Cilcennin Mill striped blankets.


Rarely available as a pair & from one of my favourite mills: Cilcennin ( Ben factri).

A well known local character Ben Thomas ran this little mill as part of the small holding that had bee nleased by his father John from Ty Mawr Estate. A 60 acre holding which was the primary sources of income for the small family run & operated business. with part time farm workers & an apprentice weaver operating the old fashioned narrow width looms.

Ben Thomas famously presented tweed fabric to Prince Charles on his investiture & tales are often heard of his driving the wrong way round Piccadilly in his Morris traveller. Remarking that " everyone knows me here...look at them waving!"

It seems that long after the last blanket or roll of cloth was woven in the mill, Ben was buying in from bigger mills such as DERW in Pentrecwrt & I have bought many a 1960s blanket from people that remember buying them from him. His blankets , however, were quite different: narrow width in varying weights & finishes. Usually striped but sometimes plain. Often using Yellow & pink with Violet or Scarlet. These were German analine dyes purchased before the " dye draught" and are well documented in The National archive which holds his day books & Dye books.

Simple utilitarian blankets for a local market & farming community. Where customers might take in their fleece after shearing & choose from the patterns & colours displayed. Pricing would be calculated by the pound of wool, colours used & processes ( spinning , weaving & finishing). Often customers would pay by leaving more wool than was needed for their own order & like other mills of the time, this surplus would be used to make up extra cloth & sold at the weekly market in Tregaron.


Not all processes were carried out at Cilcennin & it is known that both Llanrhystud factri & Llanfair Clodogau pandy were used during the mills working history for spinning, dyeing & finishing.

This lovely pair of blankets are typical of Ben Thomas: Heavy 2 ply herringbone twill. Cream ground with Soft Apricot, tramlines in narrow stripes of Violet, Mustard Gold, Cream& Lavender creating a broad alternating stripe across the body of the blanket. Hand sewn centre seam. repaired machined warp ends. Some darns. Splendid!

Measure 82" x 72" ( 210cm x 184cm)

Cilcennin Mill striped blankets NL131

  • Product Code: NL131
  • Availability: In Stock
  • £399.00


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Tags: Ben Thomas, Cilcennin, Ceredigion C19th, striped, Narrow loom

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