Norwich History

Norwich History 2018-06-30T21:13:26+00:00

Early History

The breed known today as the Norwich Terrier originated in the late 19th century in East Anglia, a rural region of England encompassing the town of Norwich in Norfolk County. Early Norwich were a mix of many terrier breeds and were referred to as Cantab, Trumpington, and Jones Terriers. Despite diversity in type and ear carriage, early breeders all sought to produce small, predominantly red, hunting terriers with amiable dispositions. The first Norwich to arrive in America was William Jones (1914–1928), purchased by Philadelphia-area horseman Robert Strawbridge, Esq., from his breeder Frank Jones. “Willum” was sturdy, game, gregarious 12-pounder, and a popular ambassador for the breed among foxhunting gentry from Virginia to Vermont.

Breed Club

The Norwich Terrier was recognized as an official breed in England in 1932, and included both the prick and drop ear carriage. In 1936, the first Norwich was registered with the AKC, a drop ear English male named Witherslack Sport. Not until 1979 did the AKC recognize the two ear carriages as separate breeds, with drop ears becoming Norfolk Terriers and prick ears remaining Norwich. Both breeds had the same parent club in America until 2009 when members voted to establish separate clubs: the Norwich Terrier Club of America, and the Norfolk Terrier Club.

Match Shows

The N.T.C. Match Show: A Time Gone By

“Years ago I made the remark that I would rather win at our Norwich Terrier Match show than get a five-pointer under an all-rounder. The reasons are simple. You have breed authorities judging at the Match, it’s a fun weekend for you and your pups, you have time to relax and catch up with old friends who are just as busy as you are at a point show. And hopefully you have no grim faced professionals!”

-Mrs. James B. Hanning (Blu-Frost) 1969

Once upon a time, 1940 to be exact, a puppy match took place for a relatively new breed – the Norwich Terrier. Held on Long Island and hosted by Theodora Winthrop (later Randolph), this event would become the jewel in the crown for Norwich lovers, setting a tradition that remained revered for the next, not quite six decades. Far more significant than Westminster or Montgomery, and much more fun than a specialty, the Norwich Terrier Club Match Show became THE social event of the season. A time and place were serious breeders could exhibit and compare stock, and fans of the breed could just marvel. Like all grandiose events there was plenty of sterling to flash around in an effort to impress the guests. From 1940 to 1960, as many as a dozen silver heirlooms, offered up by pioneering kennels such as Kedron (Edith McCausland), Partree (Jean Hinkle) and Windholme (Harry Peters), appeared each year, displayed beautifully on a trophy table. Simply and affectionately referred to as The Match, reporting in The Norwich News received more front page and centerfold coverage than any other topic or item of interest, clearly the Club’s favorite child. Traditionally held in autumn along with the second club meeting, and because “spring is the season to have puppies. Fall is the time to show them off” (Priscilla Mallory, Minutes 1952).

The match show was an event you knew was coming and you planned accordingly. How well I remember my first Match, 1975, at King’s Prevention. I had travelled down with Annette Griffiths, the Club’s Secretary and breeder of my new puppy. When Annette announced the board would meet in our motel room that first night, I paid little attention. That was until I saw the mahogany liquor cabinet come out with its silver julip cups and cut crystal decanter; followed soon after by the arrival of a tall and stately Anne Winston, a self-assured Betty Fell, and a snappy looking Ulysses Walden. I was gobsmacked by their collective confidence. The next morning, after placing third in my class of five, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. That’s what The Match did to people – it INSPIRED.

In 1990, the (then-called) Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club decided to have a 50th anniversary Match. Held at the Penllyn Club the day after Montgomery, the guest book read like a Who’s Who of English breeders, AKC judges, and terrier ambassadors. Close to 200 people and their Norwich, drop ear and prick ear, were there – and this was on a Monday!! It was truly a magical event. And then, just like that, it was over.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END

Whether or not we knew it at the time, 1999 would be the last official NNTC Match Show. Truth be told, the heart of The Match was on life support. And then, when the Club divided into separate breed clubs, everyone seemed to just scatter to the winds. Maybe we were otherwise too involved, perhaps we had no time for meeting up with old friends or making new ones, or maybe we simply weren’t INSPIRED. Hard to say really. But it’s funny – now, when I look back on it, who would have thought that a simple little puppy match show could have brought so many people together.

-Margaretta “Missy” Wood, AKC Gazette Guest Breed Columnist, penllyn@verizon.net

Early Influential Breeders

An Oral History of Early Norwich Days by Some Renowned Breeders plus Advice for the Future

Compiled by Margaretta “Missy” Wood for the Norwich & Norfolk Terrier News, Jubilee Issue (No. 53, 1986)

Norwich and Norfolk are indeed blessed to have had so many dedicated breeders and devoted owners over the past years.  Many who originally partook and formed the backbone are no longer here to help us celebrate of Jubilee Year.  Their knowledge and experience has fortunately been recorded in the marvelous book “NORWICH TERRIERS  USA 1936-1966” edited by Constance Stuart Larrabee and Joan Redmond Read.  But the era of our two breeds continues and today, as in the past, we have our great pioneers.  It is hoped that the wisdom and lore that some have cared to offer will prove to be the vehicle we will use to lead us ever forward.

