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Sheep were an important part of that, with 50% of the nations wealth coming from sheep farming.
We see the team bringing the sheep in using a type of shepherd’s crook called a Houlette. This can be used to project stones into the path of the sheep so that they change direction. The sheep are then ‘washed’ in a very muddy pond so that the wool will be of merchantable quality when it’s sold.
Another source of income from sheep, of course, is milk and cheese. All of which is demonstrated by Ruth.
Ruth shows us how, in the days before electricity and refrigeration, the dairy within Bayleaf could be kept at around 6 -
After shearing, the best of the wool is sent off to the monastery to sell while Ruth keeps the rest to make cloth -
The Blast Furnace
The blast furnace which Tom and Peter visit to get some steel is located ad the Rural Life Centre at Tilford near Farnham in Surrey. The blast furnace has, in fact, only recently been completed. And it seems that a decision has yet to be made on whether to make any iron in it.
You can read more on the Rural Life Centre’s web site.
The Fulling Mill
After weaving, Ruth takes her cloth to Dewi Jones for fulling. This appears to be at the Woolen Mill at St Fagans in Wales. It is possible that the weaving also took place there.
Episode 1 screened on 13th November 2013 and introduced us to the Tudor Farmer’s way of life.
Episode 3 screened on 27th November 2013 covering the diet of the Tudor farmer.
Episode 4 screened on 4th December 2013 covering other ways the farmer and the monastery made money.
Episode 5 screened on 11th December 2013 and included refurbishment and redecoration of a room for a pensioner, the priduction of a medieval book, and a feast for the monks.
Episode 6 screened on 18th December 2013 and covered the harvest at the end of the farming year.
If you like Tudor Monastery Farm, the previous farm series from the same team are all available on DVD.