Sorting the pottery sherds from Blackfriars Barn cellars

Sorting pottery sherds from Blackfriars Barn

The building and cellars of Blackfriars Barn had some public function, perhaps, a guild hall. Mysteriously, it had been abandoned by the 1360s. Between the middle of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century, the cellar was used as the town dump. When opened up in the 1970s, it was full of broken glass and crockery (in fact, it held the largest assemblage of such material in the South East).

Following installation by the National Trust of mains electricity for lighting and heating in the Mill Road Stables adjacent to Castle Field, training of six WAS members started in January 2018. The project is funded by the National Trust and they have arranged for the work to be supervised by Luke Barber, Research Officer at Sussex Archaeological Society. The objective is to sort through about 60 crates of broken pottery dating from the 17th to 19th Century and record the details in order to produce a work of reference to which finds from elsewhere might be compared.

The project started ten years ago but failed to move beyond the training stage. After three months work with weekly full-day sessions, the National Trust expressed their appreciation for the WAS involvement and have renewed their funding. It is expected that this work will be completed in 2019/20.