The pottery from this site is a typical York assemblage. The assemblage analysed spans the period from
just before the Norman Conquest (Phase 1) until the 16th century (Phase 9). Material from the later
period (Phases 1012) was not included in the research design and has not been studied beyond the
assessment stage, but shows the site in continued use through the 17th19th centuries.
The assemblage is essentially domestic in character, supporting the interpretation that the buildings
on the site were dwellings as well as workshops. For the most part the provenance of the material is
local and regional. The Walmgate area in general, and the site in particular, is industrial rather than
high-status in character and not many imports should be expected. The few imported fragments which do
occur are typical for York: French imports in the 13th and 14th centuries, and German stonewares and
Low Countries cooking pots from the 14th century through to the 16th century.
How much of the assemblage derives from activities on the site, however, and how much from adjacent
properties is a recurring problem in the study of urban pottery assemblages. There are certainly periods
when the site was levelled, between episodes of building construction and modification, when material
from beyond the property might have been incorporated into dumps or levelling material. There is a very
high residual element to the pottery from all deposits, making it difficult to be precise about the
chronology of the successive phases. This is exacerbated by the long currency of many of the principal
wares and the small size of the fragments, making diagnostic forms difficult to recognise.
It was clear at the assessment stage that this assemblage was dominated by residual material and that
activities on site had resulted in very mixed assemblages with small sherd sizes and few cross-joins.
As types were generally well known and published, the assemblage offered little potential for furthering
the study of pottery in York. The aim of the pottery analysis, therefore, was limited to providing a
chronological structure for the sequence of activities on site and to reviewing what the assemblage
could reveal about the character of the occupation on site. The problems associated with achieving the
former have been referred to above; nonetheless, a broad chronological framework has been achieved and
the domestic character of the assemblage has been established. (For descriptions of the wares referred
to see AY 16/03, AY 16/06 and AY 16/09 forthcoming.)
Roman levels were not reached during excavation and only a small amount of Roman pottery occurs residually
in later layers on the site. These shed little new light on the character of Roman occupation in this
part of the city.
Anglo-Scandinavian wares (10th and 11th century)
Excavation did not penetrate below the top of the Anglo-Scandinavian levels. The typical range of 10th
and 11th century Torksey ware (illus 15) and Stamford ware cooking pots, pitchers and,
unusually, a lid (illus 68), was recovered from Phases 1 and 2, associated with domestic
occupation and possible early ironworking. Recent work has demonstrated that Anglo-Scandinavian occupation
in this area was established in the later 9th or early 10th century, and intensified during the 10th and
11th centuries (see AY 08/04 forthcoming).
The persistence of Anglo-Scandinavian pottery throughout later deposits, well into Phase 9 (late
14th16th century) and beyond, indicates that there must have been significant Anglo-Scandinavian
occupation in the area to have produced such quantities. Strikingly absent throughout, however, is any
occurrence of the different forms of Stamford ware crucibles which indicated the presence of non-ferrous
metalworking at 1622 Coppergate and glass-working at 1622 Coppergate and 22 Piccadilly
(AY 17/06 and AY 17/07).
Anglo-Norman (late 11th and 12th century)
Phase 3 dumps include residual sherds but also gritty ware cooking pots (illus 917) and
splashed ware pitchers and occasional cooking pots (illus 1822), typical Anglo-Norman
domestic forms. These presumably derive from occupation of Building F and elsewhere on the site. Building
H, constructed in Phase 4, and associated contemporary features, produced little pottery and the
contemporary wares continue to be dominated by gritty and splashed wares.
Early York glazed, York glazed wares and other contemporary wares (late 12th and 13th century)
The appearance of York glazed ware and its slightly earlier variant, Early York glazed ware, is conventionally
dated to the second half of the 12th century. Their presence in features ascribed to Phase 5 suggests that
the intensification of activity on site dates to this period. Gritty wares continue to supply the cooking
pots and splashed ware jugs continue in use.
York glazed ware jugs belong to the category of 'highly decorated' types (illus 25) of the late
12th and early 13th century; the small fragments found are presumably part of such jugs. Substantial parts
of one jug (illus 26) were recovered from levels in Phase 6 onwards. Unusual forms included a
lid (illus 23) and part of a lamp (illus 24).
The most elaborately decorated jugs from the site are not, however, York glazed ware but other fabrics. The
upper part of a fine sandy ware jug which depicts two arms and hands gripping the side of a neck and spout
was recovered (illus 27); it shows marked similarity to a vessel recovered from 4554
Fishergate (AY 16/06, 2589, fig.258). A jug with a buff sandy fabric is elaborately decorated
with scrolls and berries (illus 28).
