Monday, November 24, 2014

The Newfoundland connection

Map of Ferryland 1693, From D.W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial, and Foreign Records, 2nd edition (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1896) 111. Caption beneath image reads, "Ferryland, showing Baltimore's House. From Fitzburgh's map, 1693." Image modified by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, 1999.
I am starting to find out about Bideford's relationship with Newfoundland as I have just been invited to join the steering group for a forthcoming project that the Devonshire Association are planning for 2017, celebrating the relationship between Devon and Newfoundland.

I have come across a fascinating book by Inkerman Rogers, geologist 1866 - 1959 who lived in Bideford. The chapter of his Ships and Shipyards of Bideford book, on the Newfoundland Fisheries starts with this quote:

The Spirits of our fathers
start from every wave!
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And ocean was their grave
- Campbell

The Magna Brittania of 1720 “stated that Bideford then was one of the best trading towns in England, sending every year great fleets to Newfoundland, to the West Indies and to Virginia”. (Inkerman Rogers, Ships and shipyards of Bideford, Devon, 1568 to 1938).

John Allan has told me that there are a great number of sherds of North Devon Pottery that have been found at Ferryland in Newfoundland, and that balluster jars (my favourite!) feature highly here.

Here begins another chapter in my journey and research.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Local finds part 2 - River Torridge rims

Its difficult now to go sherding as the beach is very sandy and weedy so its difficult to find anyhting. So for Autumn and Winter I will continue to post some more of my finds.
 Here's a small selection of pot rims.
I like rims.
They not only look and feel nice, they are really interesting as they can help to identify a pot's form and and also give a good indication of its size as a whole vessel. Rim charts help with this process too.

All of these rims were pulled out of the River Torridge, around Instow.
I don't know their age for sure but would say they are probably 17th Century or 18th Century, given the confirmed age of other finds I have discovered from the same area such as the Pipkin in my previous post.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

North Devon sherds - local finds part 1

I have been collecting sherds and fragments from the local beach over the last three years, at low Spring tides, preferably when the River Torridge is lower (after less rainfall) and mainly in the Winter. It's not so weedy and sandy then compared to the Summer, which makes it easier to spot the pot!

I will share some of my finds over the next few blog posts which gives me an opportunity to take stock of what's in my collection and to raise the significance or otherwise of the finds. It is also an opportunity to open up these for comment, analysis, appreciation and highlight the relevance and significance of North Devon's Pottery heritage and industry here in Bideford. 

This piece is one of my favourites because it really is a fragment, not a sherd, as explained by Rob Hunter Editor of Ceramics in America, because you can see this piece for what it is - or was - rather than a smaller unidentifiable piece of pot. 
A Pipkin is a cooking pot, glazed on the inside as this would have been in contact with food. A complete vessel would have had three feet, intended for standing on fire or hearth and a stubby handle on one side. The form goes back to Medieval times and the 17th Century English colonists and planters would have used these cooking vessels in their settlements.

I love this one as its now got sea barnacles encrusted on it from its hundreds of years in the salt water.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I had a very positive and exciting meeting last week in Exeter to discuss a project about the relationship between Devon and Newfoundland. 
The meeting was with Robin Wootton of the Devonshire Association and their plan for a major project for 2016, all being well. It's very early days and needs lots of planning with hopefully a grant of some sort to fund it. I have been invited to be on the steering group to help make it happen. As a 'can do' person I am looking forward to helping to drive this forward and make it happen for Devon.
I will of course be contributing to the North Devon Pottery 'arm' of the project and look forward to hopefully meeting folks from Newfoundland in due course.

Meanwhile, here's where it is :

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The 17th century Storage jar

Here is the photo I took of the 17th century North Devon storage jar at St Nicholas Priory in Exeter and referred to in my previous post. The similarity is striking!
I would say this is the same vessel as the big sherd I found.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A piece of treasure off the beach

I found this wonderful piece of old pot on Saturday at Instow beach near Bideford. I was making the most of the rare super low Spring tide which gave me the opportunity to explore further out, in places normally still under water.
This sherd was just lying there waiting to be picked up. I don't know how old it is and pretty sure it is a storage jar. Comparing it to a photo I took of a storage jar from the 1600s in St Nicholas Priory in Exeter it bears an uncanny resemblance! If anyone can shed any light on this do let me know.