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Being an Introduction to the Industrial History 
of Medieval England 










The title of this book indicates at once its aim and 
its limitations. It makes no pretence to be a com- 
plete history of the early industrial life of England, 
but at the same time it does claim to be an intro- 
duction to the study of that subject. It is my hope, 
and indeed my belief, that from it the general reader, 
equipped with interest in the history of his country 
rather than with technical knowledge, will obtain 
something more than a bare outline of industrial 
conditions in pre-Ehzabethan days. The student 
who is anxious to go more deeply into the subjects 
here treated may use this book as a road map and 
the footnotes as finger-posts to guide him to the 
heights of completer knowledge. 

From the nature of my subject it was inevitable 
that the book should be full of technicalities, figures, 
and statistics, but it has been my endeavour to 
render the technicalities intelligible, and to prevent 
the significance of the statistics being obscured by 
an excess of detail. The scheme which I have 
adopted is to treat the leading medieval industries 
one by one, showing as far as possible their chief 
centres, their chronological development, the con- 




ditions and the methods of working. With the 
disposal of the finished products through inter- 
mediaries, merchants, or shopkeepers, I have not 
concerned myself, deeming such matters rather to 
belong to the realms of trade and commerce than 
of industry ; and for this same reason, and also 
because it has been dealt with by other writers, I 
have not dealt with the great source of England's 
wealth — wool. Agriculture, also, and fishing I have 
excluded from my definition of industry. A more 
culpable omission, which I think calls for a word 
of explanation, is shown in the case of building. 
This, however, is not omitted by an oversight, nor 
yet through any desire to save myself trouble. I 
had collected a great mass of material for an intended 
section on the Building Industry, but after careful 
consideration I came to the conclusion that the 
material available was so exceedingly technical, and 
the obscurity of the details so greatly in excess of 
their value when elucidated, as to render such a 
section rather a weariness and a stumbhng-block 
to the student than a help. The subjects treated 
in the several sections are thoroughly representative, 
if not completely exhaustive, of Enghsh industrial 
life, and a general survey of the subject is contained 
in my last chapter, where I have outlined as broadly 
as possible the general principles that governed the 
Control of Industry — the typical regulations made 
by, or for, the craftsmen in the interest of the 


employer, the workman, or the consumer. This 
last section might, of course, easily have been ex- 
tended to cover more pages than this whole volume, 
but it is questionable whether multiplicity of detail 
tends to ease of assimilation. A single typical 
instance of a prevalent custom or regulation is as 
significant as a list of a dozen local variations, and 
far easier to remember. A rule is more easily 
remembered by one example than by a score, and 
with such a wealth of material as exists the risk of 
obscurity is greater from amplification than from 

As to defining what is meant by the medieval 
period, it is not easy to lay down any hard and fast 
rule, for the change from old methods or conditions 
to new, which practically constitutes the division 
between the medieval and the modem periods, 
occurred at a different date in each industry. The 
crucial point in gunfounding was the invention of 
soHd boring in the time of Henry viii. ; in the cloth 
industry it was the introduction of the ' new 
draperies ' by Protestant refugees in the reign of 
EHzabeth ; for iron mining it was the adoption of 
pit coal for smelting in the seventeenth century ; 
for coal mining, the application of steam power 
to solve the problems of drainage at great depths 
early in the eighteenth century. Yet, taking 
one thing with another, the sixteenth century 
may be considered to be the period of transition. 


The rise of the capitahst and the monopohst, the 
social revolution of the Reformation, with the aboli- 
tion of the monastic houses and the beginnings of the 
Poor-Law system constituted a new era for the 
working classes even when unaccompanied by any 
starthng change in methods or mechanical media. 
Moreover, from the middle of the sixteenth century 
documents and records relating to industrial matters 
become more numerous and more accessible, and this 
is therefore the usual starting-point for those who 
write upon these subjects. For these reasons my 
accounts of the various selected industries will be 
found to end at such dates within the sixteenth 
■century as have seemed convenient, though I have 
not slavishly refrained from taking out of the 
seventeenth century occasional details applicable 
to the earher period. 

Such, then, are the lines upon which I have built 
my book. If any critic considers that the subject 
should have been dealt with on another plan, he is 
at hberty to prove his contention by so treating it 

As to the sources from which my information is 
taken : I believe that every statement will be found 
to be buttressed by at least one reference, and I 
may add that the reference is invariably to the 
actual source from which I obtained my information. 
Of printed sources much the most valuable have 
been the series of articles on local industries printed 


in the Victoria County Histories, those on mining 
and kindred subjects by Mr, C. H. Vellacott being 
of exceptional importance. In very iew cases have 
I found any pubhshed history of any industry 
deahng at all fully with the early period : the one 
conspicuous exception was Mr. G. Randall Lewis's 
book on The Stannaries, second to which may be 
put Mr. Galloway's Annals of Coal Mining. The 
various volumes of municipal records pubhshed 
by, or with the consent of, the public-spirited 
authorities of some of our ancient boroughs, notably 
those of Norwich, Bristol, Coventry, and Leicester, 
have been of great value to me, as have Mr. Riley's 
Memorials of London and his editions of the Liber 
Albus and Liber Custumarum. To such other 
printed works as I have drawn upon, acknowledg- 
ment is made in the footnotes, but so far as possible 
I have made use of unpublished manuscript material 
at the British Museum and still more at the Record 
Office. Needless to say, I collected far more material 
than it was possible to use, and I can only hope that 
my selection has been wise, as it certainly was care- 
ful, and that I have not overlooked or omitted any 
evidence of essential importance. It had originally 
been my intention to compile a series of transcripts 
of industrial records on lines similar to the Docu- 
ments relatifs a V Industrie of M. Fagniez, but the 
enormous mass of material available for such a 
work, coupled with the fact that in England such 


original research has to be carried out at the sole 
expense of the unfortunate researcher, put an 
end to the project, and deprived this work of 
what would have been a valuable, if formidable, 
companion volume. 





IV. „ TIN 


INDEX .... 







Coal is so intimately connected with all that is 
essentially modem — machinery, steam, and the 
black pall that overhangs our great towns and manu- 
facturing districts — that it comes almost as a surprise 
to find it in use in Britain at the beginning of the 
Christian era. Yet excavation has proved beyond 
all doubt that coal was used by the Romans, ashes 
and stores of the unbumt mineral being found all 
along the Wall, at Lanchester and Ebchester in 
Durham, 1 at Wroxeter ^ in Shropshire and else- 
where. For the most part it appears to have been 
used for working iron, but it was possibly also used 
for heating hypocausts, and there seems good reason 
to believe that it formed the fuel of the sacred fire 
in the temple of Minerva at Bath, as Solinus, writing 
about the end of the third century, comments on 
the ' stony balls ' which were left as ashes by this 
sacred fire.^ That such coal as was used by the 
Romans was obtained from outcrops, where the 

1 Galloway, Annals of Coal Mining, 5. 

2 See Wright's Uriconiutn. 

* Petrie and Sharp, Mon. Hist., i, x. 


seams came to the surface, is more than probable. 
There appears to be no certain evidence of any 
regular mining at this period. 

With the departure of the Romans from Britain 
coal went out of use, and no trace of its employment 
can be found prior to the Norman Conquest, or 
indeed for more than a century after that date. It 
was not until quite the end of the twelfth century 
that coal was rediscovered, and the history of its 
use in England may be said for all practical purposes 
to begin with the reign of Henry iii. (1216). In the 
' Boldon Book ' 1 survey of the see of Durham, 
compiled in 1183, there are several references to 
smiths who were bound to make ploughshares and 
to ' find the coal ' therefor, but unfortunately the 
Latin word invenire bears the same double meaning 
as its EngUsh equivalent ' to find,' and may imply 
either discovery or simple provision. In view of the 
fact that the word used for coal {carbonem) in this 
passage is unquahfied, and that carbo, as also the 
English * cole,' practically always imphes charcoal, 
it would be unsafe to conclude that mineral coal is 
here referred to. The latter is almost invariably 
given a distinguishing adjective, appearing as earth 
coal, subterranean coal, stone coal, quarry coal, etc., 
but far most frequently as ' sea coal.' The origin 
of this term may perhaps be indicated by a passage 

1 Printed by the Surtees Society and, more recently, in V. C. H. 


in a sixteenth-century account of the salt works in 
the county of Durham : ^ ' As the tide comes in 
it bringeth a small wash sea coal which is employed 
to the making of salt and the fuel of the poor fisher 
towns adjoining.' It is most probable that the first 
coal used was that thus washed up by the sea and 
such as could be quarried from the face of the cliffs 
where the seams were exposed by the action of the 
waves. The term was next appUed, for convenience, 
to similar coal obtained inland, and as an export 
trade grew up it acquired the secondary significance 
of sea-borne coal. 

No references to purchases of sea coal occur in the 
Pipe Rolls of Henry 11., nor, so far as I am aware, in 
those of Richard i. and John, but it would seem that 
its existence was known before the end of the twelfth 
century, as Alexander Neckam in his treatise, De 
Naturis Rerum,^ has a curious and puzzling section, 
' De Carbone,' at the beginning of his discourse on 
minerals, parts of which seem appKcable to sea 
coal, though other parts appear to refer to charcoal. 
So far as can be gathered, he considered sea coal to 
be charcoal found in the earth ; he comments on 
the extreme durabiUty of coal and its resistance to 
the effects of wet and the lapse of time, and makes 
the interesting statement that when men were 
setting up boundary stones they dug in below them 
a quantity of coal, and that in the event of a dispute 

1 V. C. H. Durham, ii. 293. » Op. cit. (Rolls Ser.), 160. 


as to the position of the stone in later years the 
presence of this coal was the determining factor. 
Whether there is any corroborative evidence of this 
alleged custom I have not been able to ascertain, 
but it is at least a proof that mineral coal was known, 
though evidently not extensively used for fuel at 
this period. Coal was apparently worked in Scot- 
land about 1200,1 ajid jt would seem that about 
a quarter of a century later it was being imported 
into London, as a mention of Sea Coal Lane, just 
outside the walls of the city, near Ludgate, occurs 
in 1228.^ As property in this lane belonged to 
WilHam ' de Plessetis,' it is probable that the coal 
was brought from Plessey, near Blyth, in which 
neighbourhood the monks of Newminster were given 
the right to take coal along the shore about 1236.^ 
The monks also obtained leave from Nicholas de 
Aketon about the same time to take sea coals in 
his wood of Middlewood for use at their forge of 
Stretton, near Alnwick. It may be remarked that 
at this time, and for the greater part of the next 
three centuries, the use of coal was restricted to 
iron-working and lime-burning, the absence of 
chimneys rendering it unsuitable for fuel in ordinary 
living rooms. So particularly was it associated with 
lime-burning that we find Sea Coal Lane also known 
as Lime-burners Lane, and references in building 

* Galloway, op. cit., 18. ^ Riley, Mems. of London, p. xvi. 

3 Galloway, op. cit., 30. 


accounts to purchases of sea coal for the burning 
of hme are innumerable. 

It is in 1243 that we get our first dated reference 
to an actual coal working. In that year Ralf, son 
of Roger Wlger, was recorded to have been drowned 
' in a delf of sea coals ' (in fossato carhonum maris)} 
The use of the word fossatum is interesting, as clearly 
indicating an ' open cast working,' that is to say, a 
comparatively shallow trench carried along the seam 
where it comes close to the surface, a step inter- 
mediate between the mere quarrying of outcrop 
and the sinking of regular pits. An indication of 
the spread of coal mining is to be found in one of 
the articles of inquiry for the Forest Assize of 1244, 
which relates to ' sea coal found within the forest, 
and whether any one has taken money for the 
digging of the same.' ^ It is probable that special 
reference was intended to the Forest of Dean, coal 
being worked about this time at Blakeney, Stainton, 
and Abinghall ; from the last named place a penny 
on every horse-load of coal was paid to the Constable 
of St. Briavels, as warden of the Forest. ^ By 1255 
the issues of the Forest of Dean included payments 
for digging sea coals, and customs on all sea coal 
brought down the Severn.* Some of this latter may 
have been quarried in Shropshire, as about 1260 
Walter de Chfford licensed Sir John de Halston to 

* Assize R., 223, m. 4. * Mat. Paris, Chron. (Rolls Ser.), vi. 96. 
' V. C. H. Glouc, ii. 218. * Pat., 40 Hen. iii., m. 21. 


dig for coals in the forest of Clee,i and there are 
other indications of the early exploitation of the 
Shropshire coal-field. The Midland field of Derby- 
shire and Notts was also working, coal being got 
in Duffield Frith in 1257,^ the year in which 
Queen Eleanor was driven from Nottingham Castle 
by the unpleasant fumes of the sea coal used in 
the busy town below,^ a singularly early instance 
of the smoke nuisance which we are apt to consider 
a modem evil. Half a century later, in 1307, the 
growing use of coal by lime-burners in London became 
so great a nuisance that its use was rigorously pro- 
hibited, but whether successfully may be questioned.* 
By the end of the thirteenth century it would 
seem that practically all the Enghsh coal-fields were 
being worked to some extent. In Northumberland 
so numerous were the diggings round Newcastle 
that it was dangerous to approach the town in the 
dark, and the monks of Tynemouth also were 
making good use of their mineral wealth ; ^ in York- 
shire coal was being got at Shippen at least as early 
as 1262,^ and in Warwickshire and at Chilvers Coton 

1 V. C. H. Shrops., i. 449. 2 V. C. H. Derby, ii. 349. 

3 Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iii. 105. 

* Pat., 35 Edw. I., m. 5d. Complaints had been made and 
commissions of inquiry appointed in 1285 (Pat., i3Edw.i.,m. i8d) 
and 1288 (Pat., 16 Edw. i., m. 12). 

^ Galloway, op. cit., 23. 

* Colman, Hist, of Barwick in Elniet, 205. 
' Mins. Accts., bdle. 1040, no. 18. 


Fosse and the Staffordshire coal measures may be 
possible exceptions, but in the latter county coal 
was dug at Bradley in 1315 and at Amblecote during 
the reign of Edward iii.^ The diggings were still 
for the most part open-cast works, but pits were 
beginning to come in. These ' bell pits,' of which 
numbers remained until recentl}'' in the neighbour- 
hood of Leeds,2 at Oldham in Lancashire,^ and else- 
where, were narrow shafts sunk down to the coal 
and then enlarged at the bottom, and widened as 
far as was safe — and sometimes farther, if we may 
judge from a number of instances in Derbyshire 
in which miners were killed by the fall of their pits.^ 
When as much coal as could safely be removed had 
been obtained, the pit was abandoned and a fresh 
pit sunk as near to it as possible. As a rule the old 
pit had to be filled up, and at Nuneaton we find this 
very properly enforced by the baihff in 1343,^ and 
at later dates. Open coal delfs were a source of 
considerable danger to men and animals, especially 
when water had accumulated in them, and a number 
of cattle were drowned at Morley in Derbyshire in 
1372,^ while it was probably in an abandoned 
working at Wingerworth that a beggar woman, 
Maud Webster, was killed in 1313 by a mass of soil 
falling on her as she was picking up coal.' From the 

^ Journ. Brit. Arch. Ass., xxix. 174. 

* Proc. Soc. of Ant., xx. 262. * V. C. H. Lanes., ii. 359. 
« V. C. H. Derby, ii. 350. » Add. Ch., 49516. 

* V.C.H. Derby, ii. 351. ' Ibid. 


pits the coal was raised in corves, or large baskets, 
and as early as 1291 we have a case of a man being 
killed at Denby in a ' colpyt ' by one of these loaded 
corves falhng upon his head.^ 

A case of some interest is recorded in Derbyshire 
in 1322, when Emma, daughter of William Culhare, 
while drawing water from the ' colepyt ' at Morley 
was killed by ' le Damp,' i.e. choke damp.^ This is 
one of the very few early references to choke damp, 
or ' stithe,' as it was often called, and the case is 
also interesting because, as water from a coal pit 
could hardly be good for either drinking or washing 
purposes, she must have been engaged in draining 
the pit, and this suggests a pit of rather exceptional 
dimensions. A more certain indication of a con- 
siderable depth having been attained is given forty 
years later in the case of another pit at Morley Park, 
said to have been drowned, or flooded, ' for lack of 
a gutter.' ^ This may only refer to a surface drain, 
but there is abundant proof that regular drainage 
by watergates, soughs, or adits had already come 
into use, and that coal-mining had reached the 
' pit and adit ' stage. In this system of working, 
the water, always the most troublesome enemy of 
the miner, was drawn off by a subterranean drain 
leading from the bottom of the pit. It need hardly 

^ V. C. H. Derby, ii. 350. 

2 Ibid., 351. Cf. a reference to 'le dampe ' in 1316 : Hist. 
MSS. Com. Rep., Middleton MSS., 88. This Report contains a 
great deal of value for the early history of coal mining. 

=» V. C. H. Derby, ii. 350. 


be pointed out that the system was only practicable 
on fairly high ground, where the bottom of the pit 
was above the level of free drainage : in such a case 
a horizontal gallery, or adit, could be driven from a 
suitable point on the face of the hill slightly below 
the bottom of the pit to strike the latter, and a 
wooden sough, ^ or drain, of which the sections were 
known in Warwickshire as ' deams,' could be laid 
to carry the water from the pit to a convenient point 
of discharge. In 1354 the monks of Durham, when 
obtaining a lease of coal mines in Ferry, had leave 
to place pits and water-gates where suitable, ^ and 
ten years later a lease of a mine at Gateshead stipu- 
lated for provision of timber for the pits and water- 
gate. ^ During the next century a certain number 
of pits were sunk in lower ground, or to a greater 
depth, below the level of free drainage, and in i486 
we find the monks of Finchale, active exploiters of 
the northern coal measures, erecting a pump worked 
by horse power at Moorhouse,* but it is not until 
the second half of the sixteenth century, nearly at 
the end of the medieval period, that we find such 
pumps, ' gins,' or baling engines, and similar machines 
in common use. 

Piecing together information afforded by scattered 
entries, we can obtain some idea of the working of 
a coal pit about the end of the fifteenth century. 

^ A 'sowe ' is mentioned at Cossall in 1316. — Hist. MSS. Com. 
Rep., Middleton MSS., 88. * Galloway, op. cit., 53. ' Ibid., 46. 
* Finchale Priory (Surt. Soc), p. cccxci. 


After the overseer, or a body of miners, had inspected 
the ground and chosen a Ukely place, a space was 
marked out, and a smaU sum distributed among the 
workers as earnest money. The pit was then sunk 
at such charge as might be agreed upon : at Heworth 
in 1376 the charge was six shilhngs the fathom, ^ 
at Griff in 1603 six shilhngs the ell.^ A small 
' reward ' was paid when the vein of coal was struck, 
the pit was then cleaned up and timbered, and a 
water-gate or adit driven to afford drainage and 
ventilation. Over the mouth of the pit was erected 
a thatched ' hovel ' with wattled sides to keep the 
wind and rain from the pit, and in this was a wind- 
lass for raising the corves. The workmen consisted 
of hewers, who cut the coal, and bearers who carried 
it to the bottom of the pit and filled the corves : 
they were under the control of the ' viewer,' whose 
duty it was ' to see under the ground that the work 
was orderly wrought,' and the ' overman,' who had 
' to see such work as come up at every pit to be for 
the coal owner's profit.' ^ Their wages do not 
appear to have been much, if at all, above those of 
the ordinary labourer or unskilled artisan. Owing 
no doubt to the comparatively late rise of the 
industry and the simplicity of the work, no refining 
or skilled manipulation being required as in the case 

^ V. C. H. Durham, ii. 322. ^ V. C. H. War., ii. 221. 

' In 1366 in the manor of Bolsover, li\, iis. was paid in wages 
to ' a man looking after the coals and mine at Shutehoode, and 
keeping tally against the colliers and diggers of the same coals 
and stones.' — Foreign R., 42 Edw. in., m. 13. 


of metallic ores, the coal miners never acquired the 
privileged position of the ' free miners ' of Dean, 
Derbyshire, Cumberland, and Cornwall. ^ The work 
was not attractive, and the supply of labour seems 
occasionally to have run dry. So much was this 
the case after the Black Death in 1350 and the 
second epidemic of 1366 that the lessees of the great 
mines at Whickham and Gateshead had to resort 
to forced labour, and obtained leave to impress 
workmen. 2 Much later, about 1580, the Winlaton 
pits were hampered by lack of workmen and the 
owners, having sent into Scotland for more hands 
with Httle success, had to hire women and even then 
were short-handed, to say nothing of being troubled 
with incompetent men who for their negligence and 
false work had to be ' laid in the stocks,' and even 
' expulsed oute of their worke.' ^ 

The question of mineral rights as regards coal is 
complicated by the variety of local customs. In 
some cases, as at Bolsover,^ the manorial tenants 
had the right to dig sea coal in the waste and forest 
land for their own use ; but it was probably usual 
to charge a fee for licence to dig, and this was clearly 
the practice at Wakefield.^ So far as copyhold lands 

^ Except that the coalminers in the Forest of Dean, thanks to 
their intimate association with the iron-miners there, shared in 
the latter's privileges. * V. C. H. Durham, ii. 322. 

' Exch. Dep. by Com., 29 Eliz., East. 4. 

4 V. C. H. Derby, ii. 352. 

^ ' Fines for digging coals in the lord's waste,' in fifteenth cen- 
tury. — Galloway, op. cit. 76; ' Licences to dig in sixteenth century,' 
ibid., 113. 


were concerned the lord of the manor, or his farmer, 
appears as a rule to have had the power to dig 
without paying the tenant compensation. This 
was certainly being done at Houghton, in Yorkshire, 
and in the adjacent manor of Kipax in 1578, and the 
imdoubted injury to the copyholders was held to be 
counterbalanced by the advantage to the neighbour- 
hood of a cheap supply of coal.^ The imcertainty 
of the law and the conflicting claims of ground 
landlords, tenants, and prospectors led to a plentiful 
crop of legal actions. For the most part these were 
actions for trespass in digging coal without leave, 
occasionally complicated by counter appeals. ^ In 
the first half of the sixteenth century, for instance, 
Nicholas Strelley, being impleaded for trespass by 
Sir John Willoughby, set forth that he had a pit in 
Strelley from which he obtained much coal, to the 
advantage of the neighbourhood and of ' the schyres 
of Leicestre and Lincoln, being very baren and 
scarce centres of all maner of fuell ' ; and no doubt, 
though he omitted to say so, to his own advantage ; 
now, owing to the deepness of the mine and the 
amount of water, the old pit could only be worked 
if a sough or drain were constructed at an unreason- 
able expense ; he had therefore dug a fresh pit on 
the borders of Strelly close to Sir John's manor of 
Wollaton, purposing to use an old sough running 

» Exch. Dep. by Com., 21 Eliz., Hil. 8. 

« See, e.g., V. C. H. War., ii. 219 ; V. C. H. Derby, ii. 350 ; 
De Banco R., 275, m. 163d. 


through Sir John's ground. Sir John had promptly 
blocked the sough with a ' counter-mure ' and 
brought actions for trespass, and Nicholas Strelley, 
much aggrieved, invoked the aid of the Star Cham- 
ber.^ The same court was also invoked a few years 
later by William Bolles, who complained that by 
the procurement of Sir William Hussey certain 
persons came to Newthorpe Mere in Gresley and 
' most cruelly and maliciously cutt in peaces brake 
and caste downe dyvers frames of tymbre made 
upon and in one pitte made and sonken to gett 
cooles, and cutt in peaces dyvers greate ropes loomes 
and tooles apperteyninge to the said woorke at the 
said pitte,' the offenders being unidentified as the 
outrage took place ' in the night tyme when every 
good trew and faithful subjecte ought to take their 
reste.' ^ 

Presuming an undisputed title, the owner of coal 
measures could exploit them in a variety of ways. 
He might work them himself ; the outlay would be 
small, provided extensive drainage operations were 
not required, for wages, as we have said, were low 
and the equipment of the mine, consisting of a few 
picks, iron bars or wedges, wooden shovels shod 
with iron and baskets, buckets, and ropes, inex- 
pensive, and there was a steady sale for the coal, 
though the price of coal varied so greatly and was 

* Star Chamber Proc, Hen. viii., file 22, no. 94. 

* Star Chamber Proc, Edw. vi., file 6, no. 99. 


so much affected by cost of carriage that it is 
not possible to give even an approximate average 
value for the medieval period ; the question being 
further complicated by the extraordinary variety of 
measure employed. Coal is quoted in terms of 
the ' hundredweight,' the ' quarter ' (valued at 
Colchester in 1296 at 6d.),i the ' seam ' (or horse- 
load), the ' load,' which may be either horse or wain 
load, the ' scope,' which appears to be equivalent 
to the ' corf,' or basket, the ' roke ' or ' rowe,' the 
' rod ' or ' perch ' (a measure apparently peculiar to 
Warwickshire), 2 the ' butress ' and the 'three- 
quarters ' (of a buttress) , and most commonly in the 
T3nie district by the ' f other,' ' chalder,' or ' chal- 
dron ' and ' ten,' and also by the ' keel ' or barge 
load. Where the owner did not work the coals 
himself he could either issue annual Hcences to dig 
coal or lease the mines for a term of years. ^ The 
earhest leases give a vague general permission to 
dig coal wherever found within the lands in question, 
but it soon became usual to limit the output either 
by fixing the maximum amount to be taken in one 
day, or more usually in early leases by restricting 
the number of workmen to be employed. In 1326 
Hugh of Scheynton granted to Adam Peyeson land 
at Benthall with all quarries of sea coal, employing 

1 Rot. Pari., i. 228, 229. * See V. C. H. War., ii. 219. 

» The rent was sometimes paid, partly or wholly, in kind ; as 
at Shippen in 1262 (Colman, Hist, of Barwick-in-Elmet, 205). 


four labourers to dig the same, and as many as he 
chose to carry the coals to the Severn. ^ Shghtly 
before this date we find that payment was made 
at Belper according to the number of picks employed, 
the royalty on one pick in 13 15 being over £4.^ 
In 1380 the prior of Beauvale in leasing a mine of 
sea coal at Newthorpe to Robert Pascayl and seven 
other partners,^ stipulated that they should have 
only got two men in the pit, a viewer {servaunt de 
south la terre), and three men above ground. The 
lessees of a pit at Trillesden in 1447 were ' to work 
and win coal every day overable [i.e. working day] 
with three picks and ilk pick to win every day 60 
scopes,' * and at Nuneaton, in 1553, the lessees were 
not to employ more than six workmen at the time.^ 
In this latter case there was a further stipulation 
that the pits when exhausted should be filled up 
with ' yearthe and slecke,' while at Trillesden the 
pit was to be worked workmanlike and the miners 
were to ' save the field standing,' pointing to a fairly 
elaborate system of galleries and pillars liable to 
subsidence if not properly planned.® But the most 

1 V. C. H. Shrops., ii. 454. 2 y^ q. H. Derby, ii. 350. 

* Such partnerships were not uncommon ; e.g. in 1351 W. de 
Allesworth demanded 2s. 10 id. from Geoffrey Hardy ng, as the 
seventh part of 20s. paid to Geoffrey and his partners for coal 
got at Nuneaton. — Add. Ch. 49532. 

* Galloway, op. cit., 70. ^ Add. Ch. 48948. 

* Galloway {op. cit., 113-14) gives a late sixteenth-century case 
in Wakefield, where the ' heads, pillars, and other works ... for 
bearing up the ground ' being cut away, the ground suddenly 
fell in. 


important lease was that of five mines in Whickham, 
made in 1356 by Bishop Hatfield of Durham to Sir 
Thomas Gray and the Rector of Whickham for the 
enormous rent of 500 marks (£333, 6s. 8d.).^ In 
this case the lessees were limited to one keel (about 
twenty tons) daily from each mine ; but on the other 
hand the bishop agreed never to take their workmen 
away, and not to open any fresh pits in the district, 
and not to sell the coal from his existing pits at 
Gateshead to ships. A century later Sir William 
Eure leased some of the most important Durham 
coal mines, his daily output being restricted to 
340 corves at Raly, 300 at Toftes, 600 at Hartkeld, 
and 20 at any other mines, with the right of making 
up from one mine any deficiency in another, and also 
of making up any deficiency caused by delays due 
to ' styth ' or choke-damp, which appears to have 
been so troublesome in the hot season as to cause a 
complete suspension of work. Under this lease Sir 
William obtained at Raly in one week of 1460, some 
1800 corves, each of 2| bushels, making rather over 
140 chalders, paying 5d. a day to each of the three 
hewers, the three barrowmen, who brought the coal 
to the foot of the shaft, and the four drawers who 
raised and banked it.^ 

In the Whickham lease of 1356 it will be noticed 
that the bishop undertook not to allow coals from 
his own pits to be exported by sea. The sea-borne 

1 Galloway, op. cit., 45. * V. C. H. Durham, ii. 324. 


trade in coals from Newcastle and the Tyne was 
obtaining considerable dimensions ; ten years later, 
in 1366, a large purchase of coal was made at Win- 
laton for the king's works at Windsor. The sheriff 
of Northumberland accounted for £165, 5s. 2d. 
expended on the purchase and carriage to London 
of 576 chalder of coals, reckoning by the ' great 
hundred ' of six score, so that there were actually 
shipped 676 chalder, but of this 86 chalder had to 
be written off, partly through some being jettisoned 
during a sudden storm at sea, and partly because 
the London chalder was much bigger than that used 
in Northumberland, the difference amounting to 
about five per cent.^ The chalder, or chaldron, 
seems to have been originally about eighteen to 
twenty hundredweight, and from early times twenty 
of these made the load of a keel, or coal barge, but 
in order to evade the export duty of 2d. on every 
keel, or at least to compensate for it, it became the 
practice to build keels of twenty-two or twenty-three 
chalder burden. This was forbidden in 1385,2 but 
the prohibition being evaded, an Act was passed in 
142 1 ^ by which the actual capacity of each keel had 
to be marked upon it. This in turn was evaded by 
a rapid increase in the size of the chalder, until by 
the time of EUzabeth it had doubled its original 
weight, and the ' ten ' (chalder) was the equivalent 

^ Foreign R., 42 Edw. iii., m. E. * Pat., 8 Rich. 11. 

' Rot. Pari, iv. 148. 



of the keel of twenty tons.^ Returning to the 
fourteenth century, the customs accounts of the 
port of Newcastle - show that between Michael- 
mas 1377 ^^d Michaelmas 1378 as much as 7338 
chalder of coal, valued at 2s. the chalder, was 
exported to foreign countries. For the most part 
this went to the Low Countries — Sluys, Bremer- 
haven, Flushing, and Dunkirk being amongst the 
ports mentioned, though in a number of cases ships 
of ' Lumbardye ' occur, the average quantity taken 
by each vessel being a little less than fifty chalder. 
Of the home trade for this period no record is obtain- 
able, and it is not until the time of Elizabeth that 
we can compare the exports to home and foreign 
ports. For the seven years 1591-7, the amount sent 
abroad was 95,558 chalder, rising from 10,000 in 
1591 to 18,000 in 1593, and then falling gradually 
back to 10,000, while the home trade amounted to 
418,200 chalder, increasing steadily from 45,700 up 
to over 70,000.2 jijg supremacy of Newcastle is 
shown by a comparison of the amounts of coal 
exported to foreign countries from the chief English 
ports in 1592.* Newcastle comes first with 12,635 
chalder, then Bristol with 580, Wales with 464, and 
"^jverpool with 448. 
The expansion of the home trade noticed in the 

^ Galloway, op. cit., 70, 87. * Customs Accts., - . 

» Ibid., — . * Ibid., 11.^ 

40 2t> 


returns for 1591-7 is borne out by an abundance of 
corroborative evidence, and may be largely attri- 
buted to the great increase at this period in the use 
of chimneys. Practically the chimney was an 
Elizabethan invention so far as the smaller houses 
were concerned, and ' the multitude of chimnies 
lately erected ' was one of the changes most remarked 
upon by Harrison's old friends at the time that 
he wrote his Description of England, pubHshed in 
1577. The reign of Elizabeth, therefore, when the 
rapid increase in the demand for house coal, coupled 
with a rise in the price, resulted in a rapid expansion 
of the industry in all parts of the country, marks 
the end of the medieval period of coal mining and 
the initiation of a new epoch with which we are not 




Iron has been worked in Britain from the earUest 
historical times, and flint implements have been 
found at Stainton-in-Fumess and at Battle in Sussex 
in positions suggesting that ironworks existed in 
those places at the end of the Stone Age.^ Julius 
Caesar relates that iron was produced along the coast 
of Britain, but only in small quantities, its rarity 
causing it to be considered as a precious metal, 
so that iron bars were current among the natives 
as money. The coming of the Romans soon changed 
this. They were not slow to see the value of the 
island's mineral wealth and to turn it to account. 
Ironworks sprang up all over the country : at 
Maresfield in Sussex they were apparently in full 
swing by the time of Vespasian (died a.d. 69), and 
in the neighbourhood of Battle fifty years later. 
Even more important were the workings in the 
West, on the banks of the Wye and in the Forest of 
Dean. Near Coleford have been found remains of 
Roman mines with shallow shafts and adits, while 

^ Kendall, Iron Ores, 15 ; V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 241. 


round Whitchurch, Goodrich, and Redbrook are 
enormous deposits of ' cinders,' or slag, dating from 
the same period.^ Ariconium, near Ross, was a 
city of smiths and forgemen ; and Bath (Aquae 
Suhs) is often said to have had a ' collegium 
fabricensium,' or gild of smiths, as one of its 
members, Julius Vitahs, armourer of the 20th Legion, 
dying after nine years' service, was given a public 
funeral here by his gild ; but it seems more probable 
that the seat of the gild was at Chester, and that 
Julius had come to Bath for his health. 2 

It is a most remarkable fact that although abund- 
ant circumstantial evidence of the Roman exploita- 
tion of British iron exists in the shape of coins and 
other relics found upon the site of the works, there is 
practically no trace of any such working during the 
Saxon period until shortly before the Conquest. 
The furnaces must have been still in blast when the 
Saxons landed ; they were a warlike race, possessing 
a full appreciation of iron and something of the 
Scandinavian admiration for smithcraft, yet there is 
hardly a trace of their having worked iron in this 
country. Few, if any, objects definitely assignable 
to this period have been found upon the site of iron 
works, and documentary evidence is almost non- 
existent. There is a charter of Oswy, King of 

^ Journ. of Brit. Arch. Ass., xxix. 121-9. 

* V. C. H. Somers., i. 275. There was also a ' collegium fab- 
rorum' at Chichester (Regnum). — Suss. Arch. Coll., vii. 61-3. 


Kent, given in 68g, by which he grants to the abbey 
of St. Peter of Canterbury land at Liminge ' in which 
there is known to be a mine of iron ' ; ^ and there is 
the legend that about 700 a.d. Alcester, in Warwick- 
shire, was the centre of busy ironworks, peopled with 
smiths, who, for their hardness of heart in refusing 
to listen to St. Egwin, and endeavouring to drown 
his voice by beating on their anvils, were swallowed 
up by the earth ; ^ but the rest is silence, until we 
come to the time of Edward the Confessor. The 
Domesday Survey shows that in the time of the 
Confessor, Gloucester rendered as part of its farm 
36 dicres of iron, probably in the form of horseshoes, 
and 100 rods suitable for making bolts for the king's 
ships, ^ while from Pucklechurch in the same country 
came yearly 90 ' blooms ' of iron.^ The same Survey 
mentions that there were six smiths in Hereford, 
each of whom had yearly to make for the king 120 
horseshoes, and it also refers to iron mines on the 
borders of Cheshire, in Sussex and elsewhere. 

During the twelfth century the industry appears 
to have expanded. In the North, at Egremont, we 
read of the grant of an iron mine to the monks of St. 
Bees,^ and at Denby a similar grant was made about 

1 Kemble, Cod. DipL, no. 30. 

* Chron. Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 26. The legend was probably 
invented as an explanation of the remains of the (Roman) town 
found below the ground here, but the tradition of the smiths 
had no doubt some foundation. 

» Dom. Bk., i. 162. * Ibid. * V. C. H. Cumberland, ii. 340. 


1180 by William FitzOsbert to the abbey of Byland.^ 
In Derbyshire, towards the end of the century, Sir 
Walter de Abbetoft gave to the monks of Louth 
Park wood at Birley in Brampton and two smithies, 
namely one bloomery and one forge, with the right 
to take beech and elm for fuel.^ But it was in the 
south-west that the greatest development took place. 
During the whole of this century the Forest of Dean 
was the centre of the iron industry, and played the 
part that Birmingham has played in more recent 
times. All through the reign of Henry 11. the 
accounts of the sheriffs of Gloucester ^ tell of a con- 
stant output of iron, both rough and manufactured, 
iron bars, nails, pickaxes, and hammers sent to 
Woodstock, Winchester, and Brill, where the king 
was carr^'ing out extensive building operations, 
horseshoes suppHed to the army, arrows and other 
warhke materials despatched to France, spades, 
pickaxes, and other miners' tools provided for the 
Irish expedition of 1172, iron bought for the Crusade 
which Henry projected, but did not live to perform, 
and 50,000 horseshoes made for the actual Crusade 
of Richard i. Throughout the thirteenth century 
the Forest of Dean retained its practical monopoly 
of the EngHsh iron trade, so far at least as the 
southern counties were concerned, and during the 

^ Facsimiles of Charters in B. M., no. 64. 

* V. C. H. Derby, ii. 356. 

' Pipe Rolls, quoted in V. C. H. Gloucs., ii. 216. 


whole of that time members of the family of Male- 
mort were employed at a forge near the castle of 
St. Briavels turning out enormous stores of bolts for 
cross-bows and other war material. ^ But a rival 
was now growing up in the Weald of Sussex and 
Kent. As early as 1254 the sheriff of Sussex had 
been called upon to provide 30,000 horseshoes and 
60,000 nails, presumably of local manufacture,^ 
and in 1275 Master Henry of Lewes, who had been 
the king's chief smith for the past twenty years,^ 
purchased 406 iron rods [kiville] ' in the Weald ' 
for £16, 17s. I id.,* while a year or two later he 
obtained another 75 rods from the same source and 
paid £4, 3s. 4d. ' to a certain smith in the Weald for 
100 iron rods.' ^ 

The Wealden works had the advantage, a great 
advantage in the case of so heavy a material as iron, 
of nearness to London, and soon obtained a footing 
in the London markets with the imported Spanish 
iron at the expense of Gloucestershire, which at the 
beginning of the reign of Henry iii. had been sending 
its iron to Westminster and into Sussex.^ It must 
not be imagined that the northern counties were 
neglecting their mineral wealth all this time ; they 
were on the contrary very active, and were exploiting 
their iron with vigour and success. On the lands of 

1 V. C. H. Gloucs., ii. 217. ^ y. C. H. S-iissex, ii. 241. 

3 See Exch. K. R. Accts., 467, 7. 

* Ibid., 467, 7 (7). ^ Ibid., 467, 7 (7). 

• Roy. and Hist. Letters (Rolls Sen), i. 278. 


Peter de Brus in Cleveland in 1271 there were five 
small forges each valued at los., and two larger 
worth £4 each : ^ these sums may not sound very 
imposing, but it must be borne in mind that the best 
land in that district was then worth only is. an 
acre. Twenty years later the forges belonging to 
Fumess Abbey yielded a profit of £6, 13s. 4d., as 
compared with a profit on flocks and herds of only 
£3, IIS. 3d., and it is probable that the Abbey had 
at least forty forges then working on their lands. ^ 
The great quantity of iron obtained at Fumess, also, 
formed the most valuable part of the booty carried 
off by the Scots in their raid in 1316.2 But the 
large production of iron in the northern counties 
was absorbed by their own local requirements, and 
this was still more the case with the smaller quantities 
smelted in Northamptonshire and Rutland. Derby- 
shire must have been another important centre, for 
as early as 1257 four or five forges in the Belper 
ward of Dufiield Frith were yielding about £10 each 
yearly, and in 1314 two forges in Belper accounted 
for £63, 6s. 8d. in thirty-four weeks, and there was 
a third, yielding nearly £y, los. for only eleven 
weeks' work,* but there is nothing to show that 
Derbyshire iron was ever sent south, and from the 
middle of the fourteenth century such English iron 

1 Fumess Coucher (Chetham Soc), pt. iii., Intro. 

» Ibid. 

* Holinshed, Chron., sub anno. 

« V. C. H. Derby, ii. 357. 


as was used in London was almost entirely drawn 
from the Weald. 

In order to understand how Sussex and Kent, 
where no iron has been worked for the last hundred 
years, came to be the centres of a great iron industry 
in medieval times, it must be borne in mind that 
charcoal was the only fuel used for iron working ^ 
until Dud Dudley discovered a method of using pit 
coal, about 1620, a date which may be considered to 
mark the end of the medieval period in iron mining. 
The earhest and most primitive method of smelting 
iron was by setting a hearth of wood and charcoal 
on a wind-swept hill or in some other draughty 
position, heaping upon it alternate layers of ore and 
charcoal, and covering the whole with clay, to retain 
the heat, leaving vents at the base for the wind to 
enter and the iron to come out.^ A shght advance 
on this substituted a short cylindrical furnace of 
stone for the containing layer of clay, and an in- 
genious device for increasing the draught was used 
by the Romans at Lanchester, in Durham, where 
two narrow tunnels were made on the side of a hill, 
with wide mouths facing to the west, the quarter 
from which the wind blows most frequently in this 
valley, tapering to a narrow bore at the hearth.^ 

^ Peat was mixed with the charcoal in Lancashire, and doubt- 
less elsewhere, when available. — V. C. H. Lanes., ii. 361. 

2 This process was used by the Romans at Beaufort, near Battle, 
in Sussex, amongst other places. — Sttss. Arch. Coll., xxix. 173. 

' Journ. of Brit. Arch. Ass., xxix. 124. 


Even under the most favourable conditions such a 
furnace would reduce a very small percentage of 
the ore to metal, ^ and the use of an auxiliary blast, 
produced by bellows, must have been resorted to at 
a quite early date. Prior to the fifteenth century 
such bellows were almost invariably worked by 
hand, or rather by foot, for the blowers stood upon 
the bellows, holding on to a bar, but during the 
fifteenth century water power was introduced in 
many parts of the country, and the bellows were 
driven by water-wheels. Such was apparently 
the case in Weardale in 1408,2 probably in the Forest 
of Dean about the same date, and clearly in Derby- 
shire by the end of the century. ^ 

In several early charters granting mineral rights 
to Fumess Abbey, mention is made of the privilege 
of using water from the grantor's streams ; but where 
particulars are given, as in the case of the charter of 
Hugh de Moresby made in 1270, the water is always 
stated to be for the washing of the ore, and not for 
power.4 The ore, or ' mine,' to use the more common 
medieval term, was sometimes dug on the ' open-cast ' 
system, but more usually by a series of bell or beehive 
pits.^ It was then roughly cleansed by washing on a 

1 Even after the introduction of the footblast the ' cinders ' 
or slag, contained about half the original iron, according to 
Dud Dudley {Metallum Martis), and were worth resmelting in the 
improved furnaces of later times. 

2 Engl. Hist. Rev., xiv. 513. » y. C. H. Derby, ii. 358. 

* Fumess Coucher (Chethara Soc), pt. iii., Intro., and pp. 
261-6. ^ See above, p. 7. 


coarse sieve, and was next subjected to a preliminary 
burning, or ' elyng,' ^ as it was termed at the Tudeley 
forge in the fourteenth century. ^ The burnt ore was 
then broken and carried to the furnace. In the 
sixteenth century this was a building in the shape of 
a truncated cone, about twenty-four feet in diameter, 
and not more than thirty feet high, in the base of 
which was a cupped, or bowl-shaped, hearth of 
sandstone, and such we may assume the earlier 
furnaces also to have been. Alternate charges of 
mine and charcoal were fed into the furnace from 
the top, the iron setthng down into the bowl of 
the hearth, from which it was taken as a lump 
or ' bloom.' From the sixteenth century, when 
by the use of a more powerful blast a higher 
temperature was obtainable and cast iron was 
produced, the molten iron was drawn off from time 
to time through a vent at the bottom of the hearth 
into a bed of sand. In Sussex and Gloucestershire 
it seems to have been usual to form in the sand one 
large oblong depression in the direct course of the 
flow of the iron with a number of smaller depressions 
at right angles to the first, the large mass of iron 

^ The same term is used in connection with burning tiles, and 
is no doubt derived from the same root as anneal. 

* This account of the process of manufacture is compiled 
from several sources, the chief being : (i) the accounts of Tudeley 
Forge, Tunbridge, for the reign of Edw. iii., in the P. R. O. ; 
(2) the accounts of Bedboume Forge, Durham, in 1408, Engl. 
Hist. Rev., xiv. 509-29 ; (3) several Sussex accounts summarised 
by the present writer in V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 244-5. 


thus moulded being known as a ' sow,' and the 
smaller blocks as ' pigs.' 

There were in the earher periods of the industry 
a very large number of smelting hearths, consisting 
practically of an ordinary blacksmith's forge with 
a cup-shaped hearth, or crucible, in the bottom of 
which the imperfectly molten iron accumulated. 
Such were the itinerant forges [fahricce errantes) in 
the Forest of Dean, of which there were as many as 
sixty in blast at the end of the thirteenth century.^ 
The buildings attached to such a forge would natur- 
ally be merely temporary sheds, such as were referred 
to by the Earl of Richmond in 1281, when he gave 
leave to the monks of Jervaux to cut wood in his 
forest to smelt iron and to make two small sheds 
{logias) ' without nail, bolt, or wall,' so that if the 
smelters moved to another place (as these itinerant 
forges did when the ore or the fuel became exhausted) 
they should pull down the sheds and erect others. ^ 
In this instance the grant of two sheds may imply 
two smelting-houses, but it seems more probable 
that one was the ' bloomery,' or smelting forge, and 
the other the smithy, which invariably accompanied 
the bloomery.3 With this simple type of forge the 

1 NichoUs, Iron Making in the Forest of Dean, 20. 

* Cat. Chart. R., iii. 95-6. 

3 V. C. H. Glouc, ii. 219, n. 5. Cf. the twelfth century grant 
to the monks of Louth Park of ' duas fabricas, id est duos focos 
. . . scihcet unam fabricam blomeriam . . . unam operariam.' 
— V. C. H. Derby, ii. 356. 


product was a lump of malleable iron, which was 
purified by hammering and worked up at the smithy, 
but the pig iron produced by the larger high blast 
furnace required more elaborate treatment. The 
sow was carried from the furnace to the forge, 
' finery ' or ' strynghearth,' where it was heated on 
an open hearth and reduced by the sledge, or by the 
water-hammer ^ when available, to a large ingot or 
' bloom.' - The latter was, as a rule, reheated, 
divided and worked into bars, the completion of 
which was usually carried out in the seventeenth 
century at a third hearth, the ' chafer}^' but this 
appears to have been an elaboration of post-medieval 
date. The sows naturally varied in size according 
to the capacity of the furnace, and this, it may be 
observed, was much greater at the end of a ' blowing ' 
than at the beginning, owing to the fire eating away 
the hearth, especially if too large a proportion of 
intractable ' hot ' ore were used ; ^ but the blooms 
were made of standard weight. At the same time 
the weight of the bloom, though constant in any 
given district, varied in different parts of the country. 

1 The date of the introduction of hammers driven by water 
power is problematic : a ' great waterhamor ' was working in 
Ashdown Forest, Sussex, in 1496. — Misc. Bks. Exch. T. R., 8, f. 49, 

- The unworked bloom was called a ' loop,' which appears to 
be derived from the French loup, a wolf, the German equivalent, 
Stuck, being applied to such a mass of iron. — Swank, Iron in All 
Ages, 80. 

* A furnace once lit might be kept in blast sometimes for as 
long as forty weeks, in the seventeenth century, but the periods 
usual in earlier times were uo doubt much shorter. 


In Weardale it seems to have been about two hundred- 
weight, being composed of fifteen stones, each of 
thirteen pounds ; ^ and in Furness it was about the 
same weight, but contained fourteen stones of four- 
teen pounds. 2 On the other hand, we find blooms 
selHng at the Kentish ironworks of Tudeley for 
3s. 4d. in the reign of Edward iii.,^ when iron bought 
for repairs to Leeds Castle cost about 7s. the hundred- 
weight,* which, allowing for cost of carriage, agrees 
fairly well with the three quarters of a hundred- 
w^eight attributed to the Sussex bloom in the seven- 
teenth century.^ As regards the price of iron, it 
was always high during the medieval period, but 
naturally varied with conditions of demand and 
supply, cost of carriage, and the quahty of the 
iron. To take a late instance : in Staffordshire in 
1583, ' coldshear,' or brittle iron, fetched only £9 
the ton when tough iron fetched £12.^ In Sussex ' 
in 1539 iron sold on the spot for from £5 to £7 the 
ton, allowing a profit of 20s. the ton, and ten years 
later ;£8 at the forge and about £9, 5s. in London, 
the cost of carriage to London being 9s. the ton.^ 
The number of workmen employed at the different 

1 Engl. Hist. Rev., xiv. 529. 

^ Furness Coucher, pt. iii., Intro. The word used is ' band,' 
but it is apparently equivalent to ' bloom.' 

