Flemish Weavers and Clogs
It is reputed to be 600 years ago that the Flemish weavers introduced the clog to our country. It is said that Edward III was persuaded by his Belgian wife, Philippa of Hainault, to offer inducements to the Flemish workers to come here and help to strengthen and expand the country’s industry, the weaving of woollen fabrics.
The Flemish brought with them wooden sabots lined with lambskin, but this footwear was clumsy in the eye of the old Lancashire folk and not comfortable. Later generations set about improving the shape of the sole and design of the uppers. They found that superior craftsmanship brought better wearing conditions then were to be found in the old Belgian strap arrangement.
So we improved on the earliest clogs with an article not only warm and durable, but economical and effective against wet conditions.
Useful in industrial activities, the clog also developed a vogue of fashion. Fanciful designs in the leather, brass nails and toecaps, even ribbon fastenings in colours for the womenfolk, brought the clog proudly to comparatively recent days.
Another interesting import, students of the Lancashire dialect believe these Flemish weavers broadened, with many Flemish words, the local speech.