Large Redcap Fowl


Class 13 - Three Large fowl eggs:

1st - plate 17 - D.P. Melland (Best Redcap)

2nd - plate 18 - D. P. Melland

3rd - plate 21 - E. S. Hancock


Class 14 - One Large fowl egg:

1st - plate 22 - L. Temprell

2nd - plate 26 - A & L. Wetters

3rd - plate 24 - E. S. Hancock


Class 15 - One Large fowl egg contents:

1st - plate 30 - D.P. Melland

2nd - plate 28 - L. Temprelle

3rd - plate 29 - D.P. Melland


Bantam Redcap Fowl


Class 41 - Three Bantam eggs:

1st - plate 120 - L. Temprell

2nd - plate 121 - D. P. Melland

3rd - plate 122 - A & L. Wetters


Class 42 - One Bantam egg:

1st - plate 123 - L. Temprell (Best Bantam)

2nd - plate 124 - D. P. Melland

3rd - plate 125 - A & L. Wetters


Class 43 - One Bantam egg contents:

1st - Not awarded

2nd - Not awarded

3rd - D. P. Melland








As of Wednesday 23rd August 2023, the gatherings ban in England will be lifted for galliformes. (An order of heavy-bodied ground-feeding birds that includes chickens, turkeys, quail and other landfowl)
Those exhibiting under the new general licence will need a CPH number. Keepers with 50 or more birds should already have one. A quarantine period of 14 days following exhibitions is to be observed. It is required that a vet is present until all birds have entered the venue and been inspected, and is available on call for the duration of the show.
Exhibitors cannot currently travel from Scotland or Wales to gatherings in England.
Apply for a County Parish Holding (CPH) number here:
Forms for registering flocks with APHA:









Poultry Club of Great Britain - National Championship Show 2019

held at the Telford International Centre on 30th November/1st December 2019

Judge – Edward Boothman


 Male 1st C. F. Taylor 2nd E. S. Hancock

Female 1st D. P. Melland 2nd E. S. Hancock 3rd D.P. Melland

Cockerel 1st C. F. Taylor (Best Derbyshire Redcap) 2nd E.S.Hancock

Pullet 1st P. A. Morrison 2nd E. S. Hancock 3rd E.S. Hancock

Bantam Male 1st D. P.Melland (Best opposite size) 2nd C. F. Taylor 3rd E. S. Hancock

Bantam Female 1st C. F. Taylor 2nd P. A. Morrison 3rd D.  P. Melland


Report of judging at the National  2019

It was a privilege to judge the Redcaps at the National and I enjoyed it very much. I love judging and giving my reasons for how I've placed them. Everybody's opinions are different but the best, no matter what; should always prevail.

Class 351 Redcap Male

1064  1st   Clean bird and well feathered

1066  2nd  Not in peak condition. 

Class 352 Redcap Female

1069  1st   Beautiful bird but lob sided comb 

1070  2nd  Nice bird but not peak condition 

1071  3rd   Dark bird but lacking condition 

1068  4th   Older bird but too light in colour

Class 353  Redcap Cockerel 

1075  1st    A beautiful bird and 12 o clock on day - Best of Breed

1073  2nd  Too light in colour. 

Class 354  Redcap  Pullet 

1079  1st   Lovely bird but too light

1076  2nd  Nice bird but not just as good as 1st

1078  3rd   Not in condition 

1077  4th   Not far from 3rd

The bantam class I split into Male and Female. 

Class 355 Redcap Bantams 


1083  1st   Lovely Cockerel and Best Opposite Size.

1082  2nd  Not far from 1st.

1081  3rd  Another nice bird but not as good as 1st.


1088  1st    Lovely bird 

1085  2nd   Again not far from 1st

1086  3rd   Too light in colour

Some bantams were overweight.

