Cattle Breeds

Remains of domesticated cattle dating to 6,500 B.C. have been found in Turkey and other sites in the Near East. Some authorities date the domestication of cattle as early as 10,000 years ago, and others almost half that amount of time. Regardless of the time frame it is generally accepted that the domestication of cattle followed sheep, goats, pigs and dogs.

Modern domestic cattle evolved from a single early ancestor, the auroch (bos primogenius).

In addition to prehistoric paintings that help us to identify the appearance of the auroch the species actually survived until modern times. It is believed the last surviving member of the species was killed by a poacher in 1627 on a hunting reserve near Warsaw, Poland. The species may have survived in a small number in other parts of the world until a later date but there is no evidence to support this theory.

Though their origin is uncertain, the Chillingham Wild Cattle herd in Northumberland may be descendants of the aurochs, the existing herd is thought to have been at Chillingham for at least the past 700 years. The herd are the only cattle in the world that have remained pure.

The public can visit this unique herd of wild cattle in the park at Chillingham.. They are truly wild, and potentially dangerous, so must be approached with care. Visitors are able to see the cattle only when accompanied by the warden, who will ensure your safety, take you as close as possible and talk about the cattle and their history.

Early cattle served three purposes. They provided meat, milk and labour to their owners. Eventually they were largely replaced by horses so they were selected more for single or in some cases dual purposes.

When the Saxons and Jutes conquered Britain they brought their skills as cattlemen with them. The Saxons liked to cook their beef on a pointed stick over a campfire, the word “steak “derives from the Saxon word “steik” which meant simply “ meat on a stick “

The Legend of The Sirloin

"A title given to the loin of beef, which one of our kings knighted in a fit of good humour." : Samuel Johnson Dictionary of the English Language (1755).

The Sirloin is the cut taken from the upper hindquarter of the beast.

There are many stories as how the cut is named, the most common story is that King Charles the Second was so impressed with his meal that he knighted the meat hence “ Sir Loin.”

Other examples include :

Dining with the Abbot of Reading, [Henry VIII] ate so heartily of a loin of beef that the abbot said he would give 1,000 marks for such a stomach. "Done!" said the king, and kept the abbot a prisoner in the Tower, won his 1,000 marks, and knighted the beef.

King James First, who loved good eating, being invited to Dinner by one of his Nobles, and seeing a large Loyn of Beef at his Table, he drew out his Sword, and in a frolic knighted it…………….

While it is certainly possible that one or more kings of England have repeated this pun, the joke cannot be the source of the word "sirloin," which appeared in English as far back as the mid-sixteenth century, antedating the ascension of both King James and Charles the Second (save Henry VIII) to the throne.

More importantly, though, it was not until the eighteenth century that the word "sirloin" came to be commonly spelled with an "i" — until then it was generally written as "surloin," indicating that it came from the Middle French surlonge (sur meaning "over" and longe meaning "loin"), just as the word "surname" came from the same French root (sur), indicating a family name that was used "over" (i.e., in addition to) one's Christian name.





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