Wool Trade

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

England emerged as the principle supplier of Wool during The Middle Ages. The cool and damp climate was ideal for raising Sheep. Countries such as Germany, Flanders and Spain also were producers of the commodity (but to a lesser extent). Raw wool was combed, cleaned and woven into cloth. At this point, the wool was dyed. In the 13th Century, there were but two principle colors: Woad (Dark Blue) and Madder (Bright Red). Kermes (a Scarlet dye), was rare and hard to come by. When procured, it was often reserved for Royalty. With the opening of Trade with The East (Asia), new dyes and colors began to appear. Italy (by the late Middle Ages), began a major producer of cloth. The market was also lucrative for Cloth Merchants there (because they were licensed by Papal Authority and paid NO taxes). They would often import English wool and sell it in their Markets (making even more money). The famed Hanseatic League's first “Trade” venture was exclusively in wool and cloth. Soon Guilds began to restrict the quality ans manufacture of wool and clothing. Although the product was more accepted in quality – The Guild increased rates (despite The current Sumptuary Laws in effect). The market would experience a major increase yet again with two inventions in the 15th Century. The Spinning Wheel and The Mill. Clothing Manufacturing had to move from The Urban to Rural setting. Having to move into Northern England, local workers (and of course their land owning Lords) would become quite wealthy. Politically, wool was tied to diplomacy. Many of England's “customers” heavily relied on it's wool and cloth. They in turn could ill afford to alienate them and often supported their military endeavors.