The fifties

In war time only two litters were KC recorded , 1) the one bred in '40 by Mrs F Woolley - Perry Mastiff kennels , Perry Barr nr Birmingham - out of her fawn ch Deleval Alftruda sired by the fawn Hammercliffe Remus (exported to the States) , their son Hammercliffe Peter was purchased by the Altnacraig breeders Mr/Mrs Foster Clark while his sis Sledmore Sarah became owned by Mr LH Vale , 2) the other one bred in '43 by Mrs E Park out of ch Uther Penarvon' daughter Hortia sired by Hortia' son Brunwins Robert , the latter by ch Havengore Christopher .

 

The hereabove list presents the KC registered litters of early post-war II breeding . The first breeding was done by Mrs LJ Head who mated Coldblow Sally to Templecoombe Torus (one of the spellings thereto!) ; offspring were the male Ockite Wattaboy (owned by Mr Ocky White of Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire , who a/o once owned Druina b '35 and winner of two cc's) and the females Ockite Wattagirl & Frithend Nydia , the latter purchased by Keith FH Hulbert . Both Ockite Wattaboy & O- Wattagirl died of hardpad (in connection to distemper) some months after their purchase.

 

Much has been presumed in regards to the sire Templecoombe Torus , a/o being the result of cross-breeding . Things which are first-hand recorded - Miss Fawell of East Grinstead acquired him in January '42 (claimed to be eighteen months old) and he lived up with her till his death in December '48 ; she presented the late Graham Hicks a number of authentical Torus’ pics . So it might be of interest to ‘presume’ some points of interest based upon those pics vs the then prominent Bull Mastiff stock .

First ascertainment is that Templecoombe Torus was a brindle . Now , if one scrutinizes Bull Mastiff breed books , as a/o Mr Douglas Oliff’ one , it ‘seems’ the brindle color was rather rare in the Bull Mastiff stock justly before WWII , probably way less than in the then Mastiff population with several strains carrying the brindle color , one of them Deleval , the latter having bred the brindle D- Gundreda , presumed by some source as having produced the brindle Torus who was claimed by another source to have weighed in his prime about two-hundred lbs , a weight which was highly uncommon in the then Bull Mastiff stock , whereas D- Gundreda' double gr-grandsire , Deleval Sir Galahad , was stated in a then doggy newspaper as of a 224 lbs weight , that at 2y old and in ‘sound’ condition.

 

Comparing Torus’ head to those of the then prominent Bull Mastiffs, two specific differences are quite notable , ie

 

1) Torus’ ear form , carriage & size suit better the respective Mastiff requirements (a/o tip ending off cheek centre iow off zygomatic bone),

2) Torus' fullness at the muzzle root , ie the upper arch nearing both sides the inner eye lids , that opposite to the then prominent BM stock which displays a more trapezoid muzzle formation, ie a rather small upper base vs a broader under base which makes the face lacking strength/fullness under the eye as displayed by first-class Mastiff stock .

 

These ascertainments give myself some reason to believe Torus wasn’t unambiguously the result of Bull Mastiff parentage , it even gives rise to a presumption he even could have been offspring of a (till present unknown) full Mastiff parentage !

 

The London Gazette , 1 Feb 1946 mentions a/o - 'The undermentioned officers relinquish their commissions on account of ill-health : Captain KFH Hulbert EC6658 who's granted the honorary rank of Major '. This soldier , ie Keith FH Hulbert , was a breeder of purebred Arab horses at his 'Fritham Grange' farm in New Forest nearby Lyndhurst . He seems to have cherished a mission to regenerate the Mastiff breed after the devastating affairs of war and as there wasn't anymore to be found in Britain a suitable mate for his Nydia he flew over to the States . He met Robert Belden Burn of Valiant kennels - an accountant of Bristol Connecticut - and , in exchange for one of his valuable Arabians , he acquired the brindle Mastiff male called 'Diadem' . Note - Major Keith FH Hulbert has also bred New Forest ponies .

