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Programme of Events 2017

September 9 & 10th
Fernhurst Furnace open w/end with Civil War enactment and Country Fair Vann Road (to west of Fernhurst).

Route will be signposted on the day.
Help to assist at the stand needed on the days and set-up Friday 8th afternoon. If you can help: Contact Tim Smith by email or on 01403 710148

Saturday 16 September
Smelt at Pippingford WIRG’s experimental bloomery furnace.
Contact Tim Smith or 01403 710148 for details

Programme of Events 2018

Lake District Visit to view iron sites 20-23 April 2018

Following successful weekend visits to the Forest of Dean, Ironbridge Gorge and Sheffield in the past three years we intend to go a little further afield next April 2018 to visit furnaces in Cumbria.

This will require a four day event travelling up on a Friday and returning on the Monday. The date is 20-23 April (ie 3rd w/end after Easter) - to avoid local school holidays.

The plan is to visit extant furnaces at Backbarrow (1711), Duddon (1736), Newland (1746), a bloomery forge and the Wilkinson Memorial and house at Lindale-in-Cartmel. If time permits, other sites may be included. Download information on sites in the area HERE

For accommodation we have booked a short let on a self-catering holiday house with six bedrooms in Grange over Sands. This can sleep up to 14. The room rate for three nights will be £125 per room so if you are prepared to share you can half your rate. There will be a modest additional cost for catering for breakfast plus a contribution towards lifts to the sites and donations where appropriate to site trusts.

Because of the distance, we will share lifts to the sites for any who may travel to Cumbria by train. There is a station at Grange-over-Sands - change at Lancaster travelling from the south.

Please email Tim Smith secretary@wealdeniron.org.uk if you wish to attend. First come first served for the holiday let but there are also other B&Bs and hotels available in Grange over Sands for those who wish to make their own arrangements for accommodation - or to stay on after the visit.

Programme of forays for 2017

Saturday 4 February 11am
Horsmonden Furnace, Kent

(about 12km E of Tunbridge Wells) at TQ 695412
Meet on the footpath on the Bay
If weather bad check with Tim Smith on 01403 710148 by 9am on the day.
This was a gun casting furnace for most of its 180 year plus life. The earliest reference is 1564 and the latest 1744.

Saturday 4th March
To Great Park Wood,Brede

Meet at TQ853193 on the B2089 between Brede & Udimore AT 11.00am.
The meeting point will be signed on the B2089 and vehicle parking will be in the field immediately off the road on the south side.
In the event of bad weather on the day please call Bob Turgoose on 07703 220579.
Great Park Wood is on the north side of the Brede valley extending from near the road to the valley floor. It is mixed semi-natural woodland and plantations of various ages.
A bloomery was found in the north-west corner of the wood in 2015.
The objectives of the foray will be to survey as much of the wood as possible to locate any further bloomeries and to search for any mine pits.
Please bring metal detectors and GPS locators if you have them and lunch.

Past Events 2017

Sat August 19 & 20th
Biddenden Tractor Fes, Beech Field, Beach Lane (A262) Biddenden, Kent TN27 8EX

Help to assist at the stand needed on the days and set-up Friday 18th afternoon.
Help in manning the information tent appreciated.
If you can help: Contact Tim Smith by email or on 01403 710148

Wed 26 July: Open Day at Standen
To view Ethan Greenwood‘s excavation (see below).

Ethan will be giving tours at 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00 to the site with a brief talk and hopefully lots of questions.

As it is a National Trust property NT members should bring their NT card as there is a £11.50 charge to enter the property for non-members.

The site is at TQ3921 3505 (near power lines and heading towards Wier Wood Reservoir).
From the S of the car park (ie the diagonally opposite corner of the right hand car park on entry) go through the gate and follow the path due south across a field and into the woods.
Follow the board walk but exit on the east side of the wood into the field. The site is near the edge of the woods. Total distance about 500 yards.

If you are joining as a volunteer to excavate, the link to sign up has already been passed to those registered for the Field Group. Please use the carpark to the right and walk the short distance to the site.

