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Firing the Anvil / Foundry Day: UK Traditions St Clements Day Blacksmiths, November


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Hi Everyone,

I am a film maker at university based in London. We are currently making a documentary about Autumnal British Traditions.
As i'm sure you all know St Clement is the patron saint of blacksmiths and his feast day is coming up! - November 24th.

I've been reading about blacksmithing traditions such as Firing the Anvil / Foundry Day and was wondering if anyone knew of any events take place this year, 2012.
A special mention has been made of the day at Finch Foundry in Devon. Has anyone ever been? If so, when was your first time?

The idea of the documentary is to explore the past traditions through the present - so any old stories about St Clement's day anyone may have (or be able to ask their older blacksmithing relatives) would be much appreciated.

I'd very much appreciate anything anyone has to say! Looking forward to hearing from you, Thanks!

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Welcome aboard M, glad to have you. If you put your general location in your header you may be pleasantly surprised to find out how many folk on IFI are within visiting distance.

You want to fire your anvil? Isn't it showing up for work? Is it back talking you? If you fire it I'll take a job application from it for consideration.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I doubt very much you will find anyone in Britain 'firing' an anvil.
Playing with explosives and other things that go bang are very much frowned on by the police and a whole host of other government bodies over here.
Even reenactors have to jump through hoops to be able to fire replica weapons that have been proofed and licensed - under two inch bore and over 24 inch barrel length is a shotgun license if I remember correctly, less than 24 inches and 2 inch or up is a class one fire arms. Any thing else you can pretty much forget.
Your best bet is to talk nicely to our American cousins and see if any of them has footage of an anvil being fired you could use.

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I always think of St. Dunstan of the 10th century, who grabbed the devil by the nose with red hot tongs and expelled him from his shop, which is why the devil doesn't hang around smithies.

A British book on blacksmiths' and farriers' lore is "The Village Blacksmith" by Ronald Webber.

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