Map by Samuel Cant of a wood and land near Beckley Furnace, 1746, showing the pond at the bottom.


The Beckley furnace was set up in 1587 and at the time that the map was drawn up was being run by William Gott to produce guns (Hodgkinson). In the 16th century, blast furnaces were usually towers about 15 feet square and 15-20 feet high. Iron ore and charcoal would go in the top and were heated so that the ore reduced to liquid iron, which was then cast into moulds, creating pigs of cast iron. The heat in the furnace was increased by blowing it with bellows, which were powered by a water wheel. In the forges again, where the iron was hammered into bars, the bellows and the hammer were driven by waterpower and this often required the creation of large artificial lakes, which still feature in the landscape today.

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