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in Northern Europe
- The Romans had linen factories in Britian and Gual to supply their
armies, but production dwindled for a time after the barbarian
- In the eighth century, Charlemagne ordered each family in his
realm to learn to process, spin, and weave flax, because he recognized
the sanitary value of linen garments and also saw a potential
market for Christian liturgical vestments.
- Flanders became the first important center for the medieval
linen industry. The climate was ideal for growing flax, and the
labor was skilled.
- The dutch also wove linens, but they imported their cloth from
- Holland was famous for its bleaching works at Haarlem, and
in the 17th and 18th centuries, linens were sent there from all
over Europe so they recieved the best whitening available.
- The English linen industry had little significance until the
late 16th century when thousands of skilled workers fled to England
from the Low Countries to avoid Spanish persecutions.
- In Ireland, linen manufacture was a major industry- one that
continued into the 20th century. The beginning might be traced
to the Phoenicians, who went to Ireland in 1000 B.C., but more
likely it dates back to the Normans who settled there in the
7th century A.D.