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History of The Old Furnace

The history of the original furnace is well documented. The sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, who owned rights to many mineral extraction sites locally, died in 1590. His affairs passed to his wife, Bess of Hardwick, and so new potential was realised. A chap called Lawrence Loggin, form Leicestershire, came to The Churnet Valley and built a furnace for smelting iron ore at The Old Furnace site, the first in the north of the county, and one of the earliest in England. The stone was brought three miles from Hollington by mule down an ancient trackway, which can still be seen in the field next to the house. Problems were encountered right from the start, and so, after a mere nine months, the site was abandoned, and the name "Old Furnace" stuck.

Several centuries later, the area belonged to the Earls of Shrewsbury, whose country seat was two miles away. The area was transformed into park and woodland with carriageways running through the valley. Meanwhile, the firm of Thomas Bolton, a copper extruder, had a works at Oakamoor, and in 1869 the house was built for copper workers. The site is now in a special landscape area, and we have footpaths radiating out in all directions.

The whole of the Churnet Valley has a wonderfully chequered history with its canal, steam railway and heritage.


Bringing Us Up to Date

John and Annette have lived at the Old Furnace in the Staffordshire Peak District since 1991.The house is named after the hamlet of Old Furnace (strangely enough!). The hamlet is so named because it was the site of the first furnace in North Staffordshire in 1593 (a long time ago), and so, in 1993, we celebrated our 400th anniversary, invited all the neighbours, the local scouts and blacksmith; and erected a furnace to smelt some copper and brass. It was great fun.

We now have a fully organic garden and use only natural household materials wherever possible.

We have been welcoming guests at The Annexe since 1995 and look forward to sharing our special area with you.



The Old Furnace
Staffordshire Moorlands
ST10 3AP

Telephone: 01538 703331
Text: 07876 572729