John Boyd Textiles | Higher Flax Mills

Horsehair, a fabric made with a weft of combed fibres from the docked tails of horses and a warp of cotton or linen yarn, is very durable and has a unique lustre. It has been made in the Castle Cary district of Somerset since the early nineteenth century if not earlier. In 1831 26 people in the town were engaged in its manufacture on a domestic basis. John Boyd (d 1890), a Scotsman, began to make horsehair in Castle Cary in 1837 and in 1851 built his first factory. He constructed a new building housing 50 power looms in 1877 and by 1900 was employing more than 200 people. The company contracted in the twentieth century but still produces high quality fabrics for specialised markets. Production was moved in 1956 to a three-storey, 13-bay former flax mill dating from 1870, where 30 of the looms that Boyd purchased in 1877 are still operating. The company operates pre-booked tours for parties, which individual visitors are able to join by appointment. The museum in the Market Square provides an introduction to the history of the town, including its industrial heritage.

John Boyd Textiles | Higher Flax Mills
Torbay Road
BA7 7DY Castle Cary
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1963 - 350451