"We passed the river Tees in a fruitful country which produces very large sheep."
                                                                                                         --Thoresby, 1703
The Teeswater is one of the largest and most ancient longwool breeds. Historically they have been most noted for their lustrous
long-woolled fleece and they have been considered the most prolific of the longwool breeds. In 1802 England it was recorded that a
group of 24 Teeswater ewes produced 70 lambs!

It is believed that all longwool sheep came to Great Britain under Roman occupation. Those longwools were interbred with local sheep
and over time developed into Lincoln, Teeswater, Old Leicester, Romney Marsh and Cotswolds; all named for the districts they were
found in.

The Teeswater sheep, of these longwool breeds, was most known for its high fecundity. Its conformation was greatly improved by
mixing with New Leicester bloodlines, as illustrated above. The popularity of the New Leicester, developed by Robert Bakewell, led a
Mr. Outhwaite of Appleton to hire out a large Leicester ram (this letting out of Leicester rams was a condition of Bakewell's ram
society) which he bred to one of his Teeswater ewes. The resulting ram (named Bluecap) became the foundation sire for the
Wensleydale breed.

Interestingly, the Teeswater, Leicester Longwool and Wensleydale breeds have been most notably used as successful crossing sires.
The promotional ad, below left, is from 1962 (England).  
Two hundred years of British Farm Livestock
Stephen J.G. Hall and Juliet Clutton-Brock
The Natural History Museum, London, 1995
In early America, Teeswaters were occasionally imported from
England, but in order for them to be here in America now, they
have to be bred up from imported semen. Our foundation flock
here was bred up from Wensleydale sheep.

Darrell and Freda Pilkington of Higher Gils Farm in the UK
and their winning Teeswater sheep have greatly influenced our
own Teeswater sheep as their ram Rimington Crusader's
genetics are in our flock. We were blessed to meet the
Pilkington's in person and they are wonderful people.
Visit their website at

For more information about how the breed was established
here, visit

Another Teeswater website to visit is teeswatersheep.org

For more information about Teeswater sheep and their history,