Registered Charity No. 281485

Homepage - About WIRG - History - Events - Publications - Research - Sites and People Database - Links


Programme of Events 2017

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.
Total cost in the region of £160.
More details and expressions of interest to Tim Smith or tel.01403 710148 as soon as possible.

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

15th July, 2017

Venue, etc, tba. Put the date in your diary.

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

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

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 2016

Robertsbridge And District Archaeological Society
Mountfield's Tudor Ironworks: a typical, 16th century Wealden furnace and forge
A talk (and walk) by Peter Miles
at Robertsbridge and District Archæological Society
January Friday 13th, 7.30, Robertsbridge Hall.
All welcome. Non-RADAS members £3.00.

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.