Medieval References to the Wool Trade in Rochdale

While there are many references (such as in the Manor court rolls and Manor surveys) to the wool trade in Rochdale from the 16th century Medieval references are rare, here are two from the Rochdale Manor Court Rolls of 1336, translated from the Latin in Fishwick’s History of Rochdale.

Henry the dyer

John de Aulus for not producing Henry the dyer [Lister] and John the smith, whom he essoigned (meaning made an excuse for not appearing in court) iiii . d.

So John made  a payment of 4 pence for because Henry the dyer did not appear at the manor court. Did Henry dye local wool? looks like an early indication of a specialist in the significant and valuable wool trade.

 Thomas the mercer

Henry the son of Thomas the Mercer, for ingress to a burgage in Castleton: surety Nicholas of the Slakes xviij.

The mercer’s son broke in to a burgage (Rochdale was a medieval borough). A reference to a mercer is rare at this time in Lancashire, there is only one mentioned (from Chester?) in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey. A mercer was someone who sold fine cloth such as silk and flax.

Market

Rochdale market dates back to at least 1251, to put this into perspective, Suffolk’s famous medieval wool trade village,  Lavenham  has a market from 1257. The 13th century was a time of economic expansion and wool was England’s main export, Rochdale was evidently an important centre for both the production and trade in wool in Medieval times.

References

Manor Records, Chapter XV the History of Rochdale by Henry Fishwick

Medieval Wool Trade in Europe

The History of British Wool

 

(C) SMM 2014
 
 
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Published in: on April 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The old Rochdale ‘coat of arms’ has a woolsack at it’s centre. The symbol of Englands power is still the woolsack.

    In the 14th century King Edward III (1327-1377) commanded that his Lord Chancellor whilst in council should sit on a wool bale, now known as “The Woolsack”, in order to symbolise the central nature and huge importance of the wool trade to the economy of England in the Middle Ages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolsack

    Even during the ‘Industrial Revolution’, Rochdale like Oldham, was almost unique in that both wool and cotton were important products.

  2. Hi Stuart, both you and we need to step up propaganda in view of this new story.

    http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/86668/protest-walk-planned-against-rooley-moor-wind-farm


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