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Full text of "The historical geography of the Wealden iron industry"


HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY 



OF THE 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 



BY 
M. C.'DELANY. 



LONDON: BENN BROTHERS, LIMITED 



THE WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY. 



Historico-Geographiccd Mattogr.ap.hs ............. 

Under the Editorship of Profcufr* && '' 



THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY 

OF THE 

WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 



BY 

MARY CECILIA DELANY. 



LONDON: BENN BROTHERS, LIMITED 

8, BOUVERIE STREET, E.C.4. 

1921. 



EDITOR'S PEEFACE. 

The progress of geographical thought has been a 
marked feature of the last twenty years, and it has become 
evident that we greatly need more research to bring 
together facts which will amplify and test our generaliza- 
tions. The results of the researches are often embodied in 
papers which are too long to appear as articles in the 
ordinary scientific journals, and there has been a difficulty 
in bringing them out in book form. 

The Geographical Association is therefore indebted to 
Messrs. Benn Brothers, Limited, for their co-operation in 
the present effort to issue research monographs from time 
to time in a series primarily intended for members of the 
Association and sister Associations, but, we hope, of interest 
also to a wider public. 

The publications in this series are to be essentially 
research monographs, giving the results of new and fresh 
works of geographical nature. But it is strongly felt that 
too strict an interpretation of the province of geography 
would be inappropriate. Both education and research are 
suffering severely at the present time from the over 
development of specialization. Against this geography 
offers its steady protest, for it is on the one hand closely 
linked with the natural sciences, and on the other hand 
intertwines its hypotheses with those of the anthropologist 
and the historian. 



" This Historical Geography of the Wealden Iron Industry 
^j^t^baatL Appropriate beginning for the series, as it 
gives the results of a course of steady, quiet research into 
this interesting phenomenon of the past life of our country, 
and helps to bring out the bearing of the old industry on 
the life of the district in subsequent generations. We 
bespeak for this volume and for the series the sympathetic 
appreciation of all those who are interested in the progress 
of geographical thought. 

On behalf of the Geographical Association. 

H. J. FLEURE, Honorary Secretary, 
Professor of Geography and Anthropology, 
University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. 
September, 



THE HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF 
THE WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY. 



It is difficult to realise that one of the most peaceful 
and rural districts in modern England was in the Middle 
Ages the Black Country, the seat of the largest iron trade 
in the kingdom. This region, known as the Weald, and 
extending over portions of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, is 
now almost entirely agricultural, but beneath its soil the 
earth still hides the treasure which once furnished material 
for an industry far different from the tilling of the ground 
or the tending of flocks and herds. It is the purpose of this 
article to trace out the history of the Wealden iron manu- 
facture, and to estimate the chief reasons which led to its 
total extinction after several centuries of unbroken 
prosperity. 

In commencing such a survey, it will first be necessary 
to make a brief examination of the geology of the region, 
in order to discover the source of the iron ore which supplied 
the industry. The structure of the Weald is relatively 
simple, consisting of an elevated chalk dome, the upper 
portion of which has been denuded, exposing the older 
rocks beneath it, mainly sandstones and clays. These 
rocks offered a varied resistance to the agents of erosion, 
resulting in a corresponding variety in the present surface 
features. The outer chalk layer, being comparatively hard, 
has only been partly denuded, and now stands out as a 

7 



'WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

b6ld' scarp in the North and South Downs which define 
the Wealden area, extending in a huge oval from Dover 
into Hampshire and Wiltshire, and thence again eastward 
along the south coast to Beachy Head. Within the rim 
of the Downs is a narrow valley, formed of easily denuded 
gault clay, and following the foot of the chalk scarp from 
Folkestone to Guildford and Farnham and round through 
Petersfield and Selbourne to the neighbourhood of East- 
bourne. This is succeeded by a second series of escarpments, 
the lower greensand ridge, extending parallel to the Downs 
from Sandgate to Woolmer Forest in Hampshire, and back 
through Petworth and Pulborough to the south coast, 
Lastly, within the ring of greensand hills come the Wealden 
rocks, consisting of a belt of low-lying clay, commencing 
west of Romney Marsh, reaching its greatest width in West 
Sussex, and curving south towards Pevensey, and in the 
centre the Hastings beds, forming high ground from 
Hastings to Horsham.W The most important of the 
Wealden strata from the point of view of the former iron 
industry are the Hastings beds, the Weald clay, and the 
lower greensand. The first of these is partly composed of 
Wadhurst clay, a formation consisting of alternations of clay, 
shale, and sand-rock, and also containing beds of fossiliferous 
limestone, calcareous sandstone, and clay-ironstone. The 
ironstone occurs both in the form of nodules and in 
tabular masses, rarely exceeding four inches in thickness, 
and of a light grey colour. ( 2 ) The Weald clay is also rich 
in septaria of deep red ironstone, which form layers of two 
or three feet in thickness near its upper surface.^) As a 
third source of iron ore, the Folkestone beds of the Lower 
Greensand contain irregular bands of thin ironstone, known 
locally as carstone, and especially abundant in Surrey and 
West Sussex.^) Besides possessing these ample supplies of 

(1) Stanford Geological Atlas. 15. M. 28 

(2) Topley Geology of the Weald. 158 

(3) G. A. Mantell Geology of West Sussex. Vol. 1. 38 

(4) E. Smith Keigate Sheet of Ordnance Survey. 6 

8 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

raw material to form the foundation of an iron industry, 
the Weald was also well provided with the means of 
exploiting its mineral wealth, according to the methods 
which prevailed previous to the more enlightened period 
of the last three centuries. Charcoal to supply fuel for the 
furnaces, and water-power to work the mill-hammers and 
bellows these were the two essentials, and perhaps no 
part of England was so well furnished in both respects as 
this region nestling in the centre of the Downs. Its river 
system was formed after the elevation of Wealden 
dome, but before the chiselling commenced of which the 
existing relief is the distant outcome, hence the principal 
streams, Arun, Adur, Ouse, Mole, and Medway, rise in 
comparatively low ground towards the centre of the Weald, 
and have deepened their beds in order to cut their way 
through the Downs to the Thames or the English Channel. 
This antecedent drainage, consequent on the original dome, 
has resulted in the rivers renewing their youth, geologically 
speaking, so that instead of flowing in broad valleys with a 
gentle slope to the sea, as they may have done before 
denudation accomplished its work, they are narrow and 
swift, and engaged in hollowing out for themselves a 
permanent channel, through the scarps of the greensand 
and chalk hills. They were thus, together with their 
numerous tributaries, eminently suited to forwarding an 
industry which required water-power. It will be seen later 
that all the centres of iron manufacture were situated in 
the upper course of one or other of these small streams. 
With regard to the second essential for the industry, there 
was, at any rate in Sussex, no lack of timber to furnish 
charcoal from the earliest times right up to the eighteenth 
century. The Wealden forest is even now one of the most 
considerable in England, in spite of the constant inroads 
made on it in the past by generations of ironmasters and 
shipbuilders. Its extent at different periods is so intimately 

(5) Victoria County History of Kent. Vol. 1. 26 

9 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

connected with the history of its ironworks that it will not 
be amiss to discuss its distribution before proceeding to 
the survey of its staple industry. The Anderida or Forest 
of Andred in Roman times extended from the coast of Kent 
over the north of Sussex and through a part of Surrey into 
Hampshire. Previous to their coming, it must have been 
practically inaccessible except by means of the river valleys 
and certain well-worn tracks along the greensand or chalk 
scarps, where, owing to better drainage, the woodland would 
be less dense. The best known of these primitive trackways 
is the narrow lane commonly called the Pilgrim's Way 
owing to its use in mediaeval times by travellers visiting 
the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury. Unlike the later 
Roman roads its course is determined by physical features. 
From the neighbourhood of Canterbury to the point near 
Chevening where it enters Surrey, it follows the south slope 
of the North Downs. It can still be traced in places, 
creeping half-way up the hills immediately above the line 
of cultivation, and underneath the highest crest, for the 
most part avoiding the towns and villages and the regular 
roads. ( 6 ) This ancient route, as well as the undoubtedly 
British coins found in various parts, and the remains of 
ancient burial grounds as at Mount Caburn, or the piles of 
Druidical Stones forming Kit's Coty House, give evidence 
that the Wealden forest was a centre of early habitation, 
but beyond this fact very little else can be learnt of it at 
that remote period. With the Roman conquest the 
opening up of the woodland commenced ; roads were cut, 
dwellings built, and mines worked, though the only records 
of the progress of the conquerors which have come down 
to us are furnished by archaeological evidence. Among 
the relics which they have left are their coins, their pottery, 
the heaps of slag or waste material from their iron mines, 
and foremost of all, the remains of their magnificent road 
system. But even the expert engineers of this mighty race 

(6) Topley Geology of the Weald. 254 

10 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

must have found the vast Wealden forest an unusually 
difficult task to negotiate. The Itinerary of Antoninus, a 
third century document describing the military routes of 
the Empire, mentions only a single highway in this region, 
connecting Chichester with London via Winchester, Sil- 
chester, and Staines, which points to the fact that there was 
no direct route through the Weald until a later date, when 
the Stane Street Causeway was built. This road ran from 
Chichester across the South Downs, past Pulborough and 
Slinfold to Dorking, thence through the Mole Gap to 
Leatherhead, Merton, and London Bridge. There were no 
towns along it, showing that it was purely of strategical 
importance as means of conveying troops rapidly from the 
coast to the capital. W With the exception of this road, 
the forest was probably little less cleared than before the 
Roman occupation. The Saxons on their arrival seem to 
have had no taste for roadmaking under the difficult 
circumstances which prevailed. They merely adopted the 
existing Roman roads and British trackways, so that it is 
not surprising that Sussex was the last part of England to 
accept Christianity, since communication even with Kent 
was almost impossible. But the fact that the new settlers 
had no inducement to wander resulted in a more rapid 
opening up and clearing of the forest than would otherwise 
have been the case. It is at this period that some idea is 
first gained of the size of the Andred's Weald or Andreswald 
as it came to be called. In the reign of King Alfred, when its 
timbers furnished our first national fleet, the Saxon Chron- 
icle of A.D. 893 estimates its greatest length from east to 
west at one hundred and twenty miles, and its greatest width 
from north to south at thirty miles,( 8 ) though its outlines 
are still entirely conjectural, apart from the fact that it was 
delimited on two sides by the Downs. Its probable extent 
was as follows : Skirting the chalk hills of Surrey, it went 

