A PUPIL at a Trowbridge primary school made a rather unexpected discovery this week whilst harvesting the school’s potato crop.

Hugh Slater unearthed the remains of a 240-year-old rare clay pipe, which dates back to the Georgian period around 1780, while digging at Walwayne Court Primary School.

Seven-year-old Hugh said: “I was digging for potatoes when I saw this strange shape. At first I thought it was a stone, but then we looked at it more closely.”

The school contacted local archaeologist and clay pipe expert Marek Lewcun, who not only dated the pipe but also told them where it was manufactured and the names of those who made it.

Mr Lewcun said: “The pipe dates from after 1780, and feature the initials of both Benjamin Morgan and his son John Morgan, who worked in partnership in Salisbury.

“Benjamin died in 1790 but the mould would have carried on in use for as long as it was still in a good shape to make pipes.

“In the country as a whole, pipes featuring two initials on the spur are extremely rare.”

Acting head teacher Sharon Turley said: “It’s a wonderful find and gives us a glimpse into the history of the school.”

The potatoes are just some of the produce grown by the children at the school in its Forest area. This year, they have been growing potatoes, courgettes, sweetcorn, butternut squash, tomatoes, as well as range of herbs.

Since lockdown, the children have been making wildflower beds to attract local wildlife to the school, including birds, insects and other animals.

They have also been making hedgehog and bird boxes to put up around the school grounds, including their pond area.

The school is planning to display some of the objects they have discovered, including a piece of 13th century pottery, a Victorian brick, as well as a number of smaller toys that have been buried over the years.

The school is celebrating its 30th year in 2021 and is planning to exhibit some of the items in a Covid-19 pandemic safe environment.

The school said: "The children are now very keen to dig for more archaeological finds and are covering the Iron Age next term."

Tobacco smoking became very fashionable from the 16th century following its introduction from America.

Salisbury became well known for making clay pipes for tobacco smokers from the 17th century until cigars and cigarettes became more popular from the 18th century onwards.

Changes in design make pipes easily datable, especially where they carry traces of a maker’s stamp, which records the name of the person who made it.

Benjamin and John Morgan worked in the Salt Lane area of Salisbury. Their workshop and kiln were apparently located immediately behind their house and were destroyed by 20th century engineering works.