The full version of this article can be found in Garden History 21.2, 227-46.


The archaeology of the flowerpot in England and Wales c. 1650-1950

The flowerpot is perhaps the most ubiquitous ceramic artefact recovered from post-medieval sites, but they have yet to be subjected to detailed study. Many archaeologists relegate these items to the status of recent artefacts and make little attempt to examine them in relation to their form, fabric or excavation context. A ceramic assemblage from the West Pond at Castle Bromwich Hall, West Midlands, contained distinctive flowerpots from a deposit dated c.1780-1800 (1). Further work on the site indicated that this type of pot was absent from contexts after c. 1820 (2) and this gave the impetus to examine flowerpots more closely, to try to identify typological differences over the later post-medieval period.

During this research it became clear that there were two distinct types of plant-pot in use after c. 1600. Contemporary literature generally referred to plant-pots as large, ornate, urn-type artefacts that were used as ornamental features within the garden; these occur in lead and bronze, as well as ceramic, and are generally notable for their decorative function (3). It is not these items that will be examined here, since they have been described by other researchers (4).

This paper deals mainly with the simple flowerpot. This ceramic form can be distinguished from the urn as a plant-holding pot where the emphasis is on the plant it contains; in the case of the urn, the emphasis is generally on the form of the pot as an architectural element of the garden, rather than the plant within it. Furthermore, flowerpots are generally considered to be of low status, and amongst their more functional uses they were used to grow plants on, or as a vessel to transport plants. Although it is expected that such items were used for moving plants between commercial nursery and garden, they are also recorded during major plant-collecting expeditions overseas during the eighteenth century. When the HMS Bounty sailed to collect specimens of breadfruit from the South Seas in 1787, provision was made for 1,015 seedlings to be kept in racked pots (5).

The flowerpot, as opposed to the urn, is by far the most common item found during archaeological work on late post-medieval gardens, but is almost entirely absent from discussion in archaeological literature. Because the development of both the urn and flowerpot was an evolving, and often overlapping, process, a number of pots of a transitional nature between urn and flowerpot are included in the catalogue for comparison (see numbers 1-6, 12).

Furthermore, this paper examines the horticultural use of other earthenware ceramics, either closely associated with flowerpots, or used as substitutes for them in the past, and has identified a wide range of vessels, many of which have not been previously attributed to use in gardens by archaeologists and ceramic historians.

Flowerpot production: historical background

It is the opinion of the Oxford Companion to Gardens that ceramic pots have been used to contain plants since the earliest gardens were conceived (6). Evidence for ornamental plant urns from late medieval contexts (7) suggests that the humble flowerpot may have existed alongside these more elaborate objects. Medieval illustrations frequently show garden plants in pots, but the majority of these are ornamental urns. One of the earliest illustrated example of plants being kept in simple pots similar to the later 'flowerpot' can be seen in illustrations accompanying the Prayer Book of Juano of Castile, dating from 1498 (8).

The use of 'highly ornamental bowls and vases to contain plants, placed on garden beds,..' described by Harvey as being the general fashion in planting in the period 1485-1540 (9) seems to have its origins in an earlier medieval tradition. Of the many illustrations available for study from the medieval and Tudor period, however, the majority of the plant containers shown have an ornamental function and are often more ornate than later 'flowerpots' (10)

An early documentary reference to flowerpots dates from 1550 when an order from Sir William Petre of Ingatestone Hall to Prentice, a potter of Stock, Essex includes '4 pots for flowers 2d' (11). It is not known from this brief mention whether these were decorative pots or more simple pots for bringing plants on.

From the existing evidence, it appears that large-scale production of the common flowerpot did not begin until the early eighteenth century. Morton, writing in 1712 on the Natural History of Northamptonshire, comments on the pottery industry at Oakley Bank near Plumpton. After describing the uses to which the best local clays are put, he mentions an inferior blue clay that is used for tiles 'and ordinary garden pots'

'The garden pots made of it [the clay] tho' never so well baked, are apt to scale, and be broken in pieces by foul weather and frosts; but being sized, that is, laid in oil, will bide the weather as well as any whatsoever as the sellers of them say, but others who made that experiment have found it fail them' (12).

A distinction between flowerpots and ornamental pots is implied from an advertisement for a pottery in Newcastle in 1749:

'John Brougham in the Keyside, Newcastle, sells...made at his Potwork at Newburn, all sorts of Flower Pots for Gardens, ornamental Pots for Summerhouses, Garden Walls or Court Walls having just procured a professed Workman for that purpose' (13).

Although these records indicate that the production of simple unglazed pots for plants was under-way by the first half of the eighteenth century, the issue is considerably confused by the existence of dual-purpose earthenware ceramics (see below pp. 000) that were used in conjunction with horticultural activity. It would appear that glazed pots could have been used, as this practice extended into the present century. Loudon refers to a number of glazed pots, but the English types known to him are mainly used for ornament (14). A possible non-ornamental type known as the 'Chinese pot' was often glazed (15), but these appear to have been an uncommon foreign type, and are wide in proportion to their depth. They may have been similar to unglazed, native plant pans (see below). The argument against glazing pots was opposed by Johnson, who writes that 'the prejudice against glazed pots is now exploded...... a more miserable delusion never was handed down untested from one generation to another. Stoneware and china-ware are infinitely preferable, for they keep the roots more uniformly moist and warm' (16)

The variety of opinion on the use of flowerpots in the literature is immense, and the use of glazed pots acts as an admirable example. A passage from Thompson's Gardener's Assistant (17) illustrates the problems that exist for archaeologists trying to determine the past usage of earthenware ceramics recovered in an incomplete state from excavation:

'It has been a question whether glazed or unglazed pots are best for plants. The glazed pots have a clean appearance; they do not evaporate so much water as porous earthenware; and the ball [the earth surrounding the potted plant] can be more easily turned out.... In these respects the glazed pots have some advantages; but there are more than counterbalanced by the higher price, which in extensive cultivation would be a consideration. The glazed surface is also objectionable as affecting the growth of plants, chiefly because the soil gets less aeration in a glazed pot than in a rougher and more porous kind.'

Nevertheless, one item of horticultural pot that had to be glazed was the 'flat'; the shallow bowl/dish used underneath flowerpots. These are also known as 'saucers' and are glazed internally to retain water (see below, page 000).

Such examples may explain the rarity of plain flowerpots from pre-eighteenth century archaeological contexts. It might be suggested that prior to this, when non-ornamental plant-pots were required, gardeners often used glazed earthenwares that were manufactured as multi-purpose wares. Unless sherds from such wares were recovered displaying drainage holes, there would be no way of determining whether they had been used for horticultural purposes. Even the absence of drainage holes does not prevent an item from having been intended as a plant-holding pot. A catalogue from the flowerpot producer, Sankeys of Bulwell, Nottingham, dating from c. 1950, offers specialised plant containers such as bowls and pans 'with or without drainage holes, and customers should make clear their requirements in this respect.' (18).

