No. 43 – August 2002

Secretary’s Notes

The Group’s AGM was held in London as part of the one-day meeting on May 18th. Reports had been circulated beforehand, and discussion centred around the Group’s financial situation, and the potential effects of this on the future production of Medieval Ceramics. It has become apparent that the Group’s finances are not as healthy as they appear, since much of our current balance consists of income from sales of the Guide which, according to the conditions of the original English Heritage grant, cannot be used for anything except further publications within the Occasional Paper series. This has the obvious effect of limiting the resources available for publishing Medieval Ceramics, for which the two volumes (24 and 25) are currently going through the editorial process. Increasing the Group’s income has therefore become crucial, and Council has been discussing the possibility of a rise in subscription rates. Council proposed a rise from the current rate of £10/£13 to £15/£20, but the ensuing debate resulted in the proposal of a higher rate, of £20/£25, to take effect from February 2003.

Council pursued the raising of funds as a matter of urgency at the Council meeting held in London on June 20th, and are currently following up some of the options suggested, as well as ways of reducing costs for the distribution of Newsletters and journals. One cost reducing measure would be the electronic distribution of the Newsletter (see the appeal for email addresses below). In the meantime, it is still hoped to produce Volume 24 of Medieval Ceramics within the current subscription year, although publication of Volume 25 may have to wait until next year’s subscriptions are in.

To finish on a more positive note, Council would like to extend their thanks, and those of the Group, to our retiring President, Clive Orton who, it is hoped, will now have more time to pursue his multifarious research projects. Thanks also to Bob Will (Treasurer) and Sue Anderson (Assistant Secretary), both retiring but very kindly still filling their respective posts until replacements can be found; and to Alejandra Gutierrez (Ordinary Member). We are delighted to welcome to Council our new President, Maureen Mellor, who despite taking over the reins at a somewhat difficult time has already proved herself equal to the task, and a new (but very familiar!) Ordinary Member, Barbara Hurman. In addition, Council has decided to create a new Council post of Membership Secretary, to ease the Treasurer’s burden, and has co-opted Nigel Jeffries to the post.

We look forward to seeing as many members as can make it in Dublin for the long-anticipated conference (details on the MPRG website). The next Council meeting will be held on 15th October; if you have any comments or wish to raise any issues, please contact me before then. Ideas on fund-raising would be especially welcome.

Lorraine Mepham, Secretary

MPRG Change of Address

Please note that the MPRG now has a new address for general correspondance. Museum of London Specialist Services has offered to host the group, as several of the staff are currently on the MPRG Committee. Council would like to thank David Barker and his colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent for the use of their address over the past few years.

New Membership Secretary

At the last council meeting it was decided that Nigel Jeffries would be co-opted to the new Council position of Membership Secretary. His position will be ratified at the next AGM. Previously the task of Secretary was undertaken by the Treasurer but it was felt that these tasks should be separate, in keeping with the structure of most other Societies and Groups.

Nigel now has a full copy of the membership database and would like initially to stress that changes of address can be directed via the website. Over the coming months Nigel will be cleaning and updating the database and may be in contact with members whose details appear incomplete.

If members have had any problems with mailing or have recently changed address then please do not hesitate to contact him by email (via the website), post (by using the Group’s new address) or telephone (020 7566 9312). He is particularly keen in gaining the email address of membership (see below).

Nigel Jeffries
Museum of London Specialist Services
Tel: 020 7566 9312
Fax: 020 7490 3955

Electronic Newsletter and Email Addresses

In order to reduce the costs of distributing the Newsletter, we are planning to circulate it electronically to as many members as possible who are on-line. If you have an email address, therefore, and do not object to receiving your Newsletter by this means, please send the details to our new Membership Secretary, Nigel Jeffries.

