Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Panther in Staffordshire

Fireplace at Chillington Hall

The grandiose stone fireplace in the main saloon room at the stately home of Chillington Hall reflects an outstanding story from the owning family's past.

Five hundred years ago, one of the Giffards of old managed to fire an arrow, over a huge distance, killing a panther (believe it!) that was about to attack a woman and child.  Such accuracy and self-belief become an ambition for later generations, so much so that a panther is now the family's heraldic symbol.


You don't see a lot of panthers in Staffordshire, so this is worth seeking out.

4 comments:

  1. There were panthers in England?

    Robin
    Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

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    Replies
    1. Good question!!
      Apparently, the story is that such wild animals had been brought back from Crusades and the like, and then enclosed in private collections; and this one had supposedly broken free from its enclosure.
      If you believe the story, that is...

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    2. Ah ha! I asked because I have a certain sketchy knowledge of British natural history, and I've never encountered any large cats in it. This post motivated me to do a cursory search, and I learned that in fact there has only ever been one such in the British Isles (the cave lion) and it disappeared about 10,000 BCE. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extinct_animals_of_the_British_Isles)

      So it seems that this story is either a conflation with some legend, or as you say, the panther was an exotic that broke out.

      Interesting, either way!

      Robin
      Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

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