Iron-working in the Weald ended at Ashburnham in the early 1800s, stymied by difficult transport, Civil War destruction of forges, increasing demand for timber, Abraham Darby’s use of coke at Ironbridge, and competition from Swedish manufacturers.
“Any old iron, any old iron,
Any, any, any old iron?”
Across the Weald, ore pits would yield
Tons of siderite, then be backfilled.
In the past, bloom and blast
Fashioned iron you could rely on;
But the Swedes made it better and they made it cheap!
“Old iron, old iron?”
(With apologies to Charles Collins, Fred Terry and E.A. Sheppard)