What West Haddon manufactory?

riot logo

This advertisement appeared in the Northampton Mercury in 1795.

WH manufactory ad_edited-1

What on earth was harrateen? And where was the manufactory?

It’s those weavers again. There were four main types of fabric made by Northamptonshire weavers in the 18th century. And mostly they were cheap substitutes for something else. We’ve already come across tammy and its use as a substitute for dress silk. Shallons, or shalloons didn’t really pretend to be anything other than a cheap, all-purpose, lightweight twilled worsted for coat linings, working dresses etc. (There was a furlong in West Haddon called Shallons – perhaps used for tentering finished fabric as on Tenter Leys).

Harrateen and morine (or moreen) were both used in soft furnishings. The completed lengths were finished by variations in hot pressing. Harrateen was passed under a heated brass roller embossed with a pattern, which left the fabric with a sheen and a texture that might, in the right light, look like damask.

Moreen was sprinkled with water, layered with papers and pressed between two heated metal plates which was supposed to make it look a bit like silk moire. Both of these processes would have required workshops with quite heavy equipment, although the weaving could be done in an ordinary cottage living room or backyard workshop.

John Newton had several lengths of moreen in his houmoreen at Canons Ashbyse when he died. This is what it looked like.

John Walker was a draper. He lived at Crystal House where there were plenty of outbuildings round the back. Were any of them used to finish locally-made fabrics? And would such premises, in a world of the hand-made, be described as a manufactory? And were all those large first floor windows intended to show off products to visiting buyers?

It’s a theory, but John Walker died in 1787. But his widow, Rebecca, was still around in 1795…Stn Rd pc colour_edited-2

Worth a candle?

riot logo

Thomas Bourn was a wheelwright with a keen business sense and an eye on the top of Station Road (before there was a station for the road to lead to.)

In 1750 he had approached John Walker (at Crystal House) and Dr Nicholas Heygate (at Laud’s Cottage) about an old barn and bit of orchard between their houses. He’d paid them £18 for it.

By 1776, he’d converted it into three cottages for village weavers, William Hipwell jun. (son of limping William Hipwell from the 1771 Militia List), John Barker and Thomas Naseby. At this point he put the property up for sale and Richard Harris, a tallow chandler (candle-maker) from Yelvertoft bought it – for £90.

The chandler gave the weavers their marching orders and took over the candle light1premises for his own use. But the purchase price had been a bit of a stretch and so a few months later he took out a mortgage for £50.

Bearing in mind the nature of his business, the lender advanced the money only on condition that Mr Harris insured the property with the Sun Fire Office, London ‘or other publick office of insurance’, a relatively novel idea in West Haddon at this time.

(The premises survived the hazards of candlemaking in the 18th century, only to burn down in the 19th cePhotobauble Hovis cropped resized_edited-1ntury when the baker, then in residence in half of it, had an unfortunate mishap…)

But phoenix-like it rose again to supply baked goods to 20th century villagers!)

at Widow Hall’s house…

riot logo

William and Elizabeth Hall came to West Haddon around 1750. Their daughter Priscilla was baptised in 1751 and her brother Richard five years later. The following year, William died.

The family were not well off and he was buried by the parish. The account book of the Overseers of the Poor recorded the expenses:

Paid for a coffin for William Hall, 8 shillings [40p]All Saints railings people tinted_edited-1
Paid two women to watch with him and laying him out, 4 shillings [20p]

Paid four men to bear him to church, 2 shillings [10p]
Paid the clerk for ringing the bell and digging the grave, 2 shillings [10p]

Paid Mr Walker for crepe and jersey to bury him in, 1 shilling and 6d [7.5p]

(John Walker was a draper. He lived at what is now Crystal House.)

The summer of 1763 saw an outbreak of smallpox in the village and there are records in the same account book of what was spent on those who were unable to pay for their own treatment. Several seem to have been isolated at the house of Widow Hall. (Sadly we don’t know which house that was.)

pestle mortar and candleholderWilliam Masters was paid £1.1.6 [£1.7.5p] for ‘atending of the smallpox 43 days’and a further 30p for ‘sitting up 3 days and 3 nights’, while Kitty Line was paid £1.16.0 [£1.80] ‘for nursing of the people at Wido Hall of the smallpox for 6 weeks pay at 6 shillings per week’, while John West, of the Crown, was paid about 75p ‘for beer for all the people who had the smallpox’.

(The last expense may seem like an indulgence on the rates, but at that time well water was rarely safe to drink. The brewing process had a sterilising effect, so it was healthier to drink beer!)

Elizabeth survived the epidemic, but it may have taken its toll on her. She was buried in July 1765, just a month before the riot, leaving her children to be cared for by the parish. An entry a fortnight after her burial recorded money ‘spent at Burbidge’s [the Red Lion] when we set Hall’s children to Goodman’ (presumably a fostering arrangement). The following month Thomas Patch (father of the founder of the village brickyard), was paid about 16p to make a pair of shoes ‘for Betty Hall’s son’, which he mended in 1766 and later that year Richard was apprenticed to a Coventry ribbon-weaver.