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Title: North Devon Pottery and Its Export to America in the 17th Century
Author: Watkins, C. Malcolm
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "North Devon Pottery and Its Export to America in the 17th Century" ***

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  North Devon Pottery
  and its Export to America
  in the 17th Century

  _by C. Malcolm Watkins_

  Paper 13, pages 17-59, from



  Bulletin 225


  PAPER 13


  _C. Malcolm Watkins_

[Illustration: FIGURE 1.--North Devon sgraffito cup, deep dish, and jug
restored from fragments excavated from fill under brick drain at
May-Hartwell site, Jamestown, Virginia. The drain was laid between 1689
and 1695. Colonial National Historical Park.]

By C. Malcolm Watkins


    _Recent excavations of ceramics at historic sites such as Jamestown
    and Plymouth indicate that the seaboard colonists of the 17th century
    enjoyed a higher degree of comfort and more esthetic furnishings than
    heretofore believed. In addition, these findings have given us much
    new information about the interplay of trade and culture between the
    colonists and their mother country._

    _This article represents the first work in the author's long-range
    study of ceramics used by the English colonists in America._

    THE AUTHOR: _C. Malcolm Watkins is curator of cultural history, United
    States National Museum, Smithsonian Institution._

Pottery sherds found archeologically in colonial sites serve a multiple
purpose. They help to date the sites; they reflect cultural and economic
levels in the areas of their use; and they throw light on manufacture,
trade, and distribution.

Satisfying instances of these uses were revealed with the discovery in
1935 of two distinct but unidentified pottery types in the excavations
conducted by the National Park Service at Jamestown, Virginia, and later
elsewhere along the eastern seaboard. One type was an elaborate and
striking yellow sgraffito ware, the other a coarse utilitarian kitchen
ware whose red paste was heavily tempered with a gross water-worn gravel
or "grit." Included in the latter class were the components of large
earthen baking ovens. Among the literally hundreds of thousands of sherds
uncovered at Jamestown between 1935 and 1956, these types occurred with
relatively high incidence. For a long time no relationship between them
was noted, yet their histories have proved to be of one fabric, reflecting
the activities of a 17th-century English potterymaking center of
unsuspected magnitude.

The sgraffito pottery is a red earthenware, coated with a white slip
through which designs have been incised. An amber lead glaze imparts a
golden yellow to the slip-covered portions and a brownish amber to the
exposed red paste. The gravel-tempered ware is made of a similar
red-burning clay and is remarkable for its lack of refinement, for the
pebbly texture caused by protruding bits of gravel, and for the crude and
careless manner in which the heavy amber glaze was applied to interior
surfaces. Once seen, it is instantly recognizable and entirely distinct
from other known types of English or continental pottery. A complete oven
(fig. 10), now restored at Jamestown, is of similar paste and quality of
temper. It has a roughly oval beehive shape with a trapezoidal framed
opening in which a pottery door fits snugly.

[Illustration: FIGURE 2.--Sketch of sherd of sgraffito-ware dish, dating
about 1670, that was found during excavations of C. H. Brannam's pottery
in Barnstaple. (_Sketch by Mrs. Constance Christian, from photo._)]

Following the initial discoveries at Jamestown there was considerable
speculation about these two types. Worth Bailey, then museum technician at
Jamestown, was the first to recognize the source of the sgraffito ware as
"Devonshire."[1] Henry Chandlee Forman, asserting that such ware was
"undoubtedly made in England," felt that it "derives its inspiration from
Majolica ware ... especially that of the early Renaissance period from

Bailey also noted that the oven and the gravel-tempered utensils were made
of identical clay and temper. However, in an attempt to prove that
earthenware was produced locally, he assumed, perhaps because of their
crudeness, that the utensils were made at Jamestown. This led him to
conjecture that the oven, having similar ceramic qualities, was also a
local product. He felt in support of this that it was doubtful "so fragile
an object could have survived a perilous sea voyage."[3]

Since these opinions were expressed, much further archeological work in
colonial sites has revealed widespread distribution of the two types.
Bailey himself noted that a pottery oven is intact and in place in the
John Bowne House in Flushing, Long Island. A fragment of another pottery
oven recently has been identified among the artifacts excavated by Sidney
Strickland from the site of the John Howland House, near Plymouth,
Massachusetts; and gravel-tempered utensil sherds have occurred in many
sites. The sgraffito ware has been unearthed in Virginia, Maryland, and

Such a wide distribution of either type implies a productive European
source for each, rather than a local American kiln in a struggling
colonial settlement like Jamestown. Bailey's attribution of the sgraffito
ware to Devonshire was confirmed in 1950 when J. C. Harrington,
archeologist of the National Park Service, came upon certain evidence at
Barnstaple in North Devon, England. This evidence was found in the form of
sherds exhibited in a display window of C. H. Brannam's Barnstaple Pottery
that were uncovered during excavation work on the premises. These are
unmistakably related in technique and design to the American examples. A
label under a fragment of a large deep dish (fig. 2) in the display is
inscribed: "Piece of dish found in site of pottery. In sgraffiato. About
1670." This clue opened the way to the investigation pursued here, the
results of which relate the sgraffito ware, the gravel-tempered ware, and
the ovens to the North Devon towns and to a busy commerce in earthenware
between Barnstaple, Bideford, and the New World.

This study, conducted at first hand only on the American side of the
Atlantic, is admittedly incomplete. Later, it is planned to consider sherd
collections in England, comparative types of sgraffito wares, and possible
influences and sources of techniques and designs. For the present, it is
felt the immediate evidence is sufficient to warrant the conclusions drawn

[Illustration: FIGURE 3.--Map of the area around Bideford and Barnstaple.
Reproduced from J. B. Gribble, _Memorials of Barnstaple_, 1830.]

The author is under special obligation to J. C. Harrington, chief of
interpretation, Region I, National Park Service, who discovered the North
Devon wares and whose warm encouragement led to this paper. Also, the
author is greatly indebted to the following for their help and
cooperation: E. Stanley Abbott, superintendent, J. Paul Hudson, curator,
and Charles Hatch, chief of interpretation, Colonial National Historical
Park; Worth Bailey, Historic American Buildings Survey; Robert A. Elder,
Jr., assistant curator, division of ethnology, U.S. National Museum; Miss
Margaret Franklin of London; Henry Hornblower II and Charles Strickland of
Plimoth Plantation, Inc.; Ivor Noel Hume, chief archeologist, Colonial
Williamsburg, Inc.; Miss Mildred E. Jenkinson, librarian and curator,
Borough of Bideford Library and Museum; Frederick H. Norton, professor of
ceramics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Mrs. Edwin M. Snell
of Washington.

Historical Background

Barnstaple and its neighbor Bideford are today quiet market centers and
summer resorts. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, by contrast, they
were deeply involved in trade with America and with the whole West of
England interest in colonial settlement. Bideford was the home of Sir
Richard Grenville, who, with Sir Walter Raleigh, was one of the first
explorers of Virginia. As the leading citizen of Bideford, Grenville
obtained from Queen Elizabeth a modern charter of incorporation for the
town. Consequently, according to the town's 18th-century chronicler,
"Bideford rose so rapidly as to become a port of importance at the latter
end of Queen Elizabeth's reign ... when the trade began to open between
England and America in the reign of King James the First, Bideford early
took a part in it."[4] Its orientation for a lengthy period was towards
America, and the welfare of its inhabitants was therefore largely
dependent upon commerce with the colonies.

In common with other West of England ports, Barnstaple and Bideford
engaged heavily in the Newfoundland fishing trade. However, "the principal
part of foreign commerce that Bideford was ever engaged in, was to
Maryland and Virginia for tobacco.... Its connections with New England
were also very considerable."[5]

During the first half of the 18th century Bideford's imports of tobacco
were second only to London's, but the wars with France caused a decline
about the year 1760.[6] Barnstaple, situated farther up the River Taw,
followed the pattern of Bideford in the rise and decline as well as the
nature of its trade. Although rivals, both towns functioned in effect as a
single port; Barnstaple and Bideford ships sailed from each other's
wharves and occasionally the two ports were listed together in the Port
Books. As early as 1620 seven ships, some of Bideford and some of
Barnstaple registry, sailed from Barnstaple for America,[7] but the height
of trade between North Devon and the colonies occurred after the
Restoration and lasted until the early part of the 18th century. In 1666,
for example, the _Samuel_ of Bideford and the _Philip_ of Barnstaple
sailed for Virginia, despite the dangers of Dutch warfare.[8] The
following year, on August 13, 1667, it was reported that 20 ships of the
Virginia fleet, "bound to Bideford, Barnstaple, and Bristol have passed
into the Severn in order to escape Dutch men-of-war."[9] Later, in 1705,
we find that the _Susanna_ of Barnstaple, as well as the _Victory_,
_Zunt_, _Devonshire_, _Laurell_, _Blackstone_, and _Mary and Hannah_, all
of Bideford, were anchored in Hampton Roads off Kecoughtan. They comprised
one-ninth of a fleet of 63 ships from various English ports.[10]

[Illustration: FIGURE 4.--Old pottery in Torrington Lane (formerly
Potter's Lane), East-the-Water section of Bideford. The photo was taken in
1920, just before the buildings were razed. (_Courtesy of Miss M. E.

Aside from such indications of a well-established mercantile trade, the
entrenchment of North Devon interests in the colonies is repeatedly shown
in other ways. Before 1645, Thomas Fowle, a Boston merchant, was doing
business with his brother-in-law, Vincent Potter, who lived in
Barnstaple.[11] In 1669, John Selden, a Barnstaple merchant, died after
consigning a shipment of goods to William Burke, a merchant of Chuckatuck,
Virginia. John's widow and administratrix, Sisely Selden, brought suit to
recover these goods, which were "left to the sd. W{m} Burke, &c, for the
use of my late husband."[12] Burke was evidently an agent, or factor, who
acted in Virginia on Selden's behalf. In Northampton County, alone, there
resided six Bideford factors, remarkable when one considers the isolated
location of this Virginia Eastern Shore county and the sparseness of its
population in the 17th century.[13] John Watkins, the Bideford historian,
adds further evidence of mercantile involvement with the colonies, stating
of Bideford that "some of its chief merchants had very extensive
possessions in Virginia and Maryland."[14] Both in New England and the
southern colonies, local merchants acted as resident agents for merchants
based in the mother country. Often tied to the latter by bonds of family
relationship, the factors arranged the exchange of American raw materials
for the manufactured goods in which their English counterparts

That there was a large and important commerce in North Devon earthenware
to account for many of the relationships between Bideford, Barnstaple, and
the colonies seems to have remained unnoticed. Indeed, the fact that the
two towns comprised an important center of earthenware manufacture and
export in the 17th century has hitherto received little attention from
ceramic historians, and then merely as sources of picturesque folk
pottery. Yet in the excavations of colonial sites and in the British
Public Records Office are indications that the North Devon potters, for a
time at least, rivaled those of Staffordshire.

