Once spun, woollen yarn had to be woven into cloth. Weaving was carried out in Devon’s villages and in Exeter. In rural areas it was the work of children, women and men, but in the city, under the control of the Guild of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen.

The technology of weaving in Devon changed little across the centuries. Weavers used a loom, a wooden frame, on to which yarn known as the ‘warp’ was secured from top to bottom. Then other yarns were woven in and out through the warp from one side of the frame to the other using a tool called a ‘shuttle’. These second lengths of yarn were known as the ‘weft’.Shearmen, weaving was dominated by men known as Master Weavers who would employ apprentices.

Once it had been woven, much of Devon’s woollen cloth was brought to Exeter. Here it entered a new set of processes which would see it transformed into finished cloth. Unsurprisingly, occupations involved in these processes were known as the ‘finishing trades’.

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