It is said that silk was introduced into England in the reign of Henry VI but that the 'first impulse to manufacture' resulted from the immigration in 1585 of a large body of Flemish weavers who had fled from the Low Countries during their long drawn out struggle against the suzerainty of Spain.' It seems likely that the use of silk thread, often mixed with wool, was thereafter spread widely over the country, while some locations, such as Macclesfield began in a small way to specialise in 'smallware', i.e. narrow fabric, weaving in silk and in the production of silk buttons.2 A further stage was reached when, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV of France in 1685, a number of refugee Huguenot weavers settled in the Spitalfields area of London. From the exercise of their skills, there emerged an industry specifically devoted to silk products - dress materials, lace, ribbons and hosiery - which became fashionable and which were competitive with imports from continental sources.