The earliest record of North Devon pottery reaching America occurs in the
Port Book entry for Barnstaple in 1635, when the _Truelove_, Vivian
Limbry, master, sailed on March 4 for New England with "40 doz.
earthenware," consigned to John Boole, merchant.[15] The following year
the same ship sailed for New England with a similar amount. After the
Stuart restoration larger shipments of earthenware are recorded, as
illustrated by sample listings (below) chosen from Port Books in the
British Public Records Office.


(Sample entries from Port Books, verbatim)


  Date    Ship         Master         For          In Cargo     Subsidy
                                                                  s d

  26 Aug  Exchange of  W{m} Titherly  New England  150 doz. of    7-6
  1665    Biddeford                                Earthenware

  4 Sept  Philipp of   Edmond         Virginia     30 doz. of     1-6
  1665    Biddeford    Prickard                    Earthenware

  28 Nov  Providence   Nicholas       Virginia     20 doz. of     1-0
  1665    of           Taylor                      Earthenware


  Date        Ship           Master                Shipment
  Aug 6{th}   Forester of    Christopher Browning  Twenty dozen of
  1680        Barnstaple,                          Earthenware
              for Maryland                         Subsidy 1/

  Sept 6      Loyalty of     Philip Greenslade     30 dozen Earthenware
              Barnstaple                           Andrew Hopkins,
                                                   Subsidy 1/6

BARNSTAPLE, 1681[18]

  Date     Ship         Master       To        Goods & Merchants
  May 30   Seafare of   Bartholomew  New       Forty-two hundred [weight]
  1681     Bideford     Shapton      England   parcells of Earthenware
                                               Subsidy 7/

  28 June  Hopewell of  Peter Prust  Virginia  30 cwt. parcells of
           Bideford                            Earthenware
                                               Peter Luxeron Merchant
                                               Subsidy 5/

  Aug. 12  Beginning    John Limbry  Virginia  15 cwt. parcells of
           of Bideford                         Earthenware Subsidy 2/6
                                               Richard Corkhill

BIDEFORD, 1681[20]

  Date      Ship          Master     To          Goods
  21 June   Beginning     Thomas     Virginia    Thirty hundred
            of Bideford   Phillips               pclls of Earthenware
                                                 Joseph Conor merchant
                                                 Subsidy 5/

  19 July   John & Mary   Thomas     Maryland    750 parcells of
            of Bideford   Courtis                Earthenware
                                                 John Barnes, Merchant
                                                 Subsidy 1/3

  14 Aug    Exchange of   George     Maryland    40 dozen earthenware
            Bideford      Ewings                 William Titherly Merchant
                                                 Subsidy 2/

  Aug. 22   Merchants     William    Virginia    1500 parcells
            Delight of    Britten                Earthenware
            Bideford                             Henry Guiness Merchant
                                                 Subsidy 2/6

  Aug. 23   Hart of       Henry      Virginia    1500 parcells of
            Bideford      Penryn                 Earthenware
                                                 John Lord Merch{t}
                                                 Subsidy 2/6


  Date        Ship         Master      To         Cargo, etc.
  Michaelmas  Robert &     John Esh    Maryland   30 dozen Earthenware
  Quarter     William of                          Subsidy 1/6
              North{am}                           William Bishop merchant


  Date     Ship         Master          To         Cargo, etc.
  May 15   Seafare of   John Titherley  New        42 cwt. parcells of
           Bideford                      England   Earthenware
                                                   Barth. Shapton Merchant
                                                   Subsidy 7/

  July 9   John & Mary  Thomas Courtis  Maryland   9 cwt parcells of
           of Bideford                             Earthenware
                                                   John Barnes Merchant
                                                   Subsidy 1/6

  July 20  Merchant's   William         Maryland   6 cwt parcells of
           Delight of    Bruston                   Earthenware
           Bideford                                Samuel Donnerd merchant

  Sept. 11 Exchange of  Mark Chappell   Maryland   30 cwt. parcells of
           Bideford                                earthenware Subsidy 5/
                                                   William Titherly


  Date      Ship          Master        To        Cargo, etc.
  Aug. 23   Yarmouth      Roger Jones   Maryland  300 parcells of
            of Bideford                           Earthenware Subsidy 6{d}

  Sept. 11  Expedition    Humphrey      Maryland  1,200 parcells of
            of Bideford   Bryant                  Earthenware Subsidy 2/

  Sept. 23  Integrity     John Tucker   Maryland  300 parcells of
            of Bideford                           Earthenware Subsidy 6{d}

  Sept. 23  Happy Return  John Rock     Maryland  750 parcells of
            of Bideford                           Earthenware Subsidy 1/3

  Sept. 23  Sea Faire     Tym. Brutton  Maryland  1800 parcells of
            of Bideford                           Earthenware Subsidy 3/


  Date    Ship           Master          To        Cargo, etc.     Subsidy
  Dec. 6  Happy Returne  John Hartwell   Maryland  450 parcels of  9d
                                                   Earthen ware

Another source shows that the _Eagle_ of Bideford arrived at Boston from
her home port on October 11, 1688, with a cargo consisting entirely of
9,000 parcels of earthenware, while on July 28, 1689, the _Freindship_
(sic) of Bideford landed 7,200 parcels of earthenware and one hogshead of
malt. On August 24 of the same year the _Delight_ brought a cargo of
"9,000 parcels of earthenware and 2 fardells of dry goods" from

It will be noted that there was a close relationship between vessel,
shipmaster, and factor, suggesting that there may have been an equally
close connection between all of them and the owners of the potteries. The
_Exchange_, for instance, seems to have been regularly employed in the
transport of earthenware. In 1665, according to the listings, she sailed
to New England under command of William Titherly. By 1681 Titherly had
become a Maryland factor to whom the Exchange's earthenware was consigned
then and in 1682. In the same way Bartholomew Shapton in 1681 sailed as
master on the _Sea Faire_ with earthenware to New England, becoming in the
following year the factor for earthenware sent on the same ship under
command of John Titherly.

The proportion of earthenware cargo to the carrying capacity of the usual
17th-century ocean-going ship, which ranged from about 30 to 50 tons, is
difficult to estimate. A ton and a half of milk pans nested in stacks
would be compact and would occupy only a small amount of space. A similar
weight of ovens might require a much larger space. When earthenware
shipments are recorded in terms of parcels, we are again left in doubt,
since the sizes of the parcels are not indicated. We know, however, that
the _Eagle_, which was a 50-ton ship, carried 9,000 parcels of
earthenware as her sole cargo in 1688, in contrast to the much smaller
amounts shown in the sample listings where the parcel standard is used.
Yet even a typical shipment of 1,500 parcels, with each parcel containing
an indeterminate number of pots, must have filled the needs of many
kitchens when delivered in Virginia in 1681. Certainly a shipment such as
this suggests a vigorous rate of production and an active trade.

The export of earthenware from North Devon was not solely to America. As
early as 1601 there were shipped from Barnstaple to "Dublyn--100 dozen
Earthen Pottes of all sorts." In later years, selected at random, we find
the following shipments to Ireland from Barnstaple listed in the Public
Record Office Port Books: 1617, 290 dozen; 1618, 320 dozen; 1619, 322
dozen; 1620, 508 dozen; 1632, 260 dozen; 1635, 300 dozen; 1636, 480 dozen;
1639, 660 dozen. Typical of the destinations were Kinsale, Youghal,
Limerick, Cork, Galway, Coleraine, and Waterford. As the century advanced,
this trade increased enormously. In 1694, 17 separate earthenware
shipments totaling 50,400 parcels were made from Barnstaple and Bideford
to Dublin, Wexford, and Waterford.[26] It is possible that some of these
cargoes were shipped to America, since it was necessary to list only the
first port of entry. However, the rapid turnaround of many of the ships
shows this was not usually the case.

Besides Ireland, Bristol and Exeter were destinations in a busy coastwise
trade. In 1681, for example, large quantities of earthenware, tobacco
pipes, and pipe clay were sent to these places.[27] Bristol merchants
probably re-exported some of the earthenware to America.

[Illustration: FIGURE 5.--Map of Barnstaple. Reproduced from J. B.
Gribble, _Memorials of Barnstaple_, 1830.]

The coastwise trade appears to have diminished very little as time passed.
In 1755, _The Gentlemen's Magazine_ carried an account of Bideford,

    Great quantities of potters ware are made, and exported to Wales,
    Ireland, and Bristol.... In the parish of Fremington are great
    quantities of reddish potters' clay, which are brought and
    manufactured at Biddeford, whence the ware is sent to different places
    by sea.

John Watkins, in 1792, wrote:[29]

    The potters here, for making coarse brown earthenware, are pretty
    considerable, and the demand for the articles of their manufacture in
    various parts of the kingdom, is constantly great ... The profits to
    the manufacturers of this article are very great, which is evidenced
    by several persons having risen within a few years, from a state of
    the greatest obscurity and poverty, to wealth and consequence of no
    small extent.

[Illustration: FIGURE 6.--Gravel-tempered oven of the 17th or early 18th
century, acquired in Bideford. (_USNM 394505._)]

[Illustration: FIGURE 7.--Gravel-tempered oven from 17th-century house on
Bideford Quay. Borough of Bideford Public Library and Museum. (_Photo by
A. C. Littlejohns._)]

Not only was coastwise trade in earthenware maintained throughout the 18th
century but it was continued, in fact, until the final decline of the
potteries at the turn of the present century.

Although great antiquity attaches to the origins of North Devon pottery
manufacture--Barnstaple has had its Crock Street for 450 years[30]--the
principal evidence of early manufacture falls into the second half of the
17th century. We have seen that a growing America provided an increasing
market for North Devon's ceramic wares. In 1668 Crocker's pottery was
established at Bideford, and it is in the period following that Bideford's
importance as a pottery center becomes noticeable. Crocker's was operated
until 1896, its dated 17th-century kilns then still intact after producing
wares that varied little during all of the pottery's 228 years of

In Barnstaple the oldest pottery to survive until modern times was
situated in the North Walk. When it was dismantled in 1900, sherds dating
from the second half of the 17th century were found in the surroundings,
as was a potter's guild sign, dated 1675, which now hangs in Brannam's
pottery in Litchdon Street, Barnstaple. A pair of fire dogs, dated 1655
and shaped by molds similar to one from the North Walk site, was excavated
near the North Walk pottery.

