Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Its earliest known name of the settlement was Lantokay, meaning the sacred enclosure of Kay, a Celtic saint. In the Domesday Book it was recorded as Lega, a name still used throughout the country in the modern form, "Leigh", such as the villages of Lower Leigh , Middle Leigh and Overleigh to the south of the town.
The Society of Friends established itself there in the mid 17th century and among the close knit group of Quaker families were the Clarks: Cyrus, who started a business in sheepskin rugs, later joined by his brother James, who introduced the production of woollen slippers and, later, boots and shoes. Under James's son, William, the business flourished but most of the profits were ploughed back into employee welfare, housing and education.
Ironically, the Clark children would often be seen barefooted in the town - not through poverty, but because they liked going barefoot (although it was rumoured that the Clark shoe experts believed shoes to be bad for the development of children's feet, and should only be worn when absolutely necesssary)!
C&J_Clark still has its headquarters in Street, but shoes are no longer manufactured there. Instead, in 1993, redundant factory buildings were converted to form Clark's Village , the first purpose built factory outlet in the U.K.
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