The Buckfastleigh Wool Trade

In 1838 there were 700 looms in Buckfastleigh; more than in any other town in Devon. Wow! It is estimated that (in 1801) 30% of the population were working in agriculture and 70% in the woollen industry. However there were a few mines of differing types within a few miles probably still operating in the area. There was an industrial switch from looms in people’s cottages to factories in the town. The Hamlyn family were key developers of this change in the 19th century. Curiously, in the century before that, the Buckfastleigh woollen industry was supplying the East India Company who sold Devon woollens into the Chinese market! Buckfastleigh did well at this time by incorporating all the processes from local production through to the finished product. We intend to build up this important connection with the town which is currently underrepresented.