Both Bideford and Barnstaple had numerous potteries in addition to
Crocker's and Brannam's. One, in Potter's Lane in the East-the-Water
section of Bideford, was still making "coarse plain ware" in 1906;[32] its
buildings were still standing in 1920. We have already observed that the
Litchdon Street works of C. H. Brannam, Ltd., remains in operation in a
modern building on the site of its 17th-century forerunner. Outside the
limits of the two large towns there were "a number of small pot works in
remote districts," including the parish of Fremington, where Fishley's
pottery, established in the 18th century, flourished until 1912.[33]
Jewitt states that the remains of five old potteries were found in the
location of Fishley's.[34]

[Illustration: FIGURE 8.--Views of opening of oven in figure 7,
photographed before its removal from house. This illustrates how oven was
built into corner of fireplace and concealed from view. At right, the oven
door is in place. (_Photos by A. C. Littlejohns._)]

The clay with which all the potters worked came from three similar deep
clay deposits in a valley running parallel with the River Taw in the
parishes of Tawstock and Fremington between Bideford and Barnstaple. A
geologist in 1864 wrote that the clay is "perfectly homogeneous ...
exceedingly tough, free from slightest grit and soft as butter."[35] When
fired at too high a temperature, he wrote, the clay would become so
vesicular that it would float on water. The kilns were bottle-shaped and,
according to tradition, originally were open at the top, like lime kilns;
the contents were roofed over with old crocks.[36]

Apparently all the potteries made the same types of wares, "coarse" or
common earthenware having comprised the bulk of their product. The
utilitarian red-ware was indeed coarse, since it was liberally tempered
with Bideford gravel in order to insure hardness and to offset the purity
and softness of the Fremington clay. An anonymous historian wrote in

Just above the bridge [over the River Torridge] is a little ridge of
gravel of a peculiar quality, without which the potters could not make
their ware. There are many other ridges of gravel within the bar, but this
only is proper for their use.

John Watkins wrote that Bideford earthenware "is generally supposed to be
superiour to any other of the kind, and this is accounted for, from the
peculiar excellence of the gravel which this river affords, in binding the
clay." His claim that "this is the true reason, seems clear, from the fact
that though the potteries at Barnstaple make use of the same sort of clay,
yet their earthenware is not held in such esteem at Bristol, &c. as that
of Bideford"[38] is scarcely supportable, since the Barnstaple potters
also used the same Bideford gravel. The fire dogs found in Barnstaple with
the date 1655, referred to above, were tempered with this gravel, as were
"ovens, tiles, pipkins, etc.," in order "to harden the ware," according
to Charbonnier, who also observed that "The ware generally was very badly
fired.... From the fragments it can be seen that the firing was most
unequal, parts of the body being grey in colour instead of a rich red, as
the well-fired portions are." He noted that the potters applied "the
galena native sulphide of lead for the glaze, no doubt originally dusted
on to the ware, as with the older potters elsewhere."[39] A sherd of
gravel-tempered ware is displayed in the window of Brannam's Barnstaple
pottery, while a small pan from Bideford, probably of 19th-century origin,
is in the Smithsonian collections (USNM 394440).

[Illustration: FIGURE 9.--Gravel-tempered oven made at Crocker pottery,
Bideford, in the 19th century. Borough of Bideford Public Library and
Museum. (_Photo by A. C. Littlejohns._)]

[Illustration: FIGURE 10.--Restored gravel-tempered oven from Jamestown.
Colonial National Historical Park. (_National Park Service photo._)]

The most remarkable form utilizing gravel-tempered clay is found in the
baking ovens which remained a North Devon specialty for over two
centuries. These ovens vary somewhat in shape, and were made in graduated
sizes. Most commonly they are rectangular with domed superstructures,
having been molded or "draped" in sections, with their parts joined
together, leaving seams with either tooled or thumb-impressed
reenforcements. An oven obtained in Bideford has a flat top, without
visible seams (USNM 394505; fig. 6).

An early example occurs in Barnstaple, where, in a recently restored inn,
an oven was found installed at the side of a fireplace which is "late
sixteenth century in character." Pipes and a pair of woman's shoes, all
dating from the first half of the 18th century, were found in the
fireplace after it had been exposed, thus indicating the period of its
most recent use.[40] An oven discovered intact behind a wall during
alteration of a Bideford house is believed to date from between 1650 and
1675.[41] That oven (figs. 7, 8) is now exhibited in the Bideford Museum.

At the other extreme, C. H. Brannam of Barnstaple in 1890 was still making
ovens in the ancient North Walk pottery.[42] The following year H. W.
Strong wrote of Fishley's Fremington pottery that "shiploads of the big
clay ovens in which the Cornishman bakes his bread ... meet with a ready
sale in the fishing towns on the rugged coast of North Cornwall."[43]
Fremington ovens also were shipped to Wales,[44] and, according to Jewitt,
those made in the Crocker pottery in Bideford "are, and for generations
have been, in much repute in Devonshire and Cornwall, and in the Welsh
districts, and the bread baked in them is said to have a sweeter and more
wholesome flavour than when baked in ordinary ovens."[45]

[Illustration: FIGURE 11.--Sgraffito-ware platters from Jamestown. The
platter shown above has a diameter of 15 inches; the others, 12 inches.
Colonial National Historical Park.]

Of ovens made at Barnstaple there is much the same kind of evidence. In
1851, Thomas Brannam exhibited an oven at the Crystal Palace, where it
was described as "generally used in Devonshire for baking bread and
meat."[46] In 1786, "Barnstaple ovens" were advertised for sale in Bristol
at M. Ewers' "Staffordshire, Broseley, and Glass Warehouse."[47]
Thirty-six years earlier, in 1750, Dr. Pococke, who indefatigably entered
every sort of observation in his journal, noted that in Devonshire and
Cornwall "they make great use here of Cloume ovens,[48] which are of
earthen ware of several sizes, like an oven, and being heated they stop
'em up and cover 'em over with embers to keep in the heat."[49] Pococke
visited Calstock, "where they have a manufacture of coarse earthenware,
and particularly of earthenware ovens."[50] We have encountered only one
other instance of ovens having been made at any place other than the North
Devon communities around the Fremington clay beds. Calstock lies some 35
miles below Bideford in the southeast corner of Cornwall, just over the
Devonshire boundary.

As for evidence concerning the manner in which these ovens were used in
England, we have already seen that they were built into houses. Jewitt
wrote that they "are simply enclosed in raised brickwork, leaving the
mouth open to the front." They were heated until red hot by sticks or
logs, which were then raked out with long iron tongs.[51] A bundle of
gorse, or wood, according to Jewitt,[52] was sufficient to "thoroughly
bake three pecks of dough." Pococke's remarks to the effect that the ovens
were covered over with embers to keep in the heat suggests that they were
sometimes freestanding. However, this could also have been the practice
when ovens were built into fireplaces.

From an esthetic point of view, the crowning achievement of the North
Devon potters was their sgraffito ware, examples of which in Brannam's
window display have already been noted. Further evidence in the form of
17th-century sherds was found by Charbonnier around the site of the North
Walk pottery in Barnstaple. These consisted of "plates and dishes of
various size and section.... Extensive as the demand for these dishes must
have been, judging from the heap of fragments, not a single piece has to
my knowledge been found above ground."[53] The apparently complete
disappearance of the sgraffito table wares suggests that they ceased to be
made about 1700. They were apparently forced from the market by the
refinement of taste that developed in the 18th century and by the
delftware of Bristol and London and Liverpool that was so much more in
keeping with that taste.

However, certain kinds of sgraffito ware continued to be made without
apparent interruption until early in the present century. Instead of
useful tableware, decorated with symbols and motifs characteristic of
17th-century English folk ornament, we find after 1700 only presentation
pieces, particularly in the form of large harvest jugs. The harvest jugs
were made for annual harvest celebrations, when they were passed around by
the farmers among their field hands in a folk ritual observed at the end
of harvest.[54] Unlike the sgraffito tablewares, where style and taste
were deciding factors in their survival, these special jugs were intended
to be used only in annual ceremonies. Thus they were carefully preserved
and passed on from generation to generation, with a higher chance for
survival than that which the sgraffito tablewares enjoyed.

The style of the harvest jugs is in sharp contrast to that of the
tablewares, the jugs having been decorated in a pagan profusion of
fertility and prosperity symbols, mixed sometimes with pictorial and
inscriptive allusions to the sea, particularly on jugs ascribed to
Bideford. The oldest dated examples embody characteristics of design and
techniques that relate them unmistakably to the tablewares, while later
specimens made throughout the 18th and 19th centuries show an increasing
divergence from the 17th-century style. An especially elaborate piece was
made for display at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the Crystal

Less complicated pieces, with a minimum of incising, were made for
ordinary use, as were plain pieces whose surfaces were covered with slip
without decoration. The trailing and splashing of slip designs on the body
of the ware, practiced in Staffordshire and many of our colonial
potteries, apparently was not followed in North Devon.[56]

Sites Yielding North Devon Types

Excepting the Bowne House oven and a 1698 jug (see p. 45), no example of
North Devon pottery used in America is known to have survived above
ground. Archeological evidence, however, provides a sufficient record of
North Devon wares and the tastes and customs they reflected. Following are
descriptions of the principal sites in which these wares were found.


The site of Jamestown, first permanent English settlement in North
America, has been excavated at intervals by the National Park Service. The
early excavations were under the supervision of several archeological
technicians directing Civilian Conservation Corps crews. In September
1936, J. C. Harrington became supervising archeologist of the project, and
until World War II he continued the work as funds permitted. Except for
the privately sponsored excavation of the Jamestown glasshouse site by
Harrington in 1947, no extensive archeological work was thereafter
undertaken until 1954, when John L. Cotter was appointed chief
archeologist. Thorough exploration of Jamestown was his responsibility
until 1956.[57]

One of the most interesting subsites in the Jamestown complex was the two
and one-half acres of lots which belonged successively to William May,
Nicholas Merriweather, William White, and Henry Hartwell. The site was
first explored in 1935. On this occasion there was disclosed a meandering
brick drain that had been built on top of a fill of artifactual refuse,
mostly pottery sherds. The richness of this yield was unparalleled
elsewhere at Jamestown; from it comes our principal evidence about the
North Devon types sent to America.

[Illustration: FIGURE 12.--Sgraffito-ware cup and plate from Jamestown.
The cup is 4 inches high; the plate is 7 inches in diameter. Colonial
National Historical Park.]

The May-Hartwell site was explored further and in far greater detail in
1938 and 1939 by Harrington, whose unpublished typescript report is on
file with the National Park Service.[58] Harrington's excavation, in the
light of historical documentation, led to the conclusion that the brick
drain had been laid during Henry Hartwell's occupancy of the site between
1689 and 1695. This was supported by the inclusion in the fill of many
bottle seals bearing Hartwell's initials, "H. H." Hartwell married the
widow of William White, who had purchased the property from Nicholas
Merriweather in 1677. That was the year following Bacon's Rebellion, when
Merriweather's house presumably was destroyed.

