AYRSHIRE RONALD (1898)
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With 'Ayrshire Ronald' we are reminded of the very enthusiastic and active support given to the Fancy by Scottish cat fanciers. And this was the case from the very beginning.
When the first organised and successful Cat Show was held at the Crystal Palace in July of 1871, this memorable event was not only very quickly followed by two more private entrepreneurial shows in London; one at North Woolwich, and another in the Bedford High Street at Camden Town; but also by two more shows organised by Scottish cat fanciers in Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively.
These Scottish shows were held only one week apart, the first held at the Burnbank Drill Hall in Glasgow on 3rd and 4th October, 1871, run by H. Martin; the second held at The Royal Gymnasium, in Edinburgh. Interestingly the judge listed for the Glasgow Show, was the Rev. J.Cumming Macdona, one of the three judges who had officiated at the first Crystal Palace Show in London, alongside Messrs Harrison and John Jenner Weir.
In fact, Scottish Shows featured among the largest for the number of entries, and before very long, many famous catteries were established in this northernmost region. The Scottish Cat Club, founded in 1894, was one of Britain's oldest, and its medals are among the rarest and most collectable of Cat fancy memorabilia.
A great many exceptional Persian cats were bred and kept in Scotland, among them the likes of the white, 'Champion White Friar' and the blue, 'Champion Ayrshire Ronald'. Their owners, Mrs. A Finnie Young, Miss Hunt, and Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart were likewise among the most respected of Long-haired cat fanciers. Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart ran one of the largest catteries in Scotland, was on the committee of 'The Cat Club' when it was founded by Lady Marcus Beresford in 1898, and a Vice-President of The Blue Persian Cat Society when it was founded in 1901, and included in its first list of specialist Judges.
From The National Cat Club Studbook & Register, we find that 'Ronald' was born in 1898 (date not specific), bred and owned by Mr. J.A. Doyle of The Cottage, Bristol Gardens, Brighton. His dam was Mr. Doyles' blue queen 'Hazel', whose sire 'Ulysses' was a grandson of both 'Ch. Beauty Boy' and 'Ch. Glaucus'. When Mr. Doyle chose to breed 'Hazel' to 'Waterloo', he was in fact breeding her to her half-brother, as both were out of a blue queen named 'Daisy', a direct descendant of the foundation male 'Turco'. The breeder of 'Waterloo' is unknown, but from an analysis of this combination, there is a distinct and reasonable expectation that both 'Waterloo' and 'Hazel' were bred by the same person. Whether that was Mr. Doyle, or a third party, remains unknown.
Eng Ch Turkish Delight, Blue Waterloo, Blue | Daisy, Blue Ayrshire Ronald, May-1898, Blue, M | Ulysses, Blue Hazel, Blue Daisy, Blue
Volume Three of The Cat Club Register provides clear proof of the subsequent transfer of 'Ronald' into the ownership of Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart, at some time during 1899. It would have been due to this change of ownership, that his name from that time forward was known as 'Ayrshire Ronald'.
Of Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart's cattery, Frances Simpson, tells us the following:
"One of the largest catteries in Scotland, where the fancy grows apace, is owned by Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart, of Seagate House, Irvine. Mrs. Stewart has possessed several notable cats of different breeds. Her blue stud cat 'Ronald' has made himself a name in the south of England as well as in the north. Mrs. Stewart has had silvers, creams, brown tabbies, and is now the owner of 'Dick Fawe', who has sired many winning kittens. The severe weather of this part of Scotland seems to suit these Persian cats, for a healthier hardier set of pussies one could not wish to see than those disporting themselves in the pleasantly situated catteries of Seagate House. Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart is a most enthusiastic fancier, and often takes the long journey down south to bring her pets to the London shows. She has acted a judge in Scotland and England, and a contingent from the Seagate cattery is generally to be seen and admired at most of our large shows."1
There do not appear to be any full siblings recorded for 'Ronald' or 'Ayrshire Ronald'. But there were a number of dam siblings, produced out of 'Hazel'. Mrs. Doyle chose to do a breeding to Mrs. Well's 'Blue Noble', which resulted in a litter born 20th January 1900, from which came a blue male 'Adam', and two blue females, 'Eve' and 'Hazeline'. Mrs. Doyle appears to have retained 'Adam' and 'Eve' but sold 'Hazeline' to Miss Gertrude Willoughby, and a consequent name change to 'Fulmer Hazeline'.9
In subsequent litter to Lady Marcus Beresford's 'Blue Boy II', born 12th June, 1900, arrived 'Brighton Phoebe' and 'Brighton Yuty', which in the registers appear in the ownership of Mrs. Doyle.9
Then 'Hazel' was probably sold or loaned to Lady Marcus Beresford, as her next two litters of record were on 25th March 1902, and 3rd April, 1903 respectively, both being bred by Lady Marcus and sired by her 'Blue Boy II'. From the first came the blue male 'Windsor Cerulean',(OC:30/Jul/1904)10 who was sold to Mrs. I. Hardy; while from the second was produced another two blue males, 'True Boy' (OC:18/Feb/1905)11 who was sold to Mrs. W. Wells, and 'Blue Boy III', who went on to sire 'Big Ben' (of Devonshire), amongst others.
