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5.2 Eighteenth-century Muffle Developments

There is a paucity of reliably dated eighteenth-century material with which to evaluate the developmental changes in muffle evolution. The best groups in terms of revealing content are those from Waterford, from a single workshop, which appears to have had a long working life in the middle of the eighteenth century. The predominant pipe type produced on the site is of mid century form with an embossed mark WW in a circular border on one side of the bowl. This type of mark is commonly used in the Bristol region from the last decade of the seventeenth century through to the middle of the eighteenth. At Wickwar in south Gloucestershire the style of marking seems to have survived a little later, possibly to 1770 (Peacey 1979, 76). In Gloucester several makers used this form of marking certainly up to 1750, possibly later (ibid, 48-54). It is reasonable to suppose that, as a mould-imparted mark, once adopted by a maker, it is likely to have remained in his repertoire until his demise. Whilst many makers continued to use the style, it is unlikely to have been taken up by a new manufacturer later than 1750. The Waterford establishment is therefore likely to have been in operation before this date. Among the associated products are specimens decorated with the royal arms, also marked WW, and bowls decorated with an embossed crowned harp on the back, consistent with a working period in the third quarter of the century. Unfortunately, because of fires in the Public Records Office, Dublin, in 1720; Cork Courthouse in 1891; and in Cork City Hall in 1876 and 1920, there is little hope of confirming the operational dates through documentary research (Lane 1980, 12).

There are three groups from Waterford, two associated with kilns and one from a dump in a stone-lined pit. All are from the area bounded by High Street, Olaf Street, Peter Street and Arundel Square. The muffle material from these three contexts is from three different structures. The pipe evidence from the three assemblages is chronologically inconclusive, there being in each a large amount of common material. WAT1, from the Olaf Street Kiln (see Figure 54), provides evidence of a cylindrical muffle with external bar type buttresses. The pipe stem included within the wall is horizontal at the rim and vertical in lower wall sections. The muffle evidence, WAT2, from the Arundel Square kiln (see Figure 55), indicates bar type buttressing and a dished base (Figure 15). Pipe stems included in the lower wall are vertical, whilst in a separate fragment with attached bar they are horizontal. In the bar they are vertical. WAT3, from the stone-lined pit off High Street, includes muffle material from the rim including horizontal stems, bar type buttresses with no included stems, internal peripheral shelves and an opening extending downward from the rim.

5.2.1 High Street, Brentford, 1740-60.

The small assemblage of muffle fragments from the infill of the William Heath kiln at Brentford (Figure 56) is unlikely to be fully representative. A cylindrical chamber of 620mm diameter has been suggested (Laws & Oswald 1981, 23). Twenty-seven fragments from bar type muffle buttresses were recovered. There are no details of either base, rim or possible internal features.

5.2.2 Gravel Street, Bristol, 1780-1800.

From Gravel Street, Bristol, there is an assemblage of pipes and kiln material, probably representing the work of several makers, dating from the early 1780s to the mid 1790s (BRI1; Jackson & Price 1974, 115-20). Two joining fragments are from the wall of a cylindrical muffle with an internal peripheral shelf and an external vertical bar type buttress. The shelf is built as part of the wall from which it projects and has no stem pegging. The wall has a single layer of horizontally aligned stems sandwiched between its inner and outer surfaces. The inner surface is coated with layers of white slip whilst the outer is heavily slagged. The buttress has a groined lower end. Within the wall is a bowl fragment dating from the last quarter of the eighteenth century.


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