Women At The Quern (left) And The Luaghad (right), Near Talisker On The Isle Of ...

Women At The Quern (left) And The Luaghad (right), Near Talisker On The Isle Of  ...

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Description: Women at the Quern (left) and the Luaghad (right), near Talisker on the Isle of Skye. A quern was a primitive grain-mill which was turned by hand. It became extinct with the introduction of the water mill. The Luaghad was similar to the fulling milll, where cloth was cleansed, shrunk and thickened by heat, moisture and pressure. Up to fourteen women, divided into two equal groups, would sit down either side of a long ribbed board. They would then place a cloth over it. Initially, the cloth is worked backwards and forwards by the women’s hands and once they tire of this, they use their feet in the same manner. Singing always accompanied both working at the quern and the luaghad.This process was known as ’waulking’ and the songs as ’waulking songs’. The words often have no specific meaning but are simply syllables appropriate to the rhythm of the work. Illustration taken from ’A Tour in Scotland’ by Thomas Pennant (14 June OS 1726 – 16 December 1798)

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