Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Do you ever wonder what sort of pots, pans, and other paraphernalia furnished the kitchens of our ancestors? We can get a bit of an idea from old wills and household inventories - although these of course only show us what was owned by the reasonably well-to-do.

I am not exactly sure what ‘pot-clips’ are, but they appear reasonably regularly in household inventories and wills in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They seem to be paired items, which suggests that my first thought, that they were something like pot hooks, is not correct. I am confident that one of you will enlighten me on the true nature of pot-clips (or pott-clips as they are more commonly spelled.)

The inventory of the contents of Hunweake, the house of Elizabeth Hutton, widow, in 1565 listed the contents of each room separately. The Kitchinge (I have taken some liberties in transcribing this, to make it easier to read) contents included:

One great cawdren [cauldron] with an iron band, three little old cawdrens, five pa’nes, five brasse potts, a possenett, two iron potts, two fryenge pa’nes, a drepinge panne, a girdyron and three paire of pott clips, five spits, a payre of cobyrons, a paire of tonges, aporr and an fyre shule. A flesh axe, a choppinge knife and a myncinge knife and a gullye ...... garnishe of pewter vessel, a doz and ditto of pottingers and twoo hand basens, a new basen and ewer of tynne.

In another inventory and value of the household goods of a tenant in West Chevington, Northumberland, taken in 1605 we find included:

2 caldrons, 4 potts, 4 pannes, price 46s. 8d. ; 16 peace of putter, fyve candlestickes, and two salts, price 14s. 4d.; 1 potte and a ketle, price 16s. ; 6 cheastes and thre coffers, price 16s.; 7 tubes, 6 barrels, 2 skeales, pannes, mealles, and dishes, price 15s. 8d. ; 2 beddes, 2 chayres, 2 formes, and a borde, price 5s. 6d. ; 2 fyer crokes, a payre of tongs, and a paire of pott clips, price 2s.
As the recipe for the day, I give you a fine dish to cook in your pot, pipkin, saucepan, slow cooker, pressure cooker, or perhaps your small cauldron.

To boyle a leg of mutton with Lemmons.
When your Mutton is halfe boyled, take it up, cut it in small peeces: put it into a pipkin, and cover it close, put thereto the best of the broth, as muche as shall cover your mutton, your Lemmons being sliced verie thin, and quartered, and Currans, put in pepper grosse beaten, and so let them boyle together, and when they bee well boyled, season it with a little Vergious, sugar, pepper grosse beaten, and a little Saunders, so lay it in fine dishes upon soppes. It will make three messe for the table.
The good Huswives hand-maid, for Cookerie in her Kitchin (1597)

Quotation for the Day.

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.
Martial's Epigrams


Fay said...

I may be wrong, but in a book called Forgotten Household Crafts, by John Seymour there is a picture of "detachable pot hangers". These were a pair of 'clips' that attached to a ring in the centre and were attached with hooks at the distal ends to a pot's handles to hang from the hook over the fire. Here is a picture (I hope it works)

The Old Foodie said...

Got it, thanks Fay. Things always seem obvious, once they are obvious, dont they? :)

Keith said...

Have not found much on these clips, but there were some pottery pot clips that were used on pot lids to secure them I believe.