History of Bunting Cloth

Today, “bunting” is a term for any festive decorations made of fabric, or of plastic or paper in imitation of fabric.  The dictionary shows “Bunting” as rows of brightly colored little flags that are hung across roads or above states as a decoration for special occasions.

But, I wanted to know a little more about bunting and its history.  It interested me that a type of cloth used for bunting was from Worstead yarn, due to the type of cloth that is produced and the weight.  The name derives from Worstead, a village in the English county of Norfolk This village, together with North Walsham and Aylsham, became a manufacturing centre for yarn and cloth after Flemish weavers immigrated to Norfolk in the 12th century, so main cloth available during Medieval times.

Bunting was originally a specific type of lightweight worsted wool generically known as tammy, manufactured from the turn of the 17th century, and used for making ribbons and flags (also for the Royal Navy), due to its high glaze after pressing.  The cloth used for bunting can also be heavy cotton or canvas, that can withstand outdoor elements.

A wherry in front of the mill c.1912

Briggate Mill, Norfolk.

Weaving flourished in the village for over five hundred years. It came to a close after power-driven machines in Yorkshire took over, where both water and coal were readily available. And there it remains to this day, centred on Bradford and Huddersfield.