Ode to the Wool Brogger

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 two 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. Reading this novel, you will walk the moors around Haworth and try a jack of ale at the Kings Arms; you will laugh, cry and feel empathy for young Thomas Rushworth and his family who face the rigors of life living as copyholders on Lord Birkhead’s land at Green Hall. Shenanigans, murder, deception, and love will keep you enthralled right until the end, but be forewarned as the author paints a realistic, literary picture which quite easily places you amidst the tale. 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. Now turn the page, if you dare, and follow the exploits of Tommy Rushworth as he tries to stay alive after being absconded into the Parliamentary Army. You will fear for Thomas Rushworth, his father, who is racing against time to save him from a war he wanted no part of. Reading this novel one can immerse themselves within the tale and discover the more colourful, candid details of what it was like to live in this rebellious time. Dream of Courage- Coming Soon

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Ursula Sontheil, the Yorkshire Witch

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Sharon Whitlam Cole

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Novels by Paul Rushworth-Brown


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Bernard Smith

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