The History Of Tenbury Show

On 20th July 1858, a meeting was called at The Corn Exchange Hall, Tenbury. With Sir W. Smith Bart in the Chair, it was resolved:

“That it is expedient that a Society should be formed forthwith to be called the “The Tenbury Agricultural Society”.

It is this society, that still organises and runs Tenbury show today; bolstered by the support of over 150 local volunteers who come together every summer to make it all happen. In this, its 163rd year, Tenbury Agricultural Society, like our show, is still going strong. 

Spoken over 20 years ago, the words of our then President still resonate…..


“This the foresight of a few, has given pleasure to many by setting a path for us to tread. ln the ceaseless quest for perfection in the field of agriculture and horticulture. Having to juggle with the elements to try to attain the accolade awarded through competition and to pass onto future generations the knowledge and skills acquired by our forefathers since the dawn of time and that competitors may now reap their rewards in the endless pursuit of excellence in the many fields and crafts that we now pursue.”

For about the first forty years, the Society ran a Ploughing Match, which travelled around the district. It was run by a committee of farmers and local tradespeople, with many of the prominent local families providing a succession of Presidents who carefully guided the Society during its formative years, in the ever-changing world of farming and commerce.

To the Ploughing and Hedging classes were added Rick Building competitions, also Rick Thatching for corn stacks and hay (professional T/hatchers were prohibited from entering). Long Service Awards for Waggoners, Cow Men and Lady Servants were also introduced. Labourers, who brought up the largest family without parochial help (except medical) were rewarded. Field Competitions were introduced including, the Best 4 Acres of Swedes and Mangolds. At one time, a 1-gallon Jar of Cider with Motto competition was staged in The Corn Exchange Hall.

After 40 years of a travelling show, it was felt that a permanent site was needed so Mr W. Norris was appointed secretary (a post he held for about 40 years). A permanent site was provided on Castle Meadow by Lord Northwick, a great benefactor of Tenbury Show.

The Society celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008

A special committee was set up under the Chairmanship of David Hodges, to arrange a series of events to mark this anniversary. The committee decided to write a book about farming in the local area, the content was researched and collated by David and Joyce Spilsbury, with each member having a section to research individually. As a result, “Changing Scenes” was published, a book that catalogues the Society’s history and the changing scene of agriculture and horticulture in the Teme Valley, including, the decline of the local hops and fruit industry and the closing of live stock markets.

Many people and local businesses were interviewed for the book, freely giving their time and engaging accounts of their families and the way they had contributed to life in the Tenbury area. In 1858 when the society was founded, most of the houses and farms in the Teme and Kyre valleys were on estates. The committee researched 29 estates from that time. Now there are only 2. “Changing Scenes” is a record of all these “stories”- a wonderful gift to posterity and for future generations to read.

As part of the anniversary celebrations The Society had a new logo designed by Mrs June Davies. At the Annual Show Dinner in that same year, the Society’s Gold Award was awarded to a woman for the first time in its history. Rosemary Ayres – the Show Secretary, was the proud recipient, the medal acknowledging her outstanding contribution to agriculture and the local community.

Three other popular and successful events marked the society’s 150th anniversary in 2008, an Ox Roast at Netherwood by kind permission of Lord and Lady Clifton, a President’s Ball at Birchley Mill organised by the current President, Burgess Adams and his wife Rosemary and a church service was held at St Marys, Tenbury organised by Ray Morris, Clive Davies, David Powell and Rosemary Pritchard.

General Meeting


Society started ln 1858, show had ploughing and hedging classes.
Competition added Rick building and Rick thatching for corn and hay.
Long service awards for Waggoner’s, cow men also lady servants and labourers who brought up family without parochial help.
Field competition 4 acres of Swedes or marigolds and l gallon jar cider with a Motto.


3 Best acres of polled hopyard under care of labourer


To surveyor for highways in South Shropshire
Best Garden attached to homestead.


Best ox fence


Best shepherd with most lambs in proportion to ewes
Best hop sample
Ladies butter and cheese classes


Best sheep shearing classes


Best turned out team of horses


Best turned out team of horses


Class for 4 steers, 4 heifers, 4 calves, ewe lambs (believed firstly judged on farms)
Mr W. Norris retired as secretary had a clock and illuminated address.
Mr W. Baldwin father of Sir Archer Baldwin the MP voted secretary.
Show got bound schedules
First show dinner took place at The Swan Hotel
Admission 3/6d also the first charting to enter the show was introduced.


Show moved to Palmers Meadow


Sir Stanley Baldwin MP later Prime Minister was President


Show had a Military Band

1914 – 1918

No Shows were held, but subscriptions collected and sent to The Red Cross.


Mr S. Mattock. the Auctioneer was appointed Secretary


Mr W. Baldwin. past Secretary was appointed President.


Pedigree Livestock Classes were introduced.


Mr H. T. Nott was President and Poultry Classes were introduced.


Sir Archer Baldwin. the M.P. was President.  He later became the Society’s First Gold Medalist.


Under the Presidency of Mr E. B. Fielden Motor Cycle events were introduced, also ‘The Cee-mee’ Sisters in a charming ‘humpsi-bumpsi’ act !!!


The first parade of the Ludlow Hounds, by their Master Lt. Col. Kennedy, M.F H.


Mr T. E. Smart was President – the last show for many years because of the war and its aftermath.


The Show was restarted with Mr H. B.Morgan, the Auctioneer now as Secretary.  Mr S. Manock having retired. Being presented with one of the first TV. sets in Tenbury.  The Show was held on Castle Meadow, Burford. A bit limited the first year, with Horse and Pony classes and Horse jumping.


Mr T. E. Smart elected President for the third time, the Show returned to the Palmers Meadow, its old home. which had been
ploughed up for some years under war time ploughing regulations. The Autumn Show and the Ploughing Match were brought back with the Hedging Competition, after a lapse of many years. The Society then had a long line of very successful shows.


It was decided to abandon the Ploughing and Hedging Match.


Dr Blundell-Williams was elected President.  He presented a gold medal to be awarded for services to Agriculture and Horticulture over a three year period by a member of the Society


Under the Presidency of Mr J. Sumner. The Show saw a tremendous increase in Pedigree Hereford classes.


Mr J Nott, M.B.E was elected President and a record entry of Livestock in all classes was reported.


The Centenary Year
ln appreciation of the great service to agriculture and to the Society, Mr T. Smart was invited to be President again, with Mr J. B. Sumner as Chairman. The Show continued to thrive with all the Livestock Classes well supported, with many Hunter and Pony Classes now in the schedule. Many classes
were introduced for Sheep and Commercial Lambs and Goats had a lot of entrants. The Horticultural Marquee got even larger.


Moved to Worcester Road. Burford
Introduction of The National Hereford Show


Moved to new riverside showground for the Society’s 150th Anniversary.  A working crop demonstration took place celebrating “Farming through the 150 years”. New sections were introduced – Countryside Ring and Countryside Static displays and Food Fayre Marquee.The Society introduced a Senior Scholarship Award in memory of Michael Morgan for students who study either agriculture or horticulture at University.


Tractor Pulling was introduced.


The Food Marquee introduced  food demonstrations organised by “Wot’s Cooking”.



The National Federation of Young Farmers held their National Tug of War Finals at our Show for the first time.


Tenbury YFC Ladies won the National Final of Tug of War.


The National Ryeland Sheep Show was held for the first time bringing Ryeland and Coloured Ryeland Sheep from all over the UK.

2019 & 2020

No Shows were held due to Coronavirus Pandemic.


Carole Powell and Rachel Hodges team up to deliver a brand new website for the Society.