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When was the manufacture of silk introduced into England


There was a company of silk women in England as early as the year 1455; but they probably were merely employed in needlework of silk and thread, for Italy supplied England with the broad manufacture during the chief part of the 15th century. The great advantage this new manufacture afforded, made King James I very desirous for its introduction into England, particularly in 1608, when it was recommended, in very earnest terms, to plant mulberry trees for the rearing of silk worms; but unhappily without effect.

However, towards the latter end of this reign, the broad silk manufacture was introduced, and with great success. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes (A law made in favor of the Protestants, the repealing of which drove many of their most skilful workmen to take refuge in England.

They were kindly received, and settled in Spitalfields, and many other parts of England as well as Ireland, where they carried on a flourishing and ingenious manufacture) contributed greatly to its promotion, by the number of French workmen who took refuge in England; to them the English are indebted for the art of manufacturing many elegant kinds of silks, satins, velvets, which had formerly been imported from abroad up to the year 1718.