Handle fragment from Buittle Castle

This handle fragment is of green glazed pottery.   Pottery was used for storing, cooking and serving food and drink.  Unlike many other craft workers medieval potters were not governed by guilds, and their work often acquired an individual local character.  Pottery, usually wheel turned, was decorated with thumb pressed strips, incised marks and stamping.  In the 1100s thin lead glazes were introduced to make the pottery less porous.  By the 1200s glazes had become richer and shades of yellow, green and brown were obtained by adding copper, iron or manganese salts.   Buittle Castle, near Dalbeattie, belonged to the Balliol family.  It came into their ownership by the marriage of Lady Devorgilla, the heiress of the Lords of Galloway, to John Balliol.  Both John Balliol and Robert Bruce (the grandfather of Robert I) had a claim to be King of Scotland.  In 1290, John Balliol was chosen as King of Scotland.  During his reign he spent the winters of 1293 and 1294 at Buittle Castle.   King John Balliol surrendered to King Edward I of England in 1296, and the English army occupied Galloway - Buittle Castle became an English garrison.   In 1312 Robert the Bruce (Robert I of Scotland) led an attack on Buittle Castle and it was not surrendered until great damage had been done to the building itself.  Bruce had the remains of the castle destroyed to prevent further resistance to his reign in Galloway.  Once he was firmly established as King, he divided the lands of Galloway amongst his own friends and supporters, and Buittle passed to Sir James Douglas.   Buittle was rebuilt, only to be destroyed again in the civil warfare that followed the death of Robert the Bruce.   This archaelogical material gives us a picture of life in and around Buittle Castle during these troubled times.
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Dimensions :
length 75mm, width 30mm
Materials :
ceramic, pottery
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Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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