3 Exch. K. R. Accts., 485, no. 11. * Ibid., 466, no. 20. 

* Suss. Arch. Coll., ii. 202. 

6 Exch. K. R. Accts., 546, no. 16. 

7 V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 246. 

« Exch. K. R. Accts., 483, no. 19. 


works naturally varied, but the surveyor of the iron 
mills in Ashdown Forest in 1539 laid do\vn the rule : ^ 
' That to melt the sowes in ij forges or fynories there 
must be iiij persones, and at the forge to melt the 
blomes there must be ij persones. So are there at 
every forge ij persones wherof the oone holdeth the 
work at the hamo'" and the second kepeth the work 
hot. 'M^ that oone man cannot kepe the hamo'" 
bicause the work must be kept in such hete that 
they may not shifte handes.' 

At the Bedbum forge in 1408,2 there were a 
' blomer ' or ' smythman,' a smith and a foreman, 
as well as a ' colier ' or charcoal burner. The 
blomer was paid 6d. for every bloom smelted, of 
which the average production was six in a week, the 
largest output recorded in any week being ten 
blooms. For working up the bloom at the forge, 
the smith received 6d. and an extra penny for 
cutting it up into bars, while the foreman, who in 
spite of his name does not seem to have had any 
staff of workmen under him, received 2d. a bloom 
when he assisted at the smelting, and 3d. at the 
reworking. Such additional labour as was required 
was supphed by the wives of the smith and foreman, 
who did odd jobs, breaking up the ore, attending to 
the bellows, or helping their husbands, earning wages 
paid at first on a vague but rather high scale, but 
falling afterwards to the settled rate of a halfpenny 

1 V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 245. * Engl. Hist. Rev., xiv. 509-29. 


a bloom. An allowance of one penny a week was 
made for ale for the workmen ; and a similar muni- 
ficent allowance was made ' for drink for the four 
blowers ' at Tudeley in 1353.^ At this Tudeley 
forge in 1333, the workmen were paid in kind, 
receiving every seventh bloom, ^ a payment roughly 
equivalent to 6d. a bloom, but by 1353 this system 
had been dropped, and they were paid from 7|d. to 
9|d. a bloom. In addition to the ' seventh bloom,' 
we find mention in 1333 of a customary payment 
to the ' Forblouweris ' ^ of 2|d. a bloom, and in the 
1353 account we find ' rewards ' paid to the master 
blower and three other blowers ; no other workmen 
are mentioned by name, and as the whole process 
of making the blooms is here referred to as * blowyng ' 
we may probably assume that the staff of these 
Kentish works consisted of four men. The Sussex 
iron mills at Sheffield in Fletching in 1549 employed 
one hammerman and his assistant,* two fyners and 
their two servants, a founder, and a filler,^ the 
business of the latter being to keep the furnace 
charged. Here the founder was paid 8s., and the 
filler 6s. for each ' foundye,' or working week of six 
days, and the hammerman and fyners received 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., 485, no. 11. 

- Mins. Accts., 890, no. 25. 

^ Latinised in one place as ' anteriores fJatores.' 

* Suss. Arch. Coll., xiii. 128. 

* At some iron mills near Teddesley in Staffordshire in 1583 
the filler and fyner were identical, and there was a hammerman 
and a founder. — Exch. K. R. Accts., 546, no. 16. 



between them 13s. 4d. a ton, about three tons being 
produced each ' foundye.' 

In addition to the actual ironworkers every forge 
afforded employment to a number of charcoal- 
burners and miners. For the most part these latter, 
as was the case with the coal miners, ranked as 
ordinary labourers, but in the Forest of Dean they 
formed a close corporation of ' free miners,' possessing 
an organisation and privileges of considerable im- 
portance and antiquity.^ So far as can be judged 
the customs of the free miners were traditional, 
based on prescription, recognised as early as the time 
of Henry iii., and officially confirmed by Edward i. 
By these customs the right of mining was restricted 
to the free miners resident within the bounds of the 
Forest, and they had also control of the export of 
the iron ore, all persons carrying the same down the 
Severn being bound to pay dues to the miners under 
penalty of forfeiture of their boat. The free miners 
had also the right of digging anywhere within the 
Forest, except in gardens, orchards, and curtilages ; 
the lord of the soil, who might be the king or a 
private landowoier, being entitled to a share as a 
member of the fellowship, almost always consist- 
ing of four ' vems ' or partners. Besides the right 
thus to open a mine the miners had a claim to access 
thereto from the highway, and to timber for their 

* NichoUs, Ifonmakivg in the Forest of Dean ; V. C. H. 
GloHcs., ii. 219-23. 


works. In return, the king received from every 
miner who raised three loads of ore in a week one 
penny, which was collected by the ' gaveller ' every 
Tuesday ' between Mattens and Masse,' and he had 
also the right to certain quantities of ' law-ore ' 
from the different mines every week, for which the 
miners were paid at the rate of a penny a load, and 
if he was working an itinerant forge they were bound 
to supply ore therefor at the same rate, and finally 
there was a royal export duty of a halfpenny on every 
load of ore taken out of the Forest. ^ 

The right of mining within the forest was restricted, 
as we have already said, to the resident free miners, 
and they might only employ the labour of their own 
family or apprentices. These rights to their mines, 
or shares therein, were definite, and could be be- 
queathed by will ; and in order to prevent trespass 
the rule was laid down that no man should start a 
fresh working near that of another miner ' within 
so much space that the miner may stand and cast 
ridding ^ and stones so far from him with a bale, as 
the manner is.' When disputes arose between the 
miners, they were settled at their owti court, held 
every three weeks at St. Briavels, under the presi- 
dency of the Constable, appeals being made, if neces- 
sary, from the normal jury of twelve miners to 

^ This was farmed in 1280 for ^^23, so that the amount ex- 
ported annually must have been well over 10,000 loads. 

- The surface material which has to be removed before the 
ore is reached. 


juries of twenty-four or forty-eight. These Mine 
Law Courts continued to be held until the latter 
half of the eighteenth century ; but we are not here 
concerned with their later proceedings and constant 
endeavours to maintain restrictions which had long 
passed out of date ; endeavours which seem to have 
resulted chiefly in promoting ' the abominable sin 
of perjury,' so that it was found necessary to ordain 
that any miner convicted thereof should be expelled 
and ' all the working tooles and habitt burned before 
his face.' What those tools and costume were in 
the fifteenth century, and until modem times, may 
be seen on a brass in Newland Church, whereon is 
depicted a free miner wearing a cap and leather 
breeches tied below the knee, with a wooden mine- 
hod slung over his shoulder, carrying a small mattock 
in his right hand, and holding a candlestick between 
his teeth. ^ 

Although not so intimately connected with iron 
working as the smiths, smelters and miners, the 
charcoal-burners were auxiliaries without whom 
the industry could not have existed, and who in 
turn derived their living largely from that industry. 
The amount of wood consumed by the iron works 
was enormous. As an example we may take the 
case of the two Sussex mills of Sheffield and Worth 
for 1547-9.^ At Sheffield 6300 cords of wood were 
' coled ' for the furnace, and 6750 cords for the 

» Arch. Cambr. (S. 3), iii. 418. * V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 247 


forge ; at Worth the amounts were respectively 
nearly 5900 and 2750 cords ; the cords being 125 
cubic feet, this represents an expenditure of about 
2,175,000 cubic feet of timber for these two works 
alone in less than two years. Later, in 1580, it 
was stated that a beech tree of one foot square ' at 
the stubbe ' would make one and a half loads of 
charcoal, and the ironworks at Monkswood, near 
Tintem, would require 600 such trees every year,i 
while some thirty years later Norden referred to 
the fact that there were in Sussex alone about 140 
forges using two, three, or four loads of charcoal 
apiece daily. Acts were passed in 1558, 1581, and 
1585 regulating the cutting of wood for furnaces 
and prohibiting the use of timber trees for charcoal, 
but they were evaded, and the destruction of trees 
continued until in the eighteenth century charcoal 
was supplanted by mineral coal, the first successful 
use of which for iron smelting, by Dud Dudley 
in 1620, marks, as we have said, the termination 
of the medieval period. 

1 Exch. Dep. by Com., 22 Eliz.. Trin. 4. 




The lead-mining industry in England is important 
and interesting from its antiquity, the value of its 
produce, large quantities of silver being obtained 
from this source during the medieval period, and the 
organisation of its workers. Although lacking the 
completeness of organisation which rendered the 
tinners of Cornwall and Devon almost an indepen- 
dent race, the lead miners of Alston Moor, Derbyshire, 
and the Mendips, the three great mining camps of 
England, were more highly organised than the iron 
miners of Dean, who form the lowest class of privi- 
leged ' free miners.' 

The lead mines of Britain were worked by the 
Romans from the earliest days of their occupation 
of the island, pigs of lead having been found in the 
Mendips stamped with the titles of Britannicus 
(a.d. 44-48) and Claudius (a.d. 49).^ Mines of this 
period exist at Shelve and Snailbeach in Shropshire 
and elsewhere, and smelting-hearths have been found 
at Minsterley in the same county and at Matlock.^ 

• Journ. Brit. Arch. Ass., xxxi. 129-42, For a list of Roman 
pigs found in England, bee ibid., liv. 272. = Ibid. 


Nor was the industry discontinued after the depart- 
ure of the Romans. Lead mines at Wirksworth in 
Derbyshire were leased by the Abbess of Repton to 
a certain Duke Humbert in 835,1 and a ' leadgedelf ' 
at Penpark Hole in Gloucestershire is mentioned in 
882,2 though that county was not a great centre of 
lead production at a later date. In the time of 
Edward the Confessor the Derbyshire mines of 
Bakewell, Ashford, and Hope yielded £30, besides 
five wainloads of lead, but in 1086 their yearly value 
had fallen, for some reason, to £10, 6s. Besides these 
three mines Domesday Book alludes to others at 
Wirksworth, Metesford, and Crich.^ 

During the twelfth century the output of lead was 
considerable. The ' mines of Carlisle,' that is to 
say of Alston Moor, on the borders of Cumberland, 
Yorkshire, and Northumberland, occur on the Pipe 
Roll of 1 130, and were farmed during the reign of 
Henry 11.^ at an average rent of £100 ; during the 
same reign large quantities of lead from Derbyshire 
were carried across to Boston and shipped to London 
and the Continent : the Shropshire mines were also 
active, one hundred and ten loads of lead being sent 
down to Amesbury in 1181 alone. King Stephen 
granted to the Bishop of Durham certain mines in 
Weardale, probably of silver-bearing lead, as the 
non-precious minerals already belonged to the 

^ Birch, Cart. Sax., i. 579. - V. C. H. Glouc, ii. 237. 

» V. C. H. Derby, ii. 323. * Pipe Rolls of Hen. 11. 


bishopric, and during the vacancy of the see of 
Durham in 1196 considerable issues of silver were 
accounted for.^ A similar grant of lead mines in 
Somerset was made to Bishop Reginald of Bath by 
Richard i.^ How soon the three great mining camps 
acquired their privileges and organisation cannot be 
definitely stated : some of the regulations seem to 
have been traditional from very early times, even in 
the case of the Mendip mines, of which the laws 
were largely based upon the Derbyshire code. So 
far as the northern mines are concerned, we find 
Henry iii. in 1235 confirming to the miners of Alston 
the liberties and privileges ' which they used to 
have.' ^ 

Of the regulations in force at Alston Moor * we 
have but few details, but of the laws of Derbyshire ^ 
and the Mendips ® we have ample information. In 
each case there was a mine court, known in Derby- 
shire as the ' berghmote ' or ' barmote,' of which 
the ordinary meetings were held every three weeks 
and special sessions twice a year, at Easter and 
Michaelmas. The ' body of the court ' consisted of 
twelve, or in the ' great courts ' twenty-four, miners 
of good standing and the presiding officer was in 
Derbyshire the barmaster and in Somerset the lead- 
reeve : at Alston ' he appears as bailiff, ' king's 

1 V. C. H. Durham, ii. 348. - V. C. H. Somers., ii. 363. 

^ Pat., 20 Hen. III., m. 13. * V. C. H. Cumberland, ii. 339. 

^ V. C. H. Derby, ii. 326. * V. C. H. Somers., ii. 367-9. 
' V. C. H. Cumb.y ii. 340. 


Serjeant,' and steward. Associated with this 
official was the coroner : ^ the two offices indeed 
seem to have been combined at Alston during the 
thirteenth century as in 1279 complaint was made 
that the coroners of the Scottish king's liberty of 
Tindale (that portion of the present county of 
Northumberland which adjoins Alston Moor) were 
acting in the mine ' where the serjeant of the mine 
appointed by the English king ought to exercise 
the office of coroner in all things ' : ^ by 1356, how- 
ever, it was the custom for the Alston miners to 
elect a coroner separate from the bailiff or king's 
Serjeant.^ The exact degree of independence 
possessed by these mine courts is difficult to deter- 
mine. During eyres in Cumberland it was custom- 
ary to send special justices to Alston to hold the 
pleas of the Crown. This was already an old- 
estabhshed custom in 1246,* and we find that Robert 
de Vipont, who about the beginning of the reign of 
Edward i. had formed a manor out of what had 

1 Pat., 15 Edw. IV., pt. i., m. 22. 

* Assize R., 143, m. i. The Scottish king's dominial rights 
over Alston, apart from the mines, seem to have been well estab- 
lished. William the Lion granted land at Alston as ' in Tj-ndale,' 
to William de Vipont, and later to his son Ivo de Vipont, the 
latter grant being confirmed by King John in 1210. Finally, 
after the whole matter had been carefully examined, Edward i. 
gave the manor of Alston in 1282 to Nicholas de Vipont to hold 
of the King of Scotland, reserving, however, the liberty of the 
mines. — Assize Rolls, 143, m. i ; 132, m. 34 ; Chanc. Misc. 53, 
file I, nos. 20, 22. 

* V. C. H. Climb., ii. 340. * Assize R., 143, m. i. 


been moor and waste, had usurped the right to try 
thieves in his manor court, when they ought only 
to be tried in the mine court. ^ Even in Derbyshire 
there was a tendency to use the courts of the Duchy 
of Lancaster instead of, or to overrule, the mine 
courts, at least in the sixteenth century. ^ 

By the Derbyshire mine law a small trespass was 
punishable by a fine of 2d., but if this was not paid 
at once the fine was doubled each successive day 
until it reached the sum of 5s. 4d. This same sum 
of 5s. 4d. (doubled in a similar way up to loos.) was 
the fine for bloodshed, or for the offence of encroach- 
ing upon another man's claim underground. For a 
thrice-repeated theft of ore the offender's hand 
was pinned with a knife to the uprights of his wind- 
lass, and if he succeeded in getting free he had to 
forswear the mine for ever. A similarly savage 
and primitive measure of justice was meted out to 
the Mendip miner who stole lead worth is^d. : his 
property was forfeited, and the bailiff was to bring 
him ' where hys howse or wore [i.e. ore] hys, hys work 
and towUs with all instruments belongyng to that 
occupacyon and then put hym in hys howss or work- 
ing place and set fyer yn all together about hym 
— banyshe hym from that occupacyon for ever by 
fore the face of all the myners there.' Both methods 
of punishment are clearly of early origin, and it 
seems probable that they originally involved the 

' Absize R., 13J, m. 34 ; 143, m. i. - V. C. H. Derby, li. 339. 


death of the thief, though a later and more humane 
generation connived at his escape while retaining 
the ancient form of punishment. If the burnt 
thief did not dread the fire, but returned and stole 
again, he was handed over to the sheriff's officers 
and committed to prison, being no longer one of the 
privileged community. It is worth noting that the 
great mining camp on the borders of Cornwall and 
Devon, though not apparently possessing any mine 
court, had, as we might expect, certain control over 
the excesses of the miners, as in 1302 there was 
made ' a pit in the mine by way of prison to frighten 
{ad terror em) evildoers and bad workmen.' ^ The 
Devon miner, as we have just said, had no code of 
laws or privileges ; at Alston the code applied only 
to the miners actually living in the collection of 
' shiels,' or huts on the Moor ; in Derbyshire the full 
system of regulations was confined to the royal 
' field,' though a few private owners of mining 
fields estabUshed barmotes on similar lines ; ^ but 
the customs of the Mendips appear to have applied 
throughout the district, whoever might be lord of 
the soil. 

By mining law the miner had the right to prospect 
anywhere except in churchyards, gardens, orchards, 
and highways ; on the Mendips, however, he had 
first to go through the formality of asking leave of 

1 Exch. Ki R. Accls., 260, no. 19. 

* e.g. at Eyam and Littoa. — V. C. H. Derby, ii. 33S. 


the lord of the soil, or of his lead-reeve, who could 
not refuse their permission ; he might then pitch 
where he pleased and break ground as he thought 
best. In Derbyshire, when the prospector had struck 
a promising ' rake ' or vein, he cut a cross in the 
ground and went to the barmaster, who came and 
staked out the claim into ' meers,' each being four 
perches of twenty-four feet : the first two meers 
were given to the finder, the third to the king, as 
lord of the soil, and the others to those miners who 
first demanded them. Within three days the owner 
of a meer must set up a ' stow,' ^ a wooden frame with 
two uprights joined by a bar or spindle placed at the 
top of the shaft, and serving as a windlass. If the 
claim was not then worked, the barmaster nicked the 
spindle, and if this were done three times, and the 
claim was still unworked, it was declared forfeit 
and granted to the first apphcant. The regulations 
in use on the Mendip field were rather different. 
There the pitches or claims, instead of being of one 
standard size, were decided by the throw of the 
' hack ' or small pick, weighing 3 lbs. 14 oz. ' Every 
man when he doth begyn hys pyt, otherwyse callyd 
a grouff, shaull have hys haks throw ij weys after 
the rake,- so that he do stand to the gyrdyl or wast 
in the gruff ' ; while this decided the hmits of the 

^ Until the nineteenth century the would-be miner had to set 
up a model stow, fastened with wooden pins and not with nails. 
* i.e. forwards and backwards along the line of the vein. 


pitch along the hne of the vein the pitcher had always 
eighteen feet on either side of his ' grooffe or gribbe,' 
The hack, however, was not thrown unless another 
party wished to pitch in the neighbourhood ; in 
that case the newcomer, or ' younger pitcher,' could 
demand that the hack be thrown by the ' elder 
pitcher' and his partners, 'when they have their 
chine, rake or course,' that is to say, when they have 
struck the vein. The lead-reeve then proffered the 
hack to one of the elder pitchers, and if they failed 
to throw it within fourteen days the younger pitcher 
had the throw. ^ The rules for reserving a claim 
were probably founded on those in use in Derby- 
shire. ' The first pytcher in any grounde muste 
make yt perfecte wyth a caddel of tymber and a 
payre of styllyngs within fowre and twentie howers 
next after the pyching.' Although this was the 
strict law, custom seems to have been content with 
the making of the ' caddel,' some sort of framework 
of timber, the first day, and to have allowed a month 
for the ' styllyngs,' or stow. If a claim lay un- 
worked for four weeks, the lead-reeve caused pro- 
clamation to be made, and if the old partners did not 
turn up within fourteen days, it was forfeited. 

Besides the right of prospecting where they chose, 
the miners had right of access to the nearest high- 

1 It is not quite clear whether he threw from the old pit, in 
which case he would naturally throw a very short distance, or 
from his own pit, in which case he might so throw as to cover 
much of the vein which would have belonged to the elder pitchers. 


road, and in Derbyshire if this were refused them the 
barmaster and two assistants might walk abreast 
with arms stretched out, and so mark out a way 
direct from the mines to the road, even through 
growing corn. They were also privileged to take 
timber from the neighbouring woods for use in the 
mines, and in Cumberland, where fuel was scarce, 
they might even prevent the owners of the woods 
from cutting them until they had obtained a suffi- 
cient supply for the furnaces. Their proprietary 
rights in their mines were recognised, and they 
could dispose of them, wholly or in part, without 
licence. They might also take their ore to what 
' myndry ' they pleased, to be smelted, and the only 
restriction upon the sale of the ore or lead was that 
in some places the king, or other lord of the soil, 
had ' coup,' that is to say pre-emption, the right of 
buying the ore at the market price before it was 
offered to any other purchaser, and in 1295 we find 
the Derbyshire miners paying 4d. a load in respect 
of ' coup ' for licence to sell to whom they pleased. ^ 

The terms upon which the miners held their 
mines varied. On private lands, when the owner 
did not work the mines himself by hired labour, he 
usually bargained for some proportion, an eighth, 
a tenth, or a thirteenth, of the produce. On the 
Mendips the lord of the soil received the tenth part 
as ' lot ' ; on the royal field of Derbyshire the king 

» V. C. H. Derby, ii. 328. 


had the thirteenth, and at Alston the ninth dish of 
ore, the dish in the latter case being ' as much ore 
as a strong man can lift from the ground.' ^ At 
Alston the king had in addition the fifteenth penny 
from the other eight dishes, but had to provide at 
his own expense a man called ' the driver,' who 
understood how to separate the silver from the lead.^ 
This method of paying a proportion of the produce 
was clearly the fairest to all concerned, for, as the 
Cumberland miners said in 1278, though they knew 
that there was ore enough to last to the end of time, 
no one could tell the yearly value of the mines, as 
it depended upon the richness of the ore they struck, ^ 
and in the same way when Robert de Thorp was 
made warden of the Devon mines in 1308,* it was 
expressly stated that no definite sum was to be 
demanded of him, because the silver-bearing ore, 
the refined lead, and the reworked slag all had 
' diversetez de bonntez et quantitez de respouns.' 
In addition to the payment of lot ore, the miners 
had to give tithes to the Church. In some cases 
these tithes originated in a definite grant, more 
often they seem to have been regarded as compen- 
sation for the tithes of crops which would otherwise 
have grown on the ground taken by the mines ; but 
the strangest reason for claiming them was that 

1 The Derbyshire standard dish made in 1512 and still pre- 
served at Wirksworth contains about sixty lbs. of ore. 
- Assize R., 132, m. 34. s jn^i^ 

* Memo. R., K. R., Mich., 2 Edw, 11., no. 55. 


lead was itself a titheable crop, because it ' grew / 
and renewed in the veins.' ^ 

While many small mines were worked by parties 
of free miners under these conditions, for their own 
profit, and at their own risk, there must have been 
from very early times a large number of poor men 
who worked for the king, the lord of the soil, or 
capitalist adventurers, receiving wages either by 
piece or by time. The regulations for the payment 
of these hired miners in the royal mines of Beer 
Alston, in Devonshire, drawn up in 1297 are of 
considerable interest. ^ 

* As to the piecework of the miners, those who can 
find ore in their diggings shall receive for piecework 
as before, that is to say 5s. for the load,^ as well 
of black as of white ore, if the white cannot reason- 
ably be put lower. And those who are engaged in 
" dead " [i.e. unremunerative] work, and cannot find 
ore in their diggings, and yet work more, for some 
dead work is harder than (digging in) the vein, shall 
be at wages {a lour soutz) until they reach the ore, 
so that all piecework be undertaken by two or three 
gangs who divide the profits between themselves, as 
well to those doing dead work as to the others.' 

That the price of 5s. a load was calculated to pay 
the miners for their prehminary unproductive ' dead ' 

1 V. C. H. Derby, ii. 332. 

* Memo. R., L. T. R., 25-26 Edw. i., m. 51. 

* The load, or lade [lada), contained nine dishes {disci, scutella). 


work, may be gathered from the fact that ' tithe ore/ 
that is to say the ore paid to the Church, was bought 
back from the rector of Beer at 2s. the load, and a 
further gd. was deducted from this sum for washing 
the ore.i At the same time it is clear that where 
the ' dead ' work was exceptionally heavy or the 
eventual yield small this system of payment would 
not work ;, and in 1323 we find that the ' dead work ' 
of clearing, searching, and digging into an old mine 
in Devon was paid at the rate of 3s. 4d. the fathom, 
and that two gangs of six men were paid at the 
daily rate of 7d.-9d., about i|d. a head, for searching 
for the vein and for piercing the hard rock to follow 
up the vein in hope of finding a richer vein.^ 

By the Ordinance of 1297 wages were to be paid 
every Saturday, though as a matter of fact we find 
that they were constantly falling into arrears. 

' All the ore of each week shall be measured before 
the Saturday and carried to the boles or other places 
where it is to be smelted. And knowledge shall 
be taken each Saturday or Sunday of the issues 
of each week in all things. And the payments shall 
be made to the miners and other workmen the same 
Saturday. And no miner shall remain in a market 
town under colour of buying food, or in other manner 
after the ninth hour on Sunday, without leave.' 

Besides their wages the miners received such 
iron, steel, and ropes as they required, free of charge, 

1 Exch. K. R. Accls., 260, no. 19. - Ibid., 261, no. 25. 



and had the use of a forge for the repair of their 
tools. 1 At Beer, in 1297, there were three forges, 
one for each of the three mines into which the field 
was divided,^ and each worked by a man and a boy. 
In addition to the smiths ^ there would be, as auxili- 
aries, one or more candlemakers, carpenters, char- 
coal-burners, and woodcutters. In many mines it 
WAS also necessary to employ a number of hands in 
baling water out of the pits with leathern bodges or 
buckets ; during April 1323 an average of twenty 
persons were so engaged at Beer Alston, and during 
one week the number rose to forty-eight.^ So 
greatly did the accumulation of water in the pits 
interfere with work, that in early times the Devon 
mines were closed down during the winter,^ and it 
was not until about 1297 that means were found of 
dealing with this evil. About that date the plan 
of draining the pits by means of ' avidods ' or 
adits, that is to say horizontal galleries driven from 
the bottom of the pits to a level of free drainage 
on the surface, already in use in the tin mines, was 
introduced into the lead mines. The ordinances 
of 1297 arranged for one hundred tinners to work 
in ' avidods,' and the accounts of the working of 

1 Memo. R., L. T. R., 25-26 Edw. i., m. 51. 

- In 1302 there were four mines : the South Mine, the Middle 
Mine, the :Mine of FershuU, and the Old Mine. — Exch. K. R. 
Accts., 260, no. 22. 

» The smiths were paid I2d.-i8d. a week. — Ibid. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 261, no. 25. 

* Anct. Corresp., xlviii. Si. 


these mines for the same year show payments 
averaging £12, los. to ' WilHam Pepercom and his 
partners,' and to six other gangs ' for making 
avidods.' ^ It was probably in the following year 
that Walter de Langton, Bishop of Chester, reported 
that the yield of the Beer mine had been doubled 
by the new method of draining, as they could now 
work as well in the winter as in the summer.- 

The ore having been raised was broken up with 
a hammer, no mechanical stamps being used appar- 
ently before the sixteenth century, if then, though 
there is mention in 1302 of a machine [ingenium) for 
breaking ' black work ' or slag.^ It was then 
washed in ' buddies ' or troughs, with the aid of 
coarse sieves, women being frequently employed for 
this process. The washed ore, separated as far as 
possible from stone and other impurities, was then 
carried to the smelting furnace. The commonest 
type of furnace was the ' bole,' a rough stone struc- 
ture like a limekiln, with an opening at the top, 
serving as a chimney, and also for charging the 
furnace, and one or more vents at the base for the 
blast. These boles were usually built in exposed and 
draughty positions, and could only be used when 
the wind was favourable. At an early date they 
were supplemented by ' slag-hearths ' or furnaces 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., 260, no. 16. 

* Anct. Corresp., xlviii. 81. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 260, no. 22. 


(fornelli) possessing an artificial blast and closely 
resembling blacksmiths' forges. The bellows of these 
hearths were usually driven by the feet of men or 
women, but a water mill was in use in Devon at least 
as early as 1295,^ and at Wolsingham, in Durham, 
in 1426 water power was used when available, the 
footblast being used during dry seasons. ^ The fuel 
of the boles was brushwood, and that of the hearths 
charcoal, with peat and, for the remelting of the 
lead, sea-coal. In Devon mention is made of a 
third type of smelting house, the ' hutte,' the nature 
of which is obscure. The huttes are usually classed 
with the boles ; ^ thus it was noted in 1297 that ' from 
each load of black ore smelted at the huttes and 
boles there come 3I feet of silver-lead, each foot 
containing 70 lbs. of lead, each pound weighing 
25s. sterling. And from a load of black ore smelted 
by the mill furnace come 3 feet of silver-lead. And 
from a load of white ore smelted by the furnace or 
elsewhere come i| feet of silver-lead. Moreover a 
pound of lead made from black ore smelted by the 
boles and huttes and by their furnaces yields 2 dwt. 
of silver ; a pound of lead from black ore smelted 
by the mill furnace yields 3 dwt. of silver ; and a 
pound made from white ore i| dwt.' In the same 
way the ' black work ' or slag of both boles and 
huttes were reworked at the furnaces.^ A possible 

» Pipe R., 28 Edw. i, ^ V. C. H. Durham, ii. 349. 

» Pipe R., 28 Edw. i. * Exch. K. R. Accts., 260, no. 6. 


hint is found in the fact that large quantities of 
refined lead had to be put into the hutte when it 
was first lit, ' as the huttes cannot bum ore or smelt 
lead without the addition of sufficient melted lead 
at the start to roast [coquenda) the ore in the lead 
so added.' ^ This certainly suggests some sort of 
cupellation furnaces. Yet another type of furnace 
was the ' turn-hearth ' used in the Mendips ; the 
construction of this, again, is obscure, but it seems 
to have derived its name from some portion of the 
hearth being movable and adjustable to changing 
winds, while it would seem that the ordinary furnace 
could only be used when the wind blew from a 
particular quarter. ^ There are references in 1302 
to a ' fornelliis versatilis ' used in the Devon mines, 
and one entry speaks of making the furnace ' upon 
the turning machine ' [super ingenium versatile).'^ 

The bolers and fumacemen, who were paid about 
I2d. to i6d. a week, their assistants receiving about 
half those amounts, having cast the lead into pigs 
and stamped it, handed it over to the wardens of the 
mine. The next process was the refining of the 
silver from the lead by cupellation. When an alloy 
of silver and lead is melted on an open hearth with 
free access of air, the lead is oxidized and, in the 
form of litharge, can be removed either by skimming 
it off or by absorption by the porous body of the 

' Pipe R., 28 Edw. i. * V. C. H. Somtrs., ii. 373. 

» Exch. K. R. Accts., 260, no. 22. 


hearth, leaving the silver in a more or less pure form. 
By adding more lead and repeating the process the 
silver can be further refined. In England it seems 
to have been usual to remove the litharge by absorp- 
tion ; in the case of the Romano-British refinery 
at Silchester/ the absorbent material used was 
bone ash, but in the medieval refineries at the Devon 
mines charred ' tan turves,' ^ or refuse blocks of oak 
bark from the tanneries, were used, and probably 
the same material was used in Derbyshire, the 
southern mines being largely worked by Derbyshire 
miners. A thick bed of this tan-ash was made with 
a dished hollow in the middle, in which was placed 
the fuel and the lead ; the hearth was then fired 
and blast supplied from the side : when the whole 
was melted the fire was raked aside and the blast 
turned on to the upper surface of the molten metal, 
which was thus rapidly oxidized and so refined. 

But first, as soon as the mass of silver-lead was in 
a fluid state, ' before the ash has absorbed any of the 
lead, the lead is to be stirred and mixed so that it is 
of equal quality throughout, and a quantity of the 
lead amounting to about 6s. weight shall be taken 
out, and this shall be divided into two parts, half 
being given to the refiner, ticketed with his name, 
and the date and sealed by the wardens, and the other 

^ Archaologia, Ivij, 113-124. 

* e.g. 'In 6510 turbis tannitis emptis ad inde faciendos 
cineres pro plumbo affinando.' — Exch. K. R. Accts., 260, no. 4. 


half shall be assayed by the king's assayer in the 
presence of the wardens and of the refiner, and the 
refiner shall answer for the whole of that refining 
at the rate of the assay, as nearly as is reasonable, 
having regard to the fact that there is greater waste 
and loss in the big operation of refining than in the 
assay. And when the silver has been fully refined 
it shall be given by the refiners to the wardens for a 
tally (or receipt) of the weight, so that there shall be 
neither suspicion nor deceit on either side. . . . 
And the lead that remains in the ash after the 
refining shall be resmelted at a suitable time.' ^ 
These ordinances of 1297, just quoted, arranged for 
there being five skilled refiners at the Devon mines, 
and the account rolls show that they received from 
i8d. to 2s. a week. 

The silver seems to have been cast into plates 
or ingots varying from ten to twenty pounds in 
weight and value (for the monetary pound was 
simply the pound weight of standard silver). Its 
purity probably varied, for while in 1296 the pound 
of refined silver was mixed with I4d. of alloy to bring 
it to the standard,^ a few years later silver weighing 
£132, 5s. was worth only £131, 13s. y^d. in coined 
money,^ and 370 lbs. of silver sent up from Martin- 
stowe in 1294 had to be further refined in London 
before it could be made into silver vessels for the 

1 Memo., L. T. R., 25-26 Edw. i., ni. 51. 

2 Exch. K. R. Accts., 260, no. 7. * Ibid., no. 19. 


Countess of Barre.^ In the case of the lead we 
have the usual medieval complexity of weights. An 
early entry ^ records that ' a carretate (or cartload) of 
lead of the Peak contains 24 fotinels, each of 70 lbs., 
and the fotinel contains 14 cuts ^ of 5 lbs. A carre- 
tate of London is larger by 420 lbs.' The London 
weight appears to have gained the day, as a later 
entry gives 13I lbs. to a stone, 6 stones to a foot, and 
30 feet (or 2430 lbs.) to a carretate ' according to the 
weight of the Peak.' ^ In Devon we find in 1297 
carretates of 24 feet and 32 feet in use simultaneously, 
the foot being 70 lbs. here as in Derbyshire.^ 

In no other part of England had the lead-mining 
industry so continuous a history of steady prosperity 
as in Derbyshire. The Devon mines seem to have 
been richer and more productive during a short 
period, but the half century, 1290-1340 practically 
covers the period of their boom. During the five, 
years, 1292-1297, these mines produced ;(4046 of 
silver, and about £z^o worth of lead ; next year the 
silver amounted to £1450. Then in April 1299 the 
king leased the mines to the Friscobaldi, Italian 
merchants and money-lenders, with whom he had 
many deaUngs.^ They agreed to pay 13s. 4d. a 
load for the ore, but after about a year, during which 

1 Pipe R., 28 Edw. i. * V. C. H. Derby, ii. 324. 

3 It is possible that ' cut ' is the Celtic word ' cwt,' meaning a 
piece, and dates back to British times. — Ihid. 
* Ibid. 
6 Pipe R., 28 Edw. I. « Pat., 27 Edw. i., m. 28. 


time they drew some 3600 loads of ore/ they found 
that they were losing heavily, the ore not being 
worth more than los. a load, and the costs of work- 
ing being higher than they had expected.'-^ The 
mines, however, continued to yield well when 
worked by the king for his own benefit, as much as 
£1773 of silver and £180 from lead being obtained 
in 1305 : this, however, seems to have been the 
highwater mark, the yield for 1347 being only 
■£jo.'^ After this the mines were let to private 
adventurers from time to time ; but such records as 
we have do not suggest that many fortunes were 
made from them : in 1426 the yield for the previous 
two and a half years had been 39 ounces of silver,^ 
for the year 1442 it was £17,^ but for the six years, 
1445-51, the average output rose to 4000 ounces.^ 
At the beginning of the boom, in 1295, it was found 
necessary to recruit labour from the older lead-mining 
districts, and commissioners were appointed to select 
miners for Devon from Cheshire, Earl Warenne's 
liberty of Bromfield in Shropshire, the Peak, 
Gloucester, Somerset, and Dorset.' The ordin- 
ances of 1297 stipulated for 150 miners from the 
Peak, and an equal number of local men from Devon 
and Comw^all, though the accounts show that there 
were that year 384 miners from the Peak, and 35 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 126, no. 9. ^ Pat., 35 Edw. i., m. 19 

* Mins. Accts., 826, no. 12. * Ibid., no. 11. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 265, no. 9. * Ibid., no. 10. 
' Close 24 Edw. I., m. iid. 


from Wales.i On the other hand, in 1296, while 
we have over 300 miners coming from the Peak, a 
twelve days' journey, we also find four picked men 
sent from Devon to the king's court, and thence to 
Ireland to prospect on the king's behalf.- 

The prosperity of the Devon mines caused an 
increase of activity in those of Somerset, where a 
number of fresh strikes were reported during the 
early years of the fourteenth century, about one of 
which an optimistic lead reeve wrote to the Bishop 
of Bath and Wells as follows : ^ — 

' Know, my lord, that your workmen have found 
a splendid mine ^ of lead on the Mendips to the east 
of Priddy, and one that can be opened up with no 
trouble, being only five or six feet below the ground. 
And since these workmen are so often thieves, 
craftily separating the silver from the lead, stealthily 
taking it away, and when they have collected a 
quantity fleeing like thieves and deserting their 
work, as has frequently happened in times past, 
therefore your bailiffs are causing the ore to be 
carried to your court of Wookey where there is a 
furnace built at which the workmen smelt the ore 
under supervision of certain persons appointed by 
your steward. And as the steward, bailiffs, and 
workmen consider that there is a great deal of silver 
in the lead, on account of its whiteness and sonority, 

* Ibid. 2 Anct. Corresp., xlviii. 177. 

» Pipe R., 28 Edw. i. * Ibid. ^ Anct. Cc 
* ' Minera ' may also bear the sense of ' ore.' 


the}' beg that you will send them as soon as possible 
a good and faithful workman upon whom they can 
rely. I have seen the first piece of lead smelted 
there, of great size and weight, which when it is 
struck rings almost like silver, wherefore I agree 
with the others that if it is faithfully worked the 
business should prove of immense value to yourself 
and to the neighbourhood, and if a reliable workman 
is obtained I think that it would be expedient to 
smelt the ore where it is dug, on account of the 
labour of carrying so heavy material such a dis- 
tance. The ore is in grains like sand.' 

There is no evidence that this mine fulfilled the san- 
guine expectations of its discoverers, but about the 
same time, in 1314, we find Herman de Alemannia 
and other adventurers working a mine in Brush- 
ford, near Dulverton.^ The Germans were for many 
centuries the most skilled miners, and English mining 
owes much to their enterprise. As an instance of their 
greater skill we may take the case of Thomas de 
Alemaigne, silver finer,- who being out of work 
petitioned the king to grant him the refuse and slag 
[les aftirwas et les remisailles) thrown aside at the 
mines in Devonshire, which had been refined so far 
as those at the mines could refine them : no one 
else would touch them, so the king would get no 
gain unless he granted them to Thomas, who was 
willing to pay 20s. a year for the right to rework 
* Close 7 Edw. II., m. 6. * Anct. Pet., 13552. 


them. This same Thomas de Alemaigne was 
appointed in 1324 to dig, cleanse, and examine the 
king's mines in Cumberland and Westmoreland. ^ 
Probably these mines had not been worked for some 
time previous, as in 1292 the total issues of the 
Alston mines for the last fourteen years were said 
to have been £4, os. 2d., possibly owing to the 
absence of fuel, which is given as the reason for an 
iron mine there being worth only 15s. a year.^ 
Later, in 1359, Tilman de Cologne was farming the 
Alston mines, and in 1475, as a result apparently 
of a report by George Willarby ^ that there were 
in the north of England three notable mines, one 
containing 27 lbs. of silver to the fodder of lead 
with a vein half a rod broad, another 18 lbs. with 
a vein five rods broad, and the third 4 lbs. with 
a vein i| rods broad, the mines of Blaunchlond in 
Northumberland, Fletchers in Alston, Keswick in 
Cumberland, and also the copper mine near Rich- 
mond, were granted for fifteen years to the Duke of 
Gloucester, the Earl of Northumberland, William 
Goderswyk, and John Marchall.* The two noble- 
men were presumably sleeping partners, and appear 
to have abandoned the arrangement, as soon after- 
wards, in 1478, WiUiam Godereswyk, Henry Van 
Orel, Arnold van Anne, and Albert Millyng of 

^ Pat., 17 Edw. II., p. 2, m. 15. * Assize R., 135, m. 26d. 

* Pat., 14 Edw. IV., p. I, m. yd. 

* Pat., 15 Edw. IV., p. I, m. 22. 


Cologne, and Dederic van Riswyk of England, 
received a grant for ten years of all mines of gold, 
silver, copper, and lead in Northumberland, Cumber- 
land, and Westmoreland, paying one-fifteenth of the 

Although gold is mentioned in this last entry and 
in a number of other grants of mines in the fifteenth 
century, and though Galias de Lune and his partners 
were licensed in 1462 to dig ores containing gold 
in Gloucestershire and Somerset, ^ gold does not 
appear to have been worked in paying quantities 
in England. In 1325 John de Wylwringword was 
sent down to the mines of Devon and Cornwall 
to seek for gold : he obtained from the Devon mines 
22 dwt., of which he refined 3 dwt. at Exeter; this 
yielded 2| dwt. of pure gold.^ The remainder was 
sent up to the Exchequer and eventually refined at 
York ; but this is almost the only note we have of 
gold being found, though no doubt small quantities 
were found from time to time in the Cornish stream 

In 1545 one St. Clere declared that certain gold 
called ' gold hoppes and gold oore ' in every stream 
tinwork in Devon and Cornwall was by ignorance of 
the tinners molten with the tin, and so conveyed 
abroad ; certain persons were appointed to test his 

1 Pat., iSEdw. iv.,p. 2,m. 30. * Pat., 2 Edw. iv., p. i, m. 7. 

» Exch. K. R. Accts., 262, no. 2. 

* Acts of Privy Council, 1542-7, p. 367. 




Tin mining claims an antiquity unsurpassed by any 
other industry in this country, but with what degree 
of justice may well be doubted. The claim of the 
western promontory of Britain, later known as 
Cornwall and Devon, to be the Cassiterides or Tin 
Islands whence the Phoenicians obtained their stores 
of that metal at least five hundred years before the 
Christian era rests upon rather shadowy grounds. ^ 
Diodorus Siculus, who wrote about B.C. 30, is the 
hrst writer definitely to connect Britain with the 
tin trade, and his statements appear to be based 
rather upon a doubtful understanding of earlier 
topographers than upon actual knowledge. Accord- 
ing to him the tin was produced in the promontory 
of ' Bolerium ' and brought to the island of ' Ictis,' 
whence it was transported to Gaul. If ' Bolerium ' 
is Cornwall, then there is no reason to doubt that 
' Ictis ' is * Insula Vectis,' or the Isle of Wight, which 
was at that date still connected to the mainland by 
a narrow ridge of rock, covered at highwater, but dry 

1 Jour, of Brit. Arch. Ass., Ixii. 145-60. 


at low water, as ' Ictis ' is said to have been.^ It is 
certainly strange, if an ancient and well-established 
trade in tin really existed in Britain when the 
Romans came over, that that race, with its keen 
eye for metallic wealth, should have made no use of 
the tin mines of Cornwall. Yet there is no reference 
to these mines in the literature of the period of the 
Roman occupation, nor are there traces of anything 
approacliing an occupation of Cornwall by the 
Romans, who appear to have ignored this comer 
of Britain completely. After the departure of the 
Romans, and before the Saxons conquered this 
district, which did not happen till the middle of 
the tenth century, there is some evidence of tin 
being worked here, as Cornish tin is said to have 
been carried over to France in the seventh century, 
and in a life of St. John of Alexandria, who died in 
616, there is a story of an Alexandrian galley coming 
to Britain for tin.- That the Saxons worked the tin 
seems probable from the discovery of Saxon remains 
in the St. Austell tin grounds and elsewhere, ^ but 
the industry can hardly have been of any great 
importance at the time of the Norman Conquest, as 
there is no reference to it in the Domesday Survey. 
While the history of tin mining in Britain prior to 
the middle of the twelfth century is problematical, 
there is from that time onwards an immense mass 

1 Archesologia, lix. 281-8. 

* V. C. H. Cornw., i. 523. » Ibid. 


of material bearing upon the subject. This material 
has been patiently examined by Mr. George Randall 
Lewis, and summarised in his work on The Stan- 
naries} a book so full and complete that I have 
saved myself much labour by basing this chapter 
almost entirely upon it. 

There are, as might be expected, many analogies 
between the mining of tin and the mining oMead. 
The processes were very similar, and the laws 
governing the workers had much in common, but it 
is in the case of the Stannaries that we find the full 
development of the ' free miner,' so far as England 
is concerned. Certain initial differences in the 
methods employed are observable owing to the form 
in which tin is obtained. Tin, like other metals, 
exists in veins or lodes embedded in the rock at 
various depths ; where these veins outcrop on the 
banks of a stream they are broken up by the action 
of the water and cUmatic variations, the resultant 
pile of stanniferous boulders being known as ' shode '; 
the waters of the stream constantly wear away 
small pieces of the tin ore and carry it downwards 
until, owing to its heavy specific gravity, the tin 
sinks, forming a deposit in the bed of the stream 
which may sometimes be as much as twenty feet 
thick. It was this third class of alluvial tin which 
was alone worked in prehistoric and early medieval 

1 Vol. iii. of Harvard Economic Studies. The same writer has 
contributed a valuable article on tin-mining to V. C. H. Cornwall. 


days. This might safely be assumed, but rather re- 
markable confirmation is obtained from an account 
of tin worked for Edmund of Cornwall in 1297. 
From this it appears that twenty-eight and a half 
' foot-fates ' of ore produced a thousand-weight 
(1200 lbs.) of ' white tin/ the proportion corre- 
sponding pretty closely with those — three ' foot- 
fates ' of ore to yield 105 lbs. of metal — given in the 
sixteenth century by Thomas Beare for alluvial 
or ' stream ' tin, which was far richer than mine 
tin.i It cannot have been very long before the 
miners realised that the stream tin was carried down 
by the water, and started to search for its source. 
The ' shode,' or boulder tin, must therefore have 
been worked almost as early as the alluvial deposits, 
and the final stage was the working of the ' lode.' 
In this lode mining the first workings were no doubt 
shallow trenches and confined to places where the 
ore lay close to the surface ; a somewhat greater 
depth was obtained by ' shamelling,' the trench 
being carried down in stages, a ' shamell ' or plat- 
form being left at each stage at the height to which 
th# miner could throw his ore ; finally came the 
deep shaft with galleries. But here, as in all mining, 
the question of drainage came in. Where the work- 
ings were quite shallow the water could be baled 
out with wooden bowls, or a ' level,' or deep ditch, 
could be dug. For greater depths the adit, or 

1 Lewis, op. cit., 5. 


drainage gallery (see above, p. 50), was available, 
and although Mr. Lewis ^ cannot find any instance of 
the use of the adit in tin mining before the seven- 
teenth century, it does not seem reasonable to doubt 
that it was in use much earher. Exactly when 
pumps and other draining machines were introduced 
into the tin mines is not clear, but probably they 
were little used during our medieval period, when 
few of the mines were of any great depth. ^ 

The primitive miner, when he had got his ore with 
the aid of his simple tools, a wooden shovel and a 
pick, also in earliest times of wood, but later of iron, 
constructed a rough hearth of stones on which he 
kindled a fire. When it was burning strongly he cast 
in his ore and afterwards collected the molten tin from 
the ashes. The next stage was to construct a regular 
furnace, exactly similar in type to the boles or fur- 
naces used for lead-melting (see above, p. 51). These 
furnaces were enclosed in a building, the ' blowing- 
house,' in early times a rough thatched shanty, 
which was burnt from time to time to obtain the 
metaUic dust which had lodged in the thatch, but 
afterwards more substantial. The cost of a ' melting 
howse ' (80 feet by 20 feet) built at Larian in Cornwall 
by Burcord Crangs, a German, in the time of Queen 
Mary, was about £300, composed as follows : ^ — 

1 Lewis, op. cit., ii. 

* A case of a London goldsmith making engines and instruments 
to drain a deep tin mine near Truro occurs in first quarter of the 
sixteenth century — Early Chanc. Proc, 481, no. 46. 

3 Memo. R., L. T. R., 9 Eliz., Mich., 3. 



For the ryddjoig, clensing and leveling of 

the ground for setting of the foun- 

dacon therof 
For making foundacon of the walls and 

the poynyons of the meltyng howse . 
For making of the audit ^ to build the 

fomas and meltyng chymney upon 
For tymbering and covering the howse 

with esclattes 
For dores, windows, locks, and barres 
The whele, exultree and the stampers 
For 4 paire of grete bellowes wt their 

geames and other necessaryes 
For makyng of the Colehouse 
For mak5mg of the Rostingehowse - 
For makyng of the lete and dyke comyng 

to the melt^Tighowse 
For the hatt and the crane 


30 o 

50 o 


10 o o 

20 O O 

15 o o 

20 O O 

66 o o 

20 O O 

The lumps of ore were first broken up with 
hammers or in a mill ; the powdered ore was then 
washed to free it as far as possible from earthy im- 
purities. Sometimes this was done with a ' vanne,' 
or shovel, the heavy ore remaining at the point of 
the shovel and the Hghter impurities being washed 
away. An elaborate process was also used, in which 
the water containing the powdered ore was allowed 

» Either the channel by which the blast was admitted, or else 
the channel conveying water to the wheel. 
* The ore was sometimes roasted before smelting. 


to run over pieces of turf, the metallic portion 
sinking and becoming entangled in the fibres. The 
usual method, however, was by means of troughs 
or ' buddies.' This washing was not only a neces- 
sary preliminary to the smelting, but had an economic 
importance, as it was at the wash that the ore was 
divided when a claim was worked by partners, and 
the tribute or share due to the lord of the soil was 
apportioned ; it was also, towards the end of the 
medieval period, the only place where the ore might 
be bought by dealers.^ To prevent fraud it was 
therefore enacted that due notice should be given 
of washes, and no secret buddies should be used. 

