At last, I'm back to my family history research. I'm still hanging with the Hendley family of Cranbrook in Kent and I'm still the 15th century. Henry VII is on the throne of England and that's okay with me (I bet you didn't expect me to write that) because he saw to it that the manufacturing of broadcloth became big business, so despite the fact he had just knocked the crown off my most favourite king, he did aid my ancestors along the road to wealth and success and of course my arrival in the world many many centuries later. So thank you for that at least, your majesty.
My ancestor's fortune was made in the aforementioned broadcloth industry and part of the manufacturing process the woven cloth was scoured in a trough of water and then dried, it was then rubbed over with Fullers Earth, a clay that was collected locally. This clay absorbed any greasy matter such as lanolin and oil. The finished product was usually sent to London to be sold and exported.
Did you know that the usage of this clay, in the making of woollen fabric, can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia where texts mention ‘white earth’ which was either gypsum or plaster, that was being delivered for the finishing of cloth? Pliny the Elder was writing of several types of ‘creta fullonia’ in the first century. The first reference to the fulling mill comes from Persia, and by the time of the late 11th century fulling mills were found around the world.
My ancestor's will mentions him owning a dye house but no fulling mill, however by the time of the death of his son, the family do own one.
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