Stumbletts Furnace, 360m south-east of Twyford House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
East Sussex
Wealden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 39939 30631

Reasons for Designation

Iron has been produced in England from at least 500 BC. The iron industry, spurred on by a succession of technological developments, has played a major part in the history of the country, its production and overall importance peaking with the Industrial Revolution. Iron ores occur in a variety of forms across England, giving rise to several different extraction techniques and structures. Ore was originally smelted into iron in small, relatively low-temperature furnaces known as bloomeries. These were replaced from the 16th century by blast furnaces, which were larger and operated at a higher temperature to produce molten metal for cast iron. Cast iron is brittle, and to convert it into malleable wrought iron or steel it needs to be remelted. This was originally conducted in an open hearth in a finery forge, but technological developments, especially with steel production, gave rise to more sophisticated types of furnaces. Despite partial damage by soil removal in the past, Stumbletts Furnace survives well. It is a short-lived early blast furnace site that has been largely undisturbed and as such holds a high degree of archaeological potential. The furnace is well recorded in documentary sources, which enhance its value.


The monument includes the site of a 16th century blast furnace, dam and slag heaps surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated at the bottom of a stream valley, west of Stumblewood Common in the High Weald. The earthen dam is orientated north-west to south-east across the foot of the valley. It is approximately 60m long and up to 3m high and has been breached in two places. A bank projects at a right-angle from the dam to protect the iron working area. The site of the furnace, indicated by a depression in the ground and slag heaps, is just south of the stream. There is an overspill channel at the north end of the dam. Stumbletts Furnace was built in 1534 on land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster. It was first let to John Levett and then managed by William Levett, the Buxted ordnance maker. It was leased with a steel forge in 1549 to Thomas Gaveller and Francis Challer. The furnace reverted to John Gage in 1554 and was transferred by him to the crown before falling out of use in around 1570. The site may have been re-used as Vinolds Corn-mill in the late 16th century. The monument excludes all modern fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts, but the ground beneath these features is included.

Sources: East Sussex HER MES3019. NMR TQ33SE22. PastScape 403536. Crossley, D. 1991. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme. Industrial Monuments: The Iron and Steel Industries. Step 3 report. Version O (Site Assessment 70). 2008. Wealden Iron Research Group. Iron Site Database. [accessed 27-MAY-2009]


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ES 443
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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