Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/379

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351
SMITH-CRAFT WITH THE ANGLO-SAXONS.

ad usum ecclesiæ.'[1] His day in the calendar is the 18th of August.

Smithcraft was no doubt as important an occupation among the Anglo-Saxons as among the Gauls or Celts. Under the designation of 'isern-smithas,'—the Gothic or old German appellation introduced into England by the Anglo-Saxons, the grimy workman is frequently mentioned in their records, and he appears, in time, to have been held in nearly as high honour as his congener at the ancient British court. Verstegan, referring to those who derived their surnames from their occupations, speaks of the origin of Smith:—

'From whence came Smith, all be he knight or squire.
But from the smith that forgeth at the fire?'

Aldhelm[2] is eloquent in describing the 'convenience of the anvil, the rigid hardness of the beating hammer, and the tenacity of the glowing tongs;' and remarks that 'the gem-bearing belts and diadems of kings, and the various instruments of glory, were made from the tools of iron.'

In Elfric's colloquy, the smith says, in alluding to the multiplicity of objects he could make: 'Whence the share to the ploughman, or the goad, but for my art? Whence to the fisherman an angle, or to the shoe-wyrhta (shoemaker) an awl, or to the sempstress a needle, but for my art?' And to this the other replies: 'Those in thy smithery only give iron fire-sparks, the noise of beating hammers, and blowing bellows.'[3]

  1. Act. SS. August, vol. iii. p. 659.
  2. Aldhelm. De Laud. Virg. 298.
  3. MSS. Tiberias, A. 3.