Small ads about Horses

From the ("Cumberland Chronicle" or "Whitehaven Intelligencer")

19 Apr 1777:

Stolen or strayed from the grounds at Wood-End near Egremont, a dark bay mare twelve Hands high or thereabouts, switched Tail, not Set, the far Ear slit, and a square Fire Mark upon the near Side; the Mane and Tail rather inclined to black, and had two or three white Saddle Marks.

The said Mare has been missing near three Weeks, and had no Shoes on when taken away. Reward for information leading to retrieval; contact the printer of the paper. Dated 19 Apr.

10 May (a revised repeat of the 19 April ad.):

DARK BAY GALLOWAY, Eleven Hands and a Half high, or thereabouts, Mealy Mouth'd, a Slit in one of the Ears, a square Iron Mark on the near Side.


Switched tail - pulled or trimmed to taper to a point; not docked.

Not set - the tail hangs normally. (A set tail stands up at an angle, from having been surgically "nicked" and set up on a tail stand. This is still done to some modern breeds.)

Far Ear slit - the right ear has been slit with a knife, in the same way as the lug marks on sheep, as a mark of ownership. The left ear would have been called the "near" one.

Mealy mouthed - the muzzle around the nostrils is a lighter brown, as seen in the Exmoor.

Iron mark and Fire mark are evidently both terms for a brand (=burnt) mark.

It is interesting to see that the term "Galloway" is used here for a relatively small animal; at least two hands shorter than the description recorded by Youatt sixty years later.

26 Apr 1777:

Lately Strayed or Conveyed from a field near Kirkbythore in Westmorland - light grey mare with a long Tail, never cut, a rough Main, rather fly-bitten upon her Head, and about fourteen Hands high. Reward for information leading to retrieval; contact William Olivant of Kirkbythore, Mr Cannon of Dockrey-Hall near Penrith, Mr Holm of Shap, Mr Bowness of Orton, Mr Wilson of Ravenstonedale or Mr William Barnet of Kirkbysteven. Dated Appleby, 21 Apr.

3 May 1777:

Scotch BAY GELDING, twelve Hands and a Half High, remarkably strong, with a broad white Patch on the upper Lip, a long black Mane, most Part of which hangs on the far Side, with one Saddle Mark on each Side, made by the back Part of the Saddle Point, but does not appear very white, a long black Tail undock'd, and has had a Tread upon the near Forefoot which makes the Hoof a little hollow in the Middle.

Notice that both these little horses are Scotch or Galloway by breed / type; that they are not called "ponies"; and that both have been ridden enough to have saddle marks.

The earliest local reference I have found (to date!) is that for a "Booker's certificate for the bay galloway gelding, the goods of Widow Hall; signed Robert Elliott, book-keeper", booked at Cumberland Quarter Sessions in 1715 (Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle Headquarters; 1715 Midsummer Petitions - ref. Q/11/1/117).