Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Blakeney Furnace

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Wire works? It has not been established whether this was connected with the blast furnace. However, see text

in Nibley, near Blakeney, Forest of Dean, Glos.

This was a charcoal-fuelled blast furnace. There are no remains to be seen.

The furnace stood at the bottom of the valley in Nibley, on Blackpool Brook. It was mentioned in 1680, when it came into the hands of the Foley family. In 1692 it was willed to Thomas Foley by his father Paul Foley. It produced 1251 tons of iron in its best year. The pig iron was shipped from Gatcombe Pill on the River Severn to Bristol and Bewdley. The furnace was out of use before 1777, and was in 'absolute ruin' by 1800. This information comes from 'The Industrial History of Dean' by Cyril Hart, who provided a sketch map showing the location, being next to the brook about 1/2 mile upstream of Nibley corn mill. Writing in 1971, he stated that ' 'Old Furnace Bottom' still exhibits much slag, and evidence of the harnessing of the brook, including a small weir and slight waterfall.' He also mentions a 'Wire-making house', which appears to be the three storey row of dwellings seen in the recent photo. This building is adjacent to a road called 'Furnace Valley'[1]

An advertisement was placed in 1838 for the sale of plots of land. These included 'Lot 5.— A small piece of uninclosed LAND, about a quarter of an acre, with the fruit trees thereon, situate at a place called "The Old Furnace," near Blakeney aforesaid, and late in the occupation of Mr. Thomas Stiff. ... For a view of the above lots, apply to Mr. Joseph Stiff, Old Furnace, Wire Mill, near Blakeney[2]. Presumably this was Joseph Stiff of Stiff and Sims.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'The Industrial History of Dean' by Cyril Hart: David & Charles, 1971
  2. Gloucestershire Chronicle, 9 June 1838