Brandsby-type wares, Walmgate-type wares and other contemporary wares (later 13th and 14th century)
Two of the principal later medieval wares in York, Brandsby-type ware and Walmgate-type ware, make an
appearance on the Walmgate street frontage in Phase 5, and subsequently in Phase 6.1 where they are
associated with early Humber wares and Yorkshire red wares. These sherds might be intrusive but more
probably reflect the difficulties in associating deposits along the street frontage with features further
back; the latter produced nothing later than splashed, gritty and York glazed wares during Phases 5 and
6.16.2. Alternatively all the pottery from these features, which includes a few sherds of Scarborough
ware, may be residual.
Brandsby-type and Walmgate-type wares occur more persistently from Phase 6.3 onwards. Once again the forms
represented, Brandsby-type jugs (illus 29) and cooking pots (illus 3032), and
Walmgate-type ware drinking jugs (illus 35), are well known from other York sites. Their presence
suggests an early 14th century date for the industrial activity and continued building work in Phase 6.3
and Phase 7.
Sherds from sandy red ware jugs with rod handles (illus 33) and early Humber wares become a
regular, if small, part of the assemblage from Phase 7 onwards, confirmation of a 14th century date for
the ongoing construction and occupation activities.
Brandsby-type wares dominate the contemporary assemblage from Phase 8 onwards, accompanied by smaller
quantities of local and regional types, for example, Humber wares, South Yorkshire wares, lightly gritted
ware (illus 34), Yorkshire red wares and possible Winksley products (illus 36, 37).
Occasional sherds of imported German stonewares and Low Countries cooking vessels were recovered.
Hambleton-type wares, Humber wares and other contemporary wares (later14th and 15th century)
Humber wares, both jugs and cooking pots (illus 38, 39), dominate the scene at this time.
Hambleton-type wares, probably a later development at potteries producing Brandsby-type wares, make an
initial appearance in Phase 8.1 which, by comparison with other sites, gives a later 14th century date.
The pottery from Phase 9.1 was mostly residual, the latest wares being Brandsby-types. This high proportion
of residual wares continued throughout Phase 9, although the proportions of Humber and other contemporary
wares steadily increased. From Phase 9.2 onwards Humber ware forms include fragments of large cisterns and
jugs indicative of a 15th century date, a chronology supported by the appearance of a few sherds of purple
glazed ware (illus 40).
Cistercian ware, purple glazed ware and other contemporary wares (later 15th and 16th century)
Cistercian ware, which appears for the first time as a single, possibly intrusive, sherd in a levelling
deposit in Phase 9.2, is almost certainly contemporary by Phases 9.5 and 9.6. These sherds indicate a late
15th or early 16th century date for the continuing industrial activities and building modifications. No
pottery was found in Phase 9.7 but by Phases 9.8 and 9.9 late Humber wares, Hambleton wares, Cistercian
wares and purple glazed wares were the common contemporary elements in what must be a 16th century assemblage,
still dominated by redeposited earlier wares.
The assemblage from the site is essentially domestic in character, with the main pottery types drawn from
production sites in the region rather than further afield. The interpretation of the site as a series of
workshops primarily involved with metalworking implies occupation by artisans rather than wealthier citizens.
The overall scarcity of imported pottery (illus 4143, illus 44) is also
consistent with the interpretation of the Walmgate area as an industrial zone with little high-status
No wasters of the pottery type which gave Walmgate-type ware its name were found. A dump of these wasters
was recovered in 1978 at 118126 Walmgate from the bases of two foundation trenches where they had been
used as bedding. Although no traces of a kiln were found, it is possible that there was a production site
in the vicinity, adding another industry to those known to have operated in this part of the city. Research
on potters operating in York is in progress and will be incorporated into the forthcoming volume on medieval
pottery (AY 16/09).
The assemblage as a whole broadly confirmed the currency of the known major types of pottery circulating
in York and provided a chronological structure for interpreting the sequence of buildings and the activity
which took place within them.
York glazed ware jug
Torksey-type cooking pots (1, 35) and pitcher
Stamford wares (68)
Gritty ware cooking vessels (917)
Splashed ware pitchers and cooking vessels (1822)
York glazed ware forms
Lightly gritted ware jug (27)
Highly decorated jug (28)
Brandsby-type ware forms (2932)
Sandy red ware jug (33), lightly gritted ware cooking vessel (34), Walmgate ware drinking jug (35)
Possible Winksley-type cooking vessels (36, 37)
Humber ware cooking vessels (38, 39) and purple glazed ware vessel (40)
Imported pottery from the Low Countries (41) and Germany (42, 43)
Possible imitation of imported Low Countries pipkin (44)