The Westmorland County Show, 11th September 2008

by David Murray on 27 May 2008

in Events, Visitor Attractions

Earlier today I was checking on the web for the date of this year’s Westmorland County Show when it came back to me that it was a silver cup won by my great-great-grandfather in September 1871 that first got me interested in the history of my family.

Actually, at the time I didn’t know that Richard Taylor, whose name is inscribed on the cup, was my direct ancestor. Neither was my mother, who had inherited it from an elderly relative, certain who he was. She asked me if I could find out. A bit of detective work including visits to the Kendal Library and the County Record Office (this was back in the 1970s) quickly solved the case. The “Rd. Taylor of New House” who was considered by the Westmorland and Kendal District Agricultural Society that year to have “the best general stock of store cattle” was my grandmother’s grandfather.

I can’t claim great knowledge of the show in more recent years. In fact, living at quite a distance from Westmorland, my visits to it have been few and far between. I am, however, reliably informed that Thursday, 11th September 2008 promises to be a great day out. It has been running since 1799, is one of England’s oldest agricultural shows, and now attracts up to 25,000 people. I’m going to try to make it this year.

In 1999 Roger Bingham wrote a fascinating 192-page history of the show under the title, From Fell and Field. A History of the Westmorland County Show 1799-1999 (Published by Cicerone, Milnthorpe; ISBN 1-85284-290-3). I bought mine when it first came out, but copies now seem to be getting to be few and far between (and often quite pricey). I checked today on Amazon and found a few available, so thought it worth putting up the link here. Click on the book picture for more details.

As for the show itself, don’t forget – 11th September 2008, at Lane Farm, Crooklands, Kendal; 8:00am until 5:30pm.

– David Murray –
England’s Lakes

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