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.