantinian (C4). Kiln 11, oval, also central pedestal type, found in The Grove near the trackway. Completely excavated in 1953 (found 1938) it was removed in sections and re-erected at a site at Watsons Potteries, Wattisfield, when it also underwent geophysical tests conducted by Cambridge University. During its removal in 1953, a tree had to be pulled up and beneath its roots was found a bronze balance arm and a plummet shaped lead weight, weighing 8 ozs. The kiln was repaired in 1958. Kiln 13 was found during ploughing and a C2 bowl was found together with other burnt pottery in the excavated stokehole; nearby was the handle of a bronze key. Kiln 14 is the most westerly of the group. Kiln 17 had been located in the early part of C20 by workmen digging for clay, one of whom, reported to basil Brown that he had "come upon an elephant's head" at this time. Of the 18 kiln sites, 10 are known to have been excavated, but often only in the stokehole, and some had large dumps nearby. Kiln 2 had much iron material in the area including "shaped" remains and Basil Brown considered the possibility of iron working here (S1-S6)(R1).
The products are all grey wares, including stamped cups (comparable to West Stow types), S-profile jars, jars with slashes, plain bowls, flanged rim bowls, mortaria. Date range late C1-C4, predominantly mid C2-C4. Fabric commonly includes a high percentage of mica (S2).
1955 AP shows dark patches & soil marks in general area (S7).
Also PMed find.

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <M1> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Basil Brown archive: volumes, card index, maps.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Brown B,I,2,3a-8,11-14,16-36,39,50,55,112;II,149;IV,23-40,43,73,76a-81, 84;VIII,1-4,22,41;XI,70-2;XI.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA, 22, 1934-6, (2), 178-197.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: site and kiln plans.
  • <M3> Photograph: CUCAP. CUCAP aerial photograph. AP: CUCAP PT 20.
  • <S3> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. PSIA, 27, 1955-7, (1), 44 (kiln 11).
  • <S4> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, cards, 1935-22,24,84,314.
  • <S5> (No record type): IPSMG, site plans, M138, 141.
  • <S6> (No record type): SAU, West S E, SMR card.
  • <S7> Photograph: CUCAP. CUCAP aerial photograph. CUCAP, AP PT 20, 1955.
  • <S8> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.

Finds (14)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Feb 10 2022 1:15PM

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