Cleveland Bay:   The Bentley of Coach Horses

The Cleveland Bay is the oldest of all the indigenous British horse breeds. Clevelands are large, powerful, and elegant, and they are always bay in color. Though they were considered to be the very best coach horses during the Regency, this magnificent breed came to the very brink of extinction in the 1960s. They were saved, almost single-handedly, by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

A canter through the chronicles of the Cleveland Bay …

The roots of the family tree of the Cleveland Bay are lost in the swirling mists of ancient Britain. Many hippologists, those who study horses, believe that the ancestors of this breed were crosses between the native, indigenous horses of the British Isles and the horses the Romans brought with them to pull their chariots when they invaded. By the Middle Ages, a strong, sturdy horse was being bred from the horses descended from those ancient British/Roman crosses in the monasteries of the Wapentake of Langbaurgh. A wapentake was the term used in the northern counties for what was known as a hundred in the rest of England. This one encompassed the Vale of Cleveland and Whitby Strand, which became the core of the region where these medieval horses were bred. With the Dissolution in 1539, the breeding stock held by the monasteries in this area came into the possession of those upon whom Henry VIII conferred the erstwhile monastery lands. Many of the new landowners continued breeding the line of horses which the monasteries had established.

Initially, these horses were put to agricultural use, mostly clearing fields and plowing. However, in rough, mountainous terrain, carts and wagons were nearly useless, and sound, sturdy pack horses were a necessity. The horses bred at the monasteries and later by private breeders, had the strength and stamina to carry heavy loads over long distances, and were sure-footed enough to successfully negotiate even narrow tracks though the steep hills. It was not long before peddlers and other itinerant salesmen were eagerly seeking out these pack horses to carry their wares throughout the region. These travelling salesmen were known as chapmen, and it was not long before they lent their name to this breed of horse. Thus was named the Chapman Horse, which would become the cold-blood side of the warm-blooded Cleveland Bay breed.

From the time of Queen Elizabeth I, wealthy young noblemen traveled in Europe on the Grand Tour when they left university. Many of these young men purchased an expensive status symbol, a Barbary stallion, during their travels. Most of these North African horses were acquired in some Mediterranean port, having been shipped across the sea by Moorish traders. Mares were considered much too valuable by the Moors, so only stallions were ever on offer. Which suited these young men, as they felt that stallions conferred much greater status than would have a mare. And most of these affluent young aristocrats brought their Barb stallions home with them. A number of them found their way to the Vale of Cleveland and were bred with Chapman mares. Thus arrived the first wave of the hot-blood component of the Cleveland Bay.

The second wave of hot-blood came to the Vale of Cleveland in the aftermath of the English Civil War. Prior to the mid-eighteenth century, no European monarch with any self-respect would have had his equestrian portrait painted mounted on any horse but an Andalusian. The same held true for high-ranking military officers. According to one Cleveland Bay hippologist, "In the Civil Wars of the 1640s Generals and Colonels sprang up like mushrooms in the English countryside … and the first thing they did was to equip themselves with an Andalusian charger." And like the young aristocrats in the previous century who had purchased Barbs on the Grand Tour, only intact stallions would do for these officers. Once King Charles I had been executed and Oliver Cromwell was in control of England, about half of these officers, those who had been on his side, were given posts as military governors and civil administrators in the provinces. They took their Andalusian stallions with them. Of the other half of the officers, those who had been against Cromwell, many went into exile, but nearly as many returned to their country estates to live quietly, out of sight and, hopefully, out of mind of Cromwell. They also took their Andalusian chargers with them.

A goodly number of these Andalusian-owning officers, whether for or against Cromwell, were located in the general vicinity of the Vale of Cleveland and the North Riding of Yorkshire. The decade of Cromwell’s Protectorate was dull and dreary. Even worse, especially in the countryside, the ecomony was rather depressed. But the need for horses continued, and to supplement their incomes, many of these Andalusian stallions were put to stud by their owners. And many of them covered Chapman/Barb cross mares. It was during this time that the bay color was fixed in the horses bred in this region. Andalusians came in many colors, from palomino to chestnut to black. But bay was the most frequent color seen and the most esteemed in England.

