Unusual medallions

Sir Winston Churchill's medallion for best shorthorn dairy cow in show, on display at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

The collection we are looking to secure features many objects which reflect Churchill the statesmen, but there are also many objects that reflect his personal accomplishments and achievements, some which you may find quite surprising.

Society medallion

One unusual medallion in the Ante-Room is that from the Shorthorn Society. In 1949, Churchill was awarded the medallion, along with a £10 first prize, for his shorthorn dairy cow ‘Gratwicke Beatrice 2nd’ at the Kent County Show.

A keen naturalist, Churchill’s love of animals had drawn him to purchase Chartwell Farm, which adjoined his property, in 1947. The farm was managed by his new son-in-law Christopher Soames, with Sir Winston paying a keen interest in the welfare and upkeep of the animals. Christopher and Mary Soames raised their family at Chartwell Farm, meaning Churchill’s grandchildren were never far away.

The prize-winning Shorthorn herd was sold by auction in November 1951 to make way for a larger herd of more profitable milk-making Jerseys.

" (With the Malakand Field Force in 1897) I wore my long cavalry sword well sharpened. After all, I had won the Public Schools fencing medal."
- Sir Winston Churchill, My Early Life

Public Schools Fencing Championship Medal

A silver medallion in the shape of a Maltese Cross with lion surmount, featuring an inscription and date on the reverse. Currently on display in the Ante-Room at Chartwell.

As a child, Churchill had shown little interest in athletic sports. But while at Harrow, he was inspired to take up fencing, a sport in which he excelled. After proving himself to be the most talented fencer at the school, he went on to win the Public Schools Fencing Championship in 1892.

The school newspaper, The Harrovian, reported, ‘His success was chiefly due to his quick and dashing attack, which quite took his opponents by surprise.’ Churchill was incredibly proud of his achievement, while his father was insistent that his enjoyment of sport should not affect his other studies. In a letter congratulating his son on his success in one competition, Lord Randolph stressed, ‘I only hope fencing will not too much divert your attention from the Army Class.’

In 1951 Churchill was elected Vice-President of the Sevenoaks Fencing Club and in 1953 he was appointed Honorary President of the Amateur Fencing Association.