(7) Victoria County History of Surrey. 269 

(8) J. C. Cox Royal Forests of England. 301 

11 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

as far north as Sevenoaks in Kent, and passed by Mereworth 
and Chart Woods to Hurst near Lymne ; then, fringing 
the Rornney Marsh, it entered Sussex from Sandhurst, and 
Penhurst (wood-end) near Battle was one of its southern 
boundaries. The chalk downs of Sussex separated it from 
the sea, and Lyswood, Fairfield, and Clanfield, in Hampshire 
may represent the western boundary. ( 9 > Lambarde, one of 
the earliest historians of the Weald, describes it in his 
' Perambulation ' as having been " in times past nothing 
but a desart and waste wildernesse, not planted with towns 
or peopled with men, but stored with herdes of deere and 
droves of hogges only "( 10 ) This is clearly an exaggeration, 
for though the forest was reputed by him to have been 
" of such exceeding bignesse " that it extended over parts 
of three counties, it was by no means uniform in growth, 
nor were all parts equally barren. The characteristic tree 
was and still is the oak, though the density and type of 
woodland varied with the geology. On the coarse soils of 
the lower greensand and Hastings sands, the plant growth, 
mainly consisting of scattered oak and birch trees, and even 
passing into heathland in the driest and most exposed 
parts, differed materially from the giant oak-woods with 
hazel undergrowth which flourished on the damp clays and 
loams of the valley regions, or the thick groves of alder, 
willow, and other hydrophytes which shaded the marshy 
banks of the streams. ( n ) This diversity of vegetation would 
tend to make settlement a less difficult process in some 
localities than in others. Thus the open woodland was 
gradually cleared, while the denser portions served as 
hunting grounds, at first for all classes, and later for the 
more powerful Saxon chieftans who usurped sole rights. 
Besides furnishing opportunity for the nobility to indulge 
in their favourite pastime, the more open parts of the oak 

(9) C. Pearson Historical Maps of England. 5 

(10) W. Lambarde Perambulation of the Weald. 4 

(11) Tansley Types of British Vegetation. 75-85 

12 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

and beech woods (the latter being practically confined to 
the slopes of the chalk downs) afforded food for the 
numerous herds of swine which then formed the wealth 
of the middle classes. In course of time the chief feeding- 
grounds became known as ' dens ' or ' denes,' and the right 
of pasturage in them was granted by the lord of the 
woodland in return for the payment of 'pannagiurn' or 
pannage, usually a certain proportion of the pigs fed. It 
is this utilitarian method of estimating the value of the 
woods according to the number of hogs they were able to 
maintain which results in an almost complete lack of 
information as to the extent of the Wealden forest during 
the whole of the Saxon and Danish dynasties, though 
grants and endowments of pannage grounds are common 
throughout the period. Thus Canterbury was endowed by 
Egbert in 838 with Paghain, Tarring, and South Mailing 
manors, comprising a large tract of woodland on the eastern 
side of the Weald.( 12 ) But apart from the scanty knowledge 
of the history of the forest obtained from contemporary 
documents, there is the valuable testimony of place-names, 
which give evidence as to the type and density of settle- 
ment, and often the character of the country settled. It 
is always possible that they may have been obscured or 
perverted by corruption of the original form, in which case 
they are apt to be misleading, but this danger is 
comparatively slight in south-east England owing to its 
isolation until quite late times. The south coast of Sussex 
possesses the most remarkable collection of names with 
purely clan endings in the whole of England, for example 
Worthing, Tarring, Lancing, and a host of others, situated 
either between the Downs and the sea or in the Ouse valley 
and to a less extent up other river gaps, wherever early 
settlement was likely to be easy. But on crossing the 
Downs a totally different collection of place-names occurs, 
the majority of endings, such as ' hurst/ ' den/ ' field/ ' ley/ 

(12 Victoria County History of Sussex. Vol. II. 292 

13 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

and ' fold/ being mediaeval in form and pointing to late and 
gradual clearings in the forest, as at Midhurst, Tenterden, 
Heathfield, Chailey, Cowfold. The only settlements which 
may with certainty be regarded as pre-Norman are those 
referred to in the various grants of pannage to manors 
outside the Weald, the chief being Bromley, Chart, Mersham, 
Brabourne, Aldington, Appledore, and Wittersham on the 
eastern confines, and Surrenden, Biddenden, Bennenden, 
Shornden, Herbourne, Broxham, Hemsted, and Tyhurst, 
actually within the Kentish portion of the forest. ( 13 ) The 
Sussex settlements at the same period included at least 
Brightling, Ninfield, Ashburnham, Mountfield, Netherfield, 
Whatlington, Sedlescombe, and Crowhurst, all of which 
were owned by Edward the Confessor or his powerful kins- 
man Earl God win. ( 14 ) The southern portion of Surrey was 
still in all probability virgin forest, more or less uninhabited. 
With the Norman Conquest comes the first definite 
attempt to make a systematic survey of the country. 
Sussex is for the first time divided into the six strips or 
Rapes of Chichester, Arundel, Bramber, Lewes, Pevensey, 
and Hastings ; Kent also has similar divisions for the 
purpose of local government, corresponding broadly to the 
modern Lathes of St. Augustine, Aylesford, Sutton-at- 
Hone, Ship way, and Scray. Each of these major units 
comprised a number of Hundreds, composed in their turn 
of vils or manors. But here again the practice of 
estimating the quantity of woodland in each manor by the 
number of hogs it would feed is of little value in 
elucidating the point in question, as to how far the forest 
extended. There are five parks mentioned in Domesday 
within the wealden area, namely Rotherfield, Tortington, 
Waltham, Walberton, and Wiltingham, and only one 
forest, that of Dallington, though at least seven are said to 
have existed in Sussex alone. All forest land was held to 

(13) R. Furley History of the Weald of Kent. Vol. I. 218 

(14) Victoria County History of Sussex. Vol. II. 324 

14 



WEAIDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

belong to the Conqueror, who parcelled it out among his 
followers, at the same time enforcing a stringent code of 
forest laws. At this point it is necessary to differentiate 
between the terms forest, chase, and park, all of which are 
frequently mentioned from this period of history onwards. 
A forest was an extensive tract of wild, woody, uncultivated 
country, contained within recognised limits, though 
without pale or fence on the whole, and belonging to the 
king. A chase was similar to a forest, but was granted by 
the king to a subject, and a park was any part of a forest 
enclosed with fence or hedge for the purpose of preserving 
game or for other reasons. These appellations, however, 
seem to have been interchangeable. ( 15 ) The Sussex Rapes 
have already been enumerated ; they each extended inland 
from the sea so as to include a portion of coast, down-land, 
and forest, and those manors in them which are recorded 
by the Domesday survey as paying the highest pannage 
rates may usually be assumed to have contained most 
woodland. The interior of Chichester rape, the most 
westerly division of the county, was occupied by woodland 
extending through the manors of Compton, Racton, 
Harting, Stoughton, and Stanstead, which are mentioned 
in the survey as furnishing one hundred hogs apiece. If 
the custom of paying one hog in every ten, the common 
rate in Ashdown Forest, be assumed to have been 
universal, the wooded area which could support one 
thousand pigs must have been extensive ; it was later 
known as Stanstead forest, and adjoined that of Arundel 
in the next rape, with no definite boundary between. 
This second forest to which access from the sea was 
possible by means of the river Arun, included Arundel, 
Selhurst, Halnaker, Goodwood, East and West Dean, and 
Walberton, and much of it was held as pasture-land at 
this time by the Sees of Canterbury and Chichester. 
Further east, in the north-east of Bramber rape, lay the 

(15) J. C. Cox Royal Forests of England. 2 

15 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

forest of St. Leonard's, watered by the tidal river Adur, 
and covering the manors of Beeding and Steyning, formerly 
owned by Edward the Confessor. From the number of 
flint implements discovered around Horsham, it appears 
that this portion of the And red's Weald was very early 
inhabited. This fact and the omission in Domesday of 
any mention of forest in the region, seem to show that the 
vegetation was less dense here than further west, a 
conclusion supported by the nature of the coarse sandstone 
soil, which would be unfavourable to the retention of 
sufficient moisture to foster compact tree growth. The 
whole estate together with the rest of Bramber rape is 
recorded as the possession of William de Braose, one of 
the Conqueror's followers. 

Worth forest in the rape of Lewes lay east of St. 
Leonard's to which it was probably contiguous. It was 
another of the possessions of Edward the Confessor, though 
the only part of it mentioned in Domesday is the manor 
of Worth, doubtless owing to the wild and remote nature 
of the remainder. It was connected with the coast by the 
river Ouse, and perhaps included Worth, Crawley, 
Ardingly, Slaugham, and Balcombe. Judging from the 
character of the soil and the present plant growth, birch 
trees have always formed a predominant feature of this 
woodland, much of which verges on heath, especially in 
the north. Ashdown forest in Pevensey rape has ever 
been the most extensive in Sussex, and at the time of 
Domesday occupied the manors of Maresfield, Fletching, 
East Griiistead, Hartfield, Buxted, and Withyham. Like 
Worth forest it seems to have been mostly open country ; 
pannage accounts certainly show that the oak was not so 
flourishing here as elsewhere. The geology of the 
underlying soil affected its history no less than its aspect ; 
for the same sandstone that caused its picturesque and 
uncultivated beauty also contained in its iron-bearing 
strata the elements which contributed to its future 

16 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

greatness. On the north-east of Ashdown in the same 
rape, and distinct from it only on account of different 
ownership, was a forest anciently called Rotherfield Chase, 
and afterwards Waterdown. Originally the property of 
King Alfred, it is mentioned as park in Domesday, and 
was granted by the Conqueror to his half-brother Odo. 
It was probably a densely wooded region, occupying the 
whole of Rotherfield, and extending to Tonbridge in the 
next county on the north, and into Bridge and Frant on 
the east. Finally Dallington Forest, in Hastings rape, 
formed the eastermost extension of the Sussex Weald, and 
occupied the manors of Dallington, Brightling, Burwash, 
and a part of Mountfield. Its exact limits are not known, 
but it included Penhurst and Ashburnham woodlands, and 
was a royal possession. Though heavy timber grew well, 
there was much open country. It is the only forest 
mentioned as such in the survey, and later ranked with 
Ashdown, St. Leonard's, Waterdown and Worth, as a seat 
of the iron industry. ( 16 ) The Kentish portion of the 
Weald seems to have extended as far east as Blean Wood } 
near Canterbury, in which case it would include the 
manors of Calehill, Hothfield, Eastwell, Godmersham, 
Chilham, Hambledon, and Selling. There is no mention 
in Domesday of any of the manors of Tunbridge, 
Cranbrook, Tenterden, Hawkhurst, Penhurst and Cowden, 
all of which rose in importance at a later date, hence it is 
reasonable to conclude either that their sites were at this 
time occupied by virgin forest or that settlement was still 
in its earliest stages. Furley gives a list of thirty-two vils 
or manors which then bordered on the Weald,< 17 ) from a 
consideration of which, its eastern boundary possibly 
extended from Appledore near Rye as far north as 
Maidstone and Sevenoaks, after which it turned westward 
into Surrey, where forest must have occupied the whole of 

(16) Victoria County History of Sussex. Vol. II. 291-3 

(17) See Appendix A. 

