Blacksmiths celebrate St Clement's Day at Sticklepath's Finch Foundry - November 21st

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By WalterShort | Tuesday, November 17, 2009, 13:09

The National Trust's Finch Foundry in Sticklepath is worth a visit at any time, with its working forge powered by three water wheels - which drive a huge tilt hammer and grindstone.

But on Saturday November 21st the foundry will really come alive, when then Guild of Blacksmiths gather to celebrate their patron saint St Clement and demonstrate their craft using the 19th century machinery.

Some of the top blacksmiths from across the country will be producing test pieces for judging and will also be showing how the foundry's unique water-powered trip hammers were used.

As part of their celebrations, they'll also be 'firing the anvil' using gunpowder, and there will be Morris Dancing from a local side.

The Finch Foundry originally produced sickles, scythes and shovels for Dartmoor farmers and miners and produced up to 400 tools a day. Production continued right up until the 1960s, and the Foundry was bought by the National Trust in 1994.

The celebratory day - which is free - starts at 10.30am with the Forge breakfast and continues until 4.30pm.

Foundry custodian Roger Boney says, "This is a rare opportunity to gain an insight into this highly skilled craft and to see some of the country's top craftsmen in competition."



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