The Cotswold is a longwool sheep breed developed on the Cotswold Hills in the west of England. Sheep have been known in this region since the time of the Roman conquest 2,000 years ago. The American Cotswold Record Association was established in 1878. The breed was particularly valued for crossing onto fine wool ewes to produce large lambs that could be used for meat or kept for their heavy fleeces. This success in crossbreeding, coupled with the lack of market demand for pure stock (thought to be too large and slow growing) led to the near extinction of the Cotswold by the middle of the 1900s.
Cotswold fleece hangs in locks, and the fibers have a lustrous, silky sheen. A heavy forelock falling over the face is a characteristic of the breed. The fleece has a seven to thirteen inch staple length and weighs thirteen to fifteen pounds. Fiber diameter ranges from 33-42 microns.