Although we know that 'Ayrshire Ronald' was shown successfully and gained his championship, the only verified wins are those that appear with his registration (NCC:3050) which were: 1st and 3rd Brighton N.C.C., etc…and a notation that he was now in the ownership of Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart.8
'Ayrshire Ronald' was a popular blue male. Although based in Scotland, his exposure as a show cat as far South as London, no doubt helped to promote this popularity. Our list of his progeny exceeds 40 plus individuals but for the purpose of demonstrating his individual impact, and that of his sons, we have chosen just three of his progeny on which to elaborate.
The first was 'LORD IRVINE' a blue male born on 12th March, 1902 (OC:10/Dec/1904). The dam was Miss Jay's blue Persian female 'Ch. Holmwood Trixie'. But 'Trixie' was not just any ordinary blue Persian queen. By March of 1902, she was between nine and ten years old, having been born in September 1892. At the age of thirteen months, in October 1893, she was the major winner at the Crystal Palace Show, where she gained the National Cat Clubs Gold Medal, two Silver Medals, First Prize in her class and four Specials.
The second was 'SIR ARCHIE' aka 'SIR ARCHIE OF ARRANDALE', a blue male born 22nd May, 1903. He was bred by Mrs. Archibald Campbell, out of black Persian female named 'Flora MacDonald'. 'Flora' is found in The U.S. Register and Studbook for Cats(1906)7, where we are advised that her breeder, owner and date of birth are 'unknown'. But we are told that she was born on board a ship.
'Sir Archie' was first sold to Mrs. A Finnie Young but later became the property of Mrs. Geo. Wilson, and thus became 'Sir Archie of Arrandale'. Although we have no image to share of 'Sir Archie' himself, he was in his turn the sire of a very famous blue Persian male, his namesake, 'Sir Archie II of Arrandale' who became one of 'Ayrshire Ronald's' most prolific and sought after grandsons. The most famous daughter of 'Sir Archie II' was Miss Gladys Cheetham's 'Ch. Oaklands Seabreeze', but he was the sire of a host of top flight blues, among them 'Edward The Peacemaker', 'Keith of Revelstoke', 'Lady Bifolia of Revelstoke', 'Lady Monkton', Lady Sally of Hyver', 'Mollie of Hyver', 'Mona of Hawkhurst', 'Oaklands Rosedrop', 'Scilla of Hadley', 'Remus of Highgate', 'Saxon Earl Godwin', 'Tuffin of Eversley'(later 'Torrington Blue Tuffin'), 'Ulster Blue Brilliant' and 'Winsome Lassie' to mention only a few!
The third son, was 'DON CARLOS', a blue male born 30th April, 1904. He was bred by Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart, out of her blue queen 'Beauty', a grand-daughter of 'Ch. Wooloomooloo'. This combination combined the establishment lines of 'Ch. Turkish Delight' with those of 'Ch. Turco', 'Ch. Perso' and 'Thunder And Lightning' as well as a doubling on 'Ch. Glaucus', bringing in two more strikes on both 'Turco' and 'Perso'. 'Ch. Wooloomooloo' infused a quadrupling on the foundation male 'Old Jumbo'.
'Don Carlos', through his daughter 'Donna Ulsterina', became the grandsire of Miss Cheetham's winning blue female, 'Ch. Oaklands Sceptre'. Other daughters included 'Lady Chara of Dundee', 'Honoria of Highgate' and 'Berkshire Lassie'. 'Lassie' was bred to her cousin 'Archie II' to produce 'Scilla of Hadley' and 'Ch. Mollie of Hyver', doubling on a common grandsire, 'Ch. Ayrshire Ronald'!
It takes many types of individuals and personalities to make up a vibrant cat fancy. Those of us who have been among its ranks for a number of decades know this to be true. Some come, some go, but it takes true grit and dedication to remain an active participant, and to continue to want to 'add value' to the whole. This can be achieved as a breeder, as a pet owner, as an exhibitor, as a judge, as a geneticist, and or as an educator, or even an historian.
Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart was an active participant, who had a passion for the improvement of the colours and varieties she chose to work with. She did not confine her efforts solely to Blues, but also worked to improve Blacks, Creams, Torties, Smokes, and Brown and Silver Tabbies.
Her first blue male was the foundation cat 'Champion Turkish Delight', the grandsire of 'Champion Ayrshire Ronald'; and 'Ronald' was himself the middle link between this foundation male and a 5th generation blue, his own grandson, 'Champion Sir Archie II of Arrandale'. These cats, between them, left an indelible mark on the blue Persian variety. It must have been immensely satisfying for Mrs. MacKenzie Stewart to observe this development over time, knowing that she had played her part in successfully contributing to its ongoing success.
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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