Skip to following fabric types:
Nottingham splashed ware
Sandy ware
Shelly ware
Other wares (Early Medieval)
Nottingham early green glazed ware
Nottingham green glazed ware
Nottingham light-bodied green glazed ware
Nottingham reduced green glazed ware
Nottingham coarse pink/orange sandy ware
Medieval sandy ware
Medieval glazed ware
Gritty ware
Other wares (Late Medieval )


The main types of medieval sherds collected are shown in Table 2.2. They were identified by Vicky Nailor. The nomenclature and date ranges are based on Young, Vince and Nailor (2005) and Nailor and Young (2001). Midland Purple is described in the Post Medieval section, the rest are considered here.

Table 2.2 Medieval pottery fabric types

Date range
Surrey ware
Late Medieval/Early Post Med
Midland Purple
Late Medieval/Early Post Med
Humber ware
Late Medieval
Gritty wares
Late Medieval/ Highly Decorated
Nottingham green glaze
Highly Decorated
Nottingham coarse pink/orange sandy ware
Highly Decorated
Nottingham light-bodied green glaze
Highly Decorated
Nottingham reduced green glaze
Highly Decorated
Nottingham early green glaze
Highly Decorated
Medieval glazed wares
Highly Decorated/Early Medieval
Medieval sandy wares
Highly Decorated/Early Medieval
Shelly ware
Early Medieval/Highly decorated
Nottingham splashed ware
Early Medieval

Early Medieval

The principal Early Medieval fabrics are Nottingham Splashed Ware (58%), Sandy Ware (27%) and Shelly Ware (8%). The state of preservation of most of the sherds is poor.

Nottingham Splashed Ware

The fabric is reddish orange often with a grey core (34746). External blackening is present on some. It is quartz tempered with grains ranging from subangular to well rounded. There are some iron oxide grains. The defining feature of this fabric is the splashed yellowish green, sometimes brown glaze. In most sherds the glaze was mostly worn off. The amount of sand varied and both sandy and fine fabrics described by Nailor and Young (2001) were noted. There is a limited range of rim types: mostly clubbed, thickened or interned. Where information about the form could be surmised from the sherds there are jugs, jars, cooking pots and bowls. The date range, discussed in Young, Vince and Nailor (2005) is early 12th to mid/late 13th C.

Sandy Ware

Medieval Sandy Ware appeared in the middle of the 12th century and continued through to the 14th century. This is probably a heterogeneous group consisting of local and imported fabric types. There appears to be two types. One, which is 12th to 13th century, is orange to light grey, the latter often with an oxidised brown surface. There is a plentiful quartz temper with subangular to subrounded grains. Only clubbed rims were seen.

The later type, with a date range of 13th to 14th century, is generally pinkish orange, sometimes with reduced, grey cores. There is abundant subangular to subrounded quartz and some iron oxide grains. A pale green glaze was noted on some sherds.
Very few sherds gave any evidence of form. Among those recognised are jugs, jars, cooking pots, bowls and flanged jars.

Shelly Ware

Medieval Shelly Ware has a date range 11th to 15th century, with very few sherds yielding enough information to be more precise about date or source. The fabric is always dark grey with brown oxidised surfaces (28718). In many the shell temper has weathered out. In others the shell is abundant. There is usually nothing else in the fabric, but one or two had a little quartz sand. Jane Young identified three sherds of Potterhanworth type (early 13th to 15th centuries), one each of Peterborough, Stanion Livedon (fabric STANLY A) and an unusual iron-rich type. The date range for these is 12th to 14th century, on the overlap between Early Medieval and Highly Decorated periods. Recognisable forms include jars and cooking pots.

Other wares

A small number of other types, which are more characteristic of the Highly Decorated period, first appeared in the late stages of the Early Medieval. These include Nottingham Early Green Glazed Ware (after early 13th century) and unspecified Medieval Glazed Ware (12th C onwards). Reduced Sandy Ware, which first appeared in the late 11th century, continued through to mid 13th century.

Highly Decorated

In total, around 66% of all medieval finds can be attributed to the Highly Decorated period and most of these are Nottingham made wares. The first to appear with roots in the Early Medieval is Nottingham Early Green Glazed Ware, dated from the early/mid 13th century. Nottingham Green Glazed Ware continued in production until the mid 14th century with Nottingham Light-bodied Green Glazed Ware particularly common up to the early/mid 14th century. Nottingham Reduced Green Glazed Ware with a range from late 13th century is dominant in the second half of the 14th century. Nottingham Coarse Pink/Orange Sandy Ware, which has roots in the Early Medieval period remained current to the 15th century. A number of Medieval Glazed and Medieval Sandy ware sherds were found that are not characteristically from Nottingham, but their source is not known. They generally belong to the 13th and 14th centuries, though some fabrics indicate an earlier, possibly 12th century date.
Most sherds were not well preserved, being quite abraded, even rounded and relatively few had any substantial glaze left on them.

