From 1822 three successive generations of the same
family at Motcombe Forge were parish clerks and blacksmiths, all
having the same name of Meschach Moore. Paul Allen is the 6th blacksmith
to work the fire here, purchasing the property in 1996.
1825 the Motcombe estate was bought by the Marquess of Westminster.
When his son succeeded him in the 1830s he started to “modernise”
the village and in 1857 Meschach Moore had a new house and smithy
erected close to the site of the old one, made from red bricks from
the estate brickyard – all marked with a ‘W’ for
Westminster. The Dowager Marchioness provided tap houses for water
and one of these was built into the Forge to provide clean water
for the villagers. The Forge has a double brick hearth which enabled
two smiths to forge at the same time - work was obviously plentiful
as there were two other forges in the village, although one of the
new blacksmiths was a dissenter (a Primitive Methodist) and he did
not get any work from the Lord of the Manor or the Church! At that
time, work on the estate included shoeing the hunting horses from
Motcombe House, the Westminster family home in the village and the
rings used to tether the horses are still set in the wall. There
is also a hole in the floor where the cartwheels were worked before
being taken into the yard to have the metal tyres put on.
After the death of the last Meschach Moore in 1924 the Forge ownership
passed to the Bishop of Stalbridge. During the Second World War
Arthur Thomas, who was National Champion Farrier, owned the Forge
and rumour has it that he buried his iron in the grounds to prevent
it being requisitioned for the war effort! In the early days of
the war the Shaftesbury baker, Frederick Foote, used to call on
customers with his horse-drawn tradesman’s van. Owing to the
odd and unsociable hours he chose to call on his customers he was
called “The Midnight Baker” and his horse would be tethered
to one of the porch posts at the Blacksmith’s house while
they discussed the local news.