New Willey Ironworks
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006240
Date first listed: 28-Oct-1977
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SJ 67447 00584
Part of New Willey Ironworks 120m south-west of Jubilee Cottage.
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. 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 re-melted. 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. The iron industry has a complex chronological range, technological breadth and regional diversity. The part of New Willey Ironworks 120m south west of Jubilee Cottage represents an important and innovative foundry where new processes and products were being tested and created and this important site will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the development and construction of these new processes, methods and techniques along with their associated structures, features and deposits set within their overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 June 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records. As such they do not yet have the full descriptions of their modernised counterparts available. Please contact us if you would like further information.
This monument includes part of the extensive New Willey Ironworks situated in the valley of the Dean Brook. The part of the ironworks survives as a complex series of earthworks, upstanding structures (which where occupied are not scheduled but protected by Listing) and buried remains associated with innovative casting and boring mills, water management, two large blast furnaces, ancillary structures and tramways at a revolutionary foundry operated by John Wilkinson and opened in 1763. Although the ponds and water management of this industrial complex have their origins as part of a 13th century deer park they were re-used and modernised for the industrial process. Materials and products were moved via tramways to the Willey Wharf on the River Severn. The blast furnaces were amongst the first to be powered by the steam engines of Boulton and Watt and were added to the site in 1776 and the engine house is still standing. The furnaces are almost certainly buried under the bank at the southern edge of the complex and it is reasonable to assume that the masonry survives to a considerable height. The casting floors of the revolutionary boring mill are also buried features and these relate specifically to the introduction of a new process connected to the production of cylinders and cannons. The warehouse and workers cottages survive as fully standing occupied buildings and are all listed at Grade II. The foundations of further buildings and structures were noted as parch marks during a dry summer in 1959 and also survive as completely buried features. The foundry was also notable because it produced the world’s first iron boat called ‘The Trail’ which was launched in 1787. The New Willey works closed in 1804 although a foundry operated at the site until the 1920’s.
The extent of the ironworks is greater than the currently scheduled area but is not all included because all of the earthworks and features have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: SA 350
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
HER 00653, 00654, 00655, 11718 and 11719
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