Wools of the UK: Kent Romney

Wools of the UK: Kent Romney
Lara Pollard-Jones

The Kent Romney is also known as the Romney Marsh sheep or just as the Romney.  The breed was developed on exposed marshlands which mean that became a hardy and reliable breed both for wool production and as an excellent mother.

White/cream is most common though they can be found in shades of grey and brown.

Staple Length
Average 80mm

Micron Count
27 – 34mic

Country of Origin
United Kingdom, specifically Kent and Sussex.

The Romney was first recognised as an improved breed in the 1800s though it’s origins can be traced back to the medieval wool trade.  Its fleece was used as part of the English wool trade in the 1300s until export of English wool was banned in the 1600s.  Like many semi-lustrous wools of the time it became so valuable that shepherds who lived within 10 miles of the sea had to account for all of their fleeces within three days of shearing to show that there was no wool smuggling happening!

In the 1850s small flocks of Romneys were exported to New Zealand where they thrived; out performing the Merinos that has previously been farmed there.  The breed has continued to thrive and now makes up around 65% of the entire New Zealand flock.

The Romney is quite a large sheep and as such produces a heavy fleece which covers its legs.  Though the wool isn’t as prized as it once was it very popular for hand spinners and knitters with the coloured fleeces being in high demand.  The wool itself has a slightly lustre and is hard wearing; when spun and knitted produces garments with good stitch definition.  

Did you know… This breed is more resistant to foot rot than other breeds due to its marshy origins – this is a huge bonus to the welfare of the sheep.

Our Kent Romney products can be found here

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