17 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

the southern portion of the country, though none of it 
came under forest law. 

The history of the Weald from the time of the 
Conquest is chiefly one of grants of woodland to religious 
communities, and complaints of illegal felling of trees, 
hunting, or imparkation of common pasture land. That 
there was a certain amount of genuine forest, subject to 
full forest laws, in the time of Henry III. is proved by the 
summoning of the foresters in 1223 to make a report 
preparatory to the visitation of the justices. The Charter 
of the Forest which this king was compelled to sign on his 
accession, while it disafforested considerable areas, did not 
of course affect the natural features of the country, of 
which a large part still retained its forest character, so that 
Edward I. was obliged in 1276 to employ fifteen guides on 
a journey to Chichester. He and his successor frequently 
hunted in St. Leonard's Forest or the adjoining Knepp 
Park, which together covered an area of about eight 
thousand acres. The principal drain on the timber at this 
time was caused by its demand for building and repairing 
castles, bridges, and especially ships. Thus Edward II. 
had sixty oaks cut down in Ashburnham Woods for the 
repair of Pevensey Castle, and one hundred and sixty-nine 
for Dover Castle. " The free chase of Ashdown with all 
the rights and liberties pertaining thereto," was granted by 
Edward III. to his third son John of Gaunt, hence it 
appears in contemporary records as Lancaster Great Park. 

Up to this time the eastern boundary of the Weald does 
not seem to have altered much since the Conquest. The 
gradual clearing of the forest, however, must have been in 
progress during the whole of the period, for the Court 
Rolls of the manors included within it contain constant 
entries of ' new rents ' arising from ' new assarts/ that is, 
from woodland lately cleared of timber and brought under 
the plough. But it is from the succeeding era of the 
Middle Ages that most of the forest settlements date, if 

18 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

place-names may be taken as any indication. There are 
over one hundred and fifty ending in ' hurst ' alone in east 
Sussex, and almost every local name for miles around 
indicates some form of clearing. The ' hursts ' and 
* charts ' were the dense portions of the forest ; the ' leys ' 
were the open glades where cattle loved to lie ; the ' dens ' 
were the deep wooded valleys, and the ' fields ' were little 
patches of felled or cleared land in the midst of the 
surrounding forest. From Petersfield and Midhurst by 
Cuckfield, Wadhurst and Lamberhurst, as far as Hawk- 
hurst and Tenterden, these names stretch in an uninter- 
rupted string. Of the total number of names in Surrey, 
thirty-six per cent, have terminations like wood, holt, 
hurst, ley, den, or more, and twelve per cent, end in combe, 
ridge, or hill, so that almost half the county was once 
uninhabited^ 18 ) 

Rapid and systematic destruction of the forest dates 
from the reign of Henry VIII., when the extensive 
development of the Wealden iron industry began, and 
legislative action for the protection of the woodland 
frequently became necessary. In 1543 an Act was passed 
providing that in felling timber of more than twenty-four 
years' standing, twelve standard oaks, or as many ash, elm, 
or beech were to be left to each acre. This was followed 
in Elizabeth's reign by an " Act for the preservacioun of 
Tymber in the Wildes of the Counties of Kent, Surrey and 
Sussex," forbidding the cutting of young trees measuring 
less than " one foot square at the stubbe." A further 
enactment of the same reign prohibited the use of timber 
as a fuel supply for ironworks \vithin twenty-two miles of 
London or four of the South Downs, though these 
measures had very little eftect. It is to Elizabeth's reign 
that we owe the first map of Kent and Sussex, showing the 
distribution of the woodland at that date, 1577. Its 
cartographer, Thomas Saxton, inserts only thirty parks 

(18) J. Taylor Words and Places. 381 

19 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

and three forests, Arundel and Ashdown appearing as 
parks, though the number in existence was probably twice 
as great. ( 19 ) The parks or enclosed portions of the forest 
at this time appear to have reached their maximum 
number. Thus Stanstead Forest contained Harting, 
Stoughton, Stanstead, and Up Parks, while Goodwood, 
East Dean, Halnaker, Arundel, and Selhurst helped to 
form the adjoining Forest of Arundel, which was also 
bordered by a number of outlying parks, namely Slindon 
and Aldingbourne on its southern edge and Houghton, 
Bignor, Petworth, Shillinglee and Farnhurst on the north. 
On the other side of the Arun was St. Leonard's Forest 
with its parks of Sedgewick, Chesworth, Beaubush and 
Shelley, fringed on the south by Knepp, Ashurst, Wiston, 
Angmering and Findon. The wooded portion of the next 
rape of Lewes was occupied by Worth Forest in the north, 
the parks of Slaugham, Bentley, and Cuckfield in the 
centre, and those of Hurst, Danny, Ditchling and Keymer 
in the south. Pevensey rape was also a well-wooded 
region, containing Waterdown Forest, with its parks of 
Bridge and Rotherfield (extending partly into Kent) in the 
extreme north-east, the parks of Bolebrook, Buckhurst, 
Stoneland, Newenden, and Maresfield forming Ashdown 
Forest in the north and west, and the parks of Frankham, 
Mayfield, Buxted, Ringmer, Plashet, and Glynde further 
south, while much of the centre was occupied by Waldron 
woodland, covering the parishes of Waldron, East Hoathly, 
Chiddingly, Laughton, and Hellingly. In the sixth rape 
of Hastings the chief wooded district was around Bur wash, 
Brightling, and Dallington, with Mountfield and Whatling- 
ton parks on its southern verge, as well as those of 
Ashburnham, Battle, Buckholt,Hurstmonceauxand Bexhill 
with the woodland known as Darum or Darvel in the 
centred 20 ) Much of the forest in Kent had been cleared 

(19) See Appendix B. 

(20) Victoria County History of Sussex. Vol. IJ. 296-8 

20 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

by this date, except in the south-western corner, where 
the iron industry flourished, though to a less degree than 
in Sussex. Surrey was only beginning to be opened up 
owing to the extension northward of the rapidly developing 
Wealden industry. The necessity for limiting the destruct- 
ion of timber was urgent, when as many as two hundred 
cords (one hundred and twenty-five cubic feet each) of oak 
were authorised to be cut yearly in the royal forest of St. 
Leonard's alone, while in very few instances were measures 
taken for restocking the woodland. 

By 1616, when Speed's map of Sussex was published, 
the number of parks had sadly diminished, though this 
enumeration is generally considered to be inadequate. 
During the Civil Wars and the Commonwealth, much 
unnecessary damage was done to royalist property in the 
forest by parliamentary troops. At the Restoration a 
survey of the iron mills in St. Leonard's Forest in 1655 
states that two hundred and fifty loads of charcoal and 
thirty cords of wood were " reserved yearely out of ye said 
forest for ye use and service of ye said forges and mills." 
A petition made shortly after this by the leading 
ironfounders for protection of their trade by tariff estimates 
that the woods of Sussex " by computacioun amount to 
200,000 acres." Bugden's map published in 1724 marks 
thirty-eight parks and five forests. In this century, which 
witnessed the gradual decline of the iron industry, the 
Wealden area reverted to agriculture, and tree-planting 
was encouraged to supply masts for the navy and 
hop-poles for the Kentish farmers, though it was impossible 
entirely to repair the damage wrought by the waste of 
several centuries. 

In the reign of William III. the amount of Sussex 
woodland had been reduced to about 20,000 acres, of which 
Ashdown Forest contained 13,000, while by the end of 
the eighteenth century the largest remaining wooded 
areas, namely the forests of St. Leonard's and Ashdown, 

21 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

contained about 10,000 acres apiece, and the only 
considerable remnant of the Wealden Forest in Kent was 
King's Wood in Goudhurst, Cranbrook, and Ticehurst. 
There was still some fine timber standing in 177], 
according to Horsfield, who relates that two oaks sold at 
69 and containing about 1140 square feet of wood were 
carried nine miles to be shipped for the navy at the huge 
cost of 30. This statement is probably more trustworthy 
than that of Defoe in 1724, recording the remarkable fact 
that, owing to the state of the roads and the size of the 
timber, it sometimes took two or three years for logs to be 
transported from the interior to the coast en route for 
Chatham. At the present day the Weald has become 
popular as a residential area ; many of the fine old 
Elizabethan mansions, like Parham, Wakehurst, and 
Cowdray, have been restored and reinhabited, and much 
of the region has been brought under cultivation, with the 
exception of such parks as Arundel. Sheffield, Goodwood, 
Bridge or Ashburnham, which form valuable game 
preserves. Sussex still contains a larger proportion of 
woodland than any other county. Throughout the 
history of the clearing of the forest, constant reference is 
made to the badness of the roads, which after the decay 
of the Roman system, remained in a deplorable state right 
up to the eighteenth century. The first highway act was 
passed by Henry VIII. in 1523, empowering George 
Gilford or Guldeford, of Cranbrook to alter the position of 
a road in his neighbourhood for the sake of convenience ; 
this privilege was later extended to any willing landowner, 
but no attempt was made to improve the state of the 
roads until the reign of Elizabeth, when legislative action 
became imperative owing to the heavy charge for road 
repairing in the industrial regions, particularly the clay 
areas. In 1581 it was enacted that ' the occupiers of all 
maner of iron works whatsoever, which shall at anie time 
hereafter carrie or cause to be carried anie coles, mine, or 

