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Hand Forge, North Mill Building and South Mill Building at Churchill Forge

A Grade II Listed Building in Churchill and Blakedown, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.414 / 52°24'50"N

Longitude: -2.1735 / 2°10'24"W

OS Eastings: 388294

OS Northings: 279571

OS Grid: SO882795

Mapcode National: GBR 1CH.P92

Mapcode Global: VH91P.8LT8

Entry Name: Hand Forge, North Mill Building and South Mill Building at Churchill Forge

Listing Date: 18 March 1987

Last Amended: 11 May 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1100650

English Heritage Legacy ID: 157066

Location: Churchill and Blakedown, Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, DY10

County: Worcestershire

District: Wyre Forest

Civil Parish: Churchill and Blakedown

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Churchill-in-Halfshire with Blakedown

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

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Summary

Three forge buildings most likely dating from the early C19, with water powered machinery for the production of tools and hand implements.

Description

Three forge buildings most likely dating from the early C19, with water powered machinery for the production of tools and hand implements.

MATERIALS: The buildings are constructed of brick, two with corrugated sheet roofing and one with a tiled roof. The windows are mostly metal casements, with timber and some metal doors.

PLAN: The three buildings are arranged roughly parallel to each other and are orientated east – west. Between the southern buildings is an open courtyard where the two water wheels are housed, and there is an open, freestanding metal structure with a corrugated sheet roof. To the east of the buildings is a large dam which retains the mill pond beyond, which has two sluices; one controlling the flow of water to the wheels and the other controlling the overflow leat. The overflow leat runs west and south-west where it joins the tailrace leat flowing south-west.

DESCRIPTION: The northern building, known as the HAND FORGE, sits at a slightly higher level than the two southern buildings, and is a single-storey brick building with a pitched roof with corrugated sheet covering. The brick is laid in English Garden Wall bond. In the southern elevation are a door and window opening, with a timber boarded door and timber boarded shutters. There is a brick chimney on the ridge which appears to have been rebuilt. The western elevation has a timber shuttered opening with an arched head, and a square chimney on the north-west corner. The northern elevation has one shuttered opening. Internally, the building is understood to contain two hearths and a kick hammer.

There is a lean-to structure at the eastern end which joins this building with the NORTH MILL BUILDING. This building is of brick, also in English Garden Wall bond, with a tile roof which contains some modern glazed rooflights. The roof is pitched and in a T-plan, with a lean-to section to the east with a modern covering, and a chimney on the northern elevation. The building’s southern elevation has a dentilled cornice with a door and window opening at its western end. Adjacent to the east of these is an overshot cast iron waterwheel which is approximately 5m in diameter, with 48 steel buckets and eight wooden spokes, with a cast iron header tank and pipe above. Internally, the building retains much historic machinery. This includes a drive belt system, a drop hammer, two pneumatic hammers and a press. The hearth is along the northern wall. To the east, the former grinding shed is now used as an exhibition space.

The SOUTH MILL BUILDING is also of brick, laid mostly in stretcher bond, with a corrugated sheet roof, with a chimney at the western end. There are two window openings in the southern elevation. The northern elevation has a door and window opening, and east of these is an overshot cast iron water wheel, approximately 5m in diameter. The wheel has seven cast iron spokes and 49 buckets. Internally the building retains some historic machinery, and a hearth in its south-eastern corner with a chimney now truncated.


History

The mill buildings at Churchill Forge in their current form most likely date from the early C19, with subsequent alterations including in the C20. A mill is first mentioned at Churchill in 1268, again in 1368 and at the end of the C16. By the later C18 the site was in use as a water-powered forge, producing spades, shovels, ladles and other implements. The forge was operational until 1969.

Reasons for Listing

The Hand Forge, North Mill Building and South Mill Building are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as good examples of early C19 water-powered forge buildings, which clearly display the processes used in the production of edge tools;
* Intactness: although the buildings have seen some alteration, they retain much historic character;
* Machinery: the buildings retain a significant amount of historic machinery, which contributes strongly to their special interest.

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