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Sheep and wool processing

Sheep farming was an important part of the Cotswolds economy by the Roman period. Medieval Cotswold sheep were a distinctive breed, producing fine white wool which was highly valued for cloth manufacture: in the 15th century, out of 50 grades of wool produced by English sheep that of the Cotswold ranked third. Probably they were smaller than modern breeds: long-necked and fine-limbed, with short curly fleeces and a woolly forelock from which the nickname ‘Cotswold Lion’ derived. Certainly their fleeces weighed far less than their modern counterparts, about 1½ pounds compared with 9 pounds or more. Medieval fleeces were sold by the sack, each of which weighed 364 pounds and contained the wool of some 240 sheep.

Content generated during research for the paperback book 'Burford: Buildings and People in a Cotswold Town' (ISBN 13 : 9781860774881) for the England's Past for Everyone series

Content derived from research undertaken as part of the Victoria County History project