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Breeders and Breeding

Marcel Boussac

The Dukes of Grafton

Georg von Lehndorff

J.J. Maher: an Irish Breeder

The Rothschilds

History of the Australian Stud Book

  East India Company and Early Breeding in Australia

Racing and Breeding in South Africa

Foundation Breeders

  Notes on Early Running Horses

  Early Running Horses: Helmsley

  The Studmasters of North Yorkshire

  Horsemen of East and West Riding
   and Ainsty of York

Related Links

  English Foundation Mares

  Foundation Sires


  Some Notes on Foundation Breeders and Early Running Horses

By Patricia Erigero
Foundation Breeders
The Foundation Breeders section offers an overview of the individuals responsible for shaping the thoroughbred. They relied at first on native English stock and imported horses from Spain, Italy and "the orient." Because the histories of many early running horses were unrecorded, lost, or confused, it is useful to examine the lives of the people who owned and bred them. This group of essays provides some background for those interested in the early Foundation Sires and English Foundation Mares. Refer to the Quick Links chart at the bottom of this page for essays on early breeders of the thoroughbred.

Tutbury Map
Tutbury in Staffordshire, 17th century map
Tutbury Castle

England's Heads of State
1558 - 1760
1558 -1603  Elizabeth I TUDOR
1603 - 1625  James I STUART
1625 - 1649  Charles I STUART
1649 - 1660  COMMONWEALTH
  (Oliver Cromwell)
1660 - 1685  Charles II STUART
1685 - 1688  James II STUART
1689 - 1694  William III and Mary II STUART
1694 - 1702  William III (alone)
1702 - 1714  Anne STUART
1714 - 1727  George I HANOVER
1727 - 1760  George II HANOVER

Some Owners and Breeders
1558 - 1760
1592 -1628  George Villiers, 1st Duke Buckingham m. Katharine, dau. Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland
1628 - 1687  George Villiers, 2nd Duke Buckingham m. Mary, dau. of Lord Thomas Fairfax
1570 - 1653  Conyers D'Arcy (7th Lord D'Arcy and 4th Lord Conyers of Hornby)
1598 - 1689  Conyers D'Arcy (Lord Holderness, bro. of James D'Arcy)
1617 - 1673  James D'Arcy (Charles II Master of the Stud) m. Isabel, dau of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill
1650 - 1731  James D'Arcy, the younger (Lord D'Arcy of Navan)
1653 - --  Christopher (Kit) D'Arcy (bro. of James, the younger)
165- - --  Elizabeth (Betty) D'Arcy (sis. of James, the younger)
1706 - 1739  Elizabeth D'Arcy (dau of James, the younger) m. John Hutton III
1593 - 1676  William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle m. Elizabeth, dau of William Basset
1630 - 1691  Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle m. Frances Pierrepont
1661 - 1716  Margaret Cavendish (dau of Henry) m. John Holles, Earl of Clare, Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne
1694 - 1755  Henrietta Cavendish-Holles (dau of John Holles) m. Edward Lord Harley (2nd Earl of Oxford)
1715 - 1785  Margaret Cavendish-Harley (dau of Edward) m. William Bentinck, 2nd Duke Portland
1597 ---   Matthew Hutton m. Barbara, sister to Conyers, Lord D'Arcy of Hornby, 1st Earl Holderness
1625 - 1664  John Hutton
1657 - 1730   John Hutton II
1691 - 1768   John Hutton III m. Elizabeth, dau. James D'Arcy the younger
1730 - 1782   John Hutton IV
Newcastle Barb
An imported Barb in the 1st Duke of Newcastle's Stud
Restoring Royal Lines

We know, thanks to historian C.M. Prior, who unearthed original mid-17th century documents and published them in his 1935 book, The Royal Studs of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, that James D'Arcy the elder (1617 - 1673), was appointed Master of the Royal Stud in 1660 by Charles II, and was directed, within a month of Charles' restoration in May of 1660, to assess the royal stud at Tutbury, and take possession of it.