(Thanks to Edward)          


National Federation of Poultry Clubs - Federation Championship Show 2019

held at the Stafford County Showground on 21st/22nd December 2019

Judge – Mark Carson


Cock 1st C. F Taylor 2nd E. S. Hancock

Hen 1st M. Johnson (Best Derbyshire Redcap) 2nd D.P. Melland 3rd D. P. Melland

Cockerel 1st C. F. Taylor 2nd M. Johnson 3rd E. S. Hancock

Pullet 1st A. Morrison 2nd C. F. Taylor 3rd E. S. Hancock

Bantam Male 1st C. F. Taylor (Best Opposite Size) 2nd D. P. Melland 3rd E. S. Hancock

Bantam Female 1st C. F. Taylor 2nd A. Morrison 3rd D. P. Melland



Selston Poultry Fanciers Show 2020

January 2020

Large Male/Female 1st E. Hancock (Best Derbyshire Redcap) 2nd A. Morrison 3rd A. Morrison

Bantam Male/Female 1st E. Hancock 2nd D. Melland 3rd D. Melland


High Peak Poultry Club - The Derbyshire Championship Poultry Show 2020

held at the Bakewewll Agricultural Centre on 1st February 2020

Judge – L. Blanchon



Cock 1st C. F. Taylor 2nd D. P. Melland

Hen 1st D. P. Melland 2nd D. P. Melland 3rd E. S. Hancock

Cockerel 1st C. F. Taylor (Best Derbyshire Redcap) 2nd M. Johnson 3rd F. Parker

Pullet 1st M. Johnson (Best Derbyshire Redcap entered by a Novice) 2nd J. and J. Wilson 3rd C. F. Taylor

Bantam Male 1st F. Parker 2nd C. F. Taylor 3rd D. Melland

Bantam Female 1st C. F. Taylor (Best Derbyshire Redcap Bantam) (Best Derbyshire Redcap Opposite Sex) 2nd D. P. Melland 3rd E. S. Hancock

Junior Male/Female (large or bantam) 1st N. Verdicchio (Best Junior)  2nd E. S. Hancock 


Derbyshire Redcap Club Egg Classes

3 Large Fowl 1st E. S. Hancock 2nd D. P. Melland

1 Large Fowl 1st D. P. Melland 2nd D. Melland 3rd E. S. Hancock

3 Bantam 1st D. Melland (Best Derbyshire Redcap Eggs) 2nd D. P. Melland 3rd E. S. Hancock

1 Bantam 1st D. P. Melland 2nd D. P. Melland 3rd E. S. Hancock



Derbyshire County Show 2019

held at the Showground, Elvaston Country Park, Borrowash Road, Elvaston, Derby. DE72 3EP

23rd June 2019

Judge – Ewan Jones


Cock 1st C. F. Taylor (Best Derbyshire Redcap) 2nd D. Melland

Hen 1st C. F. Taylor 2nd D. Melland 3rd D. Melland




Manifold Show 2021

 held at Ilam on 14th August 2021

Judges - Alison Yates & Ewen Jones


Male/Female - One Class

1st C. F., Taylor (Hen) 2nd C. F. Taylor (Cock) 3rd D. Melland (Cock)









Redcap Club AGM: 

The Duke of York, Ashbourne Road, Pomeroy, Flagg, Buxton. Derbyshire SK17 9QG 

Wednesday 18th October 2023 - 7.30pm



*****START TIME 7.30PM*****



Derbyshire County Show:

- held at The Showground, Borrowash Road, Elvaston, Derby DE72 3EP     

         See show website -


Poultry Club of Great Britain Show:

- held at Telford International Centre, St Quentin Gate, Telford TF3 4JH  (CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)


National Federation of Poultry Clubs Show:

- held at The County Showground, Stafford, ST18 0BD  (CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)


High Peak Poultry Club’s Derbyshire Championship Poultry Show:

– held at the Bakewell Agricultural Centre, Bakewell, Derbyshire. DE45 1EH  (CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE - SEE HPPC WEBSITE)


High Peak Poultry Club is presenting a Poultry Club of Great Britain Championship Egg Show on Sunday 17th September 2023 at Eyam Mechanics Institute, Church Street, Eyam, Hope Vally S32 5QH

For details please consult the HPPC website


 Manifold Show:

- held at The Arbour, Castern Hall, Ilam. DE6 2AD    -  See show website



The following article is taken from “The Derbyshire Redcap Fowl – Its History and Environment" by H. Hopkinson 1981 - Chapters I to IV


Chapter I – The Redcap

While many people visit and admire the beauty of Derbyshire, few ever know that it has a breed of poultry and two breeds of sheep of its own.   The breed of poultry is the Derbyshire Redcap, and the sheep are the Derbyshire Gritstone and the Woodland breed.  Alas a local breed of cattle, the Blue Albion, is  no longer found if the county.   Before Leghorn fowls were introduced into Britain, about 1885 the Redcap would be the most productive fowl available.   Being an excellent forager its food requirements would be low and the eggs would be very welcome and an important means of subsistence to the lead miners and quarry workers, who along with the smallholders and farmers populated an area made famous by Bess of Hardwick, Dorothy Vernon and Mary Queen of Scots.


