John E. Mattley, once employed by the Milk Marketing Board in England, now owner of the Phenotype Books in Scotland, has often expressed that opinion that the best ever written about the Channel Island cattle is: E. Parmalee Prentice: The History Of Channel Island Cattle. Guernsey and Jerseys. Privately published in 1940 and reprinted in 1942 in American Dairy Cattle. Prentice was however an outsider, perhaps the reason why his historical research never has received appreciation among Jersey breeders. But if we want to study the early period of the history we can do no better than read Prentice's contribution.
According to Prentice, Port books and Customs house books in London show many shipments of cattle to ports on the south coast of England, Southampton and Weymouth from Channel Island ports, - the figures begin in 1724. The books show a steady increase in the number of cattle carried from the Channel Islands to England. Between 1764-65 and 1774-75, the Custom house books record that there were 6306 animals carried. These figures are, according to Prentice, much larger than those contained in the Port books. This difference was according to Prentice caused by, that cattle from France had been imported into the Islands and than reshipped to England and sold as Channel Island cattle.
French cattle boats from Normandy arriving Rozel Bay in Jersey. [Sketch by W G Walmesley drawn in 1821]
David Le Feuvre has in his book: Jersey: Not quite British. given a more detailed description of what actually happened: "For some time the Normandy farmer had been in the habit of shipping his cattle to nearby Jersey. There they were grazed for a few weeks before being sent on to England to be sold at the many town fairs and markets held regularly throughout the country. By doing so it could be pretended on import papers that they were Island-bred and thus free from the excise duties imposed on cattle from foreign countries. Possibly through pressure by the English authorities -in 1763 the States of Jersey concluded that something would have to be done. They banned the importation of live animals from Normandy. It had to be renewed in 1789, "the fraudulent importation of cattle from France having become a most alarming matter". It needed more acts passed in 1826, 1864 and 1878 to finally put a stop to this trade. In 1826 John Le Couteur records in his diary: "At church, the Act relative to cows and prohiting them being imported from France was read by the priest". There was, however, no prohibition of the import of cattle from England. In
1847 John Le Couteur received a Guernsey heifer as a present. She " had 20 points ... (and) may turn out .. a capital cow". Imports from Guernsey to Jersey and vice versa continued at least until 1871 and it was not until the 1860`s that the outbreaks of cattle plague in the U.K. made a ban on British cattle necessary.
Many cows and heifers from the Channel Islands were sold to English butter dairies. F.ex. in London.
Alderney and Jersey cows were advertised for sale in the English newspaper Western Flying Post as early as Sep 20 1773 and Aug 21 1775. And Reginald D. Payn, former editor of The Island Cow, has recorded that cattle were sold at St. John's Fair in the Island from 1792. A prize was offered for the best cow for sale at the fair. A year or two later when the fair was known in England many orders were received to buy cattle there.
A committee had made themselves responsible that only island bred cattle were sold. Later on all trade with cattle from the Islands was organized by Michael Fowler and his three sons.
From George Culley - an eminent authority on cattle - who 1794 published the "First Book On Livestock Breeding", we get an idea of whom purchased the cattle from the Channel Islands. "The Alderney Breed is only to be met with about the seats of our nobility and gentry, upon account of their giving exceedingly rich milk to support the luxury of the tea-table...".
Tea had become the favorite English drink after 1750. At first tea was served in the drawing room after dinner. Tea in the afternoon is believed to have originated from Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, in the early 1800s.
John, Sixth Duke of Bedford (1766-1839) -among the earliest known breeders of Alderney cattle in England It is believed that Alderneys from Woburn Abbey in 1824 were sold to the King of Wurttemburg in Germany.
"Friern Manor Dairy Farm. The cow shed. The cows are mostly of the shorthorned breed. A few are Alderneys; but they are said to be too tender and deficate for this climate, and for the most part, do not give enough milk". Illustrated London News 1853.
Henry Colman wrote in 1851: "Few gentlemen or noblemen in England..... are without one or more Alderney cows... They are kept ..... for the purpose, by mixing their milk with that of other cows of a different breed, of giving colour to the butter, and richness to the cheese".
Audley End in Essex
Of all English Jersey herds, that belonging to Lord Braybrooke, at Audley End in Essex, was the oldest.
1811 his fine dairy herd consisting of "large polled Yorkshire cows" was replaced with Jersey cattle. William Addison's book on Audley End (published 1953) contains details of the herd, which comprised 23 cows and heifers and one bull.
Richard Aldworth Griffin Neville, second Baron Braybrooke (1750-1825)
Lord Braybrooke had for many years experimented in stock breeding. So did at that time his Majesty at his model farm at Windsor, the Duke of Bedford at Woburn and many others. The collection at Audley End today contain two nineteenth century photographs of cows from the Jersey herd, but unfortunately no paintings. The herd of Jerseys was the pride of Audley End for a great number of years.
The Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society
Reginald D. Payn has recorded that the first agricultural society in Jersey was founded in 1790. Payn had collected his informations from records of the meetings, more than forty in all from 1790 to 1797. I have tried to find this source but without success. This agricultural society from the beginning seems to have been very useful in introduction many improvements, and giving much help and advice to Island farmers. In 1812 the society was still in existence but clearly not very active.
