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Centuries of Trade & Links with Continental Europe

These webpages use pottery sherds (fragments) & objects found at Hemyock Castle, to explore centuries of close links with continental Europe:


16th & 17th Centuries: German Bellarmine (Bartmann) & Raeren Pots

Possibly brought from Europe by mercenaries? 16th or 17th Century German pots of a design popular with "anti-Papist" Protestants, who may have fought in England's Civil Wars.

Photo: Arms of Frechen, Germany
Arms of Frechen, Germany, showing a Bartmann Pot
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DEU_Frechen_COA.svg

These Bellarmine (or Bartmann) stoneware pots were made in Frechen near Cologne, Germany, particularly during the 16th & 17th centuries. Copies were made in other places. Originally their distinctive image depicted a Bartmann: A bearded man, or wild man from northern European folklore. Later, the image was said to depict the Roman Catholic Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621); these pots became popular with European Protestants who opposed the Roman Catholic church & that particular severe, joyless cardinal: They would drink beer from these pots and then deliberately smash the image of the cardinal.

Photo: Bellarmine Jug Sherds
17th Century Bellarmine Pots from Frechen, Germany

Bartmann pots were also used as "Witch Bottles:" Various tokens, charms, objects & substances would be put in the pot, which was then buried; to bring good (or bad) luck.

Photo: Bellarmine Jug
Image on the Neck of a Bellarmine Pot

Raeren Beer Pot

Also found at Hemyock Castle, sherds from a 16th century blue/white glazed beer pot from Raeren near Aachen; formerly in Germany; now since the end of World War I, a German speaking area in Belgium; showing how Europe's national borders have moved backwards and forwards over the centuries.

Note. During the mid 16th century, many potters migrated from Raeren, up the Rhine to the Westerwald region near Koblenz, taking their moulds. That region is famous for Kannenbäckerland Stoneware; often cobalt-blue designs on grey pottery.

Photo: Raeren Beer Pot
16th Century Beer Mug from Raeren, Germany (now Belgium)

Why were these Bellamine pots at Hemyock Castle?

Could these pots have been brought to Hemyock, from the religious conflicts sweeping northern Europe, by people engaged in England's Civil Wars? This could have been people from England who had gone overseas to fight in continental conflicts, or foreign mercenaries hired during England's Civil Wars. The use of mercenaries, including some from the British Isles, had long been common in Europe's many interminable conflicts. Perhaps the presence of such people increased the bitterness of England's Civil War?

Apparently, large amounts of German Rhineland pottery were imported via nearby Exeter during this period; at times amounting to almost half that port's trade.


Large parts of continental Europe had been in turmoil for many years. Particular conflicts & sources of conflicts included:

Notice how several of these conflicts ended at about the time of England's Civil Wars. Many Protestant skilled Flemish weavers had already fled from Flanders; Many to England's East Anglia or its West Country. The 1685 Edict of Fontainebleau increased persecution of Protestants in France; Most of the remaining Huguenots fled, largely to the east of England and to England's West Country, bringing their valuable skills. Their skills included improvements in lace-making and clock-making. Many worked in this area's important lace-making industry around Honiton, Tiverton & Exeter.



Webpages in this series, exploring centuries of close links with continental Europe:


European Year of Cultural Heritage – UK is the UK's part of The European Year of Cultural Heritage, a new European initiative.


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Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
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