Month: February 2018

William Hitchcock, serge maker-hero or villain?

The once wealthy industrialist William Maunder Hitchcock (b.1822) lived in Lapford for the last 25 years of his life until his death in 1894. He boarded quietly with James and Mary Crook at remote Little Hole, Lapford away from public life. Those who met him during his years in Lapford may have […]

Serge weaving in Lapford

   The clacking of hand loans was once a familiar one in Lapford. It is likely that there were once 20 or more looms in the village for the weaving of woollen cloth —most commonly, serge. Serge was Devon’s primary export commodity in the boom years of the counties textile industry in the C17 […]


Lapford serge making Q&As

When did serge making start in Lapford? Devon was a world centre of serge making from the C14. Rural communities played a vital part in this industry, producing wool and undertaking various production processes in the home. In Lapford few records survive of Lapford’s involvement in the serge making before the 1851 census when the industry was in […]

William Snell: cut from a different cloth?

Many serge weavers lived on the edge of poverty, even in full employment. But for their immediate masters, the serge makers, there was financial opportunity. Lapford serge-maker William Snell appears to have grown wealthy from the work of the village’s weaving community.  On his death in 1800 William Snell left a £1300 share of his estate to his three children (over £1 […]