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Meet Rod Hughes in Forged in Britain

Rob Hughes, episode five of Forged in Britain
Rob Hughes holds up his Pirate Cutlass which features in this week's Forged in Britain

Forged in Britain completes its journey exploring Britain’s blacksmithing community this week with Rod Hughes, a bladesmith who specialises in making pieces of history.  

Hughes works from his forge in Surrey, unusual in that it is a Viking forge which he constructed from local timber. Here Hughes uses charcoal and hand power to create his blades.

"I think there is an elegance and beauty in creating something as dangerous as a sword."

Rod Hughes
Watch the full episode of Forged in Britain with Rod Hughes

Hughes’ works tends to combine blades with an element of sculpture. To demonstrate this Hughes forges a pirate cutlass. Cutlass’ were used by sailors and pirates as boarding weapons, short in size and well protected at the handle they were perfect for close combat.  

“The cutlass has a beautiful blade but the sculptural aspect is the bronze hilt which depicts the legend of the Mermaid of Zennor,” he tells HISTORY.

Despite coming to the profession late, Hughes has earned a reputation as a master craftsman of historical reproductions. His work, such as the Pirate Cutlass, is showcased in a selection of museums throughout the country.

Throughout this series, HISTORY has met a passionate and committed community of forgers who are keen to share and spread the word of this ancient and growing craft and Hughes is no different.

“There is no right or wrong way to do it,” he says of the professional. Unsurprisingly warm and inclusive words from one of the country’s finest blacksmiths.

Rod Hughes Tour De Forge

Forged in Britain

Forged in Britain is a brand new and exclusive series of shorts. In each episode, HISTORY meets five of Britain's leading forgers each who have their own unique approach to this ancient craft. Each week, the forgers demonstrate how they create new blades and share their knowledge on the item they have made. You can catch the series on Thursdays at 9pm during episodes of Forged in Fire, but also online the day after.

All the episodes are now available online, find out more below:
 
Alec Steele - A 19-year-old professional 'whizkid' blacksmith.
Owen Bush - The King of the Saxon Long Knife.
Josh Burrell - Who shares a forge with his father.
Grace Horne  - A knife maker from Sheffield who is sharpening History.