Meetings and Conferences

Medieval Europe 2002

10th-15th September, Basel, Switzerland

The theme of next year’s conference is ‘Centre – Region – Periphery’. There are eight themes, which are as follows:

  • Cultural regions, economic areas
  • Innovation, communication, interaction
  • Sovereignty and territory
  • Structure and topography of the ruling power: Identity and demarcation
  • Settlement in inhospitable regions
  • The Regio TriRhena
  • New studies of medieval and later archaeology in Europe (poster session)

The detailed programme and the (final) registration forms will be sent out in Autumn 2001 to all who have enrolled by 1st October 2001 via email, fax or post. Contact Medieval Europe Basel 2002, c/o Archaeologische Bodenforschung, Petersgraben 11, PO Box CH-4001 Basel, Switzerland. Fax +41-61-267 23 76, web

Changing beliefs: aspects of conversion in the early medieval period

12th October, Sutton Hoo

The Sutton Hoo Society is holding a conference where speakers will address various aspects of landscape, religion, politics and culture associated with the Pagan/Christian interface in the Anglo-Saxon period. Details and application forms from The Sutton Hoo Society, c/o Tranmer House, Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DJ (please enclose SAE).

Prehistoric pottery: people, pattern and purpose

12th-13th October, Bradford

The Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group and the Ceramic Petrology Group will be holding a joint conference entitled Prehistoric Pottery: People, Pattern and Purpose. at the University of Bradford. The conference is open to all. Further details are available from Alex Gibson, Chairman PCRG, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, BD7 1DP.

Potweb Meetings: Autumn Lecture Series

Ashmolean, Oxford

One of the world’s finest collections of ceramics – from East to West, from pre-historic to C20th – is held here at Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. PotWeb is an ambitious project to catalogue the collection online, bringing together the fruits of 150 years of historical and archaeological research. This series of lectures, given by a distinguished group of speakers, is in support of the project. Each lecture is at 2.30pm in the Headley Lecture Theatre, admission is free.

  • Oct 13th Ancient Greek Pottery – Prof John Boardman
  • Oct 27th English Country Pottery – Dr Peter Brears
  • Nov 10th German Stoneware – Dr David Gaimster
  • Nov 24th French Porcelain – Dr Aileen Dawson
  • Dec 8th Lustre ware – Alan Caiger-Smith

For further information, or to reserve tickets, tel 01865 288073.

Finds Research Group 700-1700: Fairs and markets

19th-20th October, Edinburgh

The autumn 2002 meeting of the Finds Research Group 700-1700 will be hosted by Dr David Caldwell at The National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh. There will be guided tours of the Museum and the chance to explore Edinburgh on Sunday. Further details from Jenny Shiels or Jackie Moran, Medieval Department, National Museums of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, tel 0131 247 4082, fax 0131 247 4060.

Kakiemon and its Influence on Continental and English Porcelain

2nd November, Oxford

A day school from 10.00am-4.00pm, Ashmolean, Oxford. Cost £35 (£30 Friends of the Ashmolean, £20 Full-time students), includes lunch and a glass of wine. This second Day of Special Interest focuses on the influences of Kakiemon porcelain across cultures. Lectures by expert Oliver Impey, Aileen Dawson and Simon Spero.


The Making and Using of Medieval Pottery

A practical archaeology weekend will be held on 23rd-24th November 2002 at the Department of Continuing Education in Oxford, led by Maureen Mellor and Jim Keeling (master potter).

For the medieval period, huge quantities of pottery survive for the archaeological record. Form and decoration change. What stimulated the European potters? This course is designed for students who want to experience at first hand the processes involved in the making and decorating of post-Roman pottery vessels. We will explore the influences on the potter craftsmen and set these vessels in their historic environment. The course will culminate in an experimental firing. Numbers on this course will be limited to 24. Early application is strongly advised.

For further details, contact Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA, tel 01865 270360, fax 01865 270309, web


I am writing in the hope that MPRG members might be of assistance in identifying some peculiar pottery found at Ferryland, Newfoundland. The fabric is micaceous, the bases hand-formed and “sagging” or convex. The peculiar inverted lip may have been designed to prevent spilling or slopping while cooking at sea. We believe that the pots date from the early sixteenth century, but at Ferryland anything is possible. Thank you in advance for your trouble. I look forward to hearing from you. Jim Tuck.

Ferryland Pot Rim And Lug     Ferryland Pot     Ferryland Pot Drawing

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