[Illustration: FIGURE 13.--Sgraffito-ware jugs, about 8 inches high, from
Jamestown. Colonial National Historical Park.]

There were many hundreds of sherds in the fill under and around the brick
drain, as well as in other ditches in the site. The North Devon types were
found here in association with numerous classes of pottery. The most
readily identifiable were sherds of English delftware of many forms and
styles of decoration related to the second half of the 17th century. There
were occasional earlier 17th-century examples, also, as might be expected.
No 18th-century intrusions were noted in the brick drain area, and only a
scattering in other portions; none was found in association with the North
Devon sherds.


North Devon wares occur in the majority of sites at Jamestown, but it is
not always possible to date them from contextual evidence because precise
archeological records were not always kept in the early phases of the
excavations. Nevertheless, narrow dating is easily possible in enough
sites to suggest date horizons for the wares.

The earliest evidence occurs in material from a well (W-21)--excavated in
1956[59]--that contained an atypical sgraffito sherd described below (p.
43). The sherd lay beneath a foot-deep deposit that included Dutch
majolica, Italian sgraffito ware, and tobacco pipes, all dating in form or
decoration prior to 1650. This sherd is unique among all those found at
Jamestown, but it is essentially characteristic of North Devon work.
Presumably it is a forerunner of the typical varieties found in the
May-Hartwell site and elsewhere.

No gravel-tempered sherds occur in contexts that can positively be dated
prior to 1675. A sizable deposit of gravel-tempered sherds was found
between the depth of one foot and the level of the cellar floor of the
mansion house site (Structure 112) located near the pitch-and-tar swamp.
This house was built before 1650, but burned, probably during Bacon's
Rebellion in 1676.[60] The sherds were doubtless part of the household
equipment of the time. All other ceramic fragments, with one exception,
were associated with objects dating earlier than 1660.

[Illustration: FIGURE 14.--Sgraffito-ware jug and cups from Jamestown.
Colonial National Historical Park.]

In sites dating from before about 1670, no North Devon wares are found,
excepting the early sgraffito sherd mentioned above. Such was the case
with a brick kiln (Structure 127) of early 17th-century date and two sites
(Structure 110 and Kiln C) in the vicinity of the pottery kiln. In
Structure 110 all the ceramics date from before 1650.[61]

The latest occurrence of gravel-tempered wares is in contexts of the early
and middle 18th century. A pit near the Ambler property (Refuse Pit
2)[62] yielded a typical early 18th-century deposit with flat-rimmed
gravel-tempered pans of characteristic type. Associated with these were
pieces of blue delft (before 1725), Staffordshire "combed" ware (made
throughout the 18th century, but mostly about 1730-1760), Nottingham
stoneware (throughout the 18th century), gray-white Höhr stoneware (last
quarter, 17th century), Buckley black-glazed ware (mostly 1720-1770), and
Staffordshire white salt-glazed ware (1740-1770).


In 1941, Joseph B. and Alvin W. Brittingham, amateur archeologists of
Hampton, Virginia, excavated several refuse pits on the site of what they
believed to be an early 17th-century trading post located at the original
site of Kecoughtan, an Indian village and colonial outpost settlement
which later became Elizabeth City, Virginia. Rich artifactual evidence,
reflecting on a small scale what was found at Jamestown, indicates a
continuous occupancy from the beginning of settlement in 1610 to about
1760.[63] The collection was given to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.

[Illustration: FIGURE 15.--This sgraffito-ware chamber pot, from
Jamestown, has incised on the rim _WR 16 .._, probably in reference to the
king. Height, 5-1/2 inches. Colonial National Historical Park.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 16.--Sgraffito-ware harvest jug made in Bideford,
with the date "1795" inscribed. Borough of Bideford Public Library and
Museum. (_Photo by A. C. Littlejohns._)]


In 1642 Sir William Berkeley arrived in Virginia to be its governor. Seven
years later he built Green Spring, about five miles north of Jamestown.
The house remained standing until after 1800. Its site was excavated in
1954 by the National Park Service under supervision of Louis R. Caywood,
Park Service archeologist.[64] The project, supported jointly by the
Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown Celebration Commission and the Virginia
350th Anniversary Commission, was executed under supervision of Colonial
National Historical Park at Yorktown, Virginia.


A small amount of North Devon gravel-tempered ware was found in sites
excavated in Williamsburg by Colonial Williamsburg, Inc. These excavations
have been carried out as adjuncts to the Williamsburg restoration program
over a 30-year period. Few of the North Devon sherds found can be closely
dated, having occurred primarily in undocumented ditches, pits, and
similar deposits. However, it is unlikely that any of the material dates
earlier than the beginning of the 18th century, since Williamsburg was not
authorized as a town until 1699. It is significant, in the light of this,
that North Devon pan sherds in the Williamsburg collection have
characteristics like those of specimens from other 18th-century sites.
Also significant is the fact that no sgraffito ware occurs here. A
gravel-tempered pan (fig. 23) from the Coke-Garrett House site was found
in a context that can be dated about 1740-1760.

[Illustration: FIGURE 17.--Views of North Devon harvest jug used in Sussex
County, Delaware. This jug, 11 inches high and dated 1698, is in the
collection of Charles G. Dorman. The inscription reads:

    "Kind S{r}: i com to Gratifiey youre Kindness Love and Courtisy and
    Sarve youre table with Strong beare for this intent i was sent heare:
    or if you pleas i will supply youre workmen when in harvist dry when
    they doe labour hard and swear{e} good drinke is better far then Meat"]


In 1930 the National Park Service became custodians for "Wakefield," the
George Washington birthplace site on Pope's Creek in Westmoreland County.
About a mile to the west of "Wakefield" itself, but within the Park area,
is the site of Bridges Creek Plantation, purchased in 1664 by John
Washington, the earliest member of the family in America. It was occupied
by John at least until his death in 1677, and probably by Lawrence
Washington until a few years later. Much artifactual material was dug from
the plantation house site, including the largest deposits of North Devon
types found outside of Jamestown.[65]


A short-lived town was built in 1691 at the confluence of Potomac Creek
and the Potomac River on Potomac Neck. The town was abandoned by 1720, but
six years later became the abode of John Mercer, who developed a
plantation there. The site of his house was excavated by the Smithsonian
Institution in 1956. Two small sherds of North Devon gravel-tempered ware
were found there in a predominantly mid-18th-century deposit.

[Illustration: FIGURE 18.--Gravel-tempered pan (top) and cooking pot with
cover, all from Jamestown. The pan has a height of 4-1/2 inches and a
diameter of 15 inches. The pot is 6 inches high and 9-1/2 inches in
diameter; the diameter of its cover is 10 inches. Colonial National
Historical Park.]


Since 1954 Robert A. Elder, Jr., assistant curator of ethnology at the
United States National Museum, has been investigating the site on the
Chesapeake Bay of a plantation or small settlement known as Angelica
Knoll. This investigation has revealed a generous variety of
gravel-tempered utensil forms, including both 17th and 18th century
styles. The range of associated artifacts points to a site dating from the
late 17th century to about 1765.


A small collection of late 17th-century and early 18th-century
material--gathered by Richard H. Stearns near the shore of Kent Island, a
quarter-mile south of Kent Island Landing--includes both North Devon
types. The collection was given to the United States National Museum.


The Townsend site was excavated by members of the Sussex County
Archeological Society in 1947. This was primarily an Indian site, but a
pit or well contained European artifacts, including a North Devon
gravel-tempered jar (fig. 25). The village of Lewes, originally the Dutch
settlement of Zwaanandael, was destroyed by the British, who occupied the
area in 1664.[66] The European materials from the Townsend site were given
to the United States National Museum.


A site of a house believed to have been Robert Morton's, located south of
the town of Plymouth, was excavated by Henry Hornblower II. It contained
North Devon gravel-tempered sherds. The collection is now in the
archeological laboratory of Plimoth Plantation, Inc., in Plymouth.


The John Howland house was built between 1628 and 1630; it burned about
1675. The site was excavated between September 1937 and July 1938 under
supervision of the late Sidney T. Strickland.[67] Several gravel-tempered
utensil sherds were found here, as well as a piece of an oven (see fig.
26). Artifacts from this and the following site are at the Plimoth
Plantation laboratory.

The foundations of the Joseph Howland house, adjacent to the John Howland
house site, were excavated in 1959 by James Deetz, archeologist at Plimoth
Plantation. This is the only New England site of which we are aware that
has yielded North Devon sgraffito ware. Two successive houses apparently
stood on the site. Statistical evidence of pipe-stem-bore measurements
points to 1680-1710 as the first principal period of occupancy.[68]


This site, excavated by Henry Hornblower II and tentatively dated
1635-1699, yielded considerable quantities of gravel-tempered ware.
Cultural material is predominantly from about 1675.


The John Bowne House is a historic house museum at Bowne Street and Fox
Lane, Flushing, Long Island, maintained by the Bowne House Historical
Society. Bowne was a Quaker from Derbyshire, who built his house in 1661.
A North Devon oven is still in place, with its opening at the back of the


The National Park Service has excavated at various locations in Yorktown,
both in the neighboring battlefield sites and the town itself. Yorktown,
like Marlborough, was established by the Act for Ports in 1691. In several
of the areas excavated, occasional sherds of North Devon gravel-tempered
ware were found. In refuse behind the site of the Swan Tavern, opened as
an inn in 1722 but probably occupied earlier, a single large fragment of a
15-inch sgraffito platter was discovered. No other pieces of this type
were found, associated artifacts having been predominantly from the 18th

[Illustration: FIGURE 19.--Gravel-tempered bowl (top) and pipkins from
Jamestown. Colonial National Historical Park.]

Descriptions of Types


Sites: Jamestown, Kecoughtan, Green Spring, John Washington House, Kent
Island, Yorktown, Joseph Howland House.


Manufacture: Wheel-turned, with templates used to shape collars of jugs
and to shape edges and sometimes ridges where plate rims join bezels.

Temper: Fine, almost microscopic, water-worn sand particles.

Texture: Fine, smooth, well-mixed, sharp, regular cleavage.

Color: Dull pinkish red, with gray core usual.

Firing: Two firings, one before glazing and one after. Usually incomplete
oxidation, shown by gray core. A few specimens have surface breaks or
flakings incurred in the firing and most show warping (suggesting that
"rejects," unsalable in England, were sent to the colonists, who had no
recourse but to accept them).


Treatment: Inner surfaces of plates and bowls and outer surfaces of jugs,
cups, mugs, chamber pots, and other utensils viewed on the exteriors are
coated with white kaolin slip. Designs are scratched through the slip
while wet and into the surface of the paste, exposing the latter.
Undersides of plates and chargers are often scraped to make irregular flat
areas of surface. Slip-covered portions are coated with amber glaze by
sifting on powdered galena (lead sulphide). Containers which are slipped
externally are glazed externally and internally. Slip and glaze do not
cover lower portions of jugs, but run down unevenly.

