Author Topic: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782  (Read 900 times)

Offline M_ONeill

  • RootsChat Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 584
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« on: Thursday 25 July 19 13:21 BST (UK) »
I have a potential ancestor whose occupation is listed as 'Forgeman' c1782 in Madeley, Shropshire.

I've seen a couple of different meanings for this occupation listed, some implying a small-scale Blacksmith or their assistant and some implying a more 'industrial' meaning (e.g. mass production of Iron).

I know the Madeley Wood Furnaces were built in the 1750s, but I'm wondering if the term 'Forgeman' would have had any link to the furnaces at the time.

Online Gadget

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 53,699
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 25 July 19 13:45 BST (UK) »
Two of my ancestors were forgemen.  They worked at a small forge in the local village.

PS - see :

https://rmhh.co.uk/occup/f.html

Census &  BMD information Crown Copyright www.nationalarchives.gov.uk and GROS - www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

***Restorers - Please do not use my restores without my permission. Thanks***

Offline Greensleeves

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 4,467
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 25 July 19 13:57 BST (UK) »
I imagine the Madeley furnaces were a major employer in the area for many years, from 1756 onwards.  Here's a very dramatic picture of them, painted in 1801 by Philip James de Loutherbourg.
Suffolk: Pearl(e),  Garnham, Southgate, Blo(o)mfield,Grimwood/Grimwade,Josselyn/Gosling
Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Offline M_ONeill

  • RootsChat Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 584
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 25 July 19 14:08 BST (UK) »
Funny story, Greensleeves - back when I first started doing the tree about four, five years ago I bought my mum a print of that same painting as a Christmas present, as I believed an ancestor of mine (and hers) was born right across the river from it.

Recently I reviewed that portion of the tree and realised that I had probably made a novice mistake and that said man probably had nothing to do with my tree. It didn't particularly upset me, as I just took it as a sign of how much my genealogy skills had improved over the years, but part of me did think 'what a shame to lose our family link to that picture...'

Now it seems like there's the possibility of an even closer link to it! Though this time I'll be sure to double and triple check before I make any firm entries on the tree!  ;D

Offline andrewalston

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,628
  • My granddad
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 25 July 19 14:09 BST (UK) »
Given the location, I would guess that we are talking mass production.

Both sides of the Ironbridge Gorge were heavily involved in the iron and steel industry, with the local coal ending up in the production processes.

"Forge" implies steel working, often for tools, the steel having previously been made from the pig iron produced locally.

"Forgeman" would have been a skilled job, whether the hammering into shape was done by hand or by a trip hammer driven by a water wheel. Steam engines cheap enough to do the job only came later.
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

Census information is Crown Copyright. See www.nationalarchives.gov.uk for details.

Online Gadget

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 53,699
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 25 July 19 14:22 BST (UK) »
Listing of Shropshire Ironmaking sites here:

http://shropshirehistory.com/iron/iron_gazetteer.htm

Census &  BMD information Crown Copyright www.nationalarchives.gov.uk and GROS - www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

***Restorers - Please do not use my restores without my permission. Thanks***

Offline Skoosh

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 5,689
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 25 July 19 15:37 BST (UK) »
Master Forgemen/Forgemen, much sought after in early Scottish ironworks, using coke instead of charcoal to convert pig-iron into bar-iron & mallable-iron. These guys chased the bucks therefore at a time when there was only one tilter (worked a water-powered tilt hammer) at Calder Iron Works for example, & his replacement could not be found in Scotland.

Skoosh.

Offline M_ONeill

  • RootsChat Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 584
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 25 July 19 17:58 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the replies all, this is all fascinating stuff! I knew that the Madeley Wood (or 'Bedlam') Ironworks were hugely influential in the area, but it's nice to learn more details about it.

This is my suspected connection with the ironworks, just so others can maybe get some eyes on it and point out any errors in my logic.  ;D

So my confirmed 3x great grandfather is one Thomas Hughes. He's present in the 1861 census living in Hinnington Cottage, Shifnal parish with his wife Jane Edwards and a daughter Mary Ann in (my 3x great grandmother). His age is listed as 36, birthplace Kemberton.

The only matching baptismal record I can find in Kemberton is a 1824 birth, Thomas Hughes, son of William and Jane. Now it gets a little tentative here, but following a series of likely births make me think that this may be William Hughes and Jane Clark, married 1819 in Madeley.

Now from here, I've yet to confirm William's parentage. It's possible he's the William of a 1794 birth to a William and Mary in Madeley. This elder William is the one I suspect worked in the foundry. However, if he married a little older, then there are a couple of other Williams he could be.

Offline andrewalston

  • RootsChat Aristocrat
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,628
  • My granddad
    • View Profile
Re: Occupation 'Forgeman' c1782
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 25 July 19 19:07 BST (UK) »
The baptism in September 1824 is an exact fit, and means that Thomas knew his date and place of birth.

In 1851 he appears to be in Stockton, a little to the south (HO107/1987 fol 24 pg 11) working as a farm waggoner, and being consistent with his birth details.
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

Census information is Crown Copyright. See www.nationalarchives.gov.uk for details.