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Wiltshire Community History

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The Wool Store

The Wool Store Date Photo Taken 2011
Uploaded 18/12/2013 09:32:50
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Map Latitude 51.15811500968782 : Longitude -2.047855854034424
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

One of Codford's major occupations, after agriculture, was connected with the wool trade. There were several fulling mills along the local stretch of the Wylye and the probate inventories of Codford for the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries record several weavers and numerous spinning turns (the forerunner of the spinning wheel). But in the late eighteenth century, an enterprising man from outside the village, one James Raxworthy, set up a wool sorting business. For this purpose he built a wool store which still stands today, and here the fleeces were picked over and sorted according to type. They were brought in on wagons, which parked in what is now the Woolstore Theatre and the fleeces were distributed over several storeys to the wool sorters. These were skilled men, who learned to judge the grades of wool, and they were among the best-paid workers in the industry, but they risked catching wool sorters' disease, a human variant of anthrax. Nevertheless, many people in Codford were employed in the business, which continued well into the twentieth century.

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