is a small region on the Atlantic
coast of France
within the département Charente-Maritime
, west and south of Charente
in the administrative region of Poitou-Charentes
It derives its name from the ancient Gallic
tribe of the Santones
who lived in this area, around the current city of Saintes
The Saintonge was the center of the French Huguenots. Today, the region is famous for its production of the grapes that are used to produce cognac and Pineau des Charentes.
It was the birthplace of the explorer Jean Allefonsce and Samuel de Champlain who founded Quebec.
Saintongeais (patouê saintonjhouê, jhabrail) Patois Charentais is spoken in the former provinces d'Aunis, and Saintonge Angoumois
This area is also famous for its widely exported medieval pottery, sherds of which are found in large quantities on medieval excavations throughout Ireland and other European countries.
These sherds are from vessels made and exported as a by-product of the Bordeaux wine trade (Deroeux and Dufournier, 1991).
They consist of an off-white micaceous
fabric with moderate amounts of quartz
and sparse inclusions of haematite
. They are glazed
on the external surface only, with a clear lead glaze, to which the addition of copper filings produces a mottled mid-green colouring. Many forms of saintonge pottery were produced, including Saintonge polychrome, all-over green, and in some cases unglazed wares.
The most common forms of vessel produced in this ware were wine jugs. These were characteristically tall, with slightly ovoid bodies, flat bases, parrot-beak spouts and strap handles.
This ware has been found on Irish excavations from the later 12th century but it is most commonly uncovered in 13th century contexts.
Deroeux, D and Dufournier, D. 1991. ‘Réflexions sur la diffusion de la céramique treś decorée d’origine francaise en Europe du Nord-Ouest XIII-XIV siécles, Archéologie Médiévale 21, p163-77.