The earliest record of Westbury as a wool town is from the 1332 tax register. One person registered was Robert le Toukere – Toukere, or Tucker, was an alternative name for a fuller. A fuller was someone who cleaned wool after it was sheared.
How was woollen cloth made?
Raw wool had dirt, sand, and sweat on, so it required cleaning before use, a process called scouring. During scouring, the wool was dipped in either urine or soap wort and then rinsed with clean water. Once dry, the wool was sorted into different types, then beaten to get the dust and dirt out.
If the wool needed to be coloured, at this stage it would be dyed. Most dyes would have been made using an extract from plants.
Once the wool was dry, it was coated in oil to make it easier to work with. Then, to disentangle the wool fibres and to make them long and straight, they were ‘carded’ (passed through a series of rollers).
Carding machine in the Angel Mill Westbury. Copyright Trowbridge Museum.