At the meeting held on May 31 1790 at Mr. J. Pepin`s near Grouville church, probably the first attempt was made to adopt new methods to improve the island cattle One of the results of this meeting was a decision among the farmers that the offspring of good milkers were kept, and a bull always was selected from the best milkers.
In England at the beginning of the 18th century agriculture was awakening to new methods, Robert Bakewell (1725-95) began to experiment to establish and maintain pure breeds of cattle. A special collection at Newcastle University Library in England includes a serial of letters from Robert Bakewell to George Culley. I have read those letters and it is notable that Bakewell has no reflection on how to improve dairy cattle. He went for fat and he got it.
The Duke of Bedford with his fat cattle 1802
From 1811, Mr . Michael Fowler, of Little Bushey, had become the biggest importer of Alderney, Jersey and Guernsey cows to England. He was born at Kirkleatham in Yorkshire, and came to London when eighteen years of age. For years he was travelling partner in the Great West London Dairy.
The total export of cattle from Jersey numbered from 1822 to 1828 132 bulls and 8,029 cows, from Guernsey during the same period 41 bulls and 2,132 cows and from Alderney 11 bulls and 414 cows.
About 1831 the Guernsey & Jersey Magazine stated that there was "a considerable rivalry between Guernsey and Jersey as to which produced the best and purist specimen of the Alderney Cow". Probably in both islands some attention was already paid to the improvement of the cattle for according to John Jacob, 1830, the agricultural society in Guernsey offered £60 per annum in premiums for improvement of their cattle. The taste of the English became more and more important for the islanders for as it was claimed in 1830: ".. the beauty and quality of the animal would often make a difference of some pounds in the price".
Something wasn't good enough more had to be done, and according to some letters among the Stephens Papers in McCord Museum, Montreal, Canada, written by Lawrence Parsons Fowler and Percival. H.
Fowler, Michael Fowler must be credited with the suggesting to the farmers in Jersey as well in Guernsey that they needed to improve their cattle. "My father acted as a one of their judges for many years and was the first to establish their agricultural societies." In Jersey it did happen in (1790) 1833 and in Guernsey (1816) 1842. Michael Fowler drew attention to the “established valuable breeds” in England which had been developed through selection of “the best animals, of the best blood and form . . . possessing the most valuable qualities and fewest defects.” Michael Fowler now, according to his son, gave Colonel John le Couteur in Jersey the nescessary informations to set up a scale of points describing an animal of perfection. I believe that Michael Fowler has provided the Guernsey agricultural society with similar informations.
When many years after in 1868, John Le Couteur was reelected as president for the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society: ”I gave them an outline of the successes of our Society since its formation in 1833 to now, when our cows have risen in value from £12 to £100".
Sir John Le Couteur (1794-1875) to whom the Jersey breed owes much of its value and reputation. Le Couteur Family has left a great collection of papers, which recently has been deposited at Jersey Archive.
The Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society has also placed all herd books from 1867 at the Jersey Archive. Indeed a lot of wonderful historical stuff for all Jersey enthusiasts.
In 1969 the late Jersey historian Joan Stevens published an excellent biography of Sir John Le Couteur:
Victorian Voices: An Introduction to the papers of Sir John Le Couteur. This book contains much information about the Jersey cow taken from Le Couteur's diaries and letterbooks. And recently Suzanne Le Feuvre has spent hours at the Jersey Archive reading his diaries and letterbooks and due to her persistent efforts we now have got a transcription of important parts of John Le Couteur's records.
The Island cattle 1833
The English landscape painter Philip Hutchings Rogers (1794-1853) visited The Channel Islands in 1833.
We do know that he painted a fine view of MONT ORGUEIL CASTLE, in JERSEY. The Jersey Museum has a similar example of his work with the above shown cows in it. The painting is dated 1833, - the same year as the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society was founded. On the colour of Jersey cows, we have several records. In 1788 we find a Mr. Dumaresq of St. Peter (Probably John Le Couteur's great grandfather John Dumaresq?) asking for heifers for England one to three years old. Colour all white on back, if possible a little black, and brown, also a young cow spotted black and white. Reginald D. Payn gives the descriptions of one or two more animals from the last turn of the 18th century. A six-year-old cow with red hair, horns forming a circles in front, one larger than the other.
A red and white bull. A 2-year-old bull with red hair and marked W on his right horn. On the colour John le Couteur also has recorded: "The favourite colours are brown and white, with a grey edge around the brown: fawn and white: or grey and white. The pure Jersey is rarely of one colour, though at this moment I have a fine heifer quite black, the first I ever had". I am not aware if Philip Hutchings Rogers have made other paintings showing farm animals but as regards the colours he seems to have portrayed the island cattle much accurate.
From 1834 began the development of the island cows in beauty and conformation. The reports annually published by the society show that the "board of management" over the years paid great attention to the improvement of the breed. On April 17, 1839 John Le Couteur wrote to Lord Spencer. "All my cattle five years ago had the old Jersey defect, that of being cat hammed, or falling away from the hip to the tail. Now, from having been constantly careful to breed from straight backed, wide chested, small headed bulls, I have removed the defects greatly. And on some farms, which at starting had better formed cows than myself, all their stock carrying prizes".
