- Cloth was made … -
The marketplace was the economic heart of the city of Zoutleeuw in the middle ages. All kind of products were produced as wel as traded here, but especially the cloth industry would proof to be extremely lucrative. In comparison to other Brabantine cities, this industry developed rather early in Zoutleeuw. Already in the beginning of the twelfth century a significant group of weavers lived inside the city walls, whose job was to weave threads of wool, so unbroken pieces of cloth were manufactured. In 1221 the weavers got organized in trades, those are primitive associations of hand labourers. Twenty years later the city council issued detailed regulations to monitor the production and the sale of cloth in Zoutleeuw. This document shows that the local textile industry was an early bird in manufacturing high-quality cloth. In other Brabantine cities a similar arrangement saw the light long afterwards: in Brussels in 1282, in Louvain and Antwerp in 1298. Even in the economically more developed county of Flanders these kind of documents were only drawn up at the end of the thirteenth century.