1) An iron forge; an establishment where iron is smelted, or where heavy iron goods is made.
It may have replaced such early terms as ‘smithies’ and is first recorded in an Act of 1581. This legislation was designed to ensure that increasing iron production in the London area and Sussex should not lead to the ‘decay’ of the woodlands, stating that no new iron-works should 'be erected within twenty-two miles of … London'. In Yorkshire, the term is found in Harrison’s Survey: 1637 Robert Carr and Humfrey Twigge for the forge wheele put In the Iron works Coll. Copleyes and in the same year in a marriage settlement which refers to the forge and furnace now used for the iron works situate in Norton or Beauchieffe. The Parliamentary report on the ‘delinquency’ of Leonard Pinckney of London, in December 1646, established that he held by lease one fourth part of a certain farm called the World’s End and of 2 iron works in Rotherham and Sheffield. In his petition in February 1648, he referred to his particular two ironworks called Attercliffe and Wadsey forges.