Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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The Sussex Ironmasters.
M----------------
T is not an easy task to call up again a picture of Sussex when its Weald was the seat of extensive iron works—when the ore was dug and smelted in Sussex, when the fuel was grown in Sussex, and when the iron was manufactured in Sussex. Let the reader try to conceive the activity and noise and bustle that must have attended the working of 42 forges or iron mills, and the blowing of 27 furnaces. These existed little more than 200 years ago—in 1653—in the Weald of Sussex, in a district where all is now as quiet and as peaceful as it was in Arcadia. As the modern traveller walks or rides through such villages as those of Waldron, Robertsbridge, Lamberhurst, Horsted Keynes, Ardingly, Mayfield, Maresfield, Ewhurst and Ashburnham, or rambles through the remains of Tilgate and St. Leonard's forests, and as his eyes and ears take in only the sights and sounds of rural life—the slow-going plough, the browsing sheep, and the heavy-looking labourers—how difficult is it to conceive that these places have known any other kind of life than that in which they now slumber! And yet these were the places which supplied " His Majesty's stores" with guns and shot in the days when Rupert and Monk and the Duke of York thundered day after day against Van Tromp and De Ruyter—nay, it was the forges and furnaces of these Sussex villages which furnished the ships of the Drakes and Hawkins and Frobishers with the artillery which
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