Newsletter 77 January 2019



               A PRIVATE PUBLICATION OF     

      The National Horse Brass Society




 NEWSLETTER NO: 77                                                                               DATE: January 2019

                                                   CHAIRMAN: Ian Jones

SECRETARY: Jim Speed                                                           TREASURER:  Brian O’Riordan

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Jim Speed                               E-mail:

It is not too late to wish all members wishes for a Successful New Year ahead. As usual I have some snippets of information which relate to the lore surrounding the horse while leaving more horse brass related articles for the Journal. Some of these items of information have been suggested by members and I am very grateful to them. Can I encourage other members to send me material, please!

                                                               Members News
The Chairman and committee would like to welcome the following members who joined in 2018 and the early part of 2019 and hope you enjoy your membership:
Paula Felton, Newbury, Berkshire.                                  Theresa Baybutt, Massachusetts, USA
Ronald Colman, Norwich, Norfolk                                    Ben Humphries, Buckfastleigh, Devon.
Salem Davies, Marlborough, Wiltshire.                            Peter Nash, Sherborne, Dorset.
Darren Avey, Hobham, W. Sussex.                                  Victoria Moorshead, Toronto, Canada.
Phillipa Bradley-Bruijn, Nathalia, V. Au.                           Robert Metcalf, Skipton, N.Yorks.
Ed Harris & Family, Hereford.                                          Russel Augustin, La Grange Park, Illinois.
Heather Morris, Wallingford, Oxon                                   Malcolm Harrison, Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
                        Christopher Chapman & Family, McDonough, Georgia USA.

Sadly the following members died during the year:
Gerald Dee, Roos, nr. Hull.                                                                  Martin Burtt, Whitby, Yorks. Terry Williams, Willington,Wales.
We send our deepest sympathies to their family and friends







 Terry Williams with his old friend Mark Roberts displaying Mark’s large collection of Horse Brasses at one of the many Shows they attended together.



Terry Williams. Founder Member Terry Williams passed away on Sunday 26 of August 2018 at the age of 81. Terry was well known at the Church Stretton Meetings where he not only had a display of his own but helped Mark Roberts assemble his large display. Terry and Mark were lifelong friends and travelled around together to shows where Mark’s brasses were on display. Terry, writing in Mark’s obituary in Newsletter of Oct. 2017 recalled how Mark, in 1962, helped him on his way into horse brass collecting and set in motion a life-long interest.
In early life he worked on the family farm at Malpas, Cheshire. He later bought his own small farm at Willington where he kept his shire horses. He amassed a superb collection of horse brasses which could be seen at NHBS meetings over many years. A particular brass that pleased him was one depicting H S Richards who published some of the earliest books on horse brasses.
His absence will be missed for the “character” that he was.

Subscriptions for 2019 are now due. The renewal form and a standing order form are to be found on the last two pages of this Newsletter. Please make sure you include your membership number as this makes life easier for the membership Secretary!
Terry Williams with his old friend Mark Roberts displaying Mark’s large collection of Horse Brasses at one of the many Shows they attended together.


                            MR. TUMBLE, Theresa May and NHBS Award Brass






Mr. Tumble and Theresa May










At the Royal Welsh Show held in LLanelwerdd nr. Builth Wells on 27th July 2018 The Prime Minister, Theresa May, spoke to the farmers about Brexit. While there she was invited to pin the award rosette on the winner of the Decorated Harness Class, Nashes Mr.Tumble. When she heard the 7 year old Shire’s name she looked up and said “”He’s too big to tumble” then patted him on the neck with the words “You’re a winner, you’re a winner”. We would have liked to show you the picture but it is copyrighted to Getty Images and would break the bank! However you can see it yourself by Googling “Mr. Tumble and Theresa May at Royal Wales Show” and open the site of the Daily Telegraph or Shropshirestar and scrolling down through the article. You will see that Mr. Tumble is wearing the NHBS special Award Brass commemorating the end of World War I.

