Figure 1 - Painting of the Old Smithy, Old Coulsdon.
The Coulsdon Smithy and Blacksmith
business has been in the Kerrell family since, at least, the early 1600s.
The earliest known resident with the family name was Johannes Kyriell. Johannes in mentioned in the Surrey Taxation
Returns of 1332, Assessment in the Reign of Edward III. Johannes is
resident in Villata de Chepstede
Et Kyngeswode (Chipstead
and Kingswood) in the Hundredum de Reigate.
The first known Coulsdon
Blacksmith's owner was John Kerrill born about 1600. In 1656 John left
his business, houses and land to his son also called John who was born
about 1623. When the son died in
1644, he left the house, land and goods to his son William Kerrill. The
widow and William go halves in the business until William reaches 25yrs
The business continues to get passed
down through the eldest son.
William born 1713 inherits the Smithy
and some farm land also owned by the Kerrill family. There is a street called
Kerrill Avenue in Coulsdon today named after the owners of this land.
William's wife Elizabeth is believed to be the 'Old Dame Kerrill' mentioned
in the parish records, who in February 1784 murdered George Cooper. The
burial record for young George states "This child's throat was cut
with a razor by old Dame Kerrill in a fit of lunacy, 14 Feb 1784".
William’s eldest son, also called
William, born 1744 is his heir and he dies in 1817 and leaves the business to
his 9th son George Kerrill born 1787. No reason is known for George
inheriting the business but as his father lived to 73 years old, it's
likely his other sons were settled with their own living elsewhere.
William had a 10th son Michael and
bizarrely, despite the family’s relative wealth, Michael died in the
Croydon workhouse in 1840.
When George died in 1832 his widow
Jane inherited the business, Smithy and house. In 1833 Jane married again
to a Blacksmith employed in the business called Reuben Plowman. Reuben is
13 years younger than Jane. Jane outlived Reuben and in the 1861 census she
is running the business with two blacksmiths working for her. In the same
census Judith Kerrell is the postmistress, working from the same address,
aged 69. Judith is still working there by the time of the next census in
In the photograph to the right, the
house is to the left, the post office in the centre and the single storey
building to the right is the blacksmith’s workshop. The Blacksmith
obtained water from the pond (Forge or Lacy's
Pond) that was opposite to where Londis is now located in 2011. The pond
was 14 ft. deep. The land where the pond was located and land either side
of Toller’s Lane was known as Lacy’s Green and
at one time it was called Kerrill’s Green as it
was owned by the Kerrill family in the 18C.
There is a story that in 1890, Forge
Pond was the scene of an accident when a horse drawn vehicle went into
it. The people and horses drowned. There are other deep ponds with
similar stories associated with them, so it might not be true.
Jane died in 1862 and left the
property to her daughter, Emma Kerrell born 1828, who died in 1905. Emma
did not marry.
Figure 2 - The Old Smithy, Coulsdon. This is taken from
near where Toller’s Lane meets The Coulsdon Road.
Figure 3 - Looking north down Coulsdon Road, the Smithy is
on the right, opposite Toller’s Lane
It is not yet known what happened to
the property on the death of Emma. Her will leaves effects of £439 7s to
Henry Kerr law-stationer and Jane Kerrell (Plowman) spinster. Her address
was ‘Forge House’ at the time of her death. Jane was her sister. In the
1911 census, the house is occupied by the Walker family; the head of the
family is a gardener. This suggests the property was sold and broken up
or separately let by the new owner.
The smithy, post office and house
were demolished in 1935 and replaced by a small garage (the Tudor Garage)
built on the site.
This has now been replaced by a
Shell Petrol Station and some shops (at the junction of Coulsdon Road and
Figure 4 - Toller’s Lane to the left, the garage and the
junction of Waddington Avenue