2018 is a special year for our Society, as it is our centenary.
The ‘Park Cattle Society’ was formed in January 1918 with the Earl of Tankerville (Chillingham) as Patron, the Duke of Bedford (Woburn) as President, and the Duke of Hamilton (Cadzow) as Vice-President. The first herd book was published in 1919. At that time the herd book included both horned and polled cattle as polled cattle with the White Park colour pattern were incorrectly deemed to be closely related.
By the 1940s the name of the Society had changed to the ‘British White Cattle Society’ which added further confusion with polled British White cattle. The President was the Duke of Hamilton and the Vice-President was Lord Dynevor, and the heritage horned herds (Dynevor, Cadzow and Woburn/Chartley) provided the senior office holders throughout the life of the herd book.
Following a lapse of thirty years or so registrations resumed in 1974, the first volume of a new herd book was published in 1975, and the White Park Cattle Society was (re)formed in 1983 when the Duchess of Hamilton (Cadzow) was President and the Chairman was G L H Alderson CBE (Dynevor). Lawrence Alderson became President in 1988.
At the end of 2017 we were contacted by a non-member who had owned three White Park cows for several years, using them for conservation grazing only. The owner was retiring and had decided to re-home his White Parks. But he wanted them to live out their natural lives, as close as possible to his home, and had specified that they could not be used for breeding. If we could find a new owner that met these criteria, the White Parks would be transferred free of charge.
Luckily Dr Greenall of Herefordshire was only too willing to give the three females a new home. Following the necessary movement tests Stoneleigh Ashow, Stoneleigh Grandborough and Pepperbox Alderbury moved to Ledbury and are now living with five other White Parks in the beautiful surroundings Bromesberrow Place.
The White Park Cattle Society is planning on issuing a professionally produced magazine in the next few months which will include articles and photographs submitted by members about their White Park herds, as well as articles covering such subjects as showing, bull rearing, halter training, heritage and genetics along with conservation grazing. The magazine will be circulated to members of the WPCS, supporters, people interested in our breed, restaurants and lovers of rare breed cattle.
We are now inviting businesses to contact us if they would be interested in taking out an advertisement in the magazine. The prices are as follows:
Back page £300
Inside front and inside back £275
1/2 Page £175
1/4 Page £120
1/8 Page £75
If you are interested in finding out more about advertising in our first-ever magazine please contact our Secretary who will be able to give you further information.
Everyone at the White Park Cattle Society would like to send all of our members and supporters glad tidings for the festive period and new year. Thank you to Adrian Hoskins for his wintery photo of HoosHerd Snowflake and Gatcombe Daisy. Very apt considering all of the snow some of us have had recently!
Hexham Mart is pleased to announce that they have been entrusted to conduct the sale of a unique collection of in excess of 150 Border Fine Arts figurines, which are the personal collection of Ray Ayres who was the principal sculptor for many of the finest pieces.
Ray Ayres is also the sculptor for the two Border Fine Arts White Park figurines and the artist proofs of these two figurines will be amongst those up for sale.
The Sale will be held on Thursday 7th December at 2pm at Tynedale Function Suite, Tyne Green, Hexham, NE46 3SG
Tuesday 5th December 2pm-5pm
Wednesday 6th December 9pm-5pm
and the sale morning from 9am-1.30pm
Congratulations to members David and Sue Graveston of Bolton by Bowland, Lancashire, whose White Park bull Ribblesdale Muskateer triumphed as the Interbreed Champion at the Melton Mowbray Rare Breeds show and sale held on 9 September 2017.
The Donald family of County Armagh were excited to take their White Park heifer Claycappagh Lilly to her first show, the Gosford Rare Breed show in Northern Ireland. After winning her breed class Lilly and her half sister Louisa Jane went on to win the beef pairs, before Lilly triumphed in the overall championship. Congratulations to Claycappagh Lilly, beautifully shown by the two youngest members of the Donald family, seen below holding their trophy.
We have nine White Park cattle going through the ring at the Rare Breeds Sale at Melton Mowbray Livestock Market on Saturday 9 September 2017 – three bulls and six heifers.
Two of the males are recently registered Pass Plus bulls being sold by David Graveston (both born in 2015) and the third bull is a 5 year old Pass bull being sold by MD Hamilton Farms Ltd.
All of the heifers are being presented by John Carrick of the Pennyspot herd.
The sale catalogue pages that relate to these cattle are available on the link below and include details of sires, dams and grand-sires and grand-dams of all of the cattle being sold. The photo below is of the two bulls being sold by David Graveston.
For one cattle breed 2017 holds an extra special significance. The White Park Society held a celebratory dinner on 21 July to celebrate several significant historic events. The dinner was hosted by the President of the Society, Lawrence Alderson CBE, and was master-minded by celebratory chef, Mark Hix, with beef from the Bickleigh herd of White Park cattle owned by Society Vice-Chairman, John Lean.
It was twenty years since the Society hosted a banquet in 1997 in Butchers Hall, headquarters of The Worshipful Company of Butchers in the historic Smithfield area. The White Park beef-on-the-bone piped around the Great Hall marked the last occasion before the ban on beef-on-the-bone came into effect. However, that anniversary was somewhat fortuitous.
The original purpose of the banquet was to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Rhys ap Gruffydd, the famous ruler of the kingdom of Deheubarth in southern Wales who died in 1197. Rhys owned the colour-pointed white cattle which we now know as White Park, and he was a ninth-generation descendant of Rhodri Mawr, who built Dynevor castle as a defence against the Vikings and first brought the white cattle to our attention in 856 AD. His grandson, Hywel Dda, formulated the Welsh Laws in the Venedotian and Dimetian codes in which the cattle appeared as payment of fines for infringement of the ruler’s prerogative.
Therefore, Dynevor cattle, which now are kept on Salisbury Plain, demonstrate a provenance tracing back more than 1,000 years which other British breeds of cattle have not been able to record. But one family in the Dynevor herd can claim an even more remarkably ancient provenance. A paper by Ludwig, Alderson et al has added a new dimension to the history of the breed. It shows that those cows belonging to the Tawe family possess a mitochondrial haplotype which has been passed down the female line from a cow that lived ten thousand years ago.
The main purpose of the dinner in July 2017 was an important anniversary celebration for another reason. Although history was an integral factor, it was concerned more with meat quality. In 1617 James I was travelling through Lancashire and in early August was hosted by Sir Richard Hoghton at Hoghton Tower, which was home to a herd of White Park cattle. The obligatory banquet after a day of hunting included beef from the resident herd. The king declared “Finer beef nae man ever put his teeth into. What joint do ye ca’ it, Sir Richard?”. “The dish, sire, is a loin of beef” replied his host. “A loin! By my faith that is not a title honourable enough for a joint sae worthy. It wants a dignity, and it shall hae it. Henceforth it shall be Sir-Loin, an’ see ye ca’ it sae”. Thereby the excellence of White Park meat was written into the history of quality beef.
The quality of White Park beef remains notable in the twenty-first century for its marbling and flavour. It is marketed as a speciality product which commands a premium with outlets in London and in several provincial centres.
Council member Amy Cope and her White Park bull Beaudesert Maximus were placed First in the Rare Breed bull class at the Leek Show on 29 July and were then awarded the overall Rare Breed champion. Congratulations Amy and Maximus!