Although in the main both the above documentary, and archaeological evidence (e.g. excavations at Castle Bromwich Hall, West Midlands, 1989-91) suggests that functional, non-ornamental flowerpots were not made in large numbers before the early eighteenth century, there are suggestions in many primary sources that they were already in use before they were commonly recorded. In the notebook of Samual Heathcote of London is a garden diary, written around 1703, which records that in December 'lay Hollyberrys in Pots of Earth', and in the following October 'Putt filerea berrys and Haws [fruits containing hawthorn seed] into Potts of Earth' (19). The context of Heathcote's work shows that the pots were for bringing seedlings on, and it is unlikely that these pots were intended to be put on show.

Evidence from excavations on garden sites suggests that eighteenth century flowerpots were fired in the same kilns as glazed coarsewares. This has been argued from the similarities in fabric, treatment of the vessels (slipping) and splashes of glaze on the unglazed flowerpots recovered at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens (20). Excavation on kiln sites at Brill in Buckinghamshire confirmed this practice (21), and give an insight into the production of these wares. The kilns at Prosser's Yard showed that flowerpots were being produced alongside other coarsewares, comprising mainly glazed bowls, pancheons, jars, plates and occasional cups (22). These kilns were dated to the early eighteenth century (23). The flowerpots were apparently only made on a small scale compared with other types, and the example illustrated had drainage holes in both the sides near the base, and in the centre of the base (24).

Other work in the locality has identified an excavated kiln belonging to Henry Hubbocks, the last recorded Brill potter, operating in the early 1860s. By this time production had changed, and the flowerpot had come to be one of the dominant forms made at the kiln. Excavation identified only bowls/dishes and straight-sided flowerpots as certain products, although it was recorded elsewhere that jugs were also made (25).

A large number of local potteries making flowerpots in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries have been identified (26). Brears has come to the conclusion that they were made alongside other coarseware forms, and, as the eighteenth century progressed, the proportion of local kilns producing flowerpots gradually increased. With the rise of mass-production of cheap wares at Stoke-on-Trent and other urban centres, the overall market for the local country potter began to decline. This was exacerbated from the 1840s by the coming of the railways, making transport of mass-produced wares very easy. Many smaller potteries were forced to turn to the production of more mundane wares such as earthenware chimney pots and the humble flowerpot. With the decline in demand for local-made, domestic earthenwares, many small-scale producers devoted their attention exclusively to flowerpots, such as Robert Wakefield of Stoke, near Coventry in Warwickshire, who opened a pottery in the late nineteenth century that specialised in horticultural wares (27).

The Highclere accounts, 1810-34

The garden accounts for a site near Newbury, Berkshire (probably Highclere, just over the Hampshire border) for the years 1810-34 gives an interesting insight into the quantity of pots used annually in a large garden, and the source of supply (see Appendix 1). Before April 1816 two different sources are given for the pots, but from this date until July 1827 they are supplied exclusively by James Haskell of Inkpen in Berkshire. It would appear this source dried up after July 1827, as the next recorded source of supply, in April 1828, is 'Watts, London'. There is then a gap in the accounts until August 1830 when #10-11-0d is paid to Thomas Barr, who then supplied the garden on a roughly annual basis until the records cease in 1834 (28).

Although this document is not specific, it seems to suggest that at this time, large towns such as London, were manufacturing flowerpots, probably by mass-production. Nevertheless, gardens in rural areas still seemed to prefer to patronise local manufacturers such as James Haskell. London was only used as an emergency source when Haskell apparently ceased production. Thomas Barr, presumably another local potter, was then used as Haskell's replacement.

A variety of pot sizes are listed in this record. In 1814 five sizes of garden pot are recorded, costing 1 1/2d (28), 2 1/2d (92), 3 1/2d (104), 4 1/2d (77) and 6d (3). The numbers in brackets indicate the numbers ordered, showing which sizes were the most popular. In the following year (1815) only two sizes are obtained from a different source; these are described as 110 large and 106 small garden pots.

James Haskell's pots are recorded in a number of different ways. In his first year (1816) he supplied 29 'casts' at 6s-6d per cast. The cast was the quantity of clay used, and the potter would often charge according to this, and not the quantity of pots or their size (29). The following year he supplied by the dozen charging 6s-6d per dozen for flower pots and 2s-0d, 1s-6d, 1s-0d and 6d for 'flower pans'. The latter were used to grow seed and can be seen in the catalogue listed below (nos. 18 and 24/25?). The following year he supplied 40 dozen flowerpots at 4s-4d per dozen and six dozen 'seed pans' at 3s-0d per dozen. Hereafter the accounts merely recorded the money paid for the pots and give no further details of type or size (30).

The number of local potters making flowerpots meant that there was little uniformity in the pot produced or the type of kiln used to fire them. Even within a small potting community such as at Brill, flowerpots have been identified as being made in different kiln types. In the early eighteenth century example, the kiln was rectangular (31), whereas the nineteenth century kiln of Henry Hubbocks was circular (32).

The flowerpot and its associated ceramics

Manufacturer's catalogues and popular gardening literature includes information about a wide variety of flowerpot types and other related vessels, such as seed pans and flowerpot 'saucers'. Although these documentary sources date from the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century, it is possible that some of these types were also in production much earlier.

1) Flowerpot

The standard flowerpot was, by far the most common item produced specifically for horticultural use. By the early nineteenth century, however, the spread of suburban gardening had created a demand for specialised horticultural ceramics. The majority of these have yet to be recorded from archaeological contexts.

Such was the variety of types experimented with during the nineteenth century that it is not considered necessary to deal with them all individually. It is sufficient to conclude that many of the more esoteric kinds of flowerpot were not universally adopted, and are unlikely to make a significant contribution to any archaeological assemblage. It was thought useful to mention a few of some of the early sources as examples.

One of the earliest popular books to deal with different flowerpot types is Loudon's An encyclopaedia of gardening (1822). This volume deals with most of the types discussed below, but also makes mention of some foreign varieties. For example, square pots are used in parts of Lombardy and Paris, but they 'do not, in our opinion, merit adoption' (33).

Another popular early source on flowerpots was George William Johnson's A dictionary of modern gardening (1846). This work makes much of the ability of the pot to retain, or not to retain, depending on requirements, water. It mentions a number of peculiar examples that attempt to deal with this problem. A Mr. Brown is recorded to have 'proposed' a pot with hollow sides, but this is considered by Johnson to be a bad idea as it encourages all the roots to migrate sideways. Other unsatisfactory examples are condemned, including 'Saul's Fountain Flower Pot', which appeared in the Gardener's Magazine for March 1843 (p. 136). This device includes an urn-shaped pot and saucer made into one vessel, with apparently hollow sides (34).