The third and final wave of hot-blood came to the Vale of Cleveland and the Whitby Strand quite literally over the waves. When Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, her father, the King of Portugal, included in her dowry the port of Tangier on the Barbary coast. The English were ecstatic at the idea of a deep-water port on the Mediterranean, but to accomplish that end, the port of Tangier would have to be dredged and a sturdy stone pier would have to be built. The only people in England capable of doing this work were the marine engineers and masons who had recently completed the deep-water harbor-works at the port of Whitby. Men and materiel were transported via ships out of the port of Whitby to Tangier. Initially, these ships returned to England carrying only ballast, as there was no commercial trade at the Moorish port. It did not take long for the Yorkshire horse breeders to realize this could be an opportunity to buy Barbary horses directly from the Moors in North Africa, with ample transport to England available at very reasonable rates. And so, ships sailed out of Whitby loaded with supplies for the harbor-works in Tangier and returned carrying Barbary horses, both stallions and mares, bound for the horse breeders of Yorkshire.

By the mid-1680s, the Cleveland Bay type was fairly well established. The characteristics of the breed included a remarkably uniform conformation and size, soundness, stamina and an even but courageous temperament. Cleveland Bays were large, powerful horses, their big, well-rounded bodies providing plenty of room for a large heart and lungs. They weighed between 1200 to 1500 pounds. Though their legs were rather short, they were of sturdy, heavy bone, and with their big bodies, Clevelands stood between 16 to 16.5 hands in height. The back was not long, shoulders were sloping, deep and muscular, with powerful hind-quarters. The neck was long and lean, the head was bold, with a slightly hawk-like profile, a gift from their Andalusian ancestors. Eyes were large, luminous and dark. Their expression was often described as "kind." The mane and tail were thick, long and flowing. Clevelands were always bay, with black points, that is, their mane and tail, and the lower half of their legs. The legs were clean, meaning they were free of the feathers which were to be seen on Clydesdales and Suffolk Punch horses. Clevelands had sound, broad feet, with hooves of such a deep black they appeared blue in color.

For the rest of the seventeenth century, Cleveland Bays were employed as both farm horses and pack horses. Their short backs and short, sturdy legs made them perfect for carrying bags of iron ore to the smelting facilities over rough ground. Their short backs made it easier for them to carry the very heavy bags of ore, the weight of which could have broken a horse with a longer back. Their short legs kept their center of gravity low, ensuring their sure-footedness on mountain trails. Just as important were their large feet and blue-black hooves. The lighter the color of a horse’s hooves, the softer they are. The deep black hooves of the Clevelands were extremely hard, thus enabling them to withstand the wear and tear of the rocky paths over which they traveled. Many farmers in the Yorkshire ridings plowed their fields with Clevelands, though in much of the rest of England at that time, oxen were used for plowing. The typical hitch for a team of Clevelands to a plow was the unicorn, with two wheelers harnessed behind a single leader. It was said that such a team could plow a field twice as fast as a double yoke of oxen, regardless of the heavy clay content of the soil in the region.

As the seventeenth century neared its end, more roads were being constructed across England, and many northern farmers began using their Clevelands to pull both their plows and their farm wagons. And many wealthy gentlemen, travelling those same roads, took note of the strong, handsome bay horses they saw pulling large loads over long distances at a brisk and steady clip. By the turn of the eighteenth century, as roads improved and more and more people could afford coaches, the demand for horses to pull those coaches steadily increased. Of course, most people preferred matched teams, and the prepotency of the Clevelands made them an obvious choice. The prepotency of the Cleveland Bays meant that when they were bred, they always reproduced themselves in type, temperament, soundness, stamina and performance. But most of all, in terms of color, they bred true every time. Cleveland Bays were always bay in color, thus making it fairly easy to assemble a well-matched team. There were some variations in the bay color, from a bright, slightly reddish bay to a darker, more muted bay. The bright bay was the most preferred color, but there were many horses foaled each year across the bay color range, so teams in the bay color variation of choice could be assembled without much effort.

By the reign of George II, Cleveland Bays were acknowledged across Europe as the very best coach horses. So much so that by mid-century, many Cleveland Bays, mostly stallions, were exported to a number of countries for use in improving their own coach horse breeds. George II himself sent a number of Clevelands to Hanover to be used in the breeding program at his royal stud there. In addition, he acquired many Clevelands to horse his royal coaches. The breeding of Cleveland Bays had also spread outside of the Vale of Cleveland and the Yorkshire ridings so that Clevelands were bred at studs across England. This heavy demand for Clevelands was a boon to the farmers of the region in which they had originally been bred. Many farmers bred their own Clevelands for an extra income, by selling the foals to horse traders seeking coach horses.

