Medieval Piss Pot
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This is a replica of a late Medieval piss pot found at Linlithgow Royal Palace, which is now part of the Historic Scotland collection. As settlements became more extensive and more organised, there became a greater need for hygienic sanitation to avoid illness and disease. This resulted in the advent of the Garderode for the royals and nobles, the piss pots for senior courtiers and communal toilets for low-ranking courtiers and servants. The very poor continued to use the bushes.
Even with these facilities, it was still typical for courtiers in large houses to relieve themselves in the corners of rooms, the corridors or fireplaces. In 1573, Thomas Tusser wrote in his ‘Five hundreth Goode Pointes of Husbandrie:
Some make the chimnie chamber pot to smell like Filthie stink,
Yet who so bold, so soone to say,
fough, how These houses stink? (Hibbert 1987, p. 201).
These pots served a further purpose due to the use of human urine in the tanning of animal skins and dying of fabrics. Families would all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken to be sold to the tannery; some believe this to be the origin for the phrase ‘Taking the Piss’.
Grogged earthenware and green glaze
Approx 245 mm tall, 145 diameter
Health and Safety
As with all of our Museum quality replicas, this piece has been fired to achieve an authentic finish. Like the original, it is not fully glazed; as a result, this pot does not meet modern health and safety standards, and, although decorative, I would not recommend that this pot be used for its original purpose.
This replica was hand-made in Northumberland by Potted History, based on an original artefact. As with the original, this replica has been wheel formed, it has then been finished using a green glaze to emulate the original glaze used. A very common glaze during this period would have gotten its green colouration from grinding lead and copper, suspended in water before applying it to the surface of the pot before its final firing.
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