Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mercers

Nicholas Rose, who died in1571, was a mercer, a man who had a shop and sold items which could not be made locally. He probably lived close to the town of Droitwich at the southern end of the parish. His main stock in trade was cloth: linen, holland (fine linen), cotton, dowlas (course linen), diaper napkins (twilled and self patterned linen), ‘sowtwich’ cloth, canvas, worsted (made in Worstead in Norfolk), mockadoe (silk with wool or linen and a pile surface, made in Norwich), fustian (course linen and cotton mix), boulter cloth (open mesh woollen cloth), black chamblett (fine mix of wool, silk and angora used for women’s clothes), and white kersey (coarse, narrow, ribbed woollen cloth from Kersey, Suffolk). He also sold the necessaries for making new clothes: thread (black, brown, fine and coloured), inkle (linen tape), crewel (woollen thread), buttons, compass (round) buttons, silk lacing and statute lacing (lace woven in accordance with the statute forbidding the use of foreign lace), silk pointing (cord for attaching hose or sleeves), clasps and eyes, points (needles), pins and thimbles, glover’s fringe and banding for hose. He sold women’s hose and stocking hose, gloves, leather girdles, purses, mailing cord (cord for travelling bags), girth webbing, bowstrings and sheepskins. He also had goods in stock which he would have bought from specialist metal workers: whistles, keys, spurs and bits, hanglesses (chains for hanging pots over the fire), arrowheads, graters, pincers, nails, spigots and faucets, cards for cloth workers and combs. He also stocked dyes for shoemakers, pitch, tar and raddle (red ochre used to mark sheep), and in grocery wares he had pepper, saffron, raisins and soap. Mercers were also stationers and Nicholas was no exception. He stocked paper, small books, parchment and sealing wax.

There were mercers living and working in Droitwich but Nicholas Rose was the only one living in Dodderhill. He would have been busy on market days when the country folk came to town to sell their animals, cheese and butter. They would have visited him to buy all those items that they could not make themselves.

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