It was assumed that the Redcap was a descendant of the Golden Hamburgh, by the early writers, who had no knowledge of genetics or Mendelism.   It is extremely unlikely that a breed like the Redcap, with its greater size and very different shape and its good egg size could have had Hamburgh blood in it.


Many of the rare breeds of poultry owe their development and in some cases survival, to the lifelong devotion of one breeder and family.   The Dorking has been bred by the Major family for nearly one hundred years, the Faverolle by the Milner family of Eckington for fifty years, the Redcap breed had an equally enthusiastic supporter, Mr. E. A. Wragg, the Edensor school master, who bred, exhibited, judged and also exported the breed all over the world.   The Redcap was bred by Harry Fox of Matlock from the 1920’s until his death in 1965, who also exported birds to many parts of the world.   Ten years later, in 1975, there are between twelve and twenty breeders and while the combs are much smaller it is a very much improved bird today that appears at shows.   It is regrettable that the Gold Spangled Hamburgh is almost extinct.   The craze for shows and fancy fowl began in 1845 after imported birds had been given to Queen Victoria.   By the 1880’s new varieties and colours of fowl were numerous and the Redcap probably owes its survival to the ardent support it received in the Peak District, especially in the vicinity of Chatsworth.   The extracts from books and journals in the following pages will show the enthusiasm for the native breed.


Chapter II – The Redcap in Early Shows


In the 'Cottage Gardener and Country Gentleman' dated January 25th 1859 a report of a show was recorded that took place on the 18th, 19th and 20th January at Chesterfield.


Redcaps first J. Hollins, Sheffield, second G. Marshall, Chesterfield

Chickens of 1858 first J. Woollen, Sheffield, second B. Oates, Sheffield.

On July 1st , 2nd, 4th and 5th 1859 a poultry show was held at Sheffield.

Redcap 1st J. Hollins, Owlerton, Sheffield 2nd J. Pattison, Dee Street, Sheffield 3rd Ruth Birks, Upper Hallam, Rivelin.

Single cocks 1st J. Hollins, 2nd J.Woollen, Heeley H.C. B. Oates, Owlerton

The report read: “We have next to do with classes peculiar to Sheffield which required separate Judges Messrs. Ellison and Hellewell undertook the task.   We allude to Redcaps of which there were three classes.   They appear to have much in common with Golden Hamburghs and probably at some remote period both belonged to the same stock.   The colours are the same.   The lop-comb which would be fatal to the Hamburgh, appears to be a merit in the Redcap.   The overgrown comb is also desirable and many of the best birds had what we in other birds should term excrescences growing at the back of their combs in the form of eccentric spikes sticking out in all directions.   The breed is however unquestionably pure as adults and the chickens were all alike.”

In the chicken class the first prize was won by J. Quin, Nether Green, Fulwood, second B. Oates, third J. Crookes, Owlerton, Sheffield.

In the Poultry Book 1867 Edition by W. B. Tegetmeier, who was a compatriot of Charles Darwin, there is a short article on Redcaps.

