Essex post-medieval redware tripod pipkin
Essex post-medieval redware pipkin

Documentary evidence for the medieval pottery manufacture in the Harlow area of Essex, England, just north-east of London, is questionable, but records suggest pottery was made there as early as 1254. By the early post-medieval period, the industry was well positioned for potters to supply London markets in the 16th and 17th centuries with a variety of wheel thrown ceramic objects for household use (Davey and Walker 2009). Known as Essex post-medieval fine redware (EPMFR), this ware is well represented in the James Fort assemblage.


Fabric: EPMFR clays are fine and well worked, and contain abundant red to black ferrous inclusions, occasional calcareous specks, and abundant colorless or white quartz sand. In color, the fabric appears orange to brownish-orange. A gray reduction core appears on some sherds.

Glaze: Colorless lead glazes appear shiny orange to greenish-brown to dark reddish-brown, depending on the firing conditions and colors of the fabric. Upon close examination, streaks from the hematite inclusions in the clay are quite obvious. Glaze covers the pipkins all over except for the base exteriors. Jugs are spottily covered with glaze on the exterior and neck interior. A chamberpot is glazed mostly on the interior.

Form: Bag-shaped tripod pipkins with interior seating lips, one upturned handle applied to the shoulder, knife trimmed around the exterior base, and three short, tapering feet. Jugs with vertical strap handle, one of which is decorated with thumb impressions from top to bottom. Chamberpot with thick, everted rim, rounded on the exterior, and knife trimmed base. Multiple horizontal cordons ornament the exteriors of EPMFR vessels.

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Davey, Wally and Helen Walker (2009) The Harlow Pottery Industries. Medieval Pottery Research Group Occasional Paper 3. Dorset Press, Dorchester, UK.