The Wool-Pack

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The Wool-Pack
The Wool-Pack cover.jpg
Front cover of the first edition
AuthorCynthia Harnett
IllustratorCynthia Harnett
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreChildren's historical novel
Publication date
25 October 1951
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages184 pp (first edition)
LC ClassPZ7.H228 Wo[1]
PZ7.H228 Ni[2]

The Wool-Pack is a children's historical novel written and illustrated by Cynthia Harnett, published by Methuen in 1951. It was the first published of four children's novels that Harnett set in 15th-century England. She won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising it as the year's best children's book by a British subject.[3]

G. P. Putnam's Sons published the first U.S. edition in 1953, entitled Nicholas and the Wool-Pack: an adventure story of the Middle Ages.[2] In 1984 it was reissued under yet another title, The Merchant's Mark (Minneapolis: Lerner). Both American editions retained Harnett's illustrations.

A television miniseries based on the story was broadcast by the BBC in 1970.[4]

Plot summary[edit]

Set in the Cotswolds near Burford, Oxfordshire, The Wool-Pack begins in 1493 when Nicholas Fetterlock, the twelve-year-old son of a rich wool merchant, learns from his father that he is betrothed to Cecily Bradshaw, the daughter of a rich cloth merchant. Nicholas discovers villainy within the guild: swindlers who may ruin his father's business, at least. Nicholas, Cecily, and a friend determine to stop them.[2][3][5]

Critical reception[edit]

Kirkus Reviews called the first U.S. edition (Putnam, 1953) "attractively bound and accurately illustrated". It credited the story with "the feeling of early renaissance unity".[5]


The Wool Pack was adapted by the BBC as a 90-minute film entitled A Stranger on the Hills, televised in 1970 as a three-part series for children. It starred Raymond Millross as Nicholas Fetterlock, with Godfrey Quigley and Thelma Barlow as his parents.[4]

The series was filmed by the BBC in Bristol. It was one of the last to be recorded in black and white.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The wool-pack" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
  2. ^ a b c "Nicholas and the wool-pack : an adventure story of the Middle Ages" (first U.S. edition). LCC record. Retrieved 2012-08-21.
  3. ^ a b Carnegie Winner 1951. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  4. ^ a b A Stranger on the Hills on IMDb . Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  5. ^ a b "NICHOLAS AND THE WOOL PACK by Cynthia Harnett". Kirkus Reviews 20 February 1953. Retrieved 2012-11-17.

External links[edit]

  • The Wool-Pack in libraries (WorldCat catalog) —immediately, first US edition, Nicholas and the wool-pack: ...
  • The Wool-Pack in libraries (WorldCat catalog) —immediately, 1984 US edition, The Merchant's Mark
Preceded by
The Lark on the Wing
Carnegie Medal recipient
Succeeded by
The Borrowers