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- n. Plural form of sheepmaster.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
And there is never a husbandman (for now I speak not of our great sheepmasters, of whom some one man hath 20,000) but hath more or less of this cattle feeding on his fallows and short grounds, which yield the finer fleece.
For after that so much ground was inclosed for pasture, an infinite multitude of sheep died of the rot, such vengeance God took of their inordinate and insatiable covetousness, sending among the sheep that pestiferous murrain, which much more justly should have fallen on the sheepmasters own heads.
'I am sorie to report it,' says Harrison,  'but most sorrowful of all to understand that men of great port and countenance are so far from suffering their farmers to have anie gaine at all that they themselves become graziers, butchers, tanners, sheepmasters, and woodmen, thereby to enrich themselves.'