Hinderwell Village Show – Clare Welford
This year on Friday 7th August, will mark the 146th annual Hinderwell Show. Many folk are regulars to Egton Show, but did you know that Hinderwell Show has even earlier beginnings. It is said that Hinderwell Foal Show, as it was then called, was born in order to solve an argument between two local men who couldn’t agree on who had bred the finest Cleveland Bay foal. Ever since, local farmers and land owners have been breeding stock and competing against one another at Hinderwell trying to bring home a prize card.
In the lead up to, and including, the 18th Century, farming was a way of life and not as the industry it is known as today. During the 18th Century improvements in the knowledge and science of farming had been made and in the 1830s farmers had started to prosper. However, just a decade later saw years of upset and anxiety and in 1846 the repeal of the Corn Laws threatened to end the farming community altogether. As foreign corn flooded the country, our prices rapidly fell..a notion implemented by townsfolk, thus causing an uneasy relationship between town and country folk which would last a lifetime and more. By the mid 1850’s prices started to level out and the Victorian era saw farmers being allowed and encouraged to expand and prosper.
The first show was held on Friday 16th September 1864. It was then known as Hinderwell Foal Show and had just 6 district classes:
The show was a great success and, with a small profit being made, provisions were put in place for the following year. The weather that year wasn’t great and apparently the luncheon tent was split due to the high winds making dining a little uncomfortable. At the close of the show a grand total of £3 had been made.
In 1871 pig classes were introduced. By 1874 four cups were awarded as well as £60 in prize money. However, due to yet another great depression in the farming industry entries began to drop. A farm labourers wage was as low as 12s2d for a full weeks work…impossible to survive off, and thus it was that women and children took to the fields to help. By 1901, three hundred thousand labourers had left the land.
The Cleveland Bay Society was formed in 1884 in order to encourage the breeding of Cleveland Bay. The following announcement was made:
“We assert without fear of contradiction that the old type of Cleveland Bay is the best and most economical animal on the farm; that it will do more work in any given period of time, consume less food, wear less shoe iron in either slow or fast work on the farm or on the road, than any other breed. The old type of Cleveland – deep and wide, capable of any kind of field and road work, fast or slow, should stand about sixteen hands high, back not too long, strong with muscular loins, shoulder sloping, deep and muscular, quarters level, powerful, long and oval, the tail springing well from the quarters, bone nine to ten inches below the knee”
By 1908 a new type of class was added to the show..a class for a nature study drawing and pressed flowers by a child. The outbreak of the First World War on 4th August 1914 saw the show being cancelled for the next 5 years, returning in 1919. Sheep classes were introduced a year later.
Many horses now attending Hinderwell Show travelled long distances and often arrived in the village by train. Many of the Cleveland Bays that first became successful at Hinderwell went on to greater things. Robert Welford (my great uncle) showed a young colt named Morning Star, who went on to win Her Majesty the Kings Championship Cup for stallions.
The horse was unbeatable in the ring and was sold to the USA in 1941. The picture below shows Robert and Morning Star receiving the Kings Championship Cup for the fourth time:
World War 2 was declared on 3rd September 1939 and saw yet another holt to show proceedings. In 1952 the devastating Foot and Mouth outbreak meant all cloven hoof classes had to be cancelled. However, due to the ever increasing mechanisation on farms the show held a Tractor Driving completion instead.
Again in 1963 entries were low due to the outbreak of Swine Fever meaning Pig classes were not held,, however there were over 900 entries in the tent section..a record no less!! Around this time Her Majesty the Queen became aware that the Cleveland Bay was in danger of dying out.
The Cleveland Bay had always been used to pull heavy stage coaches, and so it was that her representatives purchased Mulgrave Supreme on her behalf and thus publicity over the breed had once again been gained and the breed was re-established.
1965 saw a humorous entry in the childrens handwriting section. The task was to write a rhyme in his/hers own words and in their best handwriting.
A young lad from nearby farming village Roxby was pressurised from his mother to submit an entry..and so he reluctantly sat down and entered the following:
“Hinderwell Show makes me vomit, I truly wish that someone would bomb it!” – Andrew Morrison, Aged 6.