When we first get any details of tin-working, in 
1 198, it was usual for the tin to be smelted twice, 
the first being a rough process performed near the 
tinfield, but the second, or refining, being only 
permitted at special places and in the presence of 
the officers of the stannaries. The tin from the 
first smelting had to be stamped by the royal officers 
within two weeks of smelting, a toll being paid to the 
king at the same time of 2s. 6d. per thousand-weight 
in Devon, and of 5s. in Cornwall. Moreover, by the 
regulations of 11 98, within thirteen weeks the tin 
had to be resmelted and again stamped, this time 
paying a tax of one mark.^ The double smelting 
possibly ceased before the end of the thirteenth 
century. In any case the fiscal arrangement was 

1 V. C. H. Cornw., i. 539. - Lewis, op. cit., 133-4. 


altered, and in 1302, not long after the stannaries 
had reverted to the Crown, after being in the hands 
of the Earls of Cornwall from 1231 to 1300, we find 
the stampage dues consolidated into a single coinage 
duty. Under this system of coinage all the tin 
smelted had to be sent to certain specified towns, 
those for Cornwall being Bodmin, Liskeard, Lost- 
withiel, Helston, and Truro ; and for Devon, Chag- 
ford, Tavistock, Plympton, and Ashburton. Here 
the tin remained until the two yearly visits of the 
coinage officials, at Michaelmas and Midsummer, 
when each block, weighing roughly 200 to 300 lbs., 
was assa3^ed, weighed, and taxed : it was then 
stamped and might be sold. To prevent fraud an 
elaborate system of marking was gradually intro- 
duced during the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies, and the use of private marks by the owners 
of the blowing-houses was probably of much earlier 
origin. The use of these marks was designed not 
only to protect the merchant, but also to act as a 
check on smuggling, of which an immense amount 
undoubtedly went on.^ 

One result of the coinage system, by which tin 
might not be sold until stamped, and could only be 
stamped twice a year, was that the smaller tin- 
workers inevitably fell into the hands of the capital- 

^ W. de Wrotham, when appointed warden of the stanneries 
in 1198, ordered all masters of ships in Cornwall and Devon to 
swear not to take unstamped tin out of the country. — Lewis, op. 
cf<-, 337- 


ists. The small independent tinner, wdth no reserve 
of capital to draw upon, had almost always to pledge 
his tin in advance to the adventurers and tin-dealers, 
and as a result he was often worse off with his theor- 
etical independence than he would have been as a 
recognised wage-labourer. The wage work system 
must have been introduced into the stannaries at 
quite an early period. Even in 1237 there are 
references to servants who worked the mines for the 
tinners. 1 In 1342 certain of the wealthier Cornish 
tinners endeavoured to force their poorer brethren to 
work for them at a penny a day, when they had been 
working tin worth 2od. or more daily, and it is said 
that Abraham the tinner in 1357 was actually em- 
ploying three hundred persons on his works. Side by 
side with these hired workmen were the independent 
tinners, working either separately or, more usually 
in partnerships ; but from the small amounts which 
many of these tinners presented for coinage, Mr. 
Lewis has concluded that they may have been only 
partly dependent upon their mining. ^ There is, 
however, the complication that the small amounts 
presented may in part have been due to their 
having sold their ore to the larger dealers, but it 
is clear that some of the tinners did also carry on 

While the economic position of the smaller tinners 
must often have been little, if at all, superior to that 

> Lewis, op. cit., 190, * Op. cit., 187. 


of ordinary labourers, their political position was 
remarkable. They constituted a state within a 
state ; the free miner ' paid taxes not as an English- 
man, but as a miner. His law was not the law of the 
realm, but that of his mine. He obeyed the king 
only when his orders were communicated through 
the warden of the mines, and even then so long only 
as he respected the mining law. His courts were the 
mine courts, his parhament the mine parliament.' * 
The tinner was a free man and could not be sub- 
jected to the system of villeinage. He had the right 
of prospecting anywhere within the two counties, 
except in churchyards, highways, and gardens, and 
might ' bound ' or stake out a claim by the simple 
process of cutting shallow holes and making piles of 
turf at the four comers of his claim, and such claim 
would be his absolute property provided that he 
worked it (the exact amount of work necessary to 
retain a claim varied in different places and at 
different periods) . For his claim he paid to the lord 
of the land, whether it were the king or a private 
lord, a certain tribute of ore, usually the tenth or the 
fifteenth portion. He had, moreover, the right to 
divert streams, either to obtain water for washing 
his ore, or to enable him to dig in the bed of the 
stream, and the important privilege of compelling 
landowners to sell him fuel for his furnace. Further, 
he had his own courts, and was under the sole 

1 V. C. H. Cornw., i. 523. 


jurisdiction of the warden-officers of the stannaries. 
Each stannary, of which there were five in Cornwall 
and four in Devon, had its own court, presided over 
by a steward, and no tinner might plead or be 
impleaded outside his court, from which the appeal 
lay to the warden, or in practice to the vice- warden. 
How and when these privileges were obtained must 
remain a matter for speculation, but they can be 
traced when William de Wrotham was appointed 
warden in 1198, and were definitely confirmed to 
the tinners by King John in 1201. By development, 
apparently, from the two yearly great courts of the 
stannaries, arose the ' stannary parliaments.' The 
parliament for Cornwall consisted of twenty-four 
members, six being nominated by the mayor and 
council of each of the four towns of Lostwithiel, 
Launceston, Truro, and Helston ; that of Devon 
contained ninety-six members, twenty-four from 
each of the stannaries. Those parhaments were 
summoned, through the lord warden, by the Duke 
of Cornwall, in whom the supreme control of the 
stannaries was vested from 1338 onwards, and had 
power not only to legislate for the stannaries, but 
to veto any national legislation which infringed their 
privileges. When the parliaments originated is not 
known, but they were certainly established before 
the beginning of the sixteenth century, prior to 
which date all records of their proceedings are 


With all these privileges, to which may be added 
exemption from ordinary taxation and mihtary 
service, though the tinners were liable to be taxed 
separately and enrolled for service under their own 
officers, it was natural that the exact definition of a 
tinner should have given rise to much dispute. On 
the one hand, it was argued that these exemptions 
and privileges applied only to working tinners 
actually employed in getting ore ; on the other, the 
tin dealers, blowers, and owners of blowing-houses 
claimed to be included. Eventually the larger 
definition was accepted, and, indeed, it was almost 
entirely from the capitalist section of the industry 
that the parhaments were elected, from the sixteenth 
century, if not earlier. 

It is rather remarkable that when the stannaries 
first come into evidence, in the reign of Henry ii., 
the chief centre of production appears to have been 
Devon rather than Cornwall.^ So far as can be 
estimated the output during this reign rose gradu- 
ally from about 70 tons in 1156 to about 350 in 1171. 
Richard i., with his constant need of money, re- 
organised the stannaries in 1198, and at the beginning 
of John's reign the output was between 400 and 450 
tons. The issue of the charter to the stannaries 
in 1201 does not seem to have had any immediate 
effect on the industry, but about ten years later 
there was increased activity, the output rising in 

1 Lewis, op. cit., 34. 


1214 to 600 tons.i During the early years of 
Henry iii. the tin revenues were fanned out, and no 
details are available either for these years, or from 
the period 1225-1300, during which time the stan- 
naries were in the hands of the Earls of Cornwall. 
Two things only are clear, that the total output 
had fallen off, and that Cornwall had now far out- 
stripped Devon. The grant of a charter confirming 
the privileges of the stannaries in 1305 seems to 
have marked the beginning of a more prosperous 
era, and by 1337 the output had reached 700 tons. 
The Black Death, however, in 1350 put an end to 
this prosperity, and with the exception of a boom 
during the reign of Henry iv. tinning did not recover 
until just at the end of our medieval period. Even 
at its worst, however, the industry was a source of 
considerable revenue, the coinage duties^ never 
falling below £1000, and amounting in 1337 and 
1400 to over £3000, in addition to which there were 
other smaller payments and perquisites. ^ The royal 
privileges of pre-emption was also of value to needy 
kings who frequently availed themselves of it to 
grant this pre-emption, or virtual monopoly, to 
wealthy foreign merchants and other money-lenders 
in return for substantial loans. 

Before leaving the subject of the tin mines of 
Cornwall and Devon, it is perhaps worth while 

^ For output, see Lewis, op. cit., App. J. 

» Lewis, op. cit., App. K. ^ Ibid., Apps. L-T. 


noting that there is virtually no documentary 
evidence of the working of the copper deposits of 
Cornwall prior to the late sixteenth century, and if 
would seem that most of the copper used in medieval 
England must have been imported. 




Stone-quarrying is an industry to which the 
references in medieval records are more numerous 
than enhghtening. It would be easy to fill pages 
with a list of casual references to the working of 
quarries in all parts of England, and after struggling 
through the list the reader would know that stone 
was dug in quite a lot of places at different times, 
which he might have assumed without the docu- 
mentary evidence. It is natural that when a 
castle, an abbey, a church, or other stone building 
is to be erected the stone, whose cost lies mainly in 
transport, should be obtained from the nearest 
possible source. Founders of monasteries frequently 
made grants either of existing quarries or of the 
right to dig stone for the monastic buildings, and the 
discovery of a bed of suitable stone close to the site 
selected for the Conqueror's votive abbey of Battle 
was so opportune as to be deemed a miracle.^ When 
a monastery was founded in a district where stone 
could not be found, it was almost essential that its 

^ Chron. of Battle Abbey, ii. 


supplies should be drawn if possible from some place 
from which the stone could be carried by water, and 
it was no doubt the position of Bamack between the 
Welland and the Nene that made its quarries so 
important to the monks of the Fenland.^ The 
abbeys of Peterborough, Ramsey, Crowland, Bury 
St. Edmund and Sawtry all held quarries in Bar- 
nack and quarrelled amongst themselves over their 
respective rights. The monks of Sawtry, for in- 
stance, had made a canal for carrying stone to their 
abbey by way of Wittlesea Mere by permission 
of the abbey of Ramsey, a permission which they 
seem to have abused, as in 1192 orders were given 
to block all their lodes except the main one leading 
to Sawtry, and they had to promise to put up no 
buildings except one rest house for the men on their 
stone barges. 2 

For York Minster ^ stone was brought from the 
quarries of Thevesdale, Huddleston, and Tadcaster 
down the Wharfe, and from Stapleton down the 
Aire into the Ouse, and so up to St. Leonard's wharf, 
whence it was carried on sleds to the mason's yard. 
Westminster and London were mainly supplied from 
Surrey, from the Reigate and Chaldon quarries, and 
Kent, from the Maidstone district. The tough 
' Kentish rag,' which was used by the Romans for 
the walls of London, was much in demand for the 

1 V. C. H. Northanis., ii. 293-5. ^ Ibid., 295. 

3 Fabric R. of York (Surtecs Soc), passim. 


rougher masonry,^ and in a contract for building a 
wharf by the Tower in 1389, it was stipulated that 
the core of the walls should be of ' raggs,' and the 
facing of ' assheler de Kent.' 2 The Reigate stone, 
on the other hand, was of superior quality and more 
suited for fine work, and we find it constantly used 
for images, carved niches, and window tracery.^ 

The most accessible stone not always being the 
most suitable for the varying requirements of archi- 
tecture, it was necessary to find other stone possess- 
ing the desired qualities, and certain quarries at an 
early date acquired renown. Setting aside the 
famous Norman quarries of Caen, whose stone appears 
in greater or less quantities in hundreds of buildings 
and of records, there are a number of English quarries 
of more than local repute in medieval times. Such 
were the quarries of Beer in Devonshire, from whose 
labyrinthine galleries stone was carried to Rochester 
in 1367,4 to St. Stephen's Westminster in 1362, ^ and 
elsewhere. The fine limestone, later known as Bath 
Stone, was quarried to a large extent at Haslebury 
in Box in Wiltshire, from which place it was sent 
in 1221 to the royal palace at Winchester for the 

1 e.g. at the Tower in 1324 'one boatload of Aylesford stone 
called rag, 6s.' — Exch. K. R. Accts., 469, no. 7. And in 1362 ' 8 
boatloads of stone called ragg, with carriage from Maidstone, 
£10, 13s. 4d.' — Ibid., 472, no. 9. - Ibid., 502, no. 10. 

* See the Westminster building accounts, passim. 

* Arch. Cant., ii. 112. 

s '20 tontightes de peers de Beer.* — Exch. K. R. Accts., 472, 
no. 8. 


columns of the hall and for chimney hoods, ^ Richard 
Sired receiving 23s. 4d. for cutting 105 blocks of 
stone in the quarry of Hesalburi.^ For these same 
works at Winchester much stone was brought from 
the Hampshire quarry of Seleboume, and from the 
better known quarries of the Isle of Wight, while a 
stone-cutter was sent to procure material from the 
quarry of Corfe. This latter was no doubt the same 
as the ' hard stone of Corfe/ bought for Westminster 
in 1278.^ With Corfe and Purbeck is associated 
Portland stone, which attained its greatest fame in 
the hands of Wren after the Fire of London, but was 
already appreciated in the fourteenth century, when 
it was used in Exeter Cathedral and at Westminster.* 
Further east Sussex possessed a number of quarries 
of local importance,^ and the quarry of green sand- 
stone at Eastbourne, from which the great Roman 
walls of Pevensey and the medieval castle within 
them were alike built, probably provided the ' 28 
stones of Bume, worked for windows of the vault 
under the chapel ' at Shene in 1441.^ Another Sussex 
quarry, that of Fairlight, near Hastings, supphed 
large quantities of stone for Rochester Castle in 
1366 and 1367.'^ The list of stone brought in the 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., 491, no. 13. 

* For some fourteenth and fifteenth century references to the 
Haslebury quarries, see The Tropenell Cartulary (Wilts. Arch. 
Soc), ii. 148-50. * V. C. H. Dorset, ii. 333. 

* Ibid., 339. * V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 230. 

* E.xch. K. R. Accts., 305, no. 12. '' Ibid., 502, no. 3. 


latter year at Rochester is of interest as showing 
the various sources from which it was derived.^ 
There were bought 55 tons of Beer freestone at 
prices varying from 9s. to los. the ton,^ 62 tons of 
Caen stone at 9s., 45 tons of Stapleton freestone ^ 
at 8s., 44 tons of Reigate stone at 6s., 195 tons of 
freestone from FairHght at 3s. 4d., 1850 tons of 
rag from Maidstone at 40s. the hundred tons, and 
a large quantity ^ of worked stone from Boughton 

The Kentish quarries seem to have been especially 
favoured for the manufacture of the stone balls 
flung by the royal artillery, in early days by man- 
gonels, bahstae, and other forms of catapults, and in 
later days by guns. Thus in 1342 the sheriff of Kent 
accounted for £13, los. spent on 300 stones dug in 
the quarry of Folkestone and drawn out of the sea 
in various places, and afterwards cut and hewn into 
round balls for the king's machines ; one hundred 
weighing 600 lbs. each, and the same number 500 lbs. 
and 400 lbs. respectively ; and a further £7, los. for 
another 300 stone balls of various weights.^ It is 
true that some years earher, in 1333, similar balls 
had been obtained in Yorkshire, the sheriff buying 

1 Arch. Cant., ii. 112. 

2 The 'pondus dolii,' anglicised in other entries as 'tuntight,' 
seems to have been about 40 cubic feet. 

3 Presumably from the Yorkshire quarry referred to above ; it 
came via London. — Ibid., 121. 

* Apparently about 440 tons. — Ibid. ^ Pipe R., 16 Edw. iii. 


19 damlades ^ and 3 tons of stone in the quarry of 
Tadcaster, and setting 37 masons to work, the result 
being 606 stone balls weighing g damlades, ^ but 
casual references point to Kent as the great centre 
of manufacture. In 1418 as many as 7000 such 
balls were ordered to be made at Maidstone and 
elsewhere, and the Maidstone quarries were still 
turning out stone shot for bombards during the 
early years of Henry viii.^ 

So far we have been dealing with what may be 
called block stone, but there were also in many 
parts of the country stones that from the ease with 
which they could be split into thin slabs were suit- 
able for roofing purposes. How early, and to what 
extent the true slates of Cornwall and Devon were 
worked it is difficult to say, but in 1296, when certain 
buildings were put up for the miners at Martinestowe 
23,000 ' sclattes ' were quarried at Birlond, and 
another 10,000 at ' Hassal.' * For the roofing of 
buildings at Restormel in Cornwall in 1343 slates 
were employed, 19,500 being bought ' between 
Golant and Fowey,' at iid. the thousand, and 85,500 
dug in the quarry of Bodmatgan at a cost of 6d. 
the thousand.^ So also in 1385, at Lostwithiel, it 
is probable that the ' tiles,' of which 25,400 were 

^ The term ' damlade,' of uncertain meaning, seems to be 
peculiar to Yorkshire. See Fabric R. of York. 
- Pipe K., 7 Hdw. in. 
» Misc. Bks., Tr. of R., 4, f. 142. 
* Exch. K. R. Accts., 476, no. 5. * Ihid., 461, no. 11. 



bought ' in the quarry ' at 3s. 4d. the thousand were 
true slates.^ But besides the real slates, which in 
their modem uniformity of perfection render so 
many towns hideous, there were many quarries of 
stone slates, of which the most famous were at 
Collyweston in Northants.^ The Colly weston stone 
after being exposed to the influence of frost could 
easily be split into thin slabs, ^ and seem to have 
been used for roofing purposes as early as the times of 
the Romans. During the medieval period there are 
numerous references to these Collyweston slates, 
and about the end of the fourteenth century they 
seem to have fetched from 6s. to 8s. the thousand.* 
Other similar quarries of more than local fame 
were situated round Horsham in Sussex,^ and Hors- 
ham slates continued in demand from early days 
until the diminished solidity of house construction 
made a less weighty, and incidentally less pictur- 
esque, material requisite for roofing. 

The work of quarrying stone counted as unskilled 
labour, and the rate of pay of quarriers is almost 
always that of the ordinary labourer. At Martin- 
stow in 1296, men ' breaking stone in the quarry ' 
received i|d. to 2d. a day, and women, always 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., no. 12. 

2 V. C. H. Northants., ii. 296-7. 

3 A similar method of splitting was employed in the case of 
the slates of Stonesfield, in Oxfordshire. — V. C. H. Oxon., ii. 267. 

* Ibid.; V. C. H. Northants., ii. 296. 
' V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 230. 


the cheapest form of labour, id. a day for carrying 
the stones from the quarry. ^ The Windsor accounts 
for 1368 show quarriers at Bisham (Bustesham) 
receiving 3|d. a day, and one, no doubt the foreman, 
4d., while 65,000 blocks of stone were cut at ' Colingle ' 
at los. the thousand, and 3500 at Stoneden at 20s. ^ 
Those employed upon shaping the rough blocks 
were naturally paid at a higher rate, and in 1333, 
while the quarriers at Tadcaster were paid is. 4d. 
a week, the masons employed there in making stone 
balls earned 2s. 6d., and their foremen 3s. a week.^ 
Often, however, the payment was by piece work, 
and in the case of the stone wrought at Boughton 
Monchelsea in 1366 for Rochester Castle, we have a 
list of the rates of payment : ' rough ashlar ' worked 
at los. the hundred, ' parpainassheler ' — for 
mullions — cut to pattern i8s. the hundred, newel 
pieces i2d. each, jambs 3d. the foot, ' scu ' or 
bevelled stones 2d. the foot, voussoirs (vausur) 5d. 
the foot, and so on.* The tools used were of a simple 
nature ; the inventory of tools at Stapleton quarry 
in 1400 ^ shows a number of iron wedges, iron rods, 
' gavelokes ' or crowbars, iron hammers, ' pulyng 
axes,' ^ ' brocheaxes ' and shovels. 

^ Exch. K. R. Accts., 476, no. 5. 

* Ibid., 494, no. 4. ^ Pipe R., 7 Edw. iii. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 502, no. 3. ^ Fabric R. of York, 19. 

* A fifteenth-century account for Launceston mentions the 
purchase of ' An iron tool for breaking stones in the quarry, 
called a polax, weighing 16 J lbs., and two new wedges weighing 
10 lbs.' — Exch. K. R. Accts., 461, no. 13. 


So far we have been dealing with stone as a build- 
ing material, but there were two varieties of stone 
worked in England in medieval times whose value 
was artistic rather than utilitarian. These were 
marble and alabaster. Purbeck Marble/ a dark 
shell conglomerate capable of receiving a very high 
polish, came into fashion towards the end of the 
twelfth century, and continued in great demand for 
some two hundred years. Not only was it used in 
1205 at Chichester Cathedral, but it would seem that 
some thirty years earlier it was sent to Dublin and 
to Durham. All the evidence goes to show that the 
marble was not only quarried at Purbeck, but worked 
into columns and carved upon the spot, and it is 
probable that most, if not all, of the scores of marble 
effigies which still remain in churches, such as the 
figures of knights in the Temple Church and the 
tomb of King John at Worcester, were carved by 
members of the Purbeck school ^ and usually at the 
quarries, though in some cases it would seem that 
the carver was called upon to do his work at the 
place where it was to be used, and under the eye of 
his patron. But however much we may admire 
the execution of these Purbeck effigies, we must not 
hastily assume that they bear any particular resem- 

1 For a fuller history of the Purbeck marble quarries, see 
V. C. H. Dorset, ii. 331-8, from which the details given below are 
taken when other references are not given. 

* See articles on ' Medieval Figure Sculpture in England,' 
Architectural Review, 1903. 


blance to the persons whom they commemorate ; for 
although the Purbeck carvers were no doubt capable 
of executing portrait sculpture, a large proportion 
of their work was undoubtedly conventional. Thus 
in 1253 we find Henry iii. ordering the sheriff of 
Dorset to cause ' an image of a queen ' to be cut in 
marble and carried to the nunnery of Tarrant 
Keynston, there to be placed over the tomb of his 
sister, the late Queen of Scots. ^ 

Corfe was the great centre of the Purbeck marble 
industry. William of Corfe who executed the tomb 
of ' Henry the King's son,' at Westminster in 1273,2 
was probably William le Blund, brother of Robert 
le Blund, also called Robert of Corfe, who supplied 
marble for the Eleanor crosses at Waltham, North- 
ampton, and Lincoln ; and one Adam of Corfe settled 
in London early in the fourteenth century, and died 
there in 1331. This Adam ' the marbler ' seems to 
have carried out several large contracts, including 
the paving of St. Paul's, and in 1324 supplied great 
quantities of marble for the columns of St. Stephen's, 
Westminster, at 6d. the foot.^ The same price was 
paid in 1333 for similar columns bought from Richard 
Canon,* one of a family which for a century and a 
half played a prominent part as carvers and marble 
merchants, particularly in connection with Exeter 

1 Liberate R., K. R., 37 Hen. in., m. 13. 

« Exch. K. R. Accts., 467, no. 6 (2). 

* Ibid., 469, no. 8. * Ibid., no. 12. 


By the sixteenth century, and probably for some 
time earlier, the ' Marblers and Stone Cutters of 
Purbeck ' had formed themselves into a company. 
By their rules the industry was restricted to freemen 
of the company, and regulations were laid down 
as to the number of apprentices that might be 
employed. These apprentices, in turn, could be- 
come freemen at the end of seven years upon pay- 
ment to the court held at Corfe Castle on Shrove 
Tuesday of 6s. 8d. and the render of a penny loaf 
and two pots of beer. The wives of freemen were 
also allowed to join the company on payment of is., 
and in that case might carry on the trade, with the 
assistance of an apprentice, after their husband's 
death. At the time, however, that this company 
was formed, it is probable that the greater part of 
their business was concerned with building stone, 
as the marble had gone out of fashion and been 
largely superseded by alabaster in the fifteenth 
century for sepulchral monuments. 

Alabaster appears to have been dug in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tutbury in very early times, some of 
the Norman mouldings of the west door of Tutbury 
church being carved in this material.^ It is in the 
same neighbourhood, at Hanbury, that the earliest 
known sepulchral image in alabaster is to be found : 
this dates from the early years of the fourteenth 
century, but it was not until the middle of that 

1 Arch. Journ., x. Ii6. 


century that the vogue of alabaster began. From 
1360 onwards there exists a magnificent series of 
alabaster monuments which bear striking testimony 
to the skill of the medieval English carvers,^ and it 
is clear from records and the evidence of such frag- 
ments as have survived the triple iconoclasm of 
Reformers, Puritans, and Churchwardens that these 
monuments found worthy companions in the statues 
and carved reredoses scattered throughout the 
churches of England. ^ One of the finest of these 
reredoses must have been the ' table of alabaster ' 
bought in 1367 for the high altar of St. George's, 
Windsor. For this the enormous sum of £200 (more 
than £3000 of modem money) was paid to Peter 
Mason of Nottingham, while some idea of its size 
may be gathered from the fact that it took ten carts, 
each with eight horses, to bring it from Nottingham 
to Windsor, the journey occupying seventeen days.^ 
All the evidence points to Nottingham having 
been the great centre of the industry, the material 
being brought from the Derbyshire quarries of 
Chellaston. The stone and the workmanship alike 
found favour outside this country, and in 1414, when 
the abbot of Fecamp required alabaster he sent his 
mason, Alexander de Bemeval, to England to pro- 
cure it ; and it was from Thomas Prentis of Chellaston 

1 Arch. Journ., Ixi. 221-40. 

* See e.g. the Flawford and Breadsall figures, ibid. ; and the 
catalogue of Alabaster carvings exhibited at the Society of 
Antiquaries in 1910. ^ Pipe R., 41 Edw. iii. 


that the stone was bought. ^ The alabaster tomb of 
John, Duke of Bretagne, which was erected in Nantes 
Cathedral in 1408, was made in England by Thomas 
Colyn, Thomas Holewell, and Thomas Poppehowe,^ 
but it is not certain that they belonged to Notting- 
ham. Various customs accounts ^ show that carved 
alabaster figures were often exported to the Conti- 
nent, and Mr. Hope has shown that a number of 
carvings still to be seen in the churches of France, 
and even of Iceland,* have the green background, 
with circular groups of red and white spots, peculiar 
to the Nottingham school.^ 

Thomas Prentis, who is mentioned above, is found 
in 1419 in company with Robert Sutton ^ covenant- 
ing to carve, paint, and gild the elaborate and 
beautiful tomb of Ralph Green and his wife, which 
may still be seen in Lowick Church, Northants, for 
a sum of £40. An examination of this tomb makes 
it almost certain that the glorious monuments of 
the Earl and Countess of Arundel at Arundel, 
Henry iv. and Queen Joan at Canterbury, and the 
Earl of Westmoreland and his two wives at Stain- 
drop, were all from the same workshop. During 
the last twenty years of the fifteenth and the first 

^ Arch. Journ., Ixiv. 32. ^ /^j^.^ ixi. 229. 

3 The numerous cases of the export of alabaster carvings from 
Poole make it probable that the Purbeck carvers, when the 
demand for their marble fell off, worked the alabaster which 
exists in the district. — V. C. H. Dorset, ii. 

* Some of these no doubt were sold at the time of the Reforma- 
tion. — Arch. Journ., Ixi. 239. ^ Ibid., 237-8. * Ibid., 230. 


thirty years of the sixteenth century, we have the 
names of a number of ' alablastermen ' and ' image- 
makers ' in Nottingham, 1 Nicholas Hill in particular 
being prominent as a manufacturer of the popular 
St. John the Baptist heads, ^ and during the same 
period we find a number of ' alblasterers ' at York.^ 
At Burton-on-Trent, also, where Leland in the 
sixteenth century mentions ' many marbellers 
working in alabaster,' the trade was evidently estab- 
hshed in 148 1, when Robert Bocher and Gilbert 
Twist were working for a number of rehgious houses ; 
and it still flourished there in 1581 and 1585, when 
Richard and Gabriel Royley undertook contracts 
for elaborate tombs of alabaster/ but for all practical 
purposes the EngHsh school of alabaster carvers 
ceased to exist when the Reformation put an end to 
the demand for images and carven tables. 

The alabaster, or gypsum, when not suitable for 
carving, was still valuable for conversion into plaster 
by burning, the finer varieties yielding the so-called 
Plaster of Paris and the coarser the ordinary builders' 
plaster. References to the actual burning of plaster 
seem practically non-existent, but it is noteworthy 
that one of the places from which Plaster of Paris 
was obtained for the works at York Minster was 
Buttercrambe,^ where there is a large deposit of 

^ Arch. Journ., Ixi. 234-5. 

* For an account of these, see Mr. Hope's article in ArchcB- 
ologia, xli. 3 Arch. Journ. ,lxiv. 2^g. * Ibid., x. 120. 

^ Fabric R. of York, 74, 78, 84, 90, 106. 


gypsum which probably furnished the York ala- 
basterers with their material. In the same way 
Chalk, though to some extent used for masonry, 
was most in demand for conversion into Ume. 
When building operations of any importance were 
undertaken, it was usual to build a hmekiln on the 
spot for the burning of the lime required for mortar. 
In earlier times the kiln seems to have taken the form 
of a pit, ' lymeputt ' or, in Latin, putcus, being the 
term usually employed, but in 1400 we find a regular 
kiln {torale) built, 3300 bricks and 33 loads of clay 
being purchased for the purpose. ^ Where lime was 
burnt commercially, that is to say for sale and not 
merely for use on the spot, the kilns would naturally 
be larger and more permanent, and a sixteenth- 
century account of the erection of eight such kilns ^ 
at a place unnamed — probably Calais — shows that 
each kiln was 20 feet high, with walls 10 feet thick, 
and an average internal breadth of 10 feet, and cost 
over £450. 

When wood was plentiful it was naturally em- 
ployed for burning the lime, and a presentment made 
in 1255 with regard to the forest of Wellington 
mentions that the king's two hmekilns {rees calcis) 
had devoured 500 oaks between them.^ But it was 
soon found that pit coal was the best fuel for the 
purpose, and it was constantly used from the end 

* Fabric R. of York, 15. ^ Exch. K. R. Accts., 504, no. 4. 

' Hundred R., ii. 56. 


of the thirteenth century onwards, as much as 
1 166 quarters of sea coal being bought in 1278 for 
the kihis [chanffornia) in connection with the work 
at the Tower.^ For the most part, chalk and hme 
required for work at London or Westminster was 
brought from Greenwich. Kent has indeed always 
been one of the great centres of the trade, both home 
and foreign, and in 1527, ^ to take but one instance, 
we find six ships from Dutch ports taking out of 
Sandwich port chalk to the value of £20.^ In the 
chalk hills round Chislehurst labyrinthine galleries 
of great extent bear witness to the flourishing state 
of chalk-quarrying in this district in former times ; "* 
smaller quarries of a similar type exist in the 
' caverns ' at Guildford. Kent, Surrey, and Sussex ^ 
were indeed busily employed in quarrying chalk 
during the medieval period, and for long afterwards, 
down to the present day. 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., 467, no. 4. * Customs Accts., i^. 

3 Probably chalk may be taken at about 4d. the quarter. 
* Brit. Arch. Ass. Journal, Ix. * V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 231. 




The English craftsmen were renowned for their 
metal work from the days of St. Dunstan downwards. 
St. Dunstan was the patron of the goldsmiths, his 
image being one of the chief ornaments of their 
gild hall in London, and a ring attributed to his 
workmanship was in the possession of Edward i. 
in 1280,1 while his tools, including the identical 
tongs with which he pulled the devil by the nose, 
may still be seen at Mayfield. Coming to later 
times and the less questionable evidence of records, 
we may probably see in Otto the Goldsmith, whose 
name occurs in the Domesday Survey of 1086, the 
progenitor of the family of Fitz-Otho, king's gold- 
smiths and masters of the Mint from iioo to 1300.2 
The names of many early goldsmiths ^ have survived, 
and the beautiful candlestick given to St. Peter's 
Abbey at Gloucester in mo, and now in the South 
Kensington Museum, is evidence of their mastery of 
the art. The great rehgious houses were foremost 

* Chaffers, Gilda Aurifabrorum, 19. * Ibid., 23-5. 

^ A long chronological list of English goldsmiths is given by 
Chaffers, op. cit. 


patrons of the craft, many of them, as the Abbey 
of St. Albans, numbering amongst their inmates 
artists of great repute. The famous college of 
Beverley included a goldsmith in its household,^ but 
in 1292, when it was determined to erect a new 
shrine for the rehcs of St. John of Beverley, the 
chapter did not entrust the work to their own 
craftsman, but sent up to London to the estabhsh- 
ment of William Faringdon, the greatest goldsmith 
of that time. The contract between his servant, 
Roger of Faringdon, and the Chapter of Beverley 
is still extant. 2 By it the chapter were to provide 
the necessary silver and gold ; Roger was to refine 
it, if needful, and to supply his own coals, quick- 
silver, and other materials. The shrine was to be 
5 ft. 6 in. long, i ft. 6 in. broad, and of proportionate 
height : the design was to be architectural in style, 
and the statuettes, the number and size of which 
were to be at the discretion of the chapter, were to 
be of cunning and beautiful work, the chapter 
reserving the right to reject any figure or ornament 
and cause it to be remade. For his work Roger was 
to receive the weight in silver of the shrine when 
completed, before gilding. No very general rule can 
be laid down as to the proportion between the 
intrinsic value or weight of metal and the cost of 
workmanship, but roughly in the case of simple 

* Beverley Chapter Act Book (Surtees Soc), ii., p. Ixv. 

* Cal. of City oj London Letter Books, A., p. i8o. 


articles of plate the cost of manufacture may be set 
at approximately half the weight. Thus in the 
case of the plate presented by the city to the Black 
Prince on his return from Gascony in 137 1 ^ we find 
six chargers, weight £14, i8s. gd., amounting with 
the making to £21, 7s. 2d. ; twelve ' hanappes,' 
or handled cups, weight £8, 12s., amounting to 
^12, 7s. 7d. ; and thirty saltcellars, weighing 
£15, 6s. 2d., amounting to £21, 17s. 8d. The charge 
for making silver basins and lavers in the same hst 
amounts to about two-thirds of the weight. The 
rate appears to have remained fairly constant, as in 
1416 Wilham Randolf made four dozen chargers 
and eight dozen dishes of silver for King Henry v. 
at 30S. the pound. 2 

The demand for silver plate during the later 
medieval period must have been brisk, for every 
house of any pretension had its service of plate 
standing on the cupboard or dresser. Nothing more 
astonished the Venetian travellers in England in 
1500 than this extraordinary profusion and display ; 
they noted that,^ ' In one single street, named the 
Strand, are 52 goldsmiths' shops so rich and full 
of silver vessels, great and small, that in all the 
shops in Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence put 
together I do not think there would be found so 
many of the magnificence that are to be seen in 

1 Riley, Mems. of London, 350. 

^ Foreign R., 4 Hen. v., m. A. ' Camden Sac, xxxvii. 42. 


London. And these vessels are all either saltcellars 
or drinking-ciips or basins to hold water for the 
hands, for they eat off that fine tin which is little 
inferior to silver.' Although the home of the gold- 
smiths is here stated to be the Strand, their chief 
centre was in Lombard Street and in Cheapside, 
where, just about the time that this Venetian account 
was written, Thomas Wood built Goldsmiths' Row 
with its ten fair houses and fourteen shops and its 
four-storied front adorned with allusive wild men of 
the wood riding on monstrous beasts. ^ Even as 
late as 1637 efforts were made to compel the gold- 
smiths to remain in Cheapside for the greater adorn- 
ment of that thoroughfare. 2 

The Venetian reference to the ' fine tin ' used for 
plates and dishes serves to remind us that gold and 
silversmiths had no monopoly of metal-working. 
Pewterers, founders, and such specialised trades as 
bladesmiths and spurriers played an important part 
in the realm of industry, and if the materials upon 
which they worked were less valuable in themselves, 
the finished products were not to be despised even 
from a purely artistic point of view. The figures 
of Queen Eleanor of Castile and Henry iii., both cast 
by William Torel, and those of Edward iii. and Queen 
Philippa, by Hawkin of Liege — to name but a few 
obvious examples — are magnificent examples of the 
founder's work. Mention may also be made of the 

* Chaffers, Gilda Aurifabrorum, 38. * Ibid., 8, 9. 


tomb of Richard ii. and his queen, at which Nicholas 
Croker and Godfrey Prest, coppersmiths, worked for 
four years, and for which they received £700. ^ To 
deal at all fully with all the many branches of metal- 
working is outside the scope of this book, but two 
particular branches, the founding of bells and of 
cannon, are worth treating in considerable detail. 

References to Bells ^ during Saxon times are not 
infrequent, but probably the earhest notice con- 
nected with their manufacture is the entry amongst 
the tenants of Battle Abbey in the late eleventh 
century of ' iEdric who cast the bells {qui signa 
fundehat).' ^ It is hkely that most early monastic 
peals were cast in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the monastery by, or under the supervision, of the 
brethren. But in the twelfth century, when Ralph 
Breton gave money to Rochester Cathedral Priory 
for a bell, in memory of his brother, the sacrist sent 
a broken bell up to London to be recast.* Possibly 
the craftsman who recast this bell was the Alwold 
' campanarius ' who was working in London about 
1150.5 Another early bell-founder was Beneit le 
Seynter, sheriff of London in 1216.® Mr. Stahl- 
schmidt is no doubt right in interpreting this founder's 

1 Foreign R., 3 Hen. iv., m. E. 

* Church Bells of England, by H. B. Walters, published since 
this was in print, contains much valuable matter. 

3 Chron. Battle Abbey (ed. Lower), 17. 

* Cott. MS. Vesp. A., 22, f. 88. 

* Stahlschmidt, London Bell-founders, 72. 

* Ibid., p. 3. 


name as ' ceinturier ' or girdler,i for there was at 
Worcester in the thirteenth century a family whose 
members bore indifferently the name of ' Ceyntiirer ' 
and ' Belleyeter.' ^ The demand for bells could 
hardly have been large enough to enable a craftsman 
to speciahse entirely in that branch, and a bell- 
maker would always have been primarily a founder, 
and according as the main portion of his trade lay 
in casting buckles and other fittings for belts, or 
pots or bells, he would be known as a girdler, a 
potter, or a bell-founder.^ 

The medieval English term for a bell-founder was 
' bellyeter ' (surviving in London as ' Billiter Street,' 
the former centre of the industry), derived from the 
Anglo-Saxon geotan, to pour : the word is occasion- 
ally found used independently as a verb, the agree- 
ment for casting a bell for Stansfield in 1453 stipu- 
lating that it should be ' wele and sufhciantly yette 
and made.' ^ So far as the process itself is concerned,^ 
it remained unchanged in its main features until 
comparatively recent times and a considerable 

^ On the other hand, Fagniez (Docts. relatifs h I'histoire de 
I'lndustrie, ii. 67) says that ' sainterius,' the title appHed to 
Thomas de Claville who recast a bell for Notre Dame in 1397, 
is ' fait siir le vieux nom fran^ais des cloches sai>its . . . qui se 
rattache ^ signa.' 

2 Ex. inf. Mr. C. H. Vellacott, from Assize Roll. 

3 Most of the London founders recorded by Mr. Stahlschmidt 
as known or possible bell-founders used the title ' potter.' — 
Loc. cit., 72-74. * Early Chanc. Proc, 2.j, no. 138. 

^ Particulars are given in Raven, Bells of Englmid, on which 
this account is based. 


number of records relating to bell-founding have 
survived and throw a little hght upon the details 
of the art. The first step was the formation of the 
' core,' an exact model of the inside of the bell, 
formed of clay. When this had been hardened by 
baking, the ' thickness,' corresponding exactly to 
the projected bell itself, was built up upon the core ; 
finally, over the ' thickness ' was built a thick clay 
' cope.' Originally, it would seem, it was usual to 
make the ' thickness ' of wax, which, melting upon 
the application of heat, ran out and left the space 
between the core and cope vacant for the molten 
metal to flow into : possibly some of the early 
uninscribed bells which still exist may have been 
formed in this fashion, but it seems clear that from 
the end of the thirteenth century the use of wax 
was abandoned in England, the ' thickness ' being 
made of loam or earth. ^ The clay cope, moulded 
over this, was carefully raised by a crane, the ' thick- 
ness ' destro^'ed, and the cope readjusted, after any 
inscription or other decoration had been stamped 
on its inner surface. In order that the metal might 
flow directly from the furnace into the mould the 
latter lay in a pit in front of the furnace. The 
furnace doors being opened, the metal, consisting of 
a mixture of copper and tin, flowed into the mould. 
If the metal was not in a sufficiently fluid state, or 

* To prevent the core, thickness, and cope sticking together, 
it seems to have been usual to dust them over with tan. 


if any check occurred the castor would ' lose his 
labour and expense,' as happened to Henry Michel 
when he recast the great bell of Croxden Abbey in 
1313, and the work would have to be done all over 
again. ^ But if the work had been properly carried 
out the completed bell had to be tuned, unless, as 
was the case at St. Laurence's, Reading, in 1596, 
' not so much the tune of the bell was cared for as 
to have it a loud bell and heard far.' 2 

The tuning was done by grinding, or cutting, 
down the rim of the bell if the note was too flat, or 
by reducing its thickness, filing down the inner 
surface of the sound bow, if the note was too sharp. 
In order to reduce the amount of tuning required 
it was necessary to know approximately the relation 
between size, or weight, and tone, and as early as the 
reign of Henry in. a monk of Evesham, Walter of 
Odyngton, devised a system by which each bell was 
to weigh eight-ninths of the bell next above it in 
weight.^ This system, delightfully simple in theory, 
could not have yielded satisfactory results in practice, 
and it is probable that most founders had their own 
systems, based upon experience and practical obser- 
vation. The question of whether a bell was correctly 
in tune with the others of the peal was one which 
naturally led to occasional disputes. When Robert 
Gildesburgh, brazier, of London, a fifteenth-century 

1 Raven, op. cit., 74. * V. C. H. Berks., ii. 418. 

* Raven, op. cit., 57. 


bell-founder, cast two bells for Whitchurch in Dorset, 
the vicar refused to pay for them, as he said they 
were out of tune. Gildesburgh requested that they 
should be submitted to the judgment of Adam 
Buggeberd, rector of South Peret, who accordingly 
came over and heard them rung, and decided that 
there was no fault in them.^ In the case of the 
bells recast for the church of St. Mary-at-Hill, 
London, in 1510,2 we have first an entry of 6|d. 
paid ' for Reves labour and his brekefast for com- 
yng from Ludgate to Algate to here the iiij bell in 
tewne ' ; and then, as apparently the churchwardens 
were not satisfied with his report, 8d. paid ' for wyne 
and peres at Skran's howse at Algate for Mr.Jentyll 
Mr. Russell, John Althorpe, John Condall and the 
clarkes of saynt Antonys to go and see whether 
smythes bell wer tewneabill or not.' Possibly the 
decision in the case of this fourth bell cast by Wilham 
Smith was not satisfactory, as the ' great bell ' seems 
to have been entrusted to William Culverden, a 
contemporary founder, many of whose bells, bear- 
ing his rebus of the culver or wood pigeon, still 

The bell having been fitted with an iron clapper, 
swung from a staple inside the crown of the bell by 
a leathern baudrick, was fastened on to a massive 
wooden stock furnished at its ends with gudgeons, 
or iron pivots, to work in the bronze sockets of the 

1 Early Chanc. Proc, 68, no. 144. 

2 Ch. Ward. Accts. St. Mary-at-Hill (E. E. T. S.). 


frame, and was now ready to be hung in the belfry. 
But although it was now a finished ' trade article,' 
there was 3^et one more process to be undergone 
before it could summon the faithful to church : it 
was usual, though apparently by no means universal, 
for the bells to be blessed. Thus the bells of St. 
Albans Abbey were consecrated in the middle of the 
twelfth century by the Bishop of St. Asaph ; ^ and a 
detailed account of the dedication of the great bell 
called ' Jesus ' at Lichfield Cathedral in 1477 has 
been preserved. ^ In the case of the five bells of St. 
Michael's, Bishop's Stortford, recast by Reginald 
Chirche of Bury St. Edmunds in 1489 at a cost of 
£42, an extra 17s, 6d. was paid ' for their consecra- 
tion {pro sandificacione) .' ^ That the dedication 
ceremony included a form analogous to baptism 
is clearly shown by an entry in the accounts of 
St. Laurence, Reading, where, in 1508, we find ' paid 
for hallowing the great bell named Harry 6s. 8d. 
And over that Sir William Symj^s Richard Clich and 
Mistress Smyth being godfather and godmother at 
the consecracyon of the same bell, and bearing all 
the costs to the suffragan.' ^ 

Of the early centres of the industry London was 
naturally the most important. Two early bell- 
founders of this city have already been mentioned, 

1 Raven, op. cit., 47. ^ Ibid., 319. 

' Recs. of St. Michael's. See also Ch. Wardens Accts. (Somer- 
set Rec. Soc). 

« V. C. H. Berks., ii. 416. Cf. H. B. Walters, Church Bells oj 
England, ch. xii. 


but it is noteworthy, as showing that to a certain 
extent a man might be ' jack of all trades ' even if 
he w"as master of one, that several bells were cast 
for Westminster i\bbey by Edward Fitz Odo, the 
famous goldsmith of Henry iii.i That monarch, a' 
patron of all the arts, granted loos. yearly to the 
Bell-ringers' gild of Westminster for ringing the 
great bells. ^ Mr. Stahlschmidt has shown that the 
centre of the bell-founding trade was round Aldgate 
and in the neighbourhood of St. Andrew Undershaft 
and St. Botolph- without- Aldgate,^ while amongst 
the more prominent early founders were the family 
of Wimbish at the beginning of the fourteenth 
century and the Burfords at the end of the same 
century. Contemporary with these last was WilUam 
Founder, whose trade stamp, bearing his name and 
a representation of two birds on a conventionalised 
tree, occurs on a number of bells and hints at his real 
surname, which, although it has hitherto eluded 
historians, was clearly Wodeward. Mr. Stahl- 
schmidt ^ noticed the entry on the Issue Rolls of 
1385 recording the purchase of twelve cannon from 
WiUiam the founder, but did not notice that the very 
next year sixty cannon were bought from William 
Wodeward,^ while in 1417 other cannon were pro- 
vided by William Wodeward, founder.^ 

1 Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, 295. * Raven, op. cit., 69. 

» London Bell- founders, 3. * Ibid., 45. 

^ Issue R. of Exch., 239. « Ibid., 346. 


Amongst the provincial centres we may notice 
Gloucester, where Hugh Bellyetare occurs about 
1270, and John Belyetere in 1346,1 the latter being 
presumably the Master John of Gloucester, who 
with his staff of six men came to Ely in 1342 to cast 
four bells for Prior Walsingham.^ A later bell- 
founder of some eminence at Gloucester was William 
Henshawe, who was mayor in 1503, 1508, and 1509. ^ 
Another of the craft who obtained more than local 
reputation was John de Stafford, mayor of Leicester 
in 1366 and 1370,* who was called in by the chapter 
of York to cast bells for the Minster in 1371.'' This 
is the more remarkable as York was itself a centre 
of the industry, the most famous of its founders 
being Richard Tunnoc, who represented the city in 
Parliament in 1327, and dying in 1330, left behind 
him as a worthy memorial ' the bell-maker's window ' 
in York Minster.^ In the central panel of this 
window Richard Tunnoc himself is shown kneeling 
before a sainted archbishop ; the two other panels 
show the process of bell-making. In the one the 
master workman is supervising the flow of the metal 
into the mould from a furnace, the draught of which 

^ Glouc. Corporation Recs. 

* Sacrist Rolls of Ely, ii. 114, 138, where details of the outlay 
in the purchase of tin and copper, and of clay for the moulds 
and other necessaries are given. 

^ Raven, op. cit., 149. * Ibid., 90. 

* Fabric R. of York (Surtees Soc), 9. Details are given. 

* Raven, op. cit., where illustrations of the three panels are 


is supplied by bellows worked by two young men, 
the one standing upon them with one foot on each 
and the other holding the handles. The remaining 
panel is usually said to represent the moulding of 
the clay core, but it seems to me more likely to 
represent the finishing, smoothing, and polishing 
of the completed bell.^ Richard Tunnoc is shown 
seated holding a long crooked instrument (resembling 
a very large boomerang), and applying it with great 
care to the surface of the bell, or core, which an 
assistant is rotating on a primitive lathe consisting 
of two trestles and a crooked handle. The space 
round each panel is filled with rows of bells swing- 
ing in tref oiled niches. 

