A tall rangy shaped breed, the plight of the Norfolk is partly why the RBST was formed. In the 1950s the breed was down to about 10 ewes and two rams. Yet this is one of the oldest breeds of sheep in Britain and has been recognized for more than 400 years. Norfolks were mentioned in The Beauties of England, Cambridgeshire by Robert Reyce in 1610. The original breed was designed to live on the shallow, sandy soil of the Norfolk Brecklands where there was little shade from sun or shelter from harsh winters. When modern fertilisers were used to improve the Breckland’s pasture, the thrifty Norfolk Horn became obsolete almost overnight, unable to compete with the Suffolk sheep. With the pressure of post-war food shortages, people wanted productive animals with lots of fast growing offspring.