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BARNSTAPLE AND NORTH DEVON HORSE SHOW at Pilton Lawn in July 1877 /media/flashcomm?action=mediaview&context=normal&id=820

The following is a report of the Barnstaple and North Devon Horse Show, held at Pilton Lawn in July 1877, in the Somerset County Gazette of 14th July 1877. From reports in other years, this seems to have been an annual event held on the land between Pilton House and the River Yeo. No images have been found.
“The sixth annual horse show was held on Wednesday on the grounds of Mr. C. H. Williams, of Pilton Lawn, near Barnstaple, and attracted from 6,000 to 7,000 people. Among the company were Lord Lymington, Lady Rosamond Wallop, Admiral Parker, and Messrs. Froude, Bellew, T. Carew, Major Buller and A. Chichester (Exeter). The judges were the Right Hon. Earl Portsmouth, Capt. Archdale, Col. Buller, and Messrs. Vincent Calmady, Warne Raddall, James Quartly and F. L. Smyth. Just beyond the grand-stand was a raised dais, on which were located the band of the Royal Marines, and around them the whole of the day were congregated a large number of people. The show of horses, speaking generally, was of superior character, and a great improvement on that of last year. So keen was the competition in some classes that after awarding the prizes the judges highly commended the whole class, the classes coming in for this honour being that of cart colts of 1874, ponies, hacks, light-weight hunters, hunters between three and six years. The judges commenced at half-past ten in the small ring, the brood mares and foals calculated for riding or driving being first led into the ring. They were very fair lot. The “blue" was carried off by “Stella," owned by Mr Webb, of Torrington, and which was passed over by the judges last year. The second-prize horse, “Her Ladyship, owned by Mr. Camp, of Ilfracombe, would have been a superior animal only that the off knee did not exactly please the judges. Class 8, for brood mares and not exceeding 14-3, displayed qualities which would render them very useful lot. “Princess George," the property of George Davy and Son, struck us as being the first in the class, being proportionately built, symmetrical in form, and having good colt by her side, but she was awarded second, the judges being of opinion that “Polly”, owned by Mr. R. B. Wood, of Ivvbridge, was a better animal. It was the opinion of all capable of judging, that the finest class in the whole show was Class 9, for ponies not exceeding 13½, and not less than 12, and not under three years old. There were as many as 26 entries, and the judges were occupied a long time in giving their decisions. A class which called into requisition the abilities of the judges to the utmost extent was that for hacks, the quality being so good, and the whole class was commended, the first being awarded to a horse with splendid action, called “Pretty Boy," belonging to Messrs. Pedrick and Brice, of Exeter. Carriage horses were a fine lot. The first- prize horse, “The Judge," owned by Mr. Ellis, of Moreeth, was bred by Mr. Moutague Bere, Q.C., and was sold to Mr. Reynolds, of Devonport, for nearly £lOO. The light-weight horses were a fair lot. “Honourable Charles," property of Mr. J. Harper, of Barnstaple, which last year got third prize, has this year taken first, Mr. Huxtable's “Lurline”, second last year, being out of the running. Class 16 (hunters) was also commended. The driving prizes and prizes for farm-horses in harness having been awarded, the great attraction for the ladies, namely, the jumping, took place. Many of the horses took the bank without blenching, and received the plaudits of the assemblage, whilst others caused amusement by rushing up in good style, and upon reaching the bank either suddenly stopping short or turning completely round. Altogether the show was a splendid success, especially in a financial point of view, and both promoters, exhibitors and visitors cannot fail to be highly gratified with the results. In the evening a large number of people attended the market, where promenade concert was given by the Royal Marine Band.”

If anyone has any more information or, even better, an image of this event, please let us know.

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