Letter concerning Merino sheep

Scope and Content

Copy of 'A letter to the most noble the Marquis of Titchfield [William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, later 4th Duke of Portland], President of the Newark Agricultural Society, on the practability [sic] and importance of introducing the merino breed of sheep extensively, upon the forrest farms of Nottinghamshire, by Benjamin Thompson' [the dramatist, [1776] - 1816]. This letter, dated from Redhill Lodge near Northampton on 20 Jun 1808, was read at a meeting of the Society held at Newark, Nottinghamshire, on 5 Jul 1808. It is followed by an extract in the same hand from The Boston Gazzette and Lincoln Shire Advertiser of 21 Jan 1812, about Thompson and his breeding of Merino sheep.

Administrative / Biographical History

Benjamin Thompson was a dramtist who wrote plays including The Florentines, or Secret Memoirs of the noble family De C** (J. F. Hughes, London, 1808); Oberon's Oath; or, the Paladin and the Princess: a melodramatic romance, in two acts (London, 1816); The Recall of Momus. A bagatelle (G. Robinson, London, 1809); and The Stranger (J. Dicks, London, [1875]).

Merino sheep originated in North Africa descended from a strain of sheep developed during the reign of Claudius, from 14 to 37 A.D. They spread via the Spanish and French royal families to northern Europe. The original Merinos were a wool sheep, who sheared a very heavy, fine fleece.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bought from Francis Edwards in 1970.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

8½" x 5". A small strip has been cut from the lower half of the fore-edge of each page, affecting some letters. Paper watermarked 1810.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Related Material

An Account of the introduction of merino sheep into the different states of Europe and at the Cape of Good Hope is G.L. Cat. 19982.


Thompson's letter was apparently published, as it is advertised on p.248 of An Account of the introduction of merino sheep into the different states of Europe and at the Cape of Good Hope by C.P. de Lasteyrie [du Saillant] translated by B.Thompson (J.Harding, London, 1810).