Pre-industrial Ironworks

Introductions to Heritage Assets

An introduction to pre-industrial ironworks.

Making an iron object involved several stages; the term ‘ironworking’ covers all of these and an ‘ironworks’ was where these activities took place.

Descriptions of the asset type and its development along with a brief chronology are included.

Ironworks generally required some form of shelter, and so are often found in association with post-holes, slots or other structural remains. Although there is great variation, archaeological remains of smithies are more likely to be sited within an associated settlement, whereas the locations of smelting furnaces were dictated largely by the availability of resources such as ore, fuel and water, and so they can be found in apparent isolation.


  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • Description and Chronology
  • Development of the asset type
  • Associations
  • Further reading
  • Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 13
  • Product Code: HEAG221


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