Kington Show History
From records available, the Society has been established since 1881, however, further records, namely in the form of diaries by Thomas Carleton Skarratt (1818-1908) show that there were shows/fairs prior to this.
Thomas Carleton Skarratt was the son of Thomas Carleton, a clock-maker of 45 High Street, Kington. He was born in Kington, and apart from a short period, lived in the town all his life. In 1848 he and his brother set up business together as drapers at 10 High Street, Kington. The shows were always held on or around the 18th September with the Annual Flower Show being held the day before the Horse Show (but never on a Sunday). On 18th September 1879 there was a Sheep Fair and “Subscriptions having been collected for the purpose of a Horse Show, it was held today in the King’s Head Cricket Field and proved quite a success both as regards the numbers and quality of animals exhibited. The 2 year-old cart colts were considered by many as the best lot together they had ever seen. In the afternoon there were Jumping Trials for hunters, commencing with bushed hurdle in the field, thence over the hedges into the field at the bottom of the Dark Lane, another bushed hurdle, thence into the field adjoining the Oak Orchard, thence into the lower Field, and over each fence near the bottom of the field from which they started. One of the horses was so hard in the mouth, his rider could not pull him up in the farthest field; the animal took him over the hedge into the road nearly opposite the cottages – fortunately without hurt to either. After the Jumping a display of cobs in harness trotted round the field. The Sheep Fair was also held today – prices realised from 15/- to 17/- less than last year”.
In 1885 & 1886 the Horse Show was situated at Crab Tree Fields, with the Shropshire Yeomanry band were engaged for the occasion. In 1887 it was held in the large field next to the river. There then seems to be no records, minutes or accounts until 1929. In 1929 Kington Horse Show and Agricultural Society held luncheon meetings, “where the usual toasts were given” at the Oxford Arms, Kington.
In 1932 sheep dog trials were introduced, although only ran for two years. Shown in the minutes held in 1933 due to financial difficulties and general financial slump nationally discussions were raised on to “consider the advisability of holding the show during the year 1933”.
During the 2nd World War there were a few reports in the Society’s minutes which were of interest: 31st December 1939 – “In view of government instructions to cultivate gardens and allotments they (The Society) might hold a vegetable and flower show”.
16th January 1940 – “The business for the Annual General Meeting was discussed in relation to the present international situation that was decided that the usual appointments and elections of committees be postponed. The business therefore to consist of the adoption of the accounts for 1939 and to the considerations of the present position of the Society and to discuss future procedure”.
There were no shows or meetings until 1945. Kington Horse Show & Agricultural Society has been through many turbulent years with wars, foot and mouth epidemics, financial slumps and whether to move to new venues. From records available, Kington Show has only moved twice in it’s history, although in 1959 they were looking to move from the Recreation Ground due to difficulties in parking to possibly field/s owned by MS Preece of Eardisley.
Although stock judging was reported in 1952, Young Farmer’s Competitions didn’t officially start until 1960. Competitions included livestock, poultry trussing, floral arrangements and cake decorations. In 1960 there were record entries for Hereford Cattle with 217, the record being broken again in 1962 with 256 entries. The dog show started in 1962 and the Society’s Annual Ball started in 1961.
Kington History Society
Hereford Records Office
The secretary would very much like to hear from anyone who has documentation/minutes from the ‘missing years’.