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Famous Cattle – The Durham Ox

How many have seen a pub called the Durham Ox? ( How many have been in a pub called the Durham Ox?)

The Durham or Teeswater Cattle, native to Northern England and Teesdale are now called “Shorthorn Cattle”.

The Durham Ox was born in 1796 and was first exhibited at Darlington Market when three years old. In May 1801 the Ox was bought by a Mr.John Day. It then weighed 27 hundredweight (almost 1½ Tonne if you are metric). Mr Day then took this huge beast on a tour of Britain. It travelled in a specially built cart pulled by four horses. If the going was heavy an extra pair of horses hitched up. The tour started in Rotherham in May 1801, travelling to various places up the east side of England, they reached Newcastle on the 26th October 1803. After a two week stay they moved on to Morpeth where they stayed for 3 days before moving on to Alnwick for 11 days, no doubt a welcome break for Mrs Day who travelled in the cart with the ox!

They then travelled up to Edinburgh through several places in Scotland then by Glasgow and down the west coast of England by Manchester down past Wales as far as Somerset then headed east again, ending at Oxford in February 1807.

It was at Oxford that almost six years of travelling came to an end. On the 19th February the Durham Ox dislocated his hip and despite strenuous efforts to save him he was slaughtered on 15th April 1807. At the time of his death he was reported to weigh 1ton 14cwt (nearly 1¾ tonne for the metrics among you! )

He was butchered by a team of three butchers and records show he yielded a hide weighing over 10 stones while his heart weighed almost a stone.

A sad end to a remarkable beast, but at least Mrs. Day got to live in a house again!!