The Smithy

The Smithy
The Smithy 1990s

Our grateful thanks to Martin & Val Boulter for the following information which they found from research at The Hampshire Record Office, August 2019.


First of all they looked at the County series Ordnance Survey maps for 1910 and 1870. The house was shown on both maps indicating that it was built before 1870. Unfortunately very few of the properties in Micheldever were subject to tithes so that the tithe maps were of no value. There are no maps available associated with the enclosure of land around Micheldever.


However, the archivist showed them a valuation prepared in 1799 of the Duke of Bedford's Hampshire estates which included Micheldever.


An entry in the section covering Micheldever Southbrook reads as follows 'Moody's tenement includes cottage, timber and thatch, a hovel and pigsty and a good blacksmith shop, brick and tile, in good repair to a yearly value of £8'. There was only one other blacksmith's shop described in Micheldever which was of timber and tile construction.


The valuer who prepared this document described each of the buildings very briefly and hardly any of them were described as being in good repair like the blacksmith shop. This suggests that it was The Smithy and that it was built shortly before 1799.


Hugh Symes was the last blacksmith here and it was still being used as a smithy till 1995, after which it was bought by a developer who converted & extended it to make a characterful house. The first owners moved there in 2000.


A History of Blacksmiths in Southbrook, Micheldever.


The following information has been researched from the local census records.


1841 – a blacksmith, Stephen Dicker, born 1796 in Alton Hampshire, was living at Southbrook with his wife, Jemima, born in East Stratton in 1801, & children Jemima, born 1829 & George, born 1834. Living in the same household were Jason Johnson, also a blacksmith, born 1821 & John Moody, a blacksmith's apprentice, born 1824. (see reference to Moody's tenement above)


1851 – Stephen Dicker is still a blacksmith here, employing one man. Living at a different address is John Moody, now a qualified blacksmith (working for Mr Dicker?).


John Moody was living at the Station with his wife Jemima, nee Dicker, and they have an 8 month old daughter Mary Ann. The Moody family were all born in Micheldever.


1861 – Stephen Dicker, now 65, still describes himself as a blacksmith, is living at Blacksmith's shop, Micheldever, with his wife, Jemima, and Harry Whatmore also a blacksmith, unmarried, born 1831 in Micheldever.


John Moody is still a blacksmith now living in Micheldever village with his wife Jemima. They have 4 children.


1871 – Stephen Dicker, aged 75, a blacksmith employing 2 men, is still living at the Blacksmith's shop, Southbrook with Mary Ann Moody, his granddaughter born in 1850 in Micheldever and who is also his housekeeper, plus Walter Diddams also a blacksmith, born in Twyford in 1840.


John & Jemima Moody are living in a separate house in Southbrook with their 5 children. John is now a journeyman blacksmith as is their eldest son, Arthur, born in 1854 in Micheldever.


1881 – Stephen Dicker is no longer listed.


Walter Diddams is still living at the Blacksmith's shop, Duck Street, Micheldever, with his wife Mary Ann, nee Moody. They have a daughter, Francis aged 1. Also living here are 2 other blacksmiths, one being his father-in-law John Moody a widower, aged 57. The other is Frederick Harrington, an apprentice, aged 16 and born in Twyford (a relative of Walter Diddams?).


1891 – The Moodys and Diddams are no longer listed at Micheldever.


The blacksmith now is William Mead, born in 1860 at Tilshead, Wiltshire. He is living there with his wife & 2 sons, the youngest having been born in Micheldever. A boarder there is Albert Nightingale, aged 21, also a blacksmith, born in Newbury.


Another blacksmith is listed, living at Gin Hill, Winchester Road; Alfred Tull, brother-in-law to the household head, William Mears. Whilst, in another household is Walter Colliss, an apprentice blacksmith, aged 15. He is the son of Joshua Colliss, the baker, and living in Church Street.


1901 – None of the names from 1891 are listed.


There is a blacksmith, William Soper, born in 1876 at Steventon, boarding at the Hillary household, 94 Winchester Road.


John Brind is a blacksmith, born in 1874 at Aldbourne, Wiltshire. From the position of the listing, he is living near Manor Farm. John Brind & his wife Eva have 2 sons, the youngest having been born in Micheldever in 1900, so recent arrivals.


William George Harrington of 52 Waterloo Cottages, born in 1861 at Braishfield, Hampshire, married with 4 children is also a blacksmith. All the children were born in Micheldever, the eldest in 1892, so he appears to have been living there for 9 years.


1911 – William Soper is the only one of the above blacksmiths still living in Micheldever. He is living at Northbrook with his wife, Rose. They have been married 7 years and have no children.


In Church Street, Micheldever, is listed a blacksmith (shoeing & general), Thomas Whitchard, born in 1878 at Chilmark, Wiltshire. He is listed as married but his wife is not listed. He is living with his brother, Albert Witchard, a smallholder, and his family. Also Thomas' son Ernest, aged 7 is living there.

The Smithy
The Smithy

A working smithy till 1995.

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The Smithy
The Smithy

Taking a break during wheel binding in the late 1920s are (from left) George Symes, unknown, Bill Symes and Joseph Symes. Rose Cottage and the gable end of the Northbrook Hall are in the background.

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The Smithy
The Smithy

Before renovation

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The Smithy
The Smithy

A working smithy till 1995.

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