Textiles have been made in the Burnley area since at least the Middle Ages.
At this time the spinning and weaving of woollen cloth by hand would have been done in the home for home use.
In 1296 a fulling mill was built on the banks of the River Brun, not far from Saint Peter's Church. Here the woollen cloth was beaten under water to clean and thicken it. This suggests that a considerable amount of cloth was being made in the area by this time.
At first weaving was carried out by farmers to eke out a living, but by the 17th century some weavers were working full time either for themselves or an employer known as a clothier.