This is one of several Saintonge jugs that have been found during excavations in Southampton’s medieval town.
They come from the same area in southwest France as the fine Bordeaux wines which were imported into England in the 13th century, by Southampton merchants. The jugs are of the highest quality and were designed for display on the table, rather than being used behind the scenes for cooking and general storage.
Although the wines which came into the port were then traded further afield, this does not seem to have happened with the jugs, as very few of them have been found in the region outside of Southampton – for example they are a rare find in the richer city of Winchester.
This leads us to speculate that the merchants only imported the jugs to keep for their own use – or possibly received them as an “extra” with the shipments of wine barrels – and proudly displayed them in their homes.
Two merchants seals were discovered in the same pit as the jug, the seals of Richard of Southwick and Bernard de Vire. Could one of these perhaps have been the occupant of the house, and the owner of the Saintonge jug?
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