22 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

iron to or for anie their ironworks, betweene the twelfe daie* 
of October, and the first daie of May yearlie, shall for 
every six loads of coal or mine, or for every ton of iron so 
carried, cause also to be carried yeerelie by the space of 
one mile through anie highways one usual cartload 
sindarr, gravell, stone, sand, or chalk, meet for the 
repairing and amending of the said high waies.' By an 
oversight in the wording, the act referred to all the roads 
' under anie of the hills commonly called the North Downs 
of Surreye and Kent/ so that the people of Sussex were 
exempt from repairing their ways until a further act was 
passed in 1597, which also provided the substitution of a 
money payment for the carrying of road material. These 
laws seem to have answered the purpose, for they were 
reinforced in the Highway Act of Charles L, but the 
improvement caused by them could only have been local 
and temporary at best, and in the time of Charles II., most 
roads were still almost impassable. ( 2 ) Extracts from the 
Traveller's Guide, published in this reign, frequently 
contained the entry : ' this road is inconsiderably frequent- 
ed, nor commendable for its goodness.' The journey to 
London occupied two whole days, but the inhabitants of 
the Weald regarded their bad roads as securities from the 
evils of London and its people. Communication with the 
interior was somewhat bettered by the Turnpike Act of 
William III., 1696, authorising the collection of tolls for 
repairs on the most used highways, and by the deepening 
of the Medway in 1740, whereby timber and iron could be 
shipped direct from Tonbridge to London. Stane Street, 
was, however, the only good road until 1756, when a 
turnpike was made from Horsham to London, before 
which time wheeled traffic had been obliged to make a 
circuit via Canterbury. Improvement has continued 
slowly from this date, and though the farm roads still 

(20) Sussex Archaeological Collections. Vol. XV. 138-144 

23 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

leave much to be desired, the main roads through the 
Weald are now equal to any in England. 

Having considered the supply of the three essentials 
possessed by the Weald for the early working of iron, 
namely ore, fuel, and water-power, it remains to discuss 
the industry itself. In this survey the distribution of 
ironworks at different periods will first be considered, 
followed by a summary of the methods of smelting and 
forging employed, and a classification of the iron goods 
produced. Lastly, an attempt will be made to account for 
the decline of the industry and its ultimate disappearance. 

Iron is the cheapest and most abundant of the heavy 
metals, the strongest and most magnetic of known sub- 
stances, and more indispensable than anything except air 
and water, while the variation in its properties is almost 
endless. It would therefore be one of the first metals to be 
emplo}^ed by a primitive people, so that it is not surprising 
that some of the British ironworks date from before the 
dawn of history. According to Tacitus, the early Britons 
'enriched their necks and loins with iron as evidence of 
wealth/ and their coinage is stated by Caesar to have been 
either brass or oblong pieces of iron of a certain weight. 
If the latter are taken to be identical with the iron bars 
resembling sword blades, which are the most abundant of 
pre-Roman finds, their distribution points to the Forest of 
Dean rather than the Weald as the centre of production. 
On the other hand, the iron wheels and scythes attached 
to the chariots of the tribes who resisted Caesar's landing 
were most probably of local manufacture and several 
antiquities in iron, including a hammer, spear-heads, a 
ploughshare, knives and sickles have been found at the old 
British camp at Mount Caburn, near Lewes, as well as other 
articles of a similar nature at Battle. With the advent of 
the Romans, works sprang up all over the Weald, and iron 
became one of the principal exports of the region, proved 
by the abundant heaps of iron slag or refuse discovered at 

24 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

Maresfield, Westfield, Framfield, Beauport. Chiddingly, and 
Sedlescombe in Sussex, and at Cowden and Tenterden in 
Kent, the finds in each case being mingled with fragments 
of pottery and coins bearing inscriptions of Vespasian, Nero, 
or Diocletian. The first of these rulers came to the throne 
in A.D. 69, so that the iron industry must have flourished 
from the first to the third century, if not longer.^ 21 ) 

With regard to the period which succeeded the departure 
of the Romans, there is absolutely no trace of the Wealden 
ironworks for seven or eight centuries. The furnaces must 
have been still in blast when the Saxons arrived and they 
were a warlike race with full knowledge of the value of iron, 
hence it is not probable that the existing works were 
allowed to die out altogether. But in the absence of any 
evidence, historical or archaeological, a blank must be left 
in the record at this epoch. Only one mine is mentioned 
in the Domesday Book, in the Hundred of East Grinstead, 
so that the industry still existed, though in a far from 
flourishing condition. In fact London's supplies of iron 
were obtained almost exclusively from the Forest of Dean 
right up to the end of the twelfth century, but the 
advantage of being considerably nearer to the central 
market caused the Weald to supplant it from this time 
onwards. Documentary evidence now become available ; 
thus the Exchequer Rolls of the reign of Henry III. show 
that in 1253 the Sheriff of Sussex was called upon to 
provide 30,000 horse-shoes and 60,000 nails, presumably of 
local manufacture, to furnish the royal army. The Murage 
Grant made by the same monarch to the town of Lewes, 
empowering its citizens to levy toll for the repair of their 
walls on every cart or horse-load of iron passing through 
the gates may possibly refer to Wealden iron, but as toll 
was also to be levied on tin and lead, neither of which 
was of local manufacture, it is equally probable that the 
iron referred to was imported. The next evidence is more 

(21) Arehseologia Cantiana. Vol. XXI. 318 

25 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

definite. In 1275 Master Henry of Lewes, the king's 
chief smith for the past twenty years, purchased 406 rods ' in 
the Weald ' for 16 17s. lid., while a year or two later he 
paid 4 3s. 4d. ' to a certain smith in the Weald for 100 
iron rods/ In 1300 the Guild of Ironmongers or Feroners 
of London lodged a complaint against the smiths of 
the Weald (' fabri de Waldis '), for making and selling iron 
rims for cart-wheels too short for use, and several rods of 
standard length were made and ordered to be set up in the 
markets. In 1320 Peter de Worldham, Sheriff of Surrey 
.and Sussex, furnished horseshoes and nails for Edward 
III.'s Scottish expedition. The royal ironworks in St. 
Leonard's Forest commenced in the preceding reign, and 
in 1327 were able to send 1,000 horse-shoes from the forge 
at Roffey near Horsham to the port of Shoreham, the 
Sheriff being paid 4 3s. 4d. for them, and an extra 5/- for 
-carriage. In 1397 poll-tax returns show that the industry 
was flourishing at Crawley, where one ' factor ferri ' was 
assessed at 6/- and another at 3/4 ; the mention of a 
charcoal burner and six smiths at Lindfield at the same 
date points to similar conditions in this district. The 
Kentish works at Ashurst, Cowden, Hawkhurst and 
Lamberhurst, existed considerably before Tudor times, 
though the date of their commencement is uncertain^ 22 ) 

For the fifteenth century there is little contemporary 
evidence. Iron import from Spain and Sweden still 
-continued, so that not enough of the metal was yet 
produced for home consumption. Early Wealden produce 
vconsisted chiefly of nails, horse-shoes and irons, and 
firebacks, and occasional cast-iron tomb-slabs ; the earliest 
existing specimen of the last-named occurs in Burwash 
'Church, bearing the inscription " Orate p annema Jhone 
Collins," and dating from the fourteenth century. A very 
(primitive type of iron ordnance also began to be 
manufactured at Buxted and other rising towns. All these 

(22) Salzmann. English Industries of the Middle Ages. 23-24 

26 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

classes of iron goods will be discussed later. The reign of 
Henry VIII. marks the beginning of the historic period of 
the Wealden iron industry, which now began to develop 
so rapidly that it soon embraced the whole of central 
Sussex and West Kent, extending from Biddenden 
westward to Petworth, and from Tonbridge as far south as 
Crowhurst. Hastings sandstone underlies the greater part 
of this area, though the western portion consists of Weald 
clay and lower greensand. Kent at no time carried on 
such a large iron industry as Sussex, since her greater 
population necessitated the clearing of the forest for food 
production except in the densest parts. Again, whereas 
the weald of Sussex was held by lay barons, who felled 
timber at their pleasure, the Kentish Weald belonged 
chiefly to the ecclesiastical lords, who prohibited their 
tenants from felling timber until about the fourteenth 
century, so that the Kentish iron trade was merely an 
extension of that of Sussex. 

Iron manufacture did not commence in Surrey until the 
sixteenth century, chiefly owing to lack of communications ; 
at this period the increasing demand for iron ordnance 
caused the Sussex industry to develop northward. The 
first complete record of the distribution of the Wealden 
ironworks dates from the reign of Elizabeth. In 1573 
Ralph Hogge of Buxted, ' the queen's gun-founder and 
gun-stone maker,' lodged a complaint before the Privy 
Council, alleging infringement of his patent as sole 
exporter of ordnance. The following year, in answer to 
his petition, a commission of inquiry was appointed to 
draw up a list of the existing centres of iron manufacture 
and the leading iron masters were summoned to give their 
bond, under security of 2,000, not to found or export 
cannon without the royal license^ 23 ) The towns mentioned 
in the survey are without exception situated in a river 
valley, where they could obtain a convenient supply of 

(23) Sussex Archaeological Collections. Vol. III. 241-6 

27 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

water-power ; while plentiful charcoal and ore were ready 
at hand. Nearly all the centres of industry mentioned for 
Kent, as well as a few in Surrey and Sussex, could make 
use of the Medway and its upper tributaries the Eden r 
Beult, and Teise. The chief of these are given as follows. 
In Surrey, Lingfield and Copthorne on the Eden possessed 
a forge and a furnace ; in Sussex, Hartfield and Withyham 
also had one apiece ; East Grinstead had three forges and a 
furnace on the upper Medway, and Frant four forges on 
the Teise, which after entering Kent supplied the ponds of 
Lamberhurst, Goudhurst and Horsmonden. Other Kentish 
manufacturing towns were Cowden, Ashurst and Tonbridge 
on the main river, and Cranbrook and Biddenden on a 
branch. The whole of this district had the advantage of 
direct outlet northward, an advantage shared by Ifield y 
Rowfant and Ewood on the upper feeders of the Mole and 
Cranleigh, Dunfold, Haslemere, Frensham, Shere and 
Abinger on the headwaters of the Wey. The rest of the 
Wealden district drains southward into the English 
Channel, hence the difficulty of communicating with the 
central market. Starting from the east, the Rother basin 
was well supplied with ironworks. There were forges and 
furnaces at Rotherfield. Mayfield, Wadhurst, Etchingham, 
Robertsbridge, and Salehurst on the main stream, with 
Dallington, Brightling, and Burwash on a small tributary, 
and Netherfield on the Brede river, which debouches at 
the same estuary, while Hawkhurst obtained its water 
supplies from the Kent Ditch. The rivulets known as 
Ashten and Ashburn were of considerable importance in 
1574, on account of Ashburnham in the latter case, and 
Battle and Buckholt in the former. On reaching the 
Cuckmere Valley we come to what was probably the 
greatest centre of iron manufacture in the whole of the 
Wealden area. At this time there were four forges and 
three furnaces in Heathfield alone, as well as four forges 
and two furnaces at Warbleton, and at least one of each at 

28 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

Waldron, East Hoathly, and Chiddingly. West of the 
Cuckmere lies the Ouse, whose easterly branch supplied 
the mills at Buxted, Maresfield, Framfield, Uckfield and 
Fletching ; at the same time its western arm was utilised 
by Ardingly, Slaughain, Horsted Keynes, Freshfield and 
Horsted. The Adur, passing through West Hoathly and 
Cuckfield, was comparatively unimportant. Finally, the 
Arun and its main affluent, the West Rother, boasted only 
three ironworks, at Kirdford, North Chapel, and Petworth. 
It will be seen from the above distribution of the iron 
works in Elizabeth's reign that all the principal centres of 
manufacture were situated in the east and middle of the 
Weald, where the Ashdown sand furnished the largest 
supplies of the necessary ore ; on the northern and western 
outskirts where iron was obtained from the Weald clays as 
at Itield, or from the ferruginous strata of the lower 
greensand as at Petworth, the towns became more 
scattered, showing the remarkable effect of geographical 
conditions in determining history. 