Nashes Mr. Tumble was exhibited by Barrie Yeates of Nupend, Glos. Barrie has been very successful in the Decorated Harness Class winning top prizes at many shows.

                               The new Award Brass introduced for 2019

The new brass is based on the traditional design first introduced for award brasses by the RSPCA in the 1890 and uses a particular shield shape only ever used once before in 1897 for a commemorative brass for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It represents only the third change of the Society’s Award Brass design in its 44 history and follows the special four year edition presented to mark the centenary of WWI commemorating the role heavy horses played in the Great War. Winners of this brass will be pleased that the letters cast into the brass are picked out in red and black paint and it should be a dream to keep clean!
George Willett
National Award Brass Administrator.



                                       Photo Aline Sagrabelny

 Bowing to Glory!

Have you ever wondered, when listening to a beautiful piece of violin music, how much a horse had to play in the production of that sound? The violin and the bow are essential to one another. The violin gives off the sound but it is the bow drawn across the strings that sets up the vibrations that we hear as sound and it is the horsehair in the bow that initiates that marvellous physical effect. It takes an archetier 150 to 200 individual horsetail strands, taken from the skirt of the tail, for a violin bow . The lower stringed instruments such as viola and cello need a wider band therefore more strands. The best horse tails come from colder climates such as Mongolia, Siberia and Canada. The strands have to be cleaned many times and carefully selected for strength and lustre. A good bow could cost over £1000. The wood, which usually comes from S. America has to be specially shaped and strong in cross section. White hair is regarded as the finest and is reserved for violin bows. The darker hair is usually used on the lower instruments.

Favoured for its lustre, strength and cleanability it has been used in some of the finest establishments. John Boyd Textiles of Castle Cary in Somerest (pictured above), is one of the last surviving horsehair weavers in the world. His factory was established in Castle Cary in 1837. At this time horsehair came from live local horses as it was the fashion to crop horses’ tails, the hair was then cleaned in the local pond. Cropping is very different from docking, of course, where in the latter the growing tip of the tail vertebral bone is removed and with it the hair producing cells. The horsehair now comes mainly from the Far East.


Nowadays much of the machinery has been upgraded but 30 of the 125year old looms are still in use. The horsehair is washed, disinfected, sorted into colours and length, soaked, combed and dyed before being woven on a black linen warp to produce the lustrous sateen fabric. Charles Rennie Mackintosh selected a lustrous blue-black design called Dales for the famous Argyle Street Tearooms in Glasgow. Most of John Boyds’s designs are named after breeds of horses.
A most unusual use of horsehair occurs in Canada where in a famous dancehall on the shores of the saline Lake Manitou in Saskatchewan, coils of horsehair support the floor. When fully occupied with dancers the wooden floor can rise and fall up to 1.5 inches. It is one of only two in Canada (and maybe in the world!). By day, you can float on the salty water and by night float across the dancefloor!
So the next time you hear a beautiful piece of string music or sit on a lustrous fabric think of the noble animal who contributed to it.


                                                               World News

Bob Hungerford writes from Chilmark, Massachusetts about his visit to the Royal Highland Show in June 2018. Bob is the proud owner of two Clydesdales, Duke and Jackson. While at the show, Bob discovered that the Heavy Horse judge, Jim Steele also owned Clydesdales and his stallion was sired by the same stallion as Bob’s Duke; a great coincidence!

Bob and his wife Irene toured around Scotland and visited a pub in Buchlyvie and saw many photographs of famous Clydesdales ploughing etc. on the walls, including “Baron of Buchlyvie”, one of the greatest breeding stallions who was highly prized in America. The locals were extremely surprised that someone from America should know so much about the history of the Clydesdale Horse breed. Baron of Buchlyvie was born in 1900 and died in 1914 and his skeleton is on show in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. When he was sold in1911 he fetched £9,500, the highest price paid for a Clydesdale at the time and equivalent to £275,000 in today’s money.








 Baron of Buchlyvie (photo: Edin. Univ.)                Irene Hungerford driving her Clydesdale “Duke"


Future Meetings.

