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The Holloway family

The Bradfield Smithy and St Andrew's screens
27 Jan 2022

As the sale of St Andrew's Church furniture draws to a close at the end of this week (31 January 2022), we were pleased to welcome Alan Holloway to the College, whose grandfather was the blacksmith at Bradfield. Alan contacted the Bursar's office to express interest in the church screens which are being offered for sale and came into school to see them in situ, as the picture above shows. We are pleased that the family have agreed to buy them and hope that they can be enjoyed in their new home.

Alan also shared with us the Holloway family history showing their connection to the Forge at Bradfield from the 1700s to 1911. Nathanial Holloway as the first of his family to work as a blacksmith at Bradfield. He was born in 1781 at Bradfield and died at Bradfield in 1864. He had 4 sons, three of whom were Blacksmiths. It was his son James who took on the role of Blacksmith at Bradfield until he died in 1849 and his wife later in her life lived at the Mill House in Bradfield. James is most likely to have made the beautiful screens and candle sconces which reside in St Andrew's Church. Their son John Holloway became the 3rd Blacksmith in the family working at Bradfield in the late 1800s and he married at Bradfield church in 1868 to Martha Eliza Wheeler, who was a House Maid at Bradfield College. Later in his life he moved to Filkins in Oxfordshire to run a forge there where he died in 1919.

Nathaniel's youngest son George who was born in 1811 at Bradfield was also a Blacksmith at Bradfield and Beenham and it was his son Arthur born in 1843 who was the most familiar figure around Bradfield running the Forge after the school opened in 1850 and would have made the ironwork on the door of the College's main Chapel.

Alan shared with us a couple of photographs of Arthur Holloway. Many students would have recognised him from the early 1900s as he was a local figure and craftsman working from his Forge on Ashampstead Road, just below Army House and interacted with students regularly around the village. There is an early black and white photograph below of the Forge and the college has some of Arthur's wrought iron candlesticks in the shape of flowers in cabinets near the Warden's Room. The old forge is now a residential property for Bradfield staff called The Old Smithy and Forge Cottage is the house next door, beside what is now the College Uniform Stores.



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