Village Advent Celebrations 2018. December 13th. The Old Forge, Church Street.

  DOLCE FAR NIENTE!  Italy comes to Sulgrave to say “Happy Christmas”.

Photographs on next page. (Click on “Read the rest of this entry”)






























Photographs of The Old Forge when it was still a blacksmith’s shop can be seen In the previous entry (December 12th). However, there are two memories of the blacksmith at work which cannot be conveyed in pictures. They are the smell of horses being shod and the sound of the hammer on the anvil.

The placing of the hot shoe on the horse’s hoof produces a burning smell which, once experienced, will never be forgotten. Having lived as a boy on the corner of Church Street and Park Lane this became so familiar to me that sometimes when I walk past the building I have a vague sense that something is missing!

Click here to read about shoeing horses.

As to the sound of the hammer on the anvil, it was common for blacksmiths to strike the anvil a few times before actually  hitting the hot metal they were working on. I suspect that this was their way of preparing mentally and physically for the decisive blow. I asked my father about this and he said that the blacksmith earned a penny for each time he struck the anvil!

I frequently experienced these smells and sounds as a small boy when walking down Church Street to the village school. In the more or less complete absence of cars, the only other sound in the street was the church clock striking the hour. If I counted nine then I would be late for school, a cardinal sin in those days. On one memorable occasion it went on to strike ten. I was horrified and broke into a panic stricken run. It continued remorselessly….eleven, twelve….how could I possibly be so late? Fortunately it struck thirteen, fourteen, fifteen….and then went on striking all morning  driving the villagers insane. I never did find out why it happened and who climbed up the tower to silence it.

Colin Wootton

PS. Dolce Far Niente. Sweet Idleness!



One Response to “Village Advent Celebrations 2018. December 13th. The Old Forge, Church Street.”

  1. Pamela Miller says:

    The Old Forge was where my grandparents lived; George and Florence Gascoigne, and where I played as a very young child. What a pleasure to read about it.

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