1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bakewell, Robert (agriculturist)

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BAKEWELL, ROBERT (1725-1795) English agriculturist, was born at Dishley, Leicestershire, in 1725. His father, a farmer at the same place, died in 1760, and Robert Bakewell then took over the management of the estate. By visiting a large number of farms all over the country, he had already acquired a wide theoretical knowledge of agriculture and stock-breeding; and this knowledge he now put to practical use at Dishley. His main object was to improve the breed of sheep and oxen, and in this he was highly successful, his new Leicestershire breed of sheep attaining within little more than half a century an international reputation, while the Dishley cattle (also known as the new Leicestershire long-horn) became almost as famous. He extended his breeding experiments to horses, producing a new and particularly useful type of farm-horse. He was the first to establish the trade in ram-letting on a large scale, and founded the Dishley Society, the object of which was to ensure purity of breed. The value of his own stock was quickly recognized, and in one year he made 1200 guineas from the letting of a single ram. Bakewell's agricultural experiments were not confined to stock-breeding. His reputation stood high in every detail of farm-management, and as an improver of grass land by systematic irrigation he had no rival. He died on the 1st of October 1795.