Local herd. Local hero.
Nigel Haworth Puts Bowland’s British White Beef On The Table
Nigel Haworth has long had a passion for all things local...not just the specialities of a region famous for its enviable line-up of traditional dishes, but for our local food heroes...the home-grown band of artisan suppliers who bring us the pick of the crop, the leanest cuts and the catch of the day.
So it was only a matter of time before he went in search of a herd of prime beef, born and bred in Lancashire.Happily for us he discovered a classic...in every sense of the word.
The Unexpected Fruits of Nigel’s Labour…
While buying a crop of fresh damsons from Saving Hill Farm In Cumbria, a chance discussion revealed the owners also kept a herd of British Whites. Intrigued by the history of this indigenous breed, Nigel researched its origins, found direct links back to 16th century Whalley Abbey, and then discovered a herd, even closer to home, at the farm of Tony and Nicole Kevill in Lancaster.
The Kevills had started their Moorside Herd in 1974 and had remained at the forefront of the breed’s successful development. In fact, their first bull, Castleton Concert, sired Moorside Watchman which, in turn, sired Moorside Duchess, Breed Champion at the Royal Show in 1992.However,Nigel’s discovery was timely. Despite building one of the finest herds in the country, the Kevills felt it was time to hand over their pride and joy to someone who could continue their work in perfecting the breed. Nigel introduced them to Jim Curwen of Marshaw Farm, a long time friend and supplier of the superb Bowland Lamb which features in his famous Lancashire Hotpot.
Lancashire’s Own Rare Breed
...Exclusive to The Three Fishes
Jim is a kindred spirit. A man who, like Nigel, is dedicated to producing food of outstanding quality. But taking on a 20-strong herd - including the bull, Meadowlands Classic - was a major investment. Appreciating the commitment involved, Nigel struck a deal with Jim. If Jim would help him fulfill his dream of seeing a major British White herd thriving in the fields of Lancashire, Nigel would guarantee to purchase all the beef he produced. Jim agreed, and the herd is now firmly established in the Trough of Bowland where natural rearing, GM-free grazing and Jim’s care and attention have already seen the herd produce two bullocks and a heifer within months of arriving at their new home.
Even better, Nigel’s belief that the herd would produce meat of rare and outstanding quality has been rewarded beyond even his high expectations. Matured and hung for 5 weeks, the beef has a uniquely mouthwatering flavour...full-bodied, with a creamy aftertaste, providing the perfect cuts for Nigel to re-create so many of Lancashire’s traditional dishes in his own inimitable style.
This is beef like you’ve never tasted before. Real British White beef, thriving once more in the county where it first made its name...and available only at the Three Fishes and at Northcote Manor. This is food...with roots!
British White Cattle - A Breed Apart
The British White - once a medieval status symbol - can trace its origins back to the ancient, indigenous wild cattle of Britain and, notably, to the Lords Park at Whalley Abbey, brought by Richard Assheton in 1553. Here the breed continued to thrive until, over 200 years later,Mary Assheton married Lord Suffield of Gunton Hall in Norfolk, taking with her some of the white polled cattle from herds originating from Whalley Abbey.
The Gunton Park Cattle were the foundation of at least two herds of note, but the breed all but disappeared following the cattle plague of the 1860's. Only two individuals survived, but the herd was built up again until, at the foundation of the Park Cattle Society in 1918, there were seven recorded herds with 16 bulls and 115 females. However, such small numbers meant herdsmen struggled to maintain the breed until, in 1973, the RBST was formed and a growing awareness of the existence and desirability of rare breeds began to emerge.
Thanks to this organisation and the continuing determination of the British White Cattle Society, interest in the breed rose markedly and, by 1990, there were 116 herds with over 1500 registered cattle. Today, the RBST no longer lists the British White as a rare breed and the Society has limited new introductions to ensure that the breed remains true to the type that has graced our countryside for over 400 years... and now graces the table at The Three Fishes too.