Celebrating their 175th anniversary this year, Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire has welcomed a new young Shire to their working team. Cromwell, a rising two-year-old bay joins the workforce from a renowned breeder in Lincolnshire.

Based in the Cotswolds, the brewery is one of only three in the country to still have working, delivering Shire horses.

“We’re thrilled to welcome our latest addition to the team, this young horse caught my eye back in October, and after watching his progress we looked to purchase him this February,” said Head Coachman, Nicholas Carter. “He’s a remarkable colour match to our other horses and with his inquisitive and friendly nature I look forward to a promising future with him.

“It’s also a bold statement from our team of directors that our Shire horses are valued team members and will continue to remain a prominent part of the breweries future for years to come.”

Joining the team

Hook Norton currently has three other Shire horses on site, 25-year-old retired Nelson, five-year-old Brigadier purchased in 2022 and five-year-old Balmoral purchased in 2023.

The horses live onsite in the original 1884 stable block which remains open to the public from Wednesday through to Sunday with the horses enjoying their days off on Monday and Tuesday in the surrounding fields.

Cromwell is now in the stables ready to meet the public and will spend the next two years greeting visitors, competing at shows and visiting the brewery’s pubs, before being trained to drive once he turns four.

The Shire Horses have over 75 public engagements every year, ranging from competitions, demonstrations, fetes, weddings and television work.

Preserving the breed

The Shire horse breed is deemed ‘at risk’ of extinction due to their dwindling numbers with Hook Norton Brewery being one of only five breweries in the country to still have their own horses, with only three of those routinely using them for deliveries.

The Brewery became a Shire Horse Society approved centre in October 2021 and hosts various training days and events throughout the year to promote the breed and the skills of working them ensuring their place in the modern world.

Hook Norton Brewery is celebrating its landmark 175th year anniversary with a number of different events and celebration ales throughout the year.

To find out more about the brewery and to view the Shires’ full diary of events, visit hooky.co.uk

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