Meet the faces of the ‘Storming of Bolton’: Goodwife Gillian


Almost 375 years since the notorious ‘Bolton Massacre’, Roundheads and Cavaliers will again descend on Bolton on 7-8 July for an exciting FREE event featuring thrilling battles and fascinating ‘living history’. Click here for more details…

Step into our encampment in the grounds of Bolton School and you’ll step back in time to 1644 – but who will you meet there and what will you discover?

Perhaps you’ll meet Goodwife Gillian and learn about why Bolton’s reputation as a forward-thinking weaving town is growing far and wide…

36500723_10157060156636756_5166704240994811904_n“Weaving is in my blood! I was born and raised in Bolton, the home of wool and weaving in Lancashire,” she says.

“My father was a wool merchant, my husband was his apprentice (which is how we met!) and my mother was a weaver too, in her younger years. Therefore I have known the skills of the trade from an early age and I use these to make the finest woven wears in the Lancashire!

“My husband, Henry, went to fight the noble war against the King’s malignant forces last year. Since then, he has sent his meagre earnings back to us – barely a penny a day after deductions for food and clothing, if he gets paid at all! But this just isn’t enough for our three young children and my elderly mother, as the cost of bread and meat has increased many times since the start of the war.

“As my father is now with the Lord (he succumbed to the smallpox, along with so many others in Bolton, in 1642) and my mother has arthritis of the hands, I have become the breadwinner of the family and I spend my days in the soldiers’ encampment in Bolton selling my woven wears.

“I use inkle and tablet looms to weave the popular, hard-wearing fustians, made from linen and cotton, as well as knitting socks and sock ties from wool, which I then sell to Parliamentarian soldiers, officers and travellers passing through.

“This supplements my husband’s war earnings so that I can purchase food for my family and wood for cooking and warmth. When I can, I also send fresh socks to my husband so that he does not get cold feet and succumbs to a chill.

“I like to think in my small part I am contributing to the noble war effort. Come see me at the Bolton encampment and have a go at weaving yourself. Are you a natural born weaver?”

Come along and meet Gillian at The Storming of Bolton at Bolton School, Chorley New Rd, Bolton BL1 4PA on 7-8 July, from 10am to 4pm with battle in the afternoon!


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