The Farm at Gore Place
The Farm at Gore Place is an important, mission-related program of Gore Place, an historic house and estate in Massachusetts, 7 miles west of Boston. Christopher Gore (1758-1827) was a MA Governor, a US Senator, and a founding member of the MA Society for Promoting Agriculture with a 200 acre farm on his estate. The museum’s farm today occupies 10 of 50 remaining acres of Gore land.
In addition to produce, the farm has chickens (raised for their eggs), sheep, and sometimes pigs. Though a working farm, the farm site is a popular place for visitors, especially families with young children who love to watch the animals.
Meet Our Flock
We are excited to welcome our new flock of Leicester Longwool sheep to our farm! Leicester Longwools are a historic breed developed in the 1700s in England. These sheep have coarse, curly and lustrous long-staple wool, favored by many hand spinners. We are a new member of the Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeding Association based at Colonial Williamsburg, and one of only a handful of farms in New England raising this rare breed of sheep.
We have seven registered Leicester Longwool sheep at our farm. That number will grow over time as we raise and register new sheep. Raising Leicester Longwools is different than raising modern sheep breeds. Leicester Longwools do not easily digest today’s grain and instead prefer a diet of hay and pasture for grazing. These sheep also need ample lush pasture to thrive, leading us to install the new north pasture this spring which will give them more room to graze.
Leicester Longwools are recognized by the Livestock Conservancy. There are less than 200 animals registered each year nationwide. The breed is considered “threatened” on the Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. We are proud to increase the presence of this rare breed of sheep in the United States.
Why did we choose Leicester Longwool sheep? Based on our research of written records of Mr. Gore’s agricultural activities, we know that Mr. Gore raised sheep on his farm but we do not know exactly what breed. Christopher Gore wrote a letter to his friend, Rufus King, about his visit to the estate of Robert Bakewell (1725-1795) in Leicestershire, England in 1799. Bakewell was a famous agriculturalist and developed the Leicester Longwool breed. Because of this letter in which Mr. Gore described seeing the sheep and feeling the lustrous wool, we believe it is likely the Leicester Longwool breed would have made their home on the Gore farm.
We hope you will visit us to see our new sheep and their lustrous wool!