The extent of the ironworks about a century later may 
be guaged from consideration of a manuscript, until lately 
preserved at Horeham, and apparently written in 1664, 
containing a list of Wealden forges and furnaces from 
1653 until that date. By comparing this list with the 
preceding one, it appears that the zenith of the industry 
was already passed, though there were a few new works. 
The paper will be quoted at length, with the name of the 
place in brackets where identification is necessary. " In 
the year 1653 did blow these 27 furnaces in Sussex : 
Waldron, Brede, Robertsbridge, Crowhurst, Barvil (Darvil 
in Brightling), Streame (Chiddingly), Horsted Keynes, 
Pallingham (Wisborough Green on Arun), Frith ; these ten 
were continued in repair and found partly stored at ye 
beginning of 1664. Mayfield, Milplace (East Grinstead), 
Ewhurst, Northiam, Conster (Beckley), Ashburnhain, 
Beach (Netherfield), Poundsley (Framfield), Tilgate, 

29 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

Socknersh (Brightling) ; these ten were discontinued before 
1664 and partly ruined, but repaired and stocked on 
account of the warr and hopes of encouragement. 
Bowbeach (Hurstmonceaux), Snape (Frant), Riverhall 
(Wadhurst), Maynard's Gate (Rotherfield), Warnham, 
Northparke (Petworth), Beaubush (St. Leonard's Forest), 
these seven were ruined before 1664, and so remain. In 
all, 27 in Sussex in 1653, reduced to 11 before 1664. In 
the year 1653 were 42 forges or iron mills working in 
Sussex, viz. : Ashburnham, Bugshill (Salehurst), Constance 
( Warbleton), Hoodshall (?), Ashburnham minor, Cowbeach, 
Steele (Frant), Riverhall, Howborne (Framfield), Tickridge 
(Framfield), Kinians (Horsted Keynes ?), Freshfield, 
Holmsted (?), St. Leonards, St. Leonards minor, Poundsley, 
Rowfant, Bower (?), Coursley (?); these 19 were ruined 
before 1664, and so remain. Etchingham, Sheffield 
(Fletching), Buckholt (Bexhill), Rowfant (Worth), 
Crowhurst, these five are laid aside and not used. 
Westfield, Robertsbridge, Glazier's (Brightling), Bibleham 
and Hawksden (Mayfield), Bayham (Larnberhurst), Bridge, 
Hothly, Streame (Chiddingly), Ardingly, Tynsley (Cuck- 
iield), Birchden (Bridge), Pophole (Frensham in Surrey), 
Burton (Petworth), Burwash, Maresfield, Buxted ; these 18 
as yet continue in hopes of encouragement."^ 4 ) Some of 
the leading towns given above require further notice. 
Lamberhurst, situated partly in Kent and partly in Sussex, 
held a prominent place throughout the history of the 
industry, and reached its period of greatest prosperity in 
the reign of Anne, when the great Gloucester furnace was 
established. Cannon formed the staple article of production, 
though in its later years the foundry also turned out 
fire-backs and other cast-iron goods, a fine set of casts 
with scriptural subjects appearing as late as 1770. Perhaps 
the most remarkable product of the Lamberhurst works 
was the set of railings which formerly surrounded St. 

(24) Sussex Archaeological Collections. Vol. VIII. 16-17. 

50 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

Paul's Cathedral, which were of enormous weight and very 
expensive. The furnace lasted until 1785, when tradition 
whispers that it was ruined and disgraced owing to 
persistent illicit export of Ordnance to French privateers 
and other enemies. Robertsbridge further south had 
extensive iron and steel works from the time of Henry 
VIII. The cannon made here were floated down the 
Bother to Rye by means of ' shuts ' or primitive locks, 
traces of which have been discovered while cleansing the 
river bed between Rye and Bodiam. Heathfield, in the 
centre of the Wealden 4 Black Country ' has left a more 
extensive record of its industry than perhaps any other 
town in the region. This record is contained in the 
recently published manuscript accounts of Sylvan Harmer, 
whose family were employed in the Heathfield foundry 
for generations. From him we learn that the Sussex 
owners of works here in 1574 were : " Sir John Pelham, 
ij fordgs, i furnace, in Dalington, Hethtield, Waldron, and 
Brightling; Sir Rychard Baker, ij fordgs, ij furnaces in 
Hethtield and Warbleton." The iron worked here seems 
to have been smelted at Waldron and then sent to the two 
local forges, which were supplied with fuel from " the 
fallable woods in Hethtield, Hellingly and Waldron." 
New Furnace, which " formerly in all its departments 
kept nearly half the parishioners in regular employ " was 
established by John Fuller of Tanners in 1 698. The ponds 
supplying it extended for over three miles along a branch 
of the river Cuckmere. The son of this Fuller, true to 
the family motto of courting prosperity 'carbone et 
forcipibus,' obtained government contracts for cannon 
early in the eighteenth century, at a time when most of the 
Sussex ironworks were on the wane. The furnace accounts 
continued until 1770, at which time pig-iron, and articles 
of agricultural or domestic use were the chief products, 
and seventeen years later the works were finally closed 

31 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

down.( 25 ) The foundries in St. Leonard's and Worth 
Forests, the most notable of which were at Ifield, 
Horsham, Worth, and Rowfant, belonged at all times to 
the Crown, and prospered until the time of the Civil 
Wars, when they were pillaged and destroyed by Parlia- 
mentary troops in 1643 under the command of Sir 
William Waller. Buxted on the southern fringe of 
Ashdown Forest will always have a place in history as the 
scene of manufacture of the first cannon by Ralph Hogge 
in 1574. The Hog House on Huggett's Farm where he 
lived still remains, and iron ' gun-stones' have been 
turned up in the neighbourhood during ploughing 
operations, while heaps of glassy slag are common for 
several miles around. Maresfield further west had a 
furnace and two forges at the time of the 1574 survey, one 
forge being built on the site of the Roman works at 
Oldlands. The two most important works in West Sussex 
were at Linchmere and Farnhurst, where the iron industry 
was carried on till 1776 in the former case, and 1790 in the 
latter. But the most persistent of the Sussex works were 
those at Ashburnham, extending into the next parish of 
Penhurst, and obtaining fuel supplies from Dallington 
Forest. The furnace, which is mentioned in 1574 and was 
probably established much earlier, lasted till 1811, and the 
forge continued working until 1825, less than a century 
ago. None of the Kentish works continued much after 
1700, and the industry here was always subordinate to that 
of Sussex. Iron in Surrey was obtained from three 
different deposits, namely Hastings sand in the Lingfield 
area, Weald clay around Ewood, Cranleigh and Dunsfold, 
and lower green sand in the west at Haslemere, Dunsfold, 
Chiddingfold, Shere and Abinger, and the later works at 
Witley and Thursley. Each of these regions represents 
the northern extension of a corresponding Sussex district, 
being East Grinstead in the first instance, Worth in the 

(25) Lucas Heathfield Memorials 69, 70, 71 

32 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

second, and Linchmere in the third. The most interesting 
of the Surrey works, as well as the earliest, were at 
Ewood to the north of Ifield. In 1553 this estate, 
including the woods of Leigh, Charlwood and Newdigate, 
was sold by Lord Abergavenny to Christopher Darrell, the 
ironmaster who owned it at the time of the 1574 record, 
and who was exempted by special mention from the Act 
of Elizabeth in 1581, restricting the felling of timber. A 
survey of Ewood taken shortly before the ownership of 
Darrell gives a furnace, forge and hammer, a pond of 90 
acres, a coal-house, six acres of waste ground for the storing 
of the coal mine, cinders, and other commodities used in 
the works, and four cottages occupied by the workmen, as 
forming part of the estate, which is estimated at the 
annual value of <40.( 26 ) The foundries on Witley and 
Thursley heaths were the last to be established in Surrey, 
and also the last to remain. In 1767, a dispute having 
arisen between the inhabitants of Guildford and Godalming 
regarding the position of a turnpike on the Portsmouth 
road, it was stated on the one hand that there was great 
traffic to and from Witley and Thursley via Milford and 
Hindehead, while on the other hand it was asserted that 
not more than one carriage weekly conveyed material to 
the forge. 

