Loughborough Market Labels 8
Bolts of Woollen and linen cloth
Woollen and linen cloth was sold by the bolt by major dealers and by the elbow for individual needs – a strange measurement to us today. Leicestershire was at the heart of the English wool industry with both Monasteries and some private farming families keeping large flocks of sheep for their wool. The shorn wool would be cleaned and carded and sometimes hand spun into yarn before being sold to merchants in the low Countries (modern day Holland and Belgium) where they would be woven into cloth and dyed in a wide range of colours and then imported back into England for sale at markets and in specialist warehouses. This European trade relationship was very important throughout the medieval period. There were strict rules, called sumptuary laws, designed to stop people with money but of lower class from wearing clothes and colours suitable for the gentry.