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Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials 2018

We are please to announce that Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials will take place this year on 30th, 31st August & 1st  September on Longshaw Pastures in front of Longshaw Lodge, near Grindleford, starting at approximately 7.30am each morning. We are very honoured this year to have Mr. Christopher Jewitt as our President.


On 30th and 31st there will be open class sheep dog trials when many of the “ One Man and His Dog” competitors will be taking part. We are very pleased to have Mr. John Elliott from Sheffield to judge the open classes and championship, and to judge the local class Mr. Frank Satterthwaite, from Brough.


At approximately 3.30pm on 30th, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, there will be a parade of local hounds courtesy of the Barlow Hounds, Pennine Foxhounds, High Peak Harriers and the Ecclesfield Beagles and for the first time at approximately 1.00pm on Friday 31st there will be a parade of English Bloodhounds.


Following the local class sheep dog trial on Saturday 1st the Longshaw Fell Race is to be run. Starting at approx. 10.30am, this is open to all adults and is enter on the field. Following the start of the fell race there will be a demonstration of dog obedience and agility.


Starting at approximately 12.30 on Saturday 1st the trials culminate in a double gather championship, which consists of the 8 highest pointed runs from both Thursday and Friday, when the winner will take home the prestigious Longshaw Championship silver tea pot sponsored by Taylor & Emmet LLP.


Entrance charges are just £5.00 per adult each day, no charge for children and free parking. We start at approximately 7.30am, weather permitting, finishing at approximately 5.30pm. For further information please contact the Secretary, Mrs. Sheila Humphreys, MBE on 01433 651852, or e-mail lsdta@talktalk.net


This will be the 120th year of the Association, thought to be the oldest continuous sheep dog trials in England with the two world wars and 2001 because of foot and mouth being the only years when no trials were held.


There will be a licensed bar, hot and cold food and drinks, and ice cream available. The magnificent array of trophies will be on display, so please come and join us for a day on the moors to see some of the wisest dogs in the world. We look forward to meeting you.




It is said that Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials originated from a challenge made by the head keeper to the head shepherd of the Duke of Rutland, probably in 1894, to see who had the better dog. Mr. Sam White took up the challenge with Gyp and Mr. Ernest Priestley with Tinker. Sam White won the prize of a fat wether. This trial was unofficial, with another one possibly being held in 1896.


The first official trial was due to be held on Thursday 24th March 1898 at Totley Moss, between Fox House and Owler Bar, with a committee having been formed and sponsors found for the prize money. There were two classes with 16 dogs in the open class and 6 dogs in the under 20-mile radius local class. The total prize money was to be £19.00. During the first three runs of the day the already wintry weather deteriorated rapidly. Soon, there were blizzards raging, so the decision was taken to postpone the event until the following day, Friday 25th March when they would be held in Timothy field, opposite Longshaw Lodge gates. It proved to be a good decision as the weather, though still wintry, was much improved. A Mr. Piggin of Long Eaton with his dog Ormskirk Charlie, who took a prize of £6.00, won that first open class. Mr. Ernest Priestley with Scot, who won a prize of £4.00, also won the local class. After all expenses had been paid, the grand total of £7.15.11 was in hand, but the trial proved so popular that the same year another trial was held in September, when it was reported that 700 spectators paid to watch them. In 1919 the Secretary, Mr. Bill Bocking, told the Sheffield Telegraph in an interview that “a really good dog that knows his worth will cost £30 or £40 and a partially trained puppy £10”. Today, breeders and handlers talk in thousands!


In 1900 the start of the trials was delayed from 8.30 to 10.30 am as there were no spectators! By 1901 the number of spectators was over 3,000, but in 1925 it was estimated that there were 8,000 people there to see the trials. In the 1938 programme, the Longshaw Notes conclude by stating that “a limited number of seating accommodations has been provided chiefly for use by ladies and elderly people, and it is hoped that this will be used in a temporary manner and not be appropriated for long periods by the same spectators”. From 1898 onward the trials have been held annually, with the exception of the two wars, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, and of course 2001 because of the foot and mouth epidemic. In 1947 the trials became a two-day event but by 1950 the entry was so big that it became a three-day trial, and when the championship was introduced in 1953 it became the trials as we know them today. The winner of that first championship was Mr. Eric Elliott of Ashopton with Tess.