Lord Spencer alias John Charles, Viscount Althorp, Third Earl Spencer (1782 - 1845) was a noted Shorthorn breeder besides he had a fine little herd of Jersey cows - a great authority on cattle. He was one of the principal people involved in the formation (in 1839) of the (then) English Agricultural Society which became The Royal Agricultural Society of England in 1840. In September 1839 John le Couteur visited Lord Spencer at his family Estate at Althorp in Northamptonshire. From this visit Le Couteur wrote in his diary: "I had better not cross any English bull with the Jersey for fear of deteriorating the breed, it (..) certainly be preserved pure. Breed from the best on both sides and improve form and (...) Feed up the young calves well, for on that depends for future appearance of the animal". John Le Couteur has later on several occasions reported, that Lord Spencer ".. counselled me to advise our farmers never to risk a cross, even with the shorthorn or Devon, or any other breed. They had a character established for milking and butyraceous qualities... I had informed the Earl how the bulls reared on the north and north-westerly coast of our island, which was rocky and elevated, and exposed to south-west storms, were hardy and enduring: and that cows bred on the southern and eastern coast, which was low, warm and alluvial and richer in pasture, were large bodied, or fine form, though rather more delicate than those from the hills. Lord Spencer recommended to cross bulls from the northern hills with cows in the southern low pastures and vice versa; by which means, if adhered to, our stock might be kept select and superior for ages. This in a great measure is so adhered to".
According to REV. G. R. BALLEINE, there 300 years ago was little communication between the parishes of Jersey. Roads did not exist. And the lanes were knee-deep in mud in winter, so most people preferred to stay at home. St. Brelade’s knew little about St. John’s, or St Ouen’s about St. Martin’s. And church registers show that most Jerseymen married girls from their own parish. So it seems perhaps not surprisingly, that the cattle in Jersey over time have developed into different types.
In 1840 the agricultural society discussed "Earl Spencer`s treatise on breeding" and the annual report "concluded with the hope that by adhering to the rules recommended by the best authority, the general form of the "Crumpled-Horned Cattle" may be brought into a repute as certain as that of the Durham or Shorthorn breed.
William Shiels, member of the Royal Scottish Academy, who was commissioned to produce a series of paintings of all the significant breeds then of economic significance in Great Britain, painted about 1840-41 this cow and calf belonging to M. Brehaut in Jersey. The work appeared as a handcoloured plate made by William Nicholson after Shiels painting 1842 in David Low: The Breeds of the Domestic Animals of the British Islands. Today this book is an unique source to the study of now extinct farm animals. But although this work has been wellknown for years it has never turned up in the Jersey literature!!! Perhaps because Shiels cow in her colours has some similarity with a Guernsey? When George E. Waring visited the Channel Islands in 1873 he observed "among the herds of both islands, traces of an old blending of bloods". Guernsey cows had always occasionally been taken into Jersey; and vice versa*), but when the herd book was taken into use in Jersey 1866, all animals with "the yellow colour, pink eyes and buff noses of the Guernseys" were rejected by the judges. Neither were "extremes of colour" like "brindles and reds" accepted. The difference between the Jersey and Guernsey, became more marked over the years, "both in size and colour, and particularly the head, horns, and nose." *) Felicity Crump has recorded: "It was not until 1862 that Guernsey banned the importation of cattle from Jersey into the Bailiwick, ....." ("The Alderney Cow" by Rosemary Hanbury and Felicity Crump for the Alderney Society, 1988).
In both islands great attention was paid in the 1840's to improve their breeds, and there was a persistent "rivalry between the farmers of the Channel Islands as to the respective merits of their cows. In Jersey they declaired theirs to be the only genuine cow, but in Guernsey and Alderney the same boast was made by the occupants of those islands with respect to theirs".
Louisa Lane Clark records in 1844 that at the fairs in Guernsey, which took place three times a year - at Easter, Midsummer and Michaelmas, . "the Agricultural Society distributes premiums to the proprietors of the finest and most promising heifers, as also on the finest bulls. To obtain the highest prize, it is necessary the animal should possess the 20 points which constitute perfection; it is then adorned with ribbons bearing the distinguished number, of which the proprietor is not a little proud". Lane Clark adds that "especially cows and heifers" .. for many years had formed a principal article of local export.. In 1846 John Le Couteur paid a visit to the other islands: "Left Guernsey for Alderney ... disappointment at Alderney cows. They are generally small and very inferior to our best. £10. ..Cows on Sark worth £10 or £12 coarser than ours".
Portrait of "Beauty", a prize cow, four years old, bred by John Le Couteur, at Belle Vue, in Jersey. E.
Parmalee Prentice has claimed that "Beauty ,... may well be the product of a Shorthorn cross". Le Couteur's diaries, however, contain no informations supporting such a theory.
