Clay and woodfuel helped make Tyler Hill Kent’s most important medieval pottery and tile industry. At its peak (c 1300) it had a virtual monopoly over east Kent, producing everything from bowls to chimney pots. Tyler Hill ware has been found as far afield as northern France and even Hamburg.
Canterbury’s religious houses demanded tiles for both roofing and flooring and the Cathedral Priory had its own tylehost. Indeed, following a disastrous fire at the Cathedral in 1174 the monks of Canterbury ordered that all new shops near the cathedral must be roofed with tile – as opposed to thatch. By the 15th century bricks were also being produced on a large scale.
Today, subtle traces of these major industries still remain. Clay pits can be seen as bumps and hollows. Several medieval kilns have been excavated and wasters or pieces of pottery can often be found by the observant walker. The greatest collection of such artefacts was recovered from the crater of a German bomb falling in the woods in June 1942. Channel 4 TV’s Time Team visited Tyler Hill in August 2000.
With thanks to the Blean Heritage and Community Group