In the latter decades of the eighteenth century, many Cleveland Bay owners had begun to appreciate their abilities in the hunting field. It was not long before Cleveland Bays were used in the breeding of heavy hunters. With their great strength and stamina they could stay in the field for hours. Their strong, powerful legs made it possible for them to jump even high fences quite effortlessly, with little risk of injury. But perhaps what endeared them most to their riders was their dependable, friendly and calm demeanor, and their great intelligence. Many country gentlemen came to prefer full or part-bred Clevelands as the ideal saddle horse when riding out over their estates.

By the Regency, Cleveland Bays were the preferred coach horse across Britain. They were used for the Royal Mail coaches and for many of the stage-coaches which traveled the main routes between London and the provinces. But Clevelands were also in great demand to draw the private coaches of those who could afford them. A team of Clevelands was something of a status symbol, as had been the Barbary stallions which were their ancestors. But during the Regency, when roads were beginning to be macadamized and well-sprung, light-weight sporting vehicles were being developed, many gentlemen wanted a taller, lighter, faster horse. The ideal horse for such vehicles turned out to be an offshoot of the Cleveland Bay, the Yorkshire Coach horse.

Cleveland Bays continued in popularity as coach and farm horses until World War I. Many of them were drafted into service as war horses, yet despite their service, by the time the war came to an end, mechanization was rapidly eliminating the need for these powerful, all-purpose horses. Without the demand, many breeders stopped breeding Cleveland Bays, and by the 1960s, the breed was nearly extinct. In 1962, there were only four purebred Cleveland Bay stallions left in Britain, and one of the finest, Mulgrave Supreme, was about to be exported to the United States. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II purchased Mulgrave Supreme for the Royal Stables. Queen Elizabeth also initiated a breeding program with both purebred and part-bred mares which was so successful that within fifteen years there were thirty-six purebred Cleveland Bay stallions in the United Kingdom. HRH Prince Philip, who regularly competed in international driving competitions, usually drove a team of Cleveland Bays, which garnered much attention for the breed. However, the population of Cleveland Bays is still critical, as it is estimated there are only five to seven hundred registered Clevelands in the world. But many more people have come to appreciate their outstanding qualities and there is hope the breed will be preserved.

Next week, a history of that magnificent light carriage horse so beloved of sporting gentlemen, the Yorkshire Coach Horse.


About Kathryn Kane

Historian with a particular interest the English Regency era.   An avid reader of novels set in that time, holding strong opinions on the historical accuracy to be found in said novels.
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34 Responses to Cleveland Bay:   The Bentley of Coach Horses

  1. You’ve sold me. My viscount/army major will DEFINITELY be riding a Cleveland Bay in the Peninsula. And buying another one after the Corunna retreat. :/

    Waiting to see your post on the Yorkshire Coach Horse to see which is more suited for my lady’s barouche.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      For your major’s safety and survival, you may want to rethink his choice of horses, depending upon where he plans to ride them. On the field of battle, most military men, especially cavalry officers, preferred Thoroughbreds, many of them acquiring failed racehorses for the purpose. The Thoroughbreds of the Regency were much more sturdy, but not as tall as are the racehorses of today. Most Regency-era Thoroughbreds stood about 15 to 1.5 hands high, making their riders less of a target when mounted. Though they may not have won a lot of races, they were usually fast and nimble, critical skills during a cavalry charge. Cleveland Bays stood between 16 to 16.5 hands, a good six or seven inches taller, thereby exposing their riders more clearly to enemy snipers. Though they could move at speed, they were nowhere near as fast as a Thoroughbred.

      However, if your major is a riding officer, who spends more time doing reconnaissance than in battle, a Cleveland Bay would be a good choice. A taller horse would give him more height to scan the area through which he was riding, and a Cleveland would have the strength and stamina to cover even very rough terrain for long hours.

      There is something else you might want to keep in mind, most army officers kept a string of horses in the Peninsula. Wellington kept at least a dozen, some Thoroughbreds, which he would ride on the battlefield, others hunters, which he would ride on the hunting field. Wellington also kept a pack of hounds and he hunted whenever possible, believing it good exercise. There was the added advantage that the quarry for the day many times supplemented the officers’ mess. He often invited other officers to join him on the hunt, and your major could be one of them. But Wellington was not the only senior officer who kept a pack and hunted in the Peninsula. Other senior officers did the same, and would have invited the officers of their staff to join them. So, your major may want a Thoroughbred or two for the battlefield and a Cleveland Bay or two for the hunting field or when out on a reconnaissance mission. He might even want a Yorkshire Coach horse or two, which you can decide when you know more about them.