Tutbury was an ancient site, the hill on which the castle was located had been the site of a hill fort before the birth of Christ, shaped and reinforced by waves of conquerers. At first wood, a motte and bailey stone castle was built by the Norman de Ferrars family, which was demolished and rebuilt several times over the course of various wars of royal succession, and served as the principal residence for the Earls of Lancaster, but fell into disrepair at the end of the fifteenth century. Despite its decay, it was one of the grim structures in which Mary, Queen of Scots, was confined during her unhappy days as captive of Queen Elizabeth 1st. Mary's son, King James I, later used it as a hunting lodge, replacing the main structure within the walls in 1631. The stud at Tutbury was located in the area around Tutbury Castle, divided into paddocks called Castlebay, The Trenches, Tockley, Rolleston, Little Parke and Obholme.

The Tutbury stud had been established by Henry VIII, one of several developed to breed horses for use by the court. The royal studs were greatly augmented by George Villiers, favorite of James I, who served as the king's Master of the Horse, and who secured and imported horses from the royal studs of Spain and Italy. Other animals were gifts from various European royal houses, and from rulers in Africa. England's monarchs also made gifts of horses from their stud to their counterparts across the channel. The royal studs also included horses presented by the subjects of England's monarchs, some of whom had been developing their own "breed" of horses at their estates throughout England, and some of these horses may have been of entirely native stock.

The English civil war had an impact on horses in the country, not only through mortality during battle, but through theft and acquisition as opposing armies took and lost various geographic areas. In 1649, soon after the victorious Oliver Cromwell took power and the Commonwealth was established, Cromwell directed his agents to make a survey of the royal stud at Tutbury, which listed 140 head of mares, colts and fillies, but no breeding stallions. Records show he retained seven horses from the royal stud at Tutbury, gave some as gifts to various supporters, and ordered the rest sold.

In 1660, D'Arcy was told by the restored Charles II to go to Tubury and "take possession thereof for His Majesty's use, and dispose thereof in such a manner as formerly ye same have bin used, or shall be now thought most meet for His Majesty's service, in the breed of his Colts and Horses, to show your good discretion." D'Arcy was cautioned in the command to "take care that ye Interest of Major General Morgan be preserved unto him." Major-General Thomas Morgan, who had served under Lord Thomas Fairfax in the parliamentary army, later supported the restoration of Charles II, and was instrumental in bringing about support for Charles in Scotland; his son was Sir William Morgan, the purchaser of the colt later known as Morgan's Dun, grandson of the Burton Barb mare (Family 2). From this Royal Command it appears Major-General Morgan had an interest in some of the horses at Tutbury, probably acquired after its sequestration by Cromwell, and it seems likely as part of his debt to Morgan for his support in the restoration, Charles II was affirming Morgan's ownership of some former royal animals or their descendants.

D'Arcy reported back to the King: "...his Majesty hath no Race [stud], Tutbury being made incapable of it..." and proposed instead that he furnish Charles with an annual number of colts "I'll breed (Having two good Stallions allowed me) out of my own stocke..." for a yearly fee. The deal was officialized in Letters Patent recorded in June of 1661, and the D'Arcy stud at Sedbury Park in Yorkshire -- which came to him via his marriage with the daughter of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, another early breeder of running horses -- became the most important center of horse breeding in the country.

In 1673 James D'Arcy died and the agreement with the King was not renewed, the post of Master of the Royal Stud being granted to Sutton Oglethorpe, whose appointment did not encompass selling the King any horses. About fifteen years later, D'Arcy's son James, was petitioning King William III to either pay some of the money still owned his family from the reign of Charles II or, alternatively, to provide him with six "good Barbary or Arabian horses" to "supply the great number of breeding mares your Petitioner hath," if the King would undertake to have them shipped from the Mediterranean where "your Royal Fleet [is] lying." This desire for imported stallions was because "in all England he [D'Arcy] cannot be furnished with good stallions but what are of the same kind." All the stallions of common blood in England to which D'Arcy referred, were probably, as Prior points out, "too nearly related to his own mares at Sedbury."

Because D'Arcy presented a nearly identical petition to Queen Anne upon her ascension in 1702, it is presumed the neither the stallions nor the money were forthcoming from King William. Still, the D'Arcy stud continued to be a major influence in the breeding of running horses until the 1731 death of James, the younger, who had been created Lord D'Arcy of Navan (Ireland) ten years earlier.

Quick Links
Foundation Breeders English Foundation Mares Index Foundation Sires
Helmsley in North Yorkshire North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley East and West Riding in Yorkshire

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