Sugar loaf

This very fragile sugar loaf was found at St Nicholas Priory.

Dark, semi-refined sugar was sent to England from plantations where enslaved Africans were used as labour. To prepare it for sale it was melted and clarified in large pans, poured into ceramic moulds and left to crystallise. Any remaining sugar syrup was drained out into syrup pots in which the moulds stood. This could be made into rum.

In the 1600s, Exeter became a major centre for sugar refining. There had been a refinery at the Bishop’s Palace in the 1650s and between 1680 and 1720 production of refined sugar increased. Only Bristol and Liverpool were busier than Exeter in the sugar trade at that time. Samuel Buttall, who had a sugar plantation in South Carolina, opened a refinery in Topsham in 1684. Charles Buttall, his brother, also supplied the factory from his plantation in Barbados. Another site has been excavated in Exeter’s Goldsmith Street.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Social and industrial history
Common Name
sugar loaf
Simple Name
sugar loaf
Full Name
sugar loaf
whole height 335 mm; whole diameter 180 mm
Period Classification
Victorian (1837-1901)
Family Group

Collection Town
Collection County
Collection Country
United Kingdom: England
Collection Area Region
Northern Europe
Collection Continent

    Tell Us What You Think

    Subject to approval, your name and blog comment will be made public. Any comment replies will also be public. Your email address will never be published. If you wish to contact us privately, please use the Contact form. Required fields are marked *