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your story. You are most welcome to post the details and a link here once it is published.



      • I didn’t know that horses grazed in the same way as sheep, though thinking about the shape of their mouths and arrangement of their teeth it should have been obvious – d’oh! as they say. I understand that vetches were considered adequate replacement for oats, and grows adequately enough in Northern pastures, but the grasses are short. I guess that you could graze a horse alongside sheep, in that case. My reading about peasant diets has mentioned maslin or mazlin, a mix of rye and oats, the poorest eating bread made from that, also known as horse bread, as this was the mix fed to the horses. Rye will grow in peat bogs so even the otherwise unproductive land can be used for horse feed… I had also forgotten that oxen will only ever work with the partner they were trained with, using horses really does make sense.

        • Kathryn Kane says:

          I have read about “horse bread,” too. In C. Anne Wilson’s Food and Drink in Britain. It sounds pretty awful, at least for humans.

          Have you ever made any?


          • I have not yet had a go at maslin bread… managed chat or cheat bread [the grade down from the white manchet loaf such as the prioress in the Canterbury Tales fed to her dog by way of conspicuous consumption] but I’m ashamed to admit that although I’m a dab hand at pastry, I’m not very good at bread… maslin bread is a sourdough recipe, I believe. I am keen to give it a go one day, it’s supposed to be very nice with goats cheese [or presumably ewe’s cheese which is delightfully creamy].

            • Kathryn Kane says:

              When you describe maslin that way, paired with lovely creamy cheese, it sounds quite yummy. And based on the description I read in Ms. Wilson’s book, it is probably very healthy with all those whole grains.

              But I have to admit, when I was reading about it, I was thinking much less about eating it myself and more about giving it to the closest horse!


  2. Fascinating! I am not a horsy person either, though I’ve done a fair bit of reading to be able to fudge enough to write in passing, but this is quality information. I have to say, though, that what truly fascinated me was the concept of ploughing with the unicorn rig, which I had always thought to be, like driving pickaxe, to be the prerogative of smart young men wanting to cut a dash. I would imagine that the extra horse overcame the strength needed that was the reason generally for using oxen to shift that heavy clay. I am impressed that it could be done faster!
    The main reason generally for using oxen rather than horses was economic [Langdon: ‘The Economics of Horses and Cattle in Medieval England’ available online as a PDF] though the accepted figures have been shown by Langdon to be exaggerated, and the cost of the upkeep of an ox was about 70% the cost of the upkeep of a horse. Of course an ox too old to plough was also able to be sold as meat, but this meant that there was no such thing as a cheap ox. Horses could come cheap…. moreover a horse was a more versatile draft beast than an ox, and could plough stony ground where oxen slipped. I wonder if the friendly disposition of the Cleveland also had some factor in its choice as a draft beast, because it could be persuaded to be more compliant than an ox…. I can’t think of any much worse job than turning a team of oxen in clay when they are having an ornery fit. [incidentally I have seen a Suffolk Punch team win a ploughing contest against a tractor in the clay of mid Suffolk… ]

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Right on, Suffolk Punch!!! Good on them for winning the contest!!!

      I suspect that there were a number of reasons why Yorkshire farmers, in particular, chose to use horses for plowing rather than oxen. As you said, oxen can be a handful, plus, as you probably know, they can only be worked as a team, and only with the partner with whom they were yoked when they were being trained. Each ox in a team was forever after only yoked on the right or left side and they would refuse to work if they were yoked on the wrong side. In addition, it was nearly impossible to put two mature oxen together in a yoke if they had not been trained together originally. Thus, if one ox died, the team was lost. Horses, including Clevelands, were less persnickety about their harness-mates.

      There was also the problem of grazing. Cattle, including oxen, graze very differently than do horses, or sheep. Cattle need long tall grass, since they wrap their tongue around the blades, yank them off and then pull them into their mouth to chew them on rather broad, blunt teeth. Horses have sharp front teeth which allows them to bite off the blades of grass much closer to the ground. Therefore, they can take in adequate nourishment even in rocky pastures with short grass. Sheep graze in much the same way as horses, though they crop the grass even shorter than do most horses. (Which is one of the reasons sheep were popular as “lawnmowers on the hoof” for centuries. It is also the root cause of the many range wars in the American west. Sheep will graze off a pasture so close there would be nothing left for the cattle. So cattlemen hated sheep, since they threatened the survival of their own herds.)

