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Historic England Research Records

Churchill Forge

Hob Uid: 116419
Location :
Worcestershire
Wyre Forest
Churchill and Blakedown
Grid Ref : SO8829779562
Summary : The Churchill Spade and Shovel Works is a unique water-powered forge which was in use until 1969. The site was first mentioned as a corn mill in 1238 and in the 16th century it became a blade mill manufacturing edged metal tools. In the 18th century the forge was owned by the Bache family and its main products were spades, shovels, forks, ladles and other handled implements. The forge shut down due to a shortage of manpower during the First World War but after it was reopened as: "Benjamin Bache and Son, Spade, Blade, Shovel and Ladle Works". The forge was in use until 1969 and is now being restored by the Churchill Forge Trust and is open to limited public visits.The forge consists of a number of associated buildings containing the furnaces, grinding and forging machinery and water wheels. These are contained in the north and south mill and forge house, which are brick buildings built in the early 19th century with some early 20th century alterations. The forge is powered by two water wheels (surviving) which are fed by water from a large mill pond to the east, known as the "Hammer Pond".
More information : (SO 88307957) Spade & Shovel Works (NAT). (1)

Churchill Forge - SO 88307957 is a "unique water-powered forge with two overshot water-wheels, one of which was in use till very recently. Origin as corn mill, mentioned 1238, converted to blade mill in 16th century and more recently involved in manufacture of
spades and shovels". (2)

Churchill Spade and Shovel Works. Grade II. (3-4)

A water powered spade and fork forge with a large mill pond to the east with feeder streams to the forge. The forge consists of three buildings, sluices, wheels; and a run-off stream to the west.
A mill was recorded on this site from 1238.
The forge buildings are of brick; the main central building has a renewed tile roof, the rest corrugated sheets. Some iron-framed windows survive. To the south west there was a blacksmiths shop, made of wood with two furnaces, but this has since collapsed. A building to the north was used as a store. The building to the south is the grinding shed with bellows, and at the west of which is one of the furnaces of the lost building. The main central building houses the forge machinery which mostly dates to the early 20th century. It has a mainly earth, part concrete floor. To the north is the site of a furnace; now demolished.
In recent years the forge specialised in supplying ladles to Black Country foundries and examples of these are to be on display.
There are two massive mill-wheels which served the two buildings, one pitch back, one overshot; both of which have been substantially repaired. A covered duct links the two buildings and a culvert led water to the stream to the west. (5)

Please refer to the Listed Buildings Record for full details on these three buildings which form part of the Churchill Spade and Shovel Works:

North Mill building dates to the late 18th century and restored in late 20th century. It is L-shaped in plan and built of brick with a machine tile roof.
It has an overshot cast iron water wheel at the east end of the south wall. Inside is the working machinery which includes a drive belt system and a drop hammer.

A hand forge just north-east of the North Mill building dates to the early 19th century with some early 20th century alterations. It is built of brick with a corrugated asbestos roof, hipped to east end. The interior contains two hearths for hand forging.

The South Mill building dates to the early 19th century with some early 20th century alterations. It is built of brick with a corrugated
asbestos roof. It is rectangular plan aligned east/west, with an external forge and stalk to the west gable. There is a narrow underslot cast iron water wheel on the north wall. The interior is reported to contain the forge hammer. (6)

Churchill Forge is located in the valley of the Ganlow Brook in North Worcestershire. It is the last of a number of water powered forge in this area. It was owned for many years by the Bache family.

The forge is powered by two water wheels fed by water which is stored in "Hammer Pond", a pool measuring two acres which was probably created in the 13th or 14th century. Water enters a culvert through a sluice gate and into two header tanks from which it can be released when required to power the forge.

The main wheel, which drives the machinery in the forge, measures 17 feet and is 5 feet 3 inches wide. Two of the original flywheels survive on the axle which operated the tilt hammers (now lost). The older wheel also measures 17 feet in diameter, but is only 2 feet 3 inches wide. The machinery hasn't survived.
The grinding shop is located in the same building as the forge (on a higher level) but is now used as an exhibition space.

The forge produced edged metal tools and from 1700 the main products were spades, shovels, forks, rakes, hoes, cultivators, salt skippets and ladles. By 1960, ladles became the main product

The earliest history of Churchill Forge is recorded in a Charter (1238) granted in the reign of Henry III. It is further mentioned in another charter of 1368.
The first mention of a blade mill and pool are in another account around the end of the 16th century.
The forge has been in the hands of the Bache family from the 18th century. The forge was closed due to a shortage of manpower during the First World War but after it was restarted as: "Benjamin Bache and Son, Spade, Blade, Shovel and Ladle Works". The forge was in use until 1969 when it shut, but it is now being restored by the Churchill Forge Trust and is open to limited public visits. (7)

Recorded by NRIM. Photographed and drawn. (8)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 1:2500 1969
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Source Number : 2
Source : Worcestershire countryside treasures
Source details :
Page(s) : 11
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Source Number : 3
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Dist of Wyre Forest Here and Worc 18 Mar 1987
Page(s) : 43
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wind and Water Mills. The Occasional In of the Midland Wind and Water Mills Group No 2 Summer 1981 23-5
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Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 07-Jun-90
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Source Number : 6
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : District of Wyre Forest, 18-MAR-1987
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Source Number : 7
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Churchill Forge Mill Website. 2009. The Story of Churchill Forge, [Accessed 04-AUG-2009]
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Source Number : 8
Source : National Record of Industrial Monuments
Source details : Recorded by DJ Humphries, 13-Mar-1981, Record No. HW24
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Mentioned 1238
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1238
Monument Type : Corn Mill, Watermill
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Change in function 16th C
Monument End Date : 1600
Monument Start Date : 1501
Monument Type : Edge Tool Works, Watermill, Overshot Wheel, Undershot Wheel
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Altered early 19thC
Monument End Date : 1832
Monument Start Date : 1801
Monument Type : Edge Tool Works
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Altered early 20thC
Monument End Date : 1932
Monument Start Date : 1901
Monument Type : Edge Tool Works
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Early 20th Century
Display Date : Reopened 1918
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1918
Monument Type : Edge Tool Works
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : First World War
Display Date : Closed WW1
Monument End Date : 1918
Monument Start Date : 1914
Monument Type : Edge Tool Works
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Late 20th Century
Display Date : Closed 1969
Monument End Date : 1969
Monument Start Date : 1969
Monument Type : Edge Tool Works
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WT 336
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 157066
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 157067
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 157068
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1005274
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : NRI01
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SO 87 NE 16
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, NATIONAL RECORD OF INDUSTRIAL MONUMENTS
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1960-01-01
End Date : 1975-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BACHE'S FORGE, CHURCHILL
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1988-01-01
End Date : 1989-12-31