Some 8oo yrs.’ ago the farmers around Ross on Wye in Herefordshire developed, probably from Spanish Merino, this sheep prized for its Fleece, or ‘Leominster ore’ as it became known.
It is know that the mediaeval monks kept great flocks of Ryelands, grazing the rye fields surrounding the Abbeys, there fleeces being used to provide the distinctive monks habits. As time passed much of the wool was exported to the main markets of Flanders and Italy, creating much wealth in the area, indeed it is believed that the original wool sack in Parliament was filled with Ryeland wool to reflect its importance to the economy.
it is believed that the original wool sack in Parliament was filled with Ryeland wool to reflect its importance to the economy.
And indeed it is a wool with Royal connections, much of the ransom paid for the crusading Richard the Lionheart was raised by Leominster Abbey ‘ donating’ a years’ worth of wool to his cause. Queen Elizabeth the First apparently was given a pair of Ryelnd wool stockings and due to the comfort and warmth given she insisted all her woollen items were made from this fleece thereafter.
Coloured Ryland shearling ewe
from grey to dark chocolate brown
A friendly sheep with 'teddy-bear' looks