The championship today is a double gather over a big open course of rough pasture with a left hand outrun which crosses an open ditch running left to right across the middle of the course. This ditch is known as a sunken fence and has to be negotiated by both sheep and dogs. In 1966 the winner of the championship received a sterling silver teapot sponsored by John Player & Sons Ltd, who continued with this prize until 1976, when it was then taken on by Kennings. They changed from a teapot to a coffee pot in 1985 and finally sponsored it in 1990 for the last time.


1935 saw the innovation of announcements through a microphone at the trials, which the spectators especially liked as they had previously been unaware of what was happening during the trials. Still in use today, in 1953 an addition unique to Longshaw was used for the first time. A time clock for the spectators to see was an item more usually seen at horse shows, but thought by one of the committee members to be a good way to keep spectators informed about the time remaining to competitors. Although it is stressed that the clock is only an approximate guide and that the decision of the official timekeepers is the one that the judge relies on, it is very well run and maintained and still today “keeps good time”.


Another event much enjoyed by the spectators was the hound trail. This was first run in 1959 by members of the National Hound Trail Association, starting and finishing on Longshaw Pastures, with the 6 to 8 miles trail going over Burbage Moors, Higger Tor, Mother Cap and Hathersage Moors. We no longer have the hound trail but we are please to welcome the Pennine Foxhounds, the Barlow Hounds, the High Peak Hounds and the Ecclesfield Beagles who parade on the trial field on the Thursday afternoon.


Many of the prizes and trophies presented at the trials now have their origins 50 years or more ago. For instance, the Sheffield Telegraph gave the first cup for the best-conditioned class in 1949, and in 1950 the Derbyshire Times gave the first driving crook, which they very generously gave each year until recently, when it was taken on by another generous sponsor. The silver Longshaw Cup was presented to the Association in 1954, the Broughton Memorial Cup in 1946 and the Ernest Priestley Shield in the mid 1930s. In 1955, the year after his Presidency, Dr. A. W. B. Perren presented the Association with a silver ceremonial crook, which is engraved with the name of the President each year and is carried on special occasions. The crook and the wonderful display of trophies can be seen each year during the trials.


Over the years there have been various other classes and special prizes, included one for completing the course in the fastest time, the competitor who himself works in the best style and the unluckiest competitor. The first brace competition was held in 1902. In 1927 a ladies competition was held, but the following year it was replaced with a sheep shearing class, supposedly because of the time factor. From 1969 to 1972 a three counties championship was held between Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire with 10 dogs from each county competing. In 1973 the three counties championship was discontinued and the number of competitors in the double gather championship increased.


Longshaw also holds another much smaller trial each year, usually in early November, for novice dogs and as a separate class at that trial is the Bolton Cup beginners class. The Bolton Cup was presented to the Association by Mr. Tom Bolton in 1949 as a prize to encourage new, young competitors, and the rules of the class today state that neither handler nor dog must have won anything other than beginner, nursery or novice class prizes. The first Bolton Cup trial was held on 21st December 1949 and was won by Mr. M. Denniff of Dore.


Charitable donations have been made each year since the trials began and in the early years donations were made to a number of local hospitals, nursing associations and other local charities. A cot in the children’s ward at the Sheffield Royal Hospital was sponsored over a number of years. The £500.00 raised was “invested and the income applied to the maintenance of the patients who occupied the cot”. Charitable donations are still made today.


A thanksgiving service is held each year on the Sunday preceding the trials. This again has been the practice for many years as a way of giving thanks for sheep, shepherds and their dogs as well as for the countryside in general. The silver ceremonial crook is carried into church by that years’ official crook carrier and is blessed during the service. The service is usually held as part of the churches normal Sunday service and everyone is welcome to attend.


Longshaw is still going strong after all these years, and hopefully it will continue to do so for many more. It is vital to keep these old country traditions alive, and that would not be possible without all the help received from many sources. To sponsors, judges, members and patrons, competitors, spectators and all the people who volunteer their time and put in all the hard work necessary for the running of a sheep dog trial, thank you.

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