A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 16 May 2016

More Old Crockery

My new collection of used pottery ornaments was recently on display in the photos of the ECW Siege of Middlehampton test game, and it attracted some favourable comments. As I've mentioned, I have taken a liking to Tey Pottery buildings, which were produced by a now-defunct firm based in Norfolk, were made in a fairly constant scale, in the region of what I would call 15mm, and are readily available at pretty low prices on eBay. I think this is a decent, low-cost way of getting in extra buildings - cheaper and less work than buying in resin castings and painting them up, and possessing a lot more charm and general brio than industrial MDF.

I have to put my hand up straight away and admit that I have been applying matt varnish to the things, in order to use them as wargame scenery, which should rightly appall any serious collectors, but am well pleased with the little 17th Century town centre I have built up with them.

The one obvious gap in my town is the lack of a cathedral, or at least a big parish church - in all of John Speed's town maps, the churches are the key points, and districts and town gates were commonly named after the religious buildings.

The off-the-shelf Tey churches are rather unimposing, but they also did special commissions, and one such appeared on eBay a couple of weeks ago. I was rather taken with it, decided I would be prepared to go as far as £12 or so to provide spiritual enrichment for my ECW townsfolk, and looked on as the auction closed on the Sunday evening. Hmmm. There was a sudden rush of interest at the last minute, and the church sold for £125 or thereabouts, which proves it was quite a nice church, I guess, but I hadn't thought it was as nice as all that.

Anyway - water under the bridge - I wasn't bothered, but I've kept an eye open to see if any similar items came up. Sure enough, one did, within a week - not Tey, this time, but a very similar size and format. This one stayed within my price range, I bought it and it arrived this morning.

I haven't got the dreaded matt varnish on it yet, but I thought I'd show it off a bit. The 20mm Les Higgins drummer in the picture would have to stoop a little to get in through the doors, but that's exactly the size of buildings I like, to keep the footprint down. This is from Sulley's Ceramics - new to me, very similar to (and frequently confused with, I think) Tey Pottery buildings - nice, isn't it? Maker's label on the underside gives an old-format UK phone number, which must date the model earlier than 1995 - I'd say 1980s, but I'm guessing.

The original church is in Suffolk, I understand - if anyone recognises it, please give me a shout! Also, if you recognise it as the trinket that used to sit on your mother's piano, give me a shout anyway.


  1. You have just given us an entertaining but fruitless half-hour, browsing on the excellent and mildly eccentric suffolkchurches.co.uk . the individual features look 'suffolk', but the arrangement with a South tower and that wide north aisle looks pretty unusual. The website claims to list 700 churches, but it's now past my bedtime.. If someone identifies it, do let us know!

    1. Sulley's seem hard to find out much about - I also found another link to a different church on here


      though some of the "Sulley's" items shown here are definitely Tey's. so i guess that even dealers get confused once the labels come off.

      and there's this one,


      which apparently is for Playford Church, Suffolk.

      The label on the one I have doesn't identify the church, but it gives Sulley's address in Tunstall, Suffolk - maybe they specialised in Suffolk churches? - don't know - since I am gently intrigued, I'll look a bit further, but there isn't much out there, as far as I can see.

      Thanks for your efforts! - if I get any further clues, I'm probably going to mention it here!

    2. Possibly Pakefield Church in Lowestoft?

    3. Good shout, Matt - only issue with that one is that the tower is lined up with one of the two naves (chanceries? - whatever), while on the model it sits alongside. Meanwhile I had an email from Googlefree Martin, who suggests that the church might not be a real one - that seems unlikely for a collector market - or might not be Suffolk at all - might be just the maker in Suffolk. Interesting - I'll keep poking around, but g*e*n*t*l*y.....

  2. GOT IT! All Saints Church, Little Bealings -


    1. ...and


    2. Brilliant - how did you work it out?
      I have some friends living close to there, next time I visit them I must look in a Little B, it looks absolutely charming. Solidly for Parliament, I'd say - maybe one or two of Oliver's 'Russet-coated Captains who know what they fight for' will have come from there?

    3. Just a lucky hit on Google. I always end up using the Infinite Number of Monkeys methodology - pull all the levers at once.

      I think what found it was a search for pictures connected with Playford church (since Sulley's made that one too), and the picture of All Saints just came up - Playford, Little Bealings and two other local churches are members of a joint benefice (a fine word - must get that one in my jotter).