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Iron was a very important commodity to the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, and those people who were lucky enough to be skilled in working it were held in high regard. The reason behind this is the versatility of iron. The Bronze Age had come and gone, and found many uses for bronze, but with the discovery of how to smelt and process iron, a whole new range of products could be made. Most farms would have had their own small forge where the farmer would be able to make or mend simple everyday items. As it was quite expensive the iron he used often came from reforged broken tools or other items. More complicated tasks would be sourced from travelling smiths who came to the farm, or forged by the village or town smith. The demand for iron products by royalty and noblemen meant that they had their own dedicated teams of smiths.
''Original article by Roland Williamson November 1999; Illustrations by Colin Levick''