East End Sheep
Since 2008 Spitalfields City Farm (SCF) has actively taken up the challenge of conservation by working closely with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) to become an RBST Approved City Farm, breeding classified rare livestock including Castlemilk Moorit & Portland sheep. Thanks to The Worshipful Company of Woolmen, charitable giving, SCF is able to further develop their rare breeding programme 'A Round Britain Tour of Rare Breeds' that aims to demonstrate the wide variety of native livestock.
Having been less influenced by commercial pressures the portland retains many primitive characteristics. Their small size is ideal for easy handling and the fine creamy fleece is much sought after by hand spinners. During the early years of the twentieth century Sir Jock Buchanan-Jardine developed a breed to beautify his parkland and provide fine, kemp free moorit coloured wool to clothe his workers.
On the death of Sir Buchanan-Jardine in 1970 the majority of the flock was culled and a few dispersed, including six ewes and a ram which were bought by Joe Henson at the Cotswold Farm Park. All today’s Castlemilk Moorits are descended from these few dispersed sheep.
Portland & Castlemilk Moorit sheep are considered ‘At Risk’ with less than 1500 registered breeding ewes in the UK. SCF hopes that their wooly residents provide the next generation of lambs in spring.