Ringmer Smithy

Ringmer Smithy

Once upon a time my great great uncle, Harry Stevens, was a blacksmith at Ringmer so a picture of the smithy there is meaningful to me.


This is not a postcard from my youth or sent by ancestors. It is one I acquired much more recently.

It was in about the year 2000 that I caught the genealogy bug and started to find out more about ancestors and other relatives. Anyone called Harry mattered to me because I already knew I was the third generation to carry that name and my son was the fourth. I can now extend it at both ends and know that Harry the blacksmith made a 5th generation. His dad, my  great great grandfather made a 6th generation, there was a Harry in the previous generation, making a seventh generation and now I have a grandson who makes the eighth. There have been men called Harry in the family, all directly related to one another, since at least 1779.

Harry the blacksmith Stevens was born in 1849, probably in Isfield in Sussex.  In  1871 he was a blacksmith and the following year he married Ellen Medhurst.

In 1881 Harry was the Ringmer blacksmith living on the job and employing a man and a boy.

Ellen died in 1890. There had been no children and in 1891 Harry was back in Isfield, living with his mother.

Harry died in 1897.

I have no photos of Harry, but somewhere in the family there is a bill hook he made.

The postcard is not of Harry. In fact I do not know who is on it, but no doubt the scene is similar to the one Harry knew.

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2 Responses to “Ringmer Smithy”

  1. John Kay Says:

    Dear Harry

    I don’t think this postcard shows the smithy that Harry Stevens ran. This one is opposite the school, and was only built in the 1890s.

    Harry Stevens’ smithy was at the other end of the village, where Ringmer telephone exchange now stands, next door to the house called “Beechworth” where the smith lived. Harry was tenant to Joseph Hillman, who he succeeded when Hillman retired and went to live near the church. In 1890 “Beechworth” and the smithy was sold to the Glyndebourne Estate, who promptly demolished the smithy, and built the new one by the school (and a pair of cottages to house the staff). Glyndebourne still own both “Beechworth” and the building that used to be the smithy by the school – now a furniture shop.

    I have a picture or two of the old smithy, but don’t think I can attach it to this email.

    John Kay
    Ringmer History Study Group

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