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Tony Grist

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Iron Town [Nov. 4th, 2016|10:06 am]
Tony Grist
Wadhurst, pretty little Wealden village on the Sussex side of the Kent and Sussex border. Looking at it today you wouldn't guess it was once a great industrial centre. But it was. They made iron here- supplying the guns "that smote king Philip's fleet" and "the stout railings that stand about St Pauls." (Kipling lived just down the road.) Evidence for this hidden past can be found in the church...

...where most of the monuments- those set in the floor as well as those mounted on the walls- are made of iron. I've seen iron tombstones before- but never in such quantity. This one is from 1648 (It must be enormously heavy)

And this one comes from the late 18th century. At first I mistook it for stone, but the epitaph is explicit. "Beneath This Iron Plate..." it says "Lieth Interred the body etc...etc".  What a fine piece of casting it is!


[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2016-11-04 11:39 am (UTC)
That seventeenth century one is lovely - and very tactile!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-04 03:22 pm (UTC)
It's one of many of approximately the same date.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2016-11-05 06:59 am (UTC)
Oh, those are just amazing. Memorials cast like cannons!

I often come across Victorian cast iron grave markers in local churchyards, but I didn't realise the tradition of iron memorials went back so far.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-05 09:37 am (UTC)
It was a peculiarly Wealden thing- perhaps a peculiarly Wadhurst thing. I like how they make a point in the epitaph of telling you what the memorial is made of. They were clearly proud of what they could do with iron.
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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2016-11-05 06:34 pm (UTC)
The one from 1658 really is quite an imposing, impressive piece of work - and in remarkably good condition, given its age! How many generations have passed by since the craftsmen responsible were plying their trade..
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2016-11-05 08:14 pm (UTC)
Iron is hard-wearing, I suppose.

Also that raised metal wouldn't be something you'd choose to walk on- not if there was a way round it- as there is.
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