      A Yorkshire farmer would have had to either supplement, or provide all the food for any oxen he might own, since they would have problems grazing on some of the pastures in the north country. But horses could manage fairly well on such fare, especially when oats were scarce and needed for the family. Of course, most farmers would provide at least a few oats to working plow horses, to help maintain their strength, if there were any to spare.



  3. Elf Ahearn says:

    Ladies, your scholarship is astounding. How I wish I’d known of your knowledge of horses, Kathryn, before I had my novel, A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, published. The catalyst to much of the action is a dapple gray stallion. If I sent the book to you, would you read it and tell me where I went astray? I’d like to be forearmed when the rest of the horse-oriented readers start complaining.
    Elf Ahearn

    • It sounds an interesting book [as does Julian’s] – hey there’s always such a thing as second edition [revised] if Kat thinks you are in need of revision… Kat is a very clever and knowledgeable lady, it’s an education reading this blog!

      • Elf Ahearn says:

        Sarah, if I didn’t have to get some writing done every once in a while, i’d be reading the Regency Redingote’s archives all day. The detail in the research, combined with the clear, energetic way it’s written is turning me into an addict.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am most flattered by your request to review your book for horse-related details. However, I am not able to do so at this time, the reasons for which I have sent you privately, in an email.

      You are, of course, quite welcome to post a link here to your book so that folks can read it for themselves. I will add a request to any of you who do read A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, that you keep in mind that no author can no everything about everything, so please enjoy the story in that vein. Remember, it is a romance, not an encyclopedia of the horse! 🙂



    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am most flattered by your request to review your book for horse-related details. However, I am not able to do so at this time, the reasons for which I have sent you privately, in an email.

      You are, of course, quite welcome to post a link here to your book so that folks can read it for themselves. I will add a request to any of you who do read A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing, that you keep in mind that no author can no everything about everything, so please enjoy the story in that vein. Remember, it is a romance, not an encyclopedia of the horse! 🙂



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  5. Kathryn Kane says:

    For those who may be interested, I have also discovered that in some parts of England, from the eighteenth century right up to the end of World War II, many farmers hitched a single Cleveland Bay in front of a team of oxen for ploughing their fields. The records which I found suggest that the oxen typically followed the horse without objection, making it much easier for the farmer to manage his team, and to get a bit more speed from them.



  6. Elf Ahearn says:

    Fascinating. I wonder how they hitched the reins or if they had someone lead the horse. Or, if they could pretty much depend on the Cleveland Bay to lead the pack.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      From what I can tell, they only had reins on the horse. Apparently, the oxen were perfectly happy to follow whatever was ahead of them. It seems the tug on their yoke from the horse ahead of them kept them moving at the same pace and in the same direction as the horse. Which probably made it a lot easier for the farmer, since he really then only had to drive the horse, the oxen just followed in its wake.



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  8. Colin Green says:

    Have just been pointed towards your writings so these comments may be too late however I have found the article related to the Cleveland Bay very interesting and informative. Although I have been connected with pure bred and part bred CBs as a breeder for nearly forty years some of the information is new to me and I have read a lot over the years seeking information about this Breed. I speculate to what extent you have interpreted the information and if you have added your own spin, and perhaps you might be prepared to comment. You have certainly presented a lot of information and have shown a true grasp of the essence of the breed. I would be interested in seeing your references and wonder if you have a list of your sources so that I might expand my knowledge. Origins and the evolution of the Breed are quite contentious issues as are the role that the Thoroughbred has played in this are continuing issues between breeders. You may not have traced back the one remaining sire line but if you did you would also see that it leads back to The Beyerley Turk the third male founder of the TB. You have made much greater reference to the Thoroughbred in your Yorkshire Coach Horse article but this is a lasting cause of friction in the pure breed. Thoroughbred blood, in addition to that alleged at the end of the 17th Century and early 18th, has entered throughout the centuries. More lately, 19th Century, the inclusion of YCH blood inevitably containing TB blood was introduced through an upgrading process for mares and such introductions have continued to the present day. Mulgrave Supreme as you correctly identified as being of considerable influence on the Breed, along with many other horses called ‘pure bred’, shows in his pedigree a number of female lines carrying YCH blood. Clearly he was a very good horse but to what does he owe these qualities? The pure bred CB lines or the introductions of YCH bringing TB genetics? You can imagine the arguments that take place.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Comments are never too late and I am glad to know you found the article of interest. My primary focus was to trace the basic history of the breed up to the Regency, which is my main area of interest. I did not spend a great deal of time on bloodline details, since that type of information is not much use to the majority of my readers. They are more interested in the types of horses which were available during the Regency for use in horsing coaches and carriages. I also added just a bit about the current state of the breed so that my readers would know it has survived into the 21st century. My take on Mulgrave Supreme was that mostly, he was in the right place at the right time to find his way into the Queen’s stables. Beyond that, I would not speculate on his pedigree or special qualities. He was definitely one lucky horse!

