chapter  5
15 Pages

Coarse Woollens in the Early-Fourteenth Century 1

ByJohn Oldland

Coarse woollens transformed the industry as they displaced serges and worsteds, creating a mass market for woollens. The combination of carding rather than combing weft wool, and then spinning it on the great wheel rather than with a distaff and spindle, made it possible to make an acceptable coarse woollen. Further, the weft thread was made more quickly and economically. Acceptance in the early-fourteenth century was rapid, especially in the countryside where fulling mills could shrink the cloth. The timing of the transition is discussed and illustrated by the London and Winchester industry. Now rural cloth could more effectively compete with urban cloth, as it was frequently dyed and finished in towns.