There's a photograph (with faded background) in circulation claimed to represent Mr Hulbert' import Valiant Diadem but it provokes substantial doubt as several Withybush kennel adverts of the 1950s present the very same photograph (with natural background) as being a photograph of ch Withybush Aethelred , his great-grandson b '55 and an outstanding specimen in his day , ergo no reason to use a photo of another Mastiff . So no direct clue for this mistaken , except for perhaps a misleading attempt to glorify the American bred Diadem , a male so important in the revival of the post-war Mastiff breed in Britain .

 

Valiant Diadem was out of Valiant Cythera sired by Knockrivoch Hector . Here below at left a pic of Knockrivoch Eric , brother to K- Hector and therefore Diadem' paternal uncle ; below in the centre - Valiant Ceres owned by Mr/Mrs Louis A Roselaar , perhaps the one of the eponymous NY firm highly expertized in diamond cutting , and below at right - Valiant Dazzler .

In case Mr Burn' litters were named in alphabetical order , then the pic in the centre hereabove presents Valiant Diadem' maternal aunt and the pic hereabove at right Diadem' sis .

 

Major Hulbert bred five litters out of Frithend Nydia sired by his Valiant Diadem which produced some thirty pups , amongst them the future champions Havengore Rodney & Vyking Wotan . Note - It's easy to overrate the value of champion titles as if it may guarantee high-class breed quality but , of course , that's not true .

 

A champion title indicates a breed specimen has been chosen by at least three individual judges as the best dog or female out of the presented entries and in a number of cases it may have been the judge of the day had to choose from a range of quality-wise average or even poor Mastiffs thereby taking into account also the low entry numbers in those early Post-War II years .

That said and looking through those early ch pedigrees , one may find out not less than six Nydia/Diadem daughters produced champion progeny, ie 1) OEMC Prudence - dam to ch Withybush Odin (his brother W- Magnus having sired the influential Weyacres Lincoln) , 2) Rayne Valerie - dam to ch's Vyking Aethelwulf & sis V- Aithne , 3) Flushdyke Jill , dam to ch Withybush Bess , 4) Moonsfield Duchess , dam to ch Moonsfield Baron , 5) Wormhill Cora - dam to ch Meps Angus .

 

There are newspaper clippings dating 1958 which pretend that Mr Sidney R Anderson' ch Lexander Tudor King aka 'Butch' b '52 - out of Portia/Diadem' daughter OEMC Elgiva sired by Heatherbelle Sterling Silver - was the then 'Heaviest Dog in Britain' but what is far more important , type-wise he seems to have been of a then extraordinary quality . Note - Tudor King’ maths were reported as – 33 ½ i at shoulder , weight 15 stone 5 ½ lbs , chest 49 ½ i & length from nose to tail 77 ½ i . Unfortunately he left without progeny but Mrs Maisie Anderson (perhaps a relative) of Bardayle kennels at Benfleet , purchased his younger sis Benfleet Janus and she produced four litters by three different sires , amongst her offspring were 1) Benfleet Bronwen , dam to ch Parcwood Olwen , 2) Havengore Adam who grandsired the Hollesley foundation brood ch Havengore Dawn , 3) Bardayle Cindy Lou , dam to ch Havengore Balint & 4) Bardayle Bunty , dam to ch Kisumu Fatima .

 

Ch Lexander Tudor King' paternal half brother Faithful Gillard sired four Sparry litters , amongst them were - 1) Sparry Cleo - dam to thé stud of his day Copenore Jason & 2) Sparry Serena , dam to ch Milf Manetta & her brother Millf Murias , the one whose highly sublime head adorns the homepage of this website . Cleo & Serena are both granddams to a corner stone of the Hollesley breeding practices , ie ch Weatherhill Thor, his double grand-uncle being ch Lexander Tudor King to be seen here below in three breed-wise valuable pics presumably taken at the Andersons' living place , ie Brewery Cottage * - 71 St Johns Road Isleworth , some six mls West of London city ; unaware if Mr Sidney Roy Anderson ever was into the brewery business but his Isleworth' Brewery Cottage was once the home of the 'brewer' Mr Rowland Hill .

