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History of Motcombe Forge
Motcombe – A valley where moots (meetings) were held. Recorded as Motcumbe in the Inquisitiones post mortem of 1311.

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.

In 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.