Birth of Iron & Steel making in England
Not many people know that in the 15th Century, actually on the 13th December 1496, King Henry VII commissioned Henry Fyner, a Southwark (London) goldsmith, to engage founders and labourers to construct an ironworks on Crown lands at Newbridge, Sussex.
The site chosen is just south of Forest Row and the country pub called Hatch Inn at Colemans Hatch, on the road called Kidds Hill.
The location is at these coordinates which can be copied and pasted into Google Maps to show the exact spot. With a satellite view you will only see trees !
51° 4'22.40"N 0° 4'34.44"E
So why was this Ironworks established here ?
Firstly it was to produce iron to manufacture items needed for the King's Artillery such as metal rings to strengthen the stock of the ordnance and wheels. These were needed to supply the King's artillery during the Scottish campaign.
Secondly, there was water to power the forge bellows and wood for the furnace plus the iron ore was found in these parts. Even the Romans knew of the iron ore deposits and would have been active in exploiting the iron making to fuel their Empire.
But at this location at the end of the 15th Century a true iron forge with water-powered hammer was made to make the wrought iron into usable bars of metal.
....truly the beginning of the Iron and Steel industry in UK.
Not much can be seen of the site but with a helpful plaque erected by the WEALDEN IRON RESEARCH GROUP and some imagination needed to envisage the position of the furnace and pond to supply the water.
Much more history and detailed information is contained on the excellent Wealden iron Research group web site :