The gentry living in London, and the dayly concourse of servants out of the country to London, makes servants’ wages deare in the countrey, and makes scarcity of labourers.
Sir William Petty told me, that when he was a boy
a seeds-man had five pounds per annum wages, and a
countrey servant-maid between 30 and 40s. wages. [40s.
per ann. to a servant-maid is now, 1743, good wages
in Worcestershire.- Ms. Note, anonymous.]
Memorandum. Great increase of sanfoine now, in
most places fitt for itt; improvements of meadowes
by watering; ploughing up of the King’s forrests
and parkes, &c. But as to all these, as ten thousand
pounds is gained in the hill barren countrey, so the
vale does lose as much, which brings it to an equation.
The Indians doe worke for a penny a day; so their silkes are exceeding cheap; and rice is sold in India for four pence per bushell.
[The following are the only essential parts of this chapter, which is very short.-J. B.]
King Edward the Third first settled the staples of wooll in Flanders. See Hollinshead, Stowe, Speed, and the Statute Book, de hoc.
Staple, “estape”, i e. a market place;
so the wooll staple at
Westminster, which is now a great market for flesh and fish.
When King Henry the Seventh lived in Flanders with
his aunt the Dutchess of Burgundie, he considered
that all or most of the wooll that was manufactured
there into cloath was brought out of England; and
observing what great profit did arise by it, when he
came to the crown he sent into Flanders for cloathing
manufacturers, whom he placed in the west, and particularly
at Send in Wiltshire, where they built severall good
houses yet remaining: I know not any village so
remote from London that can shew the like. The
cloathing trade did flourish here till about 1580,
when they removed to Troubridge, by reason of (I thinke)
a plague; but I conjecture the main reason was that
the water here was not proper for the fulling and washing
of their cloath; for this water, being impregnated
with iron, did give the white cloath a yellowish tincture.
Mem. In the country hereabout are severall families
that still retaine Walloun names, as Goupy, &c.
The best white cloaths in England are made at Salisbury, where the water, running through chalke, becomes very nitrous, and therefore abstersive. These fine cloathes are died black or scarlet, at London or in Holland.
Malmesbury, a very neat town, hath a great name for cloathing.
The Art of Cloathing and Dyeing is already donn by Sir William Petty, and is printed in the History of the Royall Society, writt by Dr. Spratt, since Bishop of Rochester.