Medallion for best cow in show
We all know of Winston the great leader, Winston the orator and Winston the painter. But what about Winston the animal lover?
Churchill was a strong leader with a bulldog spirit and a soft spot for animals. Chartwell, his family home, was host to a variety of his favourite creatures, many of which still call it home today. Black swans still glide over the lakes, the golden orfe glitter in the ponds and of course Jock the cat still roams the old paths (though granted he is the sixth Jock to do so).
Churchill was once even gifted a lion, named Rota, who was rather sensibly kept at London zoo rather than in the Kent countryside. Farm animals were also of interest to the man, though it seemed Churchill took no interest in farming itself.
" I am very fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
In 1947 Churchill purchased Chartwell farm which adjoined his property and put his son-in-law Christopher Soames in charge of managing the farm. Christopher and Churchill's daughter Mary were to call it home and raise their family here.
One of Churchill's more sensible acquisitions was a herd of dairy shorthorn cattle that lived at Chartwell; a grand idea in that it ensured fresh milk to a household restricted by rationing. As such a famous owner of the breed, it came as no surprise when Churchill was elected a member of the Shorthorn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Winston was also interested in some more unusual breeds of cow, such as the White Park. During the Second World War, Churchill actually sent three of this protected breed to the United States for protection.
In 1949 Churchill entered some of his prized cattle into the Tunbridge Wells show where his roan shorthorn dairy cow 'Gratwicke Beatrice 2nd' was fortunate enough to win the £10 first prize.
The prize-winning shorthorn herd was sold by auction in November 1951, supposedly so Churchill could concentrate on Jersey cows.
This medallion for best Shorthorn cow in show is unique in Churchill’s medal collection. It is not a military honour, nor is it in recognition of his talents as an orator or writer. What it represents is something far more personal. It represents the man behind the bravado; his passions and hobbies and what made him tick.
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See this medallion on display in the medal cabinet in the ante-room at Chartwell.