Thomas of Leighton (late 13th century)
Thomas was a blacksmith of national importance from
the late 1200s. He took his name from the town of Leighton Buzzard
and is the earliest blacksmith whose works, name and contract survive.
His work is characterised by the use of dies to stamp out intricate
designs. In Leighton Buzzard his work can be seen on the
West door and
vestry door hinges of the Parish Church of All Saints. Other local
work may include the
door at Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire and iron work at Turvey, Bedfordshire.
Thomas's most famous work was a result of a commission
in 1293/4 to make the ironwork around the tomb of Queen Eleanor
(who had died in 1290) at Westminster Abbey and to deliver it from
Leighton Buzzard for £12 plus £1 (presumably for installation
and carriage). The resulting ironwork consisting of iron bars covered
with naturalistic foliage, bears a strong resemblance to a design
once at St. Denis, Paris and which probably was its inspiration.