The number of churches in the larger towns being 
much greater in medieval times than at the present 
day, and few of these churches being content with a 
single bell, most of the chief towns, and in particular 
those possessing cathedrals or important monasteries, 
had their resident bell-founders. In the case of 
Exeter, Bishop Peter de Quivil, about 1285, assured 
the proper care of the bells of the cathedral by 
granting a small property in Paignton to Robert 
le Bellyetere as a retaining fee, Robert and his heirs 
being bound to make or repair, when necessary, the 
bells, organs, and clock of the cathedral, the chapter 

1 If the bell-shaped object is really the core, the ornamenta- 
tion upon it must be ascribed to ' artist's licence,' as the surface 
of the core would in reality be quite plain. 


paying all expenses, including the lood and drink 
of the workmen, and these obligations were duly 
fulfilled for at least three generations, Robert, son 
of Walter, son of the original Robert, still holding 
the land on the same terms in 1315.^ Canterbury 
was another local centre of the trade, and from 
Canterbury came the founder who in 1345 cast a 
couple of bells at Dover, the one weighing 3266 lbs., 
and the other 1078 lbs., for each of which he was paid 
at the rate of a halfpenny the pound. ^ In East 
Anglia there was an important foundry at the mon- 
astic town of Bury St. Edmunds, one of the fifteenth- 
century founders using as his trade mark a shield, 
which is interesting as bearing on it not only a bell, 
but also a cannon with a ball issuing from its mouth. 
Norwich, again, with its seventy churches and its 
cathedral priory, was a busy centre of the industry. 
One of the later Norwich founders, Richard Brasier, 
seems to have been more skilful than straightforward 
and to have devoted some of his skill to evading 
his obligations. In 1454 the churchwardens of 
Stansfield bargained with him to cast a bell for their 
church, half payment to be made on delivery and the 
other half at the expiration of a year and a day if 

1 Inq. ad qd. damnum, File io8, no. 15. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 462, no. 16. Amongst the items of 
expenditure are ' For eggs and ale bought for maldng the inscrip- 
tion round the bell 3d. For wax and cobbler's wax {code) for the 
same 5Jd.' Possibly a mixture of eggs and ale was used to 
anoint the metal letter stamps and prevent their sticking to the 
clay of the cope. 


the bell proved satisfactory, but if it did not he was 
to cast a new bell for them ; he, however, taking 
advantage of their being unlearned men caused the 
latter clause to be omitted from the indenture, and 
when the bell proved unsatisfactory refused to make 
a fresh one.^ A few years later, in 1468, the par- 
ishioners of Mildenhall brought an action against 
him for breach of contract. It had been agreed that 
the great bell of Mildenhall should be brought by 
the parishioners to ' the werkhous ' of the said 
Richard Brasier and weighed by them, and that 
Brasier should then cast from the metal of the old 
bell a new tenor bell in tune with the others then 
in the church steeple, and should warrant it, as was 
customary, for a year and a day, and if it were not 
satisfactory should at his own expense take it back 
to Norwich ' to be yoten.' They had duly carried 
the bell to his workshop, but he had not cast it ; in 
defence his counsel urged that although they had 
brought it they had not weighed it, and that until 
they did so he was not bound to cast it. On the 
other side it was argued that the point was frivolous, 
that he could have weighed it himself, and that 
indeed the indenture implied that it was to be 
weighed and put into the furnace by his men in the 
presence of the men of Mildenhall. ^ A jury was 

1 Early Chanc. Proc, 24, no. 138. 

- De Banco, 831, m. 414 ; and Raven, op. cit., 164-6, quoting 
Year Book 9 Edw. iv., Easter Term, case 13. 


summoned, but did not appear, and the case was 

The suppression of the monasteries, followed by 
the seizure of Church goods, including large numbers 
of bells, formed the rude termination of the medieval 
period of the industry, and may be symbolised by 
the death of William Corvehill, formerly subprior 
of Wenlock, ' a good bell founder and maker of the 
frame for bells,' at Wenlock in 1546.1 

We have seen that a cannon is shown on the shield 
used as a trade mark by a fifteenth-century Suffolk 
bell- founder, and the casting of Ordnance may rank 
with the casting of bells as one of the most interesting 
and important branches of the founder's craft. 
Carmon seem to have been introduced into England 
at the beginning of the reign of Edward iii. In 
1339 there were in the Guildhall ' six instruments 
of fatten called gonnes and five roleres for the same. 
Also pellets of lead weighing 4^ cwt. for the same 
instruments. Also 32 lbs. of powder for the same.' ^ 
This same year guns are recorded to have been used 
by the English at the siege of Cambrai, and they were 
also used at Creyy in 1346. Two large and nine 
small ' gunnes ' of copper were provided for Sheppey 
Castle in 1365 ; ^ but whether any of these were of 
native manufacture may be doubted, though a small 
gun sent over to Ireland in 1360 is said to have been 

1 V. C. H. Shrops., i. 47. ^ i^yley, Mem. oj London , 205. 

* Enrolled Wardrobe Accts., no. 4. 


bought in London/ which does not, of course, 
necessarily imply that it was made there. In 1385, 
however, the sheriff of Cumberland included in his 
account of repairs to the Castle of Carhsle ' costs 
incurred in making three brass cannons which are 
in the said castle,' ^ and in the same year ' William 
Founder,' as we saw when considering his work as 
a bell-founder, provided twelve guns. Next year 
the same William Wodeward made no less than 
sixty cannon for Calais.^ As he was still providing 
ordnance in 1416,* we may probably identify him 
with ' Master William Gunmaker,' who made several 
small cannon in 1411, two of them being of iron.^ 

The early cannon were made of bronze of a similar 
composition to that used for bells, and when iron 
was introduced the cannon of that material were 
made in the form of a tube composed of long iron 
bars, arranged like the staves of a barrel, bound round 
with iron bands. They were all breech-loaders, con- 
sisting of two separate parts, the barrel and the 
chamber ; the latter being a short cylinder, usually 
detachable, in which the charge of gunpowder was 
placed, and which was then fastened into the base 
of the barrel by means of a stirrup or similar appar- 
atus. Double-barrelled cannon appear to have been 
fairly common, as in 1401 eight single cannon and 

* Enrolled Wardrobe Accts., no. 4. 
2 Foreign R., 9 Ric. 11., m. A. 

* Foreign R., 11 Ric. 11., m. H. 

* Issue R. of Exch., 346. ^ Foreign R., 3 Hen. v., m. C 


six double {dtiplices) were sent to Dover Castle, and 
the same numbers to Scotland.^ An inventory of 
the artillery at Berwick-on-Tweed taken at the same 
time 2 distinguishes between guns ' imbedded in 
timber bound with iron ' and ' naked ' guns ; it also 
mentions ' two small brass guns on wooden sticks, 
called handgonnes,' an early instance of small arms. 
The same inventory refers to ' quarells for gonnes ' ; 
and in the previous year Henry Robertes, serjeant, 
dwelling near the Guildhall, was paid £8, 8s. for 
twenty-four ' quarell gunnes,' ^ these being guns 
which threw quarrels, or bolts similar to those used 
with crossbows.* The usual projectiles employed in 
the larger guns were round stone balls, such as had 
been in use for mangonels and catapults since the 
days of the Romans, and these were supplied from 
the quarries of Maidstone and elsewhere do\vn to 
the time of Henry viii. Iron ' gunstones ' do not 
seem to have been made much before the end of the 
fifteenth century, and the ' wooden balls for cannon,' 
of which there were 350 at Dover in 1387,^ can hardly 
have proved successful, but lead was commonly 
employed for the smaller guns from an early date. 
London was the chief centre of the manufacture 

1 Foreign R., 3 Hen. iv., m. G. ^ Jhid.^ m. I. 

* Issue R. of Exch., 277. 

* An illustration of a gun firing an arrow, drawn apparently in 
1326, is mentioned in Proc. Soc. Ant. (xvi., 225), and at the battle 
of St. Albans in 1461 guns were used shooting ' arowes of an 
elle of length.' — Gregory's Chron. (Camd. Sec), 213. 

* Foreign R., 11 Ric. 11., m. G. 


of ordnance, but an iron cannon was made at Bristol 
in 1408/ and five years later John Stevenes of Bristol 
was ordered to supervise the making of another. ^ 
In 1408 ' a certain great cannon newly invented by 
the king himself ' was made ; ^ this presumably 
was ' the great iron cannon called K3'ngesdoughter/ 
which, shortly after its birth, was broken at the siege 
of ' Hardelagh.' * The ' Kyngesdoughter ' was pro- 
bably made at the Tower, as were three other iron 
cannon at the same time, four more being made in 
Southwark and two smaller ones by Anthony Gunner, 
possibly at Worcester as one of them was tested there 
and broke during the trial ; of six bronze cannon 
made at the same time the largest, the ' Messager,' 
weighing 4480 lbs., and two small ones were broken 
at the siege of Aberystwyth. The life of a gun in 
those days seems to have been short, and that of a 
gunner precarious.^ In 1496, when the government 
range was at Mile End, 13s. 4d. was given to Blase 
Ballard, gunner, ' towards his leche craft of his 
hands and face lately hurte at Myles ende by fortune 
shoting of a gunne,' ^ and this is not the only hint 
we have that these weapons were sometimes as 
dangerous to their users as to the enemy. 

1 Foreign R., 3 Hen. v., m. C. ^ Issue R. of Exch., 332. 

3 Ibid., 307-8. * Foreign R., 3 Hen. v., m. C. 

^ In the Scottish expedition of 1496, five out of thirty-two 
' faucons of brasse,' and twelve out of one hundred and eighty 
' hakbusses of iren ' were broken in action. — Exch. Tr. of R., 
Misc. Bks., 7, f. 140. 

6 Exch. Tr. of R., Misc. Bks., 8, f. 134. 


The Germans and Dutch were particularly expert 
in the manufacture of guns, and we hnd Matthew 
de Vlenk ' gonnemaker ' in the service of Richard ii.,^ 
while Godfrey Goykyn, one of four ' gunnemeystres ' 
from Germany, who were serving Henry v. during 
the last years of his reign, ^ was employed in 1433 
to finish off three great iron cannon which Walter 
Thomasson had begun to make.^ These cannon 
threw balls of fourteen, sixteen, and eighteen inches 
diameter, respectively, so that presumably they 
were ' bombards ' or mortars, and probably similar 
in type to one found in the moat of Bodiam Castle, 
and now at Woolwich ; ^ the core of this specimen, 
w^hich is of 15-inch calibre, is of cast-iron, the outer 
casing being formed of a series of bands of wrought 
iron, and it was probably made in Sussex. It was 
in this county, at Newbridge in Ashdown Forest, 
that Simon Ballard in 1497 cast large quantities of 
iron shot,^ those for ' bombardells ' weighing as 
much as 225 lbs. each, so that they had to be placed 
in the guns by means of ' shotting cradles ' : ^ for 
' curtows ' the shot weighed 77 lbs., for ' demi- 
curtows ' 39 lbs., for ' great serpentines ' 19 lbs., and 
for ordinary ' serpentines ' 5 lbs. This same Simon 
Ballard was enrolled amongst the gunners at the 

1 Early Chanc. Proc, 78, no. 81. ^ j^stte R. of Exc/i., 382. 

3 Foreign R., 12 Hen. vi., m. D. 
* Figured in Suss. Arch. Coll., xlvi. 

^ He was paid at the rate of i6d. the hundredweight. — Exch. 
Tr. of R., Misc. Bks., 8, f. 139. « Ibid., f. 34- 


time of the Cornish rising under Perkin Warbeck.^ 
In the same way we find ' Pieter Robard ahas Graunte 
Pierre/ ironfounder of Hartfield,^ described as a 
' gonner,' and casting ' pellettes ' at 6d. a day in 
1497.3 In this same year ten ' faucons ' (small guns 
which fired balls of about 2 lbs.) were made by 
William Frese,^ founder, at los. the hundredweight, 
and eight faucons of brass were made by William 
Newport,^ who was a London bell-founder,^ while 
John Crowchard repaired an old serpentyne that 
John de Chalowne made and provided ' 10 claspis 
for the touche holes of diverse gonnes with 5 oliettes 
and fourteen staples,' weighing 53 lbs. at 2d. the 
pound, and also ' 7 bandes of yren made for the great 
gonnes mouthes.' ' Comelys Amoldson at the same 
time was paid for mending five great serpentynes 
and making two new chambers to them, for ' 5 fore- 
locks with cheynes to the said gonnes,' for ' hand- 
ills made to the chambres,' and for ' vernysshing 
and dressing ' the guns.^ 

At the beginning of the reign of Henry viii. large 
purchases of cannon were made abroad, from Hans 
Popenreuter and Lewis de la Fava of Mechlin, from 
Stephen of St. lago, from Fortuno de Catalengo, 
and from John Cavalcante of Florence, who also, 

1 Exch. Tr. of R., Misc. Bks., 8, f. 158. 

2 Early Chanc. Proc, 222, no. 112. 

3 Exch. Tr. of R., Misc. Bks., 8, f. 132. * Ibid., f. 81. 

* Ibid., f. 96. * Early Chanc. Proc, 376, no. 32. 

' Exch. Tr. of R., Misc. Bks., 8, f, 136. « Ibid-, i. 149. 


in return for a grant of alum, agreed to import 
saltpetre to the value of £2400.1 But the Enghsh 
foundries were not idle : Humphrey Walker, a 
London gunfounder, supplied fifty pieces of ordnance, 
at I2S. the pound, as well as much shot,- while 
Comelys Johnson ' gonnemaker,' made and repaired 
ordnance for the navy.^ John Atkynson, another 
founder, in 15 14 was paid 2S. ' for 8 lodes of clay to 
make molds for a great gun chamber ' and a further 
8d. for 5 lbs. of hair ' to temper the clay withall ' ; 
he was also supplied with latten and iron wire, and 
John Dowson made certain iron work, including 
' a rounde plate for the bottom of the chambre, in 
length 4i feet, with 10 rounde hookes ; a rounde 
plate with a crosse for the mouthe of the chambre ; 
36 bandes of 4 foot in length for to wrapp the chambre 
in ; ... 6 pynnes of hardyron, 2 hokes, a stamme, 
a quespile,' etc.^ 

The medieval period of gunfounding came to an 
end with the discovery, about 1543, of a method of 
casting iron cannon in the entire piece — then boring 
them. This discovery is usually attributed to Ralph 
Hogge of Buxted and Peter Baude, his French 
assistant, and resulted in the ironmaking districts 
of the Weald of Sussex and Kent becoming the chief 
centre of the manufacture of ordnance.^ 

' Exch. Tr. of R., Misc. Bks., vol. vii., passinu and L. and P. 
Hen. VI II., vol. i. 

* Misc. Bks., vol. i., ff. 32, 78. ^ Ibid., ff. 57, 61. 

* I bid., vol. iv.yii. 106, ibi. * Sec V. C. II. 5ttsscx,n. 246-9. 





The manufacture of earthen vessels was one of the 
earhest, as it was one of the most widespread in- 
dustries. From the end of the Stone Age onwards 
wherever suitable clay was to be found, the potter 
plied his trade. The Romans, who had brought 
the art of potting to a high pitch of excellence, 
introduced improved methods into Britain, where 
numerous remains of kilns and innumerable frag- 
ments of pottery testify to the industry and the 
individuality of the Romano-British potters. 
Several quite distinct types of pottery have been 
identified and are assignable to definite localities. 
Great quantities of black and grey wares, consisting 
of articles of common domestic use, ornamented for 
the most part only with broad bands of darker or 
lighter shading, were made in Kent near the Medway, 
the finer specimens being associated with Upchurch. 
From the potteries in the New Forest^ came vases 
of greater ornamental and artistic execution, but it 
was the neighbourhood of Castor in Northampton- 
shire that occupied in Roman times the place held 

1 Arch. Journ., xxx. 319-24. 


in recent times by Staffordshire. Round Castor 
numbers of kilns have been found/ and the pecuhar 
dark ware, with its self-coloured slip decoration, 
occurs all over England, and also on the Continent. 
Romano-British kilns have been found in a great 
number of places, some of the best preserved being 
at Castor,^ in London,' at Colchester,* Radlett 
(Herts.),^ and Shepton Mallet (Somerset).^ Speak- 
ing generally they consisted of a circular pit, about 
4 to 6 feet in diameter, dug out to a depth of about 
4 feet : in this was a fiat clay floor raised some 
2 feet from the bottom of the pit by a central 
pedestal. Into the space between this floor, or 
table, and the bottom of the pit came the hot air 
and smoke from a small furnace built at one side 
of the pit, or kiln proper. On the clay table, which 
was pierced with holes for the passage of the heat 
and smoke, were ranged the clay vessels to be baked, 
and these were built up in layers of diminishing 
diameter into a domed or conical structure, the 
layers being separated by grass covered with clay, 
the whole was then covered in with clay, leaving 
only an aperture in the centre at the top,^ and the 
furnace Hghted. 

1 See V. C. H. Northants., i. 206-12. ^ Ibid. 

* Proc. Soc. Ant., xvi. 42. 

* Brit. Arch. Ass. Journ., xxxiii. 

* Proc. Soc. Ant., xvii. 261-70. * Somers. Arch. Soc, xiii. {2) x. 
' The dark colour of the Castor ware seems to have been 

caused by ' smothering ' the kiln, by closing the vent, before the 
baking was complete. 


The early medieval kilns appear to have been 
very similar in construction to those just described, 
or of even simpler construction. If we may take 
literally the statement that a potter at Skipton paid 
6s. 8d. in 1323 ' for dead wood and undergrowth to 
burn round his pots ' ^ it would seem that here a 
primitive combination of furnace and kiln in one was 
in use. At a later date the usual construction was 
probably something similar to those found at 
Ringmer, in Sussex,^ which seem to belong to the 
fifteenth century. Here the kilns were built of 
bricks or blocks of clay cemented by a sandy loam 
which vitrified under the influence of the heat to 
which it was subjected. The beds of the kilns 
enclosed longitudinal passages covered in with 
narrow arches, the spaces between which served to 
transmit the hot air to the superimposed clay vessels. 
The hearths were charged through arched openings 
at their ends with charcoal fuel. 

To render the pottery non-porous, it was neces- 
sary to glaze it,^ and from an early period lead has 
been used for this purpose. A twelfth - century 
description of the process says * that the surface of 
the vase is first to be moistened with water in which 
flour has been boiled, and then powdered with lead : 
it is then placed inside a larger vessel and baked at 

1 Misc. Accts. 1147, no. 23. ^ Suss. Arch. Coll., xlv. 128-^8. 
' A Roman glazing kiln was found at Castor. — V. C. H. North- 
ants., i. 210. 

* Fagniez, Docs, relatifs tt I'histoire de I'industrie, no. 133. 


a gentle heat. This process gives a yellow glaze, 
but if green is required — and green was the colour 
most often used in England in the medieval period 
— copper or bronze was to be added to the lead. 
The same authority gives a recipe for a leadless 
glaze : baked potter's earth is powdered and washed 
and then mixed with half its weight of unbaked 
earth, containing no sand ; this is then worked up 
with oil and painted over the surface of the vase. 

Potters are mentioned at Bladon (Oxon.), Has- 
field (Gloucs.), and Westbury (Wilts.), in Domesday, * 
but apart from casual references in place names ^ 
and in descriptions of individuals ^ the documentary 
history of early English pottery is scanty. Kingston 
on Thames may have been an early centre of the 
trade, as in 1260 the bailiffs of that town were 
ordered to send a thousand pitchers to the king's 
butler at Westminster.* At Graffham, in Sussex, 
in 1341, one of the sources of the vicar's income was 
' a composition from the men who made clay pots, 
which is worth I2d.,' ^ but the most common form 
of entry is a record of sums paid by potters for leave 

» Dom. Bk., 65, 156, i68*- 

* e.g. ' Pottersfield ' at Horsham, in which parish several 
finds of green glazed thirteenth-century vessels have been made. 
— V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 251. 

^ e.g. ' Geoffrey the potter,' who occurs in 1314 at Limpsfield, 
where remains of kilns have been found. — Proc. Soc. Ant., iii. 

* Lib. R., 51 Hen. iii., m. 10. Simon ' le Pichermakere ' of 
Cornwall is found in the fourteenth century sending his wares 
(presumably pitchers) to Sussex. — Anct. Pet., 10357-8. 

* Inq. Nonarum, 361. Cf. the Hundred Kolls lor Bucks, 


to dig clay. Thus at Cowick in Yorkshire/ in 1374, 
as much as £4, i6s. was ' received from potters 
making earthen vessels, for clay and sand taken in 
the moor of Cowick.' Similar entries occur here 
every year for about a century, while at Ringmer, 
in Sussex, small dues of gd. a head were paid yearly 
by some half a dozen potters for a period of well 
over two hundred years. ^ Still earlier, in 1283, a 
rent of 36s. 8d., called ' Potteresgavel,' was paid 
to the lord of the manor of Midhurst.^ 

The type of pottery produced does not seem to 
have varied to any great extent in the different 
districts.* At Lincoln it seems to have been the 
custom to decorate some of the vessels by means of 
stamps : some of these stamps, in the form of heads, 
may be seen in the British Museum. But the use 
of stamps for decorating pottery is found also at 
Hastings. One distinctive variety of earthenware, 
however, arose about the beginning of the sixteenth 
century : it is a thin hard pottery, dark brown in 
colour, well glazed, and usually decorated with 
elaborate patterns in white slip. From its being 
found in large quantities in the Cistercian abbeys 
of Yorkshire — Kirkstall, Jervaulx, and Fountains — 
it has received the name of ' Cistercian ware,' but 
there is at present no direct evidence of its place of 

* Mins. Accts., 507, no. 8227. ^ V. C. H. Stissex, ii. 251. 

* Ibid. * Arch. Journ., lix. 1-16. ' Proc. Soc. Ant., xv. 5-11. 


Closely connected with pottery is the manufacture 
of Tiles, the material being in each case clay, and 
the kilns used being practically identical. At what 
period the manufacture of tiles, which had ceased 
with the Roman occupation, was resumed in England 
is not certain, but from the beginning of the thirteenth 
century they play an increasing part in the records 
of building operations. The frequency and devas- 
tating effect of fires, where thatched roofs were in 
use, soon led to the use of tiles for roofing purposes 
in towns even when the authorities did not make 
their use compulsory, as was done in London in 
1212, and at a much later date, in 1509, at Norwich.^ 
The importance, for the safety of the town, of having 
a large supply of tiles accessible at a low price was 
recognised, and in 1350, after the Black Death had 
sent the prices of labour and of manufactured goods 
up very high, the City Council of London fixed the 
maximum price of tiles at 5s. the thousand, ^ and in 
1362, when a great tempest had unroofed numbers 
of houses and created a great demand for tiles, they 
ordered that the price of tiles should not be raised, 
and that the manufacturers should continue to make 
tiles as usual and expose them for sale, not keeping 
them back to enhance the price. ^ It was probably 

1 Rec. of Norwich, ii., no. 193. 

2 Riley, Mem. of London, 254. 

3 Ibid., 309. The monks of Boxley got as much as los. the 
thousand for some of the tiles from their tilery this year. — Mins. 
Accts., 1253, no. 13. 


the same appreciation of the public advantage that 
led the authorities at Worcester in the fifteenth 
century to forbid the tilers to form any gild, or trade 
union, to restrain strangers from working in the city, 
or to fix a rate of wages.^ 

The Worcester regulations also ordered that all 
tiles should be marked with the maker's sign, so 
that any defects in size or quality could be traced 
to the party responsible. Earher in the same cen- 
tury, in 1425, there had been many complaints at 
Colchester of the lack of uniformity in the size of 
the tiles made there, ^ and at last it became necessary 
in 1477 to pass an Act of Parliament to regulate the 
manufacture.^ By this Act it was provided that 
the clay to be used should be dug, or cast, by ist 
November, that it should be stirred and turned 
before the beginning of February, and not made into 
tiles before March, so as to ensure its being pro- 
perly seasoned. Care was to be taken to avoid any 
admixture of chalk or marl or stones. The standard 
for plain tiles should be loj inches by 6| inches 
with a thickness of at least | inch ; ridge tiles or 
crests should be 13I inches by 6J, and gutter tiles 
io| inches long, and of sufficient thickness and depth. 
Searchers were to be appointed and paid a penn}^ on 
every thousand plain tiles, a half-penny on every 

1 Toulmin Smith, English Guilds, 399. At Lincoln, on the 
other hand, the tilers had formed a gild in 1346, and no tiler not 
belonging to the gild might stay in the town. — Ibid., 184. 

" V. C. H. Essex, ii. 456. ^ statutes, 17 Edw. iv. 


hundred crests, and a farthing for every hundred 
comer and gutter tiles examined. Infringement of 
the regulation entailed fines of 5s. the thousand 
plain, 6s. 8d. the hundred crest, and 2s. the hundred 
comer or gutter tiles sold. ' The size of the tiles 
is probably a declaration of the custom, the fine 
is the price at which each kind was ordinarily sold 
in the fifteenth century.' ^ 

These regulations throw a certain amount of light 
upon the processes employed in tile-making, and 
further details are obtainable from the series of 
accounts relating to the great tileworks in the Kentish 
manor of Wye,^ extending from 1330 to 1380. In 
1355 the output of ten kilns [furni] was 98,500 plain, 
or flat, tiles, 500 ' festeux ' ^ (either ridge or gutter 
tiles), and 1000 ' comers.' The digging of the clay 
and burning of the kilns was contracted for at lis. 
the kiln, a thousand faggots were bought for fuel ^ 
at a cost of 45s., and another los. was spent on 
carriage of the clay and faggots. The total expenses 
were therefore £8, 5s., and as plain tiles sold here for 
2s. 6d. the thousand, festeux at three farthings each, 
and comers at is. 8d. the hundred, the value of the 
output was about £14, 15s. In 1370, when thirteen 

^ Thorold Rogers, Hist, of Agriculture and Prices, i. 490. 

* Mins. Accts., 899, 900. 

» Possibly from the French, fitu = 2i straw, from their being 
moulded as hollow cylinders. 

* Turf was evidently used by the Cambridgeshire tilers for 
fuel. — Sacrist Rolls of Ely, ii. 67, 93, 137. 


kilns belonging to two tileries turned out 168,000 
plain tiles, 650 festeux, and 900 comers, we have a 
more elaborate account. Wood was cut at the rate 
of I5d. for each kiln ; clay for the six kilns of one 
tilery was ' cast ' at I4d. the kiln and ' tempered ' 
at the rate of is. 6d., but for the seven kilns of the 
other tilery payment was made in grain. The clay 
was carried to the six kilns for 4s., and prepared ^ for 
moulding into tiles for 7s. ; the actual making and 
burning 2 of the tiles was paid for at 14s. the kiln, and 
an extra I2d. were given as gratuities to the tilers. 
Next year the output was considerably reduced, 
because in one tilery ' the upper course of the kilns 
{cursus furni) did not bake the tiles fully, nor will it 
bake them until extensive repairs are done,' and in 
the other tilery only four kilns were prepared, and 
one of these had to be left unbumt until the next 
year, owing to the lack of workmen. It was possibly 
for the defective kiln just mentioned that a ' new 
vault ' was made in 1373 at a cost of 6s. 8d. — with 
a further 8d. for obtaining loam {Iwio) for the work. 
Two years later repairs were done to the buildings 
of a tilery, which had been blown down by the wind. 
But the chief blow was struck to the industry here 

1 ' Pro luto tredando ad dictos vj furnos pro tegulis inde 
faciendis.' The meaning of tredando is uncertain, but as the 
process is always mentioned after the clay had been carried to 
the kilns, it may have been the rolling of the clay to the right 
thickness for cutting tiles from. 

* The words used for burning, or baking, the tiles are eleare 
and aneleare, both connected with our word " anneal.' 


by the increasing difficulty of obtaining workmen. 
The work may have been unhealthy, for it is note- 
worthy that the Ringmer potters were on more than 
one occasion wiped out by pestilence : ^ the effects 
of the Black Death in 1350 on the Wye tilers are not 
recorded, but in 1366 as a result, apparently, of the 
second pestilence two small tileries, one of three 
roods, and the other of i| acres, which had been 
leased for yd. and I4d. respectively, lost their tenants, 
and in 1375 mention is made of the scarcity of work- 
men, ' who died in the pestilence at the time of 
tile making.' In 1377 Peter at Gate, 2 who for the 
past few years had hired a number of kilns at 20s. 
a piece, only answered for four kilns ' on account of 
hindrance to the workmen, who had been assigned 
to guard the sea coast, and on account of the great 
quantity of rain in the autumn, which did not allow 
him to bum more kilns.' In the same year, and also 
two years later, another tilery was unworked for 
lack of labour. 

The tileries at Wye belonged to the Abbot of 
Battle, and there were tile kilns at Battle itself in 
the sixteenth century,^ and probably much earlier, 
as in the adjoining parish of Ashburnham in 1362, 
there was a ' building called a Tylehous for baking 

^ V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 251. 

* In 1373 Peter at Gate leased the pasturage of Nackholt, 
where the tileries lay, at the low rent of 15s. on condition that 
he should serve as ' the lord's workman for making tiles.' 

* V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 252. 


{siccandis) tiles,' ^ Just about the same time, in 
1363, we find ' a piece of land called Teghelerehelde ' 
in Hackington,2 close to Canterbury, granted to 
Christian Belsire, in whose family it remained for 
over a century, as in 1465 William Belsyre leased to 
John Appys and Edmund Helere of Canterbury * a 
tyleoste with a workhouse ' lying at Tylernehelde 
in Hackington for two years for a rent of 26s. Sd.^ 
With the ' tyleoste ' William Belsyre handed over 
15,000 ' tyle standardes ' — worth i8d. the thousand, 
eighty ' palette hordes and three long hordes for 
the kelle walles.' ^ Various building accounts show 
that there were extensive tileries at Smithfield ; for 
Guildford Castle the tiles came from Shalford, and 
for Windsor chiefly from ' la Penne.' In the north 
tiles were made before the end of the thirteenth 
century at Hull, amongst other places, but one of 
the chief centres was Beverley. About 1385 the 
monks of Meaux complained that ' certain workmen 
of Beverley who were called tilers, makers and 
burners of the slabs (laterum) with which many 
houses in Beverley and elsewhere are covered,' had 
trespassed on the abbey's lands at Waghen and 
Sutton, taking awa}/ clay between the banks and the 
stream of the river Hull without leave, to convert 
into tiles. The monks seized their tools, their oars, 

1 De Banco, 407, m. 12. ^ Harl. Ch., 76 D., 32. 

3 Ibid., B. 50. 

* Kelle = kiln: cf. Anct. D., A 4904, for a ' tylekelle ' at 
Woolwich in 1450. 


and finally one of their boats, but the Provost of 
Beverley, on whose fee the tileries were, supported 
the tilers in their claim to dig clay in any place 
covered by the waters of the Hull at its highest. ^ 
Some thirty years earlier, in 1359, the list of custom- 
ary town dues at Beverley included ' from every tiler's 
furnace fired |d.,' ^ and in 1370 Thomas Whyt, tiler, 
took a lease of the tilery of Aldebek from the town 
authorities for four years, at a rent of 6000 tiles. ^ 

So far we have been dealing with roofing tiles, 
or ' thakketyles,' but from the middle of the four- 
teenth century onwards with increasing frequency, 
we find mention of ' waltyles ' or bricks. For 
building a new chamber at Ely in 1335 some 18,000 
wall tiles {tegularum muraliuni,) were made at a cost 
of I2d. the thousand.* They seem to have been 
introduced from Flanders, and are frequently called 
' Flaundrestiell,' ^ as, for instance, in 1357, when a 
thousand were bought for a fireplace at Westminster 
at 3s. 2d.*^ At Beverley, in 1391, three persons 
acquired from the gild of St. John the right to take 
earth at Groval Dyke, paying yearly therefor 
3000 ' waltyles,' ' and in 1440 Robert CoUard, tile- 
maker, took ' le Grovald3^ke on the west side of le 

^ Chron. de Melsa (Rolls Ser.), iii. 179-S0. 
^ Hist. MSS. Com., Beverley MSS., 15. » Ibid., 62. 
* Sacrist R. of Ely, ii. 67. 

^ ' Flaunderistj-le vocata Breke.' — Exch. K. K. Accts., 503, 
no. 12. ® Ibid., 472, uo. 4. 

' Hiii. MSS. Com., Beverley MSS., 62. 


demmyng ' at a rent of looo ' waltyl.' ^ It was 
probably more particularly with regard to brick 
kilns than to ordinary tile kilns that the regulations 
drawn up in 1461 ^ ordered that, ' on account of the 
stench, fouling the air and destruction of fruit trees, 
no one is to make a kiln to bum tile nearer the town 
than the kilns now are, under penalty of a fine of 
lOos.' The term ' brick ' does not seem to have 
come into common use much before 1450, about 
which time the use of the material became general. 

In addition to roof tiles and wall tiles, there were 
floor tiles. References to these occur in many 
building accounts. At Windsor, in 1368, ' paven- 
tyll ' cost 4s. the thousand, and a large variety 2s. 
the hundred, while plain roof tiles were 2s. 6d. the 
thousand. 3 These were probably plain red tiles, 
but at Westminster in 1278 we have mention of the 
purchase of * a quarter and a half of yellow tiles ' 
for 7d.* Tiles with a plain yellow or green glazed 
surface are of common occurrence in medieval 
buildings, and in many churches and monastic 
ruins pavements of inlaid, so-called ' encaustic,' 
tiles remain more or less complete.^ In the case of 

1 Hist. MSS. Com., Beverley MSS., 128. 

* Ibid., 47. These by-laws distinguish in one place between 
' tilethakkers ' and ' tile wallers,' the latter being what we should 
call bricklayers. 

3 Exch. K. R. Accts., 494, no. 4. * Ibid., 467, no. 6 (6). 

^ Such were, no doubt, the paving tiles, of which 185,000 were 
bought from Richard Gregory, in 1357, for Westminster Chapel 
at 6s. 8d. the hundred. — Ibid., 472, no. 4. 


these inlaid tiles the pattern was impressed or 
incised before baking, and then filled in with white 
slip, the whole being usually glazed. Some of the 
patterns thus produced were of great beauty and 
elaboration, and it would seem that they were often 
designed, if not actually made, by members of 
monastic houses. The finest known scries are those 
discovered at Chertsey Abbey, and it is possible 
that the remarkable examples in the chapter-house 
of Westminster Abbey,^ which date from c. 1255, 
are by the same artist. In the case of the Abbey of 
Dale in Derbyshire,^ and the priories of Repton and 
Malvern,^ the kilns used for making these inlaid 
tiles have been discovered, and similar kilns, not 
associated, so far as is known, with any religious 
establishment, have also been found at Hastings.* 
The manufacture of these inlaid tiles in England 
gradually died out towards the end of the fifteenth 
century, and has only been revived in recent years. 
It is curious that although there is abundant 
circumstantial evidence of Glassmaking in England, 
during the medieval period, direct records of the 
manufacture are extremely scarce, and practically 
confined to a single district. From the early years 
of the thirteenth century, Chiddingfold and the 
neighbouring villages on the borders of Surrey and 

* Lethaby, Westminster Abbey, 48; Arch. Journal, Ixix. 36-73. 
"- V. C. II. Derby, ii. 375. Ibid. » V. C. H. Worces., ii. 275. 

* Suss. Arch. Coll., xi. 230. 


Sussex were turning out large quantities of glass. 
Laurence ' Vitrarius ' (the glassman) occurs as a 
landed proprietor in Chiddingfold about 1225, and 
some fifty years later there is a casual reference to 
' le Ovenhusfeld,' presumably the field in which was 
the oven or furnace house, of which the remains 
were uncovered some years since. ^ It is possible 
that in the case of glassmaking, as in the case of 
many other industries, improvements were intro- 
duced from abroad, for in 1352 we find John de 
Alemaygne - of Chiddingfold supplying large quanti- 
ties of glass for St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster.' 
In one batch he sent up three hundred and three 
weys (pondera) of glass, the wey being 5 lbs., and the 
hundred consisting of twenty-four weys, being, that 
is to say, the ' long hundred ' of 120 lbs. A little 
later he sent thirty-six weys, and soon after another 
sixty weys were bought at Chiddingfold, probably 
from the same maker. The price in each case was 
6d. the we^^ or 12s. the hundred, to which had to be 
added about id. the wey for carriage from the 
Weald to Westminster. In January 1355-6 four 
hundreds of glass were bought from the same maker 
for the windows of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, 
at 13s. 4d. the hundred.^ 

^ V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 295. 

' John of London, ' glasyere,' and John, son of John Alemaj-n 
of Chiddingfold, were acquitted on a charge of burglary at Tur- 
wick in 1342. — Gaol Delivery R., 129, m. 12. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 471, no. 6. •* V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 29G. 


Towards the end of the fourteenth century the 
family of Sherterre, or Shorter, became prominent 
in the Chiddingfold district, ^ and on the death of 
John Sherterre in 1380 his widow engaged John 
Glasewryth, of Staffordshire, to work the glass- 
house for six years, receiving 2od. for every sheaf 
(sheu) 2 of ' brodeglass ' {i.e. window glass), and 6d. 
for every hundred of glass vessels made. This is 
interesting as showing that glass vessels were made 
here ; the evidence of inventories, however, seems 
to show that glass was as a whole very little used 
for table purposes, though a few pieces of the beauti- 
ful Italian glassware might be found in the houses 
of the wealthy. The family of Shorter were suc- 
ceeded by the Ropleys, and they in turn by the 
Peytos, who carried on the trade during the whole 
of the sixteenth century, and as late as 1614, thus 
well overlapping the modem period of glassmaking, 
which began with the coming of the gentilshommes 
verriers from France early in the reign of Elizabeth.* 

Glass must have been made in many other dis- 
tricts where fuel and sand, the chief requisites for 
the manufacture, were plentiful, but it is difficult 
to identify any sites of the industry. In 1352 John 
Geddyng, glazier, was sent into Kent and Essex to get 

1 V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 296. 

^ In 1404 the Sacrist of Durham had in store ' of new coloured 
glass 2 scheff, of white glass and new 76 scheffe.' — Durham Acct. 
R. (Surtees Soc), ii. 397. 

' V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 297; V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 254. 



glass for St. Stephen's, Westminster, ^ but where he 
went and whether he was successful, is not known. 
' EngUsh glass ' is found in use at Durham in 1397,^ 
and at York in 1471.^ For York Minster sixteen 
sheets [tabulae) of English glass were bought from 
Edmund Bordale of Bramley buttes for 14s. 8d. in 
1478,^ and at an earUer date, in 1418, we find three 
seams, three weys of white glass bought from John 
Glasman of Ruglay (Rugeley) at 20s. the seam 
of twenty-four weys,^ but whether these men 
were glass makers, or merely glass merchants, 
cannot be determined. That the industry, so far 
at least as real stained glass is concerned, was not 
flourishing in England in the fifteenth century is 
shown by the fact that Henry vi., in 1449, brought 
over from Flanders John Utynam to make glass of 
all colours for Eton College and the College of St. 
Mary and St. Nicholas [i.e. King's) Cambridge. He 
was empowered to obtain workmen and materials 
at the King's cost, and full protection was granted 
to him and his family. He was also allowed to sell 
such glass as he made at his own expense, and ' be- 
cause the said art has never been used in England, 
and the said John is to instruct divers in many other 
arts never used in the realm,' the King granted him 
a monopoly, no one else being allowed to use such 
arts for twenty years without his licence under a 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., 471, no. 6. ^ Durham Acct. R., ii. 393. 
3 Fabric R. of York, 76. * Ibid., 83. ^ Ibid., 37. 


penalty of £200.1 -^Iq^^ gj^^gg ^f -^vhich we have any 
account was bought through the glaziers of the larger 
towns; but to what extent they made their own 
glass we cannot say. A certain amount, especially 
of coloured glass, was imported, and the York 
accounts show ' glass of various colours ' bought in 
1457 from Peter Faudkent, ' Dochman ' {i.e. German) , 
at Hull,2 ' Rennysshe ' glass bought in 1530, Bur- 
gundy glass in 1536, and Normandy glass in 1537,^ 
while in 1447 we find the executors of the Earl of 
Warwick stipulating that no Enghsh glass should 
be used in the windows of his chapel at Warwick."* 
To any one who knows the beauty of English 
stained glass this stipulation may seem strange, but 
it must be borne in mind that our cathedral windows 
derive their glories not from the maker, but from 
the painter, and that the glass is but the medium 
carrying the designs of the artist. English glass as 
a rule, prior at any rate to the fifteenth century, was 
white and received its decoration after it had left 
the glass-house. The process may be gathered from 
the account of St. Stephen's in 1352. Here we lind 
John of Chester and five other master glaziers 
employed at a shilling a day drawing designs for the 

1 Cat. of Pat., 1446-52, p. 255. The glorious windows now in 
King's College Chapel were made between 1515 and 1530 by 
four English and two Flemish glaziers, all of whom were resident 
in London. — Atkinson and Clark, Cambridge, 361. 

* Fabric R. of York, 69. ' Ibid., 104, io8, 109. 

4 Hartshorne, Old Engl. Glass, 129. 


windows on ' white tables,' presumably flat wooden 
tablets, which were washed with ale,^ which served 
no doubt as a size or medium to prevent the colours 
running. About a dozen glaziers were employed at 
yd. a day to paint the glass, and some fifteen, at 6d. 
a day, to cut or break the glass and join it,^ which 
they apparently did by placing it over the painted 
designs, this being presumably done before it was 
painted. The glass thus cut into convenient shapes 
was held in place over the design by * clozyngnailles,' 
and when it had been painted was joined up with 
leads, lard or grease being used to fill the joints. 
For the painting silver foil, gum arabick, jet (geet), 
and ' arnement ' (a kind of ink) were provided. ^ 
Possibly the stronger colours were supplied by the 
use of pieces of stained glass, as purchases were 
made of ruby, azure, and sapphire glass. 

1 Ale is also said in one place to have been used ' pro congela- 
cione vitri.' 

» ' Frangentes et conjungentes vitrum super tabulas depictas.* 

2 The colours in some cases were fixed by heating, and it is 
presumably to this that an entry in an account of work at Guild- 
ford Castle in 1292 refers : ' In uno furno faciendo pro vytro 
comburendo — viijd.' — Exch. K. R. Accts., 492, no. lo. 




Important as was the wool trade, for centuries the 
main source of England's wealth, its history, per- 
taining to the realms of commerce rather than of 
industry, does not concern us here, and we may 
ignore the raw material to deal with the manu- 
factured article. To treat at all adequately the 
vast and complicated history of clothmaking would 
require a volume as large as this book, even if the 
line be drawn at the introduction of the New 
Draperies by Protestant refugees in the time of 
Elizabeth, and all that is possible here is briefly to 
outline that history. 

The weaving of cloth is of prehistoric antiquity, 
implements employed therein having been found 
in numbers in the ancient lake-village of Glaston- 
bury, and on other earlier sites, but documentary 
evidence may be said to begin with the twelfth 
century. By the middle of that century the in- 
dustry had so far developed in certain centres that 
the weavers of London, Winchester, Lincoln, Oxford, 
Huntingdon, and Nottingham, cind the fullers of 
Winchester, had formed themselves into gilds. 


which were sufficiently wealthy to pay from 40s. to 
£12 yearly to the king for various privileges which 
practically amounted to the monopoly of cloth- 
working in their several districts. ^ If these were the 
principal they were by no means the only centres 
of the industry. Stamford,^ on the borders of 
Lincolnshire and Northants., was another ; and 
Gloucester,^ while dyers are found at Worcester ^ in 
1 173, and at Darlington ^ ten years later. 

To the twelfth century also belong the remarkable 
* laws of the weavers and fullers ' of Winchester, 
Marlborough, Oxford, and Beverley.^ These, which 
all closely resemble one another, and were either 
based upon, or intimately related to the regulations 
in force in London, show the clothworkers in a state 
of subjection for which it is difficult to account. 
Briefly summarised, they lay down that no weaver 
or fuller may traffic in cloth or sell it to any one 
except to the merchants of the town, and that if 
any became prosperous and wished to become a 
freeman of the town, he must first abandon his 
trade and get rid of all the implements connected 
with it, and then satisfy the town officials of his 
ability to keep up his new position without working 

1 Pipe R., 2 Hen. ii. * y^ q^ jj^ Lines., ii. 302. 

* See charter of Stephen, Cal. Chart, iii. 378. 

* Pipe R., 19 Hen. ir. 

5 Boldon Book.— K. C. H. Durham, i. 338. 
« Printed by Riley, Liber Custumarum (i. 130-1), and, from an 
earher copy, by Leach, Beverley Town Documents (Selden Soc), 


at his old trade. But the most singular provision, 
found in all these laws, was that no fuller or weaver 
could attaint or bear witness against a ' free man.' 
Here it is clear that ' free man ' is used not as opposed 
to a villein,^ but as implying one possessing the full 
franchise of his town, in other words, a member of 
the governing merchant gild, or equivalent body. 
Probably the English cloth trade, which was very 
extensive during the twelfth century, was entirely 
in the hands of the capitalist merchant clothiers, at 
any rate so far as the great towns here in question 
were concerned, and they had combined to prevent 
members of the handicraft gilds of clothworkers 
from obtaining access to the merchant gilds. As the 
charter granted to the London weavers by Henry 11. 
early in his reign confirms to them the rights and 
privileges which they had in the time of Henry I., 
and orders that no one shall dare to do them any 
injury or despite," it may be suggested that these 
restrictive regulations were drawn up in the time of 
Stephen. For the date at which they were collected, 
evidently as precedents for use in London, we may 
hazard 1202, in which year the citizens of London 
paid sixty marks to King John to abcjlish the 
weavers' gilds. ^ 

It is curious that most modem writers assume the 

1 The weavers were not villeins ; had they been so, the leave 
of their lords would have been necessary before they could 
obtain the freedom of their town. 

2 Liber Custumarwn, i. 33. => Ibid., Ixiii. 


English cloth trade to have practically started with 
the introduction of Flemish weavers by Edward in. 
It is constantly asserted ^ that prior to this the cloth 
made in England was of a very poor quaUty and 
entirely for home consumption. Both statements 
are incorrect. A very large proportion of the native 
cloth was certainly coarse ' burel/ such as that of 
which 2000 ells were bought at Winchester in 1172 
for the soldiers in Ireland,^ or the still coarser and 
cheaper Cornish burels which were distributed to 
the poor by the royal almoner about this time.^ 
At the other end of the scale were the scarlet cloths 
for which Lincoln and Stamford early attained 
fame. Scarlet cloth, dyed if not actually made on 
the spot, was bought in Lincoln for the king in 1182 
at the prodigious price of 6s. 8d. the ell, about £7 
in modern money. At the same time ' blanket ' 
cloth and green say cost 3s. the ell, and grey say 
IS. 8d.^ Thirty years later the importance of the 
trade is indicated by the inclusion in Magna Carta of 
a section fixing the breadth of ' dyed cloths, russets, 
and halbergetts ' at two ells ' within the lists.' ^ 
Infringements of the ' assize of cloth ' were of con- 
stant occurrence, and were amongst the matters 

^ e.g. Ashley, Economic History, i. 193 : ' No cloth was manu- 
factured for export ; and a great part of the English demand 
for cloth ' — indeed the whole of the demand for the finer 
qualities — ' was met by importation.' 2 pjpe R.^ 18 Hen. 11. 

* Pipe R., 27 Hen. 11., and other years. * Pipe R., 28 Hen. 11. 

* The ' list ' is the strip of selvage at the edge of the cloth. 


inquired into by the justices holding ' picas of the 
Crown ' ; for instance, in Kent, in 1226, some thirty 
merchants and clothiers are presented as offenders 
in this respect,^ Henry iii. at the beginning of his 
reign, in May 1218, had ordered that any cloths of 
less than two ells breadth exposed for sale should be 
forfeited, 2 but this order was not to take effect 
before Christmas so far as burels made by the men 
of London, Marlborough, and Bedwin (Wilts.) were 
concerned, and in 1225 the citizens of London were 
exempted from keeping the assize, provided their 
burels were not made narrower than they used to 
be. 3 In 1246 the sheriff of London was ordered to 
buy one thousand ells of cheap burel to give to the 
poor ; * and in 1250 we find the king discharging an 
outstanding bill of £155 due to a number of London 
burellers, whose names are recorded ; ^ amongst 
them was one Gerard le Flemeng, but othenvise they 
appear to have been native workmen. The burellers 
seem to have already separated off from the weavers, 
and had certainly done so some time before 1300, at 
which date disputes between the two classes of 
clothmakers were common.^ 

Apart from the burels, which were probably 
very similar wherever made, the cloths made at 

1 Assize R., 358. ^ pat., 2 Hen. iii., m. 4, 2. 

» Pat., 9 Hen. iii., m. 5. 

