Newbury craft guild recreates historic wool coat wager

Sheep shearing A range of traditional crafts and methods were used to make the coat

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Traditional craftsmen and women gathered in Newbury over the weekend to recreate a 200-year-old bet.

A wool coat was created from two sheep by 150 members of a Kennet Valley crafts guild, recreating a historic Newbury event.

However those taking part failed to beat their previous 1991 record by two hours.

The event re-enacted a bet made in 1811 between Sir John Throckmorton of Buckland and mill owner John Coxeter.

Sir John bet Mr Coxeter 1,000 guineas he could not make a coat from two sheep in 16 hours.

Mr Coxeter won the bet by creating the coat in 13 hours and 20 minutes.

The event provided a spectacle for 5,000 people in Newbury, ending in a meal of roast lamb.

Coat paraded

Saturday's event in Newbury opened with a new wager between the ancestors of Mr Coxeter and Sir John Throckmorton on the steps of Newbury Town Hall.

Two sheep were sheared in the Market Place as the event began at 1000 BST.

Berkshire sheep shearers and 150 members of the Kennet Valley Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers prepared wool for 10 tailors who stitched the coat together.

The workers spooled, warped, loomed and wove the wool before dyeing, drying, cutting and pressing the cloth.

Craftsmen and women taking part

  • Shearers
  • Teasuers
  • Carders
  • Fullers
  • Weavers
  • Tailors

The finished coat took 15 hours 44 minutes to complete and was paraded through the town on Sunday by Newbury MP Richard Benyon.

He said: "It's a great honour. I've grown up with this story and I think it's wonderful we're celebrating 200 years."

The coat-making challenge was first re-enacted 20 years ago at the Newbury Agricultural Show when a similar coat was completed in 12 hours 36 minutes and 26 seconds.

The original coat made in 1811 can be seen at the Throckmorton family's ancestral home, in Coughton Court, Warwickshire.

The coat made in 1991 can be seen in the West Berkshire Museum, Newbury.

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