This is the tale of a few Notable Natives perhaps with a background story to bring to life their recovery as a Native Breed …
|British Notable Natives|
- some found below!
Castlemilk Moorit – a very pretty “vulnerable” rare breed of domestic sheep. The Lowland Scots word “moorit” refers to the light tan or reddish-brown colour of their fleece.
Country Life called it The Audrey Hepburn of the ovine world (which must make it pretty!), the fine-bone Castlemilk Moorit was bred by Sir Jock Buchanan-Jardine of Castlemilk Estate specifically to look good in parkland.
|Castlemilk Moorit Society -|
image c/o the Society
When Sir Jock died in 1969 … the breed was dispersed, but thankfully saved … and one of their owners says they’re not the most commercial of sheep … but apart from their ‘prettiness’ – they are eaten as hoggets (one to two years old), while their wool makes wonderful rugs.
|Hoggets - two to three year old domestic sheep|
A classic case – of utilising a native breed in the most advantageous of ways … hogget is a delicious meat … somewhat richer than lamb.
Chickens … the Orpington: a class of chicken – a breed – with a fascinating history that has been documented …
Black, to White, to Buff, the Diamond Jubilee, the Spangle, the Cuckoo, the Blue … the colours and names – before The Red became the first imitation of Mr Cook’s beloved Orpington Chickens …
|Jubilee Orpington chicken|
The Queen Mother had a flock of Buff Orpingtons at Sandringham … but today they are renowned as one of the best birds for laying eggs, and for the quality of their meat.
|Speckled Sussex Hen|
Chicken – another: the Speckled Sussex … is one of the earliest variety of Sussex chickens and makes a good table bird, children’s pet, while coming in Bantam form.
|Black Welsh Mountain|
Sheep: Black Welsh Mountain … wonderful eyes – they look almost evil in spirit … not sure I’d like to meet a flock of them on the mountainside – I wonder if their eyes glow.
It appears they are a nod to their Welsh origins … and were introduced by Viscount Camrose, publisher of the War Illustrated. Viscount Camrose’s estate was in Southampton … and I’ve taught myself something – apparently Southamptonshire was the county name as late as Victorian times … but is now known as Hampshire (or the short form of ‘Hants’).
|Hackwood Park (1818)|
They look exotic or mystical but are one of the most low-maintenance breeds: tough, healthy, independent when lambing, good at herbage control in parkland and producers of excellent meat: what more could an Estate need but a flock of these …
Deer: Fallow – many gardeners know that deer and rabbits are the worst offenders in a garden ... should they be lucky enough to find themselves in rich greenery!
|Fallow Deer (doe)|
However having eaten they lie down tranquilly ruminating … not sure those two words go together!
They were brought over by the Normans – and though their meat tastes slightly milder ... they are magical seen in park land evoking early hunting scenes …
There are other Notables – some which have been saved, others that will become rare or are rare … but now in the 21st century we have supporters who are keen to protect our individual breeds …
... including Native Breeds - Modern Gastronomy
... including Native Breeds - Modern Gastronomy
After WWII when the drive for greater productivity began … we lost any number of breeds … and it is now realised that we need to preserve our stock ... save our special and endangered breeds:
Here is a list of endangered breeds from 2013 … published by Country Life
That is N enough for us all of Notable Natives nobly hobnobbing with Rare Breed Supporters … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …
Counties – with the letter N …
(note some counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government …but some I have included)
England: Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire
Northern Ireland: none
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So many endangered breeds listed in that 2013 report. I hope the tide has turned for at least some of them. Notable Natives is a wonderful term. I am sure that Edward Lear could have done some wonderful things with it...
I didn't know there was a breed called Castlemilk! As Castlemilk is now a housing estate in Glasgow it seems quite incongruous.
I think I've read about the Buff Orpington in a children's book many years ago. It was a British one, of course. The other animals are new to me.
My favourite sheep is the Exmoor Horn, it looks like a teddy bear :) It's not a rare breed though.
Those chickens look like divas strutting their stuff :)
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I wonder where you do all your research from. It is so comprehensive. Every time I read your post there is something new to know. Thanks for sharing about notable natives.
I wonder what Audrey Hepburn thought of the compliment, though the sheep are quite solid specimens of their kind.
