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The Rother Valley Guide
West Sussex, England

The Heyshott Book
pages 108 & 109


Chapter Ten

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 crinoline.

Blacksmiths shop, Heyshott

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.

Page 108

Page 109

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.

Blacksmiths Cottage, Heyshott

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 the Workhouse.
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.

Page 109

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