FAQs

Your Cart

Close
Paper Plane Your order qualifies for free standard delivery
Subtotal £0.00
Delivery £0.00
Order Total £0
Checkout Securely

Merton Abbey and William Morris

1st August 2019

We can never quite believe the achievements of William Morris. The multifaceted man achieved more than most in many lifetimes and had a range of talents. When reading about Morris for all these years, it’s clear to see that he took such a keen interest in such a variety of crafts and arts – but then not only that, he took it further to practice and practice until he perfected the art. He did of course have an unbelievable amount of natural talent, but by working at the crafts with such passion, he was able to master the arts.

One such venture was his work at Merton Abbey. Now, we know that Morris was determined to push back against the mass industrialisation that was occurring at the time. The return to traditional craftsmanship was part of this – he dreaded the people losing that skill and relying on machines. Merton Abbey Mills takes it’s name from Merton Priory; one of the most important monasteries of the middle ages. The abbey was on the River Wandle, so textile mills were attracted to the property and area by 1600 due to the water power but also importantly, because of the properties the water possessed. The water had a special balance of a chalk stream which was suitable to textile creation for washing, dyeing and printing. In fact; by 1792, the river was actually one of the hardest working rivers in Europe as various print works moved to the banks.

It’s important to mention the industry at the time – the textile industry in the UK was booming. The British Empire was expanding, as was the population and therefore the demand for textiles (cotton) increasing with it. The Pennines in particular saw a real boom in trade. The good thing about this is that it really improved the standard and quality of living within the UK and those areas. Prior to industrialisation, many families had been working in the domestic system and so there was a ready supply of both talented weavers and spinners.

It was no different in Wandle Valley and it attracted workers from all over the UK to the hive of activity. We still print and manufacture all our products in the UK, but it’s really unfortunate that so many don’t; simply due to cost. There are still mills in Britain and it’s important we use them so we don’t lose that heritage!

Morris moved his prints to Merton Abbey in 1881 and remained there until 1888. It was here he created multiple iconic designs – including Strawberry Thief and Brother Rabbit. The conditions on the River Wandle were completely perfect for his needs and textiles.

His interest in socialism intensified during this period and he acted upon them which is really key. For his workers, he really treated them fairly. It’s known that he payed his workers above the average wage, supplied a library to use for education and provided a healthy and very importantly safe workplace. The apprentice boys were even given accommodation whilst they learnt the craft, Morris knew the importance of educating the next generation to keep the crafts alive and in practice.

Many of our very favourite designs were produced there – including Willow Bough, one of our all time best loved designs.

 

Related Articles

Post Title

William Morris Fabric Craft Projects

We always love a crafts project - especially when it's made using our beautiful fabrics! With a wide range of both William Morris and French...

Post Title

Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. – Who Was Marshall??

We've written in many blogs about the Firm; Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. however, only briefly, if ever, have we mentioned the 'Marshall' behind the...

Post Title

If You Happen to Be In Washington D.C.

If You Happen to Be In Washington D.C. The first major survey exhibition in the United States of the Pre-Raphaelites is on at the National...

