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Tudor Monastery Farm 2/6

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BBC Two

In episode two, the team turns its attention to wool. Known as ‘the jewel in the realm’ of the English economy, wool was the source of much of the country’s wealth and the monasteries were at the centre of its international trade.
 
 
 
As Ruth gets to grips with the farm accounts, an essential task for any tenant determined to get the most from their land, Peter makes a shearing bench, a medieval labour-saving device, which involves bending wood by steam. Tom gets his first taste of shearing sheep and, to seal any wounds that might occur in the process, he makes a simple salve out of broom, suet, brine and urine.

With sheep so abundant on medieval farms, they were regularly milked as dairy herds (much as cows are today). Ruth uses the sheep’s milk to make cheese that she can sell at the market.

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