AN historian is calling on the horseracing community to help conserve an 18th century stable block that played a pivotal role in the development of the sport.
Michael Chaloner, vice chairman of Northallerton and District History Society, said he had unearthed a range of evidence which shows Nutwith Cote, near Masham, has a strong claim to be the birthplace of thoroughbred horse breeding and training.
Mr Chaloner said documents had revealed the stable housed a stallion called Bartlett’s Childers, the most important offspring of the Darley Arabian, from which 95 per cent of all male thoroughbreds in the world are directly descended.
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Bartlett’s Childers, who was owned by Richmond wool dyer John Bartlett and his son, became Champion sire in 1742 and was the great-grandsire of the undefeated racehorse Eclipse, the horse from which 80 per cent of all modern thoroughbreds can be traced and fathered many leading mares.
Mr Chaloner said the stable block, which features exceptionally detailed stonework for an early 18th century outbuilding on a relatively small farm, had accommodation for stable lads above and its own smithy and chapel.
He said: “You can imagine a stable block like this at a stately home like Chatsworth House, but not at an isolated farm.”
Bartlett’s Childers, which was also called Bleeding Childers, was never raced as he bled from the nose after exercise, but his success as a stallion demonstrated to breeders that unraced horses were capable of siring top racehorses.
Mr Chaloner said while Yorkshire had previously been renowned for having exceptional mares, with Charles II establishing a royal stud at Hornby Castle, near Bedale, Nutwith Cote had led attracted breeders from a wide area.
He said: “The Bartletts got lucky and rapidly made a name for themselves, but we know that the second John Bartlett was not in a good financial position by the end of his life.
“Our investigations have suggested 22 people were living there at one point, but it is unclear whether this was during the time of Bartlett’s Childers.
“The stable block is not in a very good order, in particular the roof, and such an exceptional place for the horseracing industry should be preserved.”
A spokeswoman for the Jockey Club said it had no plans to help conserve the building as it prioritised maintaining its existing assets.
Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, whose family own the grade II listed building as part of the Swinton Park estate, said she was excited to learn the building had played a pivotal role in the development of horseracing.
She said: “There are a number of properties on the estate we are looking at with English Heritage and we are also looking at Lottery funding, so we will certainly look at whether we can get funding for this building.”
Mr Chaloner will present the findings of his research at a meeting of the society on Tuesday, (January 14) at 7pm, at the Sacred Heart Church Hall, Thirsk Road, Northallerton.