Hampton Loade Forge (not foundry) is certainly a significant site. There
was a blast furnace there from 1640 to 1660, but the main development was
in the 1790s and later. In 1790 William Jones a forge of the traditional
kind with a single finery. The works were probably enlarged in 1796 by
Robert Thompson and was associated with Aberdare ironworks in south Wales
and Gothersley Mill in Kinver from 1799. After the death of John Hodgetts
of Gothersley the partnership became Thompson and Hazledine. It was sold to
John Bradley & Co. of Stourbridge in 1819.
This was replaced by a state of the art forge of the Industrial Revolution
with three puddling furnaces in 1819, increased to five by 1822, when they
were scrapped in order that it could revert to charcoal ironmaking. I do
not know what ironmaking process it them used. In this period it was also
a tinplate works.
You will find details of its history in Norman Mutton's thesis of which
Dudley Archives have a copy. It did indeed use peat as fuel, obtained from
Whixall Moss in north Shropshire. I believe there are some surviving
accounts for the works from the 1820s, but I have not studied them. The
archives that Norman Mutton studied (then in the Apley Park estate office)
are now in Shropshire Record Office, but not all of it is catalogued yet.
Nevertheless, I think the portions of the archive that relate to the
ironworks are. The reference for the accounts is 5586/10/1/1-19. David
Poyner, to whom I am copying this message has also investigated some aspects
of the industrial archaeology.
The last I heard was that the ferry was currently not working, but efforts
were being made to get it going again.
The brook running through the forge site is the parish boundary between
Quatt and Alveley. Further up this was a paper mill, whose history is
described in Alan Nicholls, History of Alveley (privately 1994), 116.
Nicholls (p.119) says the origin of the Butter Cross is a mystery. It was
in Alveley manor and township. There is no reason to suspect the presence
of a deserted settlement of any significant size.
49, Stourbridge Road,
----- Original Message -----
From: Dave Ogden <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: 12 July 2002 03:08
Subject: Hampton Loade a lost resource?
> For the past 45 years I've visited a small hamlet in the Severn Valley
> England ( OS ref:- Landranger sheet 138, 745865 ). I've not taken too much
> notice of the archaeological significance of the area until recently as my
> main purpose was to visit a late 16th C inn known as the Lion. (excellent
> The Severn in this area has been allowed to revert to its' natural state
> much as is possible in these times)and due to flooding near to the banks,
> buildings which were hereuntobefore covered with overgrowth have been
> displayed. I always thought that it was a copse!!!
> I always knew that the hamlets' (relatively) recent growth was due to a
> foundry, not surprising really due to its' closeness to Ironbridge,
> Coalbrookdale, Bridgnorth, Jackfield etc., but I was very surprised this
> evening to see just how much of this foundry still survives! Walls of over
> metres surround the site (covered with ivy). All shop divides are still
> standing to varying heights (ie 30cm to 2 metres), sadly large trees have
> taken hold and are now destroying these divides!
> The approach to the site is via an iron bridge fording a fast flowing
> that serviced the works, again in rather bad repair but still able to
> vehicular traffic to pass.
> To give the relevant facts, I'll just list them instead of boring you all.
> 1. The Lion is the oldest building in the area. The present building was
> erected as a cider house and dates from the late 1500's. It is built upon
> much earlier site possibly dating from Roman times (ie evidence of
> cremations and later East West burials have been discovered to the rear of
> the property. This development has not been placed in the public domain,
> excavations were carried out in the 1960's)
> 2. A 14th C Butter Cross stands to the rear of the property approx 450m
> the Lion along a Greenway (this leads from the river up the hill towards
> Alveley). Aerial shots show signs of what may possibly be a deserted
> village, name unknown surrounding the cross.
> 3. The Foundry produced kitchenware, I had a conversation with a very
> elderly person some years ago who stated that his ancestors worked on the
> site, and that the Foundry was run on peat! Not coal or other combustibles
> is this possible??? In Bewdley Museum there are pieces from this site and
> must say that they are of a quality that I've never seen the like of
> They are identified as peat/iron produced
> 4.The river has for the past few hundred years had a ferry to cross
> the hamlet of Hampton Loade on the East bank and the hamlet of Hampton on
> the West. The name of Loade refers to a ford, the next area upstream that
> can identify with such a feature is Viroconium (Wroxeter)which was
> eventually bridged by the Romans during their occupation. Has anyone any
> suggestions to add to this hypothesis? (I gladly welcome constructive
> There is so much more about the site but I believe that I'm about to
> boring about it.
> I'll be visiting the site again on 25th July when I hope to photograph as
> much of the site as possible. If anyone is interested I'll gladly send
> .jpg's along via email
> Has anyone any further info on this site? Has it been written up? I'd hate
> it to crumble to nothing without some sort of survey being carried out.
> Many Thanks
> Wednesbury England
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