Black Lincoln Longwool Sheep

The history of Lincoln Longwool sheep

The Lincoln Longwool is one of the most historically important breeds of sheep in Britain in the last 200 years. Since the 16th century Lincolnshire had a tradition of exporting wool to Europe. Robert Bakewell’s improvement of the neighbouring Leicester gave a huge impetus to the refinement and development of Lincoln sheep. Throughout the 19th century the breed was pre-eminent amongst wool sheep, and was exported in large numbers to Australia, New Zealand and Argentina to help boost their wool crop.

Uses for the fleece of Black Lincoln Longwool sheep

The wool was principally intended to be used in carpets or wall hangings and its lustrous surface made it excellent for dyeing. Unfortunately this also meant that black wool was extremely undesirable and black lambs were either killed at birth or when ready for the table. It was only with the appearance of a market for hand spinners in the 1960’s that some breeders kept a few of the coloured sheep. In the mid 1980’s the breed association agreed to register “Black Lincolns” in a separate section. This decision has never been accepted by main breeders who intensely dislike the black version.

Breeding Black Lincoln Longwool sheep

A few breeders keep a small number of the coloured sheep. Most other breeders get occasional black lambs born.

The colour of Black Lincoln Longwool

The description ‘black’ is not very helpful as the wool is only really black on the head and rump, which is the worst quality wool on the sheep. Generally a mid-grey is the most common colour from the fleece.

Technical information about the fleece

  • Staple length 15-35cm
  • Bradford count 36-40 cm
  • Micron measurement 45-41
  • Weight 7-10 Kgs
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