Firebacks

840mm wide

  1. 1113

    crowborough,_luxford house 04.jpg
    840 x 570 mm

    Description: Quasi-rectangular with a three-facetted arch; top centre, left hand print; around each shoulder, M W mirrored.

    Notes: The likelihood is that the M and W are formed of a double-V (virgo virginum) intended to symbolise the Virgin Mary and have an apotropaic (evil-averting) purpose. It may be of significance that hand prints seen on firebacks are always of the left hand.

    Inscription: MW WM

    Manufactured: in the early 17th century possibly in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Crowborough, East Sussex, England.

  2. 302

    gillingham_museum.jpg
    840 x 580 mm

    Description: Rectangular; cyma reversa moulded edging (top and sides); top centre, date with central space; top corners, ‘A’ above ‘TA’, in all cases the ‘A’ is inverted.

    Notes: The significance of the inverted ‘A’ is not known; possibly an example from a late 17th-century series which often includes a rose and crown stamp.

    Inscription: A 16 92 A / TA TA

    Manufactured: in 1692 in England.

    Current location: Gillingham Museum, Gillingham, Dorset, England.

  3. 173

    hastings_060.jpg
    840 x 485 mm

    Description: Rectangular; twisted rope edging (top, and top two-thirds of sides); rectangular stamp with dragon passant, repeated six times: two in top corners; two in bottom corners, rotated left; two in middle, separated by two inverted shields bearing a rose and crown, placed vertically; across each top corner, a length of twisted rope.

    Notes: The same stamps, though fewer in number and excluding the rope, can be seen on another fireback at Hastings, and also on a large fireback, dated 1567, at Hadlow Down, Sussex.

    Manufactured: in the mid to late 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 909.78 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

    Citation: Manwaring Baines, J., 1958, Wealden Firebacks (Hastings Museum)

  4. 179

    hastings_066.jpg
    840 x 560 mm

    Description: Rectangular; double fillet moulded edging; top centre, on a rectangular block, shield of the arms of the Fowle family - (Gules) a lion passant guardant between three roses (Or); on each side, two rectangles, each containing a helm and the crest of the Fowles - an Arm in armour holding a Battle axe issuant from a Ducal Coronet, above each being the date, 1603, and below each the initials, WF. Across the lower half of the fireback are two solid triangular prisms of iron.

    Notes: The stamps relate to William Fowle (1568-1634), ironmaster of Riverhall furnace. The shield stamp also appears on grave slabs in Wadhurst and Frant churches and on an unprovenanced graveslab in Maidstone Museum. The iron prisms were included, perhaps, to retain heat and to prevent the fireback from cracking.

    Inscription: 1603 WF [twice]

    Arms: William Fowle, of Frant and Wadhurst

    Manufactured: in 1603 probably at Riverhall furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings, East Sussex, England.

    Museum number: 952.51.59 (part of the Hastings Museum museum group)

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  5. 660

    rolvenden,_hole park 03.jpg
    840 x 500 mm

    Description: Rectangular; plain plate; central, vertical cross-hilt dagger stamp; left side, fleur de lys stamp repeated five times, irregularly arranged in three rows, two above and below and one in the middle; right side, fleur de lys stamp repeated six times, four in a star above two in a row.

    Notes: The dagger (c.350mm) may be of Italian manufacture. The form of the fleurs de lys identifies this fireback as one of the ‘Royal’ series, a large group bearing heraldic stamps.

    Manufactured: in the mid 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent, England.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  6. 664

    rolvenden,_rawlinson house 01.jpg
    840 x 485 mm

    Description: Rectangular; moulded border with bead edging derived from wooden strips (top and sides); top left, a saltire of the same moulding as the border, between roughly shaped D and R, both reversed.

    Notes: The border appears to be in pieces of different lengths, probably from redundant furniture.

    Inscription: D R

    Manufactured: in the early to mid 16th century in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: in private hands, Rolvenden, Kent, England.

    Citation: Hodgkinson, J. S., 2010, British Cast-Iron Firebacks of the 16th to Mid-18th Centuries (Crawley, Hodgers Books).

  7. 612

    westland_ltd 9794 840x1190.jpg
    840 x 1190 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular central panel with astragal edging; allegorical figure of Peace, her right arm raised and her left hand holding an olive branch, standing amid the weapons of war; above her swags of drapery and fruit enclosing the word, PAX; arched rectangular shaped border with ovolo-moulded egg and dart edging; top centre, lion's face from which issue festoons of fruit and leaves which descend down each side, suspended from rings; at the bottom, a motto scroll bearing the date; on top, the face of a putto between two descending fish.

    Notes: A more-than-usually elaborate border to a typical central panel.

    Inscription: PAX / 16 63

    Manufactured: in 1663 in the Siegerland area of Germany.

    Current location: Westland Ltd, St Leonards Church, Leonard Street, Shoreditch, London, England.

  8. 798

    withyham_church a.jpg
    840 x 830 mm

    Description: Arched rectangular shape with canted top corners; astragal-and-fillet and cavetto moulded strip on each side, angled at top; raised central square panel bearing main inscription in sans-serif characters justified to left (2s formed like Zs); irregular arrangement of small ‘serrated’ square stamps repeated 29 times in two vertical groups of 12 on each side of the inscription panel (6 on the outside, side to side, 6 on the inside, roughly corner to corner); 2 squares, side to side, below each side of the arch, above the inscription panel; 1 square at top of arch between non-matching initials.

    Notes: The inscription is the same as on the iron plate above the grave of Richard Gray in Withyham church; another fireback, said to have the same inscription, was formerly at Wolvesey Palace, Winchester, and later in Winchester Museum, but is now missing; the moulding strips are likely to have been derived from furniture. Frances Ashbie and Richard Graye's godson, Richard, the son of William Ashbie, were among the beneficiaries of Richard Graye's will and the initials, IA, on the fireback may relate to another member of that family. The fireback was noted at Sompting, near Lancing, West Sussex, in the 1820s.

    Inscription: I A / ANNO·DOMINI·1582 / THE·27·DAY·OF·· / FEBRVARYE·DYED· / RICHARDE·GRAYE / PARSON·OF· · / WYTHIHAM·

    Manufactured: in 1582 probably at Hamsell furnace in the Weald area of England.

    Current location: St Michael's church, Withyham, East Sussex, England.

    Citation: Arnold, F., 1871, 'Withyham Monumental Slab', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 23, pp. 320-1.