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Tebbutt Research Fund

One of the key words in WIRG’s name is Research, and one of the Group’s principal aims is ‘to promote investigation … concerning the Wealden iron industry’.

The Tebbutt Research Fund, established in celebration of its first President, was aimed at encouraging just such research. Past recipients of Tebbutt grants have been both members and non-members, and the Committee of WIRG is keen to encourage readers of this page to consider engaging in some research to further our knowledge of the iron industry in the Weald. Accordingly, the following list of topics is offered to whet your appetite.

The suggestions below do not form a definitive list, nor are they arranged in any order. Where possible the source of documents is shown. Some suggestions are desk-top exercises, others involve fieldwork. Ultimately, the aim should be to publish the results. If you are considering tackling one of them and baulk at the cost of obtaining photocopies or making long journeys to a record office, the Tebbutt Research Fund exists to help you.

Don’t be put off because you have not engaged in research before. There are members of the WIRG Committee who will be only too pleased to advise you, as will the staffs at libraries and record offices. If recent editions of Wealden Iron, the Bulletin of the Wealden Iron Research Group, are anything to go by, the number of people who are doing research into the iron industry is too few, and there is still much to be done. We don’t have all the answers!

    Robertsbridge/Beech furnace accounts [East Sussex Record Office microfilm];

    Minepit mapping - mapping iron ore extraction sites in a parish or larger area;

    Pelham ironworks accounts (Waldron furnace, Bivelham & Brightling/Glazier’s forges) [British Library Add Mss 33154-6];

    Ironworking landscapes – case studies of ironworks and the landscapes that supplied them with fuel, ore, labour, transport etc. (e.g. Fernhurst, Ashburnham);

    Identifying charcoal and ore sources for individual furnaces and forges;

    Horsmonden family, scythe makers, of Goudhurst [East Sussex Record Office Courthope Mss SAS/CO];

    Humphrey Tuckey - Alexander Courthope correspondence [East Sussex Record Office Courthope Mss SAS/CO];

    Case studies of individual ironworks - their sites, raw material sources, water management, personnel and operating history;

    Case studies of ironmasters or families of ironmasters;

    Affray at Plaistow 1580 - background to a dispute between ironworkers, resulting in a death [R. F. Hunnisett, 1996, Sussex Coroners’ Inquests 1558-1603 (Public Record Office), 53];

    Records of Holmsted Forge, Cuckfield, in the records of the Manor of Plumpton [East Sussex Record Office];

    Ironworks of John de Lynleghe at Withyham 1320 [National Archives SC6/1146/2];

    Dispute involving an ‘iron mine’ near East Grinstead,1263, between Agnes Malameins and Isabel de Aldham [National Archives JUST1/912a, m. 17d];

Readers of this page are invited to suggest other subjects for research by emailing: .