Blacksmiths worked with the white metals; they made, repaired, almost any article partly or entirely made of iron or steel. Most tradesmen carried on more than one activity, and a blacksmith was often also a tinker and a mechanic.
Blacksmith, Shoeing Smith (farrier), Wheelwright, Harness Maker, Coach or Carriage Builder, Carpenter, often worked together, although shoeing horses was a specific skill (the Shoeing Smith might have worked sometimes with the Veterinarian).
Are illustrated here some of the items which would have been made and repaired by these skilled craftsmen, together with a brief account of a few events from the past.
1596: Thomas TAYLOR, carpenter of Bethersden; Thomas and John[William] T(H)RIDDER, blacksmiths of Chartham
Breach of the peace.
1597(8): John HURLOCK, blacksmith of Bethersden
Accused at Quarter Sessions of entering John FOSTEN's close and taking a black mare worth 5 marks; (not guilty).
1597(8): John COLLINS (COLLYNS), blacksmith of Great Chart
Accused at Quarter Sessions of taking 'a ploughsheare' worth 4s., 'a coulter' worth 4d. and 'two Iron pyns' worth 2d., the property of Humfrey ASHERST of Kingsnorth (Kingsnode), yeoman; (not guilty).
(ref.Q/SRg/m.7d) (ref.QM/SB/255) (ref.QM/SI/1598/15/7)
1598(9): Daniel BENSKYN, blacksmith of Westwell
Accused at Quarter Sessions of assault and rape against Alice, widow of Samuel MARLYN, labourer of Westwell.
1602: Chris. MISSINGE, blacksmith of Ashford
Accused at Quarter Sessions of taking 'a Chaine alias vocatun an Iron tyth' worth 6d. from James CHAPMAN at Challock.
1608(9): John HARLOCK, smith of Bethersden
Petitioned the Justices regarding the seizure of his cottage by Sir William LOVELACE's servants who installed therein Henry TULLY, shingler, his wife and three children. Report made by Nicholas TUFTON and Nicholas GILBOURNE.
1696: John DAWSON, blacksmith of Great Chart; John STONEHOUSE, apprentice to DAWSON
Robert DRURY, carpenter of Great Chart, was employed by John HENMAN (husbandman of Kingsnorth) to make a plough. HENMAN gave DRURY irons to be fitted to the plough; apprentice STONEHOUSE thought one of the irons belonged to Goodman MAXTED - John MAXTED, yeoman of Great Chart, had had a 'cheek' and a 'spindle' stolen from his plough. Apprentice STONEHOUSE recognised the 'cheake' as having been made by blacksmith DAWSON.
1874(5): Henry BROWNE, blacksmith of Little Chart
Made an Agreement with Edmund AUCHER, gentleman of Little Chart.
The 1696 incident demonstrates the individuality of items made by a village craftsman, as well as their re-use.
Together with the every-day requirements of a rural community, a master blacksmith and his assistants (journeyman, hammerman, apprentice) might also provide more decorative articles to its wealthier members.
The blacksmith made the metal wheel-rim coverings which preceded tyres, as well as springs, poles, chains, bolts... for the carriages and wagons of both local people and any traveller who had the misfortune to have his conveyance break down or overturn and be damaged.
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