First OEMC President

The first OEMC President

Lord Arthur Cecil [1848-1913] studied agriculture under Sir Jacob Wilson , the Honorary Director of the Royal Agricultural Society’ Show , and besides his ‘official’ address , Knowsley Park , he resided since 1874 at Orchard Mains House , Traquair nr Innerleithen , Scotland , with his wife & two children, nine servants and his bachelor brother Lionel .

Being a tenant of Traquair Estates , he was farming four thousand acres of which four hundred being arable land , under a lease for nineteen years , but in 1889 he resolved to terminate this lease early due to their mother Lady Derby’ failing health by which it became necessary to have them nearer to her & her husband , at Holwood House in Keston , some five miles south-east of Upper Norwood , London .

 Shortly afterwards , Lord Arthur Cecil put all his possesions , livestock , and servants on a train and went back to England where he built another house called Orchardmains at Hildenborough nearby Sevenoaks , Kent and proceeded his extensive farming & breeding activities .

His father , the 15th Earl, Edward Henry Stanley Cecil , died in 1893 and seven years later Lady Derby passed away at Holwood as also the next Earl , Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley in 1908 . Lord Arthur Cecil died five years later at Passford House , Mount Pleasant in Lymington located in the ‘New Forest’ , once famous for its hardy pony breed but which was becoming to detoriate as a result of inbreeding . In 1891 , Lord Cecil founded the Association for the improvement of the breed of New Forest .

A stallion premium scheme was set up , and in 1889 Queen Victoria lent two stallions , the Arab Abeyan and the Barb Yirrassan . Abeyan II , whose picture was published by the Country Life magazine November 20th 1897 was a son to Queen Victoria’ Arab Abeyan out of a Welsh mare . In order to correct the Forester's lack of substance , bone , and hardiness , Lord Arthur Cecil brought in huge amounts of native blood , using ponies from the Isle of Rum [Black Galloways] and other Highlands Dales , Fells , Dartmoors , Exmoors . The Welsh Lord Lucas added the famous Welsh Starlight blood through his Picket ponies , and also used Dartmoors , Exmoors , and Fells . He even introduced a Basuto Pony that he had brought back from South Africa , although no discernible influence can be attributed to it . 

It was at Crystal Palace in 1883 , ‘ Goliath ‘ Lord Arthur Cecil was invited to become President of the new Mastiff breed club called the Old English Mastiff Club to distinguish from MB Wynn’ old one … Only three years later , he was succeeded by Dr John Sidney Turner of Stanton House , Upper Norwood . Both gentlemen kept up extensive correspondences with the famous James Cossar Ewart , zoologist and professor of Natural History at the University of Edinburgh . Lord Arthur Cecil explained him a/o the breeding and ancestral history of the West Highland pony 'Mulatto' [from the Isle of Rum] , and described the possible reasons for her colouring & markings , also referring to documents and sketches he had enclosed for him . Being also a leading expert in the Connemara breed , Lord Cecil involved him into this breed which was also deteriorated in quality because of the impoverishment of the farming communities and in 1897 a Royal Commission , headed by Professor J. Cossar Ewart , was set up to examine horse-breeding in Ireland and in an attempt to redress this problem , Welsh Cob stallions were introduced under government horse-breeding schemes .

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette -  Sept 29th 1885. The Stock-keeper - ‘Mr James Hutchings’ prize brindled Mastiff Gwalior 10,547 (ed – ch Pontiff’ brother b May ’79) has recently been purchased by Lord Arthur Cecil, the President of the Old English Mastiff Club.’