about the RJA&HS
of the Society
the 26th August 1833 a meeting was held in St. Helier, chaired
by the Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, Major General Thornton,
to consider forming an agricultural society. At this meeting
it was unanimously agreed “...to be highly desirable
to form in this Island an Agricultural and Horticultural Society”.
An earlier attempt to form an agricultural society in
Jersey in 1790 had failed, but this time it was successful
and the first meeting of the new society was held on
the 7th September 1833. The aims of the new society
were “to create a spirit of industry and emulation,
to offer premiums for the improvement of agriculture,
breeding of cattle, improved domestic economy, cleanliness
and comfort in cottages, and also for the encouragement
of industry and good behavior among servants and labourers
in the employment of members or subscribers of the Society”.
was at a time during the 19th century, following the
agricultural revolution in the United Kingdom, when
many such societies were founded to communicate the
latest improvements in agricultural practices to the
Today the RJA&HS is made up of two departments. The Agricultural
Department stages agricultural shows, provides a range of services
to support the modern dairy industry and is primarily responsible
for the management of the Jersey breed in the Island. The Horticultural
Department is primarily concerned with the promotion of horticulture
through talks, shows, garden competitions and general advice.
in Jersey (Top)
agricultural industry in Jersey has seen many changes
over the centuries,
which in turn have influenced the rural landscape of
the Island and demonstrated the resourcefulness and
adaptability of the Jersey farmer.
the 17th century the wool and knitting industry dominated
the rural economy. So much attention was paid to the
production of woollen garments that legislation was
introduced by the States to control the time devoted
to knitting as the gathering of vraic (seaweed used
for fertiliser) and harvesting were being neglected.
18th century saw the development of an apple growing
and cider production industry. By the beginning of the
19th century some 13,500 vergées, or one quarter
of the land area, were planted to apple trees with much
of the cider production destined for export.
breeding and export industry expanded rapidly during the 19th
century and lasted well into the 20th century. At a similar
time the growing and export of early potatoes replaced apples
as the major crop and by the beginning of the 20th century
some 20,000 vergées were devoted to early potato production.
At this time the Island also became renowned for the production
of tomatoes and flowers.
however, the dominant crop grown in the Island is the ‘Jersey
Royal’ potato. The story of the development of the ‘Jersey
Royal’, a variety unique to the Island, is a fascinating
one in which the RJA&HS played an important part in the
early development of the variety.
Jersey Cow in the Island (Top)
‘Jersey’ breed of dairy cow originates from
the Island of Jersey and it is quite distinct from all
other breeds of livestock. Renowned for its beauty, ease
of management and natural ability to produce rich creamy
milk, the ‘Jersey’ is a product of the Island,
its soil, its climate, its people and their history.
early influences on the breed are shrouded in obscurity,
as with most domestic breeds, although legislation introduced
by the States of Jersey in 1763 preventing the importation
of cattle, to protect the local market for agricultural
products, ensured the evolution of the ‘Jersey’
breed. Local farmers concentrated on developing their
cattle from the limited local population and their skill
‘fixed’ the special characteristics of the
‘Jersey’ resulting in the cattle we see today.
The Island breed is recognised internationally as a unique
population of livestock.
is predominantly fawn in colour, although they can range from
almost pure mulberry (black) to broken coloured, including
patches of white. The most distinctive features of the ‘Jersey’
are its black nose with a mealy white band round it, the traditional
dished face, refined bone and graceful beauty.
Cattle Export Industry (Top)
exportation of cattle from the Island commenced in the
18th century and during the 19th and 20th centuries
became a very important industry in the Island as a
result of the growing world wide demand for Jersey cattle.
is evidence of ‘Jerseys’ being exported
to England during the 17th century and records show
Jersey cattle being exported to America by 1850, Australia
by 1854, New Zealand by 1862, Canada by 1868, South
Africa by 1877, Sweden by 1893 and Denmark by 1896.
In 1882 the cow ‘Khedive’s Primrose’
was sold to America for the incredible sum of £1,000,
which in those days would have been sufficient to purchase
an average size farm, house and buildings.
importance of the cattle export industry to the Island
can be illustrated when, in the three years from 1830,
some 5,756 head of livestock were exported. Over a hundred
years later, in 1948, as trade resumed following the
War II, some 2,041 animals were exported from the Island
which, at that time, had a population of 8,973 head
of cattle with 2,404 heifer calves being registered
in that year.
importing countries have developed their own national
herds to suit their particular conditions the export
of cattle has declined in recent years, however, top
bloodlines from the Island herd are still exported mainly
in the form of frozen bull semen.
