Platinum Jubilee: The ‘Queen’s Men’ and their farming legacy

In May 1953, simply forward of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in Westminster Abbey, Farmers Weekly celebrated the event with a characteristic referred to as “Queen’s Men”.

In a temper of patriotism, the journal proudly offered to Her Majesty “a number of the main farmers of her realm”, with a snapshot of 12 of the main lights in British agriculture on the time.

Unsurprisingly, these main lights have lengthy gone out. But for some, their legacy lives on, and Farmers Weekly has tracked down 4 descendants who proceed to farm to this present day.

See additionally: Village creates bale artwork to have fun Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Geoffrey Waldegrave

Commanding the title of the twelfth Earl Waldegrave, Geoffrey Waldegrave was a hereditary peer and well-known agriculturalist primarily based at Manor Farm in Chewton Mendip, Somerset.

He studied land administration at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1928, and is described by his son William Waldegrave as a “critical and progressive farmer” who devoted his life to agriculture.

At the time he was talked about in Farmers Weekly, his farming property ran to 444ha and included Aryshire and Shorthorn cattle, in addition to Clun Forest sheep.

The enterprise additionally had a profitable cheddar cheese operation – Chewton Dairy Farms – and a pig unit to utilise the whey.

But it was in public life that Geoffrey actually made his identify. Shortly after the Second World War he grew to become chairman of the Agricultural Executive Council, and later a  member of the Prince’s Council of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Then in 1958, he was appointed junior minister for agriculture – a place he held for 4 years.

Geoffrey Waldegrave

Geoffrey Waldegrave © National Portrait Gallery London

“He would by no means have referred to as himself a politician,” says William, now Lord Waldegrave of North Hill, who was himself farm minister in John Major’s authorities in 1995.

“He was an agricultural skilled and was appointed to the ministry as such. He would by no means have taken a job in some other division.”

William is now a director of Waldegrave Farms, renting some 250ha from his elder brother in Somerset, working an natural dairy herd, with all of the milk bought to Omsco.

“When my father handed the enterprise over, about 5 years earlier than he died in 1995, we determined to go natural, as a result of we had numerous grass and numerous area – a few of it on prime of the Mendips.

“It’s not prime land, so it appeared logical to farm it extensively.

“We solely have black and white cattle now, although I do keep in mind the Ayrshires and Shorthorns,” he remembers.

“Dairy farming is an especially tough enterprise, however I wish to maintain it going, partly as a result of I imagine in it and partly in honour of my father.

“I’m a much less ‘hands-on’ farmer than he was, however we’re now within the means of rebuilding the dairy and the cowsheds, so I believe my father could be happy with us.”

Rex Paterson

Dairy farmer and inventor Rex Paterson was a pioneer of the cell milking bail system first developed by Alan Hosier in Hampshire within the Nineteen Twenties.

Rex was extraordinarily profitable, utilizing the system to provide milk from grass, and he was in a position to broaden his dairy enterprise quickly.

He rented a lot of farms in Hampshire and went on to purchase eight or 9 farms in Wales, first in Carmarthenshire and then across the coast of Pembrokeshire.

Rex Paterson with machinery

Rex Paterson in Canada © Paterson household

By 1942, Rex was farming greater than 4,000ha, and by the early Seventies he had between 3,500 and 4,000 cows, break up into small herds of 50-80 so that they might be simply managed by one herdsman.

Rex’s dairy empire was scaled down considerably following his loss of life in 1978, although at this time, his grandson, Douglas, remains to be milking in Hampshire and Wales.

He relies at Upper Cranbourne farm, north of Winchester, which he purchased in 1995 and was one of many farms Rex had rented.

“As a farmer, he was a self-made man,” says Douglas. “He began with little or no and constructed up by way of laborious work and persistence.

I’m always impressed together with his vitality and bravery, putting out, taking big dangers and having it repay. It has bought to be an inspiration to anyone.”

