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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 1148: summary

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Historic building recording at The Forge, 18 Chipping Hill, Witham, Essex, CM8 2JS: May 2017
by Mark Baister

Date report completed: August 2017
Location: The Forge, 18 Chipping Hill, Witham, Essex, CM8 2JS
Map reference(s): TL 81782 15281
File size: kb
Project type: Historic Building Recording
Significance of the results:

Summary. A programme of historic building recording was carried out by Colchester Archaeological Trust upon a smithy at The Forge, 18 Chipping Hill, Witham, Essex in May 2017. The Forge is part of a Grade II listed building (NHLE no. 1306501; EHER 28895) which dates from the 14th century and has 15th-century cross-wings. Extensions to the smithy were constructed in the 17th-century. Additional components include a mid 19th-century farrier’s shop and a lean-to dating from the late 19th century/early 20th century.

There has been a smithy on the premises since at least 1603, if not earlier, and the building, along with its fixtures and fittings, is a rare surviving example of a trade that was integral to life in nearly every village and town in pre-industrial Britain. The continued operation of The Forge at Chipping Hill, well after the advent of mechanisation in the late 19th century, also shows how rural communities often maintained traditional methods alongside the new.