 

Historical note - There was a brewery in Isleworth in the early 16th century ; the brewery in St Johns Road had already been in business for some time when it was bought by William Farnell in 1800 . As Farnell & Watson and later as the Isleworth Brewery Co Ltd , it expanded greatly during the 19th century . It was bought by Watney Combe Reid & Co in 1923 and was used in 1958 as a bottling store .

The Canadian import Heatherbelle Sterling Silver (Parkhurst Rufus ex Heatherbelle Hyacinth) sired a dozen litters . Besides the already mentioned Tudor King , his brother Faithful Gillard & sis Benfleet Janus , progeny of note by Sterling Silver were his sons out of OEMC Prudence , ie ch Withybush Odin & W- Magnus , the latter known as the paternal grandsire of Copenore Jason , the latter behind almost all first-class lines in Britain but also Sterling Silver' daughters Melita Salome & Semper Fidelis (out of the Diadem/Nydia daughter Baroness) ; Melita Salome produced Copenore Jason' dam Sparry Cleo while Semper Fidelis produced ch Milf Manetta & M- Murias' dam Sparry Serena which results in the given that from the eight great-grandparents of ch Weatherhill Thor five were sired by Heatherbelle Sterling Silver . Ch Weatherhill Thor owned by Mrs Phil Greenwell was an outstanding Mastiff in his day and only very rarely defeated in the show ring ; he sired only a few litters but his sons ch Buckhall Baron Spencer & B- Baron Wolsey became important key studs in years to come .

It's almost unbelievable that Portia b , the tiny puppy female in the centre of the photo , should become the starting point of the maternal lines of ch Havengore Hotspot' parentage , ie granddam to Meps Basil & great-granddam to Havengore Flora . Note - Heatherbelle Sterling Silver and his litter sis Portia were born end '48 while H- Rajah , the pup at the right , of similar breeding lines was born January 12th 1949 .

 

Portia 1st litter was sired by Valiant Diadem resulting in a/o the first P-W II Mastiff champion OEMC Countess , OEMC Wolsey (got two cc's) , OEMC Elgiva & OEMC Boadicea , the latter , mated to ch Havengore Rodney , produced Havengore Hugh and this typey but reportedly long coated male , mated back to his dam OEMC Boadicea gave ch Havengore Diann , a wonderful female full of breed type who became maternal granddam to ch Havengore Hotspot . Ch Havengore Diann' sire H- Hugh and his sister H- Honey are both grand-parents to the Hollesley & Blackroc foundation broods , resp ch Havengore Dawn & Havengore Gipsy whose other grandparents were ch Mansatta Vilna' grandson Havengore Adam & ch Moonfield Baron' sis M- Princess , the latter grandsired by ch Mansatta Vilna' brother M- Benedict.

Portia 2nd litter was sired by Valiant Diadem' son ch Havengore Rodney ; it gave Withybush Beatrix (got two cc's) , W- Kathrine , W- Simon & W- Kathrine . The grandly headed Withybush Beatrix , mated to Valiant Diadem , produced Meps Beatrix who on her turn , mated to Heatherbelle Rajah' son ch Salyng Aethelwulf , gave Meps Basil , the latter known as the sire of the transcendent ch Havengore Hotspot ; Withybush Beatrix' sis W- Kathrine , mated by Portia' son OEMC Wolsey , produced Withybush Dusky Lady , the latter mated to Withybush Magnus' son Weyacres Lincoln , became dam to ch Withybush Aethelred , perhaps the best brindle male of the 1950s and therefore such a pity he only sired only litter , ie the one out of ch Withybush Bess which gave a/o ch Withybush Fausta & W- Froda , the latter became the only surviving genetic link to ch Withybush Aethelred along the Taddington sisters , ie ch Taddington Diamond Lil (the Farnaby foundation brood) and Taddington Pride who became granddam to ch Copenore Rab .

