Four Border ware vessels
Border ware vessels

As early as the early 13th century, pottery manufacturing occurred in several centers along the borders of west Surrey and northeast Hampshire counties in England. The original wares are known as Surrey whiteware because of the fine white clays used. The term “Tudor Green” applies to whiteware with copper oxide green glazes that were made during ca. 1380-1550.

Ceramics produced in the area from the mid-16th until the late-17th centuries are classified as Surrey-Hampshire Border ware. This term applies to objects made of both the fine, white-firing and the red-firing clays. From the late-16th until the end of the 17th centuries, Border ware pottery manufacturing flourished. The area served as the main source of utilitarian ceramics for London and southeast England households. Since London merchants were the primary sources for James Fort supplies, large quantities and varieties of Surrey-Hampshire Border ware vessel forms are found in James Fort features.


Fabric: The “white” fabric generally ranges from off-white and gray, to pale pink and pale buff. Visible under magnification are numerous small quartz sand inclusions, numerous tiny specks of hematite, and occasional lumps and streaks of off-white clay. Occasional large chunks of hematite are visible.

The red-firing clay fabric is pinkish-orange with occasional red hematite inclusions. It ranges in texture from dense and smooth to slightly rough.

Glaze: Flanged dishes, porringers, and food preparation and storage vessels are lead glazed on the interior surfaces. Costrels are lead glazed on the exterior. Drug jars are lead glazed on the interior and exterior surfaces. Cooking pot lids are unglazed. On whiteware, glazes range in color from yellow to olive green if colorless. A small amount of copper filings added to the glaze produced a speckled green glaze on yellow. Larger amounts of copper produced a dark green color. The addition of manganese or iron produced a mottled brown.

Colorless lead glazes over the red-firing fabrics produced a rich reddish-orange to greenish-gold glaze with numerous specks of brown from the hematite inclusions in the fabric. Copper filings in the lead glaze produced green glazes.

Decoration: A single covered dish in the form of a pig, or Schweinetopf, in the James Fort collections is ornamented with a finger-impressed band around the vessel opening and the lid rim.

Form: All Surrey-Hampshire Border ware is wheel thrown, well fashioned, and finely tooled. Forms found at James Fort include: a four-legged Schweinetopf, or covered dish for roasting meat; a double dish, probably for shaving; costrel with bilateral strap handles; drug jar; strainers, possibly for cheese making; and beer jugs. Also recovered are: bottle-shaped costrels with opposing lug handles; flanged rim dishes; flanged rim bowls; porringers with a horizontal handle; cups with a single handle; large and small tripod pipkins; jars; candle sticks; lids; a fuming pot; and a chafing dish.

selected artifacts

related images


Pearce, Jacqueline (1992) Border Wares: Post-Medieval Pottery in London, 1500-1700, vol. 1. HMSO, London.

Straube, Bly (2001) European Ceramics in the New World: The Jamestown Example. In Ceramics in America, Robert Hunter, editor. University Press of New England for the Chipstone Foundation, Hanover, NH.