Can you tell the  Isle of Wight Society what this is?

It was once 28 centimetres in width, four centimetres tall, and had six concentric rims on a flat base.

It is made of terracotta.

The word originated in Italy, ‘terracotta’ literally meaning baked clay.

The clay was mixed with fine sand, or, more often, powdered down old clay products.

Terracotta was first produced in London in 1722, and for the next two centuries was often used for facing important buildings, especially where decoration was required. The terracotta process resulted in strong products.

Several of the Isle of Wight brickyards produced some terracotta ware, such as drainage tiles and pipes.

Terracotta flower pots were even exported to the Channel Islands from here.

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This particular terracotta item was dug up at the site of Long Lane Brickyard, which was half way between Newport and Downend.

Long Lane Brickyard was operating in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Whether our piece of pottery was made there, or just used there, we do not know. Do you?

One suggestion is that it was a container for feeding seed to chickens but it does seem rather an elaborate item for that.

Another suggestion is that it could have been a universal stopper for different sizes of pipes, but we have tried fitting old drainage pipes to it and the pipes are too thick to fit in the grooves.

So it is a mystery item that will be on display at the new Island Brick exhibition in Whippingham next year, unless you can tell us what it really is?

Harry Pritchett, at the Hillis and Rookley brickyards, enjoyed making terracotta items.

One of his famous terracotta sculptures is that of the Carisbrooke donkey turning the wheel to raise water from the well. This used to be on the Gould, Hibberd and Randall soft drink factory near the middle of Newport.

When they moved their factory to Church Litten, the terracotta sculpture went too. When the factory was demolished, to make way for Marks and Spencers, the terracotta was placed on the new wall.

Harry also made decorative garden ware, which used to be on sale at the forecourt of the Rookley Brickyard.

The National Geographic magazine made a feature of this in 1934 when they wrote an article all about the Isle of Wight.

There were well over 100 brickyards on the Island between 1774 to 1974, when the last brickyard, at Rookley, closed down.