The New Dishley Society

Photograph of a Longhorn Cow

Perpetuating the memory of master livestock breeder, Robert Bakewell of Dishley Grange, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 1725-1795.

The History of the Speeton Flock of Leicester Longwools

The New Dishley Society is very grateful to Mr. Chris Coleman and his family for allowing us to publish this history of his flock, which can be traced back to Robert Bakewell himself.

The Flock

In 1795, Mr. Robinson of Carnaby House, Bridlington, East Yorkshire was given some Leicester type ewes by his father and, through subsequent generations of Robinsons, registered the flock “Number One” in the improved Leicester Flock Book, which was started at Driffield in 1893.

It was during this period that Mr. Robinson and Sir Tatton Sykes of Sledmere House went into Leicestershire to buy new bloodstock from the Dishley group of breeders, Robert Bakewell having instigated the group.

Mr. Robinson thus became a highly respected breeder of Leicesters, and of rams in particular. We have written evidence that the Speeton flock from 1834 was almost exclusively bred from Mr. Robinson’s flock up until the 1850s.

Mr. Robinson practised progeny testing by the “Letting Out” of rams for service. The author’s grandfather, William Coleman, could remember attending with his father the annual “Letting” by auction at Mr. Robinson’s, Carnaby House, preceded by a luncheon in the barn. The highest bidder took the ram for one year only, after which the ram was returned to Carnaby House.

At Bridlington Fair, held in May each year, Mr. Robinson gave prizes for pens of females, by his rams. In the possession of the Coleman family is a marble clock with the inscription:

“Presented by H. ROBINSON, Esq., to Mr. JORDAN COLEMAN for the best pen of 10 sheep by his rams, shown at BRIDLINGTON Fair, May 14th 1877. Eight competitors, Judges - T. WOODCOCK, ESQ., G. CROWE, ESQ., G. TAYLOR, ESQ.”

The Coleman flock continued to flourish and in 1914, was registered Number 97 in the Driffield Flock Book and, in this year, 300 ewes were put to the ram.

In 1921 the flock was moved to Speeton and is still on the same farm.

From 1947, the flock was shown at national and local levels, having many successes, winning Championship prizes at the Royal and Yorkshire Shows and winning the Long Wool Championship no fewer than 13 times at the Royal Smithfield Show.

In conclusion we can state that the Speeton Flock of Leicesters trace directly back to the New Leicester Breed in Leicestershire and to Robert Bakewell himself.

The Coleman Family

Leicester Sheep and the Coleman Family go back to the time of Robert Bakewell (1725 – 1795).

William Jordan was born 4th March 1771, and commenced farming at Kilnwick near Driffield in 1821, subsequently moving to North Burton in the East Riding of Yorkshire in 1834, taking with him his flock of English Leicesters. His sister Ann married John Coleman in January 1795 and together they had seven children, one of whom was Jordan Coleman, born 3rd April 1807. Unfortunately John Coleman died in May 1810, leaving a young widow and their children.

In 1850 William Jordan retired and, having no family, gave his flock of Leicester sheep to his nephew, Jordan Coleman, who continued to farm at Manor House Farm, North Burton, until 1897. He then handed it over to his son, Nathaniel, who, in turn, gave way to his son, William Arthur, who farmed Manor House until 1921 when he moved to Speeton, having bought Church Farm. The flock of Leicester sheep have been there ever since that date. Arthur Brigham, William’s son, took over the farm in 1939 and in 1960, Christopher Coleman took over from him. Chris still has control of the flock but his son, Tim, manages the farm.

William Coleman was President of the Leicester Longwool Sheepbreeder’s Association in 1935. Arthur held the office in 1957, and Christopher followed him in 2009. He is currently Treasurer of the Association.


Prize winning Longwool sheep The prizewinner at York, a combined Show with the Yorkshire Show. Arthur Coleman with his Leicester Longwool, which also won at the Royal Show in 1948.
Dressing sheep at the Yorkshire Show, Harrogate, about 1960. Left to right: Arthur Coleman, Eric Smallwood (shepherd to Arthur Coleman), Frank Wilson (shepherd to Stephenson’s of Market Weighton), and Ernest Boddy (shepherd to Sir William Prince-Smith, Driffield). Dressing Longwool sheep
Leicester shearling ram A Leicester shearling ram, 1960. This ram was the champion at the Royal Show, the Yorkshire Show, Malton Show and Driffield Show. It is being shown by Judy Coleman, daughter of Arthur Coleman and sister of Chris Coleman.

The Speeton Flock is owned by Messrs. A. B. Coleman, Church Farm, Speeton, Filey, North Yorkshire YO14 9TB.

The Leicester Longwool Sheepbreeders’ Association has a total of 70 members in the U. K. with flocks of varying sizes. More information can be found on its website:

The New Dishley Society would be pleased to hear about other breeders’ histories that can be traced back to Robert Bakewell. Contact us by email on