Woollen cloth from Gloucestershire and Devon was traded with Asia. In particular, vast quantities of Devonshire long ells were exported by the East India Company during the late 1700s.
From the spice trade
"The Company of Merchants of London Trading in to the East Indies", known as the East India Company, was set up by a charter from Elizabeth I in 1600. It was formed to compete with the Portuguese and Dutch for the spice trade with Asia.
The Company soon expanded into trading Indian textiles and tea and controlled large areas of India through military power. A variety of goods were exchanged across Asia and large quantities of British materials such as copper, iron and Cornish tin were exported.
Between 1756 and 1800 woollens, including worsteds such as Devonshire long ells, made up over half of the value of goods that the Company exported. At times it was difficult to find a market for them. Some were sold at a loss, others remained unsold in warehouses in Canton, China. Nonetheless, this trade continued into the 1830s.
Local business links
From 1807 many Gloucestershire clothiers had contracts with the East India Company. In the early 1800s large contracts from the East India Company led to increases in profits for the Playne family who ran Longfords Mill, Avening. Initial orders were for Spanish stripes, which were sold in Canton. They expanded their manufacturing premises and, at the busiest times, farmed out some of the work to other local manufacturers.