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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

Tower Hill Pottery, Cove, Hampshire

Looking for an Old Pottery by Arthur E Lunn, May 2007


The absolute ideal would be to find a kiln site and plans dating back to early l800s, when production of so called Red Border ware ceased. Preferably a pottery that had concentrated on one sort of output, such as simple domestic ware, made with clay from one known clay-field


Tower Hill Pottery in Cove may be as near as possible to this ideal


Here is what has been found:


  • ( a ) Discarded, broken and failed pottery, these varied dependent on the success and skill of the kiln operator, but made up the bulk of finds


  • ( b ) Kiln furniture such as round, three pronged, 'trivets' some reused but many discarded being of little value. Flat roofing tiles that were used to support small items in the kiln during firing and coated with spilt glaze


  • ( c ) Some kiln wall or floor bricks again showing spilt glaze, could be the least number of items found, because complete bricks reused, some broken and half bricks discarded


  • ( d ) Balls of unfired and unused clay, in lumps bigger than a cricket ball, were still to be dug up until quite recently


As all these have been discovered on site of the Tower Hill Pottery the number and type may indicate the sort and size of operation


There is also an undisturbed well, thought to have been filled in years ago by the working potter, probably using spoilt items from pottery and kiln. If this could be excavated all these items might turn up more ot less in their right numbers.


Complete items from the site have ranged from large 'bread crocks' to small honey pots, and all domestic utensils. Thinks like money boxes, candlesticks and decorated ware, found on other local digs, have not turned up in the Tower Hill, Cove, group of kilns.


Another unexplained feature of this site was the presence of a large oak tree close to the work places. Cut down in the arly 1900s, with a girth of 15 or 16 ft and probably 300 years old. More recently permission was given to fell a similar oak in the nearby Cove Green Pottery site. Does anyone know any history of growing large trees within potteries?


Additional Note from Peter Tipton: Arthur's grandfather John Hill, a market gardener from Wisbech Lincolnshire, purchased the site of the Tower Hill Pottery before 1900 and established a business as nurseyman, florist and landscape gardener. On the 1872 OS map the site was called Hill House Pottery. So Arthur is talking about his maternal grandfather's land. He still lives on part of the site in Marrowbrook Lane. Arthur explains all this in his 1995 book Our Hampshire Cove starting on page 9. The book has early photographs of the house and nursery, and of pottery found on the site.


Arthur has told me he thinks the Tower Hill Pottery must have ceased not long after the military purchased Cove Common around 1860. Since the claypits were on Cove Common possibly under the TAG building, the potters would have run out of clay. There was a much older house alongside the potter's house (demolished 1972), with a well 5 paces from the backdoor of the old house. My own house has a well at a similar distance. Arthur believes the excavation of this well would reveal interesting items.


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