The Woollen Industry
The woollen industry in south-west Wales during the medieval and early post-medieval period was mainly one of dispersed homesteads producing rough cloth for a family's immediate needs, with excess sold at local markets. However, technical innovations in looms and the application of water power to the fulling process revolutionised methods and marked the transition of the industry from farm to factory. Initially a ‘factory' meant a single building where carding, spinning or fulling machines were driven by water power, but by the last quarter of the 19 th century the factories in north Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion would rival in size and production those found in north and midland England.
Although once an important industry, it is not well represented on the Historic Environment Record (HER) and very few sites are legally protected either as listed buildings or scheduled ancient monuments. The objectives of this project was to identify all sites in south-west Wales associated with the woollen industry and record them on the HER, to visit a selection of sites to assess their current condition and to recommend the best surviving examples for legal protection.
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