top of page

A Sin and A Secret: Stealing Sheep and Lamb's Wool

Welcome back to another "A Sin and A Secret." Mix yourself a drink based on a colonial recipe and then curl with a completely true, completely salacious story. Enjoy a new #ASinAndASecret post every week. Read more in the series here.

Sheep Thieves

In the middle of the night in May, 1773, unknown criminals came ashore at London Town. They herded 13 sheep onto a boat.

The sheep belonged to London Town merchant, James Dick. All told, 11 ewes and 2 ram lambs were taken.

The boat, presumed to be a bateau, left an impression on the mud of the shoreline. The sheep were probably grazing on the portion of the peninsula still considered London Town today, and the boat may well have landed on our grounds.

Drawing of a Bateau by Howard L. Chapelle, Courtesy of the Smithsonian NMAH Maritime Collections

After absconding with the sheep, the thieves sailed out of the South River. They sailed up the Severn River to Annapolis where they presumably sold the sheep.

Lamb's Wool Drink
Lamb's Wool

With a story about stealing sheep, how could we not pair this with the colonial drink, Lamb's Wool? The name comes from the appearance of the fluffy apple pulp floating on the bowl's surface.

Lamb's Wool

  • 1.5 lbs apples, cored

  • 1 quart brown ale

  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)

  • Sprinkling of nutmeg and ginger

  1. Core the apples and bake the apples at 375 degrees until they burst (about 30 minutes).

  2. After cooling, peel and mash to a pulp.

  3. Heat ale and add spices and apple pulp.

  4. Pour into a punch bowl and serve hot.

Makes eight 3-ounce servings.

releaf fund logo

Grow the ReLeaf Fund

Recently, London Town launched the ReLeaf Fund. This newly created fund was inspired by the cycle of renewal in our gardens. Donations to it will ensure that London Town will grow again. Funds will be matched up to $35,000! Learn more and donate today!


London Town: Today and Tomorrow Survey

You may have noticed an increase in our online postings lately. Will you take a short survey about what posts and virtual programs you'd like? You can also share your thoughts about re-opening London Town and what sort of programs you'd like to see after the crisis is over. Take the survey here


Select Drink Recipe Sources for the Series:

  • Alderman, Clifford Lindsey, "Of Drinks & Drinkers," Early American Life, December 1975, pgs 87-88, 91 - 93

  • Bullock, Helen, The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion: Being a Collection of Upwards of Five Hundred of the Most Ancient and Approv'd Recipes in Virginia Cookery, Colonial Williamsburg and Dietz Press: Richmond, VA, 1938

  • Carr, Eve, "Home-Grown Treats," Mid-Atlantic Country, December, 1986 pgs. 34 - 35, 58

  • Gaspee Days Committee,

  • Mackin, Jeanne, "Flowing Bowl," Americana, pgs. 39 - 41

  • Stief, Frederick Philip, Eat, Drink, & Be Merry in Maryland, Johns Hopkins Press: Baltimore, MD, 1932

  • Tilp, Frederick, "Tips on Tippling from Tidewater Maryland," Maryland Magazine, 1978, pgs. 14 - 17


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page