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Limited edition shorthorn cattle book from Buckinghamshire estate purchased by Sandringham estate cattleman at auction




A rare shorthorn book, which includes information on King Edward VII’s champion steer bred at Sandringham, has been bought by a local cattleman.

Breckland councillor and auctioneer Fabian Eagle said the book, entitled 'Notable Modern Shorthorn' sold for £220 on Friday.

It was purchased by Nick Barrett of South Wootton whose cattle grazes at the Sandringham estate.

The edition of 'Notable Modern Shorthorns', which was purchased by Nick Barrett on Friday. Picture: Fabian Eagle(42366223)
The edition of 'Notable Modern Shorthorns', which was purchased by Nick Barrett on Friday. Picture: Fabian Eagle(42366223)

The book previously belonged to the estate of Christopher Marler in Weston Underwood, Buckinghamshire, who was a cattle and shorthorn breeder, and a good friend of both Mr Eagle and Mr Barrett.

Mr Barrett, of Glenariff Beef Shorthorns, said: "One gentleman said to me 'this is the holy grail of cattle books' and not only is it rare, it belonged to a dear friend of mine, Christopher Marler who was an enthusiast of waterfowl.

"There are only 100 copies of this book by subscription only. It is in more than an acceptable condition and five or six of the copies went to South America where shorthorn is booming in places like Argentina and Uruguay."

The edition of 'Notable Modern Shorthorns', which was purchased by Nick Barrett on Friday. Picture: Fabian Eagle(42366227)
The edition of 'Notable Modern Shorthorns', which was purchased by Nick Barrett on Friday. Picture: Fabian Eagle(42366227)

The book includes a picture of Uriah Robbins, the king's herdsman for 28 years standing in a field at Sandringham with a prize steer in the early 20th century. Mr Barrett enjoyed the similarity between this picture and his own white bull, which currently grazes on the estate.

Mr Eagle said: “I’m so pleased that he [Mr Barrett] bought it due to his connection to the estate. It is a limited edition book as well. Shorthorn is Britain’s rarest breed of cow.”

The book was published in 1906 and Mr Barrett says it will be kept in the family for generations.

A photograph from the book of Uriah Robbins, the King's herdsman for 28 years standing in a field at Sandringham with a prize steer in the early 20th century. (42366225)
A photograph from the book of Uriah Robbins, the King's herdsman for 28 years standing in a field at Sandringham with a prize steer in the early 20th century. (42366225)

Mr Marler’s widow had been clearing out the contents of the Buckinghamshire house when she came across the book. Mr Marler had an extensive library and museum.

The auction received bids from all continents including countries such as Australia, India and the United States, with a single volume of The Ornithology of Francis Willoughby, published in 1678, selling for £8,600.

Mr Eagle ran the auction with Durrants Auction Rooms.



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