Diameter: 9.700 cm (rim)
Gift of the London Residuary Body
Room 40: Medieval Europe
Medieval, 13th century
French; found at Lesnes Abbey, Kent, (now in Bexley, Greater London) England
This jug is one of a group of pots and fragments retrieved from a pit at Lesnes Abbey in 1959. It was made in Saintonge, a former province of western France, which covers most of the modern département of Charente-Maritime. The finer products from Saintonge at this time seem to have been made almost entirely for export to Britain and northern Europe. The English market was undoubtedly linked to the development of the wine trade and to the English acquisition of Gascony.
The complete items found at Lesnes Abbey were English, with the exception of this jug and a piece of Hispano-Moresque ware, which together illustrate well the type of fine earthen wares imported into England in the late thirteenth century.
The clear glaze and the choice of greens and browns used to decorate the body of the jug may well have been influenced by Italian pottery, particularly from Orvieto. The distinctive pulled lip spout and the decorative motif of the bird and shields are both features which commonly occur on Saintonge products of this type.
Lesne Abbey was founded by Richard de Lucy in 1178. It was an Augustinian Abbey, sppressed as early as 1525. The site was subsequently excavated by Sir Alfred Clapham between 1909 and 1913, but the remains were only uncovered after further activity in the mid-1950s.
G.C. Dunning, 'A group of English and imported Medieval pottery from Lesnes Abbey, Kent', The Antiquaries Journal-7, 41 (1961)