* Lib. R., 30 Hen. III. : some years earlier cloth to be distributed 
at Worcester had been bought at Oxford. — Lib. R., 17 Hen. iii. 
^ Lib. R., 35 Hen. iii., m. 17. ' Liber Custumarum, i. 124. 


different centres usually possessed distinctive char- 
acteristics. In the list of customs paid at Venice 
on imported goods in 1265/ we find mention of 
* English Stamfords,' ' dyed Stamfords,' and of 
' Milanese Stamfords of Monza,' showing that this 
particular class of English cloth was sufficiently 
good to be copied abroad. It is rather a noticeable 
feature of the cloth trade that so many of the trade 
terms were taken from the names of the places in 
which the particular wares originated. A prominent 
instance of this occurs in the case of ' chalons,' which 
derived their name from Chalons-sur-Mame, but 
were made in England from an early date. ' Chalons 
of Guildford ' were bought for the king's use at 
Winchester Fair in 1252.2 Winchester itself was 
an early centre of the manufacture of chalons, which 
were rugs used for coverlets or counterpanes, and in 
the consuetudinary of the city,^ which dates back 
at least to the early years of the thirteenth century, 
the looms are divided into two classes, the ' great 
looms ' used for burel weaving paying 5s. a year, 
and the ' little looms ' for chalons paying 6d. or I2d., 
according to their size. The chalons were to be of 
fixed dimensions, those 4 ells long being 2 yards in 
breadth {devant li tapener), those of 3I yards if yards 
wide, and those of 3 ells long i| ells wide. Coverlets 
formed also an important branch of the Norfolk 

1 Cal. of S. P. Venice, i. 3. • Lib. R., 36 Hen. iil., m. 19. 

^ Arch. Journ., ix. 70-1. 


worsted ^ industry ; in this case the ancient measure- 
ments were said in 1327 to have been 6 ells by 5, 
5 by 4, or 4 by 3.2 At a later date, in 1442, 
we find worsted ' beddes ' of much greater dimen- 
sions, the three ' assizes ' being 14 yards by 4, 12 by 
3, or 10 by 2|,^ but presumably these were complete 
sets of coverlet, tester and curtains, such as those of 
which a number are valued at from 6s. 8d. to 20s. 
a piece in the inventory of the goods of the late King 
Henry v. in 1423.* Besides bedclothes the worsted 
weavers made piece cloth, and amongst the exports 
from Boston in 1302 figure worsted cloths and 
worsted seys.^ Boston, as we might expect from its 
nearness to Lincoln, exported a good deal of scarlet 
cloth, while the amount of ' English cloth ' sent out 
is proof of a demand for this material abroad : a 
ship from Lubeck took ' Enghsh cloth ' worth £250 
for one merchant, Tideman de Lippe, and two other 
ships carried cargoes of the same material worth 
more than £200. ' Beverley cloths ' are also repre- 
sented amongst these exports, and coloured cloths 
of Lincoln and Beverley are found about this time 
at Ipswich paying the same tolls as foreign cloths.^ 

1 The manufacture of this cloth must have originated in the 
village of Worsted, possibly with some settlement of Flemish 
weavers, but soon spread throughout the county. 

* Rec. of Norwich, ii. 406. ^ Statutes, 20 Hen. vi. 

* Rot. Pari., iv. 230, 236. ' Customs Accts., 5, no. 7. 

* Black Book of Admiralty (Rolls Ser.), ii. 197. Blues of Bever- 
ley, scarlets and greens of Lincoln, scarlets and blues of Stamford, 
coverlets of Winchester and cloth of Totness occur in wardrobe 
accounts of 1236. Pipe K., 19, 20 Henry iii. 


At Ipswich also cloths of Cogsall, Maldon, Colchester, 
and Sudbury are mentioned as typical ' clothes of 
Ynglond ' exported ^ and are classified as ' of 
doubele warke that men clepeth tomannyshete,' 
and a smaller kind ' of longe webbe that they call 
omannesete/ ^ or ' oon mannys hete.' The origin 
of these terms appears to be unknown, but as these 
were probably the narrow cloths afterwards known 
as ' Essex straits,' there was possibly some con- 
nection with the narrow ' Osetes ' of Bristol.^ 

So far as London is concerned, the skill of the 
weavers at the end of the thirteenth century is 
shown by the variety of types of cloth which are 
referred to in the regulations of 1300.^ Here we 
find mention of cloths called andly, porreye, menuet, 
virli, lumbard, marbled ground with vetch-blossom, 
hawes, bissets, etc. But it would seem that the 
English cloth makers failed to keep pace ^ with their 
Continental rivals, and instead of improving the 
quality of their goods endeavoured to keep up 
prices by restricting their output.^ Edward iii., 
seeing the need for new blood, took measures to 

^ Black Book of Admiralty (Rolls Ser.), ii. 187, 197. 

" There was an ' omanseterowe ' in the Drapery at Norwich 
as early as 1288.— i?ec. of Norwich, ii. 8. 

' Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 4, 40. Narrow ' Osetes ' were 
also made at Salisbury. — Exch. K. R. Accts., 344, no. 34. 

* Liber Custumarum, i. 125 ; ii. 549. 

* At Northampton the cloth trade, which in the time of 
Henry iii. employed 300 men, had almost died out in 1334. — 
Rot. Pari., ii. 85. « Liber Custumarum, i. 424. 


attract foreign clothworkers * to England, and at 
the same time, in 1337, absolutely prohibited the 
use or importation of foreign cloth. 2 In order to 
stimulate the output he even withdrew all restric- 
tions as to measures, and licensed the making of 
cloths of any length and breadth ; but this excess 
of freedom soon proved unworkable. The new- 
comers were not very popular with the native 
weavers, and in 1340 the king had to send orders 
to the Mayor of Bristol to cease from interfering 
with Thomas Blanket and others who had set up 
machines for making cloth, and had brought over 
workmen. 2 The vexation against which Blanket 
had appealed seems to have been the regulation that 
every new weaving loom was to pay 5s. id. to the 
Mayor, and 4od. to the aldermen ; this rule was 
confirmed in 1346, but annulled in 1355.* 

Before dealing with the various ordinances by which 
the manufacture of cloth was controlled, it may be 
as well to consider the processes through which the 
wool passed before it reached the market, for 

' Cloth that Cometh from the weaving is not comely to wear 
Till it be fulled under foot or in fulling stocks ; 
Washen well with water, and with teasels cratched, 
Towked and teynted and under tailor's hands.' ^ 

^ As early as 1331 special protection was granted to John 
Kempe of Flanders and any other clothworkers who wished to 
settle in England. — Pat., 5 Edw. in., p. 2, m. 25. 

2 Statutes, II Edw. iii. 

3 Rot. Pari., ii. 449, Close 13 Edw. iii., p. 3, m. 11. 

* Little Red Book of Bristol, 11.;^. ^ La,ngldind, Piers Plowman. 


Having dropped into verse, we may perhaps 
continue in that medium, and set out the various 
stages of the manufacture in a poem,i written in 
1641, but equally applicable to earher times : — 

' I. First the Parter, that doth neatly cull 
The finer from the courser sort of wool.- 

2. The Dyer then in order next doth stand, 
With sweating brow and a laborious hand. 

3. With oil they then asperge it, which being done, 

4. The careful hand of Mixers round it runne. 

5. The Stockcarder his arms doth hard imploy 
(Remembring Friday is our Market day). 

6. The Knee-carder doth (without controule) 
Quickly convert it to a lesser roule. 

7. Which done, the Spinster doth in hand it take 
And of two hundred roules one threed doth make. 

8. The Weaver next doth warp and weave the chain, 
Whilst Puss his cat stands mewing for a skaine ; 
But he, laborious with his hands and heeles. 
Forgets his Cat and cries, Come boy with queles.^ 

9. Being fill'd, the Brayer doth it mundifie 
From oyle and dirt that in the same doth lie, 

^ ' A Concise Poem on . . . Shepton Mallet,' by Richd. 
Watts ; printed in The Young Man's Looking Glass, 1641. With 
this may be compared Deloney's ' Pleasant History of John 
Winchcombe (Jack of Newbury),' written some fifty years 
earlier. — V. C. H. Berks., i. 388-9. 

- ' Then to another room came they 
Where children were, in poor array. 
And every one sat picking wool, 
The finest from the coarse to pull.' 
3 ' Two hundred men, the truth is so, 
Wrought in their looms, all in a row ; 
By every one a pretty boy 
Sat making quills with mickle joy.' 


10. The Hurler^ then (yea, thousands in this place) 
The thick-set weed with nimble hand doth chase. 

11. The Fuller then close by his stock doth stand, 
And will not once shake Morpheus by the hand. 

1 2. The Rower next his amies lifts up on high, 

13. And near him sings the Shearman merrily. 

14. The Drawer last, that many faults doth hide 
(Whom merchant nor the weaver can abide) 
Yet is he one in most clothes stops more holes 
Than there be stairs to the top of Paul's.' 

The first process, then, was the sorting of the wool. 
The better quahty was used for the ordinary cloths, 
and the worst was made up into coarse cloth known 
as cogware and Kendal cloth, three-quarters of a yard 
broad, and worth from 4od. to 5s. the piece. ^ The term 
cogware seems to have sprung from its being sold 
to cogmen, the crews of the ships called cogs ; but 
whether for their own use, or for export is not quite 
clear. The alternative name of Kendal cloths was 
derived from the district of Kendal in Westmore- 
land, a seat of the industry, at least as early as 1256.^ 
The mixing of different qualities of wool in one 
cloth was prohibited ; and as it was forbidden to mix 
English wool with Spanish,'* so was the use of flocks, 

^ The burler's business was to remove knots, loose ends and 
other impurities. 

* The manufacture of these cloths was licensed in 1390. pro- 
vided the quality was not improved. — Statutes, 13 Ric. 11. 

* Assize R. 

* Liber Custumarum, ii. 549. Spanish wool is prominent 
amongst the imports at Southampton in 1310. — Customs Accts., 
136, no. 8, n. 


or refuse wool, in ordinary cloth,^ except in the case 
of the cloth of Devonshire, in which, owing to the 
coarseness of the wool, an admixture of flock was 
necessary. 2 

In dyeing two mediums are required, the colouring 
matter and the mordant which fixes the dye in the 
wool. The mordant most in use in the Middle Ages 
was alum,^ and at Bristol in 1346 we find that only 
' Spyralym, Glasalym, and Bokkan ' might be used 
and that any one using ' Bitterwos ' or ' Alym de 
Wyght,' which must have derived its name from the 
Isle of Wight, or even found \\ith any in his posses- 
sion, was liable to be fined. ^ Far the commonest 
dye-stuff was the blue woad, of which enormous 
quantities were used. The plant [Isatis tindoria) 
from which this was prepared is indigenous (the 
ancient Britons, indeed, wore the dye without the 
intervention of cloth), but practically all the woad 
used commercially in England was imported, South- 
ampton being one of the great centres of the trade. ^ 
In 1286 the authorities at Nor\\ich came to an 
agreement with the woad merchants of Amiens and 
Corby as to the size of the packages in which woad 
and weld, a yellow dye in much demand, might be 

1 Statutes, 4 Edw. iv. ^ Statutes, 7 Edw. iv. 

3 An alkali, known as ' cineres,' possibly a kind of barilla or 
carbonate of soda [Rec. of City of Norwich, ii. 209) occurs fairly 
often : e.g. taxation of Colchester, Rot. Pari., i. 244. 

« Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 6. 

* e.g. Customs Accts., ^, -— . 


sold/ and at Bristol some sixty years later elaborate 
regulations were drawn up for the preparation of the 
woad, of which two varieties are mentioned, that 
of Picardy and that of Toulouse. ^ The woad was 
imported in casks in the fonn of dry balls ; these 
had to be broken up small, moistened with water, 
and then heaped up to ferment ; after a few days 
the top layer became so hot that it could hardly be 
touched with the hand ; the heap was then turned 
over to bring the bottom to the top, and left till this 
in turn had fermented ; a third turn usually sufficed 
to complete the process.^ In Bristol special ' porters' 
were appointed to undertake and supervise this 
seasoning and the subsequent storing of the woad, 
and a further regulation compelled the merchant to 
sell his woad within forty days after it had been 
stored and assayed."* The setting of the woad, that 
is to say its conversion into dye, was also an art 
in itself, and it would seem that in Bristol it was the 
custom for dyers to go to the houses of their customers 
and prepare the woad-vats. Through undertaking 
more jobs than they could properly attend to, much 
woad was spoilt, and in 1360 they were forbidden 
to take charge of more than one lot of dye at one 
time.^ Further abuses arose through the ignorance 

^ Rccs. of City of Norwich, ii. 209. 
^ Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 16-22. 
' Lands. MS., 121, no. 21. 

* Cf. Rec. Borough of Northampton, i. 121 : the compiler has 
mistaken ' wodc ' for wood. * Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 39. 



and incapacity of many of the itinerant dyers, and 
in 1407 it was enacted that only those dyers who held 
a certificate of competency should ply their trade 
in the town.^ At Coventry, another great centre 
of the trade, complaints were made in 1415 that the 
dyers had not only raised their prices, charging 
6s. 8d. instead of 5s. for a cloth, 30s. instead of 20s. 
for 60 lbs. of wool, and 6s. instead of 4s. for 12 lbs. 
of the thread for which the town was famous, but 
were in the habit of taking the best part [la floure) 
of the woad and madder for their owti cloths, and 
using only the weaker portion for their customers' 
cloths. A petition was therefore made that two 
drapers, a woader and a dyer, should be elected 
annually to supervise the trade. ^ Some fifty years 
later we have at Coventry a notice of what appears 
to have been a medieval instance of a quarrel between 
a ' trade union,' the Dyers Company, and ' blackleg ' 
firms. ^ Thomas de Fenby and ten other dyers of 
Coventry complained against John Egynton and 
William Warde that they had assembled the members 
of their trade and had compelled them to swear 
to various things contrary to the law and their 
conscience, as that no one should buy any woad 
until it had been viewed and appraised by six men 
chosen for the purpose by the said Egynton and 
Warde, and that no dyer should make any scarlet 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. Si-90. - Rot. Pari, iv. 75. 

3 Early Chanc. Proc, 7, no. 23. 


dye igrene) at less than 6s. (the vat ?), or put any 
cloth into woad for less than 4d. or 5d. Warde and 
Egynton had also adopted the medieval form of 
picketing, by hiring Welshmen and Irishmen to 
waylay and kill the complainants on their way to 
neighbouring markets. 

A list of cloths made in York in 1395-6 ^ gives some 
idea of the colours in general use. For the first 
three months, September-December, blue largely 
predominated, but for some unexplained reason 
this colour almost disappeared from January to 
May, its place being taken by russet. Red, sanguine, 
morrey (or orange), plunket,^ green, and motleys, 
white, blue, and green occur ; also ' paly,' which 
was presumably some striped material, and in a 
very few cases black. By the regulations drawn up 
in London in 1298,^ no dyer who dyed bumets blue ^ 
or other colours might dye ' blecche ' or tawny : 
the reason does not appear, but this uncertain tint, 
' blecche,' occurs again as reserved specially for 
Spanish wool.^ For blue, as we have seen, woad 
was used, and for yellow weld, a combination of the 

1 Exch. K. R. Accts., 345, no. 16. 

- Plunket appears to have been a pale blue, half the quantity 
of woad sufficing for plunkets that was used for azures, which in 
turn took half the amount required for blues. — V. C. H. Suffolk, 
ii. 258. ' Liber Ciistumarum, i. 129. 

* There were no doubt the ' browne blewes ' of later records : 
e.g. a Benenden clothier was fined in 1563 for ' a browne blewe, 
being a deceiptfull color.' — Memo. K. R., 7 Ehz., Hil., m. 330. 

* Liber Custumarum, i. 125. 


two yielding green ; scarlet was derived from the 
grain [greyne)} and reds and russets from madder, 
which was imported in large quantities. Several 
varieties of lichen were probably included under the 
head of ' orchal,' and afforded shades of brown and 
red. Fancy shades were formed by double dyeing, 
and apparently were not always rehable, as a statute ^ 
passed in 1533 ordered that none should dye woollen 
cloth ' as browne blewes, pewkes, tawTiyes, or vyol- 
ettes/ unless they were ' perfectly boyled, greyned, 
or madered upon the wode, and shotte with good 
and sufficient corke or orchalL' At this time 
brazil, or logwood, was being adopted as a dye, 
and its use was absolutely forbidden. 

Carding, or combing, and spinning are processes 
which need not detain us long. They were both 
home industries, and spinning, in particular, was the 
staple employment of the women, and accordingly 
regulations were not infrequently made to ensure a 
good supply of wool for their use. At Bristol, in 
1346, no oiled wool ready for carding and spinning 
might be sent out of the town until the carders and 
spinners had had a chance of applying for it ; more- 
over, it might only be exposed for sale on a Friday, 
and no middleman might buy it.^ Similarly at 
Norwich, in 1532, the butchers were ordered to 

^ Alkermes, an insect resembling cochineal. 
» Statutes, 24 Hen. viii. ; of. 4 Edw. iv. 
' Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 8, 9. 


bring their woolfells into the market and offer them 
for sale to the poor women who Hved by spinning.^ 
When the clothmaking trade got into the hands of 
the big capitaHst clothiers, who gave out their wool 
to be carded and spun, it became necessary to pass 
laws 2 to ensure on the one hand that the workers 
should do their work faithfully, and not abstract 
any of the wool,' and on the other, that the masters 
should not defraud the carders and spinners by 
paying them in food or goods* instead of in money, 
or by the use of false weights, making women, for 
instance, comb yl lbs. of wool as a ' combing stone,' 
which should only contain 5 Ibs.^ 

Weaving was, of course, the most important of 
all the processes in clothmaking. Reduced to its 
simplest form, the weaver's loom consists of a 
horizontal frame, to the ends of which the warp 
threads, which run longitudinally through the cloth, 
are fastened in such manner that they can be raised 
and depressed by heddles, or looped threads, in 
alternate series, leaving room between the two 
layers of warp for the passage of the shuttle, charged 
with the woof. 6 The shuttle, flying from side to 

* Rec. of City of Norwich, ii. 119. 

* Statutes, 4 Edw. iv. ; 3 Hen. viii. 

3 V. C. H. Essex, ii. 255. •» V. C. H. Worcs., ii. 286. 

* V. C. H. Essex, ii. 383-4. 

* The use of woof in place of warp was strictly forbidden. — Liber 
Custumarum, i. 125 ; Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 2. At Worcester 
in 1497 any one bringing yarn to be spun into cloth was to bring 
the warp and the woof separate. — V. C. H. Worcs., ii. 285. 


side across the alternating warp threads, covers 
them with woof, which is packed close by a vertical 
frame of rods, the lay or batten, swinging between 
the warp threads. To weave tight and close required 
considerable strength, and at Norwich women were 
forbidden to weave worsteds because they were ' not 
of sufficient power ' to work them properly.^ The 
cloth as it was woven was wound on a roll, bringing 
a fresh portion of the warp within the weaver's 
reach, but while its length was thus Umited merely 
by custom or convenience, its breadth was obviously 
controlled by the width of the loom, and when 
Henry iv., in 1406, ordered that cloth of ray should 
be made six-quarters of a yard broad instead of 
five-quarters, as had always been the custom, the 
order had to be revoked as it would have necessi- 
tated all the ray weavers obtaining new looms. ^ 
For the right to use looms payments had often to 
be made to authorities of the town. At Winchester 
in the thirteenth century, every burel loom paid 5s. 
yearly, the only exceptions being that the mayor, 
the hospital, and the towTi clerk might each work 
one loom free of charge.^ Nottingham was another 
town where duties were paid on looms,* and at 
Bristol, as we have seen, prior to 1355, the erection 
of a ' webanlam ' entailed payments of 8s. 5d. in all. 

1 Rec. of City of Norwich, ii. 378. * Rot. Pari., iii. 618. 

2 Arch. Journal, ix. 70 : cf. Assize R., 787, m. 86. 
* V. C. H. Notts., ii. 345. 


To guard against false working, it was the rule at 
Bristol that all looms must stand in shops and rooms 
adjoining the road, and in sight of the people, and 
the erection of a loom in a cellar or upstair room 
entailed a fine.^ It was possibly for the same reason 
that weavers were forbidden to work at night,- 
though an exception was made at Winchester in 
favour of the period immediately preceding Christ- 
mas.^ On the other hand, the London jurors in 
1320 coupled this ordinance against working by 
candle Hght with the enforced holiday which the 
weavers' gild compelled its members to take between 
Christmas and the Purification (2nd February) * as 
measures prejudicial to the commonalty, and in- 
tended to restrict the supply and so maintain the 
price of cloth. ^ A further device for the same 
purpose was the rule that no cloth of Candlewick 
Street was to be worked in less than four days, 
though they might easily be made in two or three 
days.^ Thanks to these methods, and to the way 
in which admission to the gild was limited, the 

^ Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 4. 

2 Liber Custumarum, i. 134. ^ /{ych. Journ., ix. 71. 

* The suspension of worsted weaving for a month from 15 
August was enforced in 15 11 to avoid a shortage of agricultural 
labour during harvest. — Rec. of City of Norwich, ii. 376. 

^ Liber. Custumarum, i. 423. 

• Ibid. Candlewick Street (now Cannon Street) was the 
centre of manufacture of a coarse cheap cloth used for horse 
trappings, and also bought in large quantities for the King's 
almoner from 1330 to 1380. — Enrolled Wardrobe Accts., L. T. R., 


looms in the city had been reduced in thirty years 
or so from 380 to 80, and the price of cloth had 
risen accordingly. The authorities throughout the 
country were constantly in the dilemma of having 
on the one hand to permit the restriction of the 
numbers of the weavers, vdth a consequent rise in 
the cost of their wares, or, on the other hand, running 
the risk of inferior workmanship ' to the grete in- 
famie and disclaundre of their worshipful! towne.' 
Not only were the unauthorised weavers often 
ignorant of their art, not having served their 
apprenticeship, but they used flock and other bad 
material, and bought stolen wool and ' thrummes.' ^ 
The latter were the unwoven warp threads left over 
at the end of the cloth, and as there was no export 
duty on thrums, the weavers contrived to cut them 
off as long as possible, and in this way much woollen 
yam was sent out of the country without paying 
customs, until the practice was made illegal by an 
Act of Parliament in 1430.2 

The cloth on leaving the loom was in the condition 
known as ' raw,' and although not yet ready for use 
was marketable, and many of the smaller cloth- 
makers preferred to dispose of their products at 
this stage rather than incur the expense of the 
further processes. This seems to have been the 
case on the Welsh border, as Shrewsbury claimed to 
have had a market for ' pannus crudus ' from the 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, a. 40, 122- * Statutes, 8 Hen. vi. 


time of King John.^ Much raw cloth was also 
bought up by foreign merchants and sent out of 
the country to be finished ; and at the beginning of 
the sixteenth century Parliament, with its usual 
terror of foreign trade, seeing only that the finishing 
processes would be carried out by foreign workmen 
instead of English, forbade the export of unfinished 
cloth. It had then to be pointed out that, as most 
of these cloths were bought to be dyed abroad, and 
as after dyeing all the finishing processes would 
have to be repeated, the cost of the cheaper varieties 
would be so raised that there would be no sale for 
them ; cloths below the value of five marks were 
therefore exempted. ^ 

Raw cloth had next to be fulled, that is to say, 
scoured, cleansed, and thickened by beating it in 
water. Originally this was always done by men 
trampling upon it in a trough, and the process was 
known as ' walking,' the fuller being called a ' walker ' 
(whence the common surname), but during the thir- 
teenth century an instrument came into general use 
called ' the stocks,' consisting of an upright, to 
which was hinged the ' perch ' or wooden bar with 
which the cloth was beaten. The perch was often 
worked by water power and fulling, or walking, 
mills soon became common. By the regulations 
of the fullers' gild of Lincoln recorded in 1389, ^ no 

1 V. C. H. Shrops., i. 428. * Statutes, 3 and 5 Henry viii. 

* Toulmin Smith, Engl. Gilds, 179. The gild was founded in 
1297, but this regulation was probably of later date. 


fuUer was to ' work in the trough,' that is to say to 
walk the cloth, and a further rule forbade any man 
to work at the perch with a woman, unless she were 
the wife of a master or her handmaid. Probably 
the intention of this last rule was to put a stop to 
the employment of cheap female labour ' by the 
whiche many . . . likkely men to do the Kyng 
servis in his warris and in the defence of this his 
lond, and sufficiently lomed in the seid crafte, gothe 
vagaraunt and unoccupied and may not have thar 
labour to ther levyng.' ^ About 1297 a number of 
London fullers took to sending cloths to be fulled 
at certain miUs in Stratford, and as this was found 
to result in much loss to the owners of the cloths, 
orders were given to stop all cloths on their way to 
the miUs, and only allow them to be sent on at the 
express desire of the owners.^ This seems to point 
to mill fulling being inferior to manual labour, while 
possibly the fuUing being conducted outside the 
control of the city may have tended to bad work. 
At Bristol in 1346, one of the rules for the fullers 
forbids any one to send ' rauclothe ' to the mill, and-^ 
afterwards receive it back to be finished,^ and in 1406 
the town fullers were forbidden to make good the 
defects in cloths fulled by country workmen.* 

For cleansing the cloth use was made of the 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 127. 

2 Liber Custumarum, i. 128-9. 

3 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 13. * Ibid., 79. 


peculiar absorbent earth known as Fuller's earth, or 
' walkerherth,' ^ as it was sometimes called. Fuller's 
earth is only found in a few places, the largest de- 
posits being round Nutfield and Reigate,^ and on 
account of its rarity and importance its export was 

The cloth, having been fulled, had to be stretched 
on tenters to dry, and references to the lease of 
tenter grounds are common in medieval town 
records.^ A certain amount of stretching was 
legitimate and even necessary,^ but where the cloth 
belonged to the fuller, and it was a common practice 
for fullers to buy the raw cloth, there was a tempta- 
tion to * stretch him out with ropes and rack him 
till the sinews stretch again ' ^ so as to gain several 
yards. As a result of this practice, which greatly 
impaired the strength of the cloth, ' Guildford cloths,' 
made in Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire, lost their 
reputation, and in 1391 measures had to be taken to 
restore their good name by forbidding fullers, or 
other persons, to buy the cloth in an unfinished 
state. ^ Several other Acts were passed deahng with 
this offence, and during the sixteenth century 
ordinances were issued against the use of powerful 
racks with levers, winches, and ropes. Infringe- 
ments of these Acts were numerous,' and as an 

1 V. C. H. Notts., ii. 346. " V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 279. 

3 e.g. at Nottingham ; V. C. H. Notts., ii. 346. 
* V. C. H. Warm., ii. 252. ' Ibid. « Statutes, 15 Ric. 11. 
' e.g. V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 344 ; V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 257. 


example of the extent to which cloths were stretched 
we may quote a return from Reading in 1597, which 
mentions one cloth of thirty yards stretched with ' a 
gyn and a leaver with a vice and a roape ' to thirty- 
five yards, and another stretched with a rope ' to the 
quantitye of three barrs length — every barr con- 
tayneth about 2| yards.' ^ 

On leaving the fuller the cloth passed into the 
hands of the rower, whose business it was to draw 
up from the body of the cloth all the loose fibres 
with teazles. Teazles, the dried heads of the 
' fuller's thistle,' are mentioned amongst the goods 
of some of the Colchester cloth-workers in 1301,2 
were used from the earliest times, and have never 
been supplanted even in these days of machinery. 
Several unsuccessful attempts have been made 
to invent substitutes, and in 1474 the use of iron 
cards, or combs, instead of teazles, had to be for- 
bidden.3 The loose portions of the cloth thus raised 
by the teazles were next cut off by the shearman, 
upon whose dexterity the cloth depended for the 
finish of its surface, and, after the drawer had 
skilfully repaired any small blemishes, the cloth 
was ready for sale. 

In view of the multiplicity of processes involved, 
it is obvious that the manufacture of cloth must 
have afforded employment to an immense number of 

^ Exch. Dep. by Com., 41 Eliz., East. i. 

« Rot. Pari., i. 243. ^ Statutes, 4 Edw. iv. 


persons. An account written in Suffolk just over 
the borders of our medieval period, in 1618, reckons 
that the clothier who made twenty broad cloths in 
a week would employ in one way and another five 
hundred persons.^ But even at that time, when the 
capitaUst clothier was firmly estabhshed, there were 
not very many with so large an output as twenty 
cloths a week, and in earlier times there were very 
few approaching such a total. The ulnager's 
accounts ^ of the duties paid on cloths exist for most 
counties for the last few years of Richard 11., and 
throw considerable light on the state of the trade. 
In the case of Suffolk for the year 1395, we have 
733 broad cloths made by about one hundred and 
twenty persons, of whom only seven or eight return 
as many as twenty cloths ; the chief output, how- 
ever, was narrow cloth, made in dozens (pieces of 
12 yards, a ' whole cloth ' being 24 yards) ; of these 
300 makers turned out about 9200, fifteen of their 
number making from 120 to 160 dozens each. In 
the case of Essex there is more evidence for the 
capitalist clothier, as at Coggeshall the 1200 narrow 
cloths are assigned to only nine makers (the largest 
items being 400, 250, and 200 dozens), while Brain- 
tree, with 2400 dozens had only eight makers, of 
whom two pay subsidy on 600 dozens each and one 
on 480. The great clothiers, however, at this time 

1 V. C. H. Suffolk, ii. 262. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., bdles. 339-345. 


are found in the west, at Barnstaple, where John 
Parman paid on 1080 dozen, and Richard Bumard 
on 1005, other nine clothiers dividing some 1600 
dozens between them. For the rest of Devonshire, 
sixty-five makers account for 3565 dozens, or rather 
over fifty a piece. If Devon stood at one end of the 
scale its next-door neighbour was at the other, for 
Cornwall's total output was only ninety cloths, 
attributed to thirteen makers. At SaHsbury the 
year's output of 6600 whole cloths was divided 
between 158 persons, only seven of whom accounted 
for more than 150 each, while at Winchester, where 
over 3000 cloths are returned, only three clothiers 
exceeded the hundred, and men of such local promin- 
ence as Robert Hall and ' Markays le Fayre ' ^ had 
only eighty and forty to their respective accounts. 
Throughout Yorkshire the average does not seem to 
have been above ten cloths, and in Kent, a strong- 
hold of the broad cloth manufacture, only one clothier 
exceeded fifty dozens, and only three others passed 
twenty-five. The whole evidence seems to limit 
the spheres of influence of the capitalist clothiers to 
a few definite towns prior to the beginning of the 
fifteenth century. But the latter half of the fifteenth 
century saw the rise of the great clothiers such as 
John Winchcombe,^ the famous ' Jack of Newbury,' 

^ JMarcus le Fair of Winchester was the only clothier not a 
Londoner from whom cloth was bought for the royal household 
in 1408. — Exch. K. R. Accts., 405, no. 22. 

» V. C. H. Berks., i. 388. 


and the Springs of Lavenham,^ employers of labour 
on a scale which soon swamped the small inde- 
pendent clothworkers, and drew them into a position 
of dependence. 

Skill and industry in the cloth trade had always 
been assured of a good return, and when combined 
with enterprise had often led to wealth ; but there 
have always in all times and all places been men 
who would try the short cut to fortune through 
fraud ; and the openings for fraud in the cloth 
trade were particularly numerous. ' Certayne 
townes in England . . . were wonte to make 
theyre clothes of certayne bredth and length and to 
sette theyre seales to the same ; while they kept 
the rate trulye strangers dyd but looke over the 
scale and receyve theyre wares, wherebye these 
townes had greate vente of theyre clothes and con- 
sequently prospered verye welle. Afterwards some 
in those towTies, not content with reasonable ga^nes 
but contynually desyrynge more, devysed clothes 
of lesse length, bredthe and goodnes thanne they 
were wonte to be, and yet by the comendacioun of 
the seale to have as myche monye for the same as 
they had before for good clothes. And for a tyme 
they gate myche and so abused the credythe of theyr 
predecessours to theyre singulere lukere, whiche 
was recompensede with the losse of theyre pos- 
terytye. For these clothes were founde fawltye for 

1 V. C. H. Suffolk, ii. 256. 


alle they re seale, they were not onelye never the 
better trustede but myche lesse for theyre seale, 
yea although theyre clothes were well made. For 
whanne theyr untruth and falshede was espyede 
than no manne wolde buye theyre clothes untylle 
they were enforsede and unfoldede, regardynge 
nothynge the seale.' ^ 

This complaint, written in the time of Henry viii., 
is borne out in every detail by the records of Par- 
liament and of municipalities. Regulations were 
constantly laid down for ensuring uniformity, and 
officials called ulnagers ^ were appointed to see that 
they were obeyed, no cloth being allowed to be 
sold unless it bore the ulnager's seal. The assize 
of cloth issued in 1328 ^ fixed the measurements of 
cloth of ray at 28 yards by 6 quarters, and those of 
coloured cloths at 26 yards by 6| quarters, in the 
raw state, each being 24 yards when shrunk. The 
penalty for infringement of the assize was forfeiture.^ 
This assize, which was confirmed in 1406, repealed 
next year, but reaffirmed in 1410,^ applied only to 
broad cloths, but in 1432 it was laid down * that 
narrow cloths called ' streits ' should be 12 yards by 
I yard, when shrunk ; if smaller they were not 

1 Hist. MSS. Com., Rep. viii. 93. 

^ Vlnage, or aulnage, from aulne = a.n ell. 

' Statutes, 1 Edw. iii. 

* The penalty of forfeiture was withdrawn in 1354 ^s injurious 
to trade, deficient cloths being marked with their actual size. — 
Ihid., 27 Edw. III. 

s Statutes, 7, 8, 10 Hen. iv. « Statutes, 11 Hen. vi. 


forfeited, but the ulnager cut the hst off one end, 
to show that it was not a whole cloth, and it was sold 
as a 'remnant ' according to its actual measure. 
In the case of the worsteds or serges of Norfolk, 
four different assizes were said in 1327 to have been 
used from time immemorial, namely, 50, 40, 30, and 

24 ells in length ; ^ but as early as 1315 merchants 
complained that the cloths of Worsted and Aylesham 
did not keep their assize, 20 ells being sold as 24, 

25 ells as 30, and so on.^ In the western counties, 
Somerset, Gloucester, and Dorset, fraudulent makers 
were in the habit of so tacking and folding their 
cloths that defects in length or quality could not be 
seen, with the result that merchants who bought 
them in good faith and took them to foreign coun- 
tries were beaten, imprisoned and even slain by their 
angry customers * to the great dishonour of the 
realm.' It was therefore ordered in 1390 that no 
cloth should be sold, tacked, and folded, but open.^ 
The frauds in connection with stretching Guildford 
cloths have already been referred to, and in 1410 
we find that worsteds which had formerly been in 
great demand abroad were now so deceitfully made 
that the Flemish merchants were talking of search- 
ing, or examining, aU the worsted cloths at the ports 
of entry. To remedy this ' great slander of the 
country,' the mayor and his deputies were given the 

1 Rec. of City of Norwich, ii. 407, » Rot. Pari., i. 292. 

3 Statutes, 13 Ric. ii. ; 11 Hen. iv. 


power to search and seal all worsteds brought to 
the worsted seld, or cloth market, and regulations 
were made as to the size of ' thretty elnys streites ' 
(30 eUs by 2 quarters) , ' thretty elnys brodes ' 
(30 ells by 3 quarters), ' mantelles, sengles, doubles 
et demy doubles, si bien les motles, paules, chekeres, 
raies, flores, pleynes, monkes-clothes et autres 
mantelles ' (from 6 to 10 ells by i| ell), and ' chanon- 
clothes, sengles, demy doubles et doubles ' (5 ells by 
if), the variety of trade terms showing the extent 
of the industry.^ A similar complaint of the decay 
in the foreign demand for worsteds owing to the 
malpractices of the makers was met in 1442 by 
causing the worsted weavers of Norwich to elect 
annually four wardens for the city, and two for the 
county to oversee the trade. ^ Half a century later, 
in 1473, English cloth in general had fallen into 
disrepute abroad, and even at home, much foreign 
cloth being imported : to remedy this general orders 
were issued for the proper working of cloth, the main- 
tenance of the old assize, and the indication of defects, 
a seal being attached to the lower edge of any cloth 
where there was any ' raw, skaw, cokel or fagge.' ^ 

The last-mentioned statutes of 1473 give the 
measurements of the cloths as by the ' yard and 
inch,* Originally it would seem to have been 
customary when measuring cloth to mark the end 

1 Rot. Pari., iii. 637. * Statutes, 20 Hen. vi. 

* Statutes, 4 Edw. iv. 


of each yard by placing the thumb on the cloth at 
the end of the clothyard, and starting again on the 
other side of the thumb. Readers of George Ehot 
will remember that the pedlar, Bob Salt, made 
ingenious use of his broad thumb in measuring, to 
the detriment of his customers ; and the London 
drapers in the fifteenth century claimed to buy by 
the ' yard and a hand,' marking the yards with the 
hand instead of with the thumb, and thereby 
scoring two yards in every twenty-four. 1 Although 
this was forbidden in 1440, the use being ordered 
of a measuring line of silk, 12 yards and 12 inches 
long, the end of each yard being marked an inch, it 
evidently continued in practice, as the ' yarde and 
handfull ' was known as London measure at the end 
of the sixteenth century. ^ 

The last years of the medieval period of the 
woollen industry, which we take as terminating with 
the introduction of the ' New Draperies ' by foreign 
refugees early in the reign of EHzabeth, are chiefly 
concerned with the rise of the town clothiers at the 
expense of the small country cloth workers, assisted 
by Acts which restricted, or at least aimed at re- 
stricting, the industry to corporate boroughs and 
market towns, and prohibited any from setting up 
in trade without having passed a seven years' ap- 
prenticeship.^ Infringements of these laws were 

1 Statutes, 18 Hen. vi. = Exch. Dep. by Com., 41 Eliz. 

' Statutes, 5 Edw. vi., i Mary, etc. 


frequent, and, thanks to the system of granting a 
portion of the fines inflicted to the informer, accusa- 
tions were constantly levelled against clothiers for 
breaking the various regulations with which the 
trade was hedged about. i Many of the charges fell 
through, and in some cases they look Uke blackmail, 
but that offences were sufficiently plentiful is clear. 
For the one year, 1562, as many as sixty clothiers 
from Kent alone, mostly from the neighbourhood of 
Cranbrook and Benenden, were fined for sending 
up to London for sale cloths deficient in size, weight, 
e^uahty, or colour. ^ An absolute fulfilment of all 
the regulations was possibly no easy thing, for 
although cloths which had been sealed by the 
ulnager in the district where they were made were' 
not supposed to pay ulnage in London the makers 
preferred as a rule to pay a halfpenny on each 
cloth to the London searchers rather than risk the 
results of too close a scrutiny.^ 

Of the many local varieties of cloth made in 
England that which derived its name from the 
village of Worsted in Norfolk was, on the whole, the 
most important. We have seen that by the end of 
the thirteenth century worsted weaving was well 

^ See Memoranda Rolls, K. R., passim. 

2 Memo. R., K. R., Hil. 7 Eliz., m. 329. As an earlier instance, 
sixteen drapers in Coventry, thirteen in York, and seven in 
Lincoln, besides others elsewhere, were fined in the first quarter 
of 1390 for cloths of ray, not of assize. — Ibid., Hil. 13 Ric. 11. 

' Exch. Dep. by Com., 30 Ehz., Hil., 8. 


established in Norfolk, and particularly in Noi-wich, 
and that worsted serges and says were articles of 
export, while a century later the forms in which these 
cloths were made up were very varied. Norwich con- 
tinued to hold the monopoly of searching and sealing 
worsteds, wherever made, until 1523, when the 
industry had grown to such an extent in Yarmouth 
that the weavers of that town were licensed to elect 
a warden of their own to seal their cloth ; the same 
pri\dlege was granted to Lynne, provided there were 
at least ten householders exercising the trade there ; 
but in all cases the cloths were to be shorn, dyed, 
coloured, and calendered in Norwich.^ When the 
art of calendering worsteds, that is to say giving 
them a smooth finish by pressing, was introduced in 
Nor^vich is uncertain, but in the second half of the 
fifteenth century the ' fete and misterie of calendryng 
of worstedes ' in London was known only to certain 
Frenchmen. An enterprising merchant, William 
Halingbury, brought over from Paris one Toisaunts 
Burges, to teach the art to English workers, and, in 
revenge, one of the London French calenders en- 
deavoured to have Halingbury arrested on his next 
visit to Paris. 2 At the beginning of the sixteenth 
century a process of dry calendering with ' gommes, 
oyles and presses ' was introduced, by which inferior 
worsteds were made to look Uke the best quahty, 
but if touched with wet they at once spotted and 

^ S^a^M^es, 14-15 Hen. VIII. * Early Chanc. Proc, 141, no. 4. 


spoiled. The process was therefore prohibited in 
15 14, and at the same time the practice of wet 
calendering was confined to those who had served 
seven years' apprenticeship, and had been admitted 
to the craft by the mayor of Norwich or the wardens 
of the craft in the county of Norfolk.^ 

In 13 1 5 cloths of Aylsham (in Norfolk) are coupled 
with those of Worsted as not conforming to the old 
assize,^ and at the coronation of Edward iii. some 
3500 ells of ' Ayllesham ' was used for lining armour, 
covering cushions and making i860 pennons with 
the arms of St. George. ^ But as Buckram and 
Aylsham are constantly bracketed together,* being 
used, for instance, in 1333 for making hobby horses 
{hobihors) for the king's games,^ presumably at 
Christmas, it would seem that Aylshams were linen 
and not woollen, especially as * lynge teille de 
Eylesham ' was famous in the fourteenth century.*' 

In the adjacent county of Suffolk the village of 
Kersey was an early centre of clothmaking, and gave 
its name to a type of cloth which was afterwards 
made in a great number of districts. The kerseys 
of Suffolk and Essex were exempted in 1376, with 
other narrow cloths, from keeping the assize of 
coloured cloths,' and just a century later the measure- 

1 Statutes, 5 Hen. viii. - Rot. Pari., i. 292. 

3 The same material was used in 1323 for the pillows of the 
king's new beds. — Enr. Ward. Accts., 3, m. 2. 

* Ibid., m. 10. * Ibid., 2, m. 11. 

6 Engl. Hist. Rev., xvi. 289. ' Rot. Pari., ii. 347. 


ment for kerseys was set out as 18 yards by i yard.* 
Curiously enough the chief trouble with the assize 
of kerseys, at least in the sixteenth century, was not 
short measure, but over long, the explanation being 
that kerseys paid export duty by the whole cloth, 
and it was therefore to the merchant's advantage 
to pay duty on a piece of 25 yards rather than to 
pay the same duty on 18 yards. ^ Kerseys were 
largely made for export, and a petition against 
restrictions tending to hamper foreign trade was 
presented, about 1537, by the kersey weavers of 
Berks., Oxford, Hants, Surrey, and Sussex, and 
Yorkshire.^ These counties were the chief centres 
of the manufacture, though Devonshire kerseys were 
also made ; in Berkshire, Newbury was then the 
great seat of the industry, and the kerseys of John 
Winchcombe (' Jack of Newbury ') in particular had 
a more than local fame. Hampshire kerseys was the 
generic name applied to these made in Hampshire, 
Sussex, and Surrey, but in earlier times the Isle of 
Wight had almost a monopoly of the manufacture 
in the district. The ulnage accounts for Hampshire 
in 1394-5 give ninety names of clothiers for the Isle 
of Wight, ^ who made 600 kerseys, and no other kind 

1 Statutes, 4 Edw. iv. - V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 343. 

3 Ibid., 343. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 344, no. 10. The output from Berks, 
for the same period was 1747 kerseys, of which Steventon ac- 
counted for 574 and East and West Hendred for 520. — Ibid., 343, 
no. 24 


of cloth, and about a century later we find a draper 
complaining that when he had bargained with a 
London merchant for a certain number of ' kersys 
of Wyght ' worth £6 he had been put off with Welsh 
kerseys worth only £4, 13s. 4d.^ 

Suffolk did a considerable trade in a cheap, coarse 
variety of cloth known as ' Vesses or set cloths ' for 
export to the East ; and, as it was the recognised 
custom to stretch these to the utmost, and they 
were bought as unshrunk, this class of cloth was 
exempted in 1523 from the regulations as to stretch- 
ing cloth. 2 Possibly these Vesses were connected 
with the ' Western Blankett of Vyse (Wilts.) and 
Bekinton.' ^ Blanket is found in 1395 as made at 
Maldon and, on the other side of England, at Here- 
ford, while at an earlier date, in 1360, Guildford 
blanket was bought for the royal household.^ As 
Norwich had its ' monk's cloth ' and ' canon cloth,' 
presumably so called from its suitabihty for monastic 
and canonical habits, unHke the fine cloth of 
Worcester, which, we are told, was forbidden to 
Benedictines,^ so we find that the newly made knight 
of the Bath had to vest himself in ' hermit's array ' 
of Colchester russet.*^ Most of the cloths made in 
Essex were ' streits,' or narrow cloths, of rather a 
poor quality, being often coupled with the inferior 

^ Early Chanc. Proc, 140, no. 54. 

2 Statutes, 14-15 Hen. viii. ^ j^q(_ Pari., iv. 361. 

* Enr. Ward. Accts., 4, m. 3. ^ y^ c. H. Worcs., ii. 284. 

6 V. C. H. Essex, ii. 384. 


cloths such as cogware and Kendal cloth. Of the 
latter a writer of the time of Henry viii. says, ' I 
knowe when a servynge manne was content to goo 
in a Kendall cote in sommer and a frysecote in 
winter, and with playne white hose made meete 
for his bodye. . . . Now he will looke to have at 
the leaste for Somere a cote of finest clothe that 
may be gotten for money and his hosen of the 
finest kerseye, and that of some straunge dye, as 
Flaunders dye or Frenche puke, that a prynce or 
a greate lorde canne were no better if he were 
[wear] clothe.' ^ 

By the sumptuary law of 1363 farm labourers 
and others having less than 40s. in goods were to 
wear blanket and russet costing not more than I2d. 
the ell.2 In a Ust of purchases of cloth in 1409, 
narrow russet figures at I2d. the ell, while of the 
other cheap varieties short blanket, short coloured 
cloth, rays, motleys and friezes varied from 2s. to 
2s. 4d. the ell. 3 Of friezes the two chief types in 
use were those of Coventry and Irish friezes, which 
might either be made in Ireland or of Irish wool : 
these seem to have come into use about the middle 
of the fourteenth century, as in 1376 Irish ' Frysse- 
ware ' was exempted from ulnage,^ and about the 
same time purchases of Irish frieze for the royal 
household become more common, as much as 

1 Hist. MSS. Com., Rep. viii. 93. ~ Rot. Pari, ii. 278. 

3 Exch. K. R. Accts., 405, no. 22. " Rot. Pari., ii. 372- 


nearly 3000 ells of this material being bought in 


With such local varieties as Manchester cottons, 
Tauntons, Tavistocks, Barnstaple whites, Mendips, 
' Stoke Corners ahas thromme clothes,' ^ and so 
forth, space does not permit of our dealing, while 
by the limitation which we have set ourselves the 
' new draperies ' are excluded, and we may thank- 
fully leave on one side ' arras, bays, bewpers,boulters, 
boratoes, bufhns, bustyans, bombacyes, blankets, 
callimancoes, carrells, chambletts, crueU, domicks, 
duraunce, damask, frisadoes, fringe, fustyans, felts, 
flanells, grograines, garterings, girdhngs, linsey 
woolseyes, mockadoes, minikins, mountaines, maker- 
ells, oliotts, pomettes, plumettes, perpetuanas, 
perpicuanas, rashes, rugges, russells, sattins, serges, 
syettes, sayes, stamells, stamines, scallops, tukes, 
tamettes, tobines, and valures.' ^ 

1 Enr. Ward. Accts., 5. 

2 Memo. R., K. R., 21 Eliz., East., m. 106. 

* Rep. Dep. Keeper of Recs., xxxviii. 444 ; suit re draperies at 
Norwich, 1601. 




The dressing of skins and preparation of leather 
must have been one of the most widely diffused 
industries in medieval times, even if it is a little 
exaggeration to claim that it was a by-product of 
most villages. 1 Two different processes were em- 
ployed, ox, cow, and calf hides being tanned by 
immersion in a decoction of oak bark, while the skins 
of deer, sheep, and horses were tawed with alum and 
oil, and the two trades were from early times kept 
quite separate, tanners and tawyers being forbidden 
to work skins appropriated to each other's trade. 
A certain concentration of the industry must have 
been brought about in 1184, when orders were issued 
that no tanner or tawyer should practise his trade 
within the bounds of a forest except in a borough 
or market town,^ the object being to prevent the 
poaching of deer for the sake of their skins. Market 
towns had the further advantage of being well 

1 Thorold Rogers, Six Centuries of Work and Wages, .\G. 

- The suggestion that this law caused the trade to be estab- 
lished in Norwich {Recs. of Norwich, ii. xii.) can hardly be correct, 
as there was no forest in Norfolk. 


supplied with the raw material, as butchers were 
compelled to bring the hides of their beasts into 
market with the meat, and the tanners had the sole 
right of purchase, no regrater or middle-man being 
allowed to intervene, while on the other hand the 
tanners were not allowed to buy the hides outside 
the open market.^ Towards the end of the six- 
teenth century it was said ^ that ' in most villages 
of the realm there is some one dresser or worker 
of leather, and ... in most of the market towns 
three, four, or five, and many great towns lo or 
20, and in London and the suburbs ... to the 
number of 200 or very near.' Casting back, we find 
at Oxford in 1380 there were twelve tanners, twenty 
skinners, twelve cordwainers, or shoemakers, and 
four saddlers,^ while in 1300 there were at Colchester 
forty householders employed in the various branches 
of the leather trade. ^ 

Originally, no doubt, the leather dresser worked 
up his own leather, and as late as 1323 it would seem 
that at Shrewsbury cordwainers were allowed to 
tan leather,^ but in 1351 the tanners and shoemakers 
were definitely forbidden to intermeddle with each 
other's craft, and a series of regulations, pariia- 
mentary and municipal, served to separate the 
tanners, the curriers, who dressed and suppled the 

^ For instances of the infringement of these and other regu- 
lations, see V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 331-5 ; V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 259. 
2 Lansd. MS., 74, 55. ^ V. C. H. Oxon., ii. 254. 

