The Smithy, Pubs, Shops and Foundry
The Blacksmiths Shop
No village was complete without its blacksmith's shop and ours lay
between the church and the pub. The long,low building, in 'rat-trap'
brickwork, remains unmistakable. There are still people in the village
who remember, on their way home from school, the joy of peering in
through the window to watch the sparks fly as the blacksmith smote
the iron on the anvil with his heavy hammer. They were often allowed
into the dimly lit smoky shop with its ruddy fire and had the thrill of
pumping the long wooden handles which operated the bellows and
made the fire roar. They would also admire the great cart horses as
they stamped their feet on the wooden railway sleepers which lined
the floor of the stable where they were tethered next door to the forge.
The photograph below shows the blacksmith and his family lined up
outside the smithy. He is wearing his long leather apron and his wife
appears to have dressed up for the occasion in her bonnet and best
It is not known exactly when the photograph was taken but, if the small girl holding her mother's hand was aged about 4 at the time, the date would have been 1878 and the family would have consisted of William Parry and his wife Charlotte, both aged 40, William junior and his brother Eli, aged 15 and 13 respectively, George, 9 and his sister Selina,4.
The 1881 census, compiled just three years later, shows William junior
as a wheelwright and Eli as an apprentice blacksmith. In those days
the blacksmith's family lived in this thatched cottage just behind the smithy.
The cottage was there long before the smithy was built.
In a map of
1828 it is shown as the 'Parish House' and it lies across the road from
It is not clear what the precise difference was between
the Parish House and the Workhouse. It is probable that the former
was used to house deserving old parishioners who were spared the
ignominy of being sent to the Workhouse.
At any rate, in November 1836, the Churchwardens and the overseers of the Poor of the Parish
of Heyshott sold the cottage to George Randall for £45. He farmed
Upper Cranmore Farm, just up the road.
The property is described as -
'all that messuage or cottage in two tenements with a garden, fuel
house and apperturtenances....
now in the several occupations of Frank
Hopkins, George Hopkins and the widow Hopkins'.
At the time of
the sale there was no smithy on the site as it was the 'fuel house' which
was later converted to the Smithy.
However an agricultural village like
Heyshott would have had a smithy somewhere and the Tithe Map
Apportionments of 1840 show that John Pescod had a smith's shop in
Hoyle (there is no sign of it now but it was between Long Hoyle and
Old Hoyle Cottages).
Even before this, there is evidence of a smithy
in the village because, in 1721, John Woolridge of Eastbourne was
apprenticed to Robert Baxter of Heyshott, Blacksmith.