The most common varieties of specialised flowerpot were as follows:

i) Long Toms. These are known simply as 'pots for bulbous roots' to Loudon (35), and are flowerpots 'without rims' (36). Such vessels are referred to as having simple straight rims in archaeological terminology (37). Beeton's Garden Management of c. 1886 records that they are made in sizes 2 1/2 to 5 inches but are half as deep again as ordinary pots. They were used for growing hyacinths and other bulbs (38). In James Veitch Junior's catalogue for Autumn 1854 for 'Hyacinths and other Bulbous Roots', Gladiolus is referred to as 'grown in pots, they are valuable ornaments for the conservatory' (39). Such practice would have contributed to the popularity of specialised bulb pots.

Long Toms are also referred to as 'market pots' (40). Sanders refers to them as a 'foreign style of pot..' (41), and this might suggest that they originated from the Low Countries where bulb (especially tulips) growing was very popular.

ii) Oxfords

These had broad rims pierced by holes for tying down branches of plants that required training (42).

iii) Pots with double rims

These are similar to Oxfords, but are not pierced. Instead the rim is 'grooved' to receive the edge of a bell glass. Used in such a way they serve as a propagating pot. If the rim is wetted it becomes airtight and forms a 'miniature Wardian case' (43). Although such a vessel form has yet to be identified as a horticultural ceramic from archaeological contexts, bell glasses have been found at Aberdour Castle, Scotland, where they were thought to date to the early eighteenth century (44).

This type of pot was still available from Sankeys in c. 1950 when they could be supplied 'with or without drainage holes'. They are described as double-rimmed bulb pans (45).

iv) Orchid pots

These are pots made specifically for orchids, whose roots require egress to outside air to thrive. As a result they are similar to ordinary flowerpots but are perforated both at the bottom and the sides (46). Extra holes under the rim also allowed them to be suspended in conservatories etc. They were also known as orchid baskets, and a recorded supplier c. 1886 was J.E. Bonny of Hackney, London, who supplied them in rim diameters ranging from three to twelve inches (47). Sankeys still produced them in the 1950s, alongside 'orchid pans', a similar much-perforated vessel, but shallower. They were generally double the price of similar-sized, ordinary flowerpots (48). It is probable that this type was created in the nineteenth century as a response to the popularity of orchids.

There are many variants on the common flowerpot design for specific types of plant. As well as the orchid pot, Loudon mentions pots for aquatics (without drainage holes), and marsh plants (with holes in the side about a third of the way up the pot, but not the bottom) (49). As can be seen, it is the position and type of drainage hole that differentiates them.

v) Double Pots for alpine plants

These were manufactured with an inner vessel fixed inside a larger vessel. Only the inner pot had a hole for drainage; the outer pot was not pierced. Water or damp moss was placed in the outer vessel to keep the plant, in the inner vessel, cool. They were generally better made than ordinary pots to prevent the absorption of water (50). Many gardeners adopted this method of keeping alpine plants, but would also improvise by using two ordinary pots, one within the other, to save the extra expense (51).

vi) The propagation pot

This has a slit in the side, from the rim to the hole in the bottom, to enable a shoot for propagation 'in the Chinese manner'. They are recorded by Loudon (52), but do not appear much in literature thereafter.

vii) Stoneware pots

Loudon records that stoneware pots are used horticulturally, and says they are made by adding a quantity of powdered stone to the clay (53). It is possible that his information on the manufacturing techniques is wrong, as the stoneware appearance is achieved by firing clays to very high temperatures, and not by the addition of any extra materials (54).

viii) Crute's Patent Concave Flower Pot

No summary of horticultural wares would be complete without the inclusion of at leastone of the many patented 'inventions' of the nineteenth century (see above). Many of these items have deservedly been forgotten for their esoteric and obscure uses or simply because of their unnecessary complexity. Crute's patent concave flower pot has suffered this fate, perhaps undeservedly.

This pot had a concave bottom, not unlike the bottom of many wine bottles. The purpose of this innovation was to remove the need for crocking, the practice of placing broken pottery in the base of a pot as an aid to drainage. It had a central hole in the base with three smaller holes around the circumference of the base and was available from James Crute of 14 Knightrider Street, London (55) in the late nineteenth century. It has yet to be recovered archaeologically.

Crute was not really the inventor of this pot, as a similar type with a concave bottom is recorded by Loudon as being used by the French (56).

2) Seed pans

These are earthenware pans used to raise seed. They were similar to 'saucers', but much larger. They usually had three holes in the bottom for drainage (57). They were made in both round and square/oblong shapes (58). Sankeys sold only round pans in the 1950s (59). They were apparently available from James Haskell (see above) of Inkpen, Berkshire in 1817 and 1818 where they are also referred to as 'flower pans' (60). Loudon refers to this vessel as 'the store-pot.... a broad flat-bottomed pot used for striking cuttings, or raising seedlings' (61).

Beeton's Garden Management records the oblong pans as a separate item and differentiates them from seed pans as being earthenware 'propagating frames'. It claims they were introduced by a 'Mr. Locker' and lists them as available, c. 1886, from F. Rosler of Blackfriars, London, or from Tippetts of Aston, Birmingham. The latter supplied them in dimensions 9x6x3 inches at 5 shillings per dozen (62). They were still available from Sankeys c. 1950 (63).

3) Saucers

Archaeologists finding such items in archaeological contexts would refer to them as shallow bowls or dishes, and they would normally be considered dairy wares rather than horticultural wares. It has been noted above (see page 000) that they were generally glazed in the nineteenth century. Although unglazed items have been recovered by excavation (see below), it is often difficult to distinguish unglazed saucers from shallow pans. It is likely that their usage has been often misinterpreted, as they are to be commonly found in many excavation pottery reports, but they are never interpreted in a horticultural light.

The saucers are often used from the mid-nineteenth century onwards when simple flowerpots became acceptable substitutes for the more expensive urns for displaying plants in the garden. Their retention of water also made them suitable for indoor use (64) in such places as conservatories. Despite the late recording of glazed saucers as horticultural wares, it is possible that they have been so used for much longer. Possible unglazed saucers have been found in early nineteenth century archaeological contexts at both Castle Bromwich Hall (65) and at the Charterhouse in Coventry (66). Internally-glazed pans and bowls have been found alongside flowerpots at kiln sites of both the early eighteenth (67) and nineteenth centuries (68) at Brill, Buckinghamshire. (At the nineteenth century site only bowls and flowerpots emerged as certain kiln products, suggesting that this particular site may have been geared to production for gardens.)

Loudon records specialist saucers called 'annular saucers', which have a second wall built into the vessel. The outer channel is filled with water to act as a barrier to slugs and other insects (69). Although Sankeys still manufactured saucers c. 1950 they are single-rimmed, unglazed types (70).

4) Blanching pots

These were also known as sea-kale or rhubarb pots. Brears has identified a number of country potteries manufacturing them in the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (71). These were bottomless vessels, wider at the bottom than the top, for placing over certain types of plant such as the sea-kale and rhubarb. They often had separate lids so that the plant could be examined without lifting the pot (72). They were still being made by Sankeys c. 1950 (73).

