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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Sheep
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1195  Friday, 27 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Peter Greenfield <
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        Date:   Friday, 20 Nov 1998 10:40:22 -0800
        Subj:   Sheep

[2]     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Monday, 23 Nov 1998 11:08:21 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1182  Re: little sheep, big people


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Greenfield <
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Date:           Friday, 20 Nov 1998 10:40:22 -0800
Subject:        Sheep

One source for the value of sheep is churchwardens' accounts,
particularly sheep purchased for the Whitsuntide tide feast or king
ale.  I have been looking at such accounts for Hampshire parishes, and
in 1532-3 the churchwardens of Bramley paid 5s 4d for 2 ewes, 4s 8d for
4 lambs and 2s 8d for a wether.  In 1563-4 "one fatt sheepe" cost the
churchwardens of Stoke Charity 7s 8d.  The closest I can come to the
date of WT is 1605, when the churchwardens of Wootton St. Lawrence spent
27s 6d for 2 wethers and 4 lambs.

Peter Greenfield
University of Puget Sound

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Monday, 23 Nov 1998 11:08:21 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 9.1182  Re: little sheep, big people
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1182  Re: little sheep, big people

> With regard to the proceeds to be derived from sheep, a small
> qualification may be in order. I have been told that in the past sheep
> (like people) were a lot smaller than they are now. At least, this was
> the case in the eighteenth century, and it is hardly likely that they
> shrunk after say 1600, to start growing again between 1800 and now. The
> size of sheep would, I imagine, also affect the amount of wool they
> produce, and definitely the amount of meat. Unfortunately, I only have
> this information from hearsay, so I cannot refer the list to any
> quotable sources.
>
> Paul Franssen
> Utrecht University
> Department of English
> The Netherlands

Given breeding programmes, it probably is true that sheep are bigger (or
at least more productive) now than they were - but I have heard and read
reports of a recent study of the bodies of Londoners (currently followed
up in a display of skeletons on at the Museum of London) which shows
that people in the distant past were pretty much the same size they are
now - they got smaller in the nineteenth century due to pollution, and
the poor diet available in urban centres.

Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University
 

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