AGM Sat. 2nd March at the Leather Museum, Walsall WS2 8EQ. All members will be circulated.

Church Stretton Meeting at Silvester Horne Institute, Church Stretton, Shropshire SY6 6BY on Sunday 12th May. This is a very popular meeting. Please Tel. Stan Benton if you wish to book a sales table. Telephone No: 01584 877880; Mobile: 07802 194253

Ipsden Meeting Sat. 5th October at The Village Hall, Ipsden OX10 6AG. There will be a competition for the best display of Brasses on the theme “RSPCA”. Please Tel. Mick Mullens on 01908 510655 if you wish to reserve a sales table




                         Prince Charles Reaches
                                 New Landmark






On 10th September 2017, Prince Charles became the longest serving Prince of Wales in history. He passed the record of 59 years and 45 days set by Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Albert, who would later become Edward VII.
Prince Charles, who became 69 in November 2018, is already the oldest heir apparent. However, as Albert, known to his family as Bertie, was made Prince of Wales when he was barely a month old, while Charles was not given the title until July 1958 when he was 9, it has taken him until now for him to overtake his great-great-grandfather.
This appears to be an ideal opportunity to celebrate Charles’ achievement with a Society Commemorative Brass, while he waits to succeed his mother to the throne, who at 91 years old remains in excellent health.

Price £15.00 plus postage & packing (see Trade section)


                                                NHBS Journal “Horse Brass”

Please send copy for the July issue to Peter Ferguson at: The Maltings, 29 Pilton St. Barnstable, and Devon EX1 1PZ; E-mail: There are many fine articles waiting to be written by enthusiastic collectors. Please get your pens out; short articles or long, snippets of information, queries and letters.


                          Shows at which NHBS Award Brasses will be presented in 2018

March 22-24th National Shire Horse Show, Bingley Hall, Staffordshire Show Ground ST18 0BD
May    6th. Suffolk (Woodbridge) Horse Society, Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich IP3 8UH
          18th. Hadleigh Farmers Show, Holbecks Park, Suffolk IP7 5PE
May    29-30 Suffolk Agric. Assoc., Trinity Park, Felixstowe Rd. Ipswich IP3 8UH
June   29th Midland Heavy Horse Assoc. Park Hall Farm, Hanbury, Redditch, Worcs. B96 6RD
July   14th The Essex Shire Horse Show, nr.Barleylands, Barleylands Road, Billericay, Essex     
                  CM11 2UD
           26-27th. Border Union Agri. Show Springwood Park, Kelso, Roxburghshire TD5 8LS
           27th. Mid Devon Show Knightsayes/Chettiscombe, Tiverton, Devon EX16 7RH
           27-28th. Heckington Show, Heckington, nr Sleaford, Lincs. NG34 9SD
Aug.    1st. Burwarton Show, Cleobury North, nr Bridgnorth, Shropshire WV16 6RP
            3rd. Oswestry Show, Park Hall, Whittington,Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 4AB        
            3rd Garstang Show, The Showground, off Green Lane East, Garstang, Preston PR3 1JS
            4th. Sykehouse Show, Poplars Farm, Broad Lane, Sykehouse, Goole DN14 9AS
           10th Ellingham & Ringwood Show, Somerly, Ringwood, Hampshire BH24 3PL
            22-26th Great Dorset Steam Fair, South Down, Tarrant Hinton, Blandford, Dorset DT11
             31st Knighton Horse Show, Station Road, Knighton, Powys LD7 1DT
Sept     1st Suffolk Punch Spectacular, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Newmarket, Suffolk
                  CB8 7UU
             7th Orsett Show, Rectory Road, Orsett Essex RM16 3JU
             8th Cotswold Cart Horse Society, Frampton Country Fair, The Green, Frampton on
                   Severn GL2 7EP  
             8th Haddenham Heavy Horse Show, Sutton Road (A1421), Haddenham, Ely CB6 3PT
            14th Pennistone Agric. Society Show, Pennistone, South Yorkshire S36 6DW
            29th Wessex Heavy Horse Society Show, Turnpike Showground, Motcombe, nr
                    Shaftsbury SP7 9PL
            29th Ramsey Plough Day, Ramsey Rural Museum, Wood Lane, Cambs. PE26 2XD