5) Ornamental pots and vases

These are listed as specialised plant-pots by Beeton's, Garden Management and are manufactured in 'terra cotta'(74). Brears records a number of nineteenth century country potteries as specialising in these wares and they are still made as art wares in Farnham, Surrey to the present day (75). Although these decorated pots are outside of the scope of this essay, requiring an article in their own right, it is interesting to note that they maintained the tradition of side drainage holes as late as the 1880s (76).

Sankeys still manufactured a wide variety of these forms in earthenware c. 1950 (77).

Archaeological evidence for flowerpot chronology

The earliest flowerpots (as opposed to urns) yet to come from archaeological contexts in the U.K. have been found in levels attributed to the later seventeenth century at Kirby Hall, Northants (78). These items are generally of greater diameter than most later pots. Their size suggests that they may have been used as urns to display plants, rather than as pots used to bring plants on. Their form is typical of the later flowerpot, although with small, significant differences. The rim form of the Kirby pots is generally hooked to various degrees, and resembles glazed jars being made for domestic purposes around the same time. Unlike later types, the drainage holes are normally situated in the sides of the pot near the base. There are typically three or fours of these holes. The pots occur in the same fabrics as other locally-made coarsewares, although external treatments vary. Some pots are left unglazed without any external treatment, but slipped wares have been found. The slip is invariably darker than the original fabric.

This slipping appears to be a Midland characteristic, derived from the slipping of black-glazed coarsewares to enhance the blackness of the glaze. This type of treatment was used on all the flowerpots found in eighteenth century contexts at Castle Bromwich, where the slip is generally a dark maroon (79). Flowerpots found in contexts dated from 1680-1760 at Tredegar House, Gwent (80) did not receive this treatment; black-glazed coarsewares are not part of the pottery tradition of the area.

Side drainage holes have also been found in horticultural wares at Tredegar House and Castle Bromwich Hall. In general, the flowerpots at both these sites do not appear in any numbers until the early eighteenth century. At Castle Bromwich, extensive excavations in the gardens failed to recover any definite flowerpot sherds from levels before c. 1700, although other ceramic forms of the time were found.

It is possible that a transitional type between those containing side drainage holes and the single central hole may have occurred in the first half of the eighteenth century. Only two examples have been published so far, but their date supports this hypothesis. That recovered from an early eighteenth century kiln at Brill is unusual in having both types of hole of triangular shape (81). The other has conventional circular holes, three in the side and one in the base, and came from the Custis site at Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, discarded about 1759 (82), but probably from a slightly earlier period.

The assemblage at Castle Bromwich is probable the largest studied to date. Here side drainage holes are rare, as the assemblage generally dates from the 1730s onwards. From this date the single central hole in the base appears to have replaced the earlier arrangement. Rims are generally hooked but appear to be becoming increasingly fine in their construction. Maroon slipping is common and there is good evidence that the items are made in the same fabric, and fired in the same kilns as black-glazed coarsewares. The latter is indicated by splashes of glaze on the bodies of the flowerpots recovered (83).

Hooked rims were the most common eighteenth century rim form, confirmed from the few other sites that have published flowerpots. Finds from eighteenth century garden levels on the site of the former Coventry Charterhouse, later a post-medieval mansion, reflect the Castle Bromwich assemblage. In the later part of the century, this site had been used by John Whittingham, seed merchant and nurseryman (84). Finds from these excavations suggest that maroon slip on flowerpots continued into the nineteenth century in the Coventry area.

Flowerpots recovered at Tredegar House, although made in a different local tradition, reflect the general form of the wares noted at Castle Bromwich (85). A probable flowerpot from a mid eighteenth century pit at North Petherton, Somerset had a slightly more elaborate version with a protruding collar under the hooked rim (86).

The nineteenth century continues the trend of increasing refinement in manufacture. The wares still seem to follow local traditions, but at Castle Bromwich the walls of some locally-made pots become increasingly fine. The middle years of the century seemed to mark a notable change.

It is possible that local wares continue to be made, but the trend is for the fabric to become increasingly uniform in its final colour. Whereas up until the 1850s it was possible to find fabric colours ranging from light buff through to orange (generally covered in maroon slip), thereafter the fabric colour is more consistently orange. Hints that some of these are local wares are indicated by the occasional slipped piece.

Continuing improvements in the transport system throughout the nineteenth century caused the decline of local-made wares in favour of mass-produced pots. Hence, at Castle Bromwich Hall, many of the pots from the later half of this century are stamped. An identified producer supplying this garden was Sankeys of Bulwell, near Nottingham (see Appendix 3). A closely-dated assemblage (1861-67) from Castle Bromwich, the result of a tree falling on a then-recently constructed conservatory, shows that hooked rims and slipped pots had been largely supplanted by uniform orange wares, often mass-produced, with straight or collared rims. However, some caution must be urged here as the hooked rim is found on some flowerpots made in the present century.

An examination of the published flowerpots from Williamsburg in Virginia, USA, seems to support this development. Here eighteenth-century wares are often found to have pronounced hooked rims, whereas pieces recovered from nineteenth century and later contexts have hooked rims which are often much less pronounced, or straight or collared rims (87).

This trend increases throughout the nineteenth century and the flowerpot loses its local characteristics as the standard orange pot with a straight or collared rim becomes a nation-wide standard. One nineteenth century variation that has been noted on a number of sites is the application of white slip to hooked rim types on the top of the rim itself and sometimes the collar of the pot. They have been noted occasionally at Castle Bromwich, but are best known from the excavated nineteenth century kiln site at Brill (88). They are believed to represent a dying tradition of rural potting that was being supplanted by larger mass-producing factories such as that at Bulwell.

Catalogue

The following examples come from a variety of sites and museums in England and Wales. It is hoped that they will demonstrate the characteristics described above.

Flowerpots (horticultural jars) recovered from archaeological excavation. All types given here dated by context, not by form.

From excavations at Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire (89).

1. Large vessel with hooked rim and pedestal base in red earthenware. Context WT 6 (15); mid-seventeenth century. Rim diameter 340mm.

2. Large vessel with hooked rim in red earthenware with red external slip. Drainage holes in sides just above the base and centre of base. Context WT 1 (25); late seventeenth-early eighteenth century. Rim 420mm.

3. Large vessel with hooked rim and slightly protruding shoulder immediately below rim in red earthenware. Decorative horizontal rilling on body; drainage holes in side just above the base and in centre of base. Context WT 1 (25); late seventeenth-early eighteenth century. 340mm.

Similar to vessel recovered at North Petherton, Somerset that was dated c. 1700-80 (90).

4. Large vessel with hooked rim and protruding lugs in red earthenware with grey slip. Drainage holes in sides 80mm. above base and in the base itself (not central). Context WTS 1 (31); seventeenth/eighteenth century. Rim 300mm.

Similar to vessel found at Castle Bromwich (see no. 12) in eighteenth century? context.

5. Large vessel with hooked rim in red earthenware. Drainage hole in side above base. Context WT 1 (25); late seventeenth-early eighteenth century. Rim 340mm.