The photograph shows at the extreme left an aged Parkhurst Jumbo who sired Heatherbelle Rajah out of Heatherbelle Diana (next to him) ; at the extreme right Diana' sis Heatherbelle Hyacinth who mated to Parkhurst Jumbo' brother P- Rufus produced Heatherbelle Sterling Silver & Portia , the latter two were presented to the OEMC by their Canadian breeders Mr/Mrs Melluish of Vancouver under the condition that , after time , a pair of British stock should be sent back .

 

The Heatherbelle Mastiff Rajah was also of great historical note . He was purchased privately by Mrs AW Duke of Bearehill kennels - Brechin Angus Co , related by marriage to the family of industrialist Robert Duke of ‘Bearehill House’ , nowadays a nursing home . She must have been a very staunch breed fancier as in 1951 she traveled more than thousand miles from Brechin Scotland to a Show at Richmond judged by the old breed stalwart Guy Perceval Greenwood of Hillcrest .

Note - The company of R & D Duke , linen weavers , was founded in Brechin by two brothers Robert and David in 1852 . By 1864 they had laid the foundation stone for the Denburn Linen Works , arguably Brechin’ finest industrial building . They began with 200 power looms and increased it to 600 looms employing 800 hands . In 1902 Robert Duke celebrated his 50th anniversary as a manufacturer . His employee prepared a beautiful souvenir of the company’s work . A book was prepared as evidence of the cordial relations and goodwill between staff and owner . Each employee signed their name under a banner proclaiming their years of service .

 

The 1st litter sired by Mrs A Duke' Heatherbelle Rajah was out of the Diadem/ Nydia daughter Rayne Valerie and it contained two future Salyng champions , ie the brindles Aithne (purchased by Mrs Scheerboom of Havengore) & Aethelwulf , the latter should become ch Havengore Hotspot' paternal grandsire .

Another litter of special note sired by Heatherbelle Rajah was out of Mr Fred Bowles' Mansatta Jana , imported from the American breeder Mr Walter Frick . Amongst the siblings were the wonderfully headed ch Mansatta Vilna (granddam to Havengore Adam) , M- Benedict (sired Mrs Greenwell' ch Moonsfield Baron & grandsired ch Havengore Drake) & M- Jumbo (sired ch's Withybush Bess & Meps Angus) . Here below Vilna' head , a photograph of Mr Fred Bowles of Hammercliffe together with the youngster Havengore Pluto (b ’59 out of ch Havengore Dawn’ aunt H- Caroline sired by ch Havengore Drake’ brother H- Samson) and at right ch Havengore Drake owned by Mr Bill Hanson of Blackroc kennels ; Drake b March '56 & his son ch Blackroc Rhinehart b Oct '60 were the only males who defeated the illustrious ch Havengore Hotspot b Feb '58 in the early 1960s , that resp under the judges Mssrs F Warner Hill & Joe Braddon .

Ch Mansatta Vilna' sis M- Petronella became owned by Mrs Scheerboom and she produced two Havengore litters , 1) sired by ch Havengore Rodney' son H- Winston resulting in a/o H- Floria & Cathie , 2) sired by ch Havengore Rodney himself which resulted in a/o Havengore Samuel whose photograph is to be seen here below , that as a tall promising but unfinished youngster who for some reason never sired a KC recorded litter . Havengore Floria got the Crufts '60 bitch cc under Miss HM Loughrey while her great-grandnephew , the young ch Havengore Hotspot , got the male cc ticket . Note - Floria' sis H- Cathie mated to ch Mansatta Vilna' son M- Comedian produced ch Havengore Hotspot' grandsire Havengore Minty .

A long-term preview - From the four 'original' early post-war II studs , ie Templecoombe Torus , Valiant Diadem , Heatherbelle Rajah & Heatherbelle Sterling Silver it seems there's only one presently surviving stud line in Great Britain , namely the Sterling Silver line which lives on mainly (or even only) through the male descents of ch Arciniega' Lion ; Torus' male offspring died prematurely , Diadem' male line ended up in the 1960s with ch Havengore Drake' Blackroc sons ch's Rhinehart & Falcon (both exported to the States) while the Rajah stud line (along f3 Hotspot & f4 Balint) ended up in the 1980s within Nantymynydd & Farnaby breedings , Lesdon Lord Fortesque' son Farnaby Fair & Square (pictured here below at young age) being the last one who sired a litter but without a male who could continue that Rajah line .

