we lost the wool staple to it

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Eowyn1

New Member
italian
"You'd better go to Bristol. That's where all the money's gone since we lost the wool staple to it."

Sorry, I'm not an English native speaker. Could you help me? What is the meaning of the second sentence? That now Bristol has the supremacy in the wool trade? What do they mean with "wool staple" and what is it that they have lost?

Thank you so much for your help!
 
  • JustKate

    Senior Member
    Can you give us some more context, Eowyn1 - where you read/ heard this (that is, the name of the book or movie or something), what action or dialogue led up to this line, and so on? It's not a common phrase (at least it isn't easily understood by me), so context is needed if we are to help you. :) You can quote more of the dialogue, too, if you want, so long as you quote no more than four sentences.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello Eowyn1, and Welcome to the Forum! :)

    This is the sort of thing JustKate was asking for.

    I suspect your sentence is excerpted from "The Vanishing Witch", by Karen Maitland (Google Books). We call that source and we need you to give that information in the first post of your threads.

    Here's the maximum four sentences of quoted text you're allowed:

    "I warn you, Lincoln’s going through hard times. You’ll not find many with money to spare for
    beggars, even holy ones. You’d have done better to make for Boston.
    That’s where all the money’s gone since we lost the wool staple to it."


    You can read more here: The Vanishing Witch - An extract (A Head in a Book - a blog)

    I'm surprised your text has 'Bristol' and not 'Boston', though I'm not sure that will affect the outcome.

    By the way, I don't know the answer to your question. I'm just a moderator. :)
     
    Last edited:

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It's as you said, Eowyn1. Lincoln had lost its dominant position in the wool trade to Boston/Bristol.

    3 [often with modifier] historical A centre of trade, especially in a specified commodity: proposals were made for a wool staple at Pisa
    Source
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ... what is it that they have lost?...
    "I warn you, Lincoln’s going through hard times. You’ll not find many with money to spare for
    beggars, even holy ones. You’d have done better to make for Boston.
    That’s where all the money’s gone since we lost the wool staple to it."


    When A loses X and B gains the same X, we say that A has lost X to B.

    Lincoln has lost the wool staple to Boston [or Bristol].
     

    Eowyn1

    New Member
    italian
    Thank you so much, guys!!! I'm sorry if I wrote "Bristol" instead of "Boston" (anyway that wouldn't affect the meaning of the sentence) and if I didn't give you some more context... I was in a hurry! But Beryl was amazing and found out everything!
    Thank you guys, your answers have been so helpful! :) :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Now I've understood the meaning of the sentence and have learned that you say "I lost something TO someone" :D
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Now I'll reinsert my contribution #2b.

    "Staple: a town or place appointed by royal authority, in which was a body of merchants having the exclusive right of purchase of certain classes of goods destined for export". Source: Shorter OED.
     

    Eowyn1

    New Member
    italian
    Now I'll reinsert my contribution #2b.

    "Staple: a town or place appointed by royal authority, in which was a body of merchants having the exclusive right of purchase of certain classes of goods destined for export". Source: Shorter OED.
    Thank you Keith! It's time for me to buy an OED :D
     
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