Years ago, when I owned chickens, I owned Buff Orpingtons - they had a gentle, agreeable nature and were a good dual use (meat/eggs) breed. We lose a lot when we ignore the heritage breeds. That Jubilee Orpington is one gorgeous chicken. The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogpspot.com
Such an interesting topic. Fun title too. I absolutely LOVE the look of the Castlemilk Moorit. I want one! N is for Nuggets and News as you Build a Better Blog. #AtoZchallenge.
Great selection of breeds today. I think the only one I was familiar with was the Orpington.
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Those are all so pretty! The chicken is stunning. (And they all have cool names.)
So cute! I love all those animals! Thanks for sharing!
What beautiful animals you have pictured here.
So many species are disappearing from the landscape and although we can't save all of them, it is important to support those who are making it their life's work to insure the survival of these glorious creatures.
Pretty speckled fowl, Hilary. The Audrey connection is "interesting." Hee hee. Love the info about the name Hampshire. Cheers, Denise
Some of the farm-to-table movement in the US is keeping some small-farm breeding programs alive. Though I don't know how much UK rare breeds come into the picture. How much is "factory" farming to blame for rare breed disappearance? It's led to some serious problems here--inbreeding, etc.
The deer is really pretty with all her spots.
Clearly I'm on some sort of speckled admiration kick at the moment - those chickens utterly delight me as does the Fallow deer.
Hogget meat sounds interesting! I always have a beer with a butcher friend of mine Tuesday lunchtimes. I'll ask if he's familiar with it tomorrow. I'd love to catch him out!
Another day in Amble Bay!
The Southamptonshire mansion looks quite prominent. It must have taken considerable resources to build house like that in 1818.
Some colorful chickens.
Reddish brown seems to be a common color for animals.
Such colourful creatures with notable names. Thanks Hilary - a delight to read - I'm sure some to eat as well. Those eggs sound delicious - a nob of butter in the pan - mmmm, maybe Monday night supper.
@ EC – reading the Country Life article makes sombre reading … but things are being done for our rare breeds now – and like you I hope the tide has turned. I’m sure Edward Lear could easily have written a few verses that would have amused …
@ Anabel – fascinating addition to the post … that a housing estate is named after Castlemilk – originally Cassiltoun, but the estate was originally owned by the Stuarts … thanks for that.
@ Sue – Fascinating to know you read about the Buff Orpington many years go … and these are all of British origin …
@ Sophie – ah not being a rare breed you won’t see it here … yet each breed has its own society – to protect the species … the Exmoor Horn Sheep do look very stocky and as you say a ‘teddy bear’ in looks! The chickens were numerous and very diva-ish … I had trouble selecting what photos to show …
@ Vinodini – thank: once I decided on my theme – I had some books to refer to, I actually went to a Rare Breeds Show to add to my limited knowledge, some articles that cropped up and obviously the web … then I drafted to fit the letters …
@ Cynthia – now you mention it … the correlation between Audrey Hepburn and the Castlemilk Moorit Sheep is strange isn’t it … perhaps it’s the connection to the name Castle Milk – soft and pale .. but once the sheep are shorn it’d be more elegante … perhaps!
@ Bookworm – oh great you owned Buff Orpingtons – what fun … and I’m glad they were a lovely genteel breed; they do manage to give us amazing colours to their feathers … Also as you say we’ve lost a lot if we ignore the heritage breeds …
@ Shirley – thank you so much … glad you’re enjoying the topic – I’m sure they’d be happy to sell you one or two Castlemilk Moorits …
@ Phillip – do you know I’m not even sure I knew about the Orpington chickens … I do now though!
@ Holly – yes pretty names for pretty birds, let alone the other animals …
@ Heather – so glad you could visit – thank you …
@ Arleen- I squeezed a few of the pretty breeds in … I agree we all need to do what we can re our rare breeds of all formats …
@ Denise – the speckled chickens are lovely aren’t they … while the Audrey connection is as you so rightly say “interesting” and ‘hee hee’ … is so right. That’s great I aim to please with the info I share …
@ Laurel – I’m sure our UK rare breeds are mostly this side of the Atlantic – but it’s good our stock base for our older and rarer breeds is extending worldwide.
“Factory” farming and consumers wanting cheap food must be major contributors … also only breeding stock that will give a good return …
The in-breeding scenario is obviously being addressed by the kinship analysis offered by the Breeders’ societies … to make sure that in-breeding doesn’t become an issue … or is bred out.
