Letter relating to the purchase of pure bred Chartley cattle by the Duke of Bedford, 1908
©Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service
Three special breeds are distinctive to Staffordshire and all of them are striking in their appearance. Bagot goats are wild black-necked goats, kept originally in Bagot’s Park. The tradition is that they were presented to the Bagots by Richard II. Tamworth pigs, a golden haired pig with pink skin, were bred near Tamworth in the early 19th century.
White Chartley cattle are the oldest of all three, descended from ancient wild oxen (aurochs) and driven into Chartley Park in the 13th century by one of the Earls of Derby. The breed was preserved there until the 20th century when it was nearly wiped out by disease. The surviving white cattle were then crossed with domestic Longhorns and this letter may refer to this. The cross breed still exists at Woburn.
2nd October 1908
Memorandum from Colonel Oliphant
Dear Mr Wickham
With reference to the purchase of Chartley Cattle from Colonel Congreve by His Grace the Duke of Bedford- His Grace writes “I agree to give £175 for the three pure Chartley Cattle but want no half breeds.
I also agree to send back the heads of the Chartley bull & cow when they die and in the event of selling Chartley Cattle to give the refusal to Colonel Congreve at £75 a head”.
It will be well to get on with the transfer of the Bull and Cow to Woburn as soon as possible and I propose to send our Cattle van by rail to fetch one at a time on such date as you can make arrangement to load up and despatch.
Yours Truly etc
George A Oliphant