By about 1840 Jerseys seems to have established its reputation as a dairy cow in England, in 1841 the English newspapers quoted Le Couteur's speech at the society's annual dinner and island cattle were shown at the Royal Show for the first time in 1844, at Southampton, competing in classes for Channel Island breeds. "Monday (22th July, 1844) Southampton Show Yard. ...... attended for me as I sailed for Southampton, per Atlanta with 110 passengers, 3 bulls and 50 cows included" (Excerpt from Le Couteur's diary). On this occasion several prominent breeders in England expressed their great admiration of the Jerseys. "Mr Ths Bates (of Kirkleavington) great breeder of shorthorns. ..... Our cattle he also examined and noticed that my bull by Woolcocks (?) out of Beauty handled better than any other than shorthorns, so did a pretty Guernsey cow that was highly commended. He considers that one cross from the best of the shorthorns would improve the form and milking qualities of our stock, but I fear that it would injure the real milking of creaming properties. So does Lord Spencer with whom I have also discussed the subject. On the morning of arrival I met Earl Spencer in High Street, who told me that I was to return thanks for the Channel Islanders, on the toast to their success in Agriculture and to go an prepare my speech. (Excerpt from Le Couteur's diary on July 23, 1844). This event doubtless led the Royal Agricultural Society of England to give more consideration to the breed; and in the "Journal" for 1845 appeared an essay on the Jersey cow written by John Le Couteur: "On the Jersey, misnamed Alderney Cow." This paper was reprinted in 1850 in the Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society and quoted almost in its entirety and printed in Vol. 1 of the American Jersey Cattle Club Herd Register (1871). Le Couteur's essay I believe was the first piece of promotive literature about the Jersey breed. It has since formed the basis of all our knowledge of the early history of Channel Island cattle, and has been quoted by almost every livestock historians.
The old Jersey Cow 1800 to 1830. Drawing by John Le Couteur. Circa 1844. Ph. L.S. Mourant in his book "The Dairy Queen - The Jersey Cow" made this comment: "Colonel Le Couteur's picture of a cow (as reproduced by the "Creamery Journal" of April, 1905) is certainly the picture of a miserable ungainly object: either the worthy Colonel had selected a very bad model indeed, or, what is more likely, his artistic skill was somewhat halting. But anyway, that cow also is long since dead, and the place that knew her shall know her no more".
Less known is Le Couteur's retrospect from the annual report for 1846, reciting the progress that had been made since 1833, but for all Jersey historians of the greatest importance as a historical document.
"It can be safely asserted that, previous to 1833, no one had thought of improving the breed of cattle by any system or fixed rule. The Jersey cow was excellent, as she has ever been, which has been attributed to the circumstance of a few farmers having constantly attended to raising stock from cows of the best milking qualities; which attention, prosecuted for a long number of years in a small country like ours, where such superior qualities would soon be known, led to the excellence of milking and butter yielding properties in the race at large. This never could have been attained so generally in Normandy, from whence our breed probably originated, or in any other extended country.
Hence in a great measure may betraced the cause why half a century back, it is recorded of a Jersey cow that she produced fourteen pounds of butter in a week. This great quantity is not likely to be exceeded; but it has frequently been, and is constantly equalled. The animal which then produced that quantity might have been the ugliest that can be described: with a long head, bad horns, ewe necked, hollow backed, cat hammed, walking ill; yet her points of value, the characteristic features of the Jersey breed, were present and redeeming - a lively eye, orange ears, a round barrel, depth of chest , short fine deerlike limbs, a capital udder, largely developed milk veins and a fine tail.
No one would have purchased this animal for ornament; her usefulness might have commanded a high price, but the ordinary value of good cows was from £ 8 to £ 12. Heifers were sold at £ 4 or £ 5. The export at that period was from 700 to 800 yearly. In order to be convinced that this picture is not overdrawn the following report is produced, drawn up by the judges, who were the principal cattle dealers, at the cattle show of the 9th of April, 1834: the secretary requested the judges to state their opinion in writing as to the general defects observable in the cattle exhibited, in order to direct the attention of the Society to the most faulty points; and they reported their opinion as follows:-
1. That the cattle were very much out of condition.
2. Too slightly formed behind, and cat hammed.
3. Gait unsightly
4. The udder ill formed.
5. The tail coarse and thick.
6. The hoofs large.
7. The head coarse and ill shaped.
8. Many were without that golden or yellow tinge within the ears which denotes a property to produce yellow and rich butter.
9. Some cows and heifers had short bull necks.
10. Some had too much flesh or dewlap under the throat.
11. Some were too heavy in the shoulders. And from these principal defects, so clearly and frankly pointed out by the experienced judges, and the information gained from the lists of points required for perfection in cattle, your committee may be warranted in expressing an opinion, that by judicious crossing, a material and speedy improvement in the race of Jersey cows may be expected; and it should be specially urged on the notice of the Society, that the improvement is not only attainable, and the correction or removal of the faults pointed out to be accomplished; but that by crossing the breed, perfection is most likely to be attained, if proper pains be taken in the selection. The fixing of points and pedigree to cattle have established the fact that a cow may be equally good as beautiful; and on many farms, including that of the writer, two cows may be found with prize points, each producing fourteen pounds of rich butter in May and June. Such cows are now of a value of between £ 20 and £ 30, while their heifers will fetch from £ 12 to £ 15. From £ 20 to £ 24 have been paid for many.
Jersey bulls have also risen in value from £ 10 to £ 20; in one case £ 84 was given for one in England. A fact worthy of notice, not generally known, is that the Jersey cow when old and becoming of little value as a milker, will. when fed up, fatten rapidly and produce a greater quantity of butcher's meat than is supposed; this has been verified in several instances by members of your board. By a reference to the pedigree of the cattle it will be found that the essential character of form is to be traced to the male, the imprinting of certain characteristic features having been observed for three and four generations. There is now a bull at La Moie with the peculiar white ring round the muzzle which belonged to a progenitor six or seven years back; and in another parish may be seen a bull with the peculiar spot on the nose which defaced his forefathers. So will the valuable qualities for milk, or a tendency to fatten, be readily kept up and traced back throughout several generations. (Signed) "J.Le Couteur."