6. Vessel with straight rim and external horizontal rilling in red earthenware. Drainage holes above base. Context WT 6 (15); seventeenth century. Rim 220mm.

From excavations at Tredegar House, Gwent (91).

7. Fragment of base of unglazed, oxidised earthenware vessel (flowerpot?) with hole in body immediately above the base. White slip on exterior surface, splash of clear glaze on interior surface. Heavily abraded. Moderate quartz, rare crushed stone and ore to 1mm. Percentage of base present 13%. 80mm. Context 058. Dated c. 1680-1760.

8. Horticultural jar with hooked rim in unglazed, oxidised earthenware fabric. Splash of green glaze on external surface. Heavily abraded. Moderate quartz, rare crushed stone and ore to 1mm. Percentage of rim present 7%. 190mm. Context 058. Dated c. 1680-1760.

9. Horticultural jar with hooked rim in unglazed, oxidised earthenware fabric. Splash of clear? glaze on external surface. Moderate quartz, moderate clay pellets to 2mm. and rare ore to 1mm. Percentage of rim present 15%. 100mm. Context 058. Dated c. 1680-1760.

10. Horticultural jar with hooked rim in unglazed, oxidised earthenware fabric. Frequent quartz and ore to 1mm., occasional clay pellets to 5mm. and rare crushed stone to 2mm. Percentage of rim present 13%. 120 mm. Context 071. Dated c. 1680-1760.

From Castle Bromwich Hall, West Midlands (92).

11. Flowerpot with flat-topped rim with overhanging external lip in buff-yellow fabric with maroon slip. Moderate red ore to 6mm. and rare sand inclusions. Base 50mm. 100%. Context L/37, 1375. Dated 1730+.

12. Flowerpot base with central hole. Orange fabric with moderate clay lumps to 2mm., rare sand and ore inclusions to 1mm. Maroon slip. 80mm. 18% . Context L/48, 2026. Dated 1730+.

13. Base of coarseware vessel with hole in side 4mm. diameter. Hard-fired purple fabric with moderate black ore to 8mm., occasional crushed stone to 2mm, rare clay pellets to 2mm. and rare sand inclusions. 70mm. 19%. Context L/51, 2033. Found in context dated 1730+; probably residual.

14. Horticultural urn with protruding lug. Concave upper face to lug. Buff-yellow fabric with maroon slip. Moderate red ore to 8mm., occasional crushed stone and clay pellets to 2mm., and rare sand inclusions. 170mm. 14%. Context L/35, 1360. Found in context dated 1730+; probably residual.

15. Flowerpot with hooked rim in unglazed oxidised earthenware. Maroon slip over pinkish core; moderate creamy pellets to 2mm., moderate red and black ore to 1mm., sparse quartz inclusions. Context L/015, 1190. Dated c. 1780-1800 (93).

16. Flowerpot with hooked rim in unglazed oxidised earthenware. Maroon slip over pinkish core with cream-coloured streaking within; moderate black ore, sparse red ore and quartz inclusions, all less than 1mm., rare hematite to 2mm. Context L/015-1189, dated c. 1780-1800 (94).

17. Bowl with hooked rim in orange oxidised fabric with cream-coloured streaking. Occasional clay pellets, ore and crushed stone inclusions to 2mm. Maroon slip. 130mm., 19%. Context L/44, 1439. Dated c. 1820-50.

18. Flowerpot body sherd with fine wall and inscribed external horizontal band. Buff-white fabric with maroon slip. 60mm. 25%. Context L/44, 1477. Dated pre-1820.

19. Flowerpot base with foot ring and central hole in buff-white fabric with maroon slip. 50mm. 56%. Context L/57, 1613. Dated c. 1820-50.

20. Flowerpot with collared rim and broad, overhanging lip in hard maroon fabric. Occasional clay lumps and ore to 2mm., and rare sand inclusions. 50mm. 12%. Context L/57, 1613. Dated c. 1820-50.

21. Flowerpot body sherd in orange slightly sandy fabric. Occasional clay pellets and ore inclusions to 1mm. Sherd stamped "..T..?.." Context L/57, 1613. Dated c. 1820-50.

22. Flowerpot with collared rim in hard, orange fabric. Stamped horizontally around external body. Rare sand and ore inclusions to 1mm. 90mm. 12%. Context L/02, 1011. Dated 1850+.

23. Flowerpot body sherd in hard orange fabric with rare clay pellets, sand and ore inclusions to 1mm. Stamped "Bulwell" in horizontal lettering. Context L/44, 1424. Dated 1850+.

Finds from eighteenth and nineteenth century levels at the Coventry Charterhouse (95):

24. Flowerpot with thin overhanging rim in hard fired fabric. Found in garden soil dated late eighteenth/nineteenth century (CH86 F1003).

25. Bowl with outcurved rim in orange fabric. Found in mid-nineteenth-century pit (CH87 N14 F1019).

A suggested chronological typology of flowerpots

c. 1600-1730 Generally larger pots with hooked rims (to facilitate lifting the heavy weight) perhaps developing from more ornate urns. Straight sides, sloping inwards towards the base, in various fabrics and colours; side drainage holes, often three or four just above the base; some pots (mainly late seventeenth or early eighteenth century types) have a hole or holes in the base as well as in the sides. In the Midlands a tradition of slipping with a maroon slip has been identified. In the South and South-West wares are generally unslipped although other characteristics are similar.

Wares produced by local potters and fired in kilns with other coarsewares.

c. 1730-1800 Pots generally becoming smaller over the period. Drainage hole in centre of base. Rims still mainly hooked but becoming finer.

c. 1800-50 Gradual move away from above types towards the more conventional straight-sided pot. In some examples the walls become finer; in the Midlands slipping continues but is less common.

c. 1850-1900 Market becoming dominated by mass-produced wares; often stamped; although hooked rims can still be found, they become less common as collared and straight rims dominate. Orange fabric throughout dominates; slipping much less common. Where hooked rims continue to be made, they are often decorated with a white slip.

c. 1900-1970 Flowerpot with straight or collared rim dominates industry. Orange colour universal. White slipped hooked rims still produced.

c. 1960-present Plastic pots become increasingly common. Manufacturers of ceramic pots almost extinct.

Conclusion

It has been shown from this study that the flowerpot has changed subtly with time. As well as regional characteristics, datable features can be identified that show that the description of flowerpots as being unglazed earthenwares made to a standard design throughout the later post-medieval period is an over-generalisation.

Although flowerpots may have been purpose-made before c. 1600, they have not been positively identified. They were notable in their absence in the earliest garden at Castle Bromwich (c. 1575-1700) and the simple non-ornamental type has not been found elsewhere before c. 1700. The large capacity of the Kirby pots suggest that they fall into a transitional type of ware that could be used both ornamentally and for more functional horticultural purposes. An early pot at Castle Bromwich could also have had this dual function.

It seems that the change from side drainage holes to the central hole in the base signals the move towards the increasing production of pots which have more of a functional role as opposed to an ornamental purpose. This change appears to have occurred around 1700, although the exact reasons are obscure.

