View of the church in Kersey, Suffolk, which overlooks the village and neighbouring fields.
The period of the “Old Draperies” was followed by that of the“New Draperies”, again caused by the arrival of new immigrants from the Low Countries across the North Sea. They fled to escape from the Spanish armies led by the Earl of Parma, who had been sent by the Spanish king Philips II to put an end to an uprising of the inhabitants against Spanish suppression. Spain was the greatest power at the time, and to many this must have seemed like the Dutch waging a war that could not ever be won. When they fled the Low Countries and settled in England during the reign of Elizabeth I, they brought with them badly needed know-how of combing and spinning wool. Rather than using the short, carded wool used in the “Old Draperies “, this new technique made it possible to make long wool required for weaving much finer bays, says, velures and a host of other cloths. Worstead in Norfolk gave its name to “worsted” cloth, and we similarly recognise where the Lindsey and the blue Kersey cloth originated from.
The “New Draperies” gave the industry a new boost. The finer quality of the cloth, and the great variety of products, were a pivotal factor in providing the area with a competitive edge and increased export.
More about the history: Wool Towns of East Anglia