The Scale of Points under which the Jersey cattle had been judged since 1834 was revised in 1849, 1851 and 1858.
Saturday May 26, 1849 New cattle points (written in margin). Attended the Board of the Agricultural Society to revise the scale of points for cows and bulls. Proposed the alterations from 28 to 34 or 36 points and named the Committee to examine them.
Thursday May 31 Committee to extend the points for cattle at Belle Vue in the morning. George P. Touzel our President, and his daughters came first, then Patriarche, Maratts, Gibaut, Mourant and Le Feuvre of St Peter. Hume (?) sent a fine cow of his, Gibaut sent two, Hume's cow gave 9 quarts, 1 pint, 2 gills a fine milking, a large cow. My Belle, which they thought the handsomests of the lot, gave 7 quarts and a pint. After breakfast we worked till 12 and fixed 36 instead of the old 28 points. Charged me to draw a cow and mark the points.
Friday June 1 Took a sketch of Belle before breakfast in order to draw the points all round her. M. Keeping just tells me, he is going for another cargo of cows, near Quincamp in Brittany. He pays about 100 francs for them and sells them as Normans in Devon for £10. Horses he paid £15 to £30 he sells for £40. He is going to take 25 to England.
Friday June 8 Breakfast with George Touzel our President. The Committee then went over the points for bulls with Bowermans prize bull before us. I took a coloured sketch of them which they called good.
Saturday June 30 The Board of the Agricultural Society approved the drawings of the Perfection Bull and Cow and required me to write to Mr. Hudson to know the charge for lithographing them.
Engraving of John Le Couteur's cow "Belle" with breeding points, 1849. John Le Couteur's diary records that he "took a sketch of Belle in order to draw the points all round her". His ideal of a Jersey cow obviously was conformed with a rectangle, a straight back and a tail falling straight down. Le Couteur also made a sketch of a prize-winning bull belonging to Mr. Bowerman; the two drawings were approved by the Annual General Meeting of the Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society, 5th January 1850. A lithographer named Standridge of Old Jewry in London was asked to provide mere outline drawings, 750 of the cow and 250 of the bull, at 30s. for each drawing, and the prints at 2s.9d.
per hundred. The above shown engraving appeared in the Transactions of New York Agricultural Society 1850. The engravings with "the breeding points" also appeared in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, 1851 and in the John Le Couteur's new book: On the Rise, Progress and Present State of Agriculture in Jersey, a Lecture ... With Notes.. Jersey, 1852.
In John Le Couteur's letterbook No 8 is inserted an interesting newspaper cutting probably from the year
1851: "Royal Agricultural Society of England - weekly council held at Society's house in Hanover Square, Wednesday last 10 April Col Le Couteur, Viscount of the Island of Jersey, presented to the Council 2 lithographic impressions and 2 beautiful drawings made by himself, of a bull and a cow of the Jersey breed, on which were marked the "scale of points" approved by the Royal Agricultural Society of Jersey at their general annual meeting in January last, as constituting perfection in their peculiar and well-known breed of dairy cattle, and as furnishing to their judges a simple and definite process for arriving at satisfying conclusions in making their awards. Col Le Couteur entered into a detailed and very interesting statement of the character of animals in which any one or more points specified in this scale were more than usually derived. The drawings then laid before the Council were not portraits of any particular bull or cow of the Jersey breed, but represented an ideal assemblage of individual excellences occuring in different animals, and selected from the finest cattle on the Island, collected together at Col Le Couteur's farm for the express purpose in view, and carefully submitted to the inspection and comparison of the gentlemen who formed the special committee appointed by the Jersey Society to revise the "points" of their stock. Col Le Couteur, in detailing the points thus agreed to by the committee, called the particular attention of the Council to some of those points found to be most intimately connected with the natural excellence of the animals and the characteristic peculiarities of the Jersey breed, of which the Island in Col Le Couteur's opinion, at that time contained some of as perfect specimens as could well be conceived. He remarked that the cows which had the inside of the ear tinged with a deep yellow colour were invariably found to yield butter of a rich orange colour, while those with ears of a lighter tint furnished butter of a corresponding inferior quality, and of a paler hue. In the finest stock too, the eye of the cow was soft and placid, while that of the bull was lively and full of fire. The action of Jersey cattle also indicated, not only their muscular power and their mode of employing it, but that general conformation and adaption of parts which constituted excellence: a finely-bred Jersey animal, Col Le Couteur remarked, ought to walk off the ground like a racehorse. By means of the determination of a standard scale of points, the labour and responsbility of the judges was much reduced, while their decisions almost invariably gave satisfaction; as, in the case of any difference of opinion, a third party being called in, the award is at once decided. During the 10 years that he had acted as Secretary to the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society, he had never known the occurrence of an absolute case of dissatisfaction. In reply to inquiries made by the Chairman and Col Challinor, he proceeded to state that no animal received approval excepting through the Society, the members being allowed a free exhibition, while strangers are required to pay an entrance fee; the number of points assigned by the judges being duly stamped on the horn of each animal. Col Le Couteur, in reply to further inquiries, admitted that this guarantee of intent might by unprincipled dealers be incited for the purpose of deception. At the present time, many animals were easily passed as of the true Jersey breed, especially those of black, or black and white colour, from Normandy, and others from Brittany, which were very inferior, as dairy stock, to the genuine animals of that breed. The Chairman wished to know how the term "Alderney" had been generally applied in England to the Channel Island cattle, and whether the animals of that Island possessed advantages over those of Jersey or Guernsey.