4 V. C. H. Essex, ii. 459. ^ V. C. H. Shrops., i. 433. 


rough tanned hides, the tawyers, and the various 
branches of leather-workers. 

The stock in trade of the tanner was simple. The 
inventories of the goods of half a dozen tanners at 
Colchester in 1300 are identical in kind though 
varying in value ; ^ each consists of hides, oak bark, 
and a number of vats and tubs. In the case of the 
tannery at Meaux Abbey ^ (the larger monastic 
houses usually maintained their own tanneries) in 
1396 rather more details are given. There were in 
store cow and calf leather, ' sole peces, sclepe, clow- 
thedys, and wambes ' to the value of £14, los. 4d., 
15 tubs and various tools, such as 3 ' schapyng- 
knyfes ' and 4 knives for the tan ; 400 tan turves 
(blocks of bark from which the tan had been ex- 
tracted), and ' the tan from all the oaks barked this 
year.' The raw hides had first to be soaked, then 
treated with lime to remove the hair, and then 
washed again before being placed in the tan vat. 
Consequently leather-dressers settled ' where they 
may have water in brooks and rivers to dress their 
leather ; without great store of running water they 
cannot dress the same.' ^ In 1461 Wilham Frank- 
well, when making a grant of a meadow at Lewes, 
reserved the right to use the ditch on the south side 
of the meadow for his hides,^ and complaints of the 
fouhng of town water supplies by leather workers 

1 Rot. Pari., i. 243-65. - Cott. MS. Vitell., C. vi., f. 239. 

=> Lansd. MS., 74, f. 52. * Add. Chart, 30687. 


were not unusual. ^ The process of tanning was, and 
for the best leather still is, extremely slow ; the 
hides were supposed to he in the ' wooses ' (ooze, or 
Hquor) for a whole year, and stringent regulations 
were issued to prevent the hastening of the process, 
to the detriment of the leather. The bark from 
which the tan was obtained, and which was so 
important a feature of the process that ' barker ' 
was an alternative name for tanner, had to be only 
of oak, the use of ash bark being forbidden ; nor 
might Hme or hot liquor be used, the imbedding of 
the vats in hot beds of old tan being prohibited. 

Hides, both raw and tanned, ranked with cloth as 
a leading article of trade, both home and foreign ; ^ 
and, like cloth, tanned leather was early subject to 
examination by searchers, appointed either by the 
craft gild or by the town authorities. As a rule the 
searcher's seal was afhxed in the market, or at the 
particular ' seld ' or hall where alone leather might 
be sold, but at Bristol in 1415 the searchers were 
empowered to examine the hides at the curriers' 
houses before they were curried. ^ The curriers, 
whose business it was to dress the ' red ' hides with 
tallow,* rendering them smooth and supple, were not 

1 e.g. at Colchester in 1425. — V. C. H. Essex, ii. 459 ; and at 
Richmond in 1280. — Assize R., 1064, m. 32. In London the 
tanners were held partly responsible for blocking the course of 
the Fleet in 1306. — Rot. Pari., i. 200. 

- Customs Accts., passim ; e.g. tliose quoted in V. C. H. 
Dorset, ii. 327. ^ Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 114. 

* The use of train oil instead of tallow was forbidden. 


allowed to dress badly tanned hides. ^ Several 
grades of tanning were recognised, the most lengthy 
and thorough workmansliip being required for 
leather intended for the soles of boots and rather less 
for the uppers. When forty-seven hides belonging 
to Nicholas Burle, of London, were seized in 1378 
as not well tanned, he admitted that they were not 
fit for shoeleather, but urged that he intended to sell 
them to saddlers, girdlers, and makers of leather 
bottles : a mixed jury of these various trades, how- 
ever, condemned the hides as unfit for any purpose, 
and they were forfeited.- 

Although there was thus an efficient control 
exercised over tanned leather, the tawed soft leathers 
used by glovers, pointmakers, pursemakers, saddlers, 
girdlers, coffermakers, budgetmakers, stationers, etc., 
seem for the most part to have escaped supervision, 
with the result that at the end of the sixteenth 
century the markets were flooded with counterfeit 
leathers. 3 

Qjj fBuff \of the first and 

' \ShamysJ best sort. 

(Bull, Ox, Steer, Cow, 
Horse, Stag, Hind, 
Buck, Doe, Calf, Dog, 
Seal, Sheep, Lamb, 

All Tawed leather is 
dressed with 

' The leather dressed with oil is made more 
supple, soft and spongey, and is wrought with a 

1 V. C. H. Northanis., ii. 311. 

* Riley, Mems. 0/ London, 421. ^ Lansd. MS., 74, f. 48. 


rough cotton, as bayes and fresadoes are, the cotton 
being raised in the fulHng mill where cloth is fulled, 
and serveth for the more beauty and pleasure to 
the wearer. 

' The leather dressed with alum and oker is more 
tough and " thight," serving better for the use of 
the poor artificer, husbandman, and labourer, and 
a more easy price by half, and is wrought smooth 
or with cotton which is raised by hand with a card 
or other like tool, and as the alum giveth strength and 
toughness, the oker giveth it colour, Uke as the oil 
doth give colour to Buff and Shamoys. 

' And this diversity of dressing, with oil or alum, 
is to be discerned both by smell and by a dust which 
ariseth from the alum leather, . . . 

' All Shamoys leather is made of goat skins 
brought for the most part out of Barbury, from the 
" Est countries," Scotland, Ireland, and other foreign 
parts, un wrought, and is transported again being 
wrought. And there is much thereof made from 
skins from Wales and other parts within the realm. 
. . . Being dressed with oil it beareth the name 
Shamoys, but being dressed with alum and oker, it 
beareth not the name or price of Shamoys, but of 
Goat skins.' 

' Shamoys ^ is made of goat, buck, doe, hind, 
sore, sorrell, and sheepskins. The true way of 
dressing is in " trayne oyle," the counterfeit is with 

1 Lansd. MS., 74, f. 53. 


alum and is worth about half. . . . Shamoys 
dressed in train oil can be dressed again three or 
four times, and seem as good as new, but dressed 
in alum it will hardly dress tmce and will soon be 
spied. And when Shamoys dressed in alum cometh 
to the rain or any water they will be hard like tanned 
leather, and Shamoys in oil make the cheapest and 
most lasting apparel, which the " low countrie man 
and the highe Almayn " doth use,' 

Frauds in the preparation and sale of leather were 
of frequent occurrence, and in 1372 the mayor and 
aldermen of London ordained penalties for the sale 
of dyed sheep and calf leather scraped and prepared 
so as to look like roe leather. At the same time the 
leather dyers were forbidden to dye such counter- 
feit leathers, and also to use the brasil or other dye 
provided or selected by one customer for the goods 
of another. 1 With the same object of preventing 
frauds the tawyers who worked for furriers were not 
allowed to cut the heads off the skins which they 
dressed, and were also liable to imprisonment if 
they worked old furs up into leather. ^ Further 
penalties for false and deceitful work, especially in 
the making of leather ' points and lanyers,' or laces 
and thongs, were enacted in 1398. ^ With the growth 
of capitaHsm during the reign of EHzabeth the 
control exercised by the Leathersellers' Company 

1 Riley, Metns. of London, 304-5- 

2 Ibid., 331. => Tbid., 546-7. 



became almost nominal, some half a dozen wealthy 
members of the company getting the whole trade 
into their o\\ti hands. By buying up the leather 
all over the country, they forced up prices ; having, 
moreover, a practical monopoly of tawed leathers 
they were able to make the glovers and other leather 
workers take the dressed skins in packets of a dozen, 
which contained three or four small ' Hnings ' or 
worthless skins.^ They also undertook the dressing 
of the skins, and cut out the good workmen by 
scamping their work and employing men who had 
only served half their seven years' apprenticeship. ^ 
They also caused dogskins, ' fishe skynnes of zeale,' 
calf, and other skins to be so dressed as to resemble 
' right Civill [i.e. Seville] and Spannish skynnes,' 
worth twice as much. These skins were dressed 
* with the powder of date stones and of gaule and 
with French shomake that is nothinge Hke the 
Spannish shomake, to give them a pretie sweete 
savor but nothinge like to the civile skynnes, and the 
powder of theise is of veary smale price and the 
powder of right Spannish shomake grounded in a 
mill is wourth xxx^ the c^^ weight, which shomake 
is a kynd of brush, shrubb, or heath in Spa>Tie and 
groweth low by the ground and is swete like Gale ^ 
in Cambridgshire and is cutt twise a yeare and soe 
dried and grounded into powder by milles and dres- 
seth all the Civile and Spannish skjmnes brought 

1 Lansd. MS., 74, f. 49. - Ibid., 60. ^ ( g myrtle. 



liither.' ^ To remedy these frauds there was a 
general demand that tawed leather should be 
searched and sealed in the same way as tanned, and 
in 1593 Edmund Darcy turned this to his own 
advantage by obtaining a royal grant of the right 
to carry out such searching and seahng. This was 
opposed by the leather-sellers, on the grounds that 
it would interfere with the sale and purchase in 
country districts if buyer and seller had to wait till 
the searcher could attend, and that the proposed 
fees for sealing were exorbitant, amounting to from 
a ninth to nearly a half of the value of the skins. 
They also said that if a seal were put on, it would 
almost always be pared away, washed out, or ' ex- 
tincte by dying ' before the leather reached the 
consumer.2 Upon examination the suggested fees 
were found to be too large, and a table of the different 
kinds of leather and their values was dra\\'n up, and 
fees fixed accordingly : ^ — 

White Tawed Value 


Sheep skins 

. 7s. — 3s. the doz. . 

2d., Id. 

Kid and faw 

m . 4s. 6d.— IS. 8d. „ 

2d., Id. 


. 4s. 4d.— IS. 8d. „ 

2d., Id. 


. 5s. — 2s. 6d. each . 


Dogs . 

. 4s. — IS. 6d. the doz. 

2d., Id. 


. 4s.— 3s. 4d. each 

8d. the doz. 

Does . 

. 2s. 4d.— IS. 8d. „ 

8d. „ 

Calf . 

. I2s. — 4s. the doz. . 

6d., 3d. 

Goat . 

. 2s. 6d. each — 3s. 6d. the doz 

6d., 2d. each. 

1 Lansd. MS., 74, f. 53. - Ibid., f. 48. ' Ibid., i. 58. 

* At Colchester in 1425 the charge for tawing a horse hide was 

I4d., a buckskin 8(1., doe sd., and calf 2d.— F. C. H. Essex, ii. 459. 


Oil Dressed 



Right Buffe i . . . . 


4d.— 15s. each 


Counterfeit Bufife .... 


4d.— 7s. „ 


Right Shamoise .... 


the doz. . 


Counterfeit „ .... 




Sheep „ .... 




Lamb „ .... 




Right Spannish skins ^ 




Counterfeit Spannish skins of goat 

and buck 




Counterfeit Spannish sheep skins 

1 28. 


Right Cordovan skins . 




Seal skins dressed 




Stagge skins,^ EngHsh, Scottish, 

as big as buffyn, dressed like 





Stag skins, Irish, dressed like buffe 


the doz. . 

1 2d. 

Buck and doe, dressed like buffe . 



I 2d. 

Calf skins, in like sort . 

1 6s. 



A number of trades, such as glovers, saddlers, 
pursemakers, girdlers, and bottlemakers, used 
leather, but the most important class were the shoe- 
makers. They in turn were divided into a number 
of branches, at the head of which stood the cord- 
wainers, who derived their name from having origin- 
ally been workers of Cordovan leather, but were in 
actual practice makers of the better class of shoes.* 

1 Right Buffe were made from ' Elke Skynnes or Hand hides 
brought out of Muscovia or from by Est ' ; the counterfeits were 
of horse, ox, and stag skins.^Lansd. MS., 74, f. 53. 

- The price given for Spanish skins is probably an error ; pos- 
sibly the values of the ' right ' and ' counterfeit ' are reversed. 

* In 1347 the London white tawyers charged 6s. 8d. for work- 
ing a ' dyker [a packet of ten] of Scottes stagges or Irysshe,' and 
los. for the ' dyker of Spanysshe stagges.' — Riley, Mems. of 
London, 234. 

* Corveiser was a still more common name for a shoemaker. 


At the other end were the cobblers, or menders of 
old shoes. Elaborate regulations were made in 
London in 1409 to prevent these two classes tres- 
passing on one another's preserves.^ The cobbler 
might clout an old sole with new leather or patch 
the uppers, but if the boot required an entirely 
new sole, or if a new shoe were burnt or broken and 
required a fresh piece put in, then the work must 
be given to the cordwainer. A distinction was also 
drawn at a much earlier date, in 1271,^ between two 
classes of cordwainers, the allutarii and the hasanarii, 
the latter being those who used ' basan ' or ' bazan,' 
an inferior leather made from sheepskin. Neither 
was to use the other's craft, though the allutarius 
might make the uppers {quissellos) of his shoes of 
bazan : to prevent any confusion the two classes 
were to occupy separate positions in the fairs and 
markets. In 1320 we find eighty pairs of shoes 
seized from twenty different persons, thirty-one 
pairs being taken from Roger Brown of Norwich, 
and forfeited for being made of bazan and cordwain 
mixed. 3 Fifty years later, in 1375, a heavy fine 
was ordained for any one selling shoes of bazan as 
being cordwain,* and a similar ordinance was in 
force at Bristol in 1408.^ By the London rules of 
1271, no cordwainer was to keep more than eight 

1 Riley, Mems. of London, 572-3. - Liber Alius, ii. 441-5- 

^ Riley, Mems. of London, 136. ■* Ibid., 391. 

* Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 108. 


journeymen {servientes) , and at Bristol in 1364 the 
shoemakers were restricted to a single ' covenant- 
hynd,' who was to be paid i8d. a week and allowed 
eight pairs of shoes yearly. ^ In the case of Bristol, 
however, no limit is stated for the number of journey- 
men, who were paid by piecework, the rates being, 
in 1364, 3d. a dozen for sewing, and 3d. for yarking ; 
3d. for making a pair of boots entirely, that is to say, 
id. for cutting and 2d. for sewing and yarking ; 
2d. for cutting a dozen pairs of shoes, namely id. 
for the overleathers and id. for the soles, and a 
further id. for lasting the dozen shoes. The rates 
of pay were still the same in 1408, though there are 
additional entries of I2d. for sewing, yarking, and 
finishing a dozen boots and shoes called ' quarter- 
schone,' and yd. for sewing and yarking, with an 
extra i|d. for finishing a dozen shoes called ' course 
ware.' ^ 

The sale of the finished articles was also an object 
of regulations : in London in 1271, shoes might only 
be hawked in the district between Corveiserstrete 
and Soperes Lane, and there only in the morning 
on ordinary days, though on the eves of feast they 
might be sold in the afternoon. ^ Leather laces 
also might not be sold at the ' eve chepings.' ^ 
Possibly it was considered that bad leather might 
be more easily passed off in a bad light, but the idea 

1 Little Red Book oj Bristol, ii. 43. - Ibid., ii. 105. 

3 Liber Albus, ii. 445. * Riley, Mems. of London, 547. 


may simply have been to prevent the competition 
of the pedlars and hawkers with the shopkeepers. 
At Northampton, in 1452, the two classes of trades- 
men were separated, those who had shops not being 
allowed to sell also in the market. ^ Northampton 
had not at this date begun to acquire the fame 
which it earned during the seventeenth century as 
the centre of the Enghsh boot trade, but regulations 
for the ' corvysers crafte ' there had been dra\Mi up 
in 1402,2 and much earher, in 1266, we find 
Henry in. ordering the baihffs of Northampton to 
provide a hundred and fifty pairs of shoes, half at 
5d. and half at 4d. the pair.^ These were for dis- 
tribution to the poor; and similar orders in other 
years were usually executed in either London or 
Winchester : no particular importance can be at- 
tached to this single order being given to North- 
ampton, as presumably any large town could have 
carried out the order. So far as any town can be 
placed at the head of the shoemaking industry, the 
distinction must be given to Oxford where the cord- 
wainers' gild was in existence early in the twelfth 
century, it being reconstituted in 1131,^ and its 
monopoly confirmed by Henry 11.^ 

1 V. C. H. Northants., ii. 318. - Ibid. 

3 Liberate R., 50 Hen. iii., n. 11. ' Pipe R., 31 Hen. i. 

° Cal. Chart. R., ii. 34. 




Malt liquors have been from time immemorial the 
national drink of England, but the ale of medieval 
times was quite different from the liquor which now 
passes indifferently under the names ale or beer. It 
was more of a sweet wort, of about the consistency 
of barley water. Andrew Borde,^ writing in the 
first half of the sixteenth century, says : ' Ale is 
made of malte and water ; and they the which do 
put any other thynge to ale than is rehersed, except 
yest, barme or godesgood, doth sofysticat theyr ale. 
Ale for an Englysshe man is a naturall drynke. Ale 
must have these propertyes : it muste be fresshe and 
cleare, it muste not be ropy nor smoky, nor must it 
have no weft nor tayle. Ale should not be dronke 
under v dayes olde. Newe ale is unholsome for all 
men. And sowre ale, and dead ale the which doth 
stand a tylt, is good for no man. Barly malte 
maketh better ale then oten malte or any other 
come doth : it doth ingendre grose humoures ; but 
yette it maketh a man stronge.' 

1 A Dyetary of Helth (E. E. T. S.), 256. 


The supremacy of English ale was already estab- 
lished by the middle of the twelfth century, that of 
Canterbury being particularly famous,^ and casks 
of ale were amongst the presents taken by Becket 
to the French court on the occasion of his embassy 
in 1157.^ At this time it really deserved the title 
of ' the people's food in liquid form ' ; the consump- 
tion per head of population must have been enor- 
mous, the ordinary monastic corrody, or allowance of 
food, stipulating for a gallon of good ale a day, with 
very often a second gallon of weak ale. It must 
be borne in mind that it was drunk at all times, 
taking the place not only of such modem inventions 
as tea and coffee, but also of water, insomuch that 
a thirteenth-century writer describing the extreme 
poverty of the Franciscans when they first settled 
in London (a.d. 1224) exclaims, ' I have seen the 
brothers drink ale so sour that some would have 
preferred to drink water.' ^ Such was the import- 
ance attached to ale that it was coupled with bread 
for purposes of legal supervision, and the right to 
hold the ' assize of bread and ale ' was one of the 
earUest justicial privileges asserted by municipal 
and other local courts. The Assize of Ale as recorded 
on the Statute Rolls in the time of Henry iii. fixed 
the maximum price of ale throughout the kingdom 

1 Giraldus Cambs. (Rolls Ser.), iv. 41. 

2 Mat. for Hist, of T. Becket (Rolls Ser.), iii. 30. 
» Mon. Franc. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 8. 


on the basis of the price of malt, or rather of the 
com from which malt was made.^ When wheat 
stood at 3s. or 3s. 4d. the quarter, barley at 2od. to 
25., and oats at i6d., then brewers in towns were to 
sell two gallons of ale for a penny, and outside towns 
three or four gallons. And when three gallons were 
sold for a penny in a town then four gallons should 
be sold for a penny in the country. If com rose a 
shilling the quarter, the price of ale might be raised 
a farthing the gall on. ^ A later ordinance, issued in 
1283, set the price of the better quality of ale at 
i|d. ; and that of the weaker at id., and the common- 
alty of Bristol, fearing that they might be punished 
if the brewers of the town broke this regulation, 
issued stringent orders for its observance, infringe- 
ment entailing the forfeiture of the offender's 

A very casual examination of court rolls and other 
local records is sufficient to convince the student 
that brewing was universal, every village supplying 
its own wants, and that infringements of the regula- 
tions by which the trade was supposed to be con- 
trolled were almost equally universal. The same 
names are found, where any series of rolls exists, 

1 Statutes, temp. Hen. in. 

- ' [A Brewer's assise] is xijd highing and xij<i lowing in the 
price of a quarter Malte, and evermore shilling to q* ' ( = farthing) . 
— Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 397. In other words, ale was as 
many farthings a gallon as malt was shillings a quarter. 

3 Little Red Book of Bristol, 223. 


presented at court after court for breaking the 
assize in one way or another, and it is clear that a 
strict observance of the laws was difficult, it being 
more profitable to break them and pay the small 
fines extorted practically as Ucensing dues. At 
Shoreham in the thirteenth century, the brewers, 
whose trade was particularly active because of the 
numbers of foreigners who visited the port, paid 
2^ marks yearly to escape the vexations of the 
manorial court, ^ and in the same way the hundred 
of Shoyswell (in Sussex) paid a yearly fine in order 
that the ale-wives (trade was largely in the hands of 
women) might be excused attendance at the law- 
days. ^ In neither case, however, can we suppose 
that the manorial control over the brewing trade 
was appreciably relaxed, but rather that personal 
attendance at the court, with its interruption of 
business, was dispensed with. Besides these mone- 
tary payments, there were often payments in kind 
due to the lord of the manor or borough. At Marl- 
borough every public brewery had to pay to the 
constable of the castle from each brew a measure, 
known as ' tolsester,' prior to 1232, when this render 
of ale was granted to the canons of St. Margaret's.^ 
' Tolsester ' was also paid to the castle of Chester, ' 
and in Newark and Fiskerton.^ The ' sester ' 
{sextarius) or ' cestron ' was, in Coventry at any 

1 Assize R., 912, m. 49. * Hundred R., ii. 216. 

* Cal. Chart. R., i. 168. * Ibid. ' V. C. H. Nolls., ii. 364. 


rate, 13 or 14 gallons. ^ Ale was always supposed 
to be sold, whether in gross or retail, in measures of 
which the capacity had been certified by the seal or 
stamp of the official appointed for the purpose. ^ 
The list of standard measures kept at Beverley in 
1423 shows a potell, quart, pint, and gill of pewter, 
panyers, hopir, modius, firthindal, piece, and half- 
piece of wood and a gallon, potell, third and quart, 
also of wood. 3 Court Rolls, however, show that the 
use of unstamped measures and the retailing of ale 
in pitchers and jugs {per ciphos et discos) was of 
constant occurrence,* mainly, no doubt, for the 
convenience of customers who brought their own 
jugs, but also occasionally with intent to deceive, 
as in the case of AHce Causton,^ who in 1364 filled 
up the bottom of a quart measure with pitch and 
cunningly sprinkled it with sprigs of rosemary,^ 
for which she had to ' play bo pepe thorowe a pillery.' 
It is interesting to notice that at Torksey in 1345, if 
a woman was accused of selling ale ' against the 
assize,' she might clear herself by the oaths of two 
other women, preferably her next-door neighbours.' 

1 Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 25, 678, 710. 

'^ Ibid., 772. 

3 Beverley Town Docts. (Selden Soc), liv. In 1413, 260 barrels 
(30 gallons) and firkins (7^ gallons) made for Richard Bartlot 
of unseasoned wood and under size were burnt. — Riley, Mems. 
of London, 597. * e.g. V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 261. 

^ Riley, Mems. of London, 319. 

« From this it would seem that it was customary to put herbs 
into ale. ' Borough Customs (Selden Soc), i. 185. 


When a public brewer had made a fresh brew he 
had to send for the oflficial ' ale-conner ' or ' taster,' 
or to signify that his services were recjiiired by put- 
ting out in front of his house an ' ale stake,' a pole 
with a branch or bush at the end : this was also 
used as the universal sign of a tavern; and some 
of the London tavemers, possibly recognising that 
their liquor was not sufficiently good to ' need no 
bush,' made their ale-stakes so long as to be danger- 
ous to persons riding in the street. ^ No ale might 
be sold until it had been approved by the ale-conner. 
If the latter found the ale fit for consumption but 
not of full quality, he might lix the price at which it 
might be sold.^ In Worcester the instructions to 
the ale-conner were, ' You shall resort to every 
brewer's house within this city on their tunning day 
and there to taste their ale, whether it be good and 
wholesome for man's body, and whether they make 
it from time to time according to the prices fixed. 
So help you God.' ^ There seems reason for the pious 
ejaculation when we find that in Coventry in 1520 
there were in a total population of 6600 men, women, 
and children, 60 public brewers.*, When the ale 
was good the task must have had its compensations, 
but when it was bad the taster must often have 
wished to make the punishment fit the crime, as 

1 Riley, Mems. of London, 386. 

- Liber Albus, i. 360. » V. C. H. Worcs., ii. 256. 

* Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 675. There were at least 
thirty brewers in Oxford in 1380. — V. C. H. Oxon., ii. 159. 


was done in the case of a Londoner who sold bad 
wine, the offender being compelled to drink a 
draught of the wine, the rest of which was then 
poured over his head.^ Our sympathy may in 
particular be extended to the ale-tasters of Corn- 
wall, where ' ale is starke nought, lokinge whyte and 
thycke, as pygges had wrasteled in it.' ^ Oddly 
enough we find mention in Domesday Book of forty- 
three cervisiarii at Helstone in Cornwall ; they are 
usually supposed to be tenants who paid dues of 
ale, but the term is clearly used in the description of 
Bury St. Edmunds for brewers. In the sixteenth 
century, however, Borde ^ in an unflattering dialect 
poem makes the Comishman say : — 

' Iche cam a Cornyshe man, ale che can brew ; 
It wyll make one to kacke, also to spew; 
It is dycke and smoky, and also it is dyn ; 
It is lyke wash as pygges had wrestled dryn.' 

To ensure the purity of the ale not only was 
the finished product examined, but some care was 
taken to prevent the use of impure water, regula- 
tions to prevent the contamination of water used 
by brewers, or the use by them of water so con- 
taminated, being common.* On the other hand, 
owing to the large quantities of water required for 
their business, they were forbidden in London,^ 

1 Riley, Mems. of London, 318. 

2 Andrew Borde, Introduction (E. E. T. S.), 123. 

3 Op. cit., 122. < e.g. V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 262. 
^ Riley, Mems. of London, 225. 


Bristol,! and Coventry - to use the public conduits. 
For the actual brewing, rules were also laid down. 
In Oxford in 1449, in wliich year nine brewers were 
said to brew weak and unwholesome ale, not properly 
prepared, and not worth its price, but of httle or no 
value, the brewers were made to swear that they 
would brew in wholesome manner so that they 
would continue to heat the water over the fire so 
long as it emitted froth, and would skim the froth 
off, and that after skimming the new ale should 
stand long enough for the dregs to settle before they 
sent it out, Richard Benet in particular undertaking 
that his ale should stand for at least twelve hours 
before he sent it to any hall or college. ^ In London 
also casks when filled in the brewery were to stand 
for a day and a night to work, so that when taken 
away the ale should be clear and good.^ This 
explains the regulation at Coventry in 142 1 that ale 
' new under the here syve [hair sieve] ' was to sell 
for i|d. the gallon, and that ' good and stale ' for 
i|d.^ At Seaford there w^s a third state, ' in the 
hoffe,' or ' huff,' which sold for 2d.^ 

So far were the brewers regarded as the servants 
of the people that not only was their brewing strictly 
regulated, but they were compelled to brew even 
when they considered that new ordinances ' or a 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 229. 

"- Coventry LeetBk.(E.E.T.S.), 584. » V. C. H.Oxott., ii.2Go. 

* Liber Albus, i. 358. « Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 25. 

* Suss. Arch. Coll., vii. 96. ' Liber Albus, i. 359. 


rise in the price of malt would make their trade 
unprofitable ; ^ and in 1434 the brewers of Oxford 
were summoned to St. Mary's Church and there 
ordered to provide malt, and to see to it that two or 
three brewers brewed twice or thrice every week, 
and sent out their ale.^ At Gloucester,^ in the 
sixteenth century, the brewers were expected to 
give some kind of weak wort, possibly the scum or 
dregs of their brew, to the poor to make up into a 
kind of very small beer, which must have been 
something like the ' second washing of the tuns,' 
which formed the perquisite of the under brewers 
at Rochester Priory.^ At Norwich barm or yeast 
was a similar subject of charity, and in 1468 it 
was set forth that ' wheras berme otherwise clepid 
goddisgood, without tyme of mynde hath frely be 
yoven or delyvered for brede whete malte egges 
or othir honest rewarde to the value only of a 
farthyng at the uttermost and noon warned [i.e. 
denied], because it cometh of the grete grace of God ; 
certeyn . . . comon brewers ... for ther singler 
lucre and avayle have nowe newely begonne to take 
monye for their seid goddisgood,' charging a half- 
penny or a penny for the least amount, therefore 
the brewers were to swear that ' for the time ye or 
your wife exercise comon brewing ye shall graunte 

1 Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 637. 

2 V. C. H. Oxon., ii. 260. 

3 Exch. Dep. by Com., Mich. 18-19, Eli^., no. 10. 

4 Cott. MS. Vesp., A. 22, f. 115. 


and delyver to any person ax3Tig berme called 
goddisgood takyng for as moche goddisgood as shall 
be sufficient for the brewe of a quarter maltc a 
ierthyng at the moost,' provided that they have 
enough for their own use, and that this do not 
apply to any ' old custom ' between the brewers 
and bakers. 1 

About the end of the fourteenth century a new 
variety of malt Hquor, beer, was introduced from 
Flanders. It seems to have been imported into 
Winchelsea as early as 1400,2 but for the best part of 
a century its use was mainly, and its manufacture 
entirely, confined to foreigners. Andrew Borde,^ 
who disapproved of it, says, ' Bere is made of malte, 
of hoppes and water : it is a naturall drynke for a 
Dutche man. And nowe of late dayes it is moche 
used in Englande to thedetryment of many Englysshe 
men ; specyally it kylleth them the which be troubled 
with the colycke and the stone and the stranguhon ; 
for the drynke is a colde drynke ; yet it doth make 
a man fat, and doth inflate the bely, as it dothe 
appeare by the Dutche mens faces and belyes. If 
the bere be well served and be fyned and not new it 
doth quaUfy the heat of the lyver.' That, thanks 
to the large foreign settlement in London, beer' 
brewing soon attained considerable dimensions in 

1 Recs. of Norwich, ii. 98. * V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 261. 

» Dyetary (E. E. T. S.), 256. 



the city is evident from the fact that in 1418, when 
provisions were sent to Henry v. at the siege of 
Rouen, 300 tuns of ' ber ' were sent from London, 
and only 200 tuns of ale, but the beer was valued at 
only 13s. 4d. the tun, while the ale was 20s. ^ About 
the middle of the fifteenth centur}^ large quantities 
of hops were being imported at Rye and Winchelsea, 
and in the church of the neighbouring village of 
Playden may still be seen the grave of Cornelius 
Zoetmann, ornamented with two beer barrels and 
a crossed mash-stick and fork.^ A httle later we 
find beer being exported from the Sussex ports and 
also from Poole, ^ which had long done a large trade 
in ale to the Channel Islands. 

Such beer brewers as occur during the fifteenth 
century almost aU bear foreign names. For in- 
stance, in 1473, Thomas Seyntleger and John 
Goryng of Southwark recovered heavy damages for 
theft against John Doys of St. Botolph's-outside- 
Aldgate and Gerard Sconeburgh of Southwark, ' bere- 
bruers,' whose sureties were Godfrey Speryng and 
Edward Dewysse, also ' berebruers.' ^ Probably 
in this case the theft was an illegal seizure or dis- 
traint of goods for a debt for beer supphed, as 
although most of the goods said to be stolen were 
armour and objects of value, such as a book of 
Gower's poems and an illuminated Sege of Troye, 

1 Riley, Mems. of Londor:, 666. - V. C. H. Sussex, ii. 261. 

3 V. C. H. Dorset, ii. 367. * Coram Rege 852, m. 23. 


there were also ten barrels of ' sengilbere,' thirty- 
five barrels of ' dowblebere,' ten lastys of barrels and 
kilderkins, and two great sacks for ' hoppys.' There 
was still a prejudice against beer, and in 1471, at 
Nor\vich, the use of hops and ' gawlc ' in brewing 
was forbidden, 1 while in 1519 the authorities at 
Shrewsbur^^ prohibited the employment of the 
' wicked and pernicious weed, hops.' ^ In the same 
way, in 1531, the royal brewer was forbidden to use 
hops or brimstone, but an Act of Parliament passed 
in the same year bore testimony to the estabhshment 
of the industry by exempting ahen brewers from 
the penal statutes against foreigners practising their 
trades in England, and also by allowing beer brewers 
to employ two coopers while ale brewers might only 
employ one.^ At the same time the barrel of beer 
was fixed at thirty-six gallons, and that of ale at 
thirty-two, the kilderkin and firkin being respectively 
half and quarter of those amounts. 

From this time the brewing of beer steadily 
prospered, the Leakes of Southwark * and other alien 
brewers amassing great riches, Enghsh brewers 
following in their footsteps, and the taste for beer 
spreading through the country so rapidly that in 
1577 Harrison in his Description of England could 
speak contemptuously of the old ale as thick and 
fulsome and no longer popular except with a few. 

» Recs. of Norwich, ii. loo. - V. C. II. Shrops., ii. ^22. 

» V. C. H. Surrey, ii. 382. ♦ Ibid., 382-4. 


William Harrison, writing about 1577, says : * In 
some places of England there is a kind of drinke 
made of apples, which they call cider or pomage, 
but that of peares is named pirrie, and both are 
ground and pressed in presses made for the nonce. 
Certes, these two are verie common in Sussex, Kent, 
Worcester, and other steads where these sorts of 
fruits do abound, howbeit they are not their onelie 
drinke at all times, but referred unto the delicate 
sorts of drinke.' ^ A generation eariier Andrew 
Borde, whom we have already quoted for ale and 
beer, wrote : ' Cyder is made of the juce of peeres, 
or of the juce of apples ; and other whyle cyder is 
made of both ; but the best cyder is made of cleane 
peeres, the which be dulcet ; but the beste is not 
praysed in physycke, for cyder is colde of operacyon, 
and is full of ventosyte, wherfore it doth ingendre 
evyll humours and doth swage to moche the naturall 
heate of man and doth let dygestyon and doth hurte 
the stomacke ; but they the whych be used to it, 
yf it be dronken in harvyst it doth lytell harme.' 

Andrew Borde makes no distinction between cider 
and perry. We find mention of the latter in 1505, 
when a foreign ship entered Poole with a cargo of 
apples, pears, etc., and ' 3 poncheons de pery,' 
valued at los.,^ but references to perry are not 
numerous. Cider, on the other hand, we find in 
constant demand from the middle of the twelfth 

1 Dyetary (E. E. T, S.), 256. ^ y_ c. H. Dorset, ii. 369. 


century onwards. It figures on the Pipe Rolls of 
Henry ii./ and the contemporary historian and 
journalist, Gerald de Barri, alleged its use by the 
monks of Canterbury instead of Kentish ale as an 
instance of their luxury.^ A little later, in 1212. the 
sale of cider is one of the numerous sources of the 
income of the Abbey of Battle ; ^ part of this cider 
may have come from its estates at Wye, which 
produced a good deal of cider during the fourteenth 

Possibly the industry was introduced from Nor- 
mandy, from which district large c[uantities of cider 
were imported into Winchelsea about 1270.^ and this 
might account for the hold which it took upon 
Sussex. In the western part of the county, at 
Pagham, we find mention of an npplc mill and press 
having been wTongfully seized by the cscheator's 
officer in 1275,^ and at the same place in 1313 the 
farmer of the archbishop's estates accounted for 
I2S. spent on buying four casks in which to put 
rider, on repairing a ciderpress, and on the wages of 
men hired to make cider.' It is, however, in the 
Nonae Rolls of 1341 that the extent of the cider 
industry in Sussex is most noticeable.* In no fewer 
than eighty parishes, of which seventy-four were in 

• Pipe K., 6 Hen. 11., Essex; 13 lien. 11.. ^Vind^.o^. 

* GiraldusCambr. (Rolls Ser.), iv. 41. 

» Pipe R., 13 John. * Mins. Accts., b<lle. 899. 

'" V. C. H. Sussex, ii. -r,^. « Ibid. 

' Mins. AccLs., ii2«, uo. 4. ' V. C. 11. bu:>scx, 11. 263. 


West Sussex, the tithes of cider are mentioned as 
part of the endowment of the church, and in another 
twenty-eight cases the tithes of apples are entered. 
Moreover the value of these tithes was very consider- 
able, reaching iocs, in Easebourne, and as much as 
10 marks (£6, 13s. 4d.) at Wisborough. In the last- 
named parish in 1385, William Threle granted to 
John Pakenham and his wife certain gardens and 
orchards, reserving to himself half the trees bearing 
fruit either for eating or for cider [mangahle et 
ctserable), in return for which they were to render 
yearly a pipe of cider and a quarter of store apples 
{hordapplen) ; he also retained the right of access to 
the ' wringehouse,' or building containing the press, 
and the right to use their ciderpress for his fruit. ^ 

Beyond an abundance of casual references to 
cider presses and to the purchases and sale of cider, 
there is little to record of the industry in medieval 
times ; nor need we devote much attention to the 
manufacture of wine in England. Domesday Book 
shows us that the great Norman lords in many cases 
planted vines near their chief seats, and not many 
years later William of Malmesbury spoke of the 
Vale of Gloucester as planted more thickly with 
vineyards than any other part of England, and pro- 
ducing the best grapes, from which a wine little 
inferior to those of France was made. Vines con- 
tinued to be grown by the great lords and monas- 

' Memo., K. K., 17 Kic. 11., Hil. 


teries, but the wine was used entirely for their own 
consumption, and in decreasing quantities. About 
1500 an Italian visitor speaks of having eaten 
English grapes, and adds ' wine might be made in 
the southern parts, but it would be harsh,' ^ from 
which we may judge that such wine making as had 
existed was at an end by the sixteenth century. 

* A Venetian Relation of the Island of England (Camden Soc), 9- 




The control of industry is a subject for the treat- 
ment of which there are materials sufficient for more 
than one large volume. I do not, however, regret 
that I can devote comparatively small space to the 
subject, as its principles are simple and admit of 
broad treatment. There is, moreover, in the case 
of the student who is not a specialist, a danger of 
obscuring the outlines with a multipUcity of detail. 
And there is also the danger of selecting some puzz- 
ling and obscure incident or enactment, due to local 
causes of which we are ignorant, and using it as a 
basis for ingenious generalisations. Broadly speak- 
ing, the Control of Industry may be said to be 
either External, by parhamentary or municipal 
legislation, or Internal, by means of craft gilds. 
These two sections again admit of subdivision 
according as their objects are the protection of the 
consumer, the employer or the workman. Nor can 
we entirely ignore legislation for purposes of revenue 
— subsidies, customs, and octroi dues. 

Of industrial legislation by the King's Council, 
the predecessor of ParHament, we find very little 


trace. The royal charters of the twelfth century 
confirmmg or hcensing craft gilds may be more 
justly regarded as revenue enactments, their object 
being rather to secure a certain annual return from 
the craft to which the royal protection was granted 
than to exercise any control over the craft. The 
proclamation in the early thirteenth century of the 
Assize of Cloth and of the Assize of Bread and Ale 
may be considered to mark the beginning of a national 
control of industry, though in each case existing 
regulations were formally adopted rather than new 
rules imposed. The growth of the towns and the 
rise of a wealthy merchant class during the reign 
of Henry iir. brought a])out the birth of Parliamenl, 
and naturally led to a certain amount of trade 
legislation. But with trade — the distribution of 
linished products by persons other than the pro- 
ducers — we are not concerned. Edward iii., thanks 
perhaps to his queen Philippa, from the cloth land 
of Hainault, reaUsed the possibilities of the Enghsh 
cloth manufacture, and endeavoured to foster it by 
a series of statutes to which reference has been made- 
above . During his reign, in 1349, the Black Death, 
that great landmark in medieval history, by reduc- 
ing the numbers of the craftsmen increased the 
market value of the sur\-ivors, who at once demanded 
and obtained higher wages. Parhament retorted 
by passing the Statute of Labourers, ^ accorduig to 

1 statutes, 23 Edw. iii. 


which no smith, carpenter, mason, tiler, shipwright, 
leather-worker, tailor, or other artificer was to take 
higher wages than he had received three years 
earher, before the pestilence. Though this was 
legislation in favour of the employer, it was not 
exactly a case of favouring the wealthy, for by 
imposing a penalty on the giver of excessive wages 
as well as upon the receiver, an attempt was made 
to prevent the small employer being deprived of his 
workmen by richer rivals. The Act was, so far as 
we can judge, inspired partly by fear that the capital- 
ist might control the sources of labour, and partly 
by fear that those sources might get beyond control. 
Whatever its origin, the statute failed in its expressed 
intention^ and wages remained, as Thorold Rogers 
has shown, 1 permanently higher. This was not due 
to any laxity in applying the Act ; for many years 
after it was passed justices were appointed in every 
part of England to enforce it,^ but the records 
of their proceedings, as for instance in Somerset in 
1360,2 where man}^ hundreds of offenders are named, 
show that the workmen had no hesitation in demand- 
ing, and found no difficulty in getting wages higher 
than the law allowed. Wholesale imprisonment 
as a remedy for scarcity of labour was scarcely 
satisfactory, and the small fines which were inflicted 
proved no deterrent. 

1 Six Centuries of Work and Wages, 233. 

5 Engl. Hist. Rev., xxi. 517. ' Assize R., 773. 


As the position of the artificer had improved 
after the Black Death, so the crafts in general were 
assuming a greater importance in pubHc estimation, 
and from about 13S0 onwards the regulation of 
industries occupies an increasing amount of space 
on the Statute Rolls. With their growing influence, 
most of the crafts began to make their voices heard 
crying out for protection, which was usually given 
them with a hberal hand. But, although the 
pernicious effects of protective measures (deterior- 
ation of quahty and rise of price) were to a large 
extent checked by the control kept over quahty and 
prices by the national and municipal authorities, 
the consumer was sometimes roused to action. 
One of the best instances of the struggle between 
public and private interests is to be found in the 
case of the Yarmouth herring fishery. Edward III. 
had granted to Yarmouth the monopoly of the sale 
of herrings on the east coast during the season of the 
fishery. As a consequence the price of herrings had 
risen enormously, and the king was driven to cancel 
the privilege : the men of Y'armouth at once began 
to pull the strings, and in 1378 recovered their 
monopoly, with the same result as before. Once 
more the consumer made his voice heard, and in 
1382 the Yarmouth charter was revoked, only to 
be restored in 1385 on the ground that without 
protection of this kind Yarmouth would be ruined. 

If a large number of parliamentary enactments 


were protective of the producer, as for instance the 
prohibition in 1463 of the import of a vast variety 
of goods, from silk ribbands to dripping-pans, and 
from razors to tennis balls, including such incom- 
patibles as playing cards and sacring bells,^ yet still 
more were protective of the consumer. For one 
thing, of course, a single Act prohibiting certain 
imports might protect a dozen classes of manu- 
factures, while the denunciation of one particular 
species of fraud would probably lead ingenious 
swindlers to invent a succession of others, each 
requiring a separate Act for its suppression. Senti- 
mental admirers of the past are apt to imagine that 
the medieval workman loved a piece of good work 
for its own sake and never scamped a job. Nothing 
could be further from the truth. The medieval 
craftsman was not called a man of craft for nothing ! 
He had no more conscience than a plumber, and his 
knowledge of ways that are dark and tricks that are 
vain was extensive and peculiar. The subtle craft 
of the London bakers, who, wliile making up their 
customer's dough, stole a large portion of the dough 
under their customers' eyes by means of a little 
trap-door in the kneading-board and a boy sitting 
under the counter,^ was exceptional only in its 
ingenuity. Cloth was stretched and strained to the 
utmost and cunningly folded to hide defects, a 
length of bad cloth would be joined on to a length of 

* Staluics, 3 Edw. iv. * Riley, Mcms. uj London, 163. 


superior quality, or a whole cheap cloth substi- 
tuted for the good cloth which the customers had 
purchased ; inferior leather was faked up to look 
hke the best, and sold at night to the unwary ; 
pots and kettles were made of bad metal which 
melted when put on the fire ; and everything that 
could be weighed or measured was sold by false 

Prior to the middle of the sixteenth century 
parhamentary attention was mainly concentrated 
on the cloth trade, and the preambles to the various 
statutes show that those in authority, including the 
more responsible manufacturers, realised that 
honesty is the best policy in the end. In 1390 it 
was pointed out that the frauds of the west countr\- 
clothiers had not only endangered the reputations, 
and even the Uves, of merchants who brought them 
for export, but had brought dishonour on the 
Enghsh name abroad. ^ Two years later it was the 
reputation of Guildford cloths that had been damaged 
by sharp practices. ^ The worsteds of Norfolk had 
early come into favour on the Continent, but in 1410 
the Flemish merchants became exasperated at their 
bad quality,^ and thirty years later the foreign 
demand for worsteds had been almost killed,* while 
in 1464 Enghsh cloth in general was in grave dis- 
repute, not only abroad, but even in its native land. 

1 Statutes, 13 Ric. ii. * Ibid., 15 Kic. 11. 

» Parly. Rolls, iii. 637. * Statutes, 20 Hen. vi. 


foreign cloth being largely imported. ^ To give them 
their due, the gilds recognised the importance to 
their own interests of maintaining a high standard 
of workmanship, and co-operated loyally with the 
municipal authorities to that end. 

Although we have classed the control of industries 
by municipal by-laws as ' external,' and control by 
gild regulations as ' internal,' no hard and fast 
line can really be drawn between the two. In 
England, in contrast to the experience of many 
Continental states, the two authorities worked to- 
gether with very little friction, the craft gilds recog- 
nising the paramount position of the merchant gild 
or town council, and the latter, in turn, protecting 
f the interest of the gilds and using their organisation 
to control the various crafts. The question of the 
origin of gilds is interesting rather than important, 
and has given rise to much discussion. It is known 
that the Roman crafts were organised into collegia, 
but while it is quite possible that some of the trade 
gilds in Constantinople, and even in Italy and Spain, 
might be able to trace their pedigrees back to Roman 
times, it is more than improbable that there was 
any connection between the Roman collegia and the 
Enghsh craft gilds of the twelfth century. The gilds 
of which we find mention in Anglo-Saxon records 
were clearly fraternities of purely social and religi- 
ous import. These gilds, friendly societies for the 

I Statutes, 4 Edw. iv. 


support of religious observances benelUing the souls 
of all the members, and for the mutual relief of such 
members as had met with misfortune, survived the 
Conquest and increased greatly, till by the end of 
the fourteenth century there could have been hardly 
a village without at least one gild. It is natural to 
suppose that in towns, where the choice of gilds was 
considerable, there would be a tendency for members 
of the same trade to join the same gild. The strength 
gained by such union under the common bond of an 
oath to obey the same statutes and the same officers, 
and the advantage of the Church's protection must 
soon have become obvious, and as in 1378 we find 
the weavers of London forming a fraternity whose 
ordinances are entirely of a rehgious nature and 
contain no reference to the occupation of the 
members,^ so we may well believe that many of the 
early gilds, while apparently purely religious, were 
in fact trade unions. Whatever may have been the 
methods in which craft gilds came into existence, 
we find them increasing in numbers and influence 
from the middle of the twelfth century onwards. 
Meanwhile, however, the capitalists and wealthy 
traders by means of ' merchant gilds ' and similar 
bodies had so firmly established an ohgarchic con- 
trol over the towns and boroughs that they were 
able to keep the craft gilds in a subordinate position. 
Everywhere the town authorities, whether they were 
1 Unwin, Gilds of London, 139. 


mayor and council, or gild merchant, or governors, 
could impose regulations upon the crafts, while such 
rules as the crafts drew up for their own manage- 
ment were legal only if accepted by the town council. 
The case of Coventry was typical, where, in 1421, the 
mayor and councillors summoned the wardens of 
the crafts with their ordinances. ' And the poyntes 
that byn lawfull good and honest for the Cite be 
alowyd hem and all other thrown asid and had for 
none.' ^ In the same way at Norwich in 1449, the 
mayor drew up a complete set of ordinances for the 
crafts. 2 But although keeping a firm hand on the 
gilds, and taking measures to protect the interests 
of the consumers and of the town in general, the 
civic authorities left the gilds in control of the 
internal affairs of their crafts. So that the crafts- 
man in his relations to another of the same trade 
was a gild brother, but in his relations to all other 
men he was a townsman. 

From the consumer's point of view the regulation 
of prices was perhaps the most important problem. 
The price of raw material was too dependent upon 
supply and demand to admit of much regulation, 
though in 1355 Parhament interfered to bring down 
the price of iron,^ forbidding its export, and ordering 

1 Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 32. 