[Illustration: FIGURE 20.--Gravel-tempered chafing dish from Jamestown.
Colonial National Historical Park. (_Smithsonian photo 43104._)]

Color: Slipped surfaces are white where exposed without glaze. Unglazed
surfaces are a dull terra cotta. The glaze varies in tone from honey color
to a dark greenish amber. When applied over the slip, the glaze ranges
from lemon to a toneless brown-yellow, or, at best, a sparkling butter
color. When applied directly over the paste and over the incised and
abraided designs, the glaze appears as a rich mahogany brown or dark


Plates, platters, and chargers:

    (a) Diameter 7"-7-1/2". Upper surface slipped, decorated, and glazed.
    (Fig. 12.)

    (b) Diameter 12"; depth 2"-3". Upper surface slipped, decorated, and
    glazed. (Fig. 11.)

    (c) Diameter 14-1/2"-15"; depth 2"-3". Upper surface slipped,
    decorated, and glazed. (Fig. 11.)

All have wide rims, but of varying widths, raised bezels, and heavy,
raised, curved edges.

Baluster wine cups: Height 3-3/4"-4". Slipped and decorated externally;
glazed internally and externally. (Figs. 12, 14.)

Concave-sided mugs: Height about 4". Slipped and decorated externally;
glazed internally and externally. (Only complete specimen, at Jamestown,
had incised band around rim.) (Fig. 14.)

Jugs: Height 6-1/2" and 8"-8-1/2". Globose bodies, vertical or slightly
everted collars tooled in a series of ridged bands, with tooled rims at
top. Some have pitcher lips, some do not. Slipped, decorated, and glazed
externally above an incised line encircling the waist; glazed internally.
(Figs. 13, 14.)

Eating bowls: Diameter, including handle, 9"-10"; depth 3-1/4"-4".
Straight, everted sides, flat rims, with slightly raised edges, one small
flat loop handle secured to rim. Slipped, decorated, and glazed internally
and on rim.

[Illustration: FIGURE 21.--Gravel-tempered baking pan from Jamestown.
Length, 15 inches; width, about 12 inches. Colonial National Historical

Chamber pots: Height 5-1/2". Curving sides, terminating at heavy, raised,
rounded band surmounted by concave, everted rim. Rim 1" wide and flat.
Slipped, decorated, and glazed externally and internally. (Fig. 15.)

Candlestick: Unique specimen. Height 6". Bell-shaped base with flange and
shaft above with socket at top. Handle from bottom of socket to bottom of
shaft. Upper portion slipped, decorated, and glazed.

Ripple-edged, shallow dish: Unique specimen. Diameter 9-1/4". Concave,
rimless dish or plate with edge crimped as for a pie or tart plate. Upper
surface slipped, decorated, and glazed.


Technique: (1) Incising through wet slip into paste with pointed tool for
linear effects. (2) Excising of small areas to reveal paste and to
strengthen tonal qualities of designs. (3) Incising with multiple-pointed
tools having three to five points, to draw multiple-lined stripes. (4)
Stippling with same tools.

Motifs: The motifs are varied and never occur in any one combination more
than once. There are two general categories of design, geometric and
floral, although in some cases these are joined in the same specimen.

In the geometric category, the majority of plate rims are decorated with
hastily drawn spirals and _guilloches_. The centers may have circles
within squares, circles enclosing compass-drawn petals, circles within a
series of swags embellished with lines. Triple-lined chevrons decorate the
border of one plate. A chamber pot is decorated with diagonal stripes of
multiple lines, between which wavy lines are punctuated by small excised
rectangles. Some cups, jugs, and the candlestick are simply decorated with
vertical stripes, between which are wavy lines, stippling, and excised

The floral category includes elaborate and intricate stylized floral and
vine motifs: tulips, sunflowers, leaves, tendrils, hearts, four-petaled
flowers. One plate (fig. 11) combines the geometric feeling of the first
category with the floral qualities of the second in its swag-and-tassel
rim and swagged band, which encloses a sunflower springing from a stalk
between two leaves.

The design motifs are unique in comparison with those found on other
English pottery of the 17th century. The geometrical patterns and spiral
ornaments, which also occur in Hispanic majolica, have a Moorish flavor.
Christian symbols--especially tulips, sunflowers, and hearts--are
recurrent, as they are on contemporary West-of-England furniture, pewter,
and embroidery and on the carved chests, and crewel work of Puritan New
England. There is considerable reason to believe that there was a
connection between North Devon sgraffito-ware manufacture and design on
the one hand and the influx of Huguenot and Netherlands Protestant
artisans into southern and southwestern England on the other. Low Country
immigrant potters were responsible for two other ceramic innovations
elsewhere in England--stoneware and majolica.

[Illustration: FIGURE 22.--Slip-coated porringers and drinking bowl
(center). Colonial National Historical Park.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 23.--North Devon gravel-tempered pan with typical
terra cotta paste and characteristic 18th-century flattened rim, slightly
undercut on the interior. This pan, measuring 13-1/4 inches in diameter
and 4-3/8 inches high, was found at the Coke-Garrett house site in
Williamsburg, Virginia, in a context attributed to the period about
1740-1760. Colonial Williamsburg, Inc. (_Colonial Williamsburg photo


Already mentioned is a large fragment of a dish found in a context not
later than 1640 and cruder and simpler in treatment than the remainder of
North Devon sgraffito ware thus far seen. It nevertheless belongs to the
same class. Its paste has the same characteristics of color and fracture,
while the firing has left the same tell-tale gray core found in a large
proportion of North Devon sherds. Surface treatment techniques match those
reflected in the typical dish sherds--glazed slip over the red paste on
the interior; unglazed, scraped, and abraided surfaces on the underside.
The yellow color is paler and the glazed surface is duller. The rim has a
smaller edge and omits the heavy raised bezel usually occurring on the
typical plates and chargers. The design motifs--crude and primitive in
comparison with those described above--consist of a series of stripes on
the rim, drawn at right angles to the edge with a four-pointed tool, and
crude hook-like ornaments traced with the same tool in the bowl of the
plate. This may be regarded as a forerunner of the developed sgraffito
ware made in the second half of the 17th century.

[Illustration: FIGURE 24.--Gravel-tempered pan sherds from Kecoughtan
site, Hampton, Virginia. United States National Museum.]


The flat rim of a chamber pot from Jamestown (fig. 15) has "WR 16 .."
scratched through the slip. It is probable that the initials indicate
"William Rex," for William III, who became king in 1688. Why the king
should be memorialized in such an undignified fashion could be explained
by the fact that Barnstaple and Bideford were strongly Puritan and also
Huguenot centers. Although William was a popular monarch, he was,
nevertheless, head of the Church of England, and an anti-royalist,
Calvinist potter might well have expressed an earthy contempt in this way.
Later, in the 18th century, George III appears to have been treated with
similar disrespect by Staffordshire potters, who made saltglazed chamber
pots in the style of Rhenish Westerwald drinking jugs, flaunting "GR"
emblems on the sides. Owners' initials or names do not occur on any of the
North Devon wares found in American sites, nor do the initials of the
potters. Otherwise, it would seem unlikely that the only exception would
appear on the rim of a chamber pot.


Sherds owned by C. H. Brannam, Ltd., and excavated at the site of the
Litchdon Street pottery in Barnstaple.--The largest of these is part of a
deep dish (fig. 2). Its border design seems to be a degenerate form of a
beetle-like device found on Portuguese majolica of the period. From a
crude oval with a stippled line running the length of it, extends a spiral
scroll, terminating in a heavy dot, reminiscent of the tendrils found on
the Portuguese examples. From incised lines near the rim and on the edge
of the bezel are small linear "hooks." The interior has sunflower petals
flanking a short, stylized palmette, with another stalk and pair of leaves
above, reaching up to what may have been an elaborate floral center, now
missing. This decoration resembles closely the interiors of the
floral-type plates and chargers found at Jamestown. A section of plate rim
is similar to typical rims found in American sites. The surface color is
the butter yellow found on the best Jamestown pieces. Paste color also

Sherds from the North Walk pottery in Barnstaple, described by
Charbonnier.--These were found near the site, on the banks of the Yeo and
in a pasture. They include plates and dishes, some finished and others
thrown out in the biscuit state. Charbonnier illustrates a plate with a
zig-zag or chevron border and an incised bird in the center. The chevron
appears on Jamestown specimens but the bird does not.

Harvest jugs.--18th-century North Devon harvest jugs examined by the
writer display the same characteristics of paste, slip, and glaze as the
Jamestown sherds. However, the jugs differ stylistically to a marked
degree, suggesting that later potters were not affected by the influences
that appear in the earlier work (fig. 16). The earliest harvest jug of
which we are aware is a hitherto unrecorded example, dated 1698, that is
in the collection of Charles G. Dorman. This is the only harvest jug yet
encountered with a history of use in America and the only North Devon
sgraffito piece known to have survived above ground on this continent. It
is a remarkably vigorous pot, having a great rotund body, a high flaring
collar, and a lengthy inscription (see fig. 17). A female figure under a
wreath of pomegranates forms the central motif. The head is turned in left
profile, with hair cascading to the shoulders. The bust is highly stylized
in an oval shape, within which are intersecting curved lines forming areas
decorated with diagonal incising or with rows of short dashes. The
design here is strongly reminiscent of the geometrical decoration on
Jamestown plates and deep dishes. A pair of unicorns flanks the central
figure, and behind each unicorn are a dove and swan, at left and right
respectively. Under these are sunflowers and tulips, while a tulip stands
above rows of leaves on a stem below the handle. Feather-like leaves flank
the lower attachment of the handle. At the junction of the shoulder and
collar is a narrow band of incised tulips. Above this is a heavy ridge
from which springs the flaring collar. Under the spout is a male head,
wearing a wig which is depicted in the same manner as the pomegranates on
the wreath, and a stylized hat and stock-like collar. One suspects that
the man is a clergyman, although his eyes are cast down in a most worldly
manner upon the lady below. He is flanked by a pair of doves; behind each
dove is a vertical tulip with stem and leaves.

[Illustration: FIGURE 25.--Gravel-tempered food-storage jar from Townsend
site, Lewes, Delaware. Height, 12 inches; diameter at base, 9 inches.
(_USNM 60.1188; Smithsonian photo 38821._)]

[Illustration: FIGURE 26.--Gravel-tempered sherds from Plymouth,
Massachusetts: fragment of oven (left) and rim sherd (upper right), from
John Howland house site; and pan-rim sherd from "R. M." site. Plimoth
Plantation, Inc., Plymouth. (_Smithsonian photo 45008-B._)]

Some of the shading is applied with a four-pointed tool, as in many of the
Jamestown pieces, although the tool was smaller. The handle bears the same
characteristics as those on jugs found at Jamestown--the same carelessly
formed ridge, the same spreading, up-thrust reinforcement at the base of
the handle. Unlike the Jamestown jugs, this one is covered completely on
the exterior with slip and glaze. However, since this was a presentation
piece, we could expect more careful treatment than was usual on pots made
for commercial sale.

