1) The tenter was a simple wooden structure on which cloth was stretched after the fulling process, and it consisted of posts and two bars, the upper and the lower.

The earliest references are in the towns: 1506 cloth taken of the tentours, York

1648 the abuse of Clothyers in making tenters of greater Chase than by the statute is limited, West Riding

1727 tenters not marked or numbered each yard distinctly, fairly and plainly to be seen upon the top bar, West Riding. The long history of the word is clear from by-names: 1250 Adam del Tentur, York and from minor place-names, as in Pontefract where ‘a messuage called le Tenturgerde’ is mentioned in 1322. In those towns, areas were set aside where the tenters might be permanently placed, and such sites can be identified on maps, especially from the eighteenth century. However, rural clothiers had to find temporary accommodation for the tenters near to the house, in a close or croft, and these might survive as the minor place-names Tenter Close or Tenter Croft. Such names do not reveal the problems raised by this change of land use but the spaces where tenters were sited were temporary, certainly at the outset, and they are referred to in early deeds as ‘rooms’: 1575 with on tenter rowme where there is one tenter now standing in the crofte upon the south ende of the howsinge, Sowerby

1598 one garden, one fold, two tenterrowmes where as they now stande, Thurstonland. Such rooms had to be accessible and this inevitably gave rise to questions about rights of way. An enclosure was the subject of an agreement in 1653 which allowed John Cowper to quietly enjoy the said close ... excepte one tenter rowme ... and granted to Richard Dison liberty to fix and sett one tenter there ... with sufficient ways and passages ... at all times to and from the same tenter, Dalton. There will have been close supervision of the sites so granted: 1651 license to erecte, sett up and use two paire of tenters for tentering of woollen Cloth within the Crofte before the dore of the messuage ... soe as the ground whereon the same Tenters are to be sett doe not extend twenty yeardes in length and twenty yeardes in breadth And soe as the same tenters be sett upp within twenty yeardes of the aforesaid house, Lepton. The tenter frames could be easily dismantled: 1562 Stees, stanggs ... old tenture tymber, Kendal. A bequest in the original will of Richard Williamson in 1686 was one tenter wood as the same is broken and ready for setting up. An agreement entered in the accounts of the Green-Armytage family is evidence of how late such arrangements could be: Memorandum. This first Day of November 1813 John Kinder of Greave in the Township of Netherthonge has paid me one shilling as One of the Lords of the Manor of Meltham for the priviledge of putting down a Tenter near Gilbirks ... & also agrees to pay one shilling yearly for the standing of the said Tenter until he has Notice from any of the Lords of the said Manor to remove the same and no longer.

dates 1250 1322 1506 1562 1575 1648 1651 1653 1686 1727

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