On the Road:
Their stock in trade was the small black Welsh cattle known as "runts", reared in the mountains of the Principality. Adam Smith maintained in his "Wealth of Nations" that "The mountains of Scotland, Wales and Northumberland, indeed are not capable of much improvement, and seem destined by nature to be the breeding grounds of Great Britain".

Compared to present day standards, the Welsh cattle were of small stature, with efforts towards the improvement of the breed restrained by "custom" until the 19th century. In preparation for travelling over hard surfaces they were shod with metal "cues".In 1742 at the Old Bailey, a John Harvey, Headborough stated "The Prisoner told me, that he bought the Bullocks at Belbar at one Abram Fellows's, at the White-Hart, of one John Jones a Welchman; they were small Welsh cattle...". In 1800, a Philip Dehaney having had two oxen stolen, stated "One is a pole Scot, with white along the back; they were both black cattle; the other was horned Welch one". The method of travel for the master drover(s) was by horse; the small Welsh pony or "Cob" . He would ride ahead of the herd to reconnoiter the route and make arrangements for grazing, food or accommodation for the men and cattle. Hook Norton Lodge on the road to Banbury, in Oxfordshire was licensed as a Public House in 1831 for the accommodation of the Welsh drovers "who pass with their cattle in the summer time".

Typical entries in the accounts of David Jonathan, cattle drover from Dihewyd, Cardiganshire in 1849, traveling to Chelmsford Essex, using turnpike roads. From the Welsh Cattle Drovers by RJ Colyer, 1976. The common drover or herdsman would be on foot. " A legend dies hard, especially when there is some practical benefit attending it's preservation", said the Western Mail , Cardiff in 1895. "To this day Welsh drovers taking cattle to London depasture their herds freely on the heath or common land near Hughenden, Buckinghamshire. The story runs that once upon a time a battle was turned in the favour of the local Anglo Saxons by the arrival of Cambo-British strangers (Welsh), and the drovers claim a grazing right by virtue of this intervention".
Oxen at plough, Waldron, Sussex in 1907
> Next