The wool of the Ryeland has always been of very high quality and at one time most of the fleece used in the production of west of England broadcloth was from Ryeland sheep and known as “Leominster Ore” (or “Lemster Ore”). Records show that the monks of Dore Abbey ran a flock of 3000 Ryelands and were responsible for weighing and conveying the clip to Hereford for collection prior to shipment overseas. Most of it was sent to Flanders, highly important in the wool trade at this time. Some also went to Italy fetching the highest price in Europe in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Ryeland wool became the measure by which other wool was assessed.
The fleeces weigh between 2¼-3kg with a staple length of 8-10cm. Due to it’s springy, open nature the fleece can resist felting so more of a challenge when this finish is actually desired.