So That's Where I Get It From

July 23, 2010

Something of Interest: Michael Read’s Bull

Filed under: SOMETHING OF INTEREST — Tags: , , — rootsresearcher @ 4:44 pm

For my occasional theme Something of Interest, I thought it might be amusing to do this post on Michael Read’s Bull!

Michael Read is one of the sons of my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and after Cozens Read died Michael took over the farm. 

In 2000 we were very lucky enough to not only find the family farm but the current owners also kindly invited us in, plied us with endless cups of tea and showed us around.  I can’t tell you how delighted I was to actually walk in the home of Cozens Read where he and his family walked, to actually look out of and touch the windows that he had looked out of and the worn steps going down to the basement was just something so special to see.  We were told that the glass in the windows was the original glass – I remember that it was very thin compared to the glass we use.  As the house was built before 1650 it was actually quite exciting for me (and probably very silly of me) to be thrilled to know it was THE glass that Cozens Read had looked out of too!!!

In the hallway as we walked into the house, there was a huge inglenook fireplace there and hanging above it was a portrait.  Not a portrait like you and I would expect to see but a portrait of  a prize bull!!!

This was a portrait that Michael Read had painted of his prize bull before it went to auction in 1802.  He was so delighted with it he actually employed an artist to paint it’s picture!!  And there it hangs to this day, in that house since 1802.

Michael Read’s Prize Bull

original photograph taken by me in 2000 - copyright 2010

I apologise for the quality of the photo!  The original was taken by a non-digital camera and the quality was not at all good for it to be added to this blog.  While at the farm we were able to use our video camera so this photo is actually taken from our TV while showing that video!!  Oh how I wish we had a digital camera back then and how I wish we took lots more photos!!

Underneath the portrait of the bull hangs another framed item.  This is from a possible advert at the time stating that this bull was to be sold at auction, that it is owned by Mr. Michael Reed (different spelling to how he actually wrote his name).

Again this photo has been taken from our TV, so is really not very clear at all – and we did not take a photo with our non-digital camera either!!  What was I thinking of???

photo taken from video film by me in 2000 - copyright 2010

 Although not clear to read, part of this sign says that this particular Heifer was bred and fed by Mr. Reed  and has never had any but Grain and Hay!

It is also stated that it is  “A very capital” Heifer and is “Remarkably Fat”.

I can’t help thinking that if my ancestors went to the trouble of having a portrait of one of their animals, they must have had portraits done of family members!!  And I just know that somewhere out there, there is a portrait of Cozens Read!!

I’m also wondering if Michael Read had any other prize animals and if so, did he have portraits for them too?  And if so, where are those portraits?

Still, this was certainly an unusual find for me and I love it that this portrait of a bull has been hanging in that house for over two hundred years now!



  1. Wow, what an interesting find. You must have been very excited to see his prized bull’s portrait still sitting above the fireplace in the house. Do you know if the current owners were any relation to your Reads?

    Comment by Ginger Smith — August 4, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

    • Hallo Ginger, I agree that this portrait of a prized bull was indeed an interesting find and certainly unexpected. I so love that it still hangs in the house all these many many years later. The current owners are not related at all to my family and as far as I know they have lived there since the late 1970s. My family were there at least from the 1730s with my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read and his wife and 20 children (but they might have been there earlier, I’m still trying to discover that – and I know the house was built before 1650). My family had been there at least about 150 years and then various others appear to have taken it over. Then the Duke of Buckingham (who really owned it) sold it to what we call the Crown Estate (it was bought more or less by the country) and the Crown Estate owned it until the 1970s and the present owners bought it from them!!

      So with all that going on, the picture still hung there without leaving the house from 1802 until now. Wonderful!

      Thanks again for your visit and comment, it’s much appreciated.

      Kind regards,
      Christine (rootsresearcher)

      Comment by rootsresearcher — August 4, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

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