Durham Ox – John Day

Many thanks to Mr.& Mrs. Oxby of Canada who has set us off on the story of John Day, innkeeper at the George Inn, and his involvement with the Durham Ox. Search “George Inn” for further information.

Debbie Oxby tells us: “John Henry and sister Bridget, as well as a brother George who died as an infant, were born in Harmston to John Day and Elizabeth Oxby. Both married in Caistor, John Henry to Mary Littledyke and Bridget to her cousin Luke Oxby. I try not to bug my husband about that!

I have looked again at the 1861 census and Mary is there with 3 of her children running the Fleece Inn. Her daughter Elizabeth married George Littledyke, maybe another cousin? They are buried in the Caistor cemetery as are John and Elizabeth.”

The Durham Ox with John Day. Taken from Wikipedia.

The following is taken from Wikipedia:

The animal was born in March 1796 and was bred by Charles Colling of Ketton Hall, Brafferton near Darlington in North-East England.[1] Colling, together with his brother Robert who farmed at nearby Barmpton, was one of the pioneers of the cattle-breeding movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. After a visit in 1784 to Robert Bakewell, a successful breeder of Longhorn cattle, Colling began using Bakewell’s techniques to develop and improve the Shorthorn breed. The animal eventually known as the Durham Ox was the grandson of Colling’s original bull “Hubbach” or “Hubback”,[2] and became known as the Ketton Ox when he was exhibited in Darlington in 1799. He was painted as such at the age of five years in 1801 by George Cuit of Richmond.[3]

In 1801 the ox was sold to John Day of Harmston, near Lincoln, for £250 (2010: £14,900 ).[2] Day renamed him the Durham Ox and had a carriage specially made to transport him, drawn by four horses. For the next five years the ox toured with him around England and Scotland, exhibited to the public at agricultural fairs and other events. The ox proved extremely popular. For most of 1802 the Durham Ox was on show in London, where it is recorded that in one single day admission fees to see him totalled £97.[4]

A dedication accompanying a painting of the ox by John Boultbee (1753–1812) in 1802 gave details of the animal’s measurements and estimated its weight as 171 stone (1,086 kg),[3] but later estimates ran as high as 270 stone (1,715 kg), although there may be some confusion as the stone was not a standardised weight at the time. Whilst his size and weight partially accounts for the admiration he attracted, he was also regarded as a particularly fine and well-proportioned example of his type, at a time when the concept of selective breeding for particular characteristics was just becoming established in agriculture.

On show in Oxford during February 1807, the ox damaged his hip as he was getting out of his carriage. The injury failed to heal, and on 15 April 1807 he was slaughtered.[1] His weight after death was reported to be 189 stone (1,200 kg or 2646 lb)

1830 03 20 Berkshire Chronicle.jpg
Berkshire Chronicle, 1830 03 20 From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
The Innkeepers of the George Inn. John Day can be seen to have had two spells as Innkeeper 1807 to 1809 and 1812 to 1828. His son John was the Innkeeper at the “Fleece Inn”. The inns had parcels of land where John would have been able to deal in farm animals. This extract is taken from the book by Rev. David Saunders “Portraits & Pictures of Caistor – People, Pubs and Police”. Copies can be ordered £5 + p. & p. (adennis200@gmail.com)

John Day born at Harmston, Lincolnshire about 1762.

1802 02 18 London View.jpg
1802 02 18 Morning Post From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1802 04 22 Greatest Wonder.jpg
1802 April 22 Morning Post. The Durham Ox was on show at Hyde Park Corner for many months. Note the mention of the sale of a coloured engraving. The engraving was by Whessel and painted by Boultbee. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

1803 June 12th John Day with his wife Elizabeth stayed two days at Caistor exhibiting the Durham Ox.

1803 11 08 Ketton .jpg
1803 November 8th; Tyne Mercury; Northumberland & Durham & Cumberland Gazette. This shows the Ox was on display for 13 months in London. It was due to be on show at Hexham and then Alnwick. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1803 11 19 to Edinburgh.jpg
1803 November 19th; Newcastle Courant. On show at Belford and Berwick then on its way to Edinburgh. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1806 Green Dragon.jpg
1806 October 15th; Hereford Journal. On view at the Green Dragon Inn, Hereford. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

1807 John Day publishes “An Account of the Late Extraordinary Durham Ox”

1808 04 09 Sale of Bulls Oxford.jpg
1808 April 9th Evidence of John Day had a breeding programme. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1807 03 07 arriving at Oxford.jpg
1807 March 07; Oxforf University & City Herald. Arrived in Oxford and exhibited at the Crown Inn. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1808 04 09 Sale of Capital Young.jpg
1808 April 9th; Oxford Journal, “Their sire was bred by Mr. John Day….” From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1810 05 12John Day Sale at George.jpg
1810 05 12 from the Hull Advertiser but is also in the Stamford Mercury. Why did John Day sell all the furniture from the George Inn? Where did he go what he do for a year?
Day 1819 10 22 sold lambs.jpg
1823 October 10th; Stamford Mercury. John Day selling lambs. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Day 1819 Cattle buying 01.jpg

Day 1819 Cattle buying 02.jpg
1819 October 29th; Stamford Mercury. Extract of a sale at Wyham. Showing John Day purchasing cattle. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
1824 03 05 Horse for serving.jpg
1824 March 5th; Stamford Mercury; John Day joint owner with John Wells of a horse offering to serve mares. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
Day 1831 02 11 Sheep carcase.jpg
1831 February 11th; Stamford Mercury; Drowning of sheep and selling the carcases to the poor in Caistor Market Place. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
John Day deathSep22 1831.jpg
1831 Sept 22nd Aged 69. Stamford Mercury
Day 1833 Agent for Harrow.jpg
1833, Stamford Mercury; Although this advertisement appeared two years after John’s death it does show he was also an agent for selling farm implements. From http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk