As a follow on from the project and the evaluation discussions, we have decided to establish the Brethyn Online Research Network.
Lisa Y Gabbert, from the University of Texas, decided the focus of her PhD studies after attending the conference arranged by the University of South Wales and the Museum of Wales, to explore ‘Clothing the Enslaved in the 18th Century Atlantic’
Lisa is now working closely with the project follow up “Brethyn Online Research Network” team, as she working on her PhD dissertation which highlights wool as a foundational commodity, which was important to the everyday function of empire in a way that allowed cotton to become the dominant textile of economic gain.
The tremendous role of wool in the empire narrative will be examined through four micro-histories and my research will focus on:
1 Welsh wool producers who provided Welsh Plains for use with the enslaved
2 the enslaved in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands who wore Welsh Plains while producing goods that perpetuated empire wealth,
3 the convicts sent to Australia who resorted to petty crimes in circumstances attributable to empire industrialization and later wore prescriptive wool clothing
4 and the North American colonials who rebelled against the strict control of wool production exemplified by the 1699 Wool Act.
Lisa ultimately wants to validate the importance of wool which came before, existed during, and sustained empire alongside cotton, rather than being replaced by it in importance.
Pack Horse Routes: Understanding the complexity of the network of pack horse routes is an area which would benefit from much more research and the Snowdonia National Park are interested to work with us in future, as they had little additional information to offer. Pickfords, the removal company started with pack horses and we are in touch with them
Sue Hiley Harris has been working on local research in Brecon: "I have been researching the woollen industry in Brecon for many years and last year an article about some of this research was included in Brycheiniog. (Brecon's Priory Woollen Mill: Weaving Through Four Centuries. Brycheiniog: The Journal of the Brecknock Society, Volume L, 2019, pages 108 – 139). The article is about the story of one woollen mill and forms only part of my research.
I am a weaver and the subject has been of interest for a long time. I decided that, as little research had been done specifically in Brecon, I would make an in-depth study of the industry in Brecon – the town itself. There were medieval Guilds here, including Weavers and Tuckers Guilds, and in 1754 Dr Richard Pococke wrote of Brecon in The Travels through England of Dr Richard Pococke Vol 2 – ‘They have a manufacture of coarse cloth like Kendal cottons, for the use of slaves in the West Indies…’
J. Geraint Jenkins mentions a cloth called ‘brecknocks’ which I have found mentioned exported from Bristol in the 16th century and a Breconshire cloth is mentioned by Chris Evans in Slave Wales discusses the Breconshire plains and Breconshire cottons which were retailed in Virginia by Frances Jerdone. Whether these were made in Brecon town or elsewhere in the county I am not sure. Further research is required."