When the audio accurately sums up how you feel about a design 🫶🏻 Beautiful Sweet Briar was first designed in 1912, we love the sweet little pink flowers in the climbing rose stems 🌹 This licensed Morris design is now back in stock, let us know if you’d like a sample! ✨
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabricstash #ukfabric #ukprinting #floralfabric #preraphaelite #floraldesign #floraldesigner
Our William Morris Willow Bough green placemats are now back in stock! ✨ They’re a beautiful addition to the table for every meal time 🫶🏻
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #placemats #tablescape #floraltable #preraphaelite #floralhome
🌷 William Morris month day 30 🌷 As we come near the end of Morris month, we’re celebrating with a fabric stack, full of beautiful licensed designs, which is your fave? 🌿 “Remember that a pattern is either right or wrong. It cannot be forgiven for blundering, as a picture may be which has otherwise great qualities in it. It is with a pattern as with a fortress, it is no stronger than its weakest point.”- William Morris 🤍 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #floralfabric #floralfabrics #fabricstack #fabricstash #fabricstore #onlinefabrics #ukfabricsonline #independantbusiness
🐭 William Morris month day 29 🐭 We’ve been loving William Morris month to celebrate Morris’s birthday month, spreading his floral magic by posting everyday - have you discovered a new favourite design of his this month? 🌿 We absolutely love these little mice and the banner by @mini_and_bob - aren’t they so lovely! 🐭🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabriccrafts #craftersgonnacraft #crafting #williammorrisprint #strawberrythief #willowbough #shopsmall #independantbusiness #ukbusiness
🌷William Morris Month Day 28🌷 Happy Easter weekend everyone! 🐥 We hope everyone has a lovely long bank holiday 🌿 We’re already planning some beautiful William Morris tablescapes, nothing too complex, all you need is some Morris florals, some flowers and lots of chocolate! 🐰
•
•
•
#wiliammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabrics #eastertable #eastertable #easterstyling #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #floraltable #preraphaelitebrotherhood #victoriandesign
🌷 William Morris Month Day 26 🌷 Absolutely loving a spring time floral on the table right now, especially when paired with an Easter craft or two! 🤍
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisfabric #morris #fabric #fabriccraft #fabrics #crafting #independantbusiness #indiebusiness #preraphaelite
🌿 William Morris Month Day 25 🌿 Florals on florals on florals; all of the William Morris florals just look so beautiful together and, as Morris said himself, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” 🌷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisfabric #morrisdesign #quoteoftheday #florals #modernflorals #teatowels #preraphaelitebrotherhood #preraphaelites
🐥 William Morris Month Day 23 🐥 Loving the sunshine this week for springtime 🌿 We absolutely love Willow Bough on the table in the sunshine paired with spring blooms 🌷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #willowbough #easter #eastertables
🌷 William Morris Month Day 22🌷 A themed table is always our favourite, we’ve been loving setting the table lately with an Easter theme- especially when it means we can eat the eggs after! 🐣✨ 
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #preraphaelite #eastertables #eastereggs #eastertablescape #springflorals
🌿 William Morris Day 20 🌿 William Morris fact of the day; did you know he founded the Kelmscott Press? 🖋️ He wrote of the venture – “Here is a new craft to conquer and to perfect.” Printing began at the press in Spring 1891 🪴 He designed multiple fonts including “Golden” Roman typeface and “Troy” Gothic type along with “Chaucer” and he worked to create beautiful books in regards to their designs which took into account their type, image and decorative elements – you can see beautiful examples of what he achieved today if you do a quick search on the Kelmscott Press- it’s well worth a Google! 🌷
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #preraphaelite #preraphaelites #kelmscottpress #morris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisdesign #victorian #victorianart #victorians
🌷 William Morris Month Day 19🌷 Happy first day of spring everyone! 🪴 We celebrated in our favourite way; coffee and cake of course! 🍰 Now we love florals all year round of course, but especially love adding in even more this time of year to reflect the blooms in the garden 🌷 What’s your favourite Morris design this time of year? 🌿
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrismonth #spring #spring2024 #preraphaelite #florals #floralfabric #springflorals #springflowers
📝 William Morris Month Day 18 📝 Did you know that as well as being an incredible designer, William Morris was also a brilliant writer and poet; have you read any of his writing? What’s your favourite quote? 🌷🌿
•
•
•
#williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #morris #strawberrythief #quotesaboutlife #quotestoliveby #quotes
☀️ William Morris Month Day 17 ☀️ The sunshine today has made us feel so excited for spring, it’s almost officially here! 🪴 This William Morris bunting is the dreamiest backdrop to all the spring summer days in the garden, it’s by @ellejoycreations - isn’t it fabulous!🌷
•
•
•
#spring #williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #fabricstash #smallbusinessuk #printedintheuk #etsyshop
🐰 William Morris Month Day 16 🐰 A Sunday spent Easter decorating, these cute little bunnies were a craft a few years back and they are always a firm favourite to bring out this time of year to hang on our Easter tree 🐥 Have you started decorating or eating eggs yet? 🐣
•
•
•
#williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #williammorrisprint #easter #easterdecor #eastercrafts #eastercrafting #fabriccraft #greatfabricdestashuk
🍓 William Morris Month Day 15 🍓 Absolutely can’t wait for the summer months to get our Strawberry Thief picnic basket and blanket back out- if you missed this craft we have a DIY on our website blog, along with a lot of other craft ideas and how-to blogs ☺️
•
•
•
#williammorrismonth #williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #picnicbasket #craftideas #craftidea #fabriccraft #fabricstore #fabricshoppingonline #fabricstash
🍓 William Morris Month Day 14 🍓 Strawberry Thief was inspired by William Morris’s watching the thrushes under the strawberry nets at the stunning @kelmscottmanor 🌿 May Morris conjured up this scene when speaking of the design, “You can imagine my Father going out in the early morning and watching the rascally thrushes at work on the fruit beds and telling the fanned who growls ‘I’d like to wring their necks!’ that no bird in the garden must be touched. There were certainly more birds than strawberries in spite of attempts at protection. And the walls of the little dining-room are hung with this note of the June garden and the little lords of it.” 🍓 What a lovely insight into the Morris family life! 🥰
•
•
•
#williammorris #williammorrismonth #williammorrisdesign #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric #strawberrythief #floraldesign #maymorris