15 July to 30 July Excavation at Standen(dates to be confirmed)

Our sponsored PhD student, Ethan Greenwood, is offering members of WIRG a chance to dig at Chitcombe during the period 24 June to 9 July. Also at Standen (National Trust) between 15 ? 30 July. Ethan's work is sponsored by WIRG and he is grateful for any help by WIRG members to accomplish his research objectives. Many societies CHARGE for such activities so here is an opportunity to have FREE access. Contact Ethan on 07995 747935 or e-mail eg391@exeter.ac.uk for details.

15th July, 2017

To be held on Saturday 15 July in Nutley Memorial Hall
High Street, Nutley, Uckfield, E Sussex TN22 3NE

The Agenda for the day
10-30am Coffee / tea
11am talk by Jeremy Hodgkinson on Newbridge furnace (1496 ? 1603)
12-30 AGM
13-00 Lunch - Bring a packed lunch
14-00 Leave for site visit.

Parking is limited at the site (TQ4552 3243) so after dropping passengers drivers please return up the hill to the Ashdown Forest car park at the junction of Kidd?s Hill with the B2026 (TQ4659 3149) where a ferry car will take you back to the site.

Agenda for AGM starting 12-30pm
Apologies for absence
1. Approval of the minutes of the 2016 AGM
2. Matters arising
3. Chairman's Report
4. Treasurer's Report and Adoption of the Accounts
5. Appointment of Accounts Examiner
6. Election of Officers and Committee
7. Any other business

Nominations for new members of the committee are most welcome. All posts are available to be filled. Please send nominated names (with their consent), your name as proposer, and the name of a seconder to Hon Sec WIRG by e-mail at tjsmith560@btinternet.com or post at 15 Hazelwood Road, Partridge Green, Horsham, W Sussex, RH13 8EX , prior to the meeting.

May 26, 27 & 28th
Late May bank holiday weekend a demonstration smelt and WIRG information tent at the Wakehurst ? Wild Wood? festival Ardingly, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 6TN

Help to assist at the stand needed on the days and set-up Friday 25th afternoon. Contact Tim on 01403 710148 or Tim Smith by email or on 01403 710148

Fri 7th - Sun 9th April, 2017
WIRG visit to Sheffield ‘Steel City’
, .
to explore the iron related heritage of South Yorkshire.
To include visits to Shepherds Wheel, a water powered grinding mill for the cutlery trade, a guided tour around Wortley Top Forge (an industrial museum), Rockley blast furnace dating from 1698, a visit to Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, and Kelham Island museum.
Accommodation at a local motorway hotel.

WIRG Winter Meeting, 2017
2:30pm, Saturday, 28th January, 2017
Speaker: Jonathan Prus, “Choosing the right ore: some new insights into the craft skills of bloomery smelters in the Weald.”
The presentation will be based on work carried out by Jonathan Prus and Jeff Leigh with colleagues from the University of Brighton. They have examined ore and slag from a number of sites in the Weald and found some unexpected results that seem to show that some, perhaps all, bloomery smelters in the Weald had a surprisingly sophisticated practice.
Nutley Memorial Hall, High St, Nutley, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 3NE.
Free Entry - Coffee and cake after the meeting £2:50.

WIRG Discussion Group
Saturday, 19th November, 2016
11am - 1pm, “Plough and Horses”, Walshes Road, Crowborough. TN6 3RE.
Discussion to be led by Tim Smith. Subject: "Ideas in metallurgy that help our understanding of Wealden iron." Discussion of problems like grains and crystals in metal, annealing, tempering, cold-working, alloys and eutectics.
Download more details HERE

Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th. September 2016
Experimental Bloomery smelt in "White Chimneys Wood", Benenden, organised by two WIRG Members, Victor and John. A 10 minute Video of the last Smelt on 14th-15th May, can be seen on YouTube

What is a Foray?
A foray includes field walking to identify possible iron-working sites. In favourable cases, this is followed up by excavation to further explore the layout of the site and to find dating evidence.

View a short VIDEO of a Foray (16Mb) - it may take a while to download.