Historical Trophies

By Alison Freehling

The High Rising Trophy

The High Rising Trophy (HRT) was first presented by the Norwich Terrier Club (NTC) in 1960 in memory of early American breeder Betty Green.  During the 1950’s, Mrs. Green and her husband Grant Dickson Green bred prick ear Norwich at “High Rising” their hilltop home in Heath, Massachusetts.  The Greens acquired their first Norwich from Alden Blodgett, NTC President from l955 to l960 and owner of the influential prick ear sire CH John Paul Jones of Groton.  High Rising provided foundation stock to several early Norwich breeders, including James and Wit Hanning (Blu-Frost) and Gilbert Khan (Charing Cross). Perhaps the Greens’ best known homebred was CH High Rising Hardy Perennial, a red bitch who was BOB at the l956 and l957 NTC Specialties.  High Rising Bar Maid, sold to the Hannings as a young puppy, won the CH Jericho Hill Vixen Salver for Best Puppy in Match at the 1958 NTC Match under judge Henry Bixby.

For three decades, the NTC/NNTC presented the HRT annually to the member-owned Norwich (prick ear) earning the most championship points from the puppy classes at AKC shows during the year.  To recognize the accomplishments of breeder-owner-handlers in putting a Chamption title on a homebred, the NNTC Board changed the criteria of this annual conformation award in the early 1990’s. Since that time, the HRT has been awarded to every member-owned Norwich bitch earning all her championship points from the Bred-by-Exhibitor class.

The River Bend Trophy

The River Bend Trophy is the NTC/NNTC/NNTCA’s long time annual award for the member owned Norwich earning the highest Obedience score in AKC competition during the year.  First presented by the NTC in l967, this trophy is named in honor of Miss Sylvia Warren, an early obedience enthusiast who bred both drop and prick ear Norwich at the “River Bend” farm in Massachusetts.  Miss Warren acquired her first Norwich, a drop ear named “Bruff”, from her good friend Mrs. Josephine Spencer (first President of the NTC) in l942. River Bends’s involvement with prick ears began in unexpected fashion some years later with the birth of homebred “Puff”.  A singleton bitch puppy whose sire (CH Tuff) and dam (Muff) were both drop ears, “Puff” opted to have two strong prick ears, thereby launching Miss Warren’s interest in the breed. Puff, whose personality also sparked Miss Warren’s interest in obedience training, earned both her CD and CDX titles along with her breed championship.

Miss Warren gave her sister, Katherine Thayer, a drop ear Norwich in l946, a gift that began Mrs. Thayer’s career as an important drop ear breeder (“Maplehurst”). Miss Warren and Mrs. Thayer, along with their friend Mrs. Josephine Spencer, were founding members of the Norwich Terrier Club, officially recognized by the AKC in 1947.  Miss Warren served as NTC President from 1968 to 1970 and was an Honorary Vice-President from 1971 until her death in 1972. An “In Memoriam” for Sylvia Warren, written by her friend Joan Read (“Chidley”) is published in the Spring 1972 Norwich Terrier News (p 29).

Specialty Winners

Photos of Specialty Winners from 1948 through 2017. Thank you to NTCA Historian Margaretta “Missy” Wood for all her work in compiling these photos.

The Norwich Terrier News

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NEWS

Minutes of June 5, 1948:  “The proposed Bulletin has not yet appeared as we are still searching for an editor.  Its beginnings will be modest but if proven successful, may move on to bigger and better.”

The so-called Bulletin, however did not come to pass, owing, apparently, to a lack of a volunteer editor.  So the well-intended idea lay dormant until February. 1961, when there appeared a two-page publication Up and Down, edited by Joan Read and clearly marked Volume 1, Issue 1.  It’s anyone’s guess if an Issue 2 ever appeared, but perhaps that was all that was needed to get the ball rolling, for in May, 1962, the first issue of The Norwich News was printed and distributed to a highly delighted membership.  Its editor was Constance Larrabee, associate editor, Joan Read. This highly acclaimed newsletter (published twice a year since 1964 and renamed The Norwich and Norfolk News in 1979) has often been referred to as the heart and soul of the Club as it runs the gamut from dog news to people news.  Not only is it published and distributed to Club members, it also boasts a subscribership of nearly 100 non-members world-wide. In its 56 years of publication, the News has been headed up by fewer than ten editors, with the most years of service given by Constance Larrabee, its Founder; Hope Levy, its Nurturer; and Margaretta Wood and Alison G. Freehling; its Keepers of the Flame.  In fact, its Nurturer, Hope Levy best summed up the News when she wrote in Issue 53 (1986):

For a numerically small breed it is remarkable that we have had such a regularly produced and vigorous publication.  This is due in part to the talented editors and to the lack of shyness of its readers. The first editor set the tone of the News using material from the readers as much as possible and subsequent editors have continued that policy.  It has been a forum for the members and subscribers, not a platform for the editor’s personal views. If material is not in bad taste, too long, maudlin, or lacking in general interest, it will appear in the News. Like our breed, it is a nice, sociable little publication.

(Reprinted with permission from Margaretta Wood, from the 1996 Handbook.)

This section contains pdf scans of the News from 1962 to 2015.  Alison Freehling retired in 2014 after 17 years of dedicated service.  Susan Miller Hall and Barbara Einspruch served as the interim co-editors and produced the Spring 2015 issue.  Our current co-editors are Wheatley Wentzell, Elaine Jong and Amanda Kozora. Please check out our more recent issues and subscribe today at The Norwich Terrier News .

COMING SOON!  We have back-issues for many of the issues.  This will be available for purchase soon. If interested, please check the online Norwich (Notions) Store, or contact Patty Warrender at pwnoridge@gmail.com