Despite having much earlier origins, the commercial nursery greatly increased in popularity during the eighteenth century (96). As these spread across the country, so the need for functional plant pots would have increased. Coupled with the increasing popularity of gardening throughout the post-medieval period, such factors may have been instrumental in creating a demand that led to the growing production of the flowerpot as a purpose-made item. This demand continued to expand throughout the eighteenth and into the early nineteenth century. Although there appear to have been local kilns at the beginning of the eighteenth century that were either not producing flowerpots, or only in small quantities relative to other wares, this situation had changed dramatically by the early nineteenth century, when flowerpots made up the bulk of the produce of many country potteries.

Another factor that may have been instrumental in the growing popularity of the plain flowerpot were the changes in garden fashion that occurred from the early eighteenth century. From the 1720s, formal gardening became less popular, being gradually supplanted by informal designs. This change continued throughout the century and although formal gardening was never entirely abandoned, it fell from favour for many years until interest revived in the nineteenth century. It is uncertain whether this change in garden design would have affected the demand for flowerpots. Certainly plant-holding urns, very popular in formal gardens, would have become less popular from c. 1720 onwards, but they never went entirely out of fashion. By the mid-nineteenth century demand for them had once more increased.

It is possible that with the trend towardsmoving the kitchen garden, and other functional areas away from the house, the aesthetic aspects of plant-pots would have been increasingly irrelevant, but this topic needs further research. If it is the case, it seems to suggest a fundamental change in the gardener's methods was taking place alongside the more superficial changes in design.

The evidence gathered above suggests that prior to the manufacture of unglazed, plain flowerpots from c. 1700, gardeners may have used other coarse earthenware vessels for the more functional aspects of horticulture. The glazed jars produced throughout the post-medieval period could have served as a multi-purpose vessel, one of its uses being to act as a flowerpot. Despite the mass-production of unglazed, purpose-built flowerpots in the nineteenth century, contemporary gardeners' manuals still record the use of glazed wares as flowerpots.

It might be suggested that although pots were used to contain plants throughout history, it is not until c. 1700 that purpose-made flowerpots are manufactured in any quantity. Prior to this, purpose-built plant-pots were mainly the larger, more decorative pieces intended for ornament and not for growing on. It is the requirement for the latter function that provided the impetus for the manufacture of the simple pot referred to universally as the 'flowerpot'.

This ware can be shown to have gone through a number of typological changes, summarised above. It is hoped that this study will help in the dating of these wares and will stimulate further regional studies which will inevitably highlight local differences.

Acknowledgements

This work was undertaken with the help of a generous grant from the Leverhulme Trust; project F/656. The author would like to thank the numerous museums and excavation directors who answered his inquiries and for their invaluable discussion. In particular Brian Dix (Kirby Hall), Gordon Ewart (Tredegar House), Hazel Forsyth (London Museum), and Iain Soden (Coventry Museum). Thanks is also extended to Richard Sankey and Company of Nottingham for sending copies of their catalogues, past and present. Dr. Keith Goodway of Keele University and Martin Locock are especially thanked for reading drafts of the text, and making innumerable helpful suggestions.

Appendix 1: Expenditure of large garden near Newbury, Berkshire on flowerpots (probably Highclere, Hampshire), 1810-34 (97).

Table 1

Date number of pots (if given) cost supplier
Nov. 1814 304 #4-3s-4 1/2d 'Hobson'
Aug. 1815 216 #2-3s-0d 'Baker'
April 1816 29 'casts' #9-8s-6d James Haskell
Feb. 1817 324 #5-4s-6d James Haskell
Jan. 1818 552 #13-18s-0d James Haskell
March 1820 not given #18-8s-11d James Haskell
Nov. 1822 not given #29-19s-6d James Haskell
July 1823 666 #18-0s-9d James Haskell
April 1824 not given #14-4s-6d James Haskell
Jan. 1826 not given #14-14s-0d James Haskell
April 1827 not given #11-2s-6d James Haskell
July 1827 not given #3-0s-0d James Haskell
April 1828 not given #10-11s-0d 'Watts, London'
Aug. 1830 not given #17-11s-0d Thomas Barr
April 1831 not given #18-3s-0d Thomas Barr
Jan. 1833 not given #14-3s-6d Thomas Barr
Jan. 1834 not given #9-14s-3d Thomas Barr

Appendix 2: late nineteenth century prices and measures for flowerpots (98).

Table 2: sizes and prices of flowerpots. These are given according to a size number (one's, two's, three's etc.). This derives from the practice of making pots by the 'cast', a measure of clay that will produce 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 48, 60 or 80 pots. This is known as the 'Chiswick Standard.'

Size Diameter of top in inches Depth in inches Price
singly per dozen
Thimbles 2 2 1/2d 3d
Thumbs 2 1/2 2 1/2 1/2d 4d
Sixties 3 3 1/2 3/4d 5d
Fifty fours 4 4 3/4d 6d
Forty eights 4 1/2 5 1d 9d
Thirty twos 6 6 1 1/2d 1s-3d
Twenty fours 8 1/2 8 2d 2s
Sixteens 9 1/2 9 3 1/2d 3s-6d
Twelves 11 1/2 10 4 1/2d 4s-6d
Eights 12 11 6d 6s
Six's 13 12 10 1/2d 10s-6d
Four's 15 13 1s-6d 17s-6d
Two's 18 14 2s-6d 30s

An alternative size coding as used at the Royal Pottery, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset is also given. (99)

Table 3: Weight of pots sent out in quantities and number of pots per ton approximate for each of the sizes given in table 2.

Size no. Quantity Approx. weight No. of pots per ton
1 1000 1 cwt. 1 qtrs. 16,000
2 1000 1 cwt. 3 qtrs. 12,000
3 1000 3 cwt. 6,500
4 1000 4 cwt. 5,000
5 1000 6 cwt. 3 qtrs. 3,000
6 1000 10 cwt. 2,000
7 1000 17 cwt. 1,200
8 1000 1 ton 1,000
9 500 17 cwt. 600
10 500 1 ton 4 cwt. 400
11 500 1 ton 13 cwt. 300
12 500 2 ton 5 cwt. 225
13 100 12 cwt. 170
14 100 1 ton 100
15 100 1 ton 10 cwt. 66
16 100 1 ton 12 cwt. 62
17 100 2 tons 50
18 12 5 cwt. 2 qtrs. 46
19 12 7 cwt. 2 qtrs. 34
20 12 10 cwt. 24
21 6 6 cwt. 20
23 6 7 cwt. 17
24 6 9 cwt. 13

Table 4: Measurement of pots per cast as given by 'North of England Count' (100)

Pots per cast size (in inches) Pots per cast size (in inches)
Clear inside measure
60 1 1/2 24 5 1/2
60 1 3/4 18 6 1/4
60 2 15 7
60 2 1/4 14 7 1/2
60 2 1/2 10 8 1/2
50 2 3/4 8 10
50 3 6 11
50 3 1/2 4 12 1/2
40 4 3 14
30 4 3/4 2 15 1/2
30 5 1 18

Appendix 3: Richard Sankey and Son Ltd., Bulwell, Nottingham.

