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The Wokingham Bell Foundry

Landen lionRoger Landen's founder markWokingham had its own bellfoundry, which operated from around 1350 to 1495 and again from 1565 until 1622. Names of the founders are unknown until Roger Landen (from ~1448), John Mitchell (~1487 to #1493) and William Hazylwood (~1494) who moved the business to Reading on Mitchell's death in 1495. The business continued in Reading, alongside another foundry set up by William Knight (I) in 1518. Bell founding began again in Wokingham in the mid 15th century, possibly under Faulk Mitchell, and was definitely in business under Thomas Eldridge (1565-1592) and Richard Eldridge (1592-1622). The business then transferred to Chertsey, where Bryan Eldrgidge (I) had set up a foundry in 1619.

Roger Landen, who ran the foundry in the mid 15th century is perhaps the best known Wokingham founder, and his name appears in two local street names: Landen Close (off Finchampstead Road) and Landen Grove (off Reading Road). Being on the opposite side of town isn't very unhelpful if someone directs you to the wrong one!
The foundry used various marks over the years, including the lion's head shown left, and Roger Landen's mark shown right..

Bell Foundry LaneMany people think that the foundry was in Bell Foundry Lane, on the northern edge of the town, but it was almost certainly in the town centre. Remains of foundry slag were discovered during excavations prior to the redevelopment of the area between Broad Street and Waitrose store.
Bell Foundry Lane was previously called Bell Foundry Farm Lane, and was presumably the site of a farm owned by the founders at some time.

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