Regency Hazards – Oxen

Charlotte Grenville (1754-1830), Lady Williams Wynn, amassed a considerable amount of correspondence during the Regency.

In a January 1818 letter to her eldest daughter Fanny, she described the ball she’d given at Wynnstay, the family seat in Wales.

It was better than the best evening to be had at Almacks, despite the lack of Beauty:

“..3 Miss Dods at the Vicarage, Miss Lyster of Toft, & 2 very ugly Miss Allansons..& Emmy Brooke & Miss Parker divided the apple, which is not saying much.”

for there were Beaux aplenty and Lady Harriet, her daughter-in-law, who managed to turn out quite well in her diamonds and wedding gown (!)

There was also Lady W. W.’s good friend, Lord Bradford.

..he found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile… from a vintage Mother Goose book

Orlando Bridgeman (1762 – 1825) was the first Earl of Bradford and married to Lucy Elizabeth Byng, daughter of the 4th Viscount Torrington. He arrived at Wynnstay ever so congenial since his new daughter-in-law was already pregnant. It was as if the coming baby were “his own.”

Being in such fine feather he admitted he was not opposed to his other son’s proposal of marriage to a Miss Chamberlayne, the daughter to the Consul in Brazil. The match “has nothing to recommend it,” but who could deny a “sailor-son” falling in love “the moment he came into port?”

The best part of Lord Bradford’s presence was the telling of his narrow escape from a ox.

He’d gone tramping the previous month at the Duke of Norfolk’s estate in Welbeck, which led him across fields separated by fences. One such fence had a stepped gate for crossing into the next field. With proper caution so as not to stumble, he felt his way over the stile and descended safely into an oxen pasture. Producing a scented handkerchief from his breast pocket, he proceeded to wipe his hands.

A bull, observing this nicety, became incensed and charged his lordship.

Regency bull

As there was very little about with which to protect himself, Lord Bradford could only escape back the way he’d come. However, scrambling over a stile in haste can be even more dangerous than a charging cow. The alternative was a hay rack nearby. This he grabbed and managed to pull himself up its high rungs, out of the maddened animal’s reach. It was a brief respite, for he fell down into the rack’s manger, there for catching leftovers or, in this case, a lord.

“Fortunately his cries brought assistance, and by the united exertion of six men the Animal was removed. (His lordship) was, of course, dreadfully bruised but not materially, and soon got well.”

Remonstrations were exchanged. To the extreme dissatisfaction of all concerned, the bull’s sudden violence seemed to have no warning or cause until someone thought to apply to a rustic expert for his opinion.

Nothing loth,

“The Cowman readily explained the cause of the misfortune by saying, ‘..the poor Cratur never could ‘boide a Stink(!)’ “


12 thoughts on “Regency Hazards – Oxen

  1. Too funny, Angelyn. Not just the story, but the painting of the gentleman up the tree and the quoted rustic accent, too. It feels a bit Heyer-esque (in the very best way), don’t you think?


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