Tower Harratz Pottery

Posted on: September 19th, 2016 by webfooted

Located on the site of Tower Harratz on the medieval Port Wall, Temple Back, Temple parish.

Summary of operating dates and proprietors

c1695-1698 Richard Champneys.

In December 1694 Richard Champneys, a Bristol merchant, leased ‘all those ruinous and decayed storehouses, housings and buildings near and adjoining to Tower Harris in the parish of Temple between Templeback and Templemeades and reaching from the round tower which tower is not to be granted there downe to the river with the materials thereon and all appurtenances thereto belonging …’.

In September 1695 there was a reference to ‘the workehouse by the said Richard Champneys lately built intended for pottmaking’ adjoining Tower Harratz.  However by the first half of 1698 a rate book listed ‘Richard Champnyes for the pothouse void’ which indicates that the pottery was no longer being used.

This is the earliest recorded pottery in Bristol to have manufactured stoneware.  It is not known which master potter was working there.

Wares produced


Finds of waste pottery and kiln material

Stoneware waste has been found in the vicinity of Tower Harratz and this was reported on in full in:
Jackson, R. 2003. Late 17th-century stoneware waste from the Tower Harratz Pottery, Bristol. Journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 37/2, 217-220.
The large number of stoneware wasters belonged entirely to vessels termed in contemporary documents as ‘gorges’, that is, globular-bodied, single-handled drinking vessels with elongated necks decorated by combing.  A colour wash which fires to a dark brown had been applied over the top of the vessel rims and externally but there was limited evidence for successful salt-glazing, the external surfaces of the sherds having a dull appearance.  Six sherds are illustrated.
The kiln furniture was limited to fragments of round saggars having four large knife-cut apertures in their sides and small cuts in their rims.  Two sherds of saggars are illustrated.
(HER no. 463; BRSMG accession no. 45/1994).

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