‘Mary had a little lamb…’

Mary had a little lamb…

We are all familiar with the nursery rhyme but do you know the story behind it? As we prepare to welcome this year’s lambs to the fold here at Barleylands, we thought we might delve into the history of Mary. Mary Sawyer was her real name and she was raised in Sterling, Massachusetts. Growing up on the family farm in the 1800s, Mary was used to pitching in, especially during the busy lambing season. Orphaned lambs would often be placed in her care. So it’s no surprise that some of them became overly attached to her!

Mary’s recount of the day her lamb followed her to school was, happily, recorded and saved for the history books. She took the lamb, at the suggestion of her brother Nate, into the classroom and tried to keep it hidden in a basket under her desk. Naturally, it wasn’t long before the teacher discovered it. Mary was forced to take her lamb outside until the school day finished.

The original poem was written by John Roustone. John was a pupil in Mary’s class and who witnessed the comical scene. Unfortunately for Mary, ‘Bring your pet to school Day’ didn’t catch on until many, many years later.  Nevertheless Mary held on to the first fleece her little lamb produced. In later years, she used it to knit some soft socks which she donated to a fundraiser for a local historical building. It seems fitting, therefore, that Mary and her Little Lamb should have ended up with their very own page in the history books!

Come and see our own little lambs from early February. Find out just how soft they really are.

Book your tickets here.