Col Le Couteur said that, on the contrary, there was at the present time scarcely an animals in Alderney that he would think worth purchasing. He explained that the island had belonged to his great grandfather, who introduced into it a great number of the Jersey cattle, which, however, from the inferiority of the pasture, soon deteriorated from the original stock. Col Le Couteur, Mr Parkins and Mr French Burke then cited particular instances of the great amount of butter yielded by dairy cows, during the flush of grass in May and June, or throughout the year, if fed in a particular way, and tended with great care; namely 16 lbs a week in those months or 1 lb a day in other cases during the year. Col Challinor then stated the case of a finely-bred handsome Jersey bull of his own which, though perfectly healthy and aft, had his skin constantly affected with a yellow powder or scurf of a deep orange colour, especially within his ears and on his tail, a result he could only attribute to an abuse made of him by parties to whom he had been good-naturally lent. Col Le Couteur then expressed the great pleasure it would at all times give himself as one of the Governors of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, or his successor in the office of Secretary to the Royal Agricultural Society of Jersey, to receive applications from any of its members who required advice and aid in obtaining the best dairy animals which that island could produce. He had had last year the satisfaction of freighting a vessel of 33 head of such stock, to a gentleman residing in Scotland, which arrived in perfect safety, and maintained the high characters of the Jersey breed. The Council referred to a challenge given by Mr. Villebois, one of the Governors of the Society, to the County of Berkshire, in which he resided, in favour of 2 of his dairy cows of the Channel Islands' breed, which had produced him both milk and butter of almost un-exemplified quantity and quality. Mr. Alw?ch MP, remarked that it would be highly desirable if, in the case of other breeds of cattle, a similar scale of points could be established in order that the doubt and difficulty of the judges, and the frequent dissatisfaction of competitors, might be removed by the adoption of such a defined standard of adjudication as it would have the effect of limiting and defining the conditions of merit in the competing animals. Col Le Couteur stated that when some years ago he had shown to the late Earl Spencer the scale of points for the Jersey cattle, his Lordship expressed to him the desire he felt that such a step should be taken in reference to other breeds. Col Challinor said that he could fully corroborate that statement, for he had the pleasure of being present with Lord Spencer and Col Le Couteur at the time it was made. Mr. Burke remarked that he was also fully aware of Lord Spencer's wishes on that point. The Chairman felt how highly desirable the adoption of so definite a system would prove but at the same time he feared that our judges would have great diffculty in defining the required points and the membership agreeing to them. On the mention of Mr Parkins, the best thanks of the Council were given to Col Le Couteur, etc."
In despite of John Le Couteur's resistance to cross the Jersey breed "from the best of the shorthorns", it is a fact that some experiments in that regard has taken place. John Thornton in his account on the breed states, that "two attempts were made to land some Shorthorn cows from Weymouth; but they were promptly arrested by Mr. Henry E. Poole, the Government veterinary, and were at once slaughtered. This act was sanctioned and approved by the Harbours' Committee; and Mr. Poole was requested to follow the same course in any future attempt to land bulls or cows on the Island. This is not the first time Shorthorn cattle have been brought to Jersey. Mr. Revans, about 1845, introduced some "Durhams", as they were then termed; but Mr. Falla informed me they were not successful; and, on being sold by auction some time afterwards, were bought by butchers to be killed. Some Ayrshires were also introduced into St. Martins`s parish by Col. Godfray; but these, after a time, shared the same fate as the Shorthorns". And also C.P. Le Cornu has recorded on the same subject: "It appears that many years ago, when Col. James Godfray farmed his estate at St. Martins, he introduced a few Shorthorns for the purpose of trying crosses with his own Jersey stock. This he tried, and becoming very soon tired of the results gave up the idea, and got rid of his animals by selling them to the butcher. He next tried Ayrshires, but not being satisfied and seeing no improvement in his stock, he ultimately got rid of the whole in the same way. As regards the effect produced on the quality of the milk, Col. Godfray says it got of such thin substance that his foreman would not think of continuing. In this respect the Ayrshires gave more satisfaction than the Shorthorns, but he gladly returned to his original stock".
Jersey cow reproduced from Emile Baudements book Les Races Bovines au Concours Universel Agricole de Paris en 1856, which. includes 87 plates of cattle According to John E. Mattley " This book is particularly important as it depicts the breeds exactly as they were in life without the artistic enhancement used previously". We do know from a report published in 1857, that Michael Fowler was responsible for the Jerseys exhibited in Paris 1856, and that the animals originated from Mr. Le Gallais's herd in St. Brelade in Jersey. According to John Thornton Mr. Le. Gallais' herd was one of the largest in Jersey; it was established about 1848-50, and a number of prizes had been won both in the Island and in England by his stock. Could this Jersey be the result of an experiment - to cross Jersey with another breed? Anyway the Jersey exhibition in Paris made somebody believe that the Jersey breed descended from some Swiss mountain breeds.
