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Ropemaking demo adds a new twist to county show

By Jordan Reynolds | Staffordshire | Attractions | Published:

Staffordshire County Show organisers have added a new twist to this year’s event with a unique attraction for fans of crafts and medieval times.

Ropemaker Thomas Taylor

The art of ropemaking will be in the spotlight at the two-day show, with an insight into how they were made in the distant past.

While other ropemaking demonstrations are presented using machines, Thomas Taylor uses natural fibres and tools from the medieval period to recreate the process for making cordage, rope and nets.

Derbyshire-based Thomas is a member of the Heritage Crafts Association and will be entertaining visitors at the show’s Woodfest. Staffordshire County Show will be held at the Weston Road showground on May 27 and 28, during the half-term school holiday.

Richard Williams, chief executive of the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, said: “We always pride ourselves on providing something to suit all ages and tastes at the show and I don’t think there will be too many visitors this year who will have seen the art of ropemaking as it was done in medieval times.

“It’s a show first for Thomas and promises to be something not to be missed. He has put a great deal of effort and dedication into researching the art and making the tools and equipment of the period. His demonstrations are fully interactive, making it an experience which will live long in the memory.

“His typical workshop covers an introduction to ropemaking, the natural products where the process starts, processing the plant using wooden tools, a flax break and scutching, combing and spinning methods.

Ropemaker Thomas Taylor

“The process then moves on to making the cordage with a hand-driven spinner before a hand-driven rope machine is used to create the finished product from the cordage.

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“It’s a fascinating process and just one of the attractions our visitors will be able to get involved with at Woodfest during the show. Woodfest, in Berryhill Oak Wood on the Stafford end of the showground, has a range of demonstrations of traditional woodland crafts during the two days.

“Woodland and forest schools are real hot topics now, with all the concerns about the environment and what the future holds. Children have always loved Woodfest and seeing working demonstrations from bygone eras. They are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about the importance of woodland and traditional crafts and love the educational value we provide at Woodfest.”

For more about Thomas, the medieval ropemaker, visit the website thomastaylorropemaker.net. For more about the show, visit staffscountyshowground.co.uk.

Early bird tickets for the show will be available to buy from the showground office and website from April 1. Advance tickets will be available from all other outlets from May 1.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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