Milord O' Mendip Memorial Cup (1935)

ArtifactMilord O' Mendip Memorial Cup
Date1935 (Manufactured in 1932)
ConnectionBlue Persian Cat Society (UK)
CollectionThe Harrison Weir Collection
DescriptionEngraved, Sterling Silver Rose Bowl, with Lion-headed handles
Brief HistoryPresented by Mrs. F. H. Stevens (Milord Cattery) in memory of her beloved Blue Persian stud male, MILORD O' MENDIP for 'Best Blue Persian Kitten - Bred by Exhibitor'
AcquisitionPurchased by John Smithson, for The Harrison Weir Collection, 2019.

Photo Credit: David Copland
Trophy in the Archive of The Harrison Weir Collection

During and after the Great War of 1914-1918, there were a handful of males that were responsible for re-establishing the strength of the Blue Persian as a variety once the war was over. Whereas cats like 'Barry Bluejohn' bridged the gap between the cats born pre-World War 1 and post-World War 1, 'Milord O' Mendip' was one of the precious few anchor males of the Post-War period of the twenties and into the early thirties.

This much-loved and adored cat, was bred by Mrs. F.H. Stevens at the Hanhams Abbots 'Mendip' cattery, born May 8, 1919; and remained there until his death in late July 1935, in his seventeenth year. His death was reported by his owner in 'Fur and Feather' on August 2, 1935 and a fitting tribute written by Mr. Cyril Yeates, on his life, show career, and contribution as a valuable sire.

"Milord O 'Mendip, whose death was reported last week, was one of the most famous cats that ever lived. By Bimbo O' Mendip ex Dignity of Delamere, he was bred by Mrs. F.H. Stevens and lived and dies at the Hanham Abbots Cattery, where he will be sadly missed. Milord was born May 8th, 1919 at a time when the ranks of the Cat Fancy were sadly depleted as a result of the war years. He was as very beautiful cat, very modern in type considering when he was born. He had a fine head and exceptionally small well-placed ears. His eyes were large, round and sound in colour, though not particularly deep judging by the present-day standard. His chief asset was his great wealth of coat, which was of a beautiful texture and which he transmitted to nearly all of his offspring. In colour I should say he was a medium blue. Though essentially a male he was also a very pretty cat with a sweet expression."

The only thing that Mr. Yeates does not refer to in his parentage, which is a critical factor, is the line-breeding contained within the pedigree of 'Milord' which the writer considers to be a leading factor in the influence of this cat through his subsequent progeny. There is also the fact that until recently, most pedigree databases only provide confusion over his sire's dam, who is often listed as a full sister of his dam, 'Dignity of Delamere' with the name 'Dinah'.

In fact, these were not two different cats, the name 'Dinah' was simply a pet name for 'Dignity of Delamere'! So, the truth was, that 'Milord' was the product of a mother to son breeding! But this, as it happens, is not where the line-breeding ends. Upon a cursory examination of the pedigree, the obvious double up is on the dam's sire, 'Ch. Blue Domino of Hyver', a son of 'Ch. Blue Cap of Thorpe' and 'Gentian of Emberton' herself a daughter of 'Neila Billi of Thorpe' ex 'Ch. Regina of Emberton.'

This gave 'Milord' a doubling, - on an existing doubling of 'Neila Billi of Thorpe!' And that is not where it ends. Further examination of the sires pedigree, going back to his great great grandsire, 'Alfred The Great', who until recently was a blue Persian male with an unknown sire in any database; we discover from an article in 'Fur and Feather' dated January 16, 1914, that he too was a son of 'Ch. Blue Cap of Thorpe.' This provided a fifth measure or portion of linebreeding on 'Neila Billi of Thorpe'; and thus also, both 'Orange Blossom' and ultimately, 'Daisy Nita of Thorpe'. Theoretically and genetically speaking, this increases the odds of success by shortening the 'probability curve'; which makes 'Milord O'Mendip' a valuable cat for breeding purposes for those seeking to reproduce his unique look.

Photo: T.H. EVERITT, London 1919. From Cat Gossip February 16th, 1927.
Archive of The CFA Foundation Inc.

While he may have been a pretty cat, and of the first order among blue males as a show specimen, it was his ability as a sire and his genetic makeup, which produced his most enduring legacy! Anyone who studies Persian pedigrees will notice that he stands at the apex of the 'Allington' strain of Blue Persians through his son 'Eros of Allington' and that cats descended from this male, have largely, all in due course, impacted heavily on the development of the Blue Persian.

These included the likes of the famous 'Ch. Dion of Allington'; 'Merlin O' Mendip'; 'Melusine of Allington'; 'Northway Shelmerdine'; 'Cupid of Callow'; (himself the sire of 'Ch. Mishief of Bredon' and 'Ch. Cedro of Callow'), while not forgetting his numerous other sons and daughters exported to other countries, that have added tremendous value to breeding programs for Blues in those countries. Mr Yeates further commented: -

"I don't think there is any doubt that the best cat he sired was Eros of Allington, but he was responsible for many others of high merit including Yveen of Bredon, Swank and Swish, shown by Miss Conran, Strathaven, Sweet September of Hawkhurst, Ben of Lo-ie, Downend (now in France), Herd Laddie, Parkside Kruger, Barbara of Culloden, Diana of Pensford, Infanta, Townfield Fly Fast, Blessing of Culloden, Boon of Culloden, Densilla of Allington, Pandora of Boreham and Sweet Lavender of Dunesk.

"A great cat has gone and everyone, I am sure, will sympathise as I do, with Miss Stevens in the loss of her old friend."

This touching tribute by Mr. Yeates is rendered with an honesty and positivity of spirit which was a hallmark of his character, for which he himself was so beloved. But the last words about 'Milord' are from his owner, whose humble advice of his passing was also published in 'Fur and Feather' and which read: -

"Milord O' Mendip which will be remembered by Blue Persian breeders of ten or more years ago, died of old age in his 17th year last Saturday. Until this summer he was fit and well and always ready for a game. Then he started really to age and faded away. He was a most lovable cat and of the sweetest disposition, and in his show career never gave any trouble. To the end he still had his marvellous pale blue colour. He certainly left his mark on the Fancy, and there are few show Blue Persians which are without his blood somewhere in their pedigrees.

"I shall give a 'Milord' cup to commemorate a great cat and loving pet. Rest in peace. D.A. Stevens."

A beautiful sterling silver 'memorial cup' donated in his honour was duly provided in his name, as an award for the 'Best Blue Persian Kitten - Bred by Exhibitor'. It is shown here, currently preserved in the archives of The Harrison Weir Collection.


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