The new R.J.A. & H.S. book published "Jersey's Rural Heritage - A farming way of life" contains this picture of a typical Jersey cow from the mid 19th century. C.P. Le Cornu - one of the most noted island breeders at that time - has in his prize essay from 1859 given his probably much truthfully description of the island cow about 140 years ago. "In form the Jersey cow is deer-like, and small in size. The colours mostly prized are the light red and white, the brown and the fawn; brindled specimens are rarely seen; they are not at all valued, and may be purchased extremely cheap".
The Herd Book The Jersey Herd Book, a department of the parent society, was formed in 1866, largely at John Le Couteur's instigation, its object being to ensure that the true parentage of every animal recorded should be known.
There were at that time over 12000 head of cattle in the Island. Joan Stevens has stated that it was not a new idea, for the 1851 diary says: ”I am working at points for English cattle. The herd book will be a great aid".
He was delighted to find that the young farmers seem to come into the idea .
Over the next 30 years the situation changed. The island breeder Jonathan Smith made in 1887 this comment to the US consul in Jersey: "It is much to be regretted that of late years some English breeders have taken upon themselves to set up a new standard - solid color; that is, the absence of white markings in the coat - The single aim of our efforts has hitherto been improving the breed and making it what it now is the best of butter cows".
In 1914 W. J. Labey, the by then oldest breeder in the Island, told what actually happened: "45 years ago a whole coloured cow was shown at St. Peter`s Show - then the largest show of cattle on the Channel Islands and everybody went to see her. She was at first regarded as a freak, but soon she became the fashion. A craze set in for such cows to adorn the landscape in English parks. Solid colour and pretty type was what the English and American buyers wanted, and, of course, the Islanders bred them. There was money in the new fad for the breeders. The first whole coloured bull was rushed with services. He served over a thousand cows in one season, and his owner made a fortune with them". (Nuttall, 1937)
John Thornton, an eminent Jersey historian. His important contribution to the history of the Jersey breed was according to himself based on "existing records and conversations with the oldest breeders" in Jersey Island. "History of the Breed" appeared in The English Herd Book of Jersey Cattle. Volume I. 1879. From the very first issue of the Jersey Bulletin in 1883 also began a series of articles by Thornton on "History of the Breed of Jersey Cattle", reprinted from the Monthly Bulletin, England. It was in several consecutive issues.
Prize Jerseys at The Bath and West of England Agricultural Show at Southampton, 1869
Mr. Philip Dauncey, Horwood, Buckinghamshire, was the greatest of the early Jersey breeders of England, although not the first. He began breeding about 1821. He possessed a sort of instinct in selecting and coupling the right animals. He bred Jerseys to improve their size, constitution and yield, as he was a dairyman, and bred cattle for his dairy and not primarily to sell. Notwithstanding, he was handicapped by possessing a strong predilection for solid-colored animals. His herd, considered one of the greatest achievements of the breeder`s skill ever attained in England, was sold in 1879, and the animals were scattered widely . In 1844, Island cattle were shown at England`s Royal Show for the first time. It was held at Southampton and an Island-bred bull, cow and heifer were each successful in winning prizes. At that time, cattle from Jersey were allowed to be sent to England for the Show, and then returned to the Island. In 1862, at the Royal Show at Battersea, the R.A.S.E. introduced special classes for "Jerseys, commonly known as Alderney cattle". In 1871, at Wolverhampton, a final separation took place between Jerseys and Guernseys;
Jersey Stock in England
The American C.L. Sharpless visited England in 1873. His account was published on February 12, 1874 in The Cultivator & Country Gentleman under the caption: "Jersey Stock in England": "Having visited the island of Jersey in the successive summers of 1866 and 1867, and being aware that many animals had been previously exported thence to England, I was curious to examine the herds in that country, to see whether better animals were there than exist to-day in the United States. A visit to England in the summer of 1873 gave me the desired opportunity, and I send herewith notes from my memorandum book. The first place visited was that of Walter Gilbey, Hargrave Park, Stanstead, Essex, from St. Paneras Station.