We also send an Award Brass to ECHHA Heavy Horse Assoc., Museum of Power, Langforth, Maldon Essex. CM9 7QX


Urgent Appeal to Save Heavy Horses

The Rare Breed Survival Trust, in their newsletter “The Ark” of Autumn 2017, pointed out that the three native breeds in the UK, Suffolk, Clydesdale and Shire are declining in numbers. The Suffolk breed is the most critically endangered and may be lost in as little as 10 years. They are appealing for £375,000 to save these three outstanding breeds and replenish the RBST Gene Bank.
Website: and google “Heavy horses to die out within a decade”




 A rare Liverpool Heavy Horse frame housen illustrated in “Anthology









                                                        ANTHOLOGY Vol. II

Volume II of “The Collector’s Anthology of Antique Horse Brasses” by Dick Bradshaw and Ian Jones was launched at the NHBS AGM in March. It is produced to the same high standard as Vol.I with format designed by Rolf Augustin. This book is selling well so hurry and get your copy. The promotion period when p&p was included is now over and the book is being offered at a slightly reduced price but postage and packing is now extra. Price £16.00. Postage and packing: UK 3.00; EUR 7.00; ROW £11.00
NB: Volume I of the Anthology is now being offered at a similar price.

                                             MEMBERS ADVERTISEMENTS

FOR SALE: Antique horse brasses from large and changing stock of Royalty, Award, Saddlers, Bell, Pattern, and Railway brasses, Hame plates, Nosebands, Studs, Martingales, Harness Decoration and Books.
Send me your “wish list” and be surprised with the result!
See my stall at Church Stretton, Ipsden and other meetings.
Please write or contact: Stan Benton, Peartree Cottage, 14 Middleton Bank, Henley, Ludlow, Shrops SY8 2DY
01584 877880; Mobile: 07802 194253 Email:
Wanted: Complete collections to single pieces; also Railway Brasses and studs, BR & LMS Railway Awards, 1947 etc. Commemoratives, Brewery Brasses, Saddlers Brasses etc. Any nosebands, unusual pottery centres or rosettes, Bell and Pattern brasses.
Your price paid – please contact Stan Benton as above.


The Collector’s Horse Brasses.

We specialize in genuine harness-worn horse brasses for the collector. PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE: for a varied selection of antique horse brasses, harness decorations including martingales, terrets, swingers, facepieces, rosettes and hameplates and the book “The Horse Brass Collectors Handbook Vol. I” and the recently published Vol. II.
We also pay the VERY top price if, for any reason, you have to part with your horse brasses. Swaps will also be considered. Please email Lynne or Matthew at: or telephone: 07961 828679. We are located in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.


Specially Designed Martingales: Specially designed martingales to complement each year’s brass issued by NHBS. These are handmade at the Harness Makers Workshop in Ireland by Robert Steinke, a Master Saddler & Harness Maker, from quality English and Italian tanned leather with non-rust fittings. The martingales are equally suited to other brasses and special martingales can be made to your requirements. All can be posted worldwide.
Contact the maker direct at: Harness Makers Workshop, Corclough, Co. Cavan, Rep. of Ireland
E-mail: Tel: 00 353 86 3946467 Facebook:Harness Makers Workshop


Horse Brasses for Sale and Purchase: I stock a good range of old horse brasses, Royalty brasses, Swingers, Martingales etc. Wanted in particular: Pony,Flag and engraved Intaglio horse brasses.
Contact: Paul Cater, Barnhourie Farm, Sandyhills, Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway. DG5 4PU. Tel: 01387 780204. E-mail: Please take a look at my website:

                                                               TRADING LIST
 We have kept prices stable for some time despite increases in postal charges. Because of our trade dealing on the website we have had to depart from our usual way of stating our prices i.e. “price includes postage & packing”, to price and then three levels of postage i.e. UK; Europe (Eur) and Rest of the World (ROW).


