Shotley Bridge (GB)
From Stamps of the World
Shotley Bridge is a village in the Derwent Valley, adjoining the town of Consett in County Durham, England. Shotley Bridge was once the heart of Britain's swordmaking industry.The origins of swordmaking here dated from 1691. A group of Lutheran swordmakers from Solingen in Germany settled in Shotley Bridge, allegedly in order to escape religious persecution, though in practice their departure was prompted by their breaking of guild oaths. Shotley Bridge was probably chosen because of the rich iron deposits in the area and because of the fast flowing waters of the River Derwent, providing hydraulic power for hammers and grinders. Another factor may have been the remoteness of the area, as the swordmakers were keen to preserve their trade secrets, those that they had illegally taken with them from Germany. The swordmakers were able to employ the services of the famous local engraver Thomas Bewick. Swords are no longer made in the Shotley Bridge district. Before the last remaining cottages occupied by the swordmakers were torn down, there was an inscription over the door of one reading "Das Herren segen machet reich ohn alle Sorg wenn Du zugleich in deinem Stand treu und fleissig bist und tuest alle vas die befolen ist". This is from the Lutheran belief code and means that God's benefits will be given without reserve to those who stand firm in their belief no matter what happens.