York & North Yorkshire

Sculpture of fattest ever cow the Craven Heifer unveiled

The sculpture Image copyright The Great Yorkshire Show/Charlotte Graham
Image caption The galvanised steel sculpture has been created to celebrate the 160th year of the Great Yorkshire Show

A sculpture of England's fattest ever cow has been unveiled.

The Craven Heifer became a national phenomenon in the 19th century, standing over 7ft (2.1m) in height and weighing nearly 178st (1,130kg).

Bred by the Rev William Carr on the Bolton Abbey Estate in Craven, she toured the country after being deliberately fattened up by her owner.

The beast has been immortalised in steel to celebrate the 160th year of the Great Yorkshire Show.

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Image copyright The Great Yorkshire Show/Charlotte Graham
Image caption Whitby-based sculptor Emma Stothard created the sculpture

Thousands of people would pay to see the Craven Heifer, who was put on show on her way to Smithfield Market in London in 1812.

She was so large that a special door twice as wide as the norm had to be built to get her in and out of the cow shed. This doorway can still be seen on the North Yorkshire estate.

To this day she remains the largest ever heifer shown in the country.

Image copyright The Great Yorkshire Show/Charlotte Graham
Image caption It will tour various venues in Yorkshire until 10 June

Named the GYSheifer, the sculpture stands at 6ft (1.8m) high and 11ft (3.3m) long and has been created by Emma Stothard.

She said: "We've pored over many paintings and documents charting the Craven Heifer's size.

"It's been exciting to bring her back to life for everyone to get an idea of how big she really was."

The sculpture will tour the region before the start of the Great Yorkshire Show in July.

Charles Mills, show director, said: "The Craven Heifer was an iconic animal born and bred in the same era as the first Great Yorkshire Show and was the wonders of farmers across England."

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