The quiet little village of Michelmersh, near Romsey in Hampshire has an intriguing hidden history. No visible clues remain to show that it once produced pottery which was used as far afield as Wiltshire and West Sussex. Two pottery kilns have been found so far, one recently by Wessex Archaeology. It is likely that there were others. Experts believe that pots were produced here for two or even three hundred years, and their distinctive style deserves a special name - ‘Michelmersh Ware’.
The pottery was made on a wheel, which is unusual for this period. The jars and bowls were clearly for everyday use, but the elaborately decorated pitchers or jugs are a bit of an enigma. They hold as much as 5 litres but their small handles and narrow spouts make them unsuitable for regular use.
The kiln found by Wessex Archaeology was complete with the pots from its last firing. Archaeomagnetic dating tells us that this firing was done in the late 10th or early 11th century, but we will probably never know why the kiln and its contents were abandoned.