birthplace of textiles in Britain

Cranbrook can claim to be a birthplace of an important craft, weaving. Nearby, 5,800 years ago, a weaver buried a collection of 15 loom weights made from baked clay in a pit, possibly with the idea of coming back for them later.


These strange flat oval objects, each weighing around 1.5 kilos, are the earliest found in the UK. Each of them has a hole in the middle which would have been tied onto the end of a bunch of fibres. These would have hung from a bar so another thread could be woven horizontally through the upright ones. These weights are extra heavy meaning that they were intended for use with plant fibres such as flax or hemp, rather than with sheep wool.

Images: Loom weights from between Cranbrook and Clyst Honiton © Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery. Reconstruction of a vertical iron age loom © Copyright ceridwen. Creative Commons Licence.