Forging a happy village life

Old Forge
Old Forge

PIC

THE Forge, at the corner of Bishop’s Lane and the Lewes Road in Ringmer, was built by the Glyndebourne Estate in the late 19th century, along with the two semi-detached cottages beside it.

But it is currently included in one of several plots put forward for possible housing development.

A recent petition in the village to exclude it from development attracted more than 850 signatures.

The first blacksmith to occupy the Forge was Frank Clarke and the photograph (displayed) dates back to his occupancy. Bert King from Barcombe took over from him and he was followed by Ben Stevens.

The last family of blacksmiths living in the cottage were the Weeding family, who arrived in the late 1950s. William (Bill) kept a beautiful vegetable garden in the small plot behind the cottage gardens as well as running the Forge.

His son, also named William but nicknamed ‘Boy’, eventually took over when he retired in 1978.

After the Forge was closed in 1994 it was let as a furniture shop and workshop and recently changed hands.

Jonathan Steeden sells there ready-made oak and bespoke pine furniture, much of which is manufactured by small firms in Sussex.

Many residents believe that maintaining the commercial use of the building makes an important contribution to the local economy by attracting customers to the village and providing work to eight local people.

It’s a pretty place, too.