Where did Lincoln come from?

The History of Lincoln is the subject of much discussion. The internet has helped with an amazing amount of information available on line, if you can find it. Earliest pictures of Lincolns are 18th century prints, although written sources indicated the key features were set by the start of the 17th century.

 

This is the earliest image of a Lincoln, this is the last of the Old Lincolns, before the new improved variety was produced.

Archeological evidence suggests that the Romans introduced a white polled breed to Britain which was the progenitor of all the modern breeds. The Anglo Saxons were adept at spinning and weaving and there is growing evidence of a substancial wool industry in Lincolnshire at this time.

The Norman invasion introduced the Monastic way of life and the literature shows how inportant Lincolnshire was as a wool producing area at this time. Florentine merchants visited England frequently and Lincolnshire was the source of over 50% of the wool exported there. The wool from Lincoln was finer than that now seen and the Lincoln Scarlett was the most expensive material on the Italian market.

 In the seventeenth century the Longwool became significantly more important, and huge amounts of longwool were transported to Norfolk, where the worsted method of spinning was practised. We now get the first written descriptions of the Lincoln sheep, large with prodigious quantities of fairly coarse wool. Gervaise Markham; Youatt; Arthur Young and Daniel Defoe all contribute interesting information about the Lincoln at this time.

For those of you who watched the "Countryfile" program about sheep droving in Lincolnshire you may be interested to know that the Lincoln not only walked around its own county but was often walked all the way to London. Archeological studies have shown that a large percentage of the animal bones excavated at Smithfield Market were from Lincoln Longwool sheep. The advantage of the Lincoln was its long legs, it was said a Lincoln sheep could walk 120 miles to London and only lose 10lbs in weight! The large size of the sheep meant they were pretty docile, so large flocks would meander peacefully along the drove roads, reaching London in less than two weeks.

When Bakewell began his improvement at the end of the 17th century he undoubtedly used the Lincoln as part of his breeding program, the Dishley Leicester was then put on to the Old Lincoln to produce our Improved breed. By the 18th century engravings of famous Lincolns began to appear and here are examples of these images.

 

The Current Association was established in 1892 and shortly after photography began to supply us with excellent images of the finest Lincolns around at that time.