Please note that we cannot process FOREIGN or EUROCHEQUES and all orders MUST show the purchaser’s Membership number.

Book sales are now handled by Mick Mullens, 20 North Street, Castlethorpe, Milton Keynes, MK19 7EW; Tel: 01908 510655. He will also deal with brass sales.
Members can also purchase via our website:
Members wishing to purchase previous years’ annual Members brasses or back issues of the Journal should please first call to check that the items they require are still currently available as the quantities listed are often out of date before the ink is dry.

Sapphire Jubilee celebrating 65 years of Elizabeth as Queen, 2017: Price £15.00 plus postage & packing
The Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee commemorates 65 years on the Throne. The sapphire on the brass is a one inch synthetic translucent “glass” reminiscent of the rare Victorian glass bosses surrounded by an olive wreath.

Platinum Anniv. Of Wedding of the Queen and Prince Phillip, 2017: Price £15.00 plus postage and packing
This brass is to commemorate the 70th Wedding Anniversary, the Platinum, which took place on 20th November 2017. Congratulations your Majesty!

Prince of Wales Brass 2018: Price £15.00 plus postage & packing

Queens 90th Birthday Brass 2016: Price £15.00 plus postage & packing.

NHBS 40th Birthday Brass 2016: Price £15.00 plus postage & packing.

Record Reign Brass 2015: Price £15.00 plus postage & packing.

Royal Wedding Catherine & William brass: Price £15.00 plus postage & packing
Price £15.00 plus postage & packing

Sheffield Star stud (2010): Price £6.00 plus postage & packing

Annual Members Brasses: Price £6.00 (except 2010 special @£14.00) plus postage & packing
Member’s brasses are available for years 1992 to 2014 (except for 1999, 2002 and 2003)

Postage & Packing on the above brasses as follows: UK £1.25; EUR £3.90; ROW £5.10



                                           BOOKS: Anthology I & II NEW PRICES

The Collectors Anthology of Antique Horse Brasses Vol. I (Dick Bradshaw & Ian Jones) 2011.
A definitive reference on antique heavy horse decoration, selected from the finest private collections around the world. Featured are 330 individual colour images of the best 19th and early 20th century examples to be found, many of them rare and never before documented. The book is 107 pages, 23.5 x 7 19cm, printed on premium matte art paper and hardbound with a buckram finish. It is an absolute “must” for even for the most dispassionate collector…and the perfect gift for any occasion.

NEW PRICE: £16.00. Postage: UK £3.00; Eur £7.00; ROW: £11.00

The Collectors Anthology of Antique Horse Brasses Vol. II (Dick Bradshaw & Ian Jones) 2017
Another 103 pages containing text and photographs of 270 antique brasses produced to the same high standard as Vol. I NEW PRICE: UK £16.00; P&P UK £3.00; EUR £7.00; ROW £11.00

                                        NHBS ILLUSTRATED BOOKLETS

Postage and packing for all the booklets below : UK £1.30; EUR £3.90; ROW £5.00.

A Guide to Harness Decorations (2nd Edition) Editor: Terry Keegan
The articles which comprise a page of commentary opposite a page of superb photographs range from patterns, subjects, commemorative and trade brasses, swingers, hames and hameplates, breast plates, rosettes, bells, shanked decorations and noseband plates to woolen and floral decorations. In addition there are articles which give advice on attempting to distinguish genuine brasses from others, publications, museums and shows to visit plus the NHBS history and brasses issued to members.

A Guide to Harness Decorations (2nd Edition) Editor: Terry Keegan Price £4.00 plus P&P
This is a photocopied edition of the above as the 2nd Edition is about to run out and further reprints are not possible

Horse Bells (2nd Edition) By Terry Keegan, Douglas Hughes, Claude A. Brock, Ran Hawthorne Price £4.00 +p&p
Contains illustrated articles on the history and manufacture of various types including the casting process for rumble bells, hame bells, team bells, harness bells and American bells. Bell face pieces are examined in some detail.