Through the politeness of A. Nockolds, whom I found a most intelligent as well as enthusiastic fancier of Jerseys, I carefully examined a select herd of 12 cows and 2 bulls. His finest cow is Milkmaid, a solid mouse color, with fine horn; a large milker, but with mirror only half way up. Medora comes next, a solid mouse color, a very large cow bought at the Dauncey sale - so large as to give color to the report that there was some Swiss blood in that herd. Lady Grey is light fawn, and a fine, neat cow, and Belle is a good one, but not remarkable. The others are fair. The bulls were solid but beefy, and without mirror. The ambition among exhibitors in England is to secure an animal that is a solid dark color, one that will lead out stylish; the mirror is overlooked, ant the qualities of the dam not regarded; but the animal must have no white, any of which color being on a bull calf consigns him to the butchers. Lord Chesham, near Rickmansworth, on the London and Northwestern railroad, has 17 cows, 14 heifers and 11 bull. The cows are solid color, of fair quality, and the bull has no mirror. So far, and indeed among all the Jersey herds, I found not a single Guernsey cow, and this, though there is no concert of action, no herd register, no cattle club, and no conditions at the exhibitions that the animals must be pure Jersey. Still, among the exhibitors at the different shows, there is sharp competition and owners take great pride in getting the prizes. Near to Chesham's is the Majoribanks herd of 30 fair cows, with 1 bull. Among all the stock of Jersey bulls in England, I did not find one with any mirror whatever, and this because that feature is not required by the judges at the shows. Next came the Queen's cows at Windsor, some 18 in number, and with 2 bulls. These, with the herd at Osborne, that in 1867 numbered 14, are about as good at the average in this country, but among them none remarkable. Lord Braybrooke, at Audley End, from St. Pancras Station, has 14 cows and 1 bull; and C. Smith, of Short Grove Park, within a few miles, has eight cows - both of which herds are only fair. In passing I must mention that the latter is one of those exquisite places that you see nowhere but in England, combining beautiful landscape, with royal old trees, herds of deer and water effects, and over all that settled and grand look that nothing but age will give. A Houblin, near Bishop Stortford, has 20 cows and 1 bull - some of the cows good. His place, Hallingbury, contains a thousand or more acres, abounding with hares, rabbits, quail and deer. G. Simpson, Wray Park, Reigate, has 22 cows, 8 heifers and 4 bulls. Among the cows is one very large one, admitted to be part Swiss. Mr. Fuller near Dorking, has 10 cows, 5 heifers and 2 bulls. An old cow here is the dam of W. Gilbey's fine cow Milkmaid. One of the finest herds is that of John G. Leigh of Hoo Park Farm, Luton. The drive from the main road, which is edged with superb trees, is through an avenue of magnificent old English beeches, from two and a half to three feet in diameter, and the farm buildings are models of neatness, which was a noticeable feature in nearly all cases. His herd numbers 20 cows and 1 bull. Among the cows Gipsey ranks the best, and the favorite color is solid mouse or dun, with black points. There are no remarkable cows in the herd. There were two herds I did not see, that of F.M. Wilson, near Bury St. Edmond, and of W.S. Lowndes of Whaddon Hall, Stony Stratford, Bucks. The latter has about 30 head. The best herd I saw was that of A. MacDonald, Liphook, from Waterloo Station. It contained 69 milking cows - 34 in one field and 35 in another, all Jerseys, and some of them very choice; and it is to be regretted that the best of these are barred from America. They appear to have been selected for yield, and are not "solid color with black points". Besides the fact that the Jersey bulls of England are solid dark color and deficient in mirror, they are all beefy, and though they lead out well at a show and get prizes, their daughters will count but little at the pail.
The same applies to many of the cows, and there seems to be an instinctive yearning after the Short-Horn type. Those in this country that have the same craving can be suited with the Swiss cows, and especially with a herd of 30 or 40 near the top of the Right mountain. There are handsome, large animals, stout and solid colors, mouse colors, duns, drabs, all with black points, and with the exact features of the Jersey - a white fillet encircling the nose. There is one particular in which the English breeders are an example to us. We think a hundred miles is too far to send our Jerseys to exhibit; they are constantly, through the show season, sending them sometimes 200 and 300 miles. Besides those above enumerated, the Fowlers of Watford and Little Bushey have constantly on hand a lot fresh from the Island and there are scattering smaller herds, but the conclusion I came to was, that with exception of a few choice cows in MacDonald's herd, the stock of America would not be improved by importation from England. Charles L. Sharpless Philadelphia, 1mo, 28, 1874"
The Royal Show at Bristol 1878
The Jersey Cattle Society of the United Kingdom was founded in 1878. One of the final meetings was kept in the connection with the Royal Show at Bristol. From this show another American has recorded his impression of the standard of the British Jersey at that time. "I had looked forward with great interest to the exhibition of Jerseys, having been struck by the high prices paid at several of the recent public sales, and knowing the great care which Jersey breeders in England have long bestowed upon the development of the race. I had also long known that the question of color was made a leading object in all of the celebrated English herds .....Many of the Jerseys to which the judges awarded prizes at Bristol were heavy-horned, thick-shouldered, tough hided, coarse-baited, fat creatures, looking like a small short horn bred to the highest standard of fatness, and colored uniformly gray, with black tail and feet. They may be very fine animals for the purpose for which they are kept, but they certainly can not be particularly good for any agricultural use. They deserve to be regarded, so far as the money-making farmer is concerned, very much as the "hunter" horses are regarded, that is, as a source of profit because of the high prices for which they may be sold to those who want tbem for a purely fancy use".
"To most Americans, the Channel Islands are associated with the thought of Channel Island cattle. The names Alderney, Jersey and Guernsey bring up memories of the pictures of cows from these islands, painted by Edwin Douglas" (E. Parmalle Prentice: American Dairy Cattle, 1942)
Prize Jerseys painted in 1887 for Sir James Blyth in Essex by Edwin Douglas. His Jersey cattle pictures became rather popular, especially in the United States. Perhaps art lovers among Jersey breeders ought to frequent Valerie Martin in England, who has compiled an art index of Edwin Douglas' paintings. A son William Bruce Douglas has stated: "My father was about the only artist to paint Jersey cattle and his Royal Academy pictures of Jersey subjects about the years 1875 to
1880 made such propaganda for the beautiful little Jerseys as to create a great demand for them in England and the U.S.A. so much so that the English Jersey Cattle Society elected my father a life member in recognition of his services in promoting the popularity of the breed".