Coming back to the chronological headline of this post-war II breed story , one should not forget to highlight the litter dd June 1951 bred Miss Ianthe Bell out the Diadem/Nydia daughter OEMC Prudence sired by Heatherbelle Sterling Silver . As already mentioned it contained two males of note , ie 1) ch Withybush Odin owned by Mr H Burgin of Edgemount House - Bradford nr Sheffield , who had also several broods , ie the Heatherbelle Rajah ch daughter Fanifold Unity , Withybush Beatrix' sis Rowena (Rodney/Portia daughters) & Mansatta Comedienne (Aethelwulf/Vilna daughter) , 2) Withybush Magnus exported to the Wisconsin breeder Mrs Helen Weyenberg of Weyacres kennels , and she mated him to Peach Farm Priscilla (granddaughter to Valiant Diadem' sire Knockrivoch Hector) , it resulted in a litter b Nov '52 , a/o Weyaces Tars (behind the stud line of the American bred GOMs Wayside The Devil & Arciniega' Lion) and Weyacres Lincoln who was sent back to Miss Bell as retribution for the import of Miss Bell' Withybush Magnus .

At left two photographs of Lincoln , one published in Our Dogs Xmas supplement Dec '54 (estimated age about one year and a half) , the other taken at the Backpool show in June 1955 where he got the reserve cc from Mr Fred Bowles of Mansatta beaten by his uncle Withybush Odin whereas Odin' younger sis Withybush Lady Welcome got the bitch cc . One of Lincoln' minors seems to have been his incomplete mask worsened by a greying off muzzle end , that at an early stage in life (2 1/2 y old) in this case .

 

The late Mr Douglas Oliff of Wyaston had ring-side knowledge about him and his son ch Withybush Aethelred and he found that both of them - quote - 'lacked a decisive hind action' . A peculiarity is his shepherd-like hock bent , in particular the right one , also to observe in other pics claimed to represent Lincoln . His brindle son ch Withybush Aethelred seems to beat him in Mastiff character , displaying a proportionately more massive & broader head piece . Another observation in these pics is Lincoln' rather restricted breadth off chest , confirmed by another photograph claimed to represent Lincoln (see below at left) ; now another pic (below in the centre) shows a dog who seems to have a chest almost the double in width , quite bizarre as the pic is taken from about the same angle of view .

 

Taking thereby into account the already mentioned 'interchange' of pics (a pic of Aethelred used to represent Valiant Diadem) , there's even another pic of doubtful origin but claimed to represent W- Lincoln , that in full colors (see above at right) but imo a pic of his grandson ch Copenore Friar .

Ch Withybush Aethelred b Jan '55 came from Weyacres Lincoln' first litter and perhaps his best show progeny but Lincoln sired in total not less than eighteen litters . His 3rd litter (out of Mansatta Jumbo' ch daughter Withybush Bess) produced a/o Withybush Crispin , a good allround well balanced show specimen , and W- Clarissa who , mated to Withybush Crispin' son W- Jasper , produced Withybush Viola , dam to Zilgul Brigid owned by the Frideswide breeder Dr Sheila Monostori but transferred to the Welsh Mrs Ann Davies who used her, together with Copenore Catherine , as the foundation of her O'Nantymynydd kennels ; Lincoln' tenth litter (out of Sparry Cleo) may have been breed-wise his most important one as it included Copenore Jason followed by his 17th , the one out of Saxondale Boadicea which produced Saxondale Cleopatra , the latter dam to ch Copenore Friar sired by Copenore Jason whose name is almost omnipresent in 3G pedigrees of British bred champions born between 1962 - '76 .

