Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet

Local Information - Blacksmiths/Smithy/Forge/Farrier

When the horse was the main means of transport, nearly every village maintained its own
Blacksmiths or Forge.
Bures was no exception with at least one on either side of the river.


River House, the adjacent Garage and the Blacksmiths cottages were all one parcel of land.
George Cousins a licensee of the Eight Bells, acquired this land sometime during the early 1900`s
A coal merchant owned by the Cousin family, operated from River House during 1917

There is a fine line between being a Blacksmith, Forge, Smithy or Farrier.
The first three are really one of the same dealing mainly with forging and repairing metalwork such as agricultural machinery and shoeing horses. A Farrier dealt specifically with the shoeing of horses.
The Blacksmiths at the Three Horseshoes in the village also served as a "Wheelwright" repairing and constructing new wheels for carts. Various villagers can still remember this work going on, with the Blacksmith fitting new steel rims to wooden cart wheels.

There is mention of various Blacksmiths in the village, but it seems impossible to place some of the names to specific locations.
The facts are these:

Brief History of the Bures Hamlet Blacksmiths including the cottages.
The Smithy was located to the north of the redundant Gas Works. It was used to shoe horses and for general smithy work, and also provided a wheelwright service. It is not clear when this building was erected, and the matter is confused by the existence of a
blacksmith's opposite within the curtilage of The Eight Bells Hotel (public house).
Nevertheless, it was in existence in the late 1870's as evidenced by the First Edition Ordnance Survey map and remained throughout the Gas Works phase of use, and is still visible on the 1956 ordnance Survey plan.
However, local anecdotal evidence suggests that the last farrier Bert Cansdale ceased working there by about 1954.
By 1961 the Smithy building had been demolished and a garage development commenced at the site.
Nevertheless, a building existed directly on the boundary with Blacksmiths Cottage for a considerable period of time in the past

Bures Hamlet:-

(a) I think at sometime there may have been a Blacksmiths on "Shop Meadow" (opposite ex Wardens Butchers Shop).
At some undefined date this fell into disrepair and was later replaced by the Blacksmiths in Colchester Road (bottom pic).

Ref:-by Ann Clarke Historian, Norwich

Joseph Hayward built a new blacksmiths premises by the Bridge at Bures St Mary in 1858
Presumably this was to rebuild the one situated there as the Court Roll (D/DB M212 6th March 1838) states "John Boggis hath sometime since alienated a blacksmiths shop next to the Bridge in Bures, held on this Manor by free deed and a yearly rent of eight pence to John Garrad"


Suffolk and Essex Free Press, February 1st 1893

(b) 1844, 1874 and 1890, William Dansie - Blacksmith recorded owning Blacksmiths shop in Colchester Road.
Simon Dansie(brother) and George Kendall (nephew) are also recorded in 1861 as all working together on this site.


The 1876 map opposite indicates:-

Red:- Blacksmiths Cottages
Green:- Blacksmiths Shop
Red::- River House
Balck circle;- The Gas Works

(c) 1859 & 1895, Mrs Mary Ann Dansie is recorded as owner of Blacksmith shop next to the Eight Bells PH employing 2 men.
Opposite (b). One census records the name as Susan Dansie (widower)?

(d) George Kendall (born 1843) a Blacksmith recorded in 1899, 1902, 1906,1910 and 1912.
He was the nephew of William Dansie working from the Colchester Road premises
George Kendalls daughter Caroline married Henry Lee in 1896 (at Bures Baptist Chapel), after Henry's death around 1918, the whole family moved to Witham where she lived out the rest of her life.
Also on 16th August 1911, Abraham Cansdale of Brentwood married Ethel Mary Kendal at Bures Baptist Chapel witnessed by Henry Lee and George Kendal.

(e) Charles Deaves, Blacksmith recorded in 1917, 1922, and 1929(see photo below). Must have taken over from the George Kendall.
Barrie Charles Deaves (son) recorded as Blacksmith in 1937.
Charles Deaves died in 1935 aged 79yrs. Barry Deaves died in 1962 aged 76yrs
Although Barry Deaves was listed as the owner he never actually did any of the manual work. The work was carried out by Charlie Martin and Bill Watson.

Charlie Martin was eventually killed in a road traffic accident on July 9th 1944 with a UK Army lorry. He was looking in the window of Arthur Beamonts radio shop in the High Street, when he stepped back into the road just as a lorry came around the corner. He was fatally wounded by the impact. The lorry driver was only about 20 years old, completely innocent but badly shaken up by the incident.

George (Quark) Baker also worked for Deaves at some time, but it`s not known when.

(f) Bert Cansdale (Rocker) worked for Barry Deaves and was the last Blacksmiths/Farriers in the village until its closure, approx 1954.
Bert was a Farrier in the 1914/18 war with the army.


Blacksmiths Cottage, Colchester Road - 2005

Charles Deaves, Blacksmiths & Farrier circa 1930.


This photograph clearly shows the Blacksmiths Cottages with the doors of the Blacksmiths Shop shut at the end of the row.

