The remains of Fernhurst Furnace are some of the best preserved in the Sussex Weald. The iron industry flourished here in the 17th and 18th centuries using local ore, charcoal and water power. The untouched nature of the site and the rural surrounding belie the production of cast iron, tools and cannon which was effectively the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Even though there are many ‘hammer/furnace’ ponds throughout East and West Sussex, many people know little about the great historical and social importance of this bygone industry.
View Video Footage of the Furnace Site
This video shows:-
- Views of the furnace pond which along with other pen ponds, powered the furnace bellows and the cannon boring tool.
- The public bridle path that runs across the pond bay between the pond and the furnace site.
- The northern pond sluice which controls the flow of water to the bellows water wheel.
- The site of the furnace which shows the location of the furnace, casting pit, wheel-pits and tail race. The site has been recorded and excavated by Chichester District Archaeology Unit and the furnace has been backfilled for protection but the top of the casting pit, wheel-pits and tail race can be clearly seen.
- The site has been scheduled by English Heritage under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and is on privately owned land and no metal detecting or other disturbance to the site is allowed.
- The large black piping seen in the video is a temporary measure to protect the site from flooding during heavy rain and will be replaced by a new flood prevention scheme close to the southern pond sluice.
To find out more about the Fernhurst Furnace, use one of the links below:
- Location map of the Furnhurst Furnace using public bridle path.
- History of the site with major historical events between 1614 – 1776
- Annual Open Weekend event
- Membership details, including recent newsletters and other benefits
- Follow the Fernhurst Furnace on Facebook