The Dunk Cow

Trying to find a bit more out about the old Dolphin pub in Bore St, I had a look through the newspaper archives. I did find one really nice snippet – at the grand opening of Lichfield’s Co-op in 1914, Councillor JR Deacon, who built the new Co-op on the site of the Dolphin, presented the chairman with a walking stick made from one of the old inn’s beams.

However, I confess that sometimes when trying to find information in old newspapers, I often find myself distracted. I am utterly incapable of passing by a story with an intriguing headline.  If you think you could stay focused after turning up ‘Antics of Mad Cow. Swam Stowe Pool Twice’ in a search, then I salute your willpower. I, however, needed to know more about these events immediately and thought I’d share the unusual story here.

Ducks but no cows. By the way, is this Johnson’s Willow (well its replacement anyway)?

In 1946, two young men were spending a quiet Monday afternoon fishing at Stowe Pool Suddenly, they noticed a cow swimming towards them. The heifer got out of the water, charged at them and then started swimming back towards Stowe St. However, something must have changed its mind, as the cow then decided to come back, charging at a policeman who had just arrived on the scene. By this time, the fishermen and the pool attendant, a Mr Boston, were hiding behind Johnson’s Willow. Deciding to make a run for it Mr Boston headed for the Boathouse and the two lads jumped over the hedge. Unfortunately, so did the cow. With PC King in hot pursuit, the poor beast ran up The Windings and into a field, where finally having calmed down, it stayed overnight, before ‘being removed’ the following morning (the Mercury reporter thought it had been destroyed). Where the cow came from, and what caused this odd behaviour is not known. For those involved, I’m sure that this was quite a frightening experience at the time, but I do wonder if, once the shock had subsided, it went on to become a favourite family story e.g. “Tell us about the time you got chased by a cow, Grandad…”?

By coincidence the story is actually linked to the previous post about the Dolphin in a way – the two young men were butchery assistants at the Co-op! From a dolphin in Bore St to a cow in Stowe Pool, I love how you just never know what story is going to turn up next!

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10 thoughts on “The Dunk Cow

  1. I know what you mean about getting side-tracked in newspaper archives. I used to spend hours going off on a tangent when I was looking things up, and the adverts always caught my eye – the further back you go the funnier they are, but there’s a real social history hidden in the ads, about the jobs available, and house prices, and shops and transport, and the class sytem and all sorts of stuff.

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    • I’m starting to see links everywhere, although admittedly some more tenuous than others! I wasn’t sure if the name of this post was a bit too cryptin, but making up the cheesy titles of the posts is one of my favourite parts of the blog!

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  2. Talking about aggressive cows, and the origin of pub names, the title is close to the Dun Cow.

    Some say it was the Ghost of St Cuthbert in 995AD and the laying of the foundations of Durham Cathedral.

    But closer to home…

    The fable of the dun cow at Dunsmore Heath near Rugby tells the tale of a savage beast with a huge tusk that was slain by Guy of Warwick, himself a legendary English hero of romance in England and France from the 13th to the 17th Century. According to this legend, the cow belonged to a giant and its milk was inexhaustible. One day the cow broke lose from its Shropshire field and wandered to Dunsmore Heath where it was slain by Guy. Its tusk is apparently on display at Warwick Castle, although it is believed to be an elephant’s tusk.

    Then again, there is a dun cow pub in Dunchurch, near Rugby, which claims that the pub name derived from a tale of “a monstrous beast four yards high and six yards long”. A witch made the poor cow go on a murderous rampage until, once again, Guy, Earl of Warwick, stepped in and saved the day.

    http://www.stalbanshistory.org/page_id__332_path__0p2p114p.aspx

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  3. I know what you mean, i have the same problem when doing my research, you are looking for something, and see an headline in the paper, and you just have to read it, then anothier, later on you have to remind yourself why you are there!
    By the way i enjoy reading you blog, you have some great stuff on here.

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