The distribution of Wealden ironworks can only be 
approximately settled, for traces of cinder and hammer- 
ponds occur in places not definitely mentioned in history. 
The next point is to describe the various processes of 
manufacture, and the classes of goods produced. The 
latter were of three kinds, including bar or wrought-iron, 
ordnance and shot, and cast-iron articles such as firebacks, 
and each kind involved a different process of smelting and 
fashioning. During the earliest phase of the industry, 
which lasted from prehistoric times till about the fourteenth 
century, wrought iron alone was produced. This type is 

(26) Victoria County History of Surrey. Vol. II. 269 

33 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

distinguished from cast-iron by its difference of carbon- 
content, for iron is never obtained in a perfectly pure state, 
but unites to a greater or less extent with the carbon 
contained in the fuel which smelts it. Wrought iron has 
a very small carbon-content, about .3% in the case of 
charcoal-hearth iron ; cast-iron contains as much as from 
2.2 to 5% of carbon, while steel occupies a position midway 
between the two. The properties of iron vary with the 
amount of carbon it contains. Thus wrought-iron is 
malleable, steel becomes brittle on sudden cooling, and 
cast-iron is very brittle whether cooled slowly or rapidly. 
The wrought-iron produced by the early Wealden furnaces 
involved direct extraction of the metal from the ore, and 
was possible to a certain extent even by the most primitive 
methods. In Roman times a hearth of wood or charcoal 
was set on a wind swept hill or in some other position where 
a natural draught would be ensured, and alternate layers 
of ore and charcoal were heaped upon it, the whole being 
covered with clay to keep in the heat. The resultant 
conical structures have been found at Beaufort and Mares- 
field, and their crudity and wastefulness are proved by the 
fact that in later years it often paid to work the slag or 
cinders left by the Romans rather than to dig a fresh mine. 
When ore was to be extracted, it was obtained by sinking 
bell-pits, of about six feet in diameter at the top, and 
widening gradually towards the base. They were usually 
shallow, being rarely more than twenty feet deep. The ore, 
which is often referred to as myne or mine, is very abundant, 
and local names were used for the various beds of ironstone, 
which differed in colour, weight and goodness. An eight- 
eenth century treatise describes some of them as follows : 
"The first stratum of mine is called Bottom. This is a 
coarse, indifferent sort of mine, but it is useful to work 
with the richer mines, because it is a sort of lime-stone, 
which fluxes other metal and keeps it alive in the furnaces. 
The second stratum is Bull, a hard hot mine abounding in 

34 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

iron, which is hard to melt out of it. The third stratum 
next the Bull is Three-foot Pitty, also a fairly course ore." 
The treatise ends here without referring to the more valuable 
ores, which are elsewhere named Foxes, Riggit, Brushes, and 
Caballa balls. In good mining each pit would be carried 
down to the lowest layer of mine, but sometimes only the 
richer and more accessible layers of mine were taken, and 
a fresh pit was then started. ( 27 ) The ore having been duly 
dug was subjected to a preliminary calcination, alternate 
layers of charcoal and ore being laid in a small kiln and 
burnt sufficiently to enable the iron to be easily broken, 
but not to cause it to loop or run into a hard mass. It 
was next beaten into small pieces with a sledge-hammer, 
and the finer but more intractable mine was mixed with 
coarser ore or cinder, after which the mixture was placed 
in the furnace to be smelted. This building was in the 
early centuries similar to a blacksmith's forge, with a cup- 
shaped hearth or crucible at the base, in which the 
imperfectly molten iron could accumulate. < 28 ) The artificial 
blast which soon replaced the natural draught at first 
employed, was supplied by bellows, worked by hand, or 
rather by foot, until the fourteenth century, after which 
water-power was substituted, and a blast was obtained by 
the downward suction of air in a falling column of water. 
The lump of malleable iron produced in the furnace was 
then taken to the smithy to be worked, where it was 
fashioned into shape by hammering. In this process also, 
water-power was introduced before 1496, at which date 
there was a great ' water-hamor ' in the royal works at 
Ashdown Forest. The hammers used weighed from 1 200 
to 1500 or even 2500 Ibs. and were worked by a rough 
cog-wheel driven by a stream of water. By about the 
fifteenth century this simple but wasteful process of 
manufacture was replaced by another, at once more 

(27) Sussex Archaeological Collections. Vol. II. 206 

(28) Topley-Geology of the Weald. 341 

35 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

complex and more economical. In order to save fuel and 
labour, the height of the forges was gradually increased, 
while the water-power now used to work the bellows 
supplied a pressure strong enough to force the blast up 
through a longer column of ore and fuel, and the length 
and intimacy of contact between them caused the former 
to become carburised or cast-iron, after which it could be 
reconverted into malleable wrought-iron by reheating if 
required. The mine was still calcined first as before, and 
was then carried to the blast furnace, which was built of 
brick about 24 feet square and 30 feet high, and shaped 
like a truncated cone. Within, the cavity was egg-shaped, 
measuring 8 to 10 feet, and was lined with sandstone. 
" Behind the furnace were two huge pairs of bellows, whose 
nozzles met at a small hole near the base. These were 
compressed together by certain buttons, placed on the axis 
of a large wheel which was turned by water. As soon as 
these buttons were slid off, the bellows were raised again 
by the counterpoise of weights, whereby they were made 
to play alternately, the one giving its blast all the time 
the other was rising."( 29 ) Before the mouth of the furnace 
was a bed of sandstone, into which the cast-iron could be 
drawn off in moulds, the resultant mass being termed a 
" sow " if over 1000 Ibs. and a " pig" if under that weight, 
possibly owing to the practice of making one large oblong 
depression in the sand in the direct line of the flow, and 
several lesser ones at right angles to it. When a furnace 
has once been lit, it was kept burning sometimes for as 
long as 40 weeks, the period of its blowing being reckoned 
in ' foundays ' of six days each ; during one founday, on an 
average 8 tons of iron could be made at the expense of 24 
loads of charcoal (11 quarters each), and 24 loads of mine 
(18 bushels each), though the sows varied in size according 
to the capacity of the furnace, which was much greater at 
the end of a blowing than at the beginning, owing to the 

(29) C. Dawson Sussex Ironworks and Pottery, 8, 9, 10 

36 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

fire eating away the sandstone hearth. The cinder-like 
scum in the furnace would rise to the top of the molten 
metal, and could be drawn off from time to time, forming 
the slag-heaps which are so characteristic of parts of the 
Weald. When a sow was cast, it was taken to the forge, 
ironmill, or hammer, which was a building containing two 
open hearths, the finery and the chafe ry, a great hammer 
of 7 or 8 hundred weight, fixed on a forked shaft, and 
raised and lowered by a revolving water wheel. At the 
finery the mass of iron was first reheated, and a piece or 
loop of about jcwt. was melted off. This was beaten with 
the hammer very gently to force out the dross and cinders, 
and then brought to a " bloom " or " four-square mass 
about two feet long. This done, they bring it to an 
' ancony,' or bar about three feet long, of the shape they 
intend the whole bar to be ; at the chafery they only draw 
out the two ends suitable to what was drawn out at the 
finery in the middle, and so finish the bar/'f 50 ) Most of 
Sussex iron other than ordnance was made in bars, of 
suitable length and thickness to be easily fashioned into 
tyres, ploughshares, and other articles of common use. 
Two ponds at least were necessary at an iron foundry, 
one to supply the blast for the furnace, and the other to 
work the hammer at the forge, and these ponds were easily 
obtained by damming up the rivers and streams with 
which the Weald abounds. They are abundant all over 
the region, being still called Hammer Pond, Furnace Pond, 
or Forge Pond, and are sometimes used to work flourmills, 
as at Ifield, while in other cases they have been drained 
and planted as osier beds as at Heathfield. The casting of 
ordnance was an important branch of the Wealden 
industry. Cannon were used by Edward III. at Crecy 
and during the Scotch wars, though it is not certain that 
they were of British manufacture. The earliest cannon 
made in the Weald were probably similar in type to the 

(30) J. M. Swank Iron in all Ages, 86-8 (quoted from Bay's account 1674) 

37 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

iron pieces found at Bridge Green and in the castle moat 
at Bodiam, both of which had cast-iron chambers made in 
the form of a tube composed of long iron bars arranged like 
the staves of a barrel, and bound together by bands of 
wrought iron. They were breech loaders, consisting of 
two parts, the barrel and the chamber ; the latter in which 
the charge of gun-powder was placed, being usually 
detachable. The projectiles employed for the larger guns 
before the sixteenth century were round stone balls such 
as had been used for mangonels and catapults from Roman 
times, and these were supplied chiefly from quarries at 
Maidstone. They measured 14, 16 and 18 inches in 
diameter, and could be cast for the distance of about 
a mile though the discharge almost buried the cannon in 
the ground.! 31 ) 

Iron gun-stones were first used towards the end of the 
15th century, for in 1497 Simon Ballard cast large quantities 
of iron shot at Newbridge in Ashdown Forest, being paid 
at the rate of 16d. per cwt., and Peter Robard in the same 
year cast 'pellettes' at Hartfield at 6d. per day. Cannon 
were first cast hollow, and put together in strips. The 
turning point in the history of ordnance was in 1543, when 
Ralph Hogge of Buxted and his assistant Peter Baude 
discovered a method of casting cannon whole and then 
boring them. Wooden models were used, on which cannon 
were smoothly turned at a lathe, the drill being stationary, 
and the gun revolving with the boring-wheel, to the axis 
of which it was fixed. ( 32 ) The water-power used for the 
bellows and hammer turned the boring-wheel also. The 
'iron devils' mentioned in the Heathfield accounts in 
connexion with gun founding were small portable grates- 
containing a charcoal fire for drying the inner surface of 
the mould. The forerunner of the modern bomb dates 
from this period. We read in Stow's Chronicle that " one 

(31) L. F. Salzmann Industries of the Middle Ages. 26, 27 

(32) P. Lucas Memorials of Heathfield. 65 

38 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

Peter Baude and another alien called Peter van Cullen 
conferring together, devised and caused to be made certain 
mortar pieces, for the use whereof they caused to be made 
certain hollow shot of cast-iron, to be stuffed with firework 
or wildfire, whereof the bigger sort for the same had screws 
of iron to receive a match to carry fire kindled, that the 
firework might be set on fire for to break in pieces the same 
hollow shot, whereof the smallest piece hitting any man 
would kill or spoil him."! 33 ) The ordnance trade expanded 
greatly during Elizabeth's reign, when Admiral Seymour 
established profitable works at Worth, and the constant 
restrictive measures seem to have had very little effect in 
checking illicit export, which was largest from Rye, 
Pevensey and Lewes. In 1576, 1579 and 1588 all the 
Wealden furnaces were ordered to be stopped until 
the Queen's further pleasure. Later on, in the reign of 
Charles I., an office of Surveyor of Ironworks was created by 
Letters Patent, with full powers to visit works, examine 
accounts, and even search premises, but the office was 
abolished after three years. After the destruction of the 
Royalist works during the Commonwealth, export from 
Hastings and other ports showed a marked decrease, though 
there was a short spell of renewed prosperity during Charles 
IL's Dutch wars. But on the whole very little ordnance 
was cast after the reign of Charles I. except at Heathfield, 
Grayetye in West Hoathly, and Lamberhurst which had 
government monoplies until 1770. 