 

Jason dominated the British Mastiff scene in the 1960s , in numbers of breeding (togetherJason & Friar sired more than forty litters in times wherein yearly , less or more , twenty litters were born) , as well as in numbers of show success, p ex Jason sired not less than seven champions - Weatherhill Thor , Kisumu Batsheba & brothers - Balthasar & - Bardolph , Taddington Diamond Lil , Copenore Friar & Hollesley Macushla while Friar on his turn sired Buckhall Mr Micawber & brother - Lord Jim and Buckhall Master Sirius .

 

From these , one can count on it that Thor , Batsheba , Diamond Lil , Friar & Macushla and other Jason' offspring were behind the finest Mastiff stock of the next generations . Here below copies of some original photographs received a long time ago from the private collection of his breeder , the so kind & helpful Maisie Lindley who I've met (together with her friend Mrs Teversham of Twinoaks) at a OEMC show in the mid-1980s and after which some contact was held by old fashioned but lovely handwritten letters .

Now , the first abundantly illustrated book about the breed (published in the 1970s) mentions Copenore Jason' half brother Withybush Crispin (b Feb '56) as being a champion which is not confirmed by the Kennel Club data , ie although Crispin was a first-class Mastiff he never got his 3rd cc as it were only Mrs Harry France (Guy P Greenwood' daughter) in '57 and Mr Leo C Wilson in '58 who awarded him the challenge certificate . Here below at left a pic of Withybush Crispin together with a fawn puppy claimed to be Withybush Neda (Weyacres Lincoln x the brindle Withybush Froda) but it's not the case as W- Neda , mated to Copenore Jason' fawn brother C- Leo ( fawn parentage) , produced brindle offspring (only possible if at least one of the parents are brindle) . So Neda must have been a brindle ; her brindle daughter Kisumu Tiger Lily became dam to the brindles ch Taddington Diamond Lil owned by the Farnaby kennels & Taddington Pride , the latter granddam to ch Copenore Rab .

Withybush Crispin sired a dozen litters , the historically perhaps most important ones were 1) out of OEMC Wolsey' brindle daughter Withybush Dusky Lady which gave Withybus Superbus , the latter mated to his granddaughter Copenore Prima Donna , gave a/o the O'Nantymynydd foundation brood Copenore Catherine , 2) out of ch Havengore Hotspot' niece Dingus Ford which produced Avebury Lady Yhantha , dam to ch Cornhaye Kenneth who sired the 1st litter of a very long list of Gildasan breedings & 3) , last but not least - out of Havengore Adam' daughter H- Sylvia which gave Buckhall Alice , a really important corner stone of that great kennel owned by Major & Mrs Mary Reardon .

Round up of British post-war II Mastiff breeding until end 1959 - The main force of restart might be attributed to Mrs Norah Dickin of Goring kennels , the OEMC Secretary who not only researched strenuously after the remaining Mastiffs in Britain but also scanned the possibilities of importing suitable specimens and for that reason flew over to the States & Canada , in particular to Mrs Mell(u)ish of Heatherbelle kennels who then lived at Vancouver ; it was Mrs Dickin who came first into contact with Connecticut breeder Bob Burn of Valiant kennels which in the end led to the import of V- Diadem by Major Keith Hulbert of New Forest .

 

Hundred-twenty litters were born , amongst them twenty British champions ; Mrs Bell & Mrs Scheerboom might be considered as the main motors of this revival , not only having bred the most numbers of litters (resp twenty-four Withybush & nineteen Havengore) , but also thanks to expertise as breeders since the mid-1920s they both have guarded the breeding in terms of quality , being strict in their procedures of selecting breeding stock from those very few original p-w II Mastiffs but who still carried some blood of their pre-war II stock , ie a/o ch's Uther Penarvon & Havengore Christopher .

 

Also this period of Mastiff breeding couldn't escape from 'rumors' about outcrosses , ie Newfy input via the Sparry kennels & Saintly blood via Havengore kennels whose breeder Mrs Lucy Scheerboom was known as a very cunning lady in Mastiff circles , perhaps reason why those rumors ever remained to be only rumors .