The jug descended in a Sussex County, Delaware, family--on the distaff
side, curiously. Family recollection traces its ownership back to the
early 19th century, with an unsubstantiated legend that it was used by
British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. We may conclude at least
that the jug is not a recent import and surmise that it was probably
brought to America as an heirloom by an emigrating Devon family, perhaps
before the Revolution. Sussex County has a stable population, mostly of
old-stock English descent. It was settled during the second half of the
17th and first half of the 18th centuries. There is a strong possibility,
therefore, that the jug was introduced into Delaware at a comparatively
early date.

Many other harvest jugs have been similarly cherished in England. An
almost exact counterpart of the Delaware jug, and obviously by the same
potter, is in the Glaisher collection in Cambridge. This jug, dated
"1703/4,"[69] displays such variations as absence of the male head and a
different inscription. Another jug, with a hunting scene but with a
similar neck and collar treatment, seems again to be by the same hand;
it is dated "1703."[70]

[Illustration: FIGURE 27.--Gravel-tempered sherds from Angelica Knoll
site, Calvert County, Maryland. United States National Museum.
(_Smithsonian photo 45008-A._)]

From the standpoint of identifying and dating the archeologically
recovered sgraffito ware, these jugs are important in showing certain
traits similar to those found in the sherds, while displaying other
characteristics that are distinctly different. They support the
archeological evidence that the Jamestown pieces are earlier than the jugs
and that new design concepts were appearing by the turn of the century in
a novel type of presentation piece.


This is a plain variant of the sgraffito ware, differing only in the
absence of decoration and in some of the forms.

Site: Jamestown.


Plates: Diameter 7"-11-1/2". Profiles as in sgraffito plates. Upper
surface slipped and glazed.

Eating bowls: Diameter 9"; height 3-1/2". Profile and handle same as in
sgraffito bowls. Slipped and glazed on interior and over rim.

Porringers: Diameter 5-1/2"; height 2-3/4". Ogee profiles. Horizontal loop
handle applied 3/4" below rim on each. Slipped and glazed on interiors.
(Fig. 22.)

Drinking bowls: Diameter of rim, including handle, 5"; height 2-3/4"-3";
diameter of base 2". In shape of mazer bowl, these have narrow bases and
straight sides terminating in raised tooled bands at the junctions with
vertical or slightly inverted rims 1" in height. Each has a horizontal
looped handle attached at bottom of rim. Slipped and glazed on interiors.
(Fig. 22.)

Wavy-edge pans: Diameter 9"-10"; height 2". Flat round pans with vertical
rims distorted in wide scallops or waves. Purpose not known. Slipped and
glazed on interiors.


Sites: Jamestown, Kecoughtan, Green Spring, Williamsburg, Marlborough,
John Washington House, Kent Island, Angelica Knoll, Townsend, John Bowne
House, "R. M.," Winslow, John Howland House.


Manufacture: Wheel-turned, except ovens and rectangular pans, which are
"draped" over molds. (See "Forms," below.)

Temper: Very coarse water-worn quartz and feldsparthic gravel up to
one-half inch in length; also occasional sherds. Proportion of temper
15-25 percent, except in ovens, which were about 30 percent.

Texture: Poorly kneaded, bubbly, and porous, with temper poorly mixed.
Temper particles easily rubbed out of matrix. Very irregular and angular
cleavage because of coarse temper. Hard and resistant to blows, but
crumbles at fracture when broken.

Color: Dull pinkish red to deep orange-red. Almost invariably gray at
core, except in ovens.

Firing: Carelessly fired, with incomplete oxidation of paste.


Treatment: Glazed with powdered galena on interiors of containers, never
externally. Glaze very carelessly applied, with much evidence of dripping,
running, and unintentional spilling.

Texture: Very coarse and irregular, with gravel temper protruding.

Color: Unglazed surfaces range from bright terra cotta to reddish buff.
Glazed surfaces on well-fired pieces are transparent yellow-green with
frequent orange splotches. Overtired pieces become dark olive-amber,
sometimes approaching black. Rare specimens have slipped interiors
subsequently glazed, with similar butter-yellow color effect as in
sgraffito and plain slip-coated types.


All forms are not completely indicated, there being many rims not
represented by complete or reconstructed pieces. The following are
established forms.

Round, flat-bottomed pans: Diameter 16", height 4"; diameter 16", height
5"; diameter 18", height 4"; diameter 15", height 4-1/2"; diameter
13-1/4", height 4-3/8". Heavy rounded rims. Glazed internally below rims.
These were probably milk pans, but may also have served for cooking and
washing. Those lined with slip may have functioned as wash basins. (Figs.
18, 23.)

Round, flat-bottomed pans: Diameter approximately 19", height unknown. (No
complete specimen.) Heavy rims, reinforced with applied strips of clay
beneath external projection of rim. Reinforcement strips are secured with
thumb impressions or square impressions made by end of flat tool. (Figs.
28, 29.)

Cooking pots: Diameter 12", height 6"; diameter 8", height 5". Curving
sides, terminating at tooled concave band with flattened, slightly curving
rim above. Glazed inside.

Bowls: Diameter 8", height 5". Sides curved, with flattened-curve rims,
tooled bands below rims. Glazed internally. (Fig. 19.)

[Illustration: FIGURE 28.--Exteriors (left) and interiors of
gravel-tempered sherds. Top to bottom: bowl; pan; heavy pan with
reinforced rim; and pan with 18th-century-type rim. Colonial National
Historical Park. (_From Smithsonian photos 43039-A, 43041-A._)]

Cooking pots: Diameter (including handles) 9-1/2", height 6". Profile a
segmented curve, with rim the same diameter as base. Exterior flange to
receive cover. Small horizontal loop handles. Band of three incised lines
around waist. (Fig. 18.)

Cooking pot covers: Diameters 7", 10", 10-1/2", 11". Flat covers, with
downward-turned rims. Off-center loop handles, probably designed to
facilitate examination of contents of pot by permitting one to lift up
one edge of cover. Covers are sometimes numbered with incised numerals.
Unglazed. (Fig. 18.)

[Illustration: FIGURE 29.--Exteriors (left) and interiors of
gravel-tempered sherds. Pan (top) with 18th-century-type rim, and handle
of heavy pan with reinforced rim. Colonial National Historical Park.
(_From Smithsonian photos 43039-C, 43039-D._)]

Pipkins: Diameter 7", height 3"; diameter 8-1/2", height 3-1/2"; diameter
8-1/4", height 4"; diameter 8", height 5". Curving sides, terminating at
tooled concave band with flattened, slightly curved rim above. Three
stubby legs. Stub handle crudely shaped and casually applied at an upward
angle. Glazed inside. Used as a saucepan to stand in the coals. (Fig. 19.)

Rectangular basting or baking pans: Length 15", width 11-3/4" (dimensions
of single restored specimen at Jamestown; many fragments in addition at
Jamestown and Plymouth). Drape-molded. Reinforced scalloped rim. Heavy
horizontal loop handles are sometimes on sides, sometimes on ends. Glazed
inside. (Fig. 21.)

Storage jars: Various sizes. The one wholly restored specimen (Lewes,
Delaware) has a rim diameter of 8" and a height of 12-1/2". Rims of
largest examples (diameters 7", 10", 12") have reinforcement strips
applied below external projection. Heavy vertical loop handles, with tops
attached to rims. Most have interior flanges to receive covers. Glazed
inside. Such jars were essential for preserving and pickling foods and for
brewing beer. (Fig. 25.)

Plate warmer or chafing dish: Unique specimen. Diameter (including handle)
11", height 7". Heavy, flaring pedestal foot supports wide bowl, glazed
inside. Flat rim with slight elevation on outer edge. Protruding
vertically from rim are three lugs or supports for holding plates.
Vertical loop handles extend from rim to lower sides of bowl. "Spirits of
wine" were probably burned in the bowl to heat the plate above. (Fig. 20.)
Fragmentary pedestals, similar in profile to the one here (but smaller,
having step turnings around base) may have been parts of smaller chafing
dishes. (Fig. 31.)

[Illustration: FIGURE 30.--Exteriors (left) and interiors of
gravel-tempered sherds. Top to bottom: rim of small bowl; rim of small jar
with internal flange to receive cover; and pipkin handle. Colonial
National Historical Park. (_From Smithsonian photos 43039-C, 43039-D._)]

Ovens: (1) One wholly reconstructed oven at Jamestown. Made in sections on
drape molds: base, two sides, two halves of top, opening frame, and door.
Side and top sections are joined with seams, reinforced by finger
impressions, meeting at top of trapezoidal opening. The opening was molded
separately and joined with thumb-impressed reinforcements. A flat door
with heavy vertical handle, round in section, fits snugly into opening.
Thickness varies from 3/4" to 1-1/2". Unglazed, although smears of glaze
dripped during the firing indicate that the oven was fired with glazed
utensils stacked above it. (Fig. 10.)

(2) Oven in place in Bowne House, Flushing, Long Island. Similar in shape
to Jamestown oven. Opening is arched.

(3) Body sherd and handle sherds at Jamestown, from additional oven or

(4) Body sherd from dome-top oven similar to those at Jamestown and
Flushing. John Howland House site, Rocky Nook, Kingston, Plymouth County,
Massachusetts. (Fig. 26.)


Paste color, temper, and texture are consistent when examined
microscopically. Resemblance is very close between oven sherds from the
Jamestown and Howland house sites, and between these and a large chip
obtained from the Smithsonian's oven purchased in Bideford. Except for a
somewhat lower proportion of temper, utensil sherds from various sites are
consistent with the oven fragments. The Smithsonian's 19th-century
Bideford pan also closely resembles these, except for the proportion of
temper, which is somewhat less. Further close resemblance of form exists
between the Jamestown and Flushing ovens and those in the Bideford Museum.
(Figs. 7, 9.)

In 1954 comparative tests were made by Frederick H. Norton, professor of
ceramics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jamestown clay was used
for a control. Thin sections, made of sherds found at Jamestown, were
fired at several temperatures and the results recorded in
photomicrographs. Of the gravel-tempered sherd submitted in these tests,
Professor Norton commented, "The clay mass looks quite dissimilar from the
Jamestown clay."

No other identifiable English ware of this period compares with the
gravel-tempered pottery, the use of gravel for temper apparently being
restricted to North Devon. Gravel is found in red earthenware sherds from
Spanish colonial sites and in olive oil jars of Hispanic origin, but both
the quality and proportion of temper differs, as do the paste
characteristics, so that no possibility exists for confusion between them
and the North Devon ware.