@ Diane – glad you enjoyed seeing the fallow deer …
@ Deborah – speckled is attractive isn’t it … I loved those chickens and the duck, and then the deer …
@ Keith – unfortunately you won’t catch your butcher friend out ... or shouldn’t do … I’m sure I found out about hogget when I lived outside Market Harborough for a while … they had a good butchers in the town … Enjoy your beer …
@ Spacer Guy – we have some huge mansions here … and there were a lot of wealthy landowners across the centuries …
@ Alex – the chickens are colourful aren’t they; reddish-brown and also cream or white, as too black … interesting about colour in animals – another post I must do sometime!
@ Susan – it was quite a difficult post to write up – lots of choices … good to eat too – having had lamb yesterday … and fresh eggs gently scrambled with some butter – nothing better quite honestly …
Cheers to you all … and thanks for the extra additions to the comments - Hilary
what an interesting post. i never heard of any of the animals before. im glad there are people who are saving or reintroducing rare breeds. it's always sad when a breed disappears. the chickens are cool...neat names. hooray for the rare breed savers!
Such an interesting post. That black sheep looks evil, though.
I was surprised at how many of these I had heard of but did not realise that they were now classified as rare breeds - the Orpington hens being the one that surprised me most.
The Audrey Hepburn of sheep :) the colour does look very stylish...wonder what kind of wool that would make for a knitting yarn?
Good to finally catch up with you on the AtoZ! The last year flew by. I used to sit on my grandmother's couch and look at her Encyclopedia Britannica for hours and the animals were always a favorite. Your post took me back to those days. I thoroughly enjoyed reading :) May we learn to protect all these lovely creatures from loss.
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The Moorit is certainly the most outstanding of the notable native rare breeds, Hilary. It is the fanciful curling horns (impractical or purposeful?) that draw the eye, of course. I suppose that would also more easily mark them for extinction.
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I really like all of them. That Moorit looks like a Big Horned sheep here
I was admiring the sheep and then you said they tasted somewhat richer than lamb and I immediately switched tracks and wanted to taste one. That's being human.
The sheep and chickens in particular are beautiful. I am impressed with all of the history you have on each one.
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What a fascinating collection. I think they're all savable if their environments remain.
The only Castlemilk I knew was the area of Glasgow. Fascinating stuff. I do wonder how Cook got into breeding chickens and ducks after having no knowledge of it.
How odd, used to live near Orpington. Went to a riding school there for a while.
Interesting blog once again, I could eat some of that lamb. Bit hard on those sheep which are considered good for both wool and meat.
I thought hogget was a word only used in Oz. Guess I thought wrong.
So many of these native breeds were new to me! Loved the pictures and the information.
I just finished working on my garden. I decided to plant a lot of my vegetables on my deck, as last year the bunnies and deer seemed to get into the garden by magic and it was hard to see all my hard work gobbled up by those cuties. :)
I knew about Orpington chickens (we're big on chickens in my part of the world)... but had no idea there was an Orpington duck!
Live and learn!
What pretty chickens! I haven't seen spotted ones like that before.
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I hope they don't remain rare.
To be a sheep and be called the Audrey Hepburn of the ovine world is pretty high praise. I've never heard of this breed, nor many of the other natives you unearthed. Thanks for making me smarter, LOL!
Hope all goes well, Hilary!
Woah! That is some extensive research on breeds that I didn' even know existed.
Madaemoiselle Hilary, please accept this simpleton as your fan.
@ Lenny – I have to say as I drafted up these posts I was surprised at what I found and the stories behind them – as you say hooray for the rare breed passionate savers … and their wonderful names …
@ Misha – I loved the black sheep with his eyes … good to see you …
@ Bob – I’ve been amazed at how many animals I’d never heard of … or how their history had developed … the Orpington story is a fascinating one … the link is in the post ..
@ Nila – yes I thought she would amuse: the Audrey Hepburn of sheep … Castlemilk Moorit sheep – were bred as a decorative breed to adorn the Castlemilk estate … it is a mixture of several primitive types of sheep: Manx Loaghtan, Shetland and wild Mouflon … so the genes are there for posterity … but the breed is still ‘vulnerable’ … the fleece is moulted or rooed (plucked) rather than needing shearing …
@ Stephanie – thanks so much for making an effort to find me again … that’s wonderful the post brought back those memories of sitting on your grandmother’s couch looking at her Encyclopedia Britannica with all the animals – it is good that many wish to maintain and protect these rare breeds …
@ Gail – the Moorit has such an interesting history too, as I’ve noted in my comment to Nila … they’ve been rescued for now – but were for adornment in the park … strange but true!
