THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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THE IRON INDUSTRY.                            143
further continuance of the manufacture. " Henry Nevel, and the rest of that occupation," obeyed the summons, and the matter was referred to the arrangement of Mr. Hockenal, the Deputy Master of the Ordnance, and Mr. Blincoe. The result was that not more than a certain quantity of cannon was to be cast annually for the necessary provision of our own navigation, a certain proportion being allowed to each founder. It was also stipulated that no ordnance should be sold except in the city, and not even there but to such merchants "as my lord or his deputy should name." These instructions seem to have been quickly disregarded, for two years later Thomas, Lord Buckhurst, Queen Elizabeth's Lord High Treasurer, wrote a letter complaining of the infringement of the regulations by the ironmasters :—
Their Lordshypps doe see the little regard the owners of furnaces and the makers of these peeces have of their bondes, and how yt importeth the state that the enemy of Her Majesty should not be furnished oute of the lande with ordnance to annoy us.
The Lord Treasurer goes on to direct the Magistrates to enforce the provisions made by the Earl of Warwick. Another letter, from the same officer to the local Justices, dated October 6th, 1590, directs them as to " straighter restraint of making shott and ordnance," and to take bonds of £1,000 each of every furnace owner and farmer; and also to forward their bonds, and a list of their names, to him with all convenient speed.
According to a return made about 90 years later the ironworks at Millplace and Rowfant had been discon­tinued before 1664, and partly ruined, but the former were re-stocked and started again when the Civil War broke out, and guns or shot were made there for the supply of the King's stores. Millplace was owned in 1711 by John Conyers, M.P. for East Grinstead.
In 1740 there were only 10 furnaces in all Sussex, turning out 1,400 tons of iron in the year, but as late as 1769 local ironworks were in a very flourishing state. Those at Gravetye; at the Warren, which was near the borders of Sussex and Surrey, in the Crawley Down district; and at Millplace, situated about midway between
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