" The Medieval Town of Frome"

Malcolm Chant

Joined September 2008

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By the time of the Domesday Book (1086) Frome had grown into a busy little town. It probably had a population of about 600. That would seem tiny to us but settlements were very small in those days. A typical village only had 100 to 150 inhabitants. There were 4 watermills in Frome for grinding grain to flour so it must have been quite an important place.

There was also a weekly market in Frome and from 1270 Frome had a fair. In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but they were held only once a year. People would come from all over Somerset to buy and sell at a Frome fair. In 1492 Frome was granted the right to have 2 more annual fairs.

In the 14th century Frome became famous as a wool town. In the town wool was woven. It was then fulled. That means it was cleaned and thickened by pounding it in a mixture of clay and water. Wooden hammers worked by watermills pounded the wool. There were at least 5 fulling mills in Frome. When it dried the wool was dyed. Furthermore woad for dyeing was grown in the Frome Somerset Area.

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