Friday, 9 May 2014

The Campaign for Wool 6th-12th October 2014

The biggest celebration of wool returns for the annual Wool Week.

The Campaign for Wool is a global endeavour initiated by its patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, in order to raise awareness amongst consumers about the unique, natural and sustainable benefits offered by wool. Encouraging collaboration between an international community of woolgrowers, major fashion designers, retailers, manufacturers, artisans and interior designers.

Shepton Mallet was a wealthy town on the back of the wool trade in the medieval times 16th-17th century's. Let's celebrate the history of Shepton Mallet as a contribution to this campaign 
.....SMS GROUP - here's an event to coordinate!

More information

In the early 15th century, artisans, craftsmen and merchants from France, Belgium and Holland came to the Mendips. They were fleeing the plagues and religious wars that were devastating mainland Europe, and in return for a comparatively safe place to stay, they brought technical and commercial skills. They built woollen mills and they instructed the locals in the arts of making fine cloth, and for centuries West Country cloth was regarded as the finest in the land. 

Shepton Mallet became known for another trade: knitted stockings. This was a key source of employment for many Sheptonians, who were involved in farming the sheep, manufacturing the wool, making the stockings themselves, and then selling them in the markets of Bristol or other major cities. Knitted stockings continued to be a major product until the Industrial Revolution enabled such garments to be created cheaply and quickly by machines. 

This development continued through the Middle Ages and into the Elizabethan era. At Doulting, they built water mills and iron works, and the developments lined the tiny Sheppey through Charlton, Kilver Street, Leg Square, Draycott, and Darshill. All in all, within just a few miles of the parish church, there were over a dozen factories, all built around the flourishing wool trade. 

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