Thursday, September 11, 2008
Laverford Forge once rested on the edge of what is now Laverstone Manor. It was part of the coaching inn and used irregularly until 1685 when a foreign gentleman (viewed with much suspicion and accepted – grudgingly – only because of his impeccable English and extensive repertoire of plays and anecdotes) arrived from Italy and offered to work it for his keep.
After a display of his craft, where it took him only seven minutes to fashion a horseshoe and only fourteen hours to make a rapier, his offer was accepted without further hesitation. The news of this wondrous blacksmith (and the oddity of his coal-dark skin in Puritan England) spread as far as Kent and Northumberland and the Inn prospered along with the smithy.
The whole nation mourned when LaverFord Inn burned down in 1712, taking the famous forge with it. The Blacksmith survived, but with the advent of a bridge over the river business had shifted and the coaches became accustomed to using the White Hart in the village.
Laver’s Ford was no more, and the village commemorated the new bridge by changing its name to LaverStone. The old Inn became the site of the new manor house but the smith, who went by the name of Jasfoup, was never seen again.
Blacksmith's sign by Black Forge Art