Pottery made by Dutch immigrants in Exeter

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Pottery made by Dutch immigrants in Exeter

During the excavation in Goldsmith Street in 1971-2 two pits were found which were packed with pottery. The finds were clearly wasters - pots discarded after firing because they were unusable. They must have been made very near to the site on which they were found. Surprisingly, the forms of the vessels were completely different from the normal range of pottery used in South-West England at this time, matching instead contemporary products in the Low Countries. They could be dated by associated finds to the period 1500-50. The parallels to Dutch pottery are so close that there can be little doubt that these wares were made by immigrant potters from the Low Countries. Documents of the early Tudor period record the presence of various immigrant craftsmen in the city: shoemakers, hat makers, a book binder, a skinner and a leather worker, for example. They came from several parts of Europe - most commonly Normandy and Brittany, but also Holland, and even Lombardy and Lucca in central Italy.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum Exeter Archaeology

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