of usage in grinding and the outside of the bowl is
weathered, it must have been in use for some time before it was broken
and discarded and then re-used as rubble. The mortar lay beneath another
stone, and thus it formed an integral part of the ground-wall. These
facts place the date of the mortar some time previously to the building
of the hall-house; it may thus be dated with unusual closeness to c. 1260-90.
The fragment is about one-quarter of the rim and side of
the bowl, with one rectangular lug at rim level, below which is a flat
rib decreasing in width downwards. Although rather weathered, the side
of the bowl shows dressing of two kinds; round the rim is a zone 1
in.-deep of fine tooling, and below this the surface is pecked. The
inside of the mortar is worn thin in the lower part, the result of
considerable use in rotatory grinding with a pestle. The dimensions of
the mortar are: diameter of rim 44cm. (17-5 in.); width of rim 4.6 cm.
(1.8 in.); and height about 21.5 cm. (8.5 in.), as restored in the
drawing (Fig. 5).
The mortar has been examined by Dr. F. W. Anderson,
formerly Chief Palaeontologist to the Institute of Geological Sciences,
who kindly reports that the stone is a Paludina limestone, and it
could be any one of the so-called 'Small-Paludina limestones'
from the Wadhurst Clay or even, though less likely, from the lower part
of the Weald Clay. The mortar is therefore made of local rock. It is not
Sussex marble, nor Purbeck marble, and not the Broken Shell limestone
from the Purbeck Beds.
The mortar from Leigh manor-house is noteworthy in two
respects; its large size, and the source of the stone. The mortar is
among the largest of the medieval period to be made in Paludina limestone.
Mortars made of Purbeck marble seldom exceed 33 cm. (13 in.) in rim
diameter, and in fact only four other examples of similar or larger size
are known. These mortars are from Southampton,15 diameter
39.1 cm. (15.4 in.); Saffron Walden,16 diameter 44cm. (17.5
in.); the manor-house at Bodiam,17 diameter about 46 cm. (18
in.); and, largest of all, found in the region of Hailsham,18
diameter 52 cm. (20.5 in.).
The largest mortars differ from those of the more usual
size in two respects; on none of the complete examples is a runnel
present in the top of the front lug, and all four lugs and ribs have the
same shape. This applies to the complete mortars from Saffron Walden and
Hailsham, and to the piece from Bodiam, which has two adjacent lugs of
the same shape. The mortar from Leigh has therefore been restored
accordingly with four identical lugs and ribs.
15 "Excavations at
16 Med. Arch., v (1961), 281, Fig.
17 In the Museum of the Battle and
District Historical Society; cf, n. 7.
18 In the Museum of the Hailsham
Historical Society. I am grateful to Mr. E. W. Holden, for details and
photographs of this mortar.