Leighton-Linslade Past Times: including Billington, Eggington, Heath & Reach and Stanbridge
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© copyright Kevin Quick

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 church 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.

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