Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Old Smithy, Aswarby

click photo to enlarge
This charming former smithy in the village of Aswarby, Lincolnshire is now a store. There is much less call for the services of a blacksmith today than when the building was erected in 1846. At that time horses powered the rural economy and this building was the "garage" of its day, servicing not only horses but carriages, carts, waggons, and sundry agricultural machines as well as providing a wide range of metal working services.

It was built by Sir Thomas Whichcote of Aswarby Hall, the local landowner and squire, and is constructed of coursed, squared limestone rubble with ashlar quoins and dressings, and is roofed with slate. To the left, out of shot is, a shoeing bay. The decorative style of the building sits well with the Tudor-style cottages that comprise most of the dwellings in Aswarby. Like the smithy these were also built by the Whichcotes for the estate workers, as was the "Tally Ho!" pub, the lodge gatehouses at the entry to the park, and the estate office. Interestingly, all these buildings remain, but Aswarby Hall itself is gone, demolished in 1951. The stables of 1836 remain and have been converted into the main house of the estate. Of the older buildings and landscaping only two Georgian columns with boar's heads stand forlorn in a field.

When I was a child, growing up in Yorkshire, I was told that if you hang a horseshoe on a door or wall for good luck, you must always hang it with the open side upwards. If it's hung the other way (like the stone example in the photograph) all the luck will run out. Perhaps that accounts for the demise of Aswarby Hall!

For more information on the idea of the "lucky" horseshoe see the "Folklore" entry towards the bottom of this page. I felt that sepia was the obvious choice for this image.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 15mm (30mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On