Medieval ironwork with Joe Tyler

Ref: SSW13410

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About this course

This course is a short weekend with a timetable variation: 10am-5pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday.

Learn the basic practices of the historical blacksmith, specifically of the Saxon and Viking era, to create authentic ironwork from over a thousand years ago. You can choose to make medieval hinges, cooking utensils, hooks and arrow heads.

Course Description

Create an object using ancient blacksmithing skills from over a thousand years ago. Swing your hammer, get creative and see how our ancestors crafted their way through the ages of Iron and Steel.

The course runs from Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 9am -4pm and will introduce you to fundamental, heritage craft, blacksmithing processes: cutting, forging, tapering, forming, bending, fire-welding and joinery skills. You will put these skills into practice to create historically accurate replica pieces or use authentic techniques to create something with a modern twist.

Create historical and useful items, such as:

Medieval hinges (amended for a door in your home)

Cooking utensils, tripod, hanging implements and hooks

Various time period arrow heads

These projects will develop your skills in the basic processes you learn over the weekend. The amount of items you make will depend on your experience and ability.

You will gain knowledge and basic practices of the historical blacksmith, specifically covering the Saxon and Viking era. Stepping into the shoes of an early medieval blacksmith, you will replicate ironwork from 1000-1500 years ago using ancient techniques.


Timetable for 2 day, short weekend courses

Saturday, session one: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. Please arrive by 9.45am.

Sunday, session two: 9am-1pm & 2-4pm.

Lunch and tea/coffee is included.

Course Materials


  • All fuel costs and mild steel stocked by the College will be provided, including: 8mm square steel for decorative hanging chains, 6mm flat steel for hinges, 10mm round steel for arrow heads, 10mm square steel, slitting discs and beeswax.
  • Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge.

What students need to bring

  • You will need to wear clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. Please note that cotton or woollen clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. Shorts do not provide necessary protection.
  • For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. You must provide your own footwear and bring it with you to wear on the course. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders’ merchants, as well as online.
  • You must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge or you can bring them along if you have them. If, for example, you have particularly large or small hands your own leather work gloves are likely to be a better fit..

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General art materials

Additional information

Please note: This course will be in the Forge, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. As this course is held in the Forge, morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please note that tutor supervision is always required when you are working in the Forge.


Joe Tyler - Tutor at West Dean College

Joe Tyler

Joe Tyler trained at the National School of Blacksmithing, Herefordshire. Joe’s interests lie in history, especially ancient crafts, and all types of metal work from historical and traditional to contemporary. 
Joe carries out demonstrations and talks all year round in various locations across the UK on blacksmithing in the Saxon period as well as modern blacksmithing techniques. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more