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Lazy hussies dreaming by a murmuring brook?

Vanessa Habib goes on a journey to identify the lost linen bleachfields of Scotland
De Bleeker (The Bleacher), a lusty fellow from Jan Luyken’s Book of Trades 1694
Glorat Bleachfield advertisement Edinburgh Evening Courant, 18 February 1769

Lazy hussies dreaming by a murmuring brook? This comment from a Scottish visitor to the bleachields at Haarlem relects the domestic nature of the bleaching of linen at home in the early 18th century, the author critical of the little work involved in whitening a single homespun web. It has often been pointed out that for the Scots bleaching was part of the agricultural year, outdoors, seasonal and timeconsuming, taking between eight to twelve weeks to accomplish as a general rule, in the long spring and summer days. Nothing about manufacturing linen, however, was amateur or parttime. It was an expensive ibre, long and lustrous, but embedded in a woody stem and dificult to process.

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About History Scotland

Explore centuries of history and archaeology in the first History Scotland issue of 2019. Inside you’ll find history, archaeology, genealogy and heritage from some of the country’s top experts. Top reasons to read this issue: • Discover the tough reality of life as a Dundee whaler – and why the city’s female population was crucial to the success of the whaling industry • Read about Mary of Guelders – the Stewart queen who used her European connections to succeed in her royal role • See amazing images from the restoration of Monteath Mausoleum • Discover history events around the country during the winter months • Explore a new project to discover what we know – and have yet to discover – about the uses of gold in prehistoric Scotland