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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Craven Heifer
The Craven Heifer

The Craven Heifer (1807–1812) was a cow which lived in the early 19th century, and to this day remains the largest cow ever shown in England: weight 2,496 lb (1,132 kg), length nose to tip of rump 11.3 ft (3.4 m), height at the shoulder 5.3 ft (1.6 m), thickest girth 10.1 ft (3.1 m)[1]

The Craven Heifer was bred by the Reverend William Carr in 1807, on the Duke of Devonshire's estate at Bolton Abbey. Carr fed her relentlessly for five years until she weighed 312 stone, and measured 11ft 4ins in length and over 7ft in height.[2] She was so large that a special door twice as wide as the norm had to be built to get her in and out of the cow shed. This doorway can be seen on the estate to this day.

She was purchased by John Watkinson of Halton East for £200 (£10,000 in 2013 prices). Being such a notable creature, she was taken on tour, and attracted much attention wherever she went. She was taken to Smithfields in London; the journey from Wakefield to the capital took 73 days from 19 November to 30 January 1812, during which time she was shown at numerous towns and cities en route.

Despite the average life expectancy for domestic cattle of her breed being 15 years, the Craven Heifer lived only five.

In January 2013 an oil painting portrait of the Craven Heifer, dated 1811, sold for £16,250 ($25,586) at auction.[3]

To this day, several public houses bear the name The Craven Heifer, particularly in the Craven district of North Yorkshire.

See also


  1. ^ The Librarian, Craven Museum & Gallery, Skipton N Yorkshire
  2. ^ "The Craven Heifer Inn". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  3. ^ "The Craven Heifer Auctions With 225% Increase On Estimate". Retrieved 31 March 2017.
This page was last edited on 4 October 2018, at 02:15
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