In the very early days the fleeces shorn by the sheep farmers of Shepton went to others to make into cloth. Later the farmers began to make it themselves and, by the early 15th century, some of them, now Shepton clothiers, were making coarse blue-coloured cloth for sale at home and overseas.
It was later still – around 1550 – that an influx of Huguenots introduced the techniques needed to make fine cloth in a variety of colours. The remains of the individual-process workshops can still be seen today in Bowlish and perhaps Longbridge, for example, although the buildings have long since been repurposed or become derelict.
Many of the next few posts are going to look at the broad stages of making woollen cloth, although each stage had many sub-stages which we’ll pick up later.
Oh, and the breeds of sheep farmed centuries ago we’re much smaller than today.
Our woolly jumpers