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A Rare Breed of British Origin
A longwool breed with a lustrous fleece, originating in Gloucestershire, on and around the Cotswold Hills. It is known to be of great antiquity in its original form, being kept on the Cotswold villa estates by the Romans.
The Cotswold arrived in New Zealand as early as 1858 and it is believed that there were further importations, as Cotswold rams were used quite extensively in the North Island in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. A few flocks were recorded in the twentieth century but Cotswolds were eventually superseded by Lincolns and Romneys. They are currently extinct in New Zealand and classified as rare (vulnerable) in Britain.
An early reference to them in this country was in an Auckland newspaper, the Southern Cross, 7 December 1858, page 2: “Messrs. J. and C. Wilson’s imported Cotswold is large, and not objectionable in form. The staple long, but thin, and did not shear so weighty a fleece as was expected. Mr. Austin’s Oxford-downs, (also imported) did not seem to attract the attention of sheepbreeders, an opinion seeming to prevail that this kind and the Cotswold are unsuitable for the Province as distinct breeds, although they may be valuable to cross with some of our present flocks.”
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