Rare Breed Farm | Kentwell Hall

Rare Breed Farm

The Farm

The Phillips' reintroduced animals and rebuilt the farm from the early 1980s onwards. Many of the beautiful oak-framed buildings you see today were dismantled and brought to Kentwell to create the impressive row of timber-framed barns that surround the Barnsward.
This is a working farm run on non-intensive and traditional lines. Meat from our sheep, pigs and cattle is used alongside produce from the garden to make the Estate as self-sufficient as possible.

The Animals

Norfolk Horn Sheep

The Norfolk Horn is listed as 'At Risk' on the RBST Watchlist with only 900 - 1500 registered breeding females in the UK. Norfolk Horns were one of the breeds that made East Anglia rich and built the Wool Towns of the Middle Ages. The breed declined in popularity in the 18th and 19th Centuries and by the 20th Century, only one flock remained. Win the 1970s, as part of the Norfolk Horn Society, Judith Phillips and three other breeders were instrumental in rescuing the breed and moving the status from 'critical' to 'endangered'. There are now 79 flocks and counting!

Our flock lambs in March when we open for Lambing Weekends with 'Lambing Live' in the Stableyard and a 'LambCam' streaming all the action right here on our website!
Plus, you can revisit to watch the shearer in action and learn about the journey of wool from fleece to jumper at our Wool Weekend in June.


Along with Norfolk Horns Tamworth pigs were borrowed for the first Tudor re-creation in 1978 and stayed at Kentwell. We have a Tamworth boar and two cross-bred sows with Kentwell's distinctive "spotty pig" markings!


The farm started out with one Jersey house cow to provide milk for the family. Later this was joined by British White Cattle and then Longhorns, the breed you see today.
With their majestic horns and characteristic brindle marking, the Longhorn is now much in demand and prized for its meat.


One of the most popular animals at Kentwell. We currently have one Suffolk Punch Cross, Comfrey, and his companion, Caspar. For over 20 years, we kept and bred Suffolk Punches, the chesnut gentle giants who helped shape our rural landscape. Unfortunately, we lost our final two stately old ladies over the 2017/2018 winter period.

Poitou Donkey

Our "giant dreadlocked donkey" is a visitor curiosity! Baudet du Poitou donkeys are one of the rarest breeds of donkey in the world. There are currently about 60 of these magnificent animals in the UK, and less than 800 in the world. Believed to be one of the oldest breeds, there is evidence they have existed in France since the Roman occupation of 54BC. Our Poitou donkey, Isabella, lives here happily in retirement.

Bagot Goats

Our three Bagot goats with their large curving horns are a striking presence on the Manor. First recorded in 1387, this now endangered breed was kept and bred as a parkland animal for stately homes. Bagot goats are closely linked to primitive goat species and forage extensively over rough ground making them an ideal breed for conservation grazing.


The Gardens and Farm are open from February - October. Please visit our 'What's On' page for the most up-to-date listings.

Kentwell Norfolk Horn Wool

We sent some of our Norfolk Horn Fleeces to the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall to be spun into wool. We are pleased now to be able to offer natural un-dyed 4 ply and double knitting wool in 50g balls and 100g skeins. For private and wholesale orders, please contact the Estate Office on 01787 310207 or email enquiries@kentwell.co.uk.
Wool Web.jpg

The yarn is suitable for dying and here are an examples from our Tudor dyers (left) and the Ginger Twist Studio's Best of British Range:
Kentwell Norfolk Horn wool.jpgGinger Twist Best of British Club_0.JPG

Kentwell is also open on many weekends for Special Events

Events Calendar

  • Kentwell's tranquil Walled Garden
    Kentwell's tranquil Walled Garden
  • Pied Piper Topiary - Kentwell Hall
    Pied Piper Topiary
  • 'Lambing Live' at Kentwell
  • Hall and Gardens during a Re-Creation of Tudor Life
  • Kentwell Hall
  • The Library
  • The Great Hall
Anglian Business Green 100

All images and text © Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk CO10 9BA