Sankeys was perhaps the best known manufacturer of earthenware flowerpots in the world. Their stamped pots are familiar to all gardeners, even today, some ten years after they ceased to manufacture clay pots in favour of plastic.

The firm was founded in 1855 at Bulwell on the outskirts of Nottingham. Their pots are stamped with the letters 'Sankeys Bulwell Nottingham' around the full circumference of the pot just beneath the rim, enabling them to act as valuable dating evidence on archaeological sites for centuries to come. They have already shown their usefulness in this field (101).

Large quantities of Sankey ware has been recovered from the well at Castle Bromwich Hall, where they were presumably thrown after part of the garden was abandoned after 1936. They have also been found archaeologically on this same site in the latest phase of gardening dating to after 1868 (102). Here they have been found with both collared and hooked rims, and some specimens have been recovered with partial maroon slip covering the outer body. Sankey pots can be found in gardens as far apart as Hampshire, Suffolk and Dumfriesshire in Scotland, attesting to their universal popularity until they were supplanted by the plastic pot. Many gardeners treasure their remaining Sankeys.

Production ceased in the early 1980s because of competition from the plastic pot, and at about the same time a fire destroyed the firm's records. A copy of one of the few catalogues to have survived this fire has been used in this research (103). Although dated to c. 1950 it still records many of the traditional products of the industry, and the production of its wares by the traditional 'cast' (see main text).

Notes

1. Currie, C. K., 'Excavation of an early eighteenth-century garden pond: the West Pond, Castle Bromwich Hall, West Midlands', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 24 (1990), pp. 93-123; p. 116.

2. Currie, C. K. and Locock, M., 'Research excavations at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, West Midlands, 1989-91', forthcoming.

3. Brears, P. C. D., 'The horticultural wares', pp 87-90 in Moorhouse, S. 'Finds from Basing House, Hampshire (c. 1540-1645): part one', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 4 (1970), 31-91.

4. Brears 1970; Moorhouse, S., 'Late medieval pottery plant-holders from Eastern Yorkshire' Medieval Archaeology, 28 (1984), pp. 194-202.

5. Drummond, M., 'Dam the flower pots', Hedley, G. and Rance, A. (eds.), Pleasure grounds: the gardens and landscapes of Hampshire, 1987, Southampton, pp. 63-71; p. 66.

6. Goode, P. and Lancaster, M. (eds.), The Oxford companion to gardens, 1986, Oxford, p.452.

7. Moorhouse 1984.

8. Quaritch, B., Book illumination: facsimiles from MSS., illustrations in biblical and liturgical MSS. down to the end of the Middle Ages, (1892), London, no. 212.

9. Harvey, J., Restoring period gardens, (1988), Aylesbury, p. 28.

10. Mabey, R. (ed.), Thomas Hill's The Gardener's Labyrinth (1978), Oxford.

11. Emmison, F. Tudor food and pastimes, 1964, London, p. quoted in Brears, P. C. D., The English country pottery, 1971, Newton Abbot, p. 184.

12. Quoted in Brears 1971, p. 196.

13. Newcastle Journal 10th June 1749, quoted in Brears 1971, p. 197.

14. Loudon, J.C., An encyclopaedia of gardening, (1834 ed.; 1st ed., 1822), London, p. 540.

15. Loudon 1834, p. 541.

16. Johnson, G.W., A dictionary of modern gardening, (184), London, p. 243.

17. Thompson, R., The gardener's assistant, (1907, new edition), London, p. 191.

18. Sankey & Son Ltd., Sankey's famous garden pots, (n.d.) (internal evidence suggests c. 1950), Nottingham, p. 5.

19. Hampshire Record Office (HRO) 63M84/235 Notebook of Samual Heathcote and others, concerning family affairs and including extensive notes on garden matters, c. 1695-1714.

20. Currie 1990, p. 116; Currie & Locock forthcoming.

21. Farley, M. 'Pottery and pottery kilns of the post-medieval period at Brill, Buckinghamshire', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 13 (1979), pp. 183-210, p. 149; Cocroft, W. D., 'Two post-medieval pottery kilns and associated products from Prosser's Yard, Brill, Buckinghamshire', Records of Buckingham, 27 (1985), pp. 72-93, p. 80.

22. Cocroft 1985, p. 72.

23. ibid., p. 80.

24. Cocroft 1985, p. 92, fig. 13, no. 1.

25. Farley 1979, pp. 129, 149.

26. Brears 1971, pp. 167-232.

27. Brears 1971, p. 220.

28. HRO 15M52/12 Garden Accounts 1810-1834 for garden near Hampshire/Berkshire border. Internal evidence strongly suggests Highclere, Hampshire.

29. Thompson 1907, p.

29. ibid.

30. Cocroft 1985, p. 75.

31. Farley 1979, p. 134.

32. Loudon 1834, p. 540.

33. quoted in Johnson 1846, p. 244.

34. Loudon 1834, p. 540.

35. Anon., Beeton's new book of garden management, (n.d., internal evidence suggests 1886; 1887 inscribed in pencil on inside cover of copy used in this research), London, p. 238; Sankeys n.d., 23.

36. Adkins, L. & Adkins, R.A., A thesaurus of British archaeology, (1982), Newton Abbot, p. 232.

37. Anon. n.d., p. 238.

38. HRO 63M84/175/2 James Veitch Jnr's catalogue, autumn 1854; 'Hyacinths and other Bulbous Roots'.

39. Sankeys n.d., p. 23.

40. Sanders, T.W., Sanders' alphabet of gardening, (n.d.) 9th edition (revised by A.G.L. Hellyer), London, p. 179.

41. Anon. n.d., p. 238.

42. Mabey 1987; Quaritch 1892, no. 212, this illustration, dated 1498, shows pot plants trained within a frame set against a wall.

43. Anon. n.d., pp. 238-39.

44. Hynde, N. & Ewart, G., 'Aberdour Castle Gardens', Garden History 11.2 (1983), pp. 93-111, p. 104.

45. Sankeys n.d., p. 11.

46. Anon. n.d., p. 239.

47. ibid.

48. Sankeys n.d., p. 3.

49. Loudon 1834, p. 540.

50. Anon. n.d., pp. 240-41? or p. 239?.

51. personal observations.

52 Loudon 1834, p. 540.

53. Loudon 1834, p. 540.

54. Weatherill, L. & Edwards, R., 'Pottery making in London and Whitehaven in the late seventeenth century', Post-Medieval Archaeology 5 (1971), pp. 160-81.

55. Anon. n.d., pp. 240-41.

56. Loudon 1834, p. 541.

57. ibid., p. 239.

