I have had to go back to the journal Post-Med Arch to refresh my memory on
this subject after Paul Courtney reminded me of the source. The original
publication by Richard Kemp was of the excavation of a site, which he
identified as being Soudley Forge, one of the ironworks authorised by the
King in his Royal Forest of Dean in 1612. There is a detailed inventory of
this dated 1635. David Mullins reviewed the published account and published
a re-assessment. Unfortunately the volume with the original publication was
not on the shelf in the library that I visited, but David Mullins' article
Kemp found a structure that was probably a dam, and a wall 28 foot long.
The inventory referred to a building 40 foot by 28 foot, with a hammer and
anvil with waterwheel, two finery wheels and a chafery wheel, that is four
water wheels, but Kemp was unable to explain where any of these were.
Furthermore, there was no slag at all.
Mullins conclusion was thus that whatever Kemp found, it was probably not
Soudley Forge of 1635. I have been looking at something intended for
publication relating to the archaeology of the metal industries. This was
making the point that there has been very little archaeological
investigation of finery forges. I consider that the point will be made more
strongly, if the few excavations that have been done are listed.
Unfortunately, this is only one of two of the sites published as finery
forges that are not such; the other, Stony Hazel Forge in Cumbria is
documented only as a bloomery forge, operating from 1718 to 1725. It was
then acquired by the two iron companies operating in the neighbourhood,
almost certainly to close it; they paid dead-rents on several former
bloomery forges local, almost certainly to keep them from competing to buy
Kemp, R. L, 'A seventeenth century royal forge in the Forest of Dean,
Gloucestershire'. Post-Medieval Archaeology, 21 (1987), 127-46.
Mullin, D., 'The archaeology of Camp Mill: a reassessment' Ibid. 23 (1989),
From: Industrial Archaeology [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: 26 March 2004 13:30
To: Peter Wickham King
Subject: Re: Supposed Forge in Forest of Dean
<< File: Re_ Supposed Forge in Forest of Dean.txt >> I don't have access to
the journals either. But would like to pose a
question and make a suggestion. When you refer to a "forge" what do you
mean, as there are at least nine different kinds? As this one is fairly
early and is water powered I'll assume it is probably a bloomery.
In order to avoid confusion, it would be better to only use the word
"forge" by itself when it is used as a verb. It would be preferable to
refer to an iron site as a finery or bloomery, or finery forge or
bloomery forge. This eliminates any possible confusion as to what kind