      In terms of the thoroughbred bloodlines, the Byerley Turk was certainly one of the foundation sires for that breed. However, according to my research, he was not part of the bloodlines of the Cleveland Bays. From what I found, they all traced back to only the Godolphin or the Darley Arabians, both of whom were also bays. That may well be because the Byerley Turk was servicing mares in the 1680s while the Godolphin and the Darley were active in the early eighteenth century.

      You are not the first to ask for my sources on the Cleveland Bay and Yorkshire Coach horse articles. However, a major drain on my time for numerous reasons over the course of the past few months has inhibited that effort. The sources are spread all over the place, which is why it is so hard to gather them. But I will do it, as soon as I can, and will make sure you get a copy of the list.

      In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to post your comments, and the link to your web site (I took the liberty of fixing it so it works). Your horses are magnificent! I am glad to know there are still Cleveland Bays being bred in Great Britain.



      • Colin Green says:

        Thank you for your reply and I can appreciate that you do not need to become involved in the finer aspects of the Breed. I admire your knowledge and you already have a much greater understanding and knowledge of the history of the Breed than many breeders. Gathering information about this Breed is very much a treasure hunt as there is only one small book about it and this is very limited. One finds a paragraph here and one there in all sorts of places and I look forward to your bibliography.
        The Cleveland Bay breed is struggling and the recession over the last five years has seriously affected the numbers being bred. It has been difficult to get to even 20 fillies per year registered over this difficult period. American breeders have also played their part.
        Not sure what you meant by fixing the link to my website but, thank you.

        • Colin,looks like you have a book or pamphlet to write, if Kat finds the references, you can reference her as well! I’ve found a few references to Cleveland Bays in the British Newspaper Archives which I haven’t followed because it wasn’t the thrust of my research [the name impinged on my thoughts as I scrolled because of this article!]. Might be worth taking out a subscription for a month and having a poke around…. I mean to go through the races at some point just because I love the silly names people give to horses.

          • Colin Green says:

            I have taken a quick look and it shows many references that I will definitely follow up. Thank you very much Sarah.
            I love the silly horse names and a piece of work on their interpretations or reasons would be fascinating. Are you thinking of a pamphlet or article?

            • Just an article on my blog, Colin, though who know in the future… Like Kat, I write primarily for writers, though I’ve had a few of my posts used by essay writers as well. Some of my research is growing towards pamphlets: the Almack’s history, the names in use through the ages and the book of weather in the long Regency for example, and probably something on textiles and fashion as well. I’m head down in the weather of the 1780s and 90s at the moment!

        • Kathryn Kane says:

          I am so sorry to hear that times are hard for the Cleveland Bays and their breeders. I hope the situation will improve soon.

          When you post your web site URL, you only use two w’s, but since it is the “world wide web,” three are needed. I just added the extra w.


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  10. Nic says:

    FYI, a hand is 4 inches. Therefore, 16.5 hh is not a correct measurement.

  11. Ok, the traditional method is to give the hands then the number of inches over, so sixteen and a half hands would be written 16.2hh. However, people often do fractional measurements these days so I didn’t quibble. 16.50hh is 66″, 16×4″ plus half a hand which is another 2″ . I’ve come across both methods. [I believe it’s more correct if using decimal accounting to put the height at 16.50hh]. I believe this may be an effort to help our continental cousins [and the flash Arabs who indulge in racing] not to get confused.
    Actually, let’s keep to the good old fashioned confusing Brit method and the hell with foreigners and their delicate ability to cope with inches.
    It’s not wrong, but not everyone does it.

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