Picture Library - Wool and Cloth Trades

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Wool and cloth trades

Wool was medieval England's most valuable export. The tax on the wool trade provided the crown with a regular and buoyant income. Brasses to the woolmen - the middlemen in the trade - are found in greatest number in the main wool-growing areas, notably Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire. Good examples are to be seen at Chipping Campden, where William Grevel is described as 'the flower of the wool merchants of all England' and Northleach . Wool merchants are often depicted standing on bags of wool, often showing their merchant's mark, or with a sheep as their footrest. Thomas Bushe's brass at Northleach has in the canopy spandrel the arms of the Staple of Calais on a shield with sheep lying beneath a bush (an obvious rebus) below. By the fifteenth century, much of the wool clip was being made into cloth in England. A good example of a clothier's brass is that of Thomas Horton at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. 

Click the links below for the corresponding thumbnail image. Click any image for an enlarged view. 

Thomas Adynet, 1409, Northleach, Gloucestershire


William Grevel, 1401, Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire


John Lyndewode, 1419, Linwood, Lincolnshire


John Yonge, 1451, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire


Footrest from brass to John Fortey, 1458, Northleach, Gloucestershire


William Browne, 1489 engr. c. 1465, Stamford. Lincolnshire


Footrest from brass to unknown wool man, c. 1485, Northleach, Gloucestershire


Thomas Horton, 1530 engr. c. 1520, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire


Detail of canopy from brass to Thomas Bushe, 1526, Northleach, Gloucestershire







Thomas Adynet, 1409,

Northleach, Gloucestershire









William Grevel, 1401,

Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire









John Lyndewode, 1419,

Linwood, Lincolnshire









John Yonge, 1451,

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire









Footrest from brass to John Fortey, 1458,

Northleach, Gloucestershire









William Browne, 1489 engr. c. 1465,

Stamford. Lincolnshire









Footrest from brass to unknown

wool man, c. 1485,

Northleach, Gloucestershire


 




Thomas Horton, 1530 engr. c. 1520,

Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire









Detail of canopy from brass to

Thomas Bushe, 1526,

Northleach, Gloucestershire


 


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Copyright © 2002 Monumental Brass Society (MBS)

Page last updated 17 September 2006