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Crickhowell
Earning a living
 
  Iron smelting in the area  
 

The two main ingredients needed to make iron in a furnace are iron ore and lime. Both of these were dug from the mountain slopes to the south of the Usk valley and lime kilns were built to turn the limestone into powdered lime. It made sense to build forges for making iron nearby, and the opening of the canal down the Usk valley made transporting these materials easier.

 
  Old engraving of the forge at GlangrwynePowys County Archives
 

The old engraving above shows the forge built at Glangrwyne by the River Usk. As you can see from the extract of the Victorian map to the right there was no bridge across the river at this point. Lime from the kiln you can see, and charcoal for the furnace had to be brought across a ford by packhorse. (see picture above.)
This could be a problem when the river was frozen or in flood.

Working in a forge was hard and very dangerous work with molten metal being poured into moulds and the water wheel powering massive hammers to pound the hot iron into shape.

 
  More about iron smelting in the area...  
 

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