2 Norwich Recs., ii. 278-310. 

3 Statutes, 28 Edw. iii. Is iron raw material ? Much labour 
has been expended on it before it reaches the market — but the 
same would apply to corn. 


the Justices of Labourers {i.e. those appointed to 
enforce the Statute of Labourers) to punish all who 
sold it too high. The local authorities, civic and 
manorial, took constant measures to prevent the 
artificial enhancement of what we may call raw 
food stuffs, com, fish, and meat, the ' regrator and 
forestaller,' that is to say, the middleman, who 
intercepted supplies before they reached the market 
and forced prices up for his own sole benefit, being 
universally regarded as a miscreant. ^ The econom- 
ists of that period had not grasped the fact that the 
cleverness shown in buying an article cheap and 
selling the same thing, without any further expendi- 
ture of labour, dear, if done on a sufficiently large 
scale, justifies the bestowal of the honour of knight- 
hood or a peerage. In the case of manufactured 
food stuffs, such as bread and ale, the price was! 
automatically fixed by the price of the raw material, I 
and in general prices of manufactures were regulated 1 
by the cost of the materials. Even in the case of 
such artistic work as the making of waxen images, 
it was considered scandalous that the makers should 
charge as much as 2s. the pound for images when 
wax was only 6d. the pound, and in 1432 the wax- 
chandlers were ordered not to charge for workman- 
ship more than 3d. the pound over the current price 
of wax. 2 The principle that the craftsman should 
be content with a reasonable profit, and not turn 

» e.g. RUcy, Mems. of London, 253. - Statutes, 11 Hen. vi. 



the casual needs of his neighbours to his own benefit 
is constantly brought out in local regulations, as, for 
instance, in London in 1362, when in consequence of 
the damage wrought by a great storm tiles were in 
great demand, and the tilers were ordered to go on 
making tiles and seUing them at the usual prices. ^ 

The question of prices, which were thus so largely 
composed of a varying sum for material, and a fixed 
sum for workmanship, is very intimately connected 
with the question of wages. ^ The medieval economist 
seems to have accepted the Ruskinian theory that 
all men engaged in a particular branch of trade 
should be paid equal wages — with the corollary that 
the better workman would obtain the more employ- 
ment — as opposed to the modern practice of payment 
according to skill, which results in the greater em- 
ployment of the bad workman because he is cheap. ^ 
There were, of course, grades in each profession, as 
master or foreman, workman, and assistant or 
common labourer, but within each grade the rate of 
payment was fixed — at least within the jurisdiction 
of any gild or town authority ^ — unless the work 
was of quite exceptional nature, as, for instance, the 

» Riley, Mems. of London, 30S. 

* For an exhaustive examination of all that concerns wages, 
see the works of Professor Thorold Rogers. 

■' From the end of the fifteenth century the gradation of pay- 
ments to workmen becomes more pronounced, marking the 
institution of the modern system. 

* In the case of carpenters, etc., employed in country districts 
there appear to have been considerable variations. 


making of carved stalls for the royal chapel at West- 
niinster in 1357, where the rates of pay were almost 
double those of ordinary workmen.^ Wages were 
at all times paid on the two systems of piece-work 
and time, and the hours, which varied in the different 
trades, and at different places and periods, were as 
a rule long.- For the building trade at Beverley in 
the fifteenth century work began in summer (from 
Easter to 15th August) at 4 a.m., and continued till 
7 P.M. ; at 6 A.M. there was a quarter of an hour's 
interval for refreshment, at 8 half an hour for break- 
fast, at II an hour and a half to dine and sleep, and 
at 3 half an hour for further refreshment. During 
the winter months they worked from dawn till dusk, 
with half an hour for breakfast at q o'clock, an hour 
for dinner at noon, and a quarter of an hour's interval 
at 3. These hours agree fairly well with those laid 
down by Parliament in 1496,^ which were, from 
mid-March to mid-September, start at 5 and stop 
work between 7 and 8, with half an hour for break- 
fast and an hour and a half for dinner and sleep {the 
siesta was only to be taken from beginning of May to 
end of July, during the rest of the time there was to 
be an hour for dinner and half an hour for lunch — 
' nonemete '). The blacksmiths of London worked, 
at the end of the fourteenth century, from dawn till 

> Exch. K. R. Accts., 472, no. 4. 

* b ever ley Town Docls. (Scldcn Soc), 50. 

» Statutes, II Heu. vii. 


9 P.M., except during November, December, and 
January, when their hours were from 6 a.m. to 
8 p.M.i In the case of the Cappers' gild at Coventry 
the journeymen's hours were in 1496 from 6 a.m. to 

6 p.m. ; 2 but in 1520 they had been increased, being 
from 6 A.M. to 7 p.m. in winter, and from 5 a.m. to 

7 P.M. in summer.^ Wages, of course, when paid 
by the day, varied in winter and summer, if we may 
use these terms for the short and long days. In 
London the determining dates were Easter and 
Michaelmas,* at Bristol Ash Wednesday and St. 
Calixtus (14th October),^ and in the case of the 
workmen at Westminster the Purification (2nd 
February) and All Saints (ist November), giving an 
exceptionally short winter period.^ 

Against the long hours we have to set the com- 
parative frequency of holidays. On Sundays and 
all the greater festivals, as well as a variable number 
of local festivals, such as the dedication day of the 
Church, no work was done, and on Saturdays and 
the days preceding festivals work as a rule ceased 
at four o'clock or earlier. This early closing was 
enforced at Norwich ' in 1490, on the representation 
of the shoemakers that many of their journeymen 
were ' greatly disposed to riot and idelnes, whereby 
may succede grete poverte, so that dyuers days 

1 Riley, Mems. of London, 538. ' Coventry Leet Bk., 574. 

^ Ibid., 673. * Riley, Mems. of London, 253. 

* Little Red Book of Bristol, 15. 
« lixch. K. R. Accts., 467, no. 7. ' Norwich Recs., ii. 104. 


wckely when them histe to h^vo ther budyly labour 
till a grete parte of the weke be almost so expended 
and wasted . . . also contrary to the lawe of god 
and good guyd3mg temporal! they labour quikh' 
toward the Sondaye and festyuall daycs on the 
Saterdayes and vigils fro iiij of the clock at after 
none to the depnes and derknes of the nyght folow- 
eng. And not onely that synfull disposicion but 
moche warse so offendyng in the morownyngcs ot 
such testes and omyttyng the her^mg of the dyvjTie 
servyce.' In the case of the founders in London, ^ 
while no ordinary metal work, such as turning, 
tiling, or engraving, might be done after noon had 
rung, an exception had to be made in the case of a 
casting which was actually in progress ; such work 
might be completed after time, as otherwise the 
metal would have to be remelted, even if it were not 
spoilt by the interruption. So far as Sundays and 
feasts were concerned no work was permitted except 
in the case of farriers, who were expected to shoe the 
horses of strangers passing through the to^\Tl.2 A 
good many shops were open on the Sunday morning 
until seven o'clock, especially shoemakers,^ who in 
Bristol were allowed at any time of the day to serve 
' eny knyght or Squyer or eny other straunger 
goyng on her passage or joumee, merchant or 

1 Riley, Menis. of London, 513. 

» Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S ), 185. 

' Riley, Mems. oj London, 227. 


maryner comyng fro the see,' or, during the six 
Sundays of harvest, any one else who required boots. ^ 
Markets during the early part of the thirteenth 
century were often held on Sundays, but most of 
these were soon shifted on to week days ; and fairs 
were usually associated with a saint's day, but a 
fair was an amusement at which the ordinary crafts- 
man was an interested spectator, though the chap- 
men and merchants were kept busy enough. The 
London rule that Saturdays and vigils counted for 
wages as complete days, but that no payment was 
to be made for the Sundays and feast days - was 
generally observed, but in the case of workmen 
engaged in building operations at Westminster and 
the Tower the custom was that wages should be 
paid for alternate feast days, but not for any 

Rules against working at night or after dark are 
constantly found in all classes of industries, ' by 
reason that no man can work so neatly by night as 
by day.' * There was the additional reason that in 
many trades night work was a source of annoyance 
to neighbours. This was certainly the case with 
the blacksmiths,^ and was probably the cause of 
the enactment by the Council in 1398, that no 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. i68. - Liber Cust., i. 99. 

* Exch. K. R. Accts., 467, no. 7. 

■» Riley, Mems. of London, 226, 243. It is exceptional to find 
that at Leicester in 1264 the weavers were allowed to work at 
night. — Borough Recs. of Leicester, i. 105. * Ibid., 538. 


leather worker should work by night with hammer 
and shears, knife or hie, at making points or lanyers 
(laces or thongs). ^ Worst of all these offenders were 
the spurriers,^ for ' many of the said trade arc 
wandering about all day without working at all at 
their trade ; and then when they have become 
drunk and frantic, they take to their work, to the 
annoyance of the sick and all their neighbourhood. 
. . . And then they blow up their fires so vigorously 
that their forges begin all at once to blaze, to the 
great peril of themselves and of all the neighbourhood 
round.' Nuisances of this nature the authorities 
put down by stringent by-laws, in the same way 
that they banished offensive occupations, such as the 
flaying of carcases, the dressing of skins, and the 
burning of bricks, outside the walls. ^ 

A third reason for the prohibition of night work was 
that candlehght not only made good work more 
difficult, but made bad work more easy. Not only 
was it easy to pass off faked leather and other 
deceitful goods by the uncertain, artificial hght, 
which was one of the causes that moved the Council 
to try to put down * evechepyngs,' ^ or evening 
markets, in London, but it also enabled fraudulent 
workmen to avoid the eye of the vigilant searcher 
or inspector.^ All such evasion and secrecy was 

• Borough Recs. of Leicester, i. 547. - Hid., 226. 

3 Little Red Book of Bristol, 98; Coventry Leet Bk., 302; 
Beverley MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 47. 

« Riley, Mems. of London, 532, 246. '' Ibid., 226, 239. 


rightly regarded as suspicious, and at Bristol, to 
take a single instance, weavers had to work at looms 
visible from the pubUc street, and not in cellars or 
upstair rooms,i the better class of furs had also to be 
worked in pubhc,^ and ale might not be sold in 
private. 3 The medieval system of search or inspec- 
tion was very thorough, in theory and, so far as we 
can judge, in practice also. The search of weights 
and measures, provisions, cloth, and tanned leather 
usually belonged to the mayor or equivalent borough 
officer, or in country districts to the manorial lord, 
but usually with other manufactures, and very often 
in the case of cloth and leather, the mayor deputed 
the duty of search to members of the craft gilds 
elected and sworn for that purpose. They could 
inspect the wares either in the workshops, or when 
exposed for sale, and seize any badly made articles. 
The forfeited goods were either burnt or given to the 
poor,* and the offending craftsman fined, set in the 
pillory, or, if an old offender, banished from the 
town.^ To facihtate tracing the responsibihty for 
bad work, weavers, fullers, hatters, metal workers, 
tile-makers, and other craftsmen, including bakers, 
were ordered to put their private trademarks on their 
wares. ^ 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 4. * Jhid., 97. s md.^ 30 

* Riley, Mems. of London, 573. 

^ Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 638. 

* For reproductions of some of the marks used by worsted 
weavers, see Norwich Recs., ii. 153. 


The process of search must have been much 
simphfied by the custom so prevalent in medieval 
towns of segregating or localising the trades,^ so 
that all the goldsmiths dwelt in one quarter, the 
shoemakers in another, the clothiers in a third, and 
so forth. How far this was compulsor}', and how 
far a mere matter of custom it is hard to say, but 
for those w^ho in addition to or instead of shops 
sold by barrows or chapmen, definite districts were 
usually assigned. So the London shoemakers might 
only send out their goods to be hawked between 
Sopers Lane and the Conduit, and then only in the 
morning, 2 and at Bristol smiths were not to send 
ironware through the town for sale in secret places, 
but either to sell ' in here howse opynlych ' or else 
at their assigned place by the High Cross, where also 
all strangers coming with ' eny penyworthes yclepid 
smyth ware ' were to stand. ^ The principle of segre- 
gation was carried out still more strictly, as we 
might expect, in the markets. A list of the stalls 
in the provision market at Norwich in 1397 * shows 
forty butchers' stalls together, followed by forty- 
five fishmongers and twenty-eight stalls in the 
poulterers' market, of which nine were used for 
fresh fish ; then there were fifteen shops belonging 
to the corporation in the w^ool-market, and the 

1 See the maps of medieval Bruges, Paris, and London in 
Unwin's Gilds of Loyidon, 32-4. 
"^ Riley, Mems. of London, ^92. 
3 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 182. « Norwich Recs., li. 237. 


great building of the ' Worthsted Celd/ to which 
all worsteds sent in from the country had to be 
brought.^ Other trades were localised in the same 
way, and the two divisions of leather-workers, the 
cordwainers and the workers of the inferior ' bazan ' 
or sheep's leather, were bidden each to keep to their 
own set of stalls to prevent confusion and fraud. ^ 

As the trades were kept each to its own district, 
so was the craftsman restricted to his own trade. 
By a law issued in 1364 artificers were obliged to 
keep to one ' mystery ' or craft, ^ an exception being 
made in favour of women acting as brewers, bakers, 
carders, spinners, and workers of wool and linen 
and silk, — the versatihty of woman, the ' eternal 
amateur,' being thus recognised some five centuries 
and a half before Mr, Chesterton rediscovered it. 
Later statutes forbade shoemakers, tanners, and 
curriers to infringe on each other's province, iris 
true that at Bristol ^ we find a puzzling regulation 
that if a man who had not been apprenticed to 
tanning practises the craft to which he was appren- 
ticed and also uses the craft of tanning, he shall 
not pay anything to the tanner's craft but to his 
own craft and his ' maistier servaunt de tanneres- 
crafte ' shall discharge the dues, etc, of a master of 
the craft. But probably this belongs to the later 

1 Cf. Blackwell Hall in London, the sole market for ' foreign ' 
cloth. — Riley, Menis. of Londoyi, 550. 

* Liber Albtis, ii. 444. ^ StaUttes, 37 Edw. in. 

* Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 117. 


fifteenth century after the rise of capitahst em- 
ployers ; if not, it is certainly exceptional, the general 
tendency being to keep trades, and more especially 
the alhed trades, separate, in order presumably to 
avoid the growth of ' combines ' and monopolies. 
For this reason fishmongers and fishermen were 
forbidden to enter into partnership in London,^ 
because the dealers, knowing the needs of the city, 
would be able to manipulate supphes and keep up 
prices. The case against allowing all the branches 
of one trade to come under single control is vividly 
set out in the case of the Coventry iron workers in 
1435 : '— 

' Be hit known to you that but yif certcn ordcn- 
aunses of Craftes withein this Cite, and in speciall 
the craft of wirdrawerz, be takon good hede to, hit 
is like myche of the kynges pepull and in speciall 
poor chapmen and Clothemakers in tyme comeng 
shallon be gretely hyndered ; and as hit may be 
supposed the principall cause is like to be amonges 
hem that han all the Craft in her o\mi hondes, 
That is to say, smythiers, brakemcn,^ gurdelmen and 
cardwirdrawers ; for he that hathe all these Craftes 
may, offendyng his consience. du myche liarme. 
First in the smethyng, yif he be nechgent and mys- 
rule his Iron that he wirkithe be onkynd hetes or 

• Liber Citsi., i. 118. 

* Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 180-3. 

' The ' brakeinun ' reduced the bar iron to rods, ready to be 
drawn into wire. 1 


elles in oder maner, the whiche when hit is so spilt 
is not to make no maner chapmannes ware of, 
Neverthelater for his own eese he will com to his 
Brakemon and sey to hym : — " Here is a ston of 
rough-iron the whiche must be tendurly cherysshet." 
x'\nd then the Brakemon most nedes do his maisters 
comaundement and dothe all that is in hym ; and 
then when the Brakemon hathe don his occupacion, 
that that the mayster supposithe wilnot in no wyse 
be holpen atte gurdell, then hit shall be solde for 
hoke wire. And when hit is made in hokes and 
shulde serve the Fisher to take fisshe, when comythe 
hit to distresse, then for febulness hit all-to brekithe 
and thus is the Fissher foule disseyved to hys grete 
harme. And then that wire that the mayster 
supposithe will be cherisshed atte gurdell, he shall 
com to his girdelmon and sey to him as he seid to 
the brakemon : — " Lo, here is a stryng or i] that 
hathe ben mysgovemed atte herthe ; my brakemon 
hathe don his dener, I prey the do now thjoie." 
And so he dothe as his maister biddethe hyme. And 
then he gothe to his cardwirdrawer and seithe the 
same to hym, and he dothe as his maister biddithe 
hym. And then when the Cardmaker hathe bought 
this wire thus dissayvabely wrought he may not 
know hit tille hit com to the crokyng,i and then hit 
crachithe and farithe foule ; so the cardmaker is 
right hevy therof but neverthelater he sethe because 

* i.e. bending. 


hit is ciittc he must nedes helpe hymself in cschuing 
his losse, he makithc cardcs thcrof as well as he may. 
And when the cardes ben solde to the clothemakor 
and shiildon be ocupied, anon the teeth brekon and 
fallon out, so the clothemakcr is foule disseyved. 
Wherfore, sirs, atte reverens of God in fortheryng of 
of the kynges true lege peapuU and in eschueng of 
all disseytes, weithe this mater wysely and ther as 
ye see disseyte is like to be, therto settithe remedy 
be your wyse discressions. For ye may right wellc 
know be experience that and the smythier and the 
brakemen wem togider, and no mo, and the card- 
wirdrawers and the middlemen ^ togider, and no 
mo, then hit were to suppose that ther shuld not 
so myche disseyvaball wire be wrought and sold as 
ther is ; for and the craft were severed in the maner 
as hit is seide above, then the cardwirdrawers and 
the myddelmen most nedes bye the wire that they 
shull wirche of the smythier, and yif the cardwir- 
drawer were ones or thies disseyved with ontrewc 
wire he wolde be warre and then wold he sey unto 
the smythier that he bought that wire of :— " Sir, 
I hadde of you late badde wire. Sir, amend your 
honde, or, in feith, I will no more bye of you." And 
then the smythier, lest he lost his custumers, wolde 
make true goode ; and then, withe the grase of Godd, 
the Craft shulde amend and the kynges peapull be 
not disseyved with ontrewe goode.' 

1 i.e. girdlcrs ; middle = waist. 


The interests of the craftsmen, or producers, were 
as a whole opposed to those of the consumers. It 
is true that they co-operated, as we have seen, with 
the local authorities in maintaining the standard of 
workmanship, because the craft that did not do 
so would soon find itself ' defamed and out of em- 
ploy,' ^ but it was obviously to their interest to keep 
up prices by the limitation of competition and of 
output. Their success in restricting competition 
varied very greatly in different trades and places. 
In Lincoln, for instance, no tiler might come to work 
in the town without joining the tilers' gild,^ while 
in Worcester, so far was this from being the case, 
that the tilers were not even allowed to form a gild 
at all. 3 As a whole the gilds had the townsmen 
behind them in their opposition to outsiders. The 
traditional attitude of the Englishman towards a 
stranger has always been to ' heave half a brick at 
him,' and as far back as 142 1 the authorities at 
Coventry had to order ' that no man throw ne cast 
at noo straunge man, ne skorn hym.' ^ The sense 
of civic, or even parochial, patriotism was more 
developed in those times, and it was generally felt 
that while artificers ought not to work for outsiders 
unless there was no work to be had within the town, 
on the other hand, employers ought to give the 

*■ Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 85. 

* Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, 184. * Ibid. 

* Coventry Led Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 27. 


preference to their fellow townsmen and not send 
work out of the town.^ As to encouraging strangers 
to settle within their walls, sentiment varied in 
different places. At Beverley in 1467 it was enacted 
that any person might come and set up in his craft 
without any payment for the first year — except a 
contribution towards the church light and the yearly 
pageant maintained by his craft — but after that he 
should pay yearly I2d. to the town and I2d. to his 
craft until he became a burgess and member of the 
gild. 2 But the attitude of Bristol, where no one 
might weave unless he became a burgess (and a 
gild brother) was more typical of the general feeling.' 
There was, however, at Bristol a rule that a stranger 
who had come to the town on a visit, or to wait for 
a ship might work at his trade for his support during 
his stay.^ This rule did not hold good, apparently, 
at Hereford, as a London tailor, whose master had 
allowed him during an outbreak of plague to go and 
stay with relations in Hereford, was imprisoned by 
the wardens of the local tailors' gild because hv did 
some tailoring for the cousin with whom he was 
staying, in order to pay for his keep.^ At Norwich, 
by the ordinances of 1449, no ' foreign dweller ' 
might have any apprentices or even a hired servant 

» Borough Recs. of Leicester, i. 105; Coventry Leet Uk., 95; 
Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 7, 8. 

» Beverley Town Docts. (Selden Soc), 53. 

« Little Red Book of Bristol, 5. * Ibid., 98. 

* Early Clianc. Troc, 61, no. 478. 


unless the latter was absolutely necessary for his 
business, and in that case at the end of a year he 
must either ' buy himself a freeman,' or, if too poor 
to buy the franchise, ' live under tribute to the 
sheriffs.' ^ 

One advantage that the resident manufacturer 
had over the foreigner was that his wares entered 
the local market without the handicap of paying 
customs or octroi dues. Long lists of these dues on 
every conceivable kind of merchandise, from bears 
and monkeys to peppercorns, are to be found in the 
records of many towns, ^ more especially seaports. ' It 
is true that the burgesses of many towns, and the 
tenants of many rehgious houses were theoretically 
exempt from paying these dues, but it is probable 
that the delay and worry of proving such exemption 
was often felt to be a greater loss than payment. 
So far as the aHen importer was concerned, although 
there was no such thing as a protective duty (the 
import of an article was either prohibited altogether 
or unrestrained), he might find himself called upon 
to pay a higher, even a double, import duty on all 
his merchandise. This policy of discriminating 
against the alien, combined with the continual 
harassing of the unfortunate foreign merchants, 
induced many alien settlers to take out letters of 
naturaUsation, and the long Usts of these in the 

^ Norwich Recs., ii. 2S9. 

- e.g. Ibid., 199, 234 ; Woodruflf, Hist, of Fordwich, 32-5. 


fifteenth century ^ show how numerous and wide- 
spread these ahens were. Coming for the most 
part from Flanders and the Low Countries, they 
settled not only in London and the other great 
towns, but in the smaller market towns and villages 
throughout the country, exercising their various 
trades as goldsmiths, clothmakers, leather-workers, 
and so forth. In London in particular the foreign 
element was very large from an early date and, as 
a result of the invitation issued by Edward iii. to 
foreign clothworkers and their exemption from the 
control of the native clothiers' gild, we have the 
exceptional occurrence of a gild of alien weavers. 
This gild, itself divided by the rivalries and quarrels 
of the Flemings and Brabanters,^ was unpopular 
with the native weavers because, while competing 
with them for trade, they did not share in the 
farm or rent paid by the native gild to the king, 
and in general there was a strong feeling against 
the aliens in London, which was fanned by the craft 
gilds and occasionally culminated in rioting, the 
murder of some of the foreigners and the plunder 
of their shops. 

While the gilds were constantly coming into 
conflict with outside interests, there was also an 
internal conflict of interests between the masters, 
the hired servants, or journeymen, and the inter- 

1 See e.g. Cat. of Pat. Rolls 1429-36, 537-88. 
* Riley, Mems. 0/ London, 346. 


mediate class of apprentices. This becomes more 
noticeable towards the end of our period. While 
there was occasional friction between employer 
and employed even before the second half of the 
fourteenth century, it was during the next two 
centuries that the rise of the capitalist, coupled with 
the descent of the small independent masters into 
the position of journeymen, brought about strained 
relations between the two classes. In the earHer 
period in most of the trades there was reasonable 
prospect for any craftsman that he would be able 
to set up as an independent master, but as time went 
on the difficulty of attaining independence increased. 
The growing attraction of town and craft life as 
compared with agriculture swelled the ranks of the 
craftsmen, and the gilds, whose management was in 
the hands of the masters, endeavoured to Hmit 
competition by raising their entrance fees and more 
especially by raising their ' upsets,' that is to say 
the fees which had to be paid by a craftsman upon 
setting up as a master. One of the earliest instances 
of this restriction of competition occurred in con- 
nection with the weavers' gild of London, concern- 
ing whom it w^as reported in 1321 that they had 
during the last thirty years reduced the number of 
looms in the city from 380 to 80.^ In this case the 
object was to benefit all the members of the gild 
at the expense of the pubhc, and not to protect 

* Liber Crist., i. 423. 



existing masters from rivals within the gild, and the 
method employed was therefore the raising of the 
fee for entrance to the gild. This same weavers' 
gild was so far ahead of its times that it had instituted 
the modem trade unions' restriction of output, no 
member being allowed to weave a cloth in loss than 
four da^'s, though such a cloth could easil}' be woven 
in three if not in two days.^ But this was a most 
exceptional move, if not absolutely unique. 

How far the desire to restrict output was at the 
bottom of regulations forbidding the employment 
of more than a strictly limited number of appren- 
tices and journeymen, and how far such prohibitions 
were inspired by fear of the monopoHsation of 
labour by capitaHsts it is difficult to say. Probably 
the dread of the capitalist was the chief incentive 
for such regulations, which are very numerous ; 
the cobblers of Bristol, for instance, being restricted 
to a single ' covenaunt hynd,' - and the cappers of 
Coventry allowed only two apprentices, neither of 
whom might be replaced if he left with his master's 
leave before the end of his term of seven years. ^ 
The same principle of fair play between employers 
led to the ordaining of heavy penalties for taking 
away another man's servant, or employing any 
journeyman who had not fullilled his engagemtnt 

» Liber Cust., i. 423. 

* A servant engaged by the year. — Li tile Fed Book of Bristol, 
ii. 43. • Coventry Leet Bk., 573. 


with his previous master, and to the strict prohibi- 
tion of paying more than the fixed maximum wages. 
As this last provision was sometimes got over by 
the master's wiie giving his servants extra gratuities 
and gifts, this practice was forbidden at Bristol 
in 1408, except that the master might at the end of 
a year give ' a courtesy ' of 2od. to his chief servant. 1 
As the unfair securing of labour by offering liigh 
wages was forbidden, so the use of the cheap labour 
of women was as a rule regarded with disfavour. 
The fullers of Lincoln were forbidden to work with 
any woman who was not the wife or maid of a master,^ 
and the ' braelers,' or makers of braces, of London, 
in 1355, laid down ' that no one shall be so daring 
as to set any woman to work in his trade, other than 
his wedded wife or his daughter.' ^ A century later 
the authorities at Bristol went even further, for 
finding that the weavers were ' puttyn, occupien 
and hiren ther w5/fes, doughtours and maidens, 
some to weve in ther owoie lombes and some to hire 
them to wirche with othour persons of the said crafte,' 
whereby many ' likkely men to do the Kjmg service 
in his warns, . . . and sufficiently lomed in the 
seid crafte . . . gothe vagraunt and unoccupied,' 
absolutely forbade the practice in future, making 
an exception only in the case of wives already so 

1 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. io6. 
* Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, 179. 
» Riley, Mems. of London, 278. 


employed.^ , Of child labour we hear very little, 
one of the few notices being an order on their behalf 
made, suitably enough, by Richard Whit ting ton 
in 1398, that whereas some ' hurers ' (makers of 
fur caps) send their apprentices and journeymen 
and children of tender age down to the Thames 
and other exposed places, amid horrible tempests, 
frosts, and snows, to scour caps, to the very great 
scandal of the city, this practice is to cease at once.^ 
Apprenticeship was from quite early times the 
chief, and eventually became the only, path to 
mastership. The ordinances of the London leather- 
dressers,^ made in 1347, and those of the pewterers,' 
made the next year, give as alternative (qualifications 
for reception into the craft the completion of a period 
of apprenticeship, or the production of good testi- 
mony that the apphcant is a competent workman. 
A similar certificate of ability was required of the 
dyers at Bristol,^ in 1407, even if they were appren- 
tices, but as a rule the completion of a term of 
apprenticeship was a sufficient (luaUfication. That 
term might vary considerably, but the custom of 
London, which held good in most English boroughs, 
eventually fixed it at a minimum of seven years. 
This would often be exceeded, and we find, for 
instance, a boy of fourteen apprenticed to a habcr- 

Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 127. 

Riley, Mems.of London, 54g. ^ Ibid., 234. *Iiid..24.\. 

Little Red Book 0/ Bristol, ii. 84. 


dasher in 1462 for the rather exceptional term of 
twelve years ; but in this case the master had 
undertaken to provide him with two years' schooling, 
the first year and a half to learn ' grammer,' and the 
next half year to learn to write. ^ In a list of appren- 
tices who took the oath of fealty to the king and the 
city at Coventry in 1494, the terms range from five 
to nine years, though the majority were for seven 
years ; during the first years of their terms, they 
were to receive nominal wages, usually I2d. a year, 
and for their last year more substantial rewards, 
varying from 6s. 8d. to 25s. ^ The oath to obey the 
city laws serves as a reminder that the apprentice, 
not being a full member of the gild, was under the 
charge of the city authorities to some extent. In- 
dentures of apprenticeship had as a rule to be 
enrolled by the town clerk,^ and in London the 
transfer of an apprentice from one employer to 
another was not legal unless confirmed by the city 
chamberlain.* Besides having his indentures en- 
rolled, and paying a fee to the craft gild, the appren- 
tices, or rather his friends, had to give a bond for 
his good behaviour. The rights of the apprentice, 
on the other hand, were probably always guarded 
by a right of appeal to the wardens of his craft : 
this was certainly the case at Coventry in 1520, 

1 Early Chanc. Proc, 19, no. 491. 

« Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 560-1. 

^ e.g. Norwich Recs., ii. 290 ; Little Red Book oj Bristol, ii. 125. 

* Early Chanc. Proc, 66, no. 244. 


the masters of the cappers being obhged to go once 
a year to all the shops of their craft and call the 
apprentices before them, and if any apprentice 
complained three times against his master for 
' insufficient finding,' they had power to take liim 
away and put him with another master. ^ As a 
master's interest in his apprentice was transferable 
to another master, so it was possible for an apprentice 
to buy up the remainder of liis term after he had 
served a portion. He could not, however, be re- 
ceived into his gild as a master until the whole of 
his term had expired, ^ and although it would seem 
that he could set up in business by himself,^ pro- 
bably he might not employ w^orkmen, and as a rule 
he no doubt spent the unexpired portion of his term 
as a journeyman. 

The journeymen, working by the day {journee), 
either with their masters, or in their own houses, as 
opposed to the covenant servants, who were hired by 
the year,^ and hved in their employer's house, con- 
stituted the fluid element in the industrial organi- 
sation, and were composed partly of men who had 
served a full apprenticeship but lacked funds or 
enterprise to set up independently, and partly of 

1 Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 672. 

* Early Chanc. Proc, 66, no. 244. » Ibid., 38, no. 40. 

* An ordinance of the fullers in 14 18 forbade any master to 
take a stranger to serve him by covenant for more than fifteen 
days unless he engaged him for a whole year. — Little Red Book 
of Bristol, ii. 142. 


others who had either served only a brief apprentice- 
ship, or had picked up their knowledge of the craft 
in other ways.^ Although more or less free to work 
for what employers they would, practically all gild 
regulations contained a stringent order against the 
employment of any journeyman who had broken 
his contract or left his late master without good 
reason. 2 In the matter of home work rules varied ; 
the journeymen of the wiredrawers and alhed crafts 
at Coventry in 1435 were allowed to work at home 
and might not be compelled to come to their masters' 
houses,^ but in London, in 1271, the shoemakers 
were not allowed to give out work, as the journey- 
men were found to go off with the goods.* The 
vagaries of this class, indeed, caused much heart- 
searching to their masters. Instead of being con- 
tent with their holidays, and accepting their twelve 
hours' working day, they had a pernicious habit 
of going off on the spree for two or three days, and 
amusing themselves by playing bowls, ' levyng ther 
besynes at home that they shuld lyve by ' ; ^ and the 
Coventry employers, with that touching regard for 

1 In the case of the London founders an intendmg journeyman 
had to satisfy the masters of his skill ; if he could not, he must 
either become an apprentice or abandon the craft. — Riley, Mems. 
of London, 514. 

* They had to give, and were entitled to receive, eight days' 
notice. — Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 573. 

» Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 185. 

* Liber Albus, ii. 444. 

5 Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 106; Norwich Recs., ii. 104; 
Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 656. 


widows and orphans (or in this case wives and 
children) which has always distinguished the Enghsh 
capitalists, forbade them to frequent inns on work- 
days, ' as it is daylye seen that they wliiche be of the 
pooreste sorte doo sytte all daye in the alehouse 
drynkynge and playnge at the cardes and tables 
and spende all that they can gett prodigally upon 
themselfes to the highe displeasure of God and theyre 
owTie ympoversh3aige, whereas if it were spente at 
home in theyre owne houses theyre wiffes and 
childeme shulde have parte therof.' ^ Not having 
any voice in the craft gilds the journeymen were 
continually forming ' yeomen gilds,' ' bachelerics,' 
and other combinations, wliich the masters' gilds 
usually endeavoured to suppress. In 1387 the 
London journeymen cordwainers formed a fraternity - 
and endeavoured to secure it by obtaining papal 
protection ; nine years later the mayor and alder- 
men put down a fraternity formed by the yeomen 
of the saddlers, at the same time ordering the masters 
to treat their men well in future,^ and in 1415 the 
wardens of the tailors complained that their journey- 
men had combined, hving together in companies 
in particular houses, where they held assemblies, 
and adopting a livery, whereupon the council, in 
view of the danger to the peace of the city from 
such an uncontrolled and irresponsible body, forbade 

1 Covenlry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S), 786. 

^ Riley, Mems. of London, 495. * Ibid., 542. 


the combination and ordered the journeymen to 
Uve under the governance of the wardens of the 
craft. 1 The fraternity of the yeomen tailors, how- 
ever, was not so easily suppressed, and is found two 
years later petitioning for leave to hold its yearly 
assembly at St. John's, Clerkenwell.^ In the same 
way at Coventry, when the journeymen tailors' 
gild of St. Anne was suppressed in 1420, they simply 
changed their patron and reappeared as the gild of 
St. George, against which measures were taken in 
1425.3 The charges against the yeomen saddlers 
in 1396 were, that they had so forced wages up that 
whereas the masters could formerly obtain a work- 
man for from 40s. to 5 marks yearly and his board 
they had now to pay 10 or 12 marks or even £10, and 
that also business was dislocated by the bedel coming 
round and summoning the journeymen to attend 
a service for the soul of a deceased brother. The 
clashing of religious observances with business led 
to an order at Coventry in 1528 that the journeymen 
dyers should make no assemblies at weddings, 
brotherhoods, or burials, nor make any ' caves ' 
{i.e. combinations), but use themselves as servants, 
and as no craft.* This was practically an enforce- 
ment of an order issued ten years earher, that no 
journeymen should form ' caves ' mthout the Hcence 

1 Riley, Mems. 0/ London, 6og-i2. ^ Ibid., 65s- 

^ Hist. MSS. Com. Coventry, 11 7-18. 
* Coventry Leet Bh. (E. E. T. S.), 694. 


of the mayor and the master of their craft. ^ Such 
a licence would not as a rule be granted, unless the 
masters were unusually broadminded, or the journey- 
men exceptionally strong. There was, however, at 
Coventry a recognised fraternity of journeymen 
weavers in 1424 ; their wardens paid I2d. to the 
chief master for every brother admitted ; each 
brother gave 4d. towards the cost of the craft 
pageant, and the chief master contributed towards 
the journeymen's altar lamp, while both masters and 
servants held their feasts together.^ At Bristol 
also there was a gild of journeymen connected with 
the shoemakers' craft, sharing with the craft gild 
in the expenses of church lights and feasts.^ 
/ The success of the London saddlers in forcing 
wages up is a remarkable tribute to the power of 
union ; and we find that during the fourteenth cen- 
tury the strike was well known, and when a master 
would not agree with his workmen the other work- 
men of the craft would come out and cease work 
until the dispute was settled.* This practice was, 
of course, forbidden, but we may doubt with what 
success. At the same time the masters were pretty 
well unanimous in forbidding the employment of al 
craftsman whose dispute with his master had not' 
been settled. So far as the offence of detaining 

1 Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 656. » Ibid., 95. 

» Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 151. 

« Riley, Mems. of London, 248, 307; cf. Acts of P. C, iS4-^-7> 
p. 367. 


wages due was concerned, penalties were often laid 
down in gild ordinances,^ while in the case of other 
disputes the matter would be settled by the council 
or court of the craft.^ .The existence of a craft 
gild practically implied a court before which disputes 
between members of the craft or between craftsmen 
and customers were tried. ^ Such courts were at first 
directly under the borough authorities, the mayor 
or his deputies presiding over the weekly courts of 
the weavers in London in 1300,* and although they 
seem to have attained a greater degree of independ- 
ence there seems usually to have been a right of 
appeal to the borough court. ^ It was probably 
to avoid this that some of the Coventry masters 
took to impleading craftsmen in spiritual courts, 
on the ground that they had broken their oaths in 
not keeping the gild rules.® 

Too much attention must not be given to the 
quarrelsome side of the gilds, for they were essentially 
friendly societies- for- mutual -assistance. One of the 
Fules of the London leather-dressers was that if a 
member should have more work than he could 
complete, and the work was in danger of being lost 

1 Riley, Mems. of London, 307, 514; Lambert, Two Thousand 
Years 0/ Gild Life, 216. 

* e.g. Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 13. 

' See the proceedings of the court of the tailors at Exeter. — 
Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, 299-321. 

* Liber Gust., i. 122 ; cf. Borough Recs. of Leicester, i. 89. 

* Little Red Book of Bristol, ii. 14. 

* Coventry Leet Bk. (E. E. T. S.), 302. 


the other members should help hiin.^ So ulso, if 
a mason wished to undertake a contract he got four 
or six responsible members of the craft to guarantee 
his ability, and if he did not do the work well they 
had to complete it.^ Again, if a farrier undertook 
the cure of a horse and was afraid that it would die, 
he might call in the advice of the wardens of his 
company, but if he was too proud to do so and the 
horse died, he would be responsible to the o^^^ler.3 
The rule of the weavers at Hull, that none should let 
his apprentice work for another '* was not an infringe- 
ment of the principle of mutual aid, but was designed 
to prevent evasion of the order that none might 
have more than two apprentices ; the fact that a 
fine was only exacted in the event of the apprentice 
so working for more than thirteen days actually 
points to the loan of temporary assistance being 
allowed. While help was thus given to the crafts- 
man when in full employ, a still more essential 
feature of the gilds was their grant of assistance to 
members who had fallen ill or become impoverished 
through no fault of their own.*^ Nor did their bene- 
volence end with the poor craftsman's death, for 
they made an allowance to his widow and celebrated 
Masses for the repose of his soul. The religious 
element in the organisation of gilds, though very 

1 RUey, Mems. of London, 232. « Ibid., 281. * lbid.,2g-i. 

♦ Lambert, Two Thousand Years of Gild Life, 205. 

* Toulmin Smith, English Gilds, passim. 


strong, does not affect us very much in considering 
their industrial side, but there is one indirect effect 
which must be referred to. The custom of all the 
gilds and fraternities going in procession to the 
chief church of their town on certain feast days, 
carrying their banners and symbols, gradually de- 
veloped during the fifteenth century until each gild 
endeavoured to outshine its rivals in pageantry. 
Payments towards the pageants were exacted from 
all members of the trade even if they were not 
members of the gild, but in spite of this the expenses 
were so great that the smaller gilds were almost 
ruined, and consequently we find during the latter 
half of the fifteenth century schemes to amalgamate, 
or at any rate to unite for the support of a common 
pageant, many of the smaller mysteries or crafts. 
An account of a pageant at Norwich ^ about 1450 is 
interesting as showing the numbers of these lesser 
crafts, and the way in which they were combined. 
Twelve pageants were presented : (i) The Creation 
of the World, by the mercers, drapers, and haber- 
dashers. (2) Paradise, by the grocers and raffemen. 
(3) * Helle Carte,' by the glaziers, stainers, scriveners, 
parchemyners, the carpenters, gravers, colermakers, 
and wheelwrights. (4) Abel and Cain, by the 
shearmen, fullers, ' thikwollenwevers,' and coverlet 
makers, the masons and limebumers. (5) ' Noyse 
shipp ' (Noah's Ark), by the bakers, brewers, inn- 

i l^orwich Recs., ii. 230. 


keepers, cooks, millers, vintners, and coopers. (6) 
Abraham and Isaac, by the tailors, broderers, the 
reders and tylcrs. (7) Moses and Aaron with the 
children of Israel and Pharaoh and his knights, by 
the tanners, curriers, and cordwainers. (8) David 
and Goliath, by the smiths. (9) The Birth of Christ, 
by the dyers, calenders, the goldsmiths, goldbeaters, 
saddlers, pewterers, and braziers. (10) The Baptism 
of Christ, by the barbers, waxchandlers, surgeons, 
physicians, the hardwaremen, the hatters, cappers, 
skinners, glovers, pinners, pointmakers, girdlers, 
pursers, bagmakers, ' sceppers,' ^ the wiredrawers 
and cardmakers. (11) The Resurrection, by the 
butchers, fishmongers, and watermen. (12) The 
Holy Ghost, by the worsted weavers. 

In some cases the smaller crafts seem to have 
been absorbed into the larger, but in the Norwich 
regulations of 1449,^ when general orders were given 
for the annexation of the smaller crafts to the 
larger, the bladesmiths, locksmiths, and lorimers, for 
instance, being united to the smiths, it was laid 
down that such of the annexed misteries as had 
seven or more members should elect their own 
wardens, and that the mayor should appoint wardens 
for such as had fewer than seven members. This, 
which is interesting as showing how small some of 
these misteries were, points to a retention of control, 
the amalgamation being mainly concerned, no doubt, 

1 Makers of ' sleeps,' or baskets. * Norwich Recs., ii. 280-2. 


with the expenses of the pageant and the gild feasts. 
These latter became so elaborate and costly that 
many of the unfortunate members chosen as ' feast- 
makers ' were ruined, and in 1495 orders were given 
at Norwich that the wardens alone should be feast- 
makers, and that they should provide one supper 
and one dinner, on the same day, and no more, and 
that should be at the common expense of the gild.^ 
These orders had to be repeated in 1531, and it is 
rather interesting to read that in 1547 ^ the dishes 
which had to be provided by the cordwainers' feast- 
makers were ' frumenty, goos, veil, custard, pig, 
lamb, and tarte. At soper — colde sute,^ hot sute, 
moten, douset,* and tarte.' 

With the pleasant picture of our craftsman rest- 
ing from his labours and regaling himself in true 
English fashion, we may take leave of him and his 

1 Norwich Recs., iii. - Ibtd., 173. 

* Sute, probably = course. 

* Douset=a sweetmeat of cream, eggs, and sugar. 


Abbetoft, Sir Walter de, grant to 
monks of Louth Park, 23. 

Aberystwyth siege, guns broken, 

Abinghall, Forest of Dean, coal- 
working, 5. 

Adam of Corfe, marble-worker, 

Adits : coal pits drained by, 8-9 ; 
lead mines drained by, 50 ; tin 
mines drained by, 65-6. 

Aketon, Nicholas de. See Nicholas 
de Aketon. 

Alabaster industry, 86-90. 

Alcester, legend of punishment of 
iron-workers, 22. 

Aldebek, tilery, 125. 

Ale : brewing and trade regula- 
tions, 1S6-93; national drink, 
184-5 > price fixed by ordin- 
ance, 185-6; used in stained glass- 
making, 132. 

Ale-conner or taster, duties of, 189. 

Ale stakes, use of, 189. 

Alston Moor : lead mines, 39, 40-8, 
60 ; Scottish king's rights over, 

Alum, use as a mordant in dyeing 
wool, 144. 

Alwold, ' campanarius,' 96. 

Amblecofe, coal-mining, 7. 

Amesbury, lead sent to, from 
Shropshire, 39. 


Amiens, agreement of woad mer- 
chants with Norwich, 144-5. 

Apprenticeship regulations, 229 31. 

Appys, John, lease of tileries, 124. 

Ariconium, near Ross, iron in- 
dustry, 21. 

Arnoldson, Cornelys, repair of 
guns, 112. 

Arundel, alabaster tomb at, 88. 

Ashburnham, tile manufacture, 

Ashburton, tin sent to, for coinage 
duty, 6q. 

Ashdown Forest, labour employed 
in iron mills, 32 ; water-hammer 
in, 30. 

Ashford, Derbyshire, lead mine, 

Assize of Bread and Ale, Assize of 
Cloth, etc. See Bread and Ale, 
Assize of; Cloth, Assize of. 

Alkynson, John, gun-founder, 113. 

Aylesham, clothmaking industry, 
161, 166. 

Bakkrs : frauds practised by, 204 ; 
use of trademarks ordered, 216. 

Bakewcll, Derbyshire, lead mine, 

Ballard, Blase, gunner, grant to, 
for injuries caused by gun acci- 
dent, no. 


Ballard, Simon, iron shot made by, 

at Newbridge, II1-12. 
Barbary, leather imported into 

England, 176. 
Bark for tanning, 174. 
Barmaster, of mine court, 40. 
Barmote. See Berghmote. 
Barnack, stone quarries, 77. 
Barnstaple, clothmaking industry, 

Barri, Gerald de, cider mentioned 

by, 197. 
Bath : gild of smiths at, alleged, 

in Roman times, 21 ; Roman use 

of coal in temple of Minerva 

probable, i. 
Bath Stone, quarries at Ilaslebury 

in Box, 78-9. 
Battle, Sussex, early iron-works at, 

Battle Abbey: cider a source of 

income, 197 ; reference to bell 

casting, 96; stone quarry near, 

76; tile manufacture, 123. 
Baude, Peter, discovery of method 

of casting cannon in entire piece, 

Beare, Thomas, on alluvial tin, 65. 
Beauvale, prior of, lease of coal 

mine at Newthorpe, 15. 
Becket, Thomas, ale taken to 

French Court, in 1157, 185. 
Bedburn forge, conditions of labour, 

Bed win, Wilts., clothmaking in- 
dustry, 137. 
Beer Alston, Devon, royal lead 

mines, 48-51. 
Beer, Devon, stone quarries, 78, 

Beer, introduction into England 

and development of trade, 193-5. 
Bellows, method of using in iron 

smelting, 27. 

Bell pits, in coal-mining, 7 ; in iron- 
mining, 27. 

Bells : dedication ceremony, loi ; 
manufacture of, 96-107 ; tuning 
of, 99-100. 

Bellyeter, term for a bell-founder, 

Belper : iron industry, f25 ; terms 
of lease of coal mine, 15. 

Belsire, tileries owned by family, 

Beneit le Seynter, early bell- 
founder, 96. 

Benthall, lease of coal working, 

Berghmote or Barmote, mine court 
in Derbyshire, 40. 

Berkshire, clothmaking industry, 

Berneval, Alexander de, sent to 
England for alabaster, 87. 

Berwick-on-Tweed, inventory of 
artillery, in 1401, 109. 

Beverley : building trade, hours of 
work, 211; clothmaking industry, 
I34> 139 ; list of standard 
measures for ale kept at, 188 ; 
regulations for control of in- 
dustry, 223 ; tile manufacture, 

Beverley, College of, new shrine 
for relics of St. John of Beverley, 

Billiter Street, origin of name, 97. 

Birley in Brampton, grant of wood 
to monks of Louth Park, 23. 

Birlond, quarrying of slates at, 81. 

Bisham, stone quarries, 83. 

Bishop's Stortford, consecration of 
bells of St. Michael's, loi. 

Black Death, effect on industries, 
II, 74, 2or. 

Black Prince. See Edward, Black 



Blacksmiths, control of industry, 
2II-I2, 217. 

Blakeney, Forest of Dean, coal- 
working, 5. 
Blanket, Thomas, cloth-weaver in 

Bristol, 141. 
Blanket cloth, manufacture, 16S. 
Blaunchlond, Northumberland, lead 

mine, 60. 
Bloom, in iron-working, meaning 

of term, 28, 30 ; variations in 

weight, 30-31. 
Bloomery, meaning of term, 29. 
Blund, William and Robert le, 

probable identity with William 

and Robert of Corfe, 85. 
Bocher, Robert, alabaster-worker, 

Bodiam Castle, gun found in moat, 

Bodmatgan quarry, slates from, 81. 
Bodmin, tin sent to, for coinage 

duty, 69. 
' Boldon Book,' I183, references 

to use of coal, 2-3. 
Bole furnace, type used in lead 

mines, 51. 
Bolerium of Diodorus Siculus, 

question of identity, 62. 
Bolles, William, legal action, 13. 
Bolsover, Manor of, 10, 11. 
Bordale, Edmund, of Braniley, glass 

purchased from, 130. 
Borde, Andrew, on ale, 184, 190; 

beer, 193 ; cider and perry, 196. 
Boston, Lines., clothmaking in- 
dustry, 139. 
Boughton Monchelsea, stone worked 

at, 80, 83. 
Boundary stones, custom of burying 

coal under, 3-4. 
Brabant weavers in London, 225. 
Bradley, Staffordshire, coal-mining, 


Braintree, clothmaking industry, 

Brasier, Richard, bell-foundcr of 
Norwich, 105-7. 

