Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Dog Paw Print on Medieval Clay Roof Tile Found Mudlarking on the Thames

I hadn't been mudlarking for well over a month, so was pleased to go down on Monday.  As I reached the stairs down to the foreshore, the familiar smell of old Thames mud drifted up to greet me, offering up its secrets for just a few hours.

My favourite find from that day is, what I presume to be, a medieval roof tile with small indentations. I was so taken with this find I popped it in my pocket as I went to work the following day. Throughout the day a few of my colleagues contemplated the find, with an intake of breath we considered whether the small imprints were from a  child’s fingers, each of us putting our fingers into the dips to see whether they were smaller than ours. It took healthily sceptical Wendy to work out, pretty quickly, that they were the marks of a dog’s footprint.  I subsequently noticed one claw mark on the edge diagonally above the far left pad imprint.

Medieval roof tile with dog paw print found Mudlarking on Thames foreshore  
Apparently it isn't uncommon to find dog or even rodent prints on roman and medieval tiles, a result of being left flat before they were fired.

Medieval roof tiles, made between 13-16th Centuries, are very common on the Thames foreshore. The ones I’ve noticed are aptly named ‘plain tiles’. They would be attached to the laths of the roof by a nail or peg inserted through a hole. The tiles usually only have one hole which is either diamond shaped, a square or circle.

Medieval roof tile found on Thames foreshore


  1. I have found and kept a few tiles like this from the Thames. One is almost fully intact. Silly but great souvenirs if you appreciate history!