Craven Heifer (1807–1812) was a cow which lived in the early 19th century, and to this day remains the largest cow ever shown in England.

Craven Heifer

Craven Heifer had a weight of 4,370 lbs, a length of 11.3 ft, a height of 5.3 ft, and a thickest girth of 10.1 ft.[1]

Craven Heifer was bred by the Reverend William Carr in 1807, on the Duke of Devonshire's estate at Bolton Abbey. Carr fed her relentlessly for five years until she weighed 312 stone (4,370 lb; 1,980 kg) and measured 11.3 ft (3.4 m) in length and over 7 ft (2.1 m) in height.[2] 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 cowshed. This doorway can be seen on the estate to this day.

She was purchased by John Watkinson of Halton East for £200 (£10,000 in 2013 prices). Being such a notable creature, she was taken on tour, and attracted much attention wherever she went. She was taken to Smithfield in London; the journey from Wakefield to the capital took 73 days from 19 November to 30 January 1812, during which time she was shown at numerous towns and cities en route.

Craven Heifer lived for five years, compared to an average life expectancy of 15 years for that breed of domestic cattle.

In January 2013 an oil painting portrait of Craven Heifer, dated 1811, sold for £16,250 ($25,586) at auction.[3]

To this day, several public houses bear the name The Craven Heifer, particularly in the Craven district of North Yorkshire.

See also



  1. ^ The Librarian, Craven Museum & Gallery, Skipton N Yorkshire
  2. ^ "The Craven Heifer Inn". Archived from the original on 1 July 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  3. ^ "The Craven Heifer Auctions With 225% Increase On Estimate". Retrieved 31 March 2017.