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Witness account certificate of making the Newbury Coat

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Handwritten witness account of the making the Newbury Coat certified on Tuesday 25th June, 1811. The account details the times for each step in the coat’s production.  The account starts at 5:00 am with Sir John Throckmorton presenting two southdown sheep ready to be sheered to John Coxeter.  It ends at 6:20 pm when the completed coat was presented to Sir John ready to be worn to dinner that evening.  The account is signed by John Tanner and John Coxeter, who signed with a cross.

In 1811, Sir John Throckmorton issued a bet that John Coxeter, the owner of Greenham Mills, could make him a woollen coat in one day, between sunrise and sunset. The process had to start with the shearing of two sheep at 5am and the coat had to be ready for Sir John to wear at 8pm for a formal dinner. The sheep were shorn and the wool was spun into yarn that was woven into cloth by John Coxeter’s son. It was washed and dyed before being given to the tailor at 4pm to make into the coat. Many people worked to complete each stage of making the coat, which was completed at 20 minutes past 6 o’ clock; a total of 13 hours and 20 minutes, with an hour and 40 minutes to spare. John Coxeter won the £1,000 bet and celebrated by buying 120 gallons of beer for the large crowd of 5,000 who had come to watch, and they ate roast mutton from the two sheep whose fleeces had made the coat. Also see NEBYM:1961.16.

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