58. Thompson 1907, p. 192.

59. Sankeys n.d., p. 4.

60. HRO 15M52/12.

61. Loudon 1834, p. 540.

62. Anon. n.d., p. 240.

63. Sankeys n.d., p. 4.

64. Thompson 1907, p. 192.

65. Currie & Locock forthcoming.

66. Soden pers. comm.

67. Cocroft 1985, p. 80.

68. Farley 1979, p. 149.

69. Loudon 1834, p. 541.

70. Sankeys n.d., pp. 4, 16.

71. Brears 1971.

72. Thompson 1907, p. 192.

73. Sankeys n.d., p. 4.

74. Anon. n.d., p. 239.

75. Brears 1971, pp. 214-15.

76. Anon. n.d., p. 239.

77. Sankeys n.d., p. 6-21.

78. Brian Dix pers. comm.; the pots found at Basing House, Hampshire (Brears 1970) are considered to be ornamental urns.

79. Currie 1990, p. 116; Currie & Locock forthcoming.

80. Currie, C. K., Pottery report- Tredegar House, Gwent unpublished archival pottery report.

81. Cocroft 1985, p. 92, fig. 13, no. 1.

82. Noel Hume, A., Archaeology and the colonial gardener, Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Series no. 7 (1974), Williamsburg, Virginia, USA, p. 49, fig. 30.

83. Currie & Locock forthcoming.

84. Soden, I., St. Anne's Charterhouse, Coventry: excavations 1969-87, Coventry Museums monograph (forthcoming).

85. Currie unpublished.

86. Pearson, T. 'The contents of a mid eighteenth-century pit from North Petherton, Somerset', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 13 (1979), pp. 183-210, p. 192, fig. 2, no. 10.

87. Hume 1974, p. 44, fig. 26. Straight rimmed flowerpots have been identified in earlier contexts. A pot found in mid-eighteenth-century levels at Elmsleigh House, near Staines, had an almost straight rim, being only slightly hooked (Croft, P. & Woodage, W., 'Post-Medieval pottery' pp. 114-18 in Crouch, K., 'The archaeology of Staines and the excavation at Elmsleigh House', Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, 27 (1976), 71-134. Flowerpots from the Museum of London's collection of Post-Medieval Redwares (the local flowerpot fabric type) were all rolled, hooked rims (Museum of London accession numbers A 23723; 18,337; 18,338; 18,339). The last three were dated to the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. A 23723 was dated to the seventeenth century (although the dating is not secure) and had 'WD' inscribed crudely on its side.

88. Farley 1979, pp. 149-50, fig. 14, nos. 9-11.

89. Courtesy Brian Dix.

90. Pearson 1979, p. 189, fig. 2 no. 10; p.192.

91. Courtesy Gordon Ewart.

92. Currie 1990, pp. 109-17; Currie & Locock forthcoming.

93. Currie 1990, p. 109.

94. Currie 1990, p. 111.

95. courtesy Iain Soden, Coventry Museums.

96. Hadfield, M., A history of British gardening, 3rd ed. (1979), London, p. 148.

97. HRO 15M52/12.

98. Anon. n.d., p. 237.

99. Anon. n.d., p. 238.

100. Sankeys n.d., p. 26.

101. Drage, C., 'The excavation of a moated site at Snape Wood, Bulwell', Post-Medieval Archaeology 13 (1979), 285-88, p. 287.

102. Currie & Locock forthcoming.

103. Sankeys n.d.

In the Hampshire Record Office (HRO):

15M52/12 Garden Accounts 1810-1834 for garden near Hampshire/Berkshire border. Internal evidence strongly suggests Highclere, Hampshire.

63M84/175/2 James Veitch Jnr's catalogue, autumn 1854; 'Hyacinths and other Bulbous Roots'.

63M84/235 Notebook of Samual Heathcote and others, concerning family affairs and including extensive notes on garden matters, c. 1695-1714.

Secondary sources:

Adkins, L. & Adkins, R.A., A thesaurus of British archaeology, (1982), Newton Abbot.

Anon., Beeton's new book of garden management, (n.d., internal evidence suggests 1886; 1887 inscribed in pencil on inside cover of copy used in this research), London.

Brears, P. C. D., 'The horticultural wares', pp 87-90 in Moorhouse, S. 'Finds from Basing House, Hampshire (c. 1540-1645): part one', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 4 (1970), 31-91.

Brears, P. C. D., The English country pottery, 1971, Newton Abbot.

Cocroft, W. D., 'Two post-medieval pottery kilns and associated products from Prosser's Yard, Brill, Buckinghamshire', Records of Buckingham, 27 (1985), 72-93.

Croft, P. & Woodage, W., 'Post-Medieval pottery' pp. 114-18 in Crouch, K., 'The archaeology of Staines and the excavation at Elmsleigh House', Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, 27 (1976), 71-134.

Currie, C. K., 'Excavation of an early eighteenth-century garden pond: the West Pond, Castle Bromwich Hall, West Midlands', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 24 (1990), 93-123.

Currie, C. K., Pottery report- Tredegar House, Gwent unpublished archival pottery report.

Currie, C. K. and Locock, M., 'Research excavations at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, West Midlands, 1989-91', forthcoming.

Drage, C., 'The excavation of a moated site at Snape Wood, Bulwell', Post-Medieval Archaeology 13 (1979), 285-88.

Drummond, M., 'Dam the flower pots', Hedley, G. and Rance, A. (eds.), Pleasure grounds: the gardens and landscapes of Hampshire, 1987, Southampton, pp. 63-71.

Emmison, F. Tudor food and pastimes, 1964, London.

Farley, M. 'Pottery and pottery kilns of the post-medieval period at Brill, Buckinghamshire', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 13 (1979), 183-210.

Goode, P. and Lancaster, M. (eds.), The Oxford companion to gardens, 1986, Oxford.

Hadfield, M., A history of British gardening, 3rd ed. (1979), London.

Harvey, J., Restoring period gardens, (1988), Aylesbury.

Mabey, R. (ed.), Thomas Hill's The Gardener's Labyrinth (1978), Oxford.

Moorhouse, S., 'Late medieval pottery plant-holders from Eastern Yorkshire' Medieval Archaeology, 28 (1984), 194-202.

Morton, The natural history of Northamptonshire, 1712

Noel Hume, A., Archaeology and the colonial gardener, Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Series no. 7 (1974), Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.

Pearson, T. 'The contents of a mid eighteenth-century pit from North Petherton, Somerset', Post-Medieval Archaeology, 13 (1979), 183-210.

Quaritch, B., Book illumination: facsimiles from MSS., illustrations in biblical and liturgical MSS. down to the end of the Middle Ages, (1892), London.

Sanders, T.W., Sanders' alphabet of gardening, (n.d.) 9th edition (revised by A.G.L. Hellyer), London.

Sankey & Son Ltd., Sankey's famous garden pots, (n.d.) (internal evidence suggests c. 1950), Nottingham.

Soden, I., St. Anne's Charterhouse, Coventry: excavations 1969-87, Coventry Museums monograph (forthcoming). Thompson, R., The gardener's assistant, (1907, new edition), London.