Nottingham Early Green Glazed Ware

This is usually two-coloured with one surface grey, the other pale orange, creamy or pale pink. It is quartz tempered and has a little iron oxide. The quartz ranges from sub-angular to sub-rounded. The glaze ranges from yellowish green to dark green.
Where available the evidence suggests that the predominant form is a jug.

Nottingham Green Glazed Ware

This is the commonest of all medieval finds. The sherds are usually two coloured with pale pink or white on one side, grey the other. Quartz sand is fairly abundant. The grains are usually sub-rounded to rounded. There are some grains of sandstone, iron oxide and an unidentified, but possibly volcanic rock. These are well rounded and bigger than the quartz grains.

The green glaze is only on the outside of the vessels and often up to the rim and onto it. Several body sherds showed incised, horizontal ornament.

There are relatively few rim sherds (2% of all Nottingham Green Glazed Ware sherds). They ranged from 9 to 14 cm in diameter. They include flat-topped thickened, slightly everted, collared, squared with a flat top or top groove and internally bevelled thickened.

There are considerably more bases (11% of all Nottingham Green Glazed Ware sherds). Few are well enough preserved to measure diameters. They include sharp angled upright, sharp angled outward inclined at about 100°, slightly splayed outward inclined (about 120°) and inward inclined slightly spayed.

Several strap handles, often with a broad, median groove and some rod handles were picked up. One rod handle has a prominent ridge and groove pattern (16952) and one strap handle was rouletted (9087).

The rim diameters, handles and body sherds are consistent with these being mostly from jugs, including small, squat and globular types. Some of the bases suggested larger vessels, such as bowls.

Nottingham Light-bodied Green Glazed Ware

Usually this type is bicoloured with one or both surfaces creamy beige and a pale grey core or other surface. Some are wholly pale sand coloured. The temper is sub-angular to sub-rounded quartz with some rounded lithic grains (possibly volcanic rock types), grains of fine sandstone and occasional large white quartz. The glaze is dark green (45678).
Incised, combed decoration, producing horizontal parallel lines or wavy patterns were seen (9064).

Collared rims are most common, most with a flat top, but some with an internal bevel. Other types include thickened with flat tops, internal bevel or top groove. Rim diameters ranges from 8 to 13 cm. One unusual flat-topped simple, upright rim measures 4 cm.

Uptight and slightly outward inclined bases and sides (100°) either sharp angled or slightly splayed were found.

Fairly robust strap handles, up to 40 mm at the join were also found.

The rims, body and base sherds all indicate that these are from jugs, including balusters and small jugs.

Nottingham Reduced Green Glazed Ware

This has quite a distinctive fabric. Green glaze is on a white, pale pink or pale orange surface with a dark grey internal surface. The temper is fine quartz sand with a few sandstone grains and fewer iron oxide. The amount of temper is less than in other Nottingham fabrics. The glaze is on the outside surface, but often extends onto the rim. A rouletted decoration was found on one body sherd.

Collared rims with an internal bevel are the commonest (20029). Others rim types are thickened with an internal bevel, narrow everted and collared with a top groove. Rim diameters range between 9 and 14 cm with one shallow, straight-sided dish 28 cm.

The state of preservation of base sherds is poor and only three types of base were found. They are sharp-angled, upright, slight splayed inclined (about 100°) and sharp angled inclined at 130°.

Broad strap handles predominate.

Almost all the forms are jugs, with one or two jars. One of the upright bases is 22 cm in diameter, possibly a large jug. There is one shallow dish and the sharp-angled 130o base is similar in other fabrics to a pancheon base.

Nottingham Coarse Pink/Orange Sandy Ware

These are the most poorly preserved of the medieval sherds. The body is orange or pink with, occasionally a reduced, grey core. It is quartz tempered. The quartz grains are sub-angular to sub-rounded and associated with grains of ferruginous sandstone, grey sandstone, iron oxide and rounded lithic grains up to 4mm across. One large piece of gypsum was seen.

Rim types include, inverted, thickened and various types of everted. These include internally bevelled everted, slight everted, wide flat everted and wide everted with an upturned lip. Hardly any are well enough preserved to give a meaningful measure of diameter.

Bases are also poorly preserved (34703). Only strap handles were seen.

Evidence of forms suggests cooking pots and bowls are dominant with jars, jugs and one or two pancheons.

Medieval Sandy wares

These are not considered to be have been made in Nottingham, though the source of most of them is not known. One sherd with a sandy fabric was thought to be from a 13th-14th century Lincoln glazed ware. The sherds are orange (19756), cream, pale pink with grey. They are quartz tempered, rarely with anything else but quartz sand. A yellowish brown or green glaze was seen on some sherds. Splashes of glaze occur on bases and quartz sand has been seen embedded in the rim. The overall state of preservation is poor.

