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This guide draws on two major historical and topographical sources, namely Straker’s Wealden Iron (1931) and H. Cleere and D. Crossley’s The Iron Industry of the Weald (1995). The latter includes gazetteers of all known bloomeries and later furnaces and forges, gathered from the continuing investigations of the Wealden Iron Research Group [WIRG]. Recent reports appear in the annual WIRG Bulletin.

Short Bibliography

Beswick, M. Ironworking in Warbleton, Warbleton & District History Group No 15, 2003

Cleere, H. & Crossley, D. The Iron Industry of the Weald, Cardiff, Merton Priory Press, 1995

Herbert, B. K. The Field Walker’s Guide & Introduction to the Iron Industries of the Weald, WIRG, 1985

Hodgkinson, J. The Wealden Iron Industry, The History Press, 2008

Hodgkinson, J. British Cast-Iron Firebacks, hodgersbooks, 2010

Magilton, John et al. Fernhurst Furnace, Chichester District Council, 2003

Pearce, H.  Hammer and Furnace Ponds, Relics of the Wealden Iron Industry, Pomegranate Press, 2011 

Straker, E. Wealden Iron, London, Bell and Sons Ltd, 1931, reprinted Bath, Cedric Chivers Ltd, 1967

The following relevant organisations produce regular bulletins and journals:

Wealden Iron Research Group www.wealdeniron.org.uk

WIRG was established in 1968 to undertake and publish research into historical iron production in the High Weald. Activities include archaeological forays, excavations, bloomery experiments and biennial general meetings.

Kent Archaeological Society www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/

Historical Metallurgy Society www.hist-met.org/

Surrey Industrial History Group www.sihg.org.uk/

Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society www.sussexias.co.uk/

Sussex Mills Group www.sussexmillsgroup.org.uk/

Interesting local links:



Literary mentions:

References to the ponds or the iron industry occasionally appear in popular literature such as the Sussex novels of Sheila Kaye-Smith and Barbara Willard, Conan Doyle's The Adventure of Black Peter, and of course Kipling's Puck of Pook Hill, set near Burwash. H G Wells' Hammerpond Mystery is set in the fictional village of Hammerpond but otherwise does not mention Wealden iron. Of the handful of Victorian novels that feature Wealden ironworks the most famous and accurate is Hurlock Chase, by George E. Sargant.


Many people and institutions helped with the research for this site. Above all I am indebted to the Wealden Iron Research Group whose field walking and forays in all weathers have yielded archaeological evidence of ironwork sites, as well as documentary research into their history and activities. WIRG's Jeremy Hodgkinson and the late Reg Houghton in particular deserve thanks for generously sharing specialist knowledge and making comments on the original text. Any inaccuracies are mine, not theirs. Ron Martin of SIAS and Ten Henbery of Sussex Mills Group kindly helped with information and I am also grateful to all those on local internet newsgroups who responded to my initial queries especially Chris Shepheard of Surrey Industrial History Group. Thanks are also due to Sussex Archaeological Society for some illustrations, and John Pulman for getting this site onto the web. Copyright has been sought assiduously, however, if an inadvertent breach has crept through please get in touch so this can be remedied immediately.

Photos and text © Helen Pearce 2018