GOWER SHOW CENTENARY
CHARLES WILSON WATKINS has been doing a bit of digging on Gower farming,
to tie in with the 100th Gower Show. Bay
magazine will be there again this year – pop along to our stand and say hello if you’re passing. It’s a great day out for all the family – including the dog!
As this issue of the Bay is to be distributed at the 100th Gower Show I
thought it timely to write about the history of farming on Gower.
Farming on Gower goes back
to the Stone Age. Gower has the
oldest known ceremonial burial in Western Europe – that of the Red Lady of
Paviland – discovered in 1823, we now know that she, was in fact a he.
Since, the Stone Age, farming has played an important part in the history and the landscape of south facing Gower. The crops that
are grown are Gower early
potatoes, allowing for another crop, swede, cauliflower, and cabbage to be sown later. Gower also
produces some of the best, most flavoursome lamb and beef. The fields are bordered by hedges and dry stone walls, marking the boundaries between live-stock, and crops, although the hedge doesn’t stop
all unwelcomed visitors – rabbits, which were introduced by the Normans.
At the time of the 1901 census, held on March 31st, there was a population of 11,719 in the Gower Registration,
(19 parishes), which was a population rise of 629 over the 10-year period since the census of 1891.
The first Gower Show,
known as the Gower Agricultural
Show, (see poster above) was held at Penrice Castle on
the 20th September 1906, by the Gower Agricultural
Society by kind permission of Miss Emily Talbot, an
heiress and industrialist of South Wales. At the time of her death in 1918, she was one of the wealthiest women in Great Britain.
Prior to the show, the society had met at the Jeffreys Arms in
Oxford Street, where judges were given their judging categories, which included: – “Cattle, Agricultural Horses,
Light Horse incorporating jumping and trotting, Corn, Roots in Yard and finally Roots in Field”. Subscription for the first show amounted to nearly £70 (£7840 in today’s terms), Glamorgan
County Council were awarded £2 (£224) for fresh and salt butter! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any 1906 results printed, however, 1907 results were reported in a very lengthy article.