Jersey Cow Around the World (Top)
of the ‘Jersey’ breed have been much prized by
dairy farmers all over the world and the ‘Jersey’
can now be found grazing fields in over 100 countries. The
adaptability of the ‘Jersey’ to a variety of different
environments ensures that the breed will thrive in climates
where other dairy breeds struggle. Major populations of ‘Jersey’
cattle can be found in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia,
South Africa, Denmark and Latin America.
estimated world wide population in excess of 2 million head,
the ‘Jersey’ is now the second most numerous breed
of dairy cow and an important influence in the global dairy
countries with a significant number of ‘Jersey’
cattle have founded a breed association to manage and promote
the breed in their respective countries. In 1949 the leading
countries held a conference in this Island and in 1951 formed
the World Jersey Cattle Bureau as an umbrella organisation
for the breed around the world.
The World Jersey Cattle Bureau has its office in the RJA&HS
Jersey Herd Book (Top)
Jersey Herd Book is a register in which is recorded
information relating to the bovine population, including
the owner, a description of the animal, its ancestry,
date of birth and many other facts. The Jersey Herd
Book was formed on the 4th April 1866 and the ancestry
of all pedigree ‘Jerseys’ in the world can
be traced back to the Herd Book here in the Island.
first animal registered in the Herd Book was a bull
named ‘Dandy’, owned by Mr James Godfray
of St. Martin, and the first cow registered was named
‘Daisy’, belonging to Mr. P. Paisnel of
In addition to holding pedigree details the Herd Book
also records an animal’s production and conformation,
which is very important for assessing the breeding value
of individuals so that the farmers can improve their
stock, and therefore, the general condition of the cattle
Every animal is appraised visually and scored against
a scale of points to describe its physical conformation,
known as 'Herd Book Exams'.
production performance was measured by milk testing at shows
during the 1860’s, with 24-hour butter tests starting
in 1893. These were replaced in 1912 by a system of recording
the weight of milk yielded by the individual cattle, which
was the forerunner of the system of milk recording carried
out to this day.
RJA&HS Headquarters (Top)
Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society is the oldest
society in the Island and during its life has occupied a number
of premises in the Island's Capitol, St . Helier. In 1834
the Society rented an office at 19 Halkett Place, moving to
19 Bath Street in 1865.
showground was established on meadow land, purchased in 1884,
at the edge of St. Helier and was developed into the Springfield
showground. Prior to this, shows were held at the Island's
Cattle Market. In 1899 the Society’s offices moved to
8 Church Street and in 1913 3 Mulcaster Street was purchased
. In 1969 the Society’s offices moved to a new building
built at the Springfield showground. The showground itself
had been enlarged and developed considerably since its original
purchase, e.g. the construction of the Springfield Pavilion
in 1922. The Springfield estate was sold to the States of
Jersey in December 1995.
relocated its operations to impressive new office
and showground facilities, in September 2000. Located
in the Parish of Trinity in the heart of the Island, these
new Headquarters and showground were officially opened on
13th July 200, by Her Majesty The Queen.
Patronage of the RJA&HS (Top)
Majesty King William IV conferred his Royal Patronage upon
the Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society in 1834,
he set a precedent that has been graciously continued by each
successive Monarch since then.
Her Majesty Queen Victoria ascended the Throne, and shortly
after granted her Royal Patronage upon the Society. In June
1887 the Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria was celebrated
with a combined show of the Society, at which the judging
of cattle took place in public for the first time.
1901, His Majesty King Edward VII granted his Royal Patronage
to the Society. The next patron, His Majesty King George V,
visited Jersey in 1921, when he was presented with a splendid
specimen of the breed ‘La Sente’s Miss Bronzemine’
at the Society’s Springfield showground.
1936 His Majesty King George VI ascended the Throne
and following in the footsteps of his predecessors and
brother His Majesty King Edward VIII, granted Royal
Patronage upon the Society.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ascended the Throne in
1952 and graciously granted Royal Patronage upon the
Society. During visits to the Island Her Majesty has
also been presented with prize ‘Jersey’
cows to join the Royal herd at Windsor.