The North Devon potteries produced gravel-tempered ovens that probably
were unique in England. Ceramic ovens were made elsewhere, to be sure;
Jewitt describes and illustrates an oven made in Yearsley by the Yorkshire
Wedgwoods in 1712, but it is in no way related to the North Devon form. We
have mentioned Dr. Pococke's allusion to "earthenware ovens" made in the
mid-18th century at Calstock on the Cornish side of the Devonshire border,
about 35 miles from Bideford; however, one may suppose that these were the
products of diffusion from the North Devon center, if, indeed, they even
resembled the North Devon ovens.

The closest comparisons with the North Devon ovens are to be found in
Continental sources. A woodcut in Ulrich von Richental's _Concilium zu
Constancz_ (fig. 35), printed at Augsburg in 1483, shows an oven whose
shape is similar to that of the Jamestown specimen. The oven in the
woodcut is mounted on a two-wheeled cart drawn by two men. A woman is
removing a tart from the flame-licked opening while a couple sits nearby
at a table in front of a shop. Le Moyne, a century later, depicted the
Huguenot Fort Caroline in Florida.[71] Just outside the stockade, on a
raised platform under a thatched lean-to appears an oven whose form is
similar to that of typical North Devon examples (fig. 36). It is a safe
assumption that the ovens in both Richental's and Le Moyne's scenes were
ceramic ovens, for both were used outdoors in a portable or temporary
manner. No other material would have been suitable for such use.

This portable usage gives support to Bailey's conjecture that the
Jamestown oven may have been used indoors in the winter and outdoors in
the summer. He noted that carbon had been ground into the base, as though
the oven had lain on a fireplace hearth.[72] Sidney Strickland, writing
about his excavation of the John Howland House site, noted that the stone
fireplace foundation there had no provision for a built-in brick oven of
conventional type.[73] Not having recognized the earthen oven sherd, he
assumed that bread was baked on the stone hearth. The pottery oven may
well have been placed on the hearth or have been set up in an outbuilding.
That ovens of some sort, whether ceramic or brick, were used away from
houses is borne out by occasional documentary evidence. In 1662 John
Andrews of Ipswich, Massachusetts, bequeathed a "bake house" worth 2
pounds, 10 shillings. In 1673, Henry Short of Newbury provided in his will
that his widow should have "free egress and regress into the Bakehouse for
bakeing & washing." In 1679 the inventory of Lt. George Gardner's estate
in Salem listed his "dwelling house, bake house & out housing."[74] Bailey
quotes the records of Henrico County, Virginia, to show a similar usage in
the South.[75]

[Illustration: FIGURE 31.--Pedestal bases of small chafing dishes or
standing salts. Top, exterior and interior of one sherd; bottom, exterior
and top view of another sherd. Colonial National Historical Park. (_From
Smithsonian photos 43039-C, 43030-D._)]

The only unquestionable evidence of how these ovens were used remains in
the Bowne House, where the oven is built into the fireplace back.
Originally, the oven protruded outdoors from the back of the chimney.[76]


Archeological, documentary, and literary evidences indicate that yellow
sgraffito ware, gravel-tempered earthenware utensils, and gravel-tempered
pottery ovens were made in several potteries in and around Barnstaple and
Bideford in North Devon. Clay from the Fremington clay beds was used.

The North Devon potteries manufactured for export, sending their wares to
Ireland as early as 1600 and to America by 1635. The trade was
particularly heavy in the years following the Stuart Restoration and was
tied to the influential 17th-century West-of-England commerce with
America. New England, Maryland, and Virginia received many shipments of
North Devon pottery, an entire cargo of it having been delivered in Boston
in 1688.

Sgraffito ware found in colonial sites in Virginia and Maryland is from a
common source. The style of decoration is unique to English pottery and
reflects Continental elements of design. It is reminiscent of decoration
found on English and colonial New England furniture and embroideries. The
only counterparts of this ware--matching it in style, paste color, and
technique--are found among 17th-century sherds excavated from the sites of
two potteries in Barnstaple. The 18th-century and 19th-century North Devon
sgraffito ware surviving above ground differs considerably in style and
form but in other respects it is the same as the ware found
archeologically in Virginia and Maryland. The stylistic differences,
noticeable on a piece in the Glaisher collection dated as early as 1704
(in which traces of the earlier style remain), were introduced by the turn
of the century, thus strengthening the conclusion that the sgraffito
tablewares found archeologically in this country must date from before

[Illustration: FIGURE 32.--Photomicrographs of gravel-tempered sherds
enlarged twice natural size, showing cross-sectional fractures. Top left,
pan sherd from Jamestown (Colonial National Historical Park); top right,
pan sherd from Angelica Knoll site, Calvert County, Maryland (United
States National Museum); and oven sherd from Bideford (United States
National Museum).]

[Illustration: FIGURE 33.--Photomicrographs of gravel-tempered sherds
enlarged three times natural size, showing cross-sectional fractures. Top,
pan sherd from "R. M." site, Plymouth, Massachusetts (Plimoth Plantation,
Inc.); lower left, oven sherd from Jamestown (Colonial National Historical
Park); and oven sherd from John Howland house site, Rocky Nook, Plymouth,
Massachusetts (Plimoth Plantation, Inc.).]

[Illustration: FIGURE 34.--Rim profiles of North Devon gravel-tempered
earthenware pans. All are from the fill around and beneath the
May-Hartwell site drain at Jamestown (constructed between 1689 and 1695)
except those marked, as follows: _A_, from Angelica Knoll site, Calvert
County, Maryland, late 17th century to about 1765; _B_, from John
Washington House site, Westmoreland County, Virginia, the period from
about 1664 to about 1680; _C_, from "R. M." site, Plymouth, Massachusetts,
about 1670; _D_, from site of George Washington's birthplace, near the
John Washington house site; _E_, from Winslow site, Marshfield,
Massachusetts, which was occupied from about 1635 to about 1699.]

For kitchen utensils, tiles, and other objects subject to heat or
breakage, the same Fremington clay received an admixture of fine pebbles,
or gravel, secured at a special place in the bed of the River Torridge in
Bideford. The use of gravel was described by 18th-century writers as well
as by later historians. As found in America, the gravel-tempered ware
apparently is unique among the products of either English or colonial
American potters.

A specialty of the North Devon potteries was the manufacture of ovens made
of the same gravel-tempered clay as the kitchen utensils. The appearance
of these ovens and the method of making them remained virtually the same
from the 17th through the 19th centuries. At Jamestown, a wholly
reconstructed oven reveals typical North Devon traits throughout, while a
fragment of an oven from the John Howland House site near Plymouth
displays, under a microscope, the same qualities of paste and temper as in
a fragment of an oven obtained in Bideford by the Smithsonian Institution.
Sherds of gravel-tempered utensils from several American sites also match
the oven fragments. Paste characteristics, exclusive of the temper, are
the same in the sgraffito ware, the gravel-tempered ware, and the ovens.
Furthermore, the gravel-tempered ware occasionally is found with a plain
coating of slip, which, under the glaze, has the same yellow color as the
sgraffito ware, while an undecorated variant of the sgraffito ware also
occurs with a similar plain slip.

[Illustration: FIGURE 35.--Baker's portable oven in a woodcut from Ulrich
von Richenthal's _Concilium zu Constancz_, printed at Augsburg, Germany,
in 1483. Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress.]

[Illustration: FIGURE 36.--Detail from De Bry's engraving of Le Moyne's
painting of Fort Caroline, depicting an oven on a raised platform under a
crude shed. Fort Caroline was a French Hugenot settlement established in
Florida in 1564. Rare Book Room, Library of Congress.]

All these wares, including the ovens, are interrelated--the specimens
found in America having been shipped in a busy North Devon-North American
trade. The North Devon towns, moreover, were an important pottery-making
center for export markets in the West of England, Ireland, and North
America. Thousands of parcels of earthenware were shipped to the American
colonies from Bideford and Barnstaple during the 17th century. Any doubts
that ovens were among these overseas shipments are dispelled by the
knowledge that they continually were being shipped in the English
coastwise trade, and also by intrinsic and comparative evidence that oven
sherds found on American sites are of North Devon origin.

The only known counterparts of the North Devon ovens are Continental. A
15th-century example appears in an Augsburg woodcut, and a 16th-century
specimen is depicted in De Bry's engraving after Le Moyne's painting of
Fort Caroline, the Huguenot settlement in Florida. There are many
suggestions of Huguenot and Low Country influences on North Devon pottery.
Bideford and Barnstaple both were Puritan strongholds in the 17th century,
and both became French Huguenot centers, especially after the revocation
of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

The style of sgraffito decoration changed radically after about 1700.
After that date, decoration was confined mainly to harvest jugs and
presentation pieces. Gravel-tempered utensils and ovens continued to be
made, but the North Devon trade with America ceased by 1760.

Archeological evidence indicates that gravel-tempered ware was used in
America between about 1675 and about 1760. An isolated example of
sgraffito pottery, distinguished by crude design and glaze, dates from
before 1640. The typical sgraffito ware is illustrated by specimens found
in the fill under and around the brick drain in the May-Hartwell site at
Jamestown. This ware dates between 1677 and 1695. No other sites provide a
more certain dating than this. Sgraffito ware found at Bridge's Creek,
Virginia (John Washington house site), may date as early as 1664, but may
be as late as 1677 or a few years thereafter.

The May-Hartwell oven was also found in the drain fill, so presumably it
also was used before 1695. The oven fragment from the site of the John
Howland house dates between about 1630 and about 1675, the lifetime of the
house. The oven in the Bowne House is no earlier than 1664, the date of

Typical sgraffito ware, therefore, dates from 1664 to 1695, plus or minus
a few years. Gravel-tempered ware predominates in the same period, but
extends well into the 18th century, probably to about 1760. Ovens date
from between 1664 and 1695. The concentrations of wares within the limits
of the May-Hartwell drain site correspond roughly with records of heavy
shipments of the wares between 1681 and 1690. The earliest shipment
recorded was to New England in 1635.

The sgraffito ware probably served as much for decoration as for practical
use. Each piece was decorated differently, with elaborate designs, and in
such a manner that it could provide a colorful effect on a court cupboard
or a dresser, matching in style the carved woodwork or crewel embroidery
of late 17th-century furnishings. Although sgraffito ware represented a
degree of richness and dramatic color, it did not match the elegance of
contemporary majolica, decorated after the manner of Chinese porcelain.
Heavy and coarse, the sgraffito ware essentially was a variant of English
folk pottery, reflecting the less sophisticated tastes of rural West of
England. It did not occur in the colonies after 1700, by which time it was
supplanted in public taste by the more refined majolica.

