This beautiful Queen Anne style Britannia silver cup with cover was made by Robert Timbrell and Joseph Bell in London 1709. So why do we have it here in Rutland County Museum?
It is engraved:
“Mr Bakers Cottesmore Meeting Septr. 1832, GEORGE HIBBITT”
“To A farmers Son of Rutlandshire for ploughing half an Acre of Land in the most workmanlike manner, Horses abreast without a Driver, Presented by Sir Gerard Noel Bart M.P”
“Mr Baker” is Richard Westbrook Baker (1789-1861) of Cottesmore. He was a farming pioneer and invented the ‘Rutland Plough’. He was a champion breeder of cattle and a founder member of the Rutland Agricultural Society. He also founded the Langham Brewery, which later became Ruddles.
The ploughing meetings started in 1828 and this cup was already over 100 years old when it was given by Sir Gerard Noel to 22 year old George Hibbitt. The Hibbitts were a well-known farming family in the Empingham area. Of the 42 cups won by ploughmen and plough owners (other than those won by Richard Westbrook Baker), this is only one of two cups which have so far been traced.
The Museum was able to acquire this cup with the generous donations of visitors to the Museum and Castle, with the support of the Friends of Rutland County Museum & Oakham Castle.
The cup will be featured in the spring edition of the Rutland Record, the journal produced by Rutland Local History & Record Society. The journal is free for members and can also be purchased online. Copies will be made available in the Museum shop when we open to the public.