These medieval tiles are from the collections of the Grosvenor Museum in Chester. Many of them were found in ecclesiastical buildings in and around Chester. They were made from clay, shaped with a mould and then stamped with a design. Some of the tiles have been glazed, with different colours, which also gives them a shiny colour. In the past, when these tiles were lit by candles, it would have picked out the colours and created a visual experience. Tiles like these were often mass produced and their motifs were regularly recycled and reused. The fourteenth century three hare tile that was excavated from the nave of Chester Cathedral is very interesting. The motif is a visual riddle or puzzle. If you stare at it, you will see that each hare has two ears but only three ears are drawn on the tile! But the design itself is a copy of a motif from a cave in Dunhang, Western China dating from the 6th/7th centuries. This design on the Chester tile show how motifs and ideas circulated over distances and different periods in the Middle Ages, likely by trade and travel along the Silk Roads from China to Northern Europe.


c.Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries


In and around Chester