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Romney Marsh or Kent   EFABIS Data


International Name


Local Name

Romney Marsh or Kent


Romney Marsh, Kent

Breeding females



Trend of population size


Flock book established



Origin – history

The Romney sheep is one of the oldest known. Its history can be traced back for more than 700 years.

It is an adaptable and hardy lowland breed, found in the isolated and exposed north Kent marshes and the lowlands of the south east coast of Kent and Sussex.  It was developed from the native European, white faced, long tailed sheep and took its name from the low lying Romney Marsh area.

By 1800 it was recognized as the  "Romney Marsh" or "Kent” and was improved with Leicester blood.

It is an established dual purpose breed.


 Breed description

The Romney Sheep is white with both sexes being hornless. It has a large frame and a broad white face below the wool-covered crown. The heavy, long fleece is of good quality, and beneath the skirting the legs are white with the wool growing over them in full. It has a strong constitution and is a very adaptable sheep.

The Romney is a versatile breed, as demonstrated by its ability to produce quality meat and wool under diverse climatic conditions and management systems. Romney meat is known for its delicate taste even in older lambs. The ewes weigh 85 Kg and the rams 110Kg.

The geographic and climatic conditions of the open marshes have led to the development of hooves that are resistant to foot rot, fleeces that remain healthy in harsh weather and they have a resistance to liver fluke.

The breed has excellent quality wool, which is high yielding and easily spun, and has always been an important factor for this breed. The Romney fleece is unique among all breeds of sheep in the way it combines several important traits. It is lustrous, it hangs in separate locks and has minimal cross fibres between the locks. It is also high yielding.. Romney wool has the finest fibre diameter of all the longwool breeds.  The Romney’s fleece is ideal for hand-spinning, and is often recommended to beginners.

The flock book was established in 1895 and has maintained a continuous record.


Conservation activities


Group breeding scheme with Plumpton Agricultural College.

A breeder is undertaking performance comparison using embryos from New Zealand and British stock.

Rural Regeneration and County Council grants are used for breed promotion leaflets.


Cryopreservation of semen, National Scrapie Plan Semen Archive 2.742 doses.


ContactThe breed society is the Romney Sheep Breeders Association.

                Sec. Alan West, 2 Woodland Close, West Malling, Kent, ME19 6RR



Action Heritage Sheep AGRI GEN RES 040 receives financial support from the European Commission, Genetic Resources in Agriculture, under European Commission Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 AGRI GEN RES 2006 HERITAGE SHEEP