The third class of produce from the Weald consisted of 
cast-iron articles, of which the earliest extant specimen is 
the tomb slab in Burwash Church already referred to, dated 
from the fourteenth century. The fact that brick and stone 
were easily corroded by fire would make a fireback of iron 
an early necessity, and some of those still existing also date 
from the fourteenth century. They were moulded from 
boards, cut to the required outline and thickness, and 

(33) J. M. Swank Iron in all Ages. 47 

39 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

pressed into a bed of sand, the molten iron being poured 
into the shallow cavity without any top to the mould. The 
readiest decoration was to be obtained by pressing into the 
smooth surface of the sand any ornament at hand or 
specially prepared for the purpose. The grouping of im- 
pressions was left to illiterate workmen, often with very 
crude results. Their stock ornaments were fleur-de-lys, 
rosettes, crowns and odd pieces of carving, which were 
pressed into the sand without any attempt at arrangement. 
The slabs were edged with twist devised from cable stiffened 
with pitch or glue, and this edging is characteristic of all 
early work of the type in question. The existing specimens 
of all periods may be grouped into four classes, namely those 
moulded from separate movable types, those with armorial 
bearings cast from a single piece mould, those bearing 
biblical, allegorical or kindred subjects, and replicas of 
Dutch seventeenth arid eighteenth century designs. Some 
of the earliest firebacks bearing armorial crests were cast 
at Heathfield, Wadhurst, Waldron, Mayfield, and Warbleton. 
By degrees the founders added their initials and the date, 
and moveable stamps were practically discarded after 1640. 
Grave-slabs were made with stereotyped words, as on those 
at Crowhurst and Wadhurst. Figures were sometimes 
stamped on the firebacks at a later date, that of Charles I. 
on horseback being cast at Lamberhurst. Many of the 
local nobility owned foundries, where they had their family 
arms stamped on the goods. Among these were the Bakers 
of Battle, the Barbaras of Wadhurst and Frant, and 
numerous others. One of the most interesting specimens 
is that representing Richard Leonard of Brede Furnace, 
with his clog, tradesmark, implements, and a delineation of 
his works; the date is 1636. Biblical and Dutch models 
were largely imported, and one was used at Ashburnham 
until 1811. Besides fire-backs, andirons or fired ogs were 
manufactured, all of them consisting of a rectangular 
pilaster, with moulded cup and base, seated on two 

40 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

straddled legs, forming a depressed arch, sometimes cusped, 
the junction being concealed by a shield. None are of 
earlier date than the reign of Henry VIII. Their period 
can sometimes be identified by the head-dress worn by the 
human head by which they are surmounted. Among mis- 
cellaneous articles made in the Weald, the chief were the 
copings of Rochester Bridge, founded at Mayh'eld in the 
sixteenth century, and the railings for old St. Paul's, 
produced at Lamberhurst in the eighteenth.* 34 ) 

But the staple produce was always pig-iron, as it is in the 
the Black Country of Stafford to-day. 

Throughout the history of the industry, the prices 
naturally varied with the labour supply, the demand for 
iron goods, the cost of carriage, and the quality of the iron 
produced. From the survey of iron mills in Ashdown 
Forest in 1539, it appears that " to melt the sows in ij 
forges or fynories, there must be iiij persons, and at the 
forges to melt the blooms there must be ii persons. So 
are there at every forge ij persons, whereof the one holdeth 
the work at the hamor and the second keepeth the work 
hot. One man cannot keep the hamor because the work 
must be kept in such heat that they may not shift hands." 
At Tudeley Forge, Tonbridge in 1333, the workmen were 
paid in kind, receiving every seventh bloom which was 
roughly equivalent to 6d. a bloom, but by 1353 this system 
was dropped, and they were paid from 7Jd. to 9d. a 
bloom. There is also mention at the first of these dates of 
a customary payment to the ' Forbloweris ' of 2 Jd. a 
bloom, and in the second account * rewards ' were paid to 
the master-blower and three other blowers: no other 
workmen are mentioned by name, and as the whole process 
of making blooms is here referred to as ' blowing,' the staff 
of these early works evidently consisted of 4 men. The 
Sussex iron mills at Sheffield in 1549 employed one 

(34) J. S. Gardner Iron-casting in the Weald Archaeologia. Vol. LVI. 
153-164 

41 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

hammerman and his assistant, two fyners and their two 
servants, a founder, and a filler whose duty it was to keep 
the furnace charged. The founder was paid 8/-, and the 
filler 6/- for each founday, and the hammer-man and 
fyners received between them 13/4 per ton, about 
three tons being produced each founday. Each forge 
also employed a number of charcoal burners and miners. 
The amount of wood consumed was enormous. At Sheffield 
in 1547 9, 6300 cords of wood were coled for the furnace, 
and 6750 for the forge ; at Worth for the same years the 
amounts were respectively nearly 5900 and 2750 cords, the 
cord being 25 cubic feet ; this represents an expenditure of 
about 2,175,000 cubic feet of timber for these two works 
alone in less than two years.( 35 ) The payments made to 
wood-cutters at this time, as stated in a contemporary 
account book called Westalle's Book of Pannyngrydge, 
dated 1546, was 3d. per cord, while charcoal-burners were 
paid at 22d. per load, and miners at 7d. per load. The 
* Inventory of Goods belonging to the Lord Admiral 
Seymour in 1594 gives a little information on the 
management of the ironworks : " At Sheffield there was 
a furnace for casting raw iron only, with 23 workmen, at 
which 14 men were employed for draught, with 2 
wain-men, and a hammer-mill, the iron of which has been 
sold for 8 1 2s. Od. a ton. In the forest of Worth there 
was a double furnace to cast ordnance and shot, as well as 
raw iron, and a forge also, at which 33 workmen were 
employed/'^ 36 ) All the workmen were paid by task- 
work, but over each forge was a manager to superintend 
the work and workmen, and weigh the iron, with a yearly 
salary of 4> and a livery, or 10/- and meat and drink. In 
1607 Norden states that there were in Sussex alone 140 
forges, using 2, 3 or 4 loads of charcoal apiece daily. The 
acts of 1558, 1581 and 1585 regulating the felling of timber 

(35) Salzmann English Industries of the Middle Ages. 31, 32 

(36) Topley Geology of the Weald. 430431 

42 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

had very little effect, and a century later each furnace was 
consuming over five tons of charcoal per week. With 
regard to the price of raw and manufactured material 
during the fourteenth century, when the value of 1 was 
12 times that at present, iron in the mass was 9 a ton, 
while in 1539 the cost had diminished to 5 or 7 per ton, 
with an extra 9/- for every ton carried to London or 
elsewhere. The prices rose rapidly in the next century 
which was a period of great prosperity. Shot was sold at 
11/- per cwt. in J654, and cast iron at 15/- per cwt. in 
1658.( 37 ) A list of average prices is appended at the 



The Heathfield and Waldron accounts give some idea of 
the class of goods bought and sold and the prices paid in 
the seventeenth century. The Waldron forge accounts 
begin in 1628, and are concerned for the first few years 
with the purchase of raw materials and charcoal. The 
following list gives some typical entries 'of these early 
purchases : 

" Mine bought of Richard Sanders of Heathfield 
It. pd to him for 33 loade of veines 

(rich ore), for ye mine and drawing s. d. 
of it at 4/3 ye load, ye suinm of 703 

It. pd to him for 70 loads of bottom 
mine (poor ore), drawing of it at 
4/- ye load, ye sumrn of 14 

It. pd to John Wimble for carrying ye 
said loade of mine to ye furnace at 
15d. ye loade, ye summ of 689 ( 39 ) 

The accounts of the Heathfield cannon foundry begin 
in 1703, the wages sheets being slightly different from 

(37) Thorold Rogers History of Agriculture & Prices in England. Vol. I. 

(38) See Appendix C. 

(39) Lucas Memorials of Heathfield. 72 

43 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

those employed in modern factories. Some typical entries, 
are as follows : 

"Jesse Piper is Or February 25th, 1739. 
By 91 loads of coals from Mr. Offey's s. d. 
Wood att 3 shillings 1313 

By bringing 3 patterns tor guns and 7 

devils 140 

John Harmer is Cr June 28th, 1740 
By 35 Foundays and 1 day att 7/6 per 

Founday 13 3 9 

Pd to him and Keinpe for weighing 24 

tons gun heads 8 " 

The government contract for ordnance caused huge 
numbers of cannon to be turned out, as the next account 
shows : 

" The Acct of guns to be made for the King in 

17391740. 

9 pder of 7f'J 50 there was made 53 completed 
4 , 6f 70 117 
9 7f 44 47 
4 6f 30 (40) 

During the last years of the industry, pig iron and 
forge tackle were the chief output here as elsewhere in the 
Weald, where the only modern relics of what was once the 
staple trade are the firebacks and andirons in some of the old 
farmhouses, the grave-slabs at Wadhurst and other 
Churches, the ancient guns preserved at Woolwich, and 
the numerous local names referred to the iron manufacture, 
for example Gun Green at Bridge, Tongwood near East 
Grinstead, Abinger Hammer in Surrey, Furnace and Forge 
Ponds near Goudhurst, and Boring House Farm at Buxted. 
The reasons for the rapid decline of the industry were 
two-fold. The first was the rapid exhaustion of the timber 
supplies, which were by no means endless even in the 
Wealden forest, especially as no measures were taken for 

(40) Lucas Memorials of Heathfield. 76-8 

44 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

replacing and renewing the felled trees. That the decline 
was rapid and complete in the eighteenth century is shown 
by the table here quoted, giving the number of charcoal 
furnaces in Sussex and the total output for three 
consecutive periods : 

1740 Furnaces in England 59 Tons of iron made in England 17350 
Sussex 10 Sussex 1400 



1788 . England 24 

Sussex 2 

17% England 104 

Sussex 1 



England 13100 

Sussex 300 

England 108793 

Sussex 173 (41) 