The young lad came home with a First Prize!
In 1975, Leon Brittan MP WAS Show President and his speech he declared “Agriculture is in a serious situation at the moment, there has been a decline in all branches of the industry during the past year which has meant that many producers are getting low returns, the effect will be a shortage of food in the shops. Unless townsfolk realise that they cannot expect to get food on the cheap, and that farmers are entitled to a proper return on their labours, there will continue to be a shortfall in full production.
The decline is most serious in the dairy sector and it is ironic that this is the one sector singled out by Government for expansion and no one could encourage expansion without providing the means for expansion”
Now America Jack was a huge part of Hinderwell Show. He never took up an official role on the Committee panel, but when he spoke he was listened and adhered too. He was named America Jack due to living on a farm on the hill named America House. He worked extremely hard for the Society, the judges were normally left up to him to choose, any issues were usually taken up by him and resolved. His knowledge and wisdom served the Show extremely well.
One of his commitments was to provide the sheep for the Sheepdog Trial. He would gather the sheep up the day before the show on horseback off Newton Moor and bring the sheep down from America House to Hinderwell.
Of course, being a great Cleveland Bay breeder Jack would always ride a Cleveland, and usually lead one too. He was also a keen poet-write , and should you suffer an unfortunate misfortune or a mishap befall you then rest assured ‘Onlooker’ would supply your friends and neighbours with a few witty lines informing them.
These would often be on scraps of paper pushed under windscreen wipers, or displayed for all to see in the local pub at Dalehouse. America Jack died in 1984 and a letter of tribute was published in the Whitby Gazette:
“Sir, May we through your paper pay tribute to America Jack Welford who died this last week. America Jack was Hinderwell Shows longest serving Committee member having been associated with the Show for most of his life.
He was our ‘authority’ on the Shows history, rights and wrongs of procedure, suitable Judges, and usually had the last say on any major decisions. He was a tireless worker, helping to set up the Showfield and act as a steward on Showday, even last year at the age of 73.
Committee meetings will never be quite the same- he liked meetings to start on time and often poked fun at latecomers. His humour and fair-mindedness kept tempers even and the Show running on an even keel whenever matters appeared heated.
We hope we have learnt some of Jacks ‘horse sense’ from working with him on the committee. The Show Committee extend their sympathy to his widow and family.
Hinderwell Show Committee.”
We started with a Cleveland Bay and therefore we will finish with one. America Jack left proof of his amazing eye for a horse, as a foal was born at America House just weeks after his death. The foal was aptly named Masterful Jack and is one of the finest examples of a Cleveland Bay in the whole country and has taken prizes at all the major shows.
The admiral Cleveland Bay is England’s oldest breed of horse, though to derive from the middle ages in Yorkshire.
They carried the goods of the Chapman’s (Travelling Salesman) thus originally known as the Chapman Horse. However, the name Cleveland Bay developed from the beautiful colouring of the horse and their popularity in the Cleveland district of North Yorkshire.
They pulled the first heavy coaches introduced in Queen Elizabeth the Firsts reign, they ploughed the land, pulled the carts, were ridden on hunts and of course took their owners to church.
Many Cleveland’s were lost on the battlefields of France in 1st World War. In 2006, an estimated 500 Cleveland Bay horses existed worldwide, of which approximately 220 were mares, the 2005 foal crop produced fewer than 50 horses.
This year’s show will be held on Friday 7th August 2015. Why not bring the family to witness this small, intimate, characterful show steeped in history.
There will be numerous horse classes, and hopefully you may witness a locally bred Cleveland Bay! There will be sheep, vintage tractors, dog shows, ferrets and feathers! The tent section will hopefully be full of freshly grown vegetables, crops, homemade delights and goodies, jams and preserves, cakes and flans.
The children classes still exist with local children of all ages still competing, wanting to bring home a prize card! There will be craft tents and stalls, bouncy castles and swings, food vans and of course a beer tent!! This list is not exhaustive, so why not come yourself and help keep the birthplace of the Cleveland Bay alive!