chapter  7
34 Pages

Revival of Exports, and an Assessment of Clothmaking at the End of the Fourteenth Century

ByJohn Oldland

The growth of exports drove the industry as domestic demand fell with population after the Black Death. English cloth was banned from Flanders, which initially restricted sales to northern Europe. Bristol was the leading port selling cloth to Ireland, Gascony and Iberia. Gascony was the prime destination for cloth from London, and Southampton benefited from an increase in alien trade. Trade problems at Bruges was a boon to eastern ports in the 1390s, selling cheaper broadcloths, straits and kersey to the Baltic and Flemish ports. London had become the leading port by the end of the century. England now made a range of broadcloth from the finest made in London to cheaper cloths from Somerset and around London, much of it sold as dozens. Straits and kersey 12 yards long were made in Suffolk and Devon, and narrower frieze, cogware and kendals were made in many places. By the end of the century Somerset was the leading county, now supplying not only nearby Bristol but the Southampton and London markets. The leading cloth towns were Salisbury, Bristol, York, Coventry, London and Winchester.