Aspects of the development of the Gloucestershire woollen industry.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 08:54 by Jennifer Tann
This study of the Gloucestershire woollen industry is based almost entirely on field work and contemporary sources. The first problem was to establish the period at which the fulling mill was introduced into the county and to establish the part played by the church in the early development of the woollen industry. These early mills were widely seattered over the county and were more numerous than has generally been realisad. Many of these mills were situated on small STREAMS which had an insufficient supply of water to drive tham all the year. Some mills were in vallays where the gradient was slight and the head of water small. It cannot therefore be said that water power was of great importance in this early period. Neither does the distribution of early fulling mills bear any relation to the outcrops of Fullar's Earth. From the sixteenth century, a marked re-location of the woolen industry occurred. The advantages of water power on the Cotswold scarp slope were being realized and the number of the mills rapidly increased during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Evidence has been collected to illustrate the domestic defficulties encountered by the clothiers in times of adverse trade conditions. Several aspects of the nineteenth centure woolen industry have been studied in detail, such as the adoption of machinery and the development of the factory system. The development of trade unions among the workers and a certain cohesion among the clothiers is a characteristic of the oighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The decline in the number of mills during the nineteenth century has been traced. This marked a process of concentration rather than decline. Real decline only set in after about 1875.