Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

Malvernian coarse wares

Cooking pots in coarse grey or black wares produced in the Malvern Hills region (Hereford & Worcs/GB) and distibuted in western Britain during the 2nd to 4th centuries AD.

Fabric and technology

Hard, slightly rough fabric; usually black or dark grey (N3) throughout, sometimes with red-orange (7.5YR 6/8) patches or margins; abundant angular fragments of metamorphic rocks, quartz, white and pink feldspar and hornblende (regularly up to 3mm, occasionally 10mm); wiped, burnished or smoothed surfaces. Hand-formed, but see note on wheel-thrown fabrics below. Inclusions are crushed igneous and metamorphic rocks from the Malvern Hills.


Most frequent form is ‘tubby cooking pot’ with thickened or beaded rim and vertical burnished streaks on the body; also everted-rim cooking pots and bead-rim dishes, based on BB1 prototypes.


Pottery production in the Malvern district is attested since middle Iron Age (Peacock 1969). The hand-made forms described date from 2nd cent. AD. Increasing quantities of wheel-thrown fabrics with similar, but finer, inclusions during 3rd/4th cent. when BB-derived forms become increasingly common. Some overlap between these fabrics and grey Severn Valley wares.


The Malvern region.


Principally Herefordshire and Worcestershire, with a scatter to the east, north and (particularly) west, into South Wales.


Gloucester fabrics TF18 and TF19B. JRPS bibliography fabric mlv. Sidbury fabrics 3 and 19.


Vince 1977. Discussion of dating in Darlington and Evans 1992, 48-51.


Darlington and Evans 1992. Darlington, J. and Evans, J., ‘Roman Sidbury, Worcester excavations 1959-1989’, TWorcsAS, 13, (1992), pp. 5-104.

Peacock 1969. Peacock, D. P. S., ‘A petrological study of certain Iron Age pottery from Western England’, PPS, 34, (1969), pp. 414-27.

Vince 1977. Vince, A. G., ‘The Medieval and Post-Medieval Ceramic Industry of the Malvern Region: The Study of a Ware and its Distribution’ in Pottery and Commerce: Characterisation and Trade in Roman and Later Ceramics., ed. D. P. S. Peacock, Academic Press, London, (1977), pp. 257-305.

Distribution of Malvernian coarse wares in Britain
National Roman Fabric Reference Collection
(Dore & Tomber 1998, Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 2)
  • Fabric code: MAL RE A (Malvernian Group A Reduced ware, p.147).
Thumbnail images
Worcestershire ceramics online database
(Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service)
  • Fabric no. 3 (Handmade Malvernian ware (Peacock Group A))
  • Fabric no. 19 (Wheelmade Malvernian ware)
Thumbnail images (click for higher resolution):
Malvernian coarse wares
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/MALV • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.