The local Gasometer can be seen towering above its roofline



bures forge
Early 1900 picture taken at the Colchester Rd premises.
(Photo courtesy of Peter Richards)
Blacksmith, George Kendall and assistant.
(Photo courtesy of Jeremy Lee)

Bures St Mary:-

Census 1830, James Dalton occupied the Blacksmiths at the Great Maltings

Census 1837, Blacksmith working along Church Lane beside Quay Cottage leading to the recreation ground.

Census 1841, 4 Blacksmiths were recorded this side of the river.
(1) Three Horseshoes with Isaac Death
(2) Little Mill with Samuel Death
(3) Nayland Road with John & Samuel Death
(4) Church Lane with James Death

Census 1846, Death family occupied the Blacksmiths at the Great Maltings

Census 1861, the Death family were still actively trading in Bures St Mary.
(1) Three Horseshoes with Isaac Death

(2) High Street near the Baptist Chapel with William Death(Isaacs Son)
(3) High St with John Death
(4) Near Barbers Shop and Grocers(?) with Samuel & George Death(son)

Late 1800`s, To the left ( or right) of the Baptist Church in the late 1800`s, a Blacksmiths and Wheelwright. This was also owned by Brands.

Map dated 1898 clearly shows a "Smithy" at the bottom of Cuckoo Hill.

Census 1900, William Spurgeon a Smithy & Farrier. Speculation that Spurgeon took over from the "Death" family (see above)

OS Map 1904, There was also another Blacksmiths along `The Croft` owned by Brand and Sons on the site of premises we now call "Weltevreden".
However, Brands dealt more in agricultural machinery rather than Farrier work.

Bill of sale for the Great Maltings, inc Stables and Blacksmiths Shop

James Dalton was recorded at The Maltings in 1830

The `Death` family seemed to be prolific around the village, with a long term presence at the Three Horseshoes, see photographs below

The Three HorseShoes Public House - 2005
Blacksmiths circa 1910-30

Blacksmiths pre 1900

Records indicate the following:-

The Three Horseshoes:- the Blacksmiths was run by the family that had the Horseshoes pub, the "Death`s".
The first listing appeared in Kelly`s directory of 1844.

1844 records show:-
Issac Death - Blacksmith
Samuel Death - Beer Retailer & Blacksmith **

1869/1874 records show
John Death - Beer retailer
Samuel Death - Blacksmith
William Death - Blacksmith

Map dated 1898 clearly shows this locations as an "Iron Foundry"

** Samuel had a daughter Elizabeth who married Daniel Claydon in 1823. They moved to Chelsworth where he became the village Blacksmith. He may well have worked for Samuel as an apprentice before getting married.

More detailed information on Samuel Death

The Horseshoes was never listed in any of the county directories as a pub, The "Death" family were always down here as beer retailers. They were listed in the 1933 Kelly`s Directory but not in the 1937 edition. It would be safe to assume that the blacksmiths closed between these two dates.
When this closed down, Brands opened up a `Smithy` in "The Croft"

Photos taken of Sidney Mortimer who worked for Brands Smithy.

Cannot be certain if these were taken down the Croft ?

Sidney Mortimer:-
Sidney was employed by Brands. His wife was known as Lucy and also Nell.

Sidney didn’t mind general blacksmithing but he much preferred to work with horses.

This was the main reason why he moved to from Bures to Hayes, Middlesex in around 1928 and then to Orsett, Essex in 1956, where he took over The Forge with his son in law Arthur Smith (husband of daughter Marjorie) until his death in 1968..

Sidney lived in a cottage in the High Street which we presume was either a ‘tied cottage’ or owned by Brand which was rented out. This is potentially the house that he and Lucy’s three children were born; Marjorie (March 1920), Aubrey (September 1921) and Foster (November 1925).
All three were christened in St Mary’s. Foster is David Mortimer’s (provider of the information and photographs) father.

Sidney was a regular churchgoer and may have had some involvement in the church, as later in life he was a Churchwarden in Hayes, Middlesex and Orsett, Essex.

Sidney was born in Eye in 1889 from a strand of the family that originated in Henley (Suffolk) and meandered to Wetheringsett , Rishangles and then into Eye. Sidney and Lucy married in 1915 at Walthamstow (Lucy`s family came from Hackney), while Sidney was in the ASC as a (Staff Sergeant) farrier/smith in France in WW1.

How he ended up making a post war move to Bures seems an odd one, as there aren’t any (as that I’ve found yet) family links to the Bures area.

David Mortimer, Grandson



reviewed 13/02/07
Updated 05/05/2015
Acknowledgement to:-
Kelly`s Directories
John Parkhouse
Tony Brown, Devon for the Bill of sales
Sue Cansdale researcher from Ipswich

Jeremy Lee, direct decendant of George Kendall
David Mortimer decendant of Sidney Mortimer

updatede 09/10/2015
updated 23/10/2015
updated 25/02/2017 with press cutting

updated 08/01/2019 tidy-up