Most people know that, long ago, there was once a thriving iron works somewhere out in the fields by Forge Stream. Where exactly was it situated? How old is iron-working in Westfield? What range of types of iron goods were made? What connections did it have with Brede and with Crowham Manor?

Forge Stream field  Furn.jpg

The History of Iron Working in Westfield
According to the Sussex Archaeological Society, iron working at Westfield existed from the very first years of the Roman conquest, if not before (Grid ref. TQ 784186). Just on the borders of the parish in Beauport Park there are the famous remains of a Roman bath house, associated with the large scale iron workings carried out there under the control of the Roman navy. The Westfield site at Forge Stream (also known as Crowham Forge TQ 814172) began producing iron work around 1573. In the 17th century it was operated by one Peter Farnden ,and in the 18th century it belonged to a consortium of Midlands "Ironworks in Partnership". In 1717 it was producing 50 tons of iron under the ownership of Samuel Gott. The forge fell out of use by 1787. Cannon were certainly one of the forge's products. A fragment of one Westfield cannon was dredged out of the stream in the past and is now in Anne of Cleves Museum, Lewes. (From "The Iron Industry of the Weald" Cleere & Crossley 1985)