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Anne of Cleves House Museum http://www.sussexpast.co.uk/

A must. This Lewes museum, owned by the Sussex Archaeological Society, houses the best and most informative exhibition of Wealden iron. It includes a number of iron firebacks, wooden stamps, cannon plus smaller items such as fire-dogs, and large pieces of machinery including Chingley Forge waterwheel, a helve from Cansiron Forge, an anvil from Etchingham Forge, and a boring bar.

Ashdown Forest Centre http://www.ashdownforest.org/about/forest_centre.php

This visitor centre, not far from the sites of the first blast furnaces in the Weald,  includes a small display about the local iron industry including iron ore and bloomery and furnace slag. 

Battle Museum of Local History http://battlemuseum.org.uk

Exhibitions are varied here but there are always a few items from the blast furnace period including cannon balls from Brede and Robertsbridge Furnaces, part of a shattered Brede cannon, and some early bloomery items. Some articles from the Wealden iron collection formerly at Hastings Museum (see below) are gradually being put on display here.

Eden Valley Museum http://www.evmt.org.uk/

There is a Wealden iron display here in Edenbridge featuring nearby Cowden and Scarlets Furnaces, plus a few artefacts including cannonballs from Cowden, part of the penstock found at Scarlets Furnace site, and some of the railings from St Paul's Cathedral - which were cast at Gloucester Furnace, Lamberhurst.

Haslemere Educational Museum http://www.haslemeremuseum.co.uk/

The history gallery has a small section on Wealden iron, illustrating the town’s past associations with nearby ironworks. Alongside samples of slag and bar iron, artefacts include a ‘date plate’ of 1564 featuring Elizabeth I, and an iron statuette of a priest discovered at Passfield Mill - a relic of Bramshott Hammer. 

Horsham Museum http://www.horshammuseum.org/

There is a small display of iron artefacts here, including firebacks, cannon balls and domestic utensils, in a case on the ground floor. A couple of cannon from Brede Furnace can be seen out in the yard.

The Priest House http://www.sussexpast.co.uk/

Owned by the Sussex Archaeological Society, this beautiful fifteenth century timber-framed farmhouse in West Hoathly has a small exhibition on Wealden iron, locally produced cannon balls, and innumerable domestic items. These include rushlight holders, a salamander, firedogs, and three seventeenth century firebacks. An iron slab is inlaid at the entrance - folklore alleged these could repel witches. 

Royal Armouries Artillery Museum http://www.royalarmouries.org/extsite/view.jsp?sectionId=2201

This Portsmouth museum has several examples of Wealden ordnance.

Royal Armouries Museum http://www.royalarmouries.org/leeds

Some Wealden cannon are displayed in the Hall of Steel staircase here.

Rural Life Centre http://www.rural-life.org.uk

This open air museum in TIlford, Surrey has constructed a half-scale replica blast furnace, with bellows and waterwheel. For demonstration purposes a half-scale helve hammer has also been attached to the wheel. Volunteers are needed and are welcome to join this fascinating project, including the preparation of charcoal and roasting of ore, for further smelting experiments. Contact Gerald Baker at 01252 795571 for details and get fired up! The Centre has kindly produced a video showing the furnace bellows and trip-hammer in operation, which can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQVgTi__y40  

Open March to the end of October, ring for winter opening times.

Tunbridge Wells Museum http://www.tunbridgewellsmuseum.org/

This small exhibition includes a model of a water-driven hammer forge and the usual iron artefacts. There is also a small cannon, or falconet, cast by John Fuller at Heathfield, some shot dug up at Yalding, and a couple of railings from St Paul’s Cathedral.

Text © Helen Pearce 2018