@ Steve – Castlemilk Moorits are of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group of breeds… and have survived from a single flock of ten ewes and two rams … now there are 900 … they look ‘solid’ – but are small …
@ Libby – yes they are richer than lamb … it’s rather a nice meat – different … I hope you get to try some sometime …
@ Emily – many thanks re the history … there was lots more – but enough is enough …
@ Jacqui – yes they can be saved, but we still need to do a lot of analysis and protection of the different breeds …
@ Nick – yes when Anabel mentioned the Castlemilk housing area of SW Glasgow … I was surprised – but that’s where the estate was. William Cook developed a love of poultry when he was in his teens … and put his considerable efforts into developing a breed … there is a link to that history under the passage on Cook in the post …
@ Jo – I knew you lived in that part of the world … oh the lamb at the moment is delicious. I’d heard about Hogget decades ago – something that stayed in my mind … I enjoyed the meat …
@ Jess – good to see you … delighted you enjoyed the post. Also you’ve noted that the bunnies and deer can get in anywhere there are lovely new veggies to get themselves an easy lunch! Good luck with the deck planting …
@ Jz – that’s great you know about the Orpingtons … now the duck too …
@ Jean – the chickens have amazing colourations …
@ Liz – I hope they save the species … but I’m sure we will not have masses of them – just a sustainable number with a mix of genes …
@ Denise – I know to be called an Audrey Hepburn of the ovine world was a wonderful phrase to come across. Lots of breeds I could have chosen – but these are some of them …
@ DeeDee – thank you … I’m just delighted you enjoyed the information I’ve posted …
Thanks so much to you all – it’s good that some of the Rare Breeds are now known about a little more by friends from around the world … cheers Hilary
Such beautiful animals. That spangled chicken is quite striking, and I love that they can be kept as children's pets. :D
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The Audrey Hepburn of the ovine world (which must make it pretty!)- that made me smile! I wonder what Ms. Hepburn's response was?
Nothing against Ms. Hepburn, but I think they should have called it Sophia Loren of the ovine world - now there's a striking and breathtaking beauty!
Your 'like' and 'tweet' buttons have disappeared. Strange things have been going on over the Easter weekend....
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so many notable beauties that youve shown us. I agree the black sheep look a bit scary.
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Oh! They all look so pretty I wouldn't be able to kill any of them! :P
Especially the "Audrey Hepburn" and the Jubilee Orpington chicken! :D
Btw, I'm lagging behind even more. But will catch up. Do visit my N post.
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Never imagined there was such history behind so many breeds.
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Amazing and sad to think of how many breeds might have been wiped out in just half a decade. I'm glad there are people working to conserve them!
@ Sara – I could squeeze in more breeds using the letter N – yes it is great particularly that poultry can be kept as children’s pets …
@ Michelle – I hope the Audrey Hepburn sheep is pretty … I wonder whether she’s smiling down on us – yes Sophia Lauren is certainly more voluptuous and no doubt still is a striking beauty …
@ Jemima – I don’t think (no I didn’t!) have “like” and “tweet” buttons: they never got put up …
@ Leslie – there are lots more Notables I could have included – I was somewhat overwhelmed with choice – I’m rather fond of the black sheep …
@ Chicky – yes when you have animals as pets – it’s tricky when the time comes for their demise …
@ Sarah – lots of history here … we seem to own a lot of that in this country! – relative to animals, buildings, nature et al!!
@ Deniz – at least they’ve started saving the breeds in their various states of near extinction … it’s a close run thing for a few of the breeds …
Thanks so much for visiting - lovely to see you all .. cheers Hilary
I wonder if Audrey Hepburn took issue with being compared to a sheep in Country Life. Or maybe she felt honored. After all, celebrities like to be remembered. Thanks, Hilary!
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@ Sharon - I suspect she had died before the Country Life article came out - but obviously someone loves both Audrey and the Castle Moorit sheep!
Cheers and thanks for the visit - Hilary
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