Heralding Your Political Affiliations on Your Tableware, So to Speak


The mended Rhenish Hohrware jug found at Westwood Manor (18CH621).

The mended Rhenish Hohrware jug found at Westwood Manor (18CH621).

This magnificent Rhenish stoneware jug was recovered from Westwood Manor (18CH621), the residence of planter and innkeeper John Bayne, who lived in the Zekiah Swamp in Charles County in the late seventeenth century. Although the Zekiah was a sparsely settled frontier region on Maryland’s western shore at this time, a number of community institutions—public roads, houses of worship, mills, general stores, and a courthouse—had developed in the Zekiah by the end of 17th century (Strickland and King 2011; Alexander et al. 2010: 21-22), creating a landscape of interconnected people, plantations and community services.

Recent reanalysis of artifacts recovered at Bayne’s residence during a 1996 excavation suggested that the Manor’s occupants and their clientele were striving to reconstitute an English material world in the colony. Along with a variety of expensive and presentation quality ceramic and glass vessels, the assemblage included an elaborately decorated ivory walking stick handle, a silver spoon and other luxury items.

Detail of the Hohrware jug, showing the likeness of King William.

Detail of the Hohrware jug, showing the likeness of King William.

But Bayne’s furnishings spoke of more than his wealth and leisure pursuits, hinting at his political and religious alliances as well. Bayne was a Burgess in the Maryland Assembly and a member of the Church of England (Alexander et al. 2010). A number of the Rhenish stoneware vessels found at the site were molded with the initials of William III, the British monarch who ruled between 1689 and 1702. Particularly striking was the Hohrware jug, which bore a likeness of the king. This jug no doubt served as a display piece in one of the public rooms of the home and was a complement to the framed likenesses of William and Mary that were listed in Bayne’s estate inventory.

Bayne, a Protestant, seems to have taken pains to affirm his loyalty to the Protestant monarch and the Church of England. His declaration took place at a time when the King had just supported the overthrow of the Catholic Calvert family’s government in Maryland, establishing the Church of England as the official tax-supported religion in the colony (King, Arnold-Lourie, and Shaffer 2008; Alexander et al. 2010). Non-Catholic leaders from Charles County had been instrumental in this 1689 overthrow (Brugger 1988:39), although whether Bayne was involved is unknown. The Council of Maryland met at Westwood Manor in late June of 1694, and these William III objects would have been powerful statements to his fellow burgesses of Bayne’s alliances, particularly as they hoisted tankards of ale bearing the King’s initials (Alexander et al. 2010:85).

Excavations in southern Maryland are continuing to reveal compelling narratives of power struggles between Protestant and Catholic political factions, unrest among Native peoples who were being crowded out of their lands and the challenges of living in a frontier environment.

References

Alexander, Allison, Skylar A. Bauer, Patricia H. Byers, Seth Farber, Alex J. Flick, Juliana Franck, Ben Garbart, Grace Gutowski, Julianna Jackson, Mark R. Koppel, Amy Publicover, Maria Tolbert, Verioska Torres, Alexandra Unger, Jerry S. Warner, Justin Warrenfeltz, Julia A. King, editor and Scott M. Strickland, researcher.
2010 The Westwood Manor Archaeological Collection: Preliminary Interpretations. Report prepared by the Archaeology Practicum Class, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, Maryland.

Brugger, Robert J.
1988 Maryland: A Middle Temperament 1634-1980. John Hopkins Press, Baltimore.

King, Julia, Christine Arnold-Lourie, and Susan Shaffer
2008 Pathways to History; Charles County Maryland, 1658-2008. Smallwood Foundation, Inc., Mt. Victoria, Md.

Strickland, Scott M. and Julia A. King
2011 An Archaeological Survey of the Charleston Property: Josias Fendall’s Dwelling Plantation. Report prepared for Mark and Barbara Hoy, James and Betty Jackson and The Smallwood Foundation by St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City.

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