Iron Working

From Historical Hastings

Upper Wilting[edit]

Near Upper Wilting Farm, the footprint of Roman buildings and enclosures have been found, in association with a large number of iron smelting bloomery furnaces and slag. The slag exists as a huge bank falling into the valley, and covers a succession of furnaces of several different types and sizes on terraces set into the slope. The earliest iron working may have been late Iron Age, but it was the Romans who turned its production into a massive industrial undertaking. The sheer number, variety and scale of the furnaces, together with their repair and re-use are evidence of a very important aspect of the Roman occupation of Sussex. Dating has been from pottery finds, Gaulish Samian ware of about 150 AD, black burnished ware and several other types.[1]

Priory Valley[edit]

Ross reported finding traces of a Roman ironworks in the Priory Valley[2] and the name 'Ponbay Bridge' may be a corruption of 'Pond Bay Bridge' - a pond bay being a feature of typical iron workings.

Roman Tracks[edit]

Hastings undoubtedly served as an access route to the ironworks locally, both the one described above and others at Beauport Park, Sedlescombe, Brede and Crowhurst. Most of the ore would have been shipped by water from or via the Rother to Rye. Roman travellers and merchants carrying coinage followed a number of tracks through Hastings and by means of finds of their dropped coinage, the paths can be traced. One path went through and in the 2nd century, another during the 3rd and 4th centuries went up The Bourne valley through the and along The Ridge. Being that both of these routes follow the high ground towards the estuaries, it is entirely possible that another route may have been along Priory Road to the West Hill[3] ==


  1. Eastbourne Archaeology
  2. The Antiquities of Hastings and the Battlefield (Thomas Cole 1864) Pg. 23 Google Books - 1864 ESCC Library. A later edition is also available: ESCC Library - 1884
  3. Historic Hastings, J. Manwaring Baines pg. 2 ISBN: 0948869003 ISBN: 9780948869006 Amazon