The wool brogger was, in the eyes of many in the 17th Century, a thief, an immoral trouble maker who raised the prices of wool and played a part in the misfortunes of many who tried to make a living in the early Yorkshire wool industry. He would buy up all the stocks of wool from staplers or local wool traders then store it away until demand and prices went up.
Licences had been restricted to approved merchants only following an act of Parliament, but this was no deterrent for the brogger. Life in early Yorkshire would have been very profitable especially if the
brogger could bypass the substantial taxes and fines for the illegal sale of wool.
Wool at the time was a valuable commodity, considered the ‘staple’ of England and was especially sought after in Europe. This was a crucial source of income for Cromwell’s Parliament and rising wool prices prompted the appearance of more of these illegal traders.
Often large loans were secured for the purchase of ‘tods’ of wool by a stapler who lived locally. He would sort the wool and sell it to the brogger who would sell it on to clothiers for a profit. Often the stapler would take a large loan to purchase the wool from local farmers. In many cases the broggers would lend the money to the stapler at a hefty rate of interest. The brogger would not only make money from the purchase and sale of the wool but also from the interest from the loan which could be as much as two hundred percent.
Brogging was outlawed and a penalty twice the cost of the wool was brought in as a deterent; however, many local justices were reluctant to enforce it and in some cases became business partners with these illegal traders.
Paul Rushworth-Brown is the author of three novels:
Skulduggery- An exciting, mysterious, fictional and historically accurate adventure pulls no punches about the life and hardships of peasant farmers living on the moors of Yorkshire in 1590.
"Was excellent reading . I intended to read it over the next week but once I started I could NOT put it down . Really enjoyed it !"
Winter of Red- Come on this historic journey, which twists, turns and surprises until the very end. If you like history, adventure and intrigue with a dash of spirited love, then you will be engrossed by this tale of a peasant family unexpectedly getting caught up in the ravages of the English Civil War in 1642.
"A fictional, historical novel about a loving peasant family caught up in a 1642 shocking Civil War. Humour, romance, adventure and excitement are here to enjoy. A great story.
"Dream of Courage- Soon to be released!
The much anticipated story of the Rushworth family and their journey out of poverty.
King Charles has been executed and England becomes a Republic under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. Highwaymen, thief-takers, pirates and broggers tell
the story in this mysterious and bone chilling historical thriller.