Film: 4781

History | 1940 | Sound | B/W


1000 years ago people lived very simply in small cottages, scattered hamlets and villages living off the land around them. Many places in N. Scotland are still living the same way today 1940's

1m50ss:- They kept Sheep who thrived in our climate where pastures were green all year round. Limestone & Chalky ground was found to be beneficial to rearing sheep and they used the wool to make their own clothes.
2m25ss:- English wool soon became much prized for its silky texture and so any wool that was excess to requirements was sold at a good price.
3m33s:- The Welsh monks were among the first to keep large flocks of sheep.
4m13ss:- By the 13c. Nearly everybody sold wool abroad. Map showing countries where the wool was sold mainly by big landowners. The best wool came from Linsey in Lincolnshire, East Midlands and the Cotswolds. The best short wool came from The Welsh Borders, West Midlands, Mendips and the Chilterns. Cornwall was probably the only County to produce poor quality wool.
5m02ss:- Shearing sheep ready for transporting to Tiverton where it would be sold for export. The Church has carvings of sheep and sailing ships on its walls. From here they were sent via Kings Lynn, Sandwich, Hyde and Gosport to docks in the ports of London, Southampton and Bristol. Once there they were stored ready to be exported to Flanders and N.Italy in exchange for wine and Oil, Pitch, Cloth and Spices, Timber, Iron and Cotton.
5m52ss:- With trade going so well the King decided to swell his coffers by imposing taxes and all exports were sent from England to Calais ( then under English rule)or to certain towns in England for the tax to be paid before cloth was made. Such a town was Lincoln where it was collected before shipment abroad.
7m12ss:- Many merchants became very rich and spent money in nearby towns where they lived.
7m24ss:- Chipping Camden church that has the tomb of William Grenville with an engraved inscription “The flower of all wool Merchant’s in England”.
7m47ss:- Wealthy merchants had splendid houses built such as one portrayed here with a gateway wide enough to take the wagons of wool brought in by the farmers.
7m50ss:-A loaded wagon travelling past picturesque timbered houses.
As time went on the wool was transported away from their home towns in order to get better prices. These travelling merchants were called woolmen.
8m20ss:- Northleach nr Camden was where some woolmen took their loads and they in turn became rich. A testament to this is shown with a carving of a merchant with his feet on a woolsack and sheep.
9m42ss:- Wool became one of the greatest influences in the country making the wool merchants very wealthy and some of the finest churches were built in wool towns.
10m12ss:- Wool merchants houses in all their glory.
10m27ss:- Unidentified church with many carvings.
Footage ends with close up of sheep grazing and a woman in long dress shearing a sheep with hand shears.

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