Chillington Hoes – plot tools with a history

Tools with a History and a Great Future

Chillington Hoes  are very popular allotment tools and have a long history dating back to 1822 when the Chillington Iron Works opened on a site at Stowheath Manor in Wolverhampton. The works were founded by John Barker, James Foster, and George Jones.
The Chillington Works had its own coal and iron ore mines, furnaces, rolling mills and foundries. The works were connected to the canal by Chillington Basin. The company made forged iron and steel products and were ideally placed to benefit from the coming of the railways.

By 1839 there were 4 blast furnaces in operation, each producing around 80 tons of iron per week yielding a total production of 16,661 tons.

The recession of the 1870’s hit the company hard and a change of direction was called for. The company decided to start the manufacture of tools and in 1876 the minute book of the Iron Works Board reports that “The erection of the Edge Tool and Horse Shoe Works has commenced”.

Into the 1880’s the company produced mainly horse shoes produced under the brand name “King Of The Road” and became known as the largest maker of hand-made horse shoes in the world. Also as the British Empire expanded across Asia, Africa and the Pacific the demand for hoes and other edge tools greatly increased and the manufacture of horse shoes was phased out.

The Chillington Tool Company Limited was formed in 1892 and concentrated on the manufacture of lighter edge tools such as hoes, and in a short period of time could claim to be the largest manufacturer of hoes in the world. These tools were and still are sold under the “Crocodile” brand name.

This spread of edged tools across the British Empire and the world has created many different tools made to do very specific jobs in the plantations and fields. The ‘Chillington hoe’ in the UK has many other names around the world; Azadas,  Badzas, Grape Hoe, Eye Hoe, Jembe, chankol.

In the UK the range of hoes fall into two groups, long handled hoes used standing up and short handled for use when kneeling or bending.

The long handled hoes can perform two types of task;
Earth moving or trenching where the hoe head is driven into the ground and the soil turned over or removed.
Hoeing where the blade is used to cut the roots of plants. Here the blade is used at a shallower angle to the soil with smaller backward and forward strokes.

Long Handled Hoes

The standard handle can be used with several hoe heads, the head being removable.
Many plot holders purchase a trenching or light hoe head and a ridging hoe head with one handle.
For taller people the 45” standard handle can be upgraded to a 55” version.

Trenching Hoe
Heavy duty hoe for breaking compacted ground and larger scale earth movements around the plot.

Ridging Hoe
The ‘V’ shaped head makes this hoe perfect for ‘earthing up’ crops like potatoes.

Canterbury Fork
A fork shaped hoe available in two sizes, heavy duty for compacted ground breaking and a light weight version for lighter ground breaking and turning over soil.

Light Hoe
Smaller versions of the standard hoe designed for lighter earth breaking and moving work and weeding.

Baby Hoe
A narrower bladed hoe for weeding in between rows of crops.

Double Headed hoe
A useful hoe with a flat blade for hoeing around crops and a forked head for turning soil over.
The 36” handle is an ideal length for this type of work.

Set of 3 small hoes
A miniature set of hoes with a short handled designed for weeding between rows of crops on in raised beds. One 25” handle can be used with all three hoe heads.
All of these great hoes can be found in our Chillington Hoes section

Whatever the task on the allotment a Chillington Hoe is a great tool that will last a lifetime and fully repay your  investment.


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