The Pottery Kilns

  • 1972 Kiln Dig

An archaelogical dig was started in 1972, following the discovery of pottery sherds by a local farmer. Archaeologist Patrick Strange led a team from Ashover WEA Group excavating two pottery kilns. The kilns measured 3 metres by 1.75 metres were oval in plan and had two opposed flues. Both were constructed of local sandstone, the walls of kiln 2 survived to a height of 0.9 metres. There is evidence for multiple firings in at least one of the kilns. The two kilns that were excavated were probably run as a small-scale family business of domestic ware. Pottery found has been dated roughly between 1100 and 1400 and includes glazed jugs and bowls and unglazed cooking pots in buff to white fabrics, some with intricate decorations (geometric patterns, flowers and animals). Glazed crested ridge and roof tiles were also produced. The collection from the dig is currently held in over 100 boxes at Sheffield Museum.

Brackenfield Pottery has been found at several sites in the UK in Chesterfield, Peveril Castle and as far away as the Lake District and its distinctive style is known nationally. It is unusual to have a seam of high-quality pottery clay in Derbyshire and this is the same seam as used by Denby Pottery to this day.

Can you find any pieces lying around?

Sherds can still be found in this area. Glazes are shades of yellow through to greens and browns. There are other kilns in this vicinity yet to be excavated and there may even be the site of a mediaeval settlement…

Where next?

Continue along the path until you reach Ogston New Road. Cross the road and turn right towards Brackenfield. You will find QR plaque 9 on the gate post of DCC’s Angling Club gate in the wall.