Monday, 4 July 2016

Clydesdale Horse Prize Medals, 1903

The large Silver medal won by John Watson, 
Candermains, Stonehouse, Scotland for 
best colt or filly, Lanarkshire Farmers' 
Society Show, 1903
[From my own collection]

The showing of horses has always been a popular pursuit and my Scottish family were no exception as evidenced by two ornate silver presentation medals in my possession.

Both date to 1903, but the first medal was presented to my maternal Great Grandfather John Watson at the prestigious Lanarkshire Farmers' Show, apparently one of the oldest established of such associations in the west of Scotland.

A newspaper account in "The Scotsman" handily records the event, being held in the "policies of the Duke of Hamilton" [ie, property owned by the Duke] at Hamilton in Lanarkshire on the 15th May 1903 :

The weather, though showery in the earlier portion of the day, cleared up by noon, and settled into a fine warm summer day. There was a large attendance of spectators, with a sprinkling of ladies. Compared with previous years the entries showed a substantial increase, amounting to 543 in all… Not in numbers alone, however, was the standard of the show maintained, for the animals shown were of a higher type than any collection ever previously brought together under the auspices of this show. 

Reverse of Silver medal won by John Watson,
for best colt or filly, Lanarkshire
Farmers' Society Show, 1903

[From my own collection]

The Clydesdale section was a strong class, 136 horses being forward this year, compared with 88 at last meeting… Mr John Watson Caudermains [sic Candermains], Stonehouse, came first in the special prize for the best yearling colt or filly got by the Duke of Hamilton’s premium horse…

The large silver medal is engraved on one side, “Lanarkshire Farmers’ Society Show 1903, For Best Colt or Filly Got By Duke of Hamilton’s Premium Horse. Donor Herbert Webster Fence Houses. Won by John Watson Caudermains [sic]”   

As this photo is taken around 1903 I believe it to show
the prize-winning colt(?) with it's mother. The man
shown in the image is John Watson Jnr.
[copied from the original glass plate negative]

This terminology simply means that Mr Herbert Webster of Morton House, Fence Houses, Durham, a very well known and successful horse breeder himself, donated the medal. The yearling (one year old) colt or filly, for which my Great Grandfather no doubt had to pay a hefty fee, had been sired by the Duke of Hamilton's own "premium horse". 

The reverse side has an engraving of a Clydesdale draught horse with stamped silvermarks.

Silver medal presented by D.W. Taylor,
at the Calderwaterhead Farmers' Society 
Fair, Shotts for best horse or mare, 1903
[From my own collection]

The second silver medal was presented at the "Calderwaterhead Farmer Society Fair" held at Shotts in North East Lanarkshire, also during 1903. 

This medal is engraved “Shotts, Calderwaterhead Farmers Socy 1903 Best Horse or Mare Bred by Exhibitor”.

Reverse of Silver medal presented by D.W. Taylor,
at the Calderwaterhead Farmers' Society Fair
Shotts for best horse or mare, 1903

[From my own collection]

The reverse side reads,“Presented by D.W. Taylor Won by John Watson Cander Mains”. 

Winning two prestigious horse classes in the same year was quite an achievement in the face of what would be very stiff competition.

It would appear that John Watson had no further success until the Stonehouse Show on the 30th June 1905 when I note he won "...Mare 2nd  & 4th, Foal 1st, gelding two 2nds, filly 2nd”". No doubt being card prize certificates these have not survived.

Copyright : All images are from my own collections and may be freely copied for non-commercial use provided this site is acknowledged, thank you.

Sources :

- Watson family artefacts and photographs in my possession
- "The Watson Family Annals - The Story of the Watson Family of Lanarkshire Scotland and Heddon Bush New Zealand", by the writer, published 2014
- "The Scotsman" 16th May 1903 ["The Scotsman" Digital Archive]

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