Romney Sheep courtesy of David Audiovend on flickr

Romney sheep have a few different names Romney Marsh and Kent (by the locals). Romney sheep originated in England. They are a long wool breed. This breed  is believed to come from other medieval long-wool sheep from which the Romney and Leicester breeds evolved. These sheep were recognized in the 1800’s as Romney Marsh or Kent.

Romney ewes by yarnbee on flickr


Romney’s are an clean faced (meaning no wool on the face) breed with long wool that grows down over the legs. Breed standards are not identical in all countries but they do have things in common.  “The oldest Romney breed society, that of England (founded 1895), adopted the following standard in 1991,

The Official Description of the typical Romney sheep is as follows: Head wide, level between ears, with no horns nor dark hair on the poll. Eyes should be large, bright and prominent and the mouth sound. Face in ewes full, and in rams broad and masculine in appearance. Nose and hooves should be black. Neck well set in at the shoulders, strong and not too long. Shoulders well put in and level with the back. Chest wide and deep. Back straight and long, with a wide and deep loin. Rump wide, long and well-turned. Tail set almost even with the chine . Thighs well let down and developed. The face should be white, and the skin of a clean pink colour. Ribs should be well sprung. Legs well set, with good bone and sound feet. Sheep should stand well on their pasterns. The fleece should be of white colour, even texture and a good decided staple from top of head to end of tail and free from kemp.( Wikipedia)”


White romney sheep by Geoff the Kiwi on flickr


What about colored romneys? I have only seen colored romneys and have some beautiful brown romney wool. I decided I need to read further.


Romney ewe and lamb by QueenieVonSugarPants of Flickr


“In North America and England, natural-colored Romneys (whose fleeces are not white, but black, gray, silver, brown, variegated) have come to be valued for what they bring to hand-spinners and weavers who like the palette of natural colors. Traditionally, natural-colored (or “black”) sheep were detested, as even a small amount of black fiber on an otherwise white sheep can ruin hundreds of pounds of textile.

Since 1972 natural-colored Romneys have been registered with the American Romney Breeders’ Association (founded 1911), which has developed a special breed standard for them. In New Zealand natural colored Romneys can be registered in the Romney section of the Black and Natural-colored Sheep Breeders Association, but are still eyed with suspicion by many breeders of white Romneys.(wikipedia)”

Romney ewe with lamb courtesy of Majic hands on flickr


So it seems that in most places colored romney fiber is accepted. It seems a bit strange that it would be “eyed with suspicion” or not mentioned at all by “the oldest romney breed society.”

Color in a romney lamb by kesath on flickr

I think that colors makes thing more interesting so bring on the color!

P.S. white is a color too!

white romney lamb by Sheep Dreams on flickr


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