Film ID: YFA 5637 Video of YFA_5637 The Initial Craft THE INITIAL CRAFT 1973 Visitor TabsDescription Jack Wood, a blacksmith working near Bolton Abbey, is the subject of this short film looking at the manufacture of branding irons, or ‘horn burns’. The film also shows Bolton Abbey and some of the surrounding countryside Title – The Initial Craft by J. Eric Hall The film opens with a weathervane turning in the wind as a man cycles out of a driveway and a tractor pulls into a farm yard. A man loads turnips into a trailer with a shovel and cows are seen grazing. The ruins of Bolton Abbey are shown from several angles and a hand points out carved markings in the stone, which the commentary notes are the marks of master masons from centuries ago. A car stops at a petrol station, the door to which is marked all over with various initials. The owner, Jack Wood, shows the end of a branding iron, and the commentary explains that Mr Wood has been making these irons, or ‘horn burns’, on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate at Bolton Abbey for 50 years. In the farm yard previously seen, the farmer uses such an iron to brand a sheep’s horn. In Mr Wood’s workshop, he demonstrates how a piece of quarter-inch steel bar is made into a burning iron. He files the metal, marks the letters, and carves them by hand using a saw and a drill. Wearing protective goggles, he then uses a welding iron to fix the two initial stamps together and attach a handle. He tests the iron on a wooden shelf edge. At the farm yard, the farmer’s wife comes out of the farmhouse with a hot branding iron, which the farmer applies to a sheep’s horn. The commentary claims that sheep need branding in this way as rustling still goes on in remote parts of the Dales. The door to Mr Wood’s workshop is seen again, followed by the Abbey ruins. The film closes with views of a bridge, probably the Bolton Bridge, over the River Wharfe, with children wading in the water. Title - The End Context Near the ruins of the 12th-century Augustinian monastery of Bolton (a priory rather than an abbey) there worked a smithy by the name of Jack Wood, who, with his brother Donald, laboured for 50 years for the Duke of Devonshire, who owned the Estate. In 1970 Bingley’s roving filmmaker Eric Hall was on hand to capture Jack on one his tasks, to forge branding irons, or ‘horn burns’, marking for their entire lifetime the horns of ewes with their owner’s initials. Eric Hall began making films documenting the local customs, people and places of Yorkshire in 1929. He was at one-time Chairman of the North East Region of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers and President of Bradford Cine Circle. The 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey Estate is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and run by Chatsworth Settlement Trustees – they also own Chatsworth House, thanks to Sir William Cavendish and Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Sheep rustling remains a big problem, 80,000 sheep stolen every year, and horn burns are still in use, as well as microchips and traditional markings of smits and lugs, listed in The Shepherd's Guide of 1817, still used to identify sheep.