Old Gloucester Cattle
On the farm here, we have one of the oldest established herds of Gloucester cattle in the world. When our herd was established with 3 cows and a bull in 1972 the breed was at a very low ebb. There were just 68 of these cattle left in the world. Charles was one of a group who got together to re-establish the breed society to maintain pedigree records and do everything in their power to try to ensure the breed's survival. Charles' contribution was to draw attention to the breed's plight by putting it to work doing what it does best, which is to produce milk for making Single and Double Gloucester cheese. At the time Charles had no idea how to make cheese but no-one seemed to care they just wanted a slice of the story and the history of this beautiful breed of cow. 40 years later the same sentiment seems to persist. As the breed helped establish the farm cheesemaking business, so we hope the compliment has been returned as we have worked hard to ensure the survival of the breed. It isn't all rosy however. Currently the breed has only about 700 breeding females and is far too rare for comfort. We always live in the hope that more people will maintain milking herds of this breed for cheesemaking within its home range of Gloucestershire. They more than pay their way in the interest they create.
The breed is the oldest dairy breed in Britain and dates back to the 13th Century. It is not a very specialized breed however and the males may be used for meat or for draught purposes as working oxen. The skill of training them has been practiced on the farm here. See our section on working oxen.