Cullompton Cloth Trade

The Heritage Lottery Fund has approved a grant of £53,400 to enable the Cullompton Cloth Trade project to go ahead and all the activities will be starting soon.  Volunteers will be meeting to collect existing and research new information about the cloth and clothing trade in Cullompton and surrounding area. There will be a series of talks. Oral histories will be collected (training is provided).  The material will be interpreted with professional help and high quality content on touchscreens at the Hayridge, the Venue, the Walronds, and Coldharbour Mill.

There has been an important cloth trade in the area since at least the 16th century when the Lane Aisle in St Andrews Church was built by cloth merchant John Lane. In the 18th century there were more than 40 recorded serge-makers in the town and in the 19th century more than 60 weavers received assistance from the overseers in bad weather.

The Walronds was used by two 18th century serge-makers and is adjacent to the Manor House built by clothier Thomas Trock. The project will investigate the role of the Upcott family at Shortlands, behind the Walronds, and the conditions in which weavers lived. In the 20th century the Fox family, who built Coldharbour Mill, had a factory at Cullompton.

The project arose through collaborative working in the Cullompton Enhancement and Regeneration Group.

Richard Bellamy, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West said: “This is a fantastic project that will enable the community to explore its history, opening up Cullompton’s very significant links with the cloth trade”.

If you would like to get involved contact Penny Bayer , tel: 0781 454 2704

Contact Details

The Project Officer,  c/o Cullompton Town Council  Town Hall  1 High Street  Cullompton  Devon  EX15 1AB
0781 454 2704 Wednesday (usually)

The Project

The purposes of the project are to:

* conserve and make accessible the hidden heritage of Cullompton and the Culm Valley and the cloth and clothing trade

* increase knowledge and understanding of this hidden history amongst local people and school children

* involve local people and school children throughout the project

*celebrate the tradition of craft weaving at Coldharbour Mill

The project will run from April 2013-November 2014.

Volunteers are getting involved in research, oral history collection and recording, schools projects, and the website. If you would like to help in any way contact the Project Officer, Penny Bayer at


A series of talks on the history of the cloth trade in Devon, and the local area, in conjunction with the Cullompton History Group:

Wednesday 12th June 2013, 2.15 pm, at The Cullompton Community Centre: Tamsin Bailey, PhD Research Student at the Centre for Early Modern Studies, University of Exeter School of History will speak on her research into social identity amongst workers in Devon’s cloth trade.

Wednesday 10th July 2013, 2.15pm at the Unitarian Chapel Cullompton: Sue Warren, Conservation Officer at Mid Devon District Council, will talk on Conservation Planning for the Walronds.

Wednesday 11 September, 2.00 for 2.15pm at the Unitarian Chapel Cullompton: Julian Fox of Fox Brothers will speak on the West of England Cloth Trade, including Fox Brothers and the Culm Valley.

Wednesday 9th October 2013, 2.15pm, at the Hayridge, Cullompton. Dr Mike Patrick will speak on “Distribution and packing of woollen cloth” in relation to Mid Devon’s cloth trade.

Activities at Coldharbour Mill, Uffculme (

Spring 2013 Exhibition of Fox Brothers woven cloth, textual interpretation re textile history

Autumn 2013 Exhibition of hand weaving with textual interpretation re textile history

Autumn 2013 Craft Expo – Sunday 27th October. An opportunity to try your hand at different crafts. A variety of local crafts people will be exhibiting their crafts, demonstrating some of their techniques and inviting you to have a go! Weaving studio, workshop and demos.


With thanks to all funders:

Heritage Lottery Fund

Cullompton Enhancement and Regeneration Group/Town Team using Mid Devon District Council funding

Devon County Council

The Walronds Preservation Trust

Coldharbour Mill

Cullompton Community Centre/ The Venue

Steering Group: Jane Campbell (Chair), Walronds Preservation Trust; Tim Duxbury, The Hayridge and Devon CC; Gordon Guest, Cullompton Town Council; Elizabeth Sessions; Judy Smith, The Venue; Susan Wasfi, Coldharbour Mill; Gordon Cleaver and Sue Warren, Mid Devon District Council.


Elizabeth Sessions is working with Willowbank and St Andrews Schools on a series of lessons for Years 5/6.

* Introduction to the history of weaving

* Weaving in Cullompton

* Art activity based on weaving using paper

* Art activity based on weaving using yarn, beads and branches

* Exhibition of work

Check Also

Another Covid-19 death reported by Musgrove bosses

A PATIENT with Covid-19 has died in the care of the trust that runs Taunton’s …

Leave a Reply