“At some of the shows in the North of England, prizes are offered for Redcaps in addition to those for Golden Spangled Hamburghs with which the Redcaps are often said to be identical.   In some localities these birds are highly valued as profitable fowls and abundant egg producers and we have seen thirty pens entered for competition at a Yorkshire show.   The chief points in which Redcaps differ from Spangled Hamburghs are in size, in combs and in markings.   In size they greatly excel the usual Hamburghs, being as large and compact as ordinary Dorkings and in markings they want the regularity and beauty of spangle so characteristic of Golden Mooney and Pheasant fowls, being much darker on the breast and other parts.   The most striking difference however is in the extraordinary development of the comb, this is increased in size to so great a degree, that the combs of the hens are much larger than those of the ordinary Hamburgh cocks, even when at their greatest size.   So enormous are they that it is almost impossible for them to balance on the skull and they constantly lop over to one side.   This, however, is not regarded as a serious defect by the amateurs of the breed, their aim being to produce combs that are of extreme size, square in front, well spiked and peaked behind, in fact a rose comb, immensely magnified.   The cocks not infrequently possess combs upward of three inches in breadth at the front and more than four inches in length, measured to the end of the peak behind.   Valuable as Redcaps may be, both as table fowl and as enormous egg producers, we cannot do more than regard them as a local breed, not likely ever to rise into general estimation.   The excessive development of comb so highly valued by the fancier of the variety, is a property that would rather be regarded as a deformity by amateurs is general.”


 Chapter III - Lewis Wright on Redcaps

The illustrated Book of Poultry by Lewis Wright 1874 has a short article on Redcaps.   Nearly all older works on poultry describe among the Hamburghs a breed called the Redcap, for which, years ago, there was a special class at the Sheffield shows.   They were chiefly confined to the neighbourhood of that town, but Mr. Beldon informs us that even there they have almost disappeared: the last he has seen having been at a Sheffield show some years ago. They appeared to be a kind of mongrel Golden Spangled, larger in size and with immensely large rose-combs hanging over at the sides.   They were reputed to be hardy fowls and good layers.   In marking Mr. Beldon says they are like a very bad Golden-Spangled, being a kind of brown ground with sooty black half spangles and I see nothing to attract about them.   I have no doubt they are good layers, but they can hardly be any better than our Silver-Spangled breed.   We know of no source now that this Redcap Hamburgh can be procured, but were the Yorkshire Golden Pheasant bred with sole reference to size, laying qualities and extra development of comb, a breed so like it would be produced that we have no doubt whatever such was the origin of the variety.   The fowl was however a most useful one, answering to the American Leghorn in productiveness and hardiness.   Mr. Hewitt entertains the very highest opinion of them as general utility fowls, as the following interesting notes will show

“Of the Redcaps” he says:  “I can without hesitation speak most favourably, both as regards the production of eggs and also their value as a table fowl.   I have never kept them myself, but have been intimate with several parties who esteemed them most highly, long before the time that poultry exhibitions were instituted in the Midland Counties.   To a poultry amateur, whose eye has been previously tutored to the most important traits of character in Hamburghs generally, the Redcap at first sight represents nothing less than a mass of general disqualifications, as such parties very unjustly form their opinions by comparison with the code of rules by which the value of other varieties of Hamburghs are estimated.   Although the very profuse red comb, lounging in an ugly manner, the partially pendulous very red ear lobe, the just barely crescented feather in lieu of a spangle and the want of sprightly motion, so characteristic of all the Hamburghs, are far from ornamental, added to which the ground colour is anything but as sound as could be desired by the party whose search is exclusively for beauty of exterior, the compensation of these shortcomings is profuse:  for they are really a weighty and thick-bodied fowl (cocks weighing seven and a half pounds), of good flavour on the dish and if the eggs are weighed, as well as counted.   I believe them to be the most abundant egg producers of all our domestic poultry.   In reference to their eggs, I will mention a fact, and to which my attention was first directed by one of the oldest and most practical Birmingham confectioners.   If after being broken the same weight of eggs are used from Redcaps and Spanish fowls, the consistency of custards and so forth, obtained from the first-named breed proves nearly one third greater than from those of the Spanish.   To such parties as use considerable quantities of eggs for confectionery purposes this peculiarity of the Redcap make them much sought after and, I may add, each individual egg, when the fowls are well attended, is as fine and noble-looking a specimen as could be desired.

Redcaps are very hardy fowls, very rarely stop laying through stress of bad weather and the eggs laid, even under adverse circumstances, are generally strong-shelled, thus comparing very favourably with some of our best known laying varieties, when similarly situated.   Reputedly they are non-sitters, though I have witnessed a few cases of undoubtedly purely-bred birds sitting and perseveringly hatching out good broods;  but I never knew even a solitary instance in which they did not take proper care of their chickens when they had hatched them, they never left them to die through and want of hen-like care and attention.

