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Record Details

HER Number:04930
Type of record:Place
Name:The Doncaster Roman Pottery Production Area


A series of potteries have been recorded and excavated in the Doncaster district over several decades. The potteries may be considered a single industrial entity that stretches across several kilometres to the east of Doncaster. To date, sites have been recorded in the parishes of Cantley, Rossington, Blaxton, Auckley and Doncaster.

Grid Reference:SE 613 012
Map Sheet:SE60SW
Parish:BLAXTON, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
DONCASTER CENTRAL, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
AUCKLEY, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
ROSSINGTON, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Type(s):

Associated Finds:

  • None
  • Full Description

    <1> V.G. Swan gives an extensive account of the Doncaster area Roman pottery industry in her monograph "The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain". The following is a summary/précis of this information:

    The potteries immediately east and south east of Doncaster, within the parishes of Auckley, Cantley and Rossington, constitute the largest excavated regional kiln concentrations in Britain, and may be considered as a single industrial entity. The origins of pottery production in the Doncaster area are not yet clear. The first potters at Rossington may well have worked near the pre-Flavian vexillation fortress. No kilns of this date are yet known, however, and the vexillation fortress has not been excavated.

    The most likely stimulus for the establishment of a permanent industry was probably the foundation of the early Flavian fort at Doncaster (Danum) itself, and its continuing occupation, both military and civil. No kiln sites of Flavian date have been recorded. The distributions of potters' stamps CEN, REDITAS and SACE, on a group of vessels of generally similar technique, which centre on the Doncaster area in that period, however, suggest possible Flavian production nearby.

    Pottery production expanded enormously in the early Antonine period (mid-late 2nd century AD). The major impetus was possibly the establishment of workshops by one or more potters of the from the Hartshill/Mancetter firm of Sarrius. Sarrius apparently continued production at Mancetter, but perhaps sent former apprentices or associates, Setibogius and Secundua. Potters from regions adjacent to Doncaster were also apparently involved in the enterprise; rusticate jars, parisian stamped wares and probably traditional to Lincolnshire, and other Romanized vessel-types were closely associated with it. Potters making wares normally associated with Dorset were also attracted to the area.

    Pottery from the region was exported as far as the Antonine Wall and other northern military sites. The main markets, however, remained local e.g. Doncaster Fort, which was re-occupied in the Antonine period. After the 2nd century, however, the wider distribution of pottery ceased. Thereafter, the Doncaster industry remained of purely local status until its demise in the mid to late 4th century. [Further information available in the source]

    <2> Excavations of the kilns have occurred at numerous times during the 20th century. Several areas of activity are discussed in the literature: Cantley East, Cantley South, Cantley North and Cantley West Kiln Groups appear to relate to over 40 kilns excavated or observed before the construction of the Cantley/Bessecarr estates. Further concentrated groups of kilns have been recorded in the Mosham Road area of Blaxton (PINs 04929, 02124/01) and at Rossington Bridge (PIN 00970/01/02/03 and 02919/01). The latter site is also associated with evidence of settlement and production debris from other industries.

    The majority of the Cantley kilns were investigated by Annable and Gilmour who excavated sites separately on the Cantley Estate. Paul Buckland's articles indicate that the locations were not meticulously recorded, and which director was responsible for which kiln was not recorded. Annable was responsible for the earlier excavations, 1950-3, and Gilmour for those of 1953-4.

    As far as can be ascertained the following kiln numbers relate to the following kiln groups:
    Cantley East Kiln Group = Kilns 4,5,6, 20, 7, 8, 13 17, 19, 21, 22/3, 25, 26-29, 35, and 36. These appear to correspond to SMR record PIN 02802/01
    Cantley South Kiln Group = Kilns 9-11, 12, 14, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 38, 39, plus a further unnumbered kiln found at Blundell Close. These appear to correspond to SMR record PIN 01814/01
    Cantley North Kiln Group = 1, 2, 3, 15, 16, 18 These appear to correspond to SMR PRN 00708/01 [LM 8-3-2010]

    <3> Thirty-nine Roman pottery kilns were discovered during the construction of a housing estate between the Great North Road between 1953 and 1957. A Roman well, and an iron smelting site were also noted. An examination of pottery suggested that the kilns were working within a period ranging from Antonine times to the third quarter of the third century. Cremation burials and storage-pits were discovered 15ft (4.57m) south west and 60 ft (18.28m) north east respectively of kiln 7. Some of the pottery, and one kiln are in Doncaster Museum. SE 615015 Seven kilns were excavated at Cantley by J Lidster. Kilns 35 and 36 were dated by pottery typology to the third century AD, and the others to the late 4th century.

    All but one of these kilns are now covered by the housing estate, and there are no visible remains. The exception (kiln 35) was identified by the filled-in excavation area, and (after verification by the Museum) was surveyed at SE6142601437. Two further kilns (Nos 40 and 41) have recently been located and await excavation.

    A small amount of pottery peculiar to kilns 35 and 39 originally suggested an extension of their use to the late 4th century; but this has since proved inconclusive, and an upper date of late third century is still applicable to all kilns.

    <4> Evaluation trenching adjacent to Rossington Bridge fort identified kilns believed to be associated with pottery production.

    <1> Swan, V.G., 1984, The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain (Monograph). SSY639.

    <3> Buckland, P.C., Magilton, J.R. & Dolby, M.J., 1980, The Roman Pottery Industries of South Yorkshire. Britannia, Vol. 11, 145-164. (Article in serial). SSY351.

    <4> NAA, 2003, Parrot's Corner Park and Ride, Rossington: Archaeological Evaluation (Grey Literature Report). SSY1329.

    Sources and further reading

    <1>SSY639 - Monograph: Swan, V.G.. 1984. The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain. RCHMs Supplementary Series 5.
    <3>SSY351 - Article in serial: Buckland, P.C., Magilton, J.R. & Dolby, M.J.. 1980. The Roman Pottery Industries of South Yorkshire. Britannia, Vol. 11, 145-164.. Britannia XI 1980.
    <4>SSY1329 - Grey Literature Report: NAA. 2003. Parrot's Corner Park and Ride, Rossington: Archaeological Evaluation. Jacobson, S. & Bishop, M..

    Related records

    02124/01Parent of: Blaxton Quarry Kilns, Auckley (Monument)
    01814/01Parent of: Cantley - Bessecarr Roman Pottery Kilns (South Group) (Monument)
    02802/01Parent of: Cantley - Bessecarr Roman Pottery Kilns, Doncaster (East Group) (Monument)
    01280/01Parent of: Cantley-Bessecarr Roman Pottery kilns (Monument)
    00708/01Parent of: Cantley-Bessecarr Roman Pottery kilns (North Group) (Monument)
    02986/01Parent of: Further Roman Pottery Kilns at Rossington Bridge (Monument)
    02919/01Parent of: Further Roman Pottery Kilns near Rossington Bridge (Monument)
    01285/01Parent of: Kilham Farm Fields Romano-British Pottery Kilns (Monument)
    00970/01Parent of: Roman Kilns at Rossington Bridge Pumping Station (Monument)
    04929Parent of: Roman Pottery Kiln(s), Mosham Wood Nursery Gardens, Blaxton (Monument)
    01209/03Parent of: Rose Hill Roman Pottery Kiln 1, Cantley (Monument)
    01209/04Parent of: Rose Hill Roman Pottery Kiln 2, Cantley (Monument)
    00970/03Parent of: Rossington Bridge Farm Kiln(s) (Monument)