Bread and ale, assize of, beginning 
of national control of industry, 

Bremerhaven, export of coal to, 18. 

Breton, Ralph, gift of money fur 
bell to Rochester Cathedral 
Priory, 96. 

Brewing : ale, universal and regu- 
lation of, 186-93; beer, 193-5; 
cider, 196-8. 

Bricks, manufacture of, 125-6. 

Brill, iron sent to, from Forest of 
Dean, 23. 

Bristol: clothmaking industry, 141, 
144, 145-6, 148, 150-1, 154; 
coal exported, in 1592, 18 ; gun- 
founding industry, no; leather 
trade, 174; regulations for control 
of industries, iSi, 182, 191, 216- 
19, 223, 227-9, 235. 

Bromfield, Shropshire, lead-miners 
recruited from, for Devon, 57. 

Brown, Roger, of Norwich, shoe- 
maker, iSl. 

Brushford, near Dulvcrton, lead 
mine, 59. 

ISuggeberii, Adam, rector of South 
Teret, dispute over Whitchurch 
bells referred to, too. 

Building industry: hours of work 
at Beverly, 211 ; reasons for not 
treating subject, vi. 

Burel cloth, manufacture of, 

Burford family, bell-founders, 102. 

Burges, Toisaunts, brought to Eng- 
land to teach art of calendering 
worsteds, 165. 

Burle, Nicholas, of London, seizure 
of hides, 175. 


Burnard, Richard, clothier of Barn- 
staple, 158. 
Burton-on-Trent, alabaster- workers, 


Bury St. Edmunds : bell-founding 
industry, 105 ; quarry in Barnack 
owned by abbey of, 77. 

Buttercrambe, Plaster of Paris ob- 
tained from, 89-90. 

Byland, Abbey of, grant of iron 
mine to, 1 180, 23. 

Caen, stone quarries, 78, 80. 

Calendering worsteds, introduction 
of art, 165-6. 

Cambrai, Siege of, 1339, guns used, 

Cannons. See Gun-founding. 

Canon, Richard, carver and marble- 
worker, 85. 

Canterbury: ale famous, 185; bell- 
founding industry, 105. 

Canterbury Cathedral, alabaster 
tomb of Henry iv. and Queen 
Joan, 88. 

Capitalists, conflict of interests in 
the gilds, 226-36. 

Cappers of Coventry, regulations 
for control of industry, 227, 231. 

Carlisle, Castle of, brass cannons 
for, in 1385, 108. 

Carretate, weight for lead, varieties, 

Carving, English skill in Middle 
Ages, 87. 

Cassiterides or Tin Islands, question 
of identification, 62. 

Castor, Northants., Roman British 
pottery, 114-15. 

Causton, Alice, punished for selling 
short measure of ale, 188. 

Cavalcante, John, of Florence, can- 
non and saltpetre supplied by, 

Chafery, in iron-smelting, 30. 

Chagford, tin sent to, for coinage 
duty, 69. 

Chalder or chaldron, measure, 17- 

Chaldon, stone quarries, 77. 

Chalk, quarrying for conversion 
into lime, 90-1. 

Chalons, cloth, origin of name and 
manufacture in England, 138, 

Chalons-sur-Marne, cloth manu- 
facture, 138. 

Chamois (shamoys) leather, trade 
regulations, 176-7. 

Charcoal : confused with sea coal 
by Alexander Neckam, 3 ; only 
fuel used for iron-working, 26. 

Charcoal-burners employed in iron 
industry, 36-7. 

Cheapside, goldsmiths' shops, 95. 

Chellaston, alabaster quarries, 87. 

Chertsey Abbey, inlaid tiles dis- 
covered, 127. 

Cheshire, lead-miners recruited for 
Devon, 57. 

Chester : brewing-trade dues paid 
to castle of, 187; gild of smiths 
at, in Roman times, 21. 

Chichester Cathedral, Purbeck 
marble used, 84. 

Chiddingfold, glassmaking indus- 
try, 127-9. 

Child labour, order restricting, in 
1398, 229. 

Chilvers Coton, coal-mining, 6. 

Chimneys, increase in number, in 
sixteenth century, 19. 

Chirche, Reginald, bell -founder, 


Chislehurst, chalk quarries, 91. 
Choke damp, 8, 16. 
Cider industry, 196-8. 
Cistercian ware, distinctive features, 



Clee, forest of, coal-working, 6. | 

Cleveland, iron industry, 25. 

Clifford, Walter de, licence to Sir 
John de Halston (c. 1260), 5-6. 

Cloth, Assize of, beginning of a 
national control of industry, 201. 

Clothmaking industry : develop- 
ment and principal centres, 133- 
41 ; Edward iil.'s efforts to im- 
prove, 140-I, 201 ; frauds and 
regulations against, 159-64, 204- 
6; legislative control, 136-7, 160- 
4, 201, 205, 216 ; numbers em- 
ployed and output of cloth, 1 56-9 ; 
processes used, 141-56; quality 
of English cloth prior to time of 
Edward III., 136; subjection of 
workers evidenced by restrictive 
regulations, 134-5; varieties of 
cloth made, 164-70. 

Coal : burying under boundary 
stones, 3-4 ; discovery in 1620 of 
method of using for iron-works, 
26, 37 ; early significance of the 
word, 2-3 ; restriction of use to 
iron -working and lime -burning, 
4-5, 90-1 ; Roman use of, in 
Britain, 1-2; smoke nuisance 
complained of, 6 ; trade returns, 
18-19 ; value, 13-14 ; weighing of, 
measures employed, 14, 17-18. 

Coal-mining : bell pits described, 
7; choke damp mentioned, 8, 16; 
early methods of working, 7-1 1 ; 
first references to actual workings, 
5-6; mineral rights, 1 1-18; terms 
of leases, 14-16. 

Coggeshall, clothmaking industry, 
140, 157. 

Cogware, origin of term, 143. 

Coinage duty on tin, 68-9, 74. 

Colchester: clothmaking industry, 
140, 156, 168; leather trade, 172, 
173 ; Roman pottery manufac- 

ture, 115; tile industry regula- 
tions, 120-1. 

Coleford, Roman ironworks at, 20. 

Collard, Robert, tilemaker, 125. 

Collyweston, stone slates, 82. 

Colyn, Thomas, alabaster-worker, 

Competition, etforls to restrict, 222- 
5, 226-7. 

Control of industry : gild regula- 
tions, 206-40 ; legislation fur, 

Cope, in bell-founding, 98. 

Corby, agreement of woad mer- 
chants with Norwich, 144-5. 

Cordwainers : journeyman fraternity 
formed, 233; oiigin of name, 180; 
trade regulations, 181-3. 

Core, in bell-founding, 98. 

Corfe, Dorset : Purbeck marble in- 
dustry, 85 ; stone quarry, 79. 

Cornwall, Duke of, vested with su- 
premecontrolof thestannaries,72. 

Cornwall: brewing trade, 190; 
clothmaking industry, 158 ; gold, 
search for, 61 ; slate quarrying, 
81-2; tin-mining, 62-74. 

Corvehill, William, bell-founder, 

Costume of miners, depicted in 
Newland Church, 36. 

Courts. See Law Courts. 

Coventry : brewing trade and re- 
gulations for, 187-9, 19'; 
Cappers' gild regulations, 212, 
227, 230-1 ; clothmaking indus- 
try, 146-7, 169; gilds controlled 
by civic authorities, 20S ; iron- 
workers, trade restrictions, 219- 
21, 232; journeyman gilds or 
confraternities, 234, 235; treat- 
ment of strangers, 222 ; trial of 
trade disputes in spiritual courts, 


Cowick, Yorkshire, payment by 
potters for digging clay, ii8. 

Crangs, Burcord, melting-house at 
Larian in Cornwall, 66-7. 

Cre9y, battle of, guns used by 
English, 107. 

Crich, Derbyshire, lead mine, 39. 

Croker, Nicholas, coppersmith, 

Crowchard, John, gun repaired by, 

Crowland Abbey, quarry in Bar- 
nack, 77. 

Croxden Abbey, bell recast, in 1 313, 

Culhare, Emma, killed by choke- 
damp, 8. 

Culverden, William, bell-founder, 

Cumberland, lead-mining, 46, 60-1. 

Customs and Duties : alien merchan- 
dise, on, 224-5 ; coal, 5, 18; 
coinage on tin, 68-9, 74. 

Dale, Abbey of, Derbyshire, inlaid 

tile manufacture, 127. 
Damlade, uncertain meaning of the 

word, 81. 
Darcy, Edmund, royal grant to, for 

searching and sealing leather, 

Darlington, clothmaking industry, 

Dean, Forest of: coal-mining, 5, 

II ; iron industry, 23, 29, 34-6. 
Dearns, meaning of term, 9. 
De la Fava, of Mechlin. See La 

Denby : coal-mining accident, in 

1291, 8; iron mine, 22-3. 
Derbyshire : alabaster quarries, 

87; coa)-mining, 6-8; iron in- 
dustry, 25, 27 ; lead-mining, 

39-48, 54, 56, 57-8. 

Devon : clothmaking industry, 144, 
158, 167; gold discovered, 61 ; 
lead-mining, 43, 48-9, 50-8 ; 
slate quarrying, 81 ; stone quarry 
at Beer, 78 ; tin-mining, 62-74. 

Dewysse, Edward, beer brewer, 

Diodorus Siculus, statements re- 
specting British tin trade, 62. 

Dorset : clothmaking industry, 
frauds practised, 161 ; lead- 
miners recruited for Devon, 57 ; 
Purbeck marble industry, 84-5 ; 
stone quarries, 79. 

Douset, term explained, 240. 

Dover: bells cast for, 105; cannon 
for castle, in 1401, 108-9. 

Dowson, John, gun-founder, 113. 

Doys, John, beer brewer, case of 
theft against, 194. 

Dudley, Dud, discovery of methods 
of using coal for iron-works, in 
1620, 26, 37. 

Duffield Frith : coal obtained from, 
in 1257, 6 ; iron industry, 25. 

Dunkirk, export of coal to, 18. 

Dunstan, St., patron of the gold- 
smiths, 92. 

Durham : coal-mining, 9 ; lead 
mines granted to bishop by King 
Stephen, 39-40. 

l^utch : beer a natural drink for, 
193; expert gun-founders, iii. 

Duties. Sue Customs and Duties. 

Dyeing industry : processes em- 
ployed for cloth, 144-8; regula- 
tions for control of, 229, 234. 

Eastbourne, green sandstone 

quarry, 79. 
Ebchester, Durham, discovery at, of 

Roman use of coal, i. 
Edmund of Cornwall, tin worked 

for, in 1297, 65. 



Edward III. : efforts to improve 

cloth trade, 140- 1, 201 ; metal 

cast figure of, 95. 
Edward, the Black Prince, plate 

presented to, 94. 
Egremont, iron mine, 22. 
Egwin, St., legend of punishment 

of ironworkers of Alcester, 22. 
Egynton, John, dyer, trade dispute, 

Eleanor, Queen : driven from 

Nottingham Castle by coal smoke, 

6 ; metal cast figure of, 95. 
Eleanor Crosses, Purbeck marble 

supplied for, 85. 
Ely : bells cast, 103 ; wall tiles or 

bricks for, 125. 
Elyng, meaning of term, 28. 
Encaustic, tiles, process of manu- 
facture, 126-7. 
Essex, clothmaking industry, 157, 

166, 168. 
Essex, straits, narrow cloths, 140. 
Eton college, stained glass for, 

Eure, Sir William, lease of coal 

mines, 16. 
Exeter Cathedral : marble work for, 

85 ; Portland stone used, 79 ; 

resident bell-founders appointed, 


Fairlight Quarry, near Hast- 
ings, stone for Rochester castle, 
79, 80. 

Faringdon, William, renowned 
goldsmith, 93. 

Farriers : allowed to shoe on 
Sundays and feast days, 213; 
mutual assistance regulations, 

Faudkent, Peter, Dochman, stained 
glass purchased from, 131. 

Fecamp Abbey, alabaster procured 

from England by abbot, 87. 
Fenby, Thomas de, dyer of 

Coventry, trade dispute, 146-7. 
Ferry, coal mines, 9. 
Finchale monks, coal-mining 

operations, 9. 
Fishmongers, regulation of trade, 

Fiskerton, brewing-trade dues, 

Fiiz Odo, goldsmiths. See Fitz- 

Fitz Osbert, William, grant to 

abbey of Byland, 1180, 23. 
Fitz Otho, Edward, goldsmith of 

Henry iii., bells cast by, 102. 
Fitz Otho family, king's goldsmiths 

and masters of the mint, 92. 
Flanders: beer introduced into 

England from, 193 ; glassmaker 

brought to England, in 1449, 

130-1 ; settlement in England of 

craftsmen from, 225. 
Fletcher's lead mine in Alston, 

Flushing, export of coal to, 18. 
Folkestone, stone quarry, 80. 
Forest Assize of 1244, references to 

coal-mining, 5. 
Forges, itinerant, in Forest of Dean, 

Fortuno de Catalengo, purchase of 

cannon from, 112. 
Fotinel, weight for lead, 56. 
Founders of metal, notable ex- 
amples of work, 95-6. 
Fountains Abbey, ware found in, 

Franciscans in London, poverty 

evidenced by quality of their ale, 

Frankwell, William, water for 

tanning at Lewes, 173. 


Frese, William, gunmaker, 112. 
Friezes, types manufactured, 169- 

Friscobaldi, Italian merchants, 

lease of Devon lead mines, 56-7. 
Fuller's earth, used for cleansing 

cloth, 154-5. 
Fulling of cloth : process employed, 

153-5 ; use of trademarks ordered, 

Furnaces, types employed, 28, 

51-3, 66. 
Furness Abbey, iron industry, 25, 

27. 31. 

Galloway, Mr., his Annals of 
Coal Aiming, ix. 

Gateshead, coal-mining, 9, 11. 

Geddyng, John, glazier, 129. 

Gerard le Flemeng, cloth weaver, 

Germans : expert gun-founders, 
III ; skilled miners, 59. 

Gildesburgh, Robert, dispute over 
tuning of bells, 99-100. 

Gilds : clothweavers, alien weavers 
in London, 225 ; charters granted 
by Henry i. and Henry 11., 135 ; 
enforced holidays, 151 ; pay- 
ments to the king, in twelfth 
century, 133-4; restriction of 
competition, 226-7. 

conflict of class interests in, 


control of industry by regula- 
tions, 206-40. 

cordwainers at Oxford, 183. 

fullers of Lincoln, regulations, 


journeymen's efforts to form, 


origin of, 206-7. 

religious element in organisa- 
tion, 237-40. 

Glasewryth, John, glassmaker in 

Chiddingfold district, 129. 
Glassmaking industry, 127-32. 
Glastonbury, lake village, evidences 

of weaving discovered, 133. 
Glaze, for pottery, process, 1 16-17. 
Gloucester : bell-founding industry, 

103 ; brewing-trade regulations, 

192; clothmaking industry, 134, 

Gloucestershire : iron industry, 22, 

24, 28; lead-mining, 39, 57. 
Gloucester, vale of, vine cultiva- 
tion, 198. 
Goderswyk, William, mining grant 

to, 60-1. 
Gold-mining, 61. 

Goldsmiths, early records of, 92-4. 
Goldsmiths' Row, London, built 

by Thomas Wood, 95. 
Goodrich, Roman iron-works at, 

Goryng, John, case against beer 

brewers, 194. 
Goykyn, Godfrey, English guns 

made by, ixi. 
Graffham, Sussex, potteries, 117. 
Gray, Sir Thomas, lease of Whick- 

ham coal mines, 16. 
Green, Ralph, alabaster tomb in 

Lowick Church, 88. 
Greenwich, chalk and lime sent to 

London, 91. 
Griff, charge for sinking coal pits, 

Guildford : chalk quarries, 91 ; 
clothmaking industry, 138, 168. 
Guildford Castle, tiles from Shal- 

ford, 124. 
Guildford cloths, reputation injured 

by frauds, 155, 205. 
Guildhall, London, ordnance at, in 

1339. 107. 
Gun-founding industry : account 



of, 107-13; discovery of method 
of casting cannon in entire piece, 
113 ; projectiles used, So-Si, 109. 
Gypsum, conversion into Plaster of 
Paris, 89-90. 

Hackington, tileries, 124. 

Halingbury, William, promotion of 
art of calendering worsteds, 165. 

Hall, Robert, clothier of Win- 
chester, 158. 

Halston, Sir John de, licensed to 
dig for coals in Clee forest, 5-6. 

Hammers, water, for iron industry, 

Hampshire : clothmaking industry, 
167 ; stone quarries, 79. 

Hanbury, earliest sepulchral image 
in alabaster at, 86. 

Harrison, William : ale disparaged 
by, 195 ; cider and perry men- 
tioned by, 196; his Description 
of England, 19. 

Hartkeld, coal mines, 16. 

Haslebury quarry, 78-9. 

Hassal, slate-quarrying at, 81. 

Hastings : kilns for making inlaid 
tiles discovered, 127; pottery, 
stamp decoration, 1 18. 

Hatfield, Bishop of Durham, lease 
of coal mines, 16. 

Hatters, use of trademark ordered, 


Hawkin of Liege, metal-founder, 


Helere, Edmund, lease of tileries, 

Helston : brewing trade, 190 ; nom- 
ination of members for stannary 
parliament, 72 ; tin sent to, for 
coinage dues, 69. 

Henry in., metal cast figure of, 95. 

Henry iv. , alabaster tomb at Can- 
terbury, 88. 

Henry v., inventory of goods 

quoted, 139. 
Henry of I.ewes, the king's chief 

smith, 24. 
Ilenshawe, William, bell-founder 

at Gloucester, 103. 
Hereford: blankets made at, 168; 

iron industry, 22 ; regulations for 

control of industry, 223. 
Hermann de Alemannia, lead mine 

worked by, 59. 
Herrings, Yarmouth monopoly of 

sale on east coast, 203. 
Heworth, charge for sinking coal 

pits, 10. 
Hides, trade regulations, 174-5. 
Hill, Nicholas, alabaster worker, 89. 
Hogge, Ralph, discovery of method 

of casting cannon in entire piece, 


Holewell, Thomas, alabaster- 
worker, 88. 

Holidays, regulations, 212-14. 

Hope, Derbyshire, lead mines, 39. 

Hops, restrictions on use, 194-5. 

Horsham, stone slate quarries, 82. 

Houghton, Yorkshire, customs re- 
specting mineral rights, 12. 

I lours of labour, regulations, 2 1 1 - 1 2. 

Huddleston, stone quarries, 77. 

Hugh of Scheynton, lease of coal 
mine, 14-15. 

Hull : tile manufacture, 124 ; wear- 
ing trade regulations, 237. 

Humbert, Duke, lease of lead 
mines at Wirksworth, 39. 

Huntingdon, clothmaking industry, 

Hussey, Sir William, action against, 


ICTIS of Diodorus Siculus, question 
of identity, 623. 


Industry, control of. See Control 
of Industry. 

Inspection of goods in Middle Ages, 

Ipswich, tolls on English cloth, 

Irish friezes, manufactureof, 169-70. 

Iron, price of, and parliamentary 
attempt to regulate, 31, 208-9. 

Iron-mining : free miners of the 
Forest of Dean, their privileges, 
34-6 ; methods of working, 26- 
30 ; numbers employed and con- 
ditions of labour, 31-6; places 
noted for, 22-6 ; Roman activity 
in Britain, 20-1 ; weight of the 
bloom, variations in, 30-1 ; wood 
consumption in sixteenth century, 

Jack of Newbury. See Winch- 
combe, John. 

Jervaulx Abbey : grant to, by Earl 
of Richmond, 1281, 29; ware 
found at, 118. 

John, King, tomb at Worcester, in 
Purbeck marble, 84. 

John de Alemaygne, of Chidding- 
fold, glassmaker, 12S. 

John de Stafford, mayor of Leices- 
ter, bell-founder, 103. 

John, Duke of Bretagne, alabaster 
tomb at Nantes, 88. 

John Glasman of Ruglay, glass 
purchased from, 130. 

John of Chester, glazier, designs 
for stained glass, 131-2. 

John of Gloucester, bell-founder, 

John, St., of Alexandria, mention 
in life of, of British tin trade, 63. 

John, St., of Beverley, new shrine 
for relics, in 1292, 93-4. 

Johnson, Cornelys, gun-founder, 

Journeymen, regulation of employ- 
ment, 231-5. 

Julius Caesar, on iron in Britain, 20. 

Julius Vitalis, armourer of the 20th 
Legion, funeral at Bath, 21. 

Keel or coal barge, regulation of 
capacity, 17. 

Kendal, clothmaking industry, 143, 

Kent : chalk-quarrying, 91 ; cloth- 
making industry, 137, 158 ; gun- 
founding, 113 ; iron industry, 24, 
26 ; Roman British pottery in, 
114; stone quarries, 77-8, 80-1; 
tile manufacture, 12 1-4. 

Kentish rag, stone, demand for, 
77-8, 80. 

Kersey, village, clothmaking in- 
dustry, 166. 

Kerseys, manufacture of, 166-8. 

Keswick, lead mine, 60. 

Kilns, types used, 90, 115, 116, 

King's College, Cambridge, stained 
glass for, 1 30- 1. 

Kingston on Thames, pottery 
manufacture, 117. 

Kipax, Yorkshire, customs respect- 
ing mineral rights, 12. 

Kirkstall Abbey, ware found at, 

Labour, control of. See Control 

of Industry. 
Labourers, Statute of, enactments, 

La Fava, Lewis de, of Mechlin, 

purchase of cannon from, 112. 
Lanchester, Durham : discovery at, 

of Roman use of coal, i ; Roman 

method of smelting iron at, 26. 



Langton, Walter de, bishop of 
Chester, on yield of Beer Alston 
mine, 51. 

Larian in Cornwall, cost of a melt- 
ing-house at, 66-7. 

Launceston, nomination of members 
for stannary parliament, 72. 

Laurence Vitrarius, glassmaker at 
Chiddingfold, 128. 

Law Courts : miners, 35-6, 40, 72 ; 
settlement of trade disputes, for, 

Lead-mining : methods of working, 
50-5 ; organisation of miners, 
40-8 ; payments to the king and 
to the lord of the soil, 46-8 ; 
principal localities, 39-40; pro- 
ductiveness of mines, 56-61 ; 
prospecting regulations, 43-6 ; 
Roman workings, 38-9 ; wages 
and number of hands employed, 

Leadreeve, of mine court, 40. 

Leakes of Southwark, beer brewers, 

Leather industry : account of, 171- 
83 ; frauds in preparation and 
sale, 177-9, 205 ; night work 
prohibited, 215 ; regulations for 
control of, 215-16, 229, 237-8 ; 
shoemaking, regulations, 180-3 ; 
table of values of different kinds 
of leather, 179-S0. 

Leathersellers' Company, ineffici- 
ency of control over trade, 177-8. 

Leeds, bell pits near, 7. 

Leeds Castle, cost of iron for re- 
pairs in time of Edward III., 31. 

Lewis, George Randall, indebted- 
ness to acknowledged, ix, 64. 

Lichfield Cathedral, dedication 'if 
bell, 1477, loi. 

Lime-burning, 4-5, 90-1. 

Limekilns, kind used, 90. 

Liminge, land at, granted to Abbey 
of St. I'cter of Canterbury, 22. 

Lincoln: clothmaking industry, 133, 
136, 139. 153-4; pottery, stamp 
decoration, 118; Purbeck marble 
for Eleanor cross, 85 ; regula- 
tions for control of industry, 222, 

Liskeard, tin sent to, for coinage 
duty, 69. 

List, in cloth, term explained, 136. 

Liverpool, coal exported, in 1592, 

Logwood, use as a dye forbidden, 

London : ale brewing, regulations, 
190- 1 ; beer brewing in, 193-5; bell- 
founding industry, 101-2; cloth- 
making industry, 133, 137, 140, 
147, 154; regulations for control of 
industries, 204, 207-15, 219, 225- 
33, 236 ; roofing with tiles made 
compulsory, 1212, 119; shoe- 
making trade regulations, 181-3 ; 
walls built of Kentish rag, 77. 

Loop, in iron working, meaning of 
term, 30. 

Lostwithiel : nomination of mem- 
bers for stannary parliament, 72 ; 
slates probably quarried at, 81-2 ; 
tin sent to, for coinage <luty, 69. 

Louth Park, grant to monks, 23. 

Low countries, settlement in Eng- 
land of craftsmen from, 225. 

Lowick Church, Northants., ala- 
baster tomb in, 88. 

Lune, Galias de, mining grant to, 

Lynne, clothmaking industry, 165. 

Madder, use in dyeing wool, 148. 
Magna Carta, cloth trade regula- 
tions in, 136. 


Maidstone, stone quarries, 77i ^Oj 
8i, 109. 

Maldon, clothmaking industry, 140, 

Malemort family, employment in 
iron-works at St. Briavels, 24. 

Malvern Priory, manufacture of 
inlaid tiles, 127. 

Marble, Purbeck. See Purbeck 

Marchall, John, mining grant to, 60. 

Marcus le Fair, clothier of Win- 
chester, 158. 

Maresfield, Sussex, iron-works in 
Roman times, 20. 

Markets : held on Sundays in 
thirteenth century, 214; segre- 
gation of trades, 217-18. 

Marlborough : brewing-trade regu- 
lations, 187; clothmaking in- 
dustry, 134, 137. 

Martinstowe : silver sent to London, 
in 1294, 55 ; slates used for roof- 
ing. Si ; stone quarries, pay of 
workers, 82-3. 

Mason, Peter, payment to, for ala- 
baster for St. George's Chapel, 
Windsor, 87. 

Matlock, lead workings of Roman 
period, 38. 

Meaux Abbey : dispute with tilers 
of Beverley, 124-5 5 tannery at, 
details given, 173. 

Mendips, lead mines : methods of 
working 53 ; organisation of 
miners, 40-8; productiveness, 
58-9 ; worked by the Romans, 

Metal-working : bell-founding, 96- 
107; gun-founding, 107-13; pay- 
ment for workmanship, 93-4 ; 
regulation of hours of work in 
London, 213 ; use of trademark 
ordered, 216. 

Metesford, Derbyshire, lead mine, 

Michel, Henry, bell-founder, 99. 

Middle Ages, definition of period, 

Middlewood, sea coal at, 4. 

Midhurst, payment by potters to 
the lord of the manor, liS. 

Mildenhall, recasting of bell and 
dispute over, 106-7. 

Mile End Range, no. 

Millyng, Albert, of Cologne, min- 
ing grant to, 60-1. 

Mine Law Courts. See Law Courts, 

Mining of coal, iron, lead, etc. 
See coal, iron, lead, etc. 

Minsterley, Shropshire, lead work- 
ings of Roman period, 38. 

Monkswood, near Tintern, timber 
consumed at iron-works, 37. 

Moorhouse, coal-mining at, 9. 

Mordant, in dyeing, those used in 
Middle Ages, 144. 

Moresby, Hugh de, charter to Fur- 
ness Abbey, 27. 

Morley, Derbyshire, coal-mining 
accidents, 7-8. 

Nantes Cathedral, alabaster 

tomb of John of Bretagne, 88. 
Naturalisation, letters of, numerous 

in fifteenth century, 224-5. 
Neckam, Alexander, on coal, 3. 
Newark, brewing-trade dues, 187. 
Newbridge, in Ashdown Forest, 

iron shot manufactured. III. 
Newbury, clothmaking industry, 

Newcastle, coal-mining and trade, 

6, 18-19. 
New Forest, Roman British pottery 

from, 114. 



Newland Church, brass depicting a 
free miner, 36. 

Newmrnster,use of coal by monks, 4. 

Newport, William, guns made by, 

Newthorpc, coal mine, terms of 
lease, 15. 

Newthorpe Mere, Gresley, outrage 
at coal mine, 13. 

Nicholas de Aketon, grant to monks 
of Newrainster, 4. 

Night work, rules against, 214-15. 

Norfolk, clothmaking industry, 
138-9, 161, 164-6, 205. 

Northampton : Purbeck marble for 
Eleanor cross, 85 ; shoemaking 
regulations, 183. 

Northamptonshire : Roman British 
pottery, 114-15; stone slates 
quarried at Collyweston, 82. 

Northumberland : coal-mining, 6 ; 
lead-mining, 60-1. 

Norwich : bell-founding industry, 
105 ; brewing trade regulations, 
i92-3> 195 ; clothmaking indus- 
try, 144-5, 14S-9, 150, 162, 165, 
168 ; gilds controlled by civic 
authorities, 208 ; holidays, regu- 
lations, 212 ; market regulations, 
217 ; pageants and gild feasts, 
238-40 ; roofing with tiles made 
compulsory, 119; strangers, re- 
strictive regulations, 223-4. 

Nottingham : alabaster industry, 
87-9 ; clothmaking industry, 133, 
150 ; smoke nuisance, in 1257, 6. 

Nottinghamshire, coal-mining, 6. 

Nuneaton, coal-mining, 7, 15. 

Nutfield, Fuller's earth deposits, 

Oldham, Lanes., bell pits at, 7. 
Ordnanc'-, casting of, 107-13. 
Osetes of Bristol, cloths, 140. 

Oswy, king of Kent, grant to.Vbbey 
of St. Peter of Canterbury, 21-2. 

Otto, the goldsmith, 92. 

Oxford : brewing-trade regulations, 
191-2; clothmaking industry, 133, 
167; leather-trade industries, 172, 

Pageants of gilds and fraternities, 

Pagham, Sussex, cider industry, 197. 

Pakenham, John, cider orchard at 
Wisborough, 198. 

Parman, John, clothier of Barn- 
staple, 158. 

Pascayl, Robert, lease of coal mine, 

Peak, Derbyshire, lead-miners re- 
cruited for Devon, 57. 

Penpark Mole, Gloucs., lead mine 
mentioned, in 882, 39. 

Pepercorn, William, draining of 
Beer Alston mine, 51. 

Perry drunk in Middle Ages, 196. 

Peter at Gate, tiles manufactured 
by, 123. 

Peter de Brus, forges on lands in 
Cleveland, 1271, 25. 

Peterborough Abbey, quarry in Bar- 
nack, 77. 

Pevensey, walls and castle built of 
green sandstone from Eastbourne, 

Pewter-work, 95 ; apprentices, 2:9. 
Peyeson, Adam, lease of coal mine, 


Peyto family, glassmakers, 129. 

Philippa, Queen, metal cast figure 
of, 95- 

Phoenicians, tin trade with Britain 
doubtful, 62. 

Piers Plowman, quoted, 14 1. 

Plaster of Paris, conversion of ala- 
baster into, 89-90. 



Playden, village, grave of Cornelius 

Zoetmann, 194. 
Plessey, near Blyth, early mention 

of coal from, 4. 
Plympton, tin sent to, for coinage 

duty, 69. 
Poole, Dorset, beer and ale export 

trade, 194. 
Popenreuter, Hans, purchase of 

cannon from, 112. 
Poppehowe, Thomas, worker in 

alabaster, 88. 
Portland stone, fame in Middle 

Ages, 79. 
Potteresgavel, rent paid by potters, 

Pottery manufacture, 1 14-18. 
Prentis, Thomas, alabaster-worker, 

Prest, Godfrey, coppersmith, 96. 
Prices, regulation of, 20S-10. 
Projectiles, So-i, 109. 
Protection of industries, eflfect of, 

Pucklechurch, GIoucs. , iron in- 
dustry, 22. 
Punishments by mine law, 42-3. 
Purbeck marble industry, S4-6. 

QUARELL guns, 109. 
Quarrying, 76-91. 

Quivil, Bishop Peter de, care of 
bells of Exeter Cathedral, 104. 

Radlett, pottery manufacture by 

Romans, 115. 
Raly, coal mine, 16. 
Ramsey, Abbey of, quarry in Bar- 

nack, 77. 
Randolf, William, payment to, for 

metal-work, 94. 
Reading, clothmaking industry, 156. 
Redbrook, Roman iron-worksat, 2 1 . 

Reginald, Bishop, of Bath, lead 

mines granted to, 40. 
Reigate : Fuller's earth deposits, 

155 ; stone quarries, 77-8, 80. 
Repton : lease of lead mines at 

Wirksworth by Abbess, 39; manu- 
facture of inlaid tiles, 127. 
Restormel, Cornwall, slates used for 

roofing, 81. 
Richard i., reorganisation of the 

stannaries, 1 198, 73. 
Richard li., metal-work of tomb and 

payment for, 96. 
Richmond, Earl of, 1 28 1, grants to 

the monks of Jervaulx, 29. 
Richmond, Yorks., copper mine, 

Ridding, in iron-mining, meaning 

of term, 35. 
Riley, Mr., indebtedness to, 

acknowledged, ix. 
Ringmer, in Sussex, potteries, 116, 

118, 123. 
Robard, Pieter, alias Graunte 

Pierre, iron-founder, 112. 
Robert le Bellyetere, care of bells 

of Exeter Cathedral, 104-5. 
Robert of Corfe, worker in Pur- 
beck marble, 85. 
Robertes, Henry, Serjeant, quarell 

guns provided by, 109. 
Rochester stone sent to, from Beer 

in Devon, 78. 
Rochester Castle, list of stone for, 

in 1367, 79-80. 
Rochester Priory : bell recast in 

twelfth century, 96 ; perquisites of 

under brewers, 192. 
Roger of P'aringdon, maker of 

shrine at Beverley, 93-4. 
Rogers, Thorold, on eflfect of Statute 

of Labourers, 202. 
Romans in Britain : coal used by, 

1-2 ; iron-mining, 20-l ; lead 



mines, 38-9 ; pottery manufacture, 

Roofing: slates worked for, 81-2; 
tiles manufactured for, 119. 

Ropley family, glassmakers, 129. 

Royley, Richard and Gabriel, ala- 
baster-workers, 89. 

Rye, hops imported, 194. 

Saddlers, 233-35. 

St. Albans Abbey : consecration 
of bells, loi ; metal workers 
among monks, 93. 

St. Austell, Cornwall, Saxon re- 
mains discovered in tin grounds, 

St. Bees, grant of iron mine to 

monks, 22. 
St. Briavels : forge at castle for 

construction of war materials, 

24 ; Mine Law Courts, 35-6 ; 

payment to Constable for loads 

of coal, 5. 
St. Clere, statement respecting gold 

in Devon and Cornwall, in 1545, 

St. George's Chapel, Windsor : 

alabaster reredos, 87 ; glass 

supplied from Chiddingfold, 128. 
St. Laurence, Reading, dedication 

of bell, lOi. 
St. Mary-at-Hill, London, bells 

recast, in 15 10, 100. 
St. Paul's Cathedral, contract for 

paving, 85. 
St. Peter of Canterbury, Abbey of, 

grant to, of land at Liminge, in 

689, 22. 
St. Peter's Abbey at Gloucester, 

candlestick in South Kensington 

Museum, 92. 
St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster: 

glass from Chiddingfold, 128; 

marble for columns, 85 ; stained 

glass, process employed, 131-2 ; 
stone sent from Beer in Devon, 78. 

Salisbury, clothmaking ^iii*krtTry^ " 
1 58. 

Sandwich, export of chalk, 91. 

Sawtry Abbey, quarry in Barnack 
and disputes over, 77. 

Saxons : few traces of iron-works 
in Britain, 21-2; tin worked in 
Cornwall, 63. 

Sconeburgh, Gerard, beer brewer, 
case of theft against, 194. 

Sea coal : origin of term, 2-3 ; 
references to use of, 4-5. 

Sea Coal Lane, London, mention, 
in 1228, 4. 

Seaford, brewing trade, 191. 

Search, system of. See Inspection 
of goods. 

Selebourne, Hants, stone quarries, 

Sester, in brewing trade, 187-8. 

Severn, customs on sea coal brought 
down, 5. 

Seyntleger, Thomas, case against 
beer brewers, 194. 

Shalford tileries, 124. 

Shamelling, meaning of term, 65. 

Shamoys leather. See Chamois. 

Sheffield in Fletching, Sussex, 
iron-mills, 33, 36-7. 

Shelve, Shropshire, lead mine of 
Roman period, 38. 

Shene Chapel, stone from East- 
bourne for, 79. 

Sheppcy Castle, guns for, 107. 

Shepton Mallet, pottery manu- 
facture by Romans, 1 15. 

Sherterre family. See Shorter. 

Shippen, Yorks, coal-mining, 6. 

Shode, meaning of term, 64. 

Shoemaking : districts assigned to, 
in London, 217 ; gild of journey- 
men connected with craft, 235 ; 


regulation of trade, 180-3, 227 ; 

work allowed on Sunday, 213-14. 
Shoreham, brewing at, 187. 
Shorter or Sherterre family, glass- 
makers, 129. 
Shoyswell, hundred, brewing trade, 

Shrewsbury : brewing regulations, 

195; cloth trade, 152; leather 

trade, 172. 
Shropshire : coal workings, 5-6 ; 

lead-mining, 38-9. 
Silchester, refining of silver at, 54. 
Silver : process of refining from 

lead, 53-5 ; production from 

Devon mines, 56-7 ; weight 

and value, 55-6. 
Silversmiths' work, 94-5. 
Skipton, pottery kilns, 116. 
Slates, working of, 81-2. 
Sluys, export of coal to, 18. 
Small arms, early instance of use, 

Smith, William, bell-founder, lOO. 
Smithfield, tileries, 124. 
Snailbeach, Shropshire, lead mine 

of Roman period, 38. 
Solinus, third century, reference to 

Roman use of coal at Bath, pro- 
bable, I. 
Somerset : clothmaking industry, 

161 ; coal-mining, 6-7 ; effect of 

the Statute of Labourers, 202 ; 

lead-mining, 40, 57, 58-9. 
Southampton, import of woad, 144. 
Soulhwark, gun-founding, 1 10. 
Spain, leather trade, 178-9. 
Speryng, Godfrey, beer brewer, 

Spring of Lavenham, clothiers, 159. 
Spurriers, night work prohibited, 

Staffordshire : coal-mining, 7 ; 

price of iron, 31. 

Stahlschmidt, Mr. , on bell-founders, 
96, 102. 

Staindrop, alabaster tomb at, 88. 

Stained glass : glazier brought from 
Flanders, in 1449, 130-1 ; pro- 
cess employed in England, 13 1 -2. 

Stainton, Forest of Dean, coal- 
working, 5. 

Stainton-in-Furness, iron-works at 
end of Stone Age, 20. 

Stamford, clothmaking industry, 
134, 136, 138. 

Stamfords, English cloth, 138. 

Stannaries, account of, 64-74. 

Stansfield, bell cast for, 97, 105-6. 

Stapleton, stone quarries, 77, 80, 

Stephen of St. lago, purchase of 

cannon from, 112. 
Stevenes, John, of Bristol, gun- 
founder, 110. 
Stithe or choke damp, 8. 
Stone-balls or shot for artillery, 

80-1, 109. 
Stone masons, mutual assistance 

regulations, 237. 
Stone-quarrying, 76-83. 
Stow, in mining, meaning of term, 

Stratton - on - Fosse, coal-mining, 

Strelley, Nicholas, legal action 

respecting coal mine, 12-13. 
Stretton, near Alnwick, forge, 4. 
Strikes, labour, in Middle Ages, 

Sudbury, clothmaking industry, 

Suffolk, clothmaking industry, 157, 

Sumptuary law of 1363, restrictions 

as to cloth, 169. 
Sunday, rules against working on, 




Surrey: chalk-quarrying, 91 ; 
clothmaking industry, 167 ; 
glassmaking industry, 1 27-9; 
Stone quarries, 77. 

Sussex : beer-brewing, 194; chalk- 
quarrying, 91 ; cider industry, 
197-8 ; clothmaking industry, 
167; glassmaking in, 128-9; 
gun-founding, in, 113; iron 
industry, 24, 26, 28-9, 31, 36-7; 
stone quarries and slates from, 
79-80, 82. 

Sutton, Robert, alabaster-worker, 

Tadcaster, stone quarries, 77, 81, 


Tailors, fraternity of yeomen tailors 
formed, 233-4 ; gild court, 236. 

Tanning of leather, processes em- 
ployed, 171-7. 

Tan turves, term explained, 54, 

Tarrant Keynston, nunnery, effigy 

of Queen of Scots in Purbeck 

marble, 85. 
Tavistock, tin sent to, for coinage 

duty, 69. 
Tawing of leather, process em- 
ployed, 171. 
Teazles, use of, in clothmaking, 

Temple Church, London, Purbeck 

marble effigies, 84. 
Thevesdale, stone quarries, 77. 
Thomas de Alemaigne, skill in 

mining, 59-60. 
Thomasson, Walter, gun -founder, 

Thorp, Robert de, warden of the 

Devon mines, 47. 
Threle, William, cider made by, 

1385, 198. 

Thrillesden (Trillesden), lease of 
coal mine, 15. 

Thrums, term explained, 152. 

Tideman de Lippe, purchase of 
English cloth, 139. 

Tiles: tloor tiles, process of manu- 
facture, 126-7; manufacture of, 
119-27; price fixed, 119, 210; 
regulations for control of indus- 
try, 216, 222. 

Tilman de Cologne, farm of Alston 
lead mines, 60. 

Timber. See Wood. 

Tindale, Scottish king's liberty of, 

Tin-mining : antiquity claimed for, 
62-3 ; economic condition of 
smaller tin-workers, 69-70 ; free 
miner's privileges, 70-3; methods 
of working, 64-9 ; stamping dues, 

Tithes to the Church, of cider and 
apples in Sussex, 198; lead- 
miners, payment of, 47-9. 

Toftes, coal mines, 16. 

Tolsester, term explained, 187. 

Torel, William, metal-work of, 95. 

Torksey, brewing-trade regulations, 

Tower of London : gun-founding 
1 10 ; regulations for wages of 
workmen employed in building 
operations, 214. 

Trademarks, use of, ordered, 2l6. 

Trades, segregation of, in towns, 

Truro : nomination of members for 
stannary parliament, 72 ; tin 
sent to, for coinage duty, 69. 

Tudeley forge, Tonbridge : iron- 
works, 28 ; wages of workers, 
33 ; weight of the bloom, 3 1 . 

Tuning of bells, methods employed, 


Tunnoc, Richard, bell-founder and 
memorial window, 103-4. 

Turn-hearth furnace, 53. 

Tutbury, alabaster dug at, in early 
times, 86. 

Twist, Gilbert, alabaster-worker, 89. 

Tynemouth, coal-mining, 6. 

Ulnager, official, 160. 
Upchurch, Roman British pottery, 

Utynam, John, brought from 

Flanders to make glass, 130-1. 

Van Anne, Arnold, mining grant 

to, 60-1. 
Van Orel, Henry, mining grant to, 

Van Riswyk, Dederic, mining grant 

to, 61. 
Vellacott, C. H., indebtedness to, 

acknowledged, ix. 
Venetian travellers: on English 

grapes, 199 ; report on rich metal- 
work in England, 94-5. 
Vesses or set cloths, manufacture 

of, 168. 
Victoria County Histories, source 

of information, viii-ix. 
Vines, cultivation in England, 

Vipont, Robert de, trial of thieves 

in his manor court, 41-2. 
Vlenk, Matthew de, gunmaker, 


Wages: coal-miners, lo-ii, 16; 
iron-workers and miners, 32-5 ; 
lead-miners, 48-9, 53 ; legisla- 
tion and gild regulations, 202, 
210-12, 214, 228 ; saddlers' 
success in raising, 234, 235 ; 
shoemakers, 182; stone-quarriers, 
82-3 ; tin-workers, 70. 

Wakefield, mineral rights, local 

customs, II. 
Wales, coal export, in 1592, 18. 
Walker, Humphrey, gun-founder, 


Walking, process in fulling cloth, 

Walsingham, Prior, bells cast at 

Ely for, 103. 
Walter of Odyngton, a monk of 

Evesham, system for tuning bells, 


Waltham, Purbeck marble for 
Eleanor cross, 85. 

Warde, William, dyer, trade dis- 
pute at Coventry, 146-7. 

Warwick Castle, foreign stained 
glass ordered for chapel, 131. 

Warwickshire, coal-mining, 6, 9. 

Water-power, use of, in iron-work- 
ing, 27, 30 ; in lead mines, 52. 

Watts, Richard, poem on weaving 
processes, 142. 

Wax chandlers, regulation of 
charges, 209. 

Weald of Sussex and Kent : centre 
of ordnance manufacture, after 
I543> 113; iron industry, 24, 26, 

Weardale : iron industry, 27, 31 ; 
lead mines, 39. 

Wea\'ing industry : gild of alien 
weavers in London, 225 ; pro- 
cesses employed, 149-52 ; regu- 
lations for control of, 228, 235- 
7 ; religious character of ordin- 
ances of gilds, 207 ; restriction 
of output, 227 ; use of trade- 
marks ordered, 216. 

Weights and Measures : ale standard 
measures, 188; barrel of beer 
and ale respectively, 195 ; chalder 
or chaldron, 17-18 ; cloth regu- 
lations, 136, 138, 150, 160-3; 



coal for, variety of, 14 ; lead for, 
variety of, 56. 
Weld, use of, for dying wool, 144, 

Wellington, forest of, wood con- 
sumed by limekilns, 90. 
Westminster, regulations for wages 
of workmen employed in building, 
Westminster Abbey : bell cast for, 
by Edward Fitz Odo, 102 ; in- 
laid tiles in chapter-house, 127 ; 
stone used for, 79. 
Westmoreland, Earl of, alabaster 
tomb at Staindrop, 88. 

Westmoreland, lead-mining, 60-1. 

Whickham, coal mine, 11, 16-17. 

Whitchurch, Dorset, bells cast for 
and dispute over, 100. 

Whitechurch, Hants, Roman iron- 
works, 21. 

Whittington, Richard, 229. 

Whyt, Thomas, lease of tilery, 125. 

Wight, Isle of: clothmaking in- 
dustry, 167-S; question of identi- 
fication with the Ictis of Diodonis 
Siculus, 62-3; stone quarries, 79. 

Willarby, George, report on lead 
mines, 60. 

William of Corfe, worker in Purbeck 
marble, 85. 

William, the founder, 102, 108. 

William of'Malmesbury, on manu- 
facture of wine in England, 198. 

William de Plessetis, property in 
Sea Coal Lane, 4. 

William de Wrolham, warden of the 
stannaries, 1198, 72. 

Willoughby, Sir John, legal action 
against Nicholas Strelley, 12-13. 

Wiltshire, limestone quarries, 78-9. 

Wimbish family, bell-founders, 102. 

Winchcombe, John, clothier of 
Newbury, 158, 167. 

Winchelsea : beer and cider im- 
ported, 193, 197 ; hops imported, 

Winchester : clothmaking industry, 
133, 136, 138, 150, 151, 158; 
iron sent to, from Forest of Dean, 
23 ; stone for royal palace, 78-9. 

Wine, manufacture in England, 

Wingerworth, accident at, in 13 13, 

Winlaton, coal mines, 11, 17. 

Wirksworth, lead mines, 39. 

Wisborough, cider industry, 198. 

Woad, use of, for dying wool, 144-8. 

Wodeward, William, gun-founder, 
102, 108. 

Wolsingham, Durham, water-power 
used in lead mines, 52. 

Women : employment discouraged, 
154, 228 ; exempted from certain 
trade restrictions, 218; iron- 
workers' wages, 32-3 ; lead mines 
employment, 51 ; spinning a 
staple employment, 148-9; stone 
quarrywork, payment for, 82-3. 

Wood, Thomas, builder of Gold- 
smiths' Row, 95. 

Wood: consumption by iron works, 
36-7 ; lead-miners' privileges in 
Cumberland, 46, 

Woodstock, iron sent to, from Forest 
of Dean, 23. 

Wookey, smelting of ore at, 58. 

Wool, processes of dealing with, for 
clothmaking, 141-9. 

Worcester: brewing-trade regula- 
tions, 189; clothmaking industry, 
134, 168 ; tile industry regula- 
tions, 120, 222. 
Worcester Cathedral, tomb of King 

John in marble, 84. 
Worsted, village, clothmaking in- 
dustry, 139, 161. 


Worsteds, manufacture and frauds 
practised, 161-2, 164-5, 205. 

Worth, Sussex, wood burnt at iron- 
mills, 36-7. 

Wren, Christopher, use of Portland 1 

stone, 79. I 

Wroxeter, discovery at, of Roman 

use of coal, I. 
Wye, Kent : cider industry, 197 ; 

tile manufacture and processes 

employed, 121-3. 
Wylwringword, John de, gold found 

in Devon by, 61. 

Yarmouth: clothmaking industry. 

165 ; herring fishery, struggle 
over monopoly, 203. 

York : alabaster industry, 89 ;|bell- 
founding industry, 103. 

York Minster : bell-maker's win- 
dow, 103-4; bells cast for, in 
1371, 103; English glass bought 
for, 130; Plaster of Paris for, 
89-go; stained glass for, from 
abroad, 131 ; stone for, 77. 

Yorkshire : Cistercian ware found 
in, 118; clothmaking industry, 
147, 158, 167 ; coal-mining, 6. 

ZOETMANN, Cornelius, grave at 
Playden, 194. 

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at the Edinburgh University Press 

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