Rim types include slightly everted, 20mm-wide flat everted, thickened everted and inverted.

Splayed bases with sides of 100°, 120° and very shallow were picked up as well as sharp-angled steep sided.

Strap handles up to 40 mm were found.

Slender evidence suggests that the forms include cooking pots, bowls, jars, jugs and a bottle.

Four coarse pink sandy sherds with grains of a distinctive, but unidentified orange rock as a filler were collected. They were blackened on the outside and clearly from cooking pots.

Medieval Glazed wares

These wares have generally an orange or pale pink and grey body. The body is quartz tempered. The glaze varies in colour from yellowish green to brown. It is on the outside only, sometimes extending onto the rim.

Few rims were preserved and even fewer bases. The rims were mostly internally bevelled collared with internally bevelled simple, internally bevelled squared and narrow everted (14 mm) ranging from 7 to 14 cm. Some pieces show a ridged decoration beneath the rim.

Little could be inferred from the bases.

There are both strap and rod handles.

The commonest inferred form is the jug, with one or two jars and bowls.

Late Medieval

By the end of the 14th century Nottingham Green Glazed Wares had been replaced with Gritty Wares, including Light-bodied Gritty Ware. Their production started in the mid/late 14th century and overlaps with the end stages of production of Nottingham Reduced Green Glazed Ware, Nottingham Coarse Pink/Orange Sandy Ware and Medieval Sandy and Glazed wares. In the 15th century none of these were produced and the forms that characterise them are reproduced in Gritty Ware. Gritty Ware continued through the 15th century. The provenance of most of the Gritty Ware is not known, but some was made in Nottingham. Midland Purple Ware appears in the 15th century continuing into the early Post Medieval period. Midland purple is known to have been made in Ticknall in the late 15th century (Spavold and Brown, pers comm.), but also elsewhere. The only Late Medieval imports into the area that have been found are Surrey White Ware and Humber Ware.

Gritty Ware

Gritty Ware comprises 16.1% of all the medieval sherds picked up. The Gritty Ware is cream, orange, pinkish brown, pale pink, grey and, rarely, salmon pink. Grey cores are not uncommon and a few sherds had red, oxidised patches near the outer surface. Most pieces have a pale orange, orange, yellow or grey-brown slip on both sides. The body is often hard fired, but never vitrified.

Characteristically the sherds contain a fairly clean coarse quartz sand temper with grains up to 1.5 mm diameter. They are sub-angular to sub-rounded. In many sherds there are occasional iron oxide grains, sandstone fragments, white quartz up to 7 mm, dark grey lithic fragments and a white material forming sub-rounded grains up to 6 mm in diameter, similar in appearance to that in the vitrified and pink-bodied coarse earthenware.

A glaze is uncommon. It is usually green or pale brown; often patches of both occur on the same surface. Small spots of glaze are common on otherwise unglazed sherds.

Rims sherds made up around 11% of the total, but less than a half of them are well enough preserved to measure. Two rim types dominate. The commonest is a form of everted rim (19085). They range from 20 to 40 mm wide with flat to upturned edges. The narrower rims are right angled on straight-sided vessels, the wide ones more usually on shallow-sided pancheons. Several wide rims showed an incised groove probably part of a wavy line decoration around the rim. One wide everted rim was upward curving on a shallow-sided vessel. Gently everted rims are not common. The second commonest rim type is thickened with a flat top, often with a top groove (18919). These are always on straight-sided vessels. Other, less common, rim types include squared with or without a top groove, simple, inturned, flanged, squared with the top edge bevelled and collared. Some everted rims have a thumbed decoration beneath it. Other types of decoration, such as horizontal grooves and ridges are rare. Rim diameters ranged between 8 and 50 cm with about a third between 20 and 24 cm.

Base and side sherds were entirely sharp angled. Only three slightly splayed bases were seen. The angle between base and side ranged from 90° to 140° with most between 120° and 135°. Some of the upright ones were slightly outward curving just above the base.

Several handle sherds were found. Usually they have a wide median groove. There were also some bung-holes.

Forms that could be determined include jugs, jars, cooking pots, bowls, pancheons, cisterns and storage jars.

Other ware types

One sherd of Surrey White Ware and seven Humber Ware sherds were collected.


Several fragments of tile were collected, none with a preserved glaze. They include fabrics that resemble Nottingham Green Glazed Ware, Gritty Ware and Medieval Sandy Ware. Most have orange sandy fabrics with grey core. The most distinctive of the sherds is a fragment of a coxcomb ridge tile (34625). It is presumed that they are medieval, but further work would be necessary to be more precise.

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