A natural fibre mattress is one that’s made entirely of natural fibres. No spring, no piece of latex or foam inside, just pure natural fibre. Historically this is the way all mattresses were made. Whatever natural fibres were available would be put inside a bag, and a crude but effective mattress would be created. The fibre varied depending on which part of the world you came from, for example no cotton is grown in the UK, but for many centuries we have produced wool.
The advantages of a natural fibre mattress are obvious. Human beings have slept on natural materials for all of our history, it’s only relatively recently that we started to be exposed to all the chemicals and glues that are found in a great many modern mattresses. The best natural fibre mattresses allow your body to regulate its temperature, provide a firm but yielding surface to sleep on, and never have to end up in landfill because the mattress can be re-made when the need arises.
In centuries gone by travellers abroad would take with them a sewn bag, called a tick, that could be filled with whatever natural fibre was produced locally. In the 1880s Charles Wills advised travellers to Persia that, "No mattresses should ever be used, but as coarse chaff is procurable everywhere, large bags should be taken, the size of a mattress ...", and in the 1820s a navy captain from Philadelphia travelling across Russia was offered "a clean bed, made on the spot for my accommodation, by filling a tick with hay, and sewing it up again".
The best natural fibre mattresses have a high wool content and are also organic. Organic wool is shorn from sheep that have the very best welfare standards and we buy a mix of three different long staple wools to make our mattresses. Long staple simply means the length of each individual fibre; this type of wool is strong and hard wearing and can have a silky feel. It also ‘knits’ together when layered in a mattress thereby avoiding lumps and bumps.
Making the very best natural fibre mattress is time consuming and a hard learned skill. When we employ a new member of staff it takes around six months for them to learn how to make one of these mattresses properly. Abaca makes two types of natural fibre mattress, the Newgale and the Nolton. Named after two of our favourite Welsh beaches, the Newgale is made entirely with wool while the Nolton has layers of wool and horsehair. Our picture is of a Newgale, and you can watch a Nolton being made here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlfaKujl8OQ&feature=youtu.be