Nestled away on the upper reaches of the Auvézère we found this little cluster of historic (industrial) heritage. A small stronghold in defense of a bridge was constructed here during the Hundred Years' War (1337 – 1453). From this a small castle, and since 1521, a small forge developed. The forge was one of a series of charcoal fired forges found in the Dordogne department, today the most complete as it functioned till 1975 and was declared a 1979.
The complex is an example of rural industry combining locally mined iron ore, locally harvested wood, small hydro-power and surplus agricultural labor (the forge would only operate in winter). The 'master of the forge' inhabited the castle above. The forge produced 'pigs iron' bars (for use elsewhere), cast iron and produced some refined steel that was used for the production of local farm implements and arms.
The blowing system was hydro-powered, as were the ore crushers at the start and machine shop at the end of the process. The blast furnace went out of production before WWII, the shop kept producing nails from wire and served the niche market of sardine can keys! (which still litter the site today). The cluster contains: the wire works, blast furnace, puddling furnaces, refinery, the workshop and the charcoal shed.
The renaissance style castle is privately owned, was open for the monuments weekend, but does not allow photography inside. From the ramparts you have a good view of the forge, a couple of elements on the outside were probably saved from an earlier chapel notably the 'widow's portrait' and a garden gate with very peculiar ornamentation.
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