RHB: Railway Horse Brasses (1987) By Ran Hawthorne Price £4.00 plus P&P
This comprehensive book has over 200 illustrations of brasses, hameplates and swingers associated with the railway companies and the horses which they used. Of interest to all collectors.

Award Brasses (1989) By Malcolm Andrews Price £4.25 plus P&P
London, Town and Country Parades, RSPCA, Ploughing Match, Horse Show and other Awards. Profusely illustrated with photographs and drawings of brasses and other ornaments.
This is a photocopied edition of the above as the 2nd Edition is about to run out and further reprints are not possible

Brewery Horse Brasses (First Edition) By Gron Williams Price £4.00 plus P&P
Please note that this is the old edition and has been superseded by the new one – see below. The Society is selling them at a reduced rate to extinguish existing stocks.

Brewery Horse Brasses (Second Revised Edition 2006) By Gron Williams Price £8.00 plus P&P
A fifty six page updated edition covering the existing material together with new brewery and brewery brass information that has come to light since the first edition of this publication in 1991. Lavishly illustrated with over 200 photographs and line drawings.

Saddlers Brasses (2003) –reprint of 1993 Edited by Ran Hawthorne Price £4.80 plus P&P
Dealing with the many types of brasses used by saddlers including face pieces, nosebands, rosettes, hameplates and swingers through to studs and with the details of some of the saddlers. Over 180 illustrations of brasses.

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume I (2001 reprint) By Ran Hawthorne Price £5.00 plus P&P
Illustrates over 400 brasses, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’



Collecting Horse Brasses Volume II (1997)
By Ran Hawthorne Price £4.70 plus P&P
A further 400 illustrations, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume III (1998) By Ran Hawthorne Price £5.00 plus P&P
A further 400 illustrations, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume IV (1999) By Ran Hawthorne Price £5.50 plus P&P
A further 400 illustrations, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume V (2000) By Ran Hawthorne Price £6.00 plus P&P
A further 400 illustrations, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume VI (2001) By Ran Hawthorne Price £8.20 plus P&P
An extended sequel to ‘Royalty Brasses’ published in 1985 and out of print for some time. Just under 300 illustrations, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume VII (2003) By Ran Hawthorne Price £7.50 plus P&P
Horse Brass Manufacturers Catalogue Illustrations.

Collecting Horse Brasses Volume VIII (2004) By Ran Hawthorne Price £6.60 plus P&P
A final volume illustrating some collections and over 350 brasses, including short descriptions and ‘rarity factors’

Parade Horse Brasses (2010) By Michael & Peter Ferguson Price £9.20 plus P&P
A superb book containing 65 pages and has a wealth of pictures and details of both parades and their brasses.

Power In Brass (2011) By Gron Williams Price £7.80 plus P&P
A new 28 page publication on the subject of trade related brasses and similar. The book has excellent colour and b&w photographs to accompany the very informative text.

All About Engraving on Horse Brasses, F.A.K.E’s (2013) Vol.I Price £5.00 plus P&P (see below)
A 56 page reference on fakes, featuring classic examples of spurious hand-engraving, mostly shown in actual size. Colour and black-and-white. Of particular interest to collectors of award and

saddlers brasses. Recommended for use in tandem with the NHBS website (Fakes page). Postage: UK £2.38; EUR £4.16; ROW £5.60.

More About Engraving on Horse Brasses, F.A.K.E’s (2015)
Price £5.00 plus P&P (see below)
This second booklet containing 56 more pages of fake and spurious brasses and a new introductory page.
Postage UK £2.38; EUR £4.16; ROW £5.60.

As there are only single copies available of some issues, members should first check the availability with Mick Mullens on 01908 510655.

To purchase the items above please visit the shop