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VocalEyes - Shakespeare's Birthplace

Chamber Pot, 1590-1610.



In Henry IV, Part II, when Falstaff calls for someone to "Empty the/ Jordan" - it's a chamber pot he's referring to.

Chamber pots were used during the night, or on a rainy day - if one was unable to use the outside toilet or privy. They went under many names, including: bed pot, Jordan, piss pot or powe [POW]-pot. In the morning the contents would be disposed of either in the cess-pit or simply in a common heap. The urine could also be kept and used for other purposes such as bleaching laundry or tanning leather.

Made around 1600, this small, neat chamber pot is made of wheel-turned stoneware and glazed a rich leaf green. It has a bulbous base, around 14 centimetres diameter, with a flat rim and a strap handle.

Although they could be made out of pewter, silver or even glass, this particular chamber pot is made of a cheaper material, the glazed surface a little rough and pitted, the handle slightly twisted.

In Henry IV, Part 1, the second Carrier complains of the lack of one:

“Why, they will allow us ne’er a Jordan, and then we
leak in your chimney; and your chamber-lie breeds
fleas like a loach.”