Fernhurst Furnace open weekend welcomes visitors

ks190504-19 Furnace Furnace  phot kate SUS-190915-112514008
ks190504-19 Furnace Furnace phot kate SUS-190915-112514008

Visitors stepped back in time at Fernhurst Furnace during a special event.

The Fernhurst Open Weekend was held at the furnace as part of the UK Heritage Open Days scheme in order to raise awareness and funds towards the conservation of the ancient monument.

The remains of Fernhurst Furnace are notable for being some of the best preserved in the Sussex Weald. The iron industry bloomed here in the 17th and 18th century with the use of local charcoal, ore and water power. This gave way to the production of cast iron, cannon and tools, beginning the Industrial Revolution.

With glorious weather and help from volunteers and stall holders it ensured for a successful event and enjoyable weekend that saw a record 1,300 visitors attend.

Entertainment was provided by the Sealed Knot’s Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foot with their exciting Civil War skirmish.

Kevin Lochner of Hawking About provided a fun and educational visit with his owls and hawks.

Meanwhile Robin Barnes did hourly talks about the history of the furnace and future plans which are being supported by Historic England.

The event included various stalls, featuring an array of produce and dining choices for the visitors including beer, roast lamb and vegetarian options. Tea and bacon butties were rustled up by the Fernhurst Scout Group.

For those who preferred a sweeter option a cake stand and Dylan’s Ice Cream were also on offer.

The event featured a variety of different craft stalls which demonstrated spinning, blacksmithing, charcoal, honey and beeswax goods which all proved to be very popular. Gosport Living History from Little Woodhams brought a display and crafts.

Event organiser Carla Barnes said: “The day was a great success and she was ‘delighted to have welcomed the largest turnout ever.”