The Foxearth and District Local History Society

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Iron Age Pottery Vessel found at the Stour at Cavendish in 1952.


(from the proceedings of the Suffolk Institute Archaeology 1952)
An angler of 34 years experience, Mr. William Shaw, of 4 Broadway, Glemsford, Suffolk, while
fishing for roach in the River Stour (Nat. Grid. 795E454N) in front of Cavendish Hall, the home of the owner of  the land, Mrs. A. Brocklcbank,  landed with a collection of rubbish, what was identified on January 19th, 1953, by Mr. M. R. Hull, curator of the Castle Museum, Colchester, as either a native Iron Age or ancient British pottery vessel (circa b.c. 50—a.d. 50) of the Cunobulum dynasty.

The perfectly preserved vessel, which is about 5 inches in diameter and approx. 4J inches high, is slate grey in colour and there are two parallel incisions, extending round the pot, between the lip and belly. Mrs. Brocklebank, who has custody of the relic, was advised by the museum not to clean the chalk deposit off it. 

Mr. Shaw told me that the vessel had been lying in his shed from August, 1952, to January, 1953, when he took the pot to Mrs.Brocklcbank, who realised at once that it was of considerable antiquity. The river was ' quite shallow' at the time of the discovery- ; the river bottom shows traces of chalk, which probably
accounts for the chalk encrusted pot.

The discovery of this ancient vessel is of added interest: as far as can be ascertained, it is the only recorded find in the village apart from the Late Bronze Age encrusted urn, found in the spring of 1843, in the vicinity of Mr. Shaw's ' catch '. This urn, which contained the burial of a cremated child {skull, bone fragments,
and teeth sockets), was found inverted over the ashes'. It was presented in 1851, by the then Rector of Cavendish (The Rev.Thomas Castley), to the old Sudbury Museum but the whereabouts of the urn to-day is not known. Apparently a special frame was made for it and other precautions taken to preserve the relic.

W. W. Hodson, writing in a local guide book published in 1870, said that the Museum, which was then housed in a room at the Lecture Hall, North Street,' of late years has been much neglected'. It seems likely that the urn may have been mislaid during that period. It was described at the 1852 Annual Meeting of the old Bury and West Suffolk Archaeological Institute, by Mr. Castley, who states that the urn was found ' half way between the pool in the middle of Parson's Piece and the hedge on the South, not many
rods from the North bank of the River Stour' (Prot, Suff. Inst. Arch., vol. I, p. 313).

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