But the dwindling of timber supplies was by no means 
solely responsible for the decline of the Wealden industry. 
It certainly paved the way for decay of prosperity, but the 
final downfall was caused by the discovery of the use of 
coal for smelting. In 1620, Dudley, a native of Staffordshire, 
made use of pit-coal for this purpose, but he was violently 
opposed, and his secret died with him. However, in 1738 
Abraham Darby discovered how to employ coke in iron 
furnaces, and the cheapness and convenience of this 
method as compared with the charcoal-smelting process 
caused it rapidly to supplant the earlier way. The Weald 
was in the unfortunate position of being unable to adapt 
itself to this change in industrial methods, owing to 
complete absence of coal supplies, so that this lack was 
the direct cause of its reversion to its earlier agricultural 
state. The coal which has sometimes been held to exist 
in the Weald is now known to be of the fibrous lignite 
type, rich in natural gas, but impracticable for smelting 
purposes. It was apparently tested by some of the 
ironmasters, as is shown by the article sent by Sylvan 
Harmer to the Brighton Guardian in 1830.( 42 ) " The land 
around Heathfield is replete with copious signs of coal 
mines, and about twenty years ago on the western side of 
the pansh, at the bottom of Geer's Wood in Waldron 
belonging to John Fuller, Esq., was discovered strata of 
coal 10 J inches thick, in consequence of which Mr. Fuller 

(41) Sussex Archaeological Collections. Vol. II. 217 

(42) Lucas Memorials of Heathfield. 92-5 

45 



WEALDEN IRON INDUSTRY 

invoked certain mineralogists from Derbyshire to explore 
the same, who gave very favourable reports, although no 
effort therein was resorted to. " If coal supplies could be 
obtained from the Weald, it would have to be not from 
these lignite beds, but from mines sunk down to the 
Palaeozoic rocks below the Wealden strata. Various 
attempts have been made to sink such shafts, the earliest 
known being from 1804 9 at Bexhill, which was 
abandoned after the expenditure of 80,000. Between 
1872 and 1876 boring was carried on at Netherfleld near 
Battle, in hopes of reaching the Palaeozoic rocks which at 
Ostend, Harwich and Calais had been found at a depth of 
1000 feet. Some slight hope was entertained of the 
discovery of coal measures, but the boring was continued 
to 1905 feet, when only Oxford clay was reached, after 
which it was abandoned. ( 43 ) Since that date a small 
coalfield has been discovered at Dover, and the annual 
output of the Shakespeare Cliff collieries is 3,000,000 tons a 
year, but this would be obviously insufficient for the 
recommencement of the iron industry, which if renewed 
would have to obtain its coal supplies outside the Wealden 
area. An experiment using imported coal was carried out 
at Felbridge Water in S.E. Surrey, in the early nineteenth 
century, but the expense proved too heavy. ( 44 ) The question 
to be decided in the case of a future industry would 
be whether coal should be brought in to work the iron 
supplies, or whether the iron should be carried elsewhere 
to be manufactured. In either case, the expense incurred 
would leave a small margin of profit, and the competition 
with the industrial areas of the north and west would be 
too severe to be sustained for long. All things considered, 
it seems scarcely probable that the peace of the Weald will 
again be disturbed by the rise of an Iron Age, the last 
phase of which is almost buried in the forgotten past. 

(43) Topley Geology of the Weald. 433 

(44) Victoria County History of Surrey. Vol. II. 295 

46 



MAPS 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX A. 

Furlcy List of Manors bordering on the Weald at time 
of Domesday. 



Aldington 


Great Chart 


Orlestone Sundridge 


Appledore 


Little Chart 


Palster Sutton Valance 


Bilsington 


Chart Suttoii 


East Peckham East Sutton 


Bonnington 


Lympne 


West Peckham Tenton 


Bewley 


Maidstone 


Pevington Warehorne 


Boughton 


Mereworth 


Pluckley Westerham 


Malherbe 






Boughton 


Mersham 


Ruckinge Wrotham 


Monchelsea 






Brasted 


Nettlestead 


Roting Ulcombe 






Yalding 



Parishes bordering on the Weald before the 14th Century. 



Aldington 
Appledore 
Bilsiugton 
Boimington 
Boughton 
Malherbe 
Boughton 
Monchelsea 
Brastead 
Great Chart 
Little Chart 


Chart Sutton Lympne Ruckiuge 
Chevening Maidstone Sevenoaks 
Egerton Mereworth Sundridge 
Hothfield Mersham Sutton Valance 
Hunton Nettlestead East Sutton 

Hurst Orlestone Ulcombe 

Keunardmgton East Peckham Wateringbury 
Kingsnorth West Peckham Westerham 
Linton Pluckley Wrotham 
Yalding 



(Furley History of the Weald. 
57 



Vol. I. 219225). 



APPENDIX B. 

Wealden Parks and Forests marked on maps of Saxton, 

Speed and Bugden. 
I. Saxtoris Map, 1577 (SUSSEX). 
(a) Chichester Rape (b) Arundel Rape (c) Bramber Rape 

Staustead Forest Petworth Park St. Leonard's Forest 

Harting Park Burton ,, Shipley Park 

Lavant ,, Shilliuglee ,, Shermanbury Park 

Oving ,, Burton ,, Albourne ,, 

Ambershain Arundel ,, Ifield 

Cowdray ,, Rokeshill ,, 

Halnaker Sutton 

(d) Lewes Rape (e) Pevensey Rape (f) Hastings Rape 

Cuckfield Park Waterdown Forest Battle Park 
Slaugham Ashdown Park Ashburnham Park 
Hurst Sheffield 

Ditchling Buckhurst 
Woodmancote Eridge ,, 

Worth Mayfield 

East Hoathly 

Hellingly 

Hurstmonceaux Park 

Total : 3 Forests, 32 Parks. 
58 



II. Speed's Map, 1616 (SUSSEX). 



<a) Chichestei' Rape 


(b) Arundel Rape 


(c) Bramber Rape 


Feruhurst Park 


Shillinglee Park 


St. Leonard's Forest 


Lurgursball 


Michelbam 


Beaubush Park 


River ,, 


Petworth 


Shelley 


Cowdray 


Meadhowe ,, 


Kuepp 


Selhurst 


Burton ,, 


Shermanbury 


Elstead 


Dowuton ,, 


Henfield 


Harting ,, 


Arundel 


Wistou 


Stanstcad 


Bad worth 


Albourne 


Funtingdon 


Warningcamp ,, 


Slinfold 


Downley 






Ooodwood ,, 






Halnaker ,, 






East Dean 






Aldingbourne 






(d) Lewes Rape 


(e) Pevensey Rape 


(f) Hastings Rape 


Wortb Forest 


Ashdown Forest 


Dallington Forest 


Tilgate 


Waterdown 


Hurstmonceaux Park 


Crabbett Park 


Stoueland Park 


Ashburnham 


Slaugbaui 


Bridge 


Crowhurst 


Ouckfield 


Buckhurst ,, 


Battle 


Danny 


Newnhain ,, 


Broomham ,, 


Hurst ,, 


Maresfield 






Little Horsted ,, 






Plashet 






Broyle ,, 






Riugmer 






Firle 






Helliugly 




Total : 6 Forests, 52 Parks. 




59 





III. Bugdens Map, 1724 (SussEx). 
(a) Chichester Rape (b) Arundel Rape (c) Br amber Rape 



Stanstead Forest Artmdel 
Standstead Park Slindou 



Park St. Leonard's Forest 
Wiston Park 



Goodwood ,, 


Shilling! ee ,, 


Warminghurst 


t 


Halnaker ,, 


Bignor 


Den 


} ( 


Selhurst 


Burton ,, 


Sedgewick 


> 


Aldingbourue ,, 


Cowdray ,, 






Up 


Petworth ,, 






Lady holt 


Parhani 








Angmering 






(d) Lewes Rape 


(e) Pevensey Rape 


(f) Hastings 


Rape 


Tillgate Forest 


Ashdown Forest 


Dalliugton 


Forest 


Slaugharn Park 


Waterdown 


Ashburnham 


Park 


Wakehurst ,, 


Sheffield Park 


Ratton 





Broadhurst ,, 


Stoneland ,, 


Broomham 


tt 




Broyle ,, 


Hurstmonceaux , f 




Plashet 








Moat 








Ringmer ,, 








Buxted 








Bridge 








Heathfield 








Halland 







Total : 6 Forests, 37 Parks. 

(W.S. Ellis Parks and Forests of England 2. 3.) 
60 



APPENDIX C. 

Price of wrought iron per cwt. from the loth to the end 
of the 17th Century. 

Period. Average. Highest Price. Lowest Price. 

1261-1350 4/1 (1391) 18/- (1282) 3/lJ 
13511400 9/5J 

14011540 15/7i (1555) 74/8 (1412) 11/8 
15411582 26/2} 

15831700 36/4 (1637) 65/- (1588) 18/8 

(Thorold Rogers History of Agriculture and Prices. 
Vol. I 



61 



LIST OF REFERENCES. 



1. 

2. 

3. 

4. 

5. 

6. 

7. 

8. 

9. 
10. 
11. 
12. 
13. 
14. 
15. 
16. 

17. 

18. 
19. 
20. 



Victoria County History of Sussex. 
,, Kent. 

Surrey. 

Royal Forests of England. 
Parks and Forests of England. 
Types of British Vegetation. 
Stane Street. 

Perambulation of the Weald of Kent. 
Magna Britannia. 
Geology of the Weald. 
History of the Weald. 
Geology of West Sussex. 
Topographica Sussexiana. 
History of Sussex and Surrey. 



J. C. Cox 

W. S. Ellis 

Tansley 

Belloc 

Lambarde 

Cam den 

Topley 

II. Parley 

G. A. Mantell 

Butler 

J. Allen 

M. A. Lower 

T. W. Horsefield 



History, Antiquities, and Topography 

of Sussex. 

A. J. Hare Sussex 

E. Smith The Reigate Sheet of Ordnance Survey 

J. Aubrey History and Antiquities of Surrey. 

W. Marshall Rural Economy of the Southern 

Counties. 

21. E. Hasted History and Topography of the County 

of Kent. 

22. Traill Social History of England. 

23. J. Stell The Hastings Guide. 

24. P Lucas Heathrield Memorials. 

25. C. Dawson Sussex Ironworks and Pottery. 

26. L. P. Salzmann English Industries of the Middle Ages. 

27. J. M. Swank Iron in All Ages. 

28. J. S. Gardner Ironwork. 

29. J. Taylor Words and Places. 

30. Encyclopedia Britauuica on Iron. 

31. Archaeological Collections of Kent, Surrey and Sussex. 

32. C. A. Pearson Historical Maps of England. 

33. Thorold Rogers History of Agriculture and Prices in 

England. 



62 



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== 77^=-=====^^ '*asrTH DAY 




1823 



UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY