European Glass Production

Dr Hugh Willmott

London Glass, Production in the Capital

A half-finished wine glass stemFollowing the recent publication (in collaboration with Kieron Tyler, Museum of London White canes for decorating vesselsArchaeology) of the 17th-century glass furnace from Vauxhall, this project is collating the archaeological evidence for post-medieval glass production in the capital. Curated by the London Archaeological Archive Resource Centre (LAARC) is the production debris from five 17th- or very early 18th-century sites: Aldgate, Old Broad Street, Crosswall Street, Vauxhall and Bankside. This project has examined, quantified and catalogued the waste and possible products from each of these sites, so that for the first time a comprehensive characterisation of the industry has been possible.

Glassmaking in Gloucestershire, a Survey

Topographic surveyIn partnership with Dr Kate Welham, Bournemouth University, this project is undertaking a regional survey of post-medieval glassmaking in Gloucestershire. Four sites dating to the 16th and 17th centuries, (Woodchester, Newent, Newham-on-Severn and Gloucester), are known through historical documents or antiquarian interventions but no comprehensive archaeological survey of these furnaces has been undertaken. Gloucestershire was a county where immigrant glassmakers were important in establishing the industry, yet the spread of this technology and those practised it is little understood. The first phase of the project has been to undertake a detailed topographic and geophysical survey of the Woodchester furnace, has been completed. The second phase of work has seen a programme of fieldwalking and geophysical taking place at Newent, building on the work first undertaken by the late Alan Vince in 1977.

Glassmaking at Shinrone, Ireland

The 17th-century glass furnace at Shinrone, County Offaly, Ireland is unique, as it is the only example of thisThe Shinrone furnace date where the superstructure survives. Furthermore, it is the earliest known production site in Ireland, dating to when the industry was operating under the English monopoly. Excavations by Caimin O'Brien and Jean Farrelly produced a large assemblage of glass, and subsequent analysis of samples by Sarah Paynter (English Heritage) suggests that a high lime low alkali glass was produced. A full catalogue and typological analysis of the glass has been undertaken at the University of Sheffield, and analysis indicates that whilst cylinder window glass was the principal output of the furnace, small containers were also made there.