Woad in the Neolithic in a cavern at Adaouste, Bouches-du-Rhône
History of textiles
By the later Stone Age the art of using vegetable dyes from the arbutus plant and from elderberries was discovered, and by the Bronze Age even more complex dyeing operations such as the application of woad had been introduced.
History of Erfurt
M Van der Veen, J May & A R Hall “Woad and the Britons painted blue”
Oxford J Archaeol, 12(3), 1993, 367–371, figs, refs. ISSN 0262-5253,
In the light of recent articles questioning whether the blue pigment used by the ancient Britons was actually woad or not (see also 92/96 & 93/1060), the discovery of waterlogged remains of woad at Dragonby (Humbs) continues
‘The City of Coventry: Crafts and industries: Medieval industry and trade', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 8: The City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick (1969), pp. 151-157. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=16024
The chief commodity imported into Coventry through Southampton from the late 1420s to 1478 was woad for dyeing Coventry blue cloth. (fn. 75) Woad was also imported through Bristol, with alum, wax, wine, and iron and other metal goods. (fn. 76)
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RS Smith (1961). A woad growing project at Wollaton in the 1580s. Trans Thoroton Soc Notts, vol. 65: 27-46. [TMT collection)]
BM Baggs (1977). Woad accounts for the manor of Chesterton 1638-1641. Dugdale Soc Publications Vol 31: pp 1-14. [manor held by Sir Edward Peyton]. [TMT collection)]
Describes woad production in the 1600s as well as transcription of accounts. Land was woaded only very 14 years.
Walter Blith (1652) The English Improver Improved. [referred to in Baggs].
Harold Stanhope (1971). The woad industry in Britain. Occupational Health. Dec 1971 pp. 388-391. [TMT collection)].
Historical account mainly with reference to Lincolnshire & Cambridgeshire.
Jane Brace (1999). An Ancient Blue Dye, a history of the supply and production of woad.
Joan Thirsk (2000) Alternative Agriculture: A History: From the Black Death to the Present Day. Oxford University Press 384 pages ISBN 0198208138. http://books.google.com/books?id=f8jZ48XKBSMC
People like to believe in a past golden age of "traditional" English countryside, before large farms, machinery, and the destruction of hedgerows changed the landscape forever. Yet crops from the past like flax, hemp, rapeseed, and woad are gradually reappearing in the "modern" countryside. Thirsk reveals how the forces which drive the current interest in alternative forms of agriculture--a glut of mainstream meat and cereal crops, changing patterns of diet, the needs of medicine--have striking parallels with earlier periods of English history, emphasizing that solutions to current problems can still be found in the hard-won experience of people in the past.
Model of the woad mill at Parson Drove c 1900
CE Hennels (1972). East Anglia’s last woad mill. East Anglian Magazine vol 31 (12) October 1972 pp. 498-501. [Parsons Grove mill with 7 photos from Wisbech Museum [TMT collection)].
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