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Over 280 Years Of History

The Abingdon to Henley-on-Thames road runs through the Parish of Clifton Hampden from east to west, keeping to the higher ground away from the river Thames.

This highway is of great antiquity and a major route from Abingdon, the then County town of Berkshire. It appears to have been neglected in the 16th and 17th centuries and by 1736 was in 'a ruinous state'. In that year an Act of Parliament established a Turnpike Trust for the area between Henley and Abingdon and empowered it to levy tolls for the maintenance and repair of the road. A toll-gate was set up at Clifton and it is most likely that the Turnpike Forge began it's long existence on the site at this time. Providing a smithy service offering "road-side" repairs for re-shoeing horses, and blacksmithing services to both the local community and travelers of the day.

Since that time the forge has continued to maintain it's presence on the site, the centre image above was taken at the forge in the early 1900's. Although no longer involved in the mainstay of farrier work, it remains a traditional Smithy producing fine work for all to regard.

Many fine artisans have held the tenure to the Turnpike Forge history during it's long and productive life. In 2008 the business was incorporated into the A W Grace & Sons Group, who continue to produce the traditional craftsmanship of the forge.

The Grace family have been long been involved with metal fabrication in Oxfordshire. Their business roots began with a smithy in the village of Steventon. Founded by Arthur Grace, who is pictured (top right) in 1926 shoeing a horse at the original family business. Grandson Colin Grace now heads the concern.

Whilst A W Grace Ltd produce all aspects of metal work for construction and associated fields, the traditional skills are paramount to their business ethos.

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