Gravel-tempered ware apparently was esteemed as a kitchen ware, much as is
the modern "ovenware" or Pyrex in the contemporary home. Since
gravel-tempered ovens were widely used in the West of England, they were
accepted by settlers in America, especially where built-in brick ovens
were lacking.

Unlike those of Staffordshire or Bristol, the North Devon potteries failed
to develop new techniques or to change with shifts in taste. The delftware
of London and Bristol and the yellow wares of Bristol and Staffordshire
became preferable to the soft and imperfect sgraffito ware. In the same
way, the kitchen ware of Staffordshire and the adequate red-wares of
American potters made obsolete the heavy, ugly, and incomparably crude
gravel-tempered ware, while American bricklayers, having adopted the
custom of building brick ovens into fireplaces, outmoded the portable
ovens from North Devon after 1700. Any chance of a renaissance of North
Devon's potteries was killed by the blockading of its ports in the
mid-18th century. From then on the potteries continued traditionally,
their markets gradually shrinking at home in the face of modern production
elsewhere. Today, only Brannan's Litchdon Street Pottery in Barnstaple has


BEMROSE, GEOFFREY, _Nineteenth-Century English Pottery and Porcelain_, New
York, n.d. (about 1952).

BLACKER, J. F., _Nineteenth-Century English Ceramic Art_, London, 1911.

CHAFFERS, WILLIAM, _Marks and Monograms on Pottery and Porcelain_, 14th
issue, London, 1932.

GRIBBLE, JOSEPH B., _Memorials of Barnstaple_, Barnstaple, 1830.

HAGGAR, REGINALD, _English Country Pottery_, London, 1950.

HONEY, W. B., _European Ceramic Art from the end of the Middle Ages to
about 1815_, London, n.d. (about 1952).

MANKOWITZ, WOLF, AND HAGGAR, REGINALD G., _The Concise Encyclopedia of
English Pottery and Porcelain_, London, 1957.

METEYARD, ELIZA, _The Life of Josiah Wedgwood_, London, 1865.


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington 25, D.C. Price 35 cents.


[1] Worth Bailey, "Concerning Jamestown Pottery--Its Past and Present,"
_Ceramic Age_, October 1939, pp. 101-104.

[2] H. C. Forman, _Jamestown and Saint Mary's_, Baltimore, 1938, p. 133.

[3] Worth Bailey, "A Jamestown Baking Oven of the Seventeenth Century,"
_William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine_, 1937, ser. 2,
vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 496-500.

[4] John Watkins, _An Essay Towards a History of Bideford in the County of
Devon_, Exeter, 1792, p. 56.

[5] _Ibid._, pp. 65, 67-68.

[6] _Ibid._, p. 70.

[7] Port Book, Barnstaple, 1620, Public Record Office, London (hereinafter
referred to as _Port Book_), E 190/947.

[8] _Virginia Magazine of History and Biography_, 1911, vol. 19, p. 31.

[9] _Ibid._, quoting Sainsbury Abstracts, p. 184.

[10] _Virginia Magazine of History and Biography_, 1901, vol. 9, pp.

[11] Bernard Bailyn, _The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth
Century_, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1955, p. 87.

[12] Isle of Wight County (Virginia) records, quoted in _William and Mary
College Quarterly Historical Magazine_, 1899, ser. 1, vol. 7, p. 228.

[13] P. A. Bruce, _Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth
Century_, New York, 1895, vol. 2, p. 334.

[14] Watkins, _op. cit._ (footnote 4), p. 65.

[15] _Port Book_, E 190/959/6.

[16] _Ibid._, E 190/954/6.

[17] _Ibid._, E 190/959/6.

[18] _Ibid._, E 190/960/10.

[19] Richard Corkhill was one of the six Bideford factors residing in
Northampton County. Bruce, _op. cit._ (see footnote 13).

[20] _Port Book_, E 190/959/6.

[21] _Ibid._, E 190/960/8.

[22] _Ibid._, E 190/960/3.

[23] _Ibid._, E 190/966/10.

[24] _Ibid._, E 190/968/10.

[25] Colonial office shipping records relating to Massachusetts ports,
typescript in Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1931, vol. 1, p. 78.

[26] _Port Book_, E 190/939/14; 942/13; 944/8; 951.

[27] _Ibid._, E 190/959/5.

[28] "Some Account of Biddeford, in Answer to the Queries Relative to a
Natural History of England," _The Gentlemen's Magazine_, 1755, vol. 25, p.

[29] Watkins, _op. cit._ (footnote 4), pp. 74-75.

[30] T. M. Hall, "On Barum Tobacco-Pipes and North Devon Clays," _Report
and Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of
Science, Literature, and Art_, Devon, 1890, vol. 22, pp. 317-323.

[31] T. Charbonnier, "Notes on North Devon Pottery of the Seventeenth,
Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries," _Report and Transactions of the
Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature, and
Art_, Devon, 1906, vol. 38, p. 255.

[32] _Ibid._, p. 256.

[33] Bernard Rackham, _Catalogue of the Glaisher Collection of Pottery and
Porcelain in the Fitzwilliam Museum_, Cambridge, 1950, ed. 2, vol. 1, pp.

[34] Llewellyn Jewitt, _The Ceramic Art of Great Britain_, London, 1883,
ed. 2, pp. 206-207.

[35] George Maw, "On a Supposed Deposit of Boulder-Clay in North Devon,"
_Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London_, 1864, vol. 20,
pp. 445-451.

[36] Charbonnier, _op. cit._ (footnote 31), pp. 255, 259.

[37] "Supplement to the Account of Biddeford," _The Gentlemen's Magazine_,
1755, vol. 25, p. 564.

[38] Watkins, _op. cit._ (footnote 4), p. 74. However, the "byelaws" of
Barnstaple for 1689 indicate that tempering materials were also obtained
locally: "Every one that fetcheth sand from the sand ridge, shall pay for
each horse yearly 1{d}, and for every boat of Crock Sand 1{d}., according
to the antient custome." (Joseph B. Gribble, _Memorials of Barnstaple_,
Barnstaple, 1830, p. 360.)

[39] Charbonnier, _op. cit._ (footnote 31), p. 258.

[40] B. W. Oliver, "The Three Tuns, Barnstaple," _Report and Transactions
of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature,
and Art_, Torquay, Devon, 1948, vol. 80, pp. 151-152.

[41] Mildred E. Jenkinson in personal correspondence from Bideford, April
20, 1955.

[42] Hall, _op. cit._ (footnote 30), p. 319.

[43] H. W. Strong, "The Potteries of North Devon," _Report and
Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science,
Literature, and Art_, Devon, 1891, vol. 23, p. 393.

[44] Charbonnier, _op. cit._ (footnote 31), p. 257.

[45] Jewitt, _op. cit._ (footnote 34), vol. 1, pp. 205-206.

[46] _Great Exhibition 1851. Official, Descriptive, and Illustrated
Catalogue_, London, 1851, p. 776, no. 131.

[47] W. J. Pountney, _Old Bristol Potteries_, Bristol, n.d., pp. 153-154.

[48] Cloume = cloam: "In O. E. Mud, clay. Hence, in mod. dial. use:
Earthenware, clay ... b. _attr._ or _adj._" (J. A. H. Murray, ed., _A New
English Dictionary on Historic Principles_, Oxford, 1893, vol. 2, p. 509.)

[49] J. J. Cartwright, ed., _The Travels through England of Dr. Richard
Pococke_, Camden Society Publications, 1888, new ser., no. 42, vol. 1, p.

[50] _Ibid._, vol. 1, p. 131.

[51] Jenkinson correspondence (see footnote 41).

[52] Jewitt, _op. cit._ (footnote 34), pp. 206-207.

[53] Charbonnier, _op. cit._ (footnote 31), p. 258.

[54] Jenkinson correspondence (footnote 41).

[55] _Made in Devon. An Exhibition of Beautiful Objects Past and Present_,
Dartington Hall, 1950, p. 9.

[56] Charbonnier, _op. cit._ (footnote 31), p. 258.

[57] John L. Cotter, _Archeological Excavations at Jamestown, Virginia_.
Archeological Research Series, no. 4, National Park Service, U.S.
Department of the Interior, Washington, 1958.

[58] J. C. Harrington, _Archeological Report, May-Hartwell Site,
Jamestown: Excavations at the May-Hartwell site in 1935, 1938, and 1939
and Ditch Explorations East of the May-Hartwell Site in 1935 and 1938_.

[59] Cotter, _op. cit._ (footnote 57), p. 158.

[60] _Ibid._, pp. 112-119.

[61] _Ibid._, pp. 102-112.

[62] _Ibid._, pp. 151-152.

[63] Joseph B. Brittingham and Alvin W. Brittingham, Sr., _The First
Trading Post at Kicotan (Kecoughtan), Hampton, Virginia_, Hampton, 1947.

[64] Louis R. Caywood, _Excavations at Green Spring Plantation_, Yorktown,

[65] J. Paul Hudson, "George Washington Birthplace National Monument,
Virginia," National Park Service Historical Handbook Series, no. 26,
Washington, 1956.

[66] Virginia Cullen, _History of Lewes, Delaware_, Lewes, 1956; C. A.
Bonine, "Archeological Investigation of the Dutch 'Swanendael' Settlement
under de Vries, 1631-1632," _The Archeolog. News Letter of the Sussex
Archeological Association_, Lewes, December 1956, vol. 8, no. 3.

[67] S. T. Strickland, _Excavation of Ancient Pilgrim Home Discloses
Nature of Pottery and Other Details of Everyday Life_, typescript, n.d.

[68] James Deetz, _Excavations at the Joseph Howland Site (C5), Rocky
Nook, Kingston, Massachusetts, 1959: A Preliminary Report_. Supplement,
_The Howland Quarterly, 1960_, vol. 24, nos. 2, 3. The Pilgrim John
Howland Society, Inc.

[69] Rackham, _op. cit._ (footnote 33), vol. 2, p. 11, fig. 8 D, no. 58.

[70] John Eliot Hodgkin and Edith Hodgkin, _Examples of Early English
Pottery, Named, Dated, and Inscribed_. London, 1891, p. 59.

[71] J. Le Moyne, _Brevis Narratio corum quae in Florida ..._, Frankfort,
1591, pl. 10.

[72] Bailey, _op. cit._ (footnote 3), pp. 497-498.

[73] Strickland, _op. cit._ (footnote 67).

[74] The probate records of Essex County, Massachusetts, Salem,
Massachusetts, 1916, vol. 1, p. 378; vol. 2, p. 346; vol. 3, p. 328.

[75] Bailey, _op. cit._ (footnote 3), p. 498.

[76] _Bowne House; A Shrine to Religious Freedom_, Flushing, New York.
Pamphlet of The Bowne House Historical Society, Flushing, N.Y., n.d.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Superscripted characters are indicated by {superscript}.

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