Rex Paterson

Rex Paterson © Paterson household

Douglas has 4 herds, 200 cows in every, throughout 4 farms – two in Hampshire and two in Wales.

“The farms in Wales are extra alongside the traces of what Rex would recognise and recognize.

“I don’t assume he would approve of the best way we milk cows in Hampshire, which is pretty excessive enter, primarily based on maize and bought-in feed.”

Douglas says his grandfather in all probability picked up his engineering and inventing streak from his uncle, the aviation pioneer Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon Roe.

Rex was a pioneer of silage-making and labored with agriculture engineering firm Taskers of Andover to invent the Buckrake (long-toothed rake for gathering grass), and the Fertispread (one of many first rotary spinner fertiliser spreaders).

John Mackie

Born in Scotland in 1909, John was farming about 1,400ha in Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire on the time of the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

John was an progressive farmer, championed the significance of agriculture to the economic system, and at all times believed agricultural land ought to produce as a lot meals as potential.

Ever since he visited Glasgow within the Nineteen Thirties, when he noticed kids with ricketts whereas they have been pouring milk down the drain in Aberdeenshire, he believed in a deliberate economic system and thus grew to become keen on politics.

John and Jeannie Mackie with cows

John Mackie and spouse Jeannie on farm © Mackie household

He was elected Labour MP for Enfield East in 1959, and purchased Harold’s Park Farm within the village of Nazeing, 10 miles from his constituency, the place he and his spouse, Jeannie, loved entertaining tons of of his constituents.

John was parliamentary secretary on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food within the Labour authorities of 1964-1970, the place his farming data was desperately wanted.

He grew to become chairman of the Forestry Commission and later went into the House of Lords to be a working peer, talking about agriculture.

John (whose elder brother Maitland was the person behind the Mackie’s ice cream enterprise), was succeeded at Harold’s Park by his son, George, alongside together with his spouse, Catherine MacLeod.

George rapidly realised the necessity to diversify on the 200ha farm, establishing a profitable do-it-yourself livery yard, and rising Christmas timber.

George died in 2020 and, since then, Catherine and their son, Hector, have been working the farm. “I keep in mind John very effectively,” says Catherine.

“He beloved farming and beloved residing on the farm. He remained keen on new concepts all his life. He enthusiastically planted timber and it was becoming that when he died his coffin was comprised of oak grown on Harold’s Park.”

Viscount Bledisloe

Charles Bathurst, the first Viscount Bledisloe, was parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (1924-1928) and had shut ties with the Royal Agricultural College (RAC) at Cirencester, which is now the Royal Agricultural University (RAU).

He was born in 1867 and died in 1958, 5 years after the Queen’s coronation.

Charles was a scholar at RAC and went on to change into chairman of the faculty’s governing council from 1919-1929, steering the establishment throughout a tough post-war interval.

Viscount Bledisloe

Viscount Bledisloe © Taylor/ANI/Shutterstock

RAU remembers him to this present day, by awarding the Bledisloe Medal for agricultural excellence every year. One of the principle scholar lodging can also be named after the viscount.

In 1935, Charles was made Viscount Bledisloe for his providers as governor-general of New Zealand.

He married Bertha Susan and they’d three kids: Benjamin Ludlow (2nd Viscount Bledisloe), Ursula Mary and Henry Charles Hiley.

The Bathursts personal Lydney Park Estate, about 1,200ha of land between Gloucester and Chepstow within the Forest of Dean, the place Gavin Green has been working since 1986 and is now the property supervisor.

Gavin says Charles was eager on agriculture, and farming stays an essential a part of the property at this time.

“We are milking 850 cows on a grass-based system, twice a day. We’ve had beef, sheep and arable crops over time, however now it’s all grass and dairy.

“In the time since I’ve been right here we’ve focused on the dairy. The milking platform the cows are on is round 750 acres and then there’s one other 500 acres of youngstock and silage floor,” he says.

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