Redcaps might possibly be obtained through some of the Midlands dealers or hagglers (Ed. – def. Hawker or pedlar) and as stock for a farmer will stand in the very first class, the meat being of most excellent quality.   Ornamental they can hardly be called, many of the cocks appearing to have the power of throwing over the comb to either side of the face at pleasure;  but their fine size and that of their eggs present the useful qualities of the Hamburgh without their most obvious deficiencies.

On March 9th 1882 the weekly issue of Poultry carried a report of a recent poultry show at Bonsall.   Redcaps 1 and 3, J. Dale, 2nd T. Watchhorn

v.hc T. Watchhorn, G. Marsden

h.c. T. Watchhorn, R. Heathcote


Chapter IV - Letters in “Poultry”

In the issue July 13th 1882 of “Poultry” the following letter was published:

“The Redcap is one of the oldest of our breeds of poultry and yet though it is second to none in useful properties, very little seems to be known about it.   There are, however, many more Redcaps kept in England than many people are aware of.   In some parts they go by the name of Derbyshire Redcaps, Yorkshire Redcaps, Old English Redcaps, Grammers, Moss Pheasants, Pheasant Fowls, etc., but no matter under what name they are known, they are great favourites wherever they are kept.   Years ago Yorkshire used to be noted for Redcaps and classes were provided for them at many of the Poultry Shows.   Since however the Hamburgh has gained such a footing in that county the Redcap has been very much neglected and it is only at two or three little shows, held by agricultural societies that there are classes provided for it.   By far the best Redcaps are to be found in Derbyshire.   Classes are provided for them at many shows and it is anoteworthy fact that wherever there is a class for Redcaps it is generally the best filled in the show,

Some people who know very little about the breed look upon the Redcap as nothing better than a mongrel.   They have certainly never seen good birds, or they would be of a different opinion.   During the last few years it has become a great favourite with farmers, cottagers and all others who keep poultry more for profit than fancy and it is gradually but surely making its way ahead.  From experience I find it breeds as true to points as most fowls.

Very little seems to be known as to the origin of the breed. None of our greatest authorities on poultry have much to say on this point.   Mr. H. Beldon writing in Lewis Wrights “Illustrated Book of Poultry” inclines to the opinion that it has been bred from the Gold Spangled Hamburgh and some other writers point to the same source.   From my observations I have long since come to the conclusion that the Redcap was produced by crossing the Gold Spangled Hamburgh with the Black Red Game Fowl.   However, it matters little how the breed originated, I have to deal with it as it is at the present time.

I will now proceed to give a short description of the breed as exhibited in Derbyshire:  The cock is as nearly as possible the same colour as the Black Red Game cock of about twenty years ago.   The neck hackle is very full and a much darker red than that of the Black Red Game cock of the present day and showing little of the black under-colour.   The saddle hackle is also darker and very long, hanging well over the wings, very large full tail with abundance of side sickles. 

The comb is a very large rose-comb, measuring, in good specimens, from three to four across and from five to six inches long to end of spike and standing perfectly erect on the head.   Combs larger than this are not desirable, though I have measured them an inch larger each way than above;  earlobes red;  legs dark slate colour;  weight from seven to eight pounds.

The ground colour of the hen is darkish nut brown, free from any smuttiness and well marked with black half moon spangling all over the body, almost like the Golden Spangled Hamburgh hen.   The neck hackle is black will laced with golden red;  the rose comb is about two inches broad, well spiked and perfectly erect;  earlobes and legs like the cock; weight about six pounds.   Combs falling over to either side, are a disqualification in either cocks or hens and so also are white earlobes.

In hardiness the Redcap is quite equal to the Game Fowl and very little, if any, inferior to that bird as a table fowl.   It is very plump and carries a large amount of meat with very little offal.   Several hotel proprietors whom I know always choose the Redcap for table whenever they have the chance and they inform me that very few of their guests can tell it from game.

As an egg producer I have no hesitation in saying that the Redcap is the best layer known.   Good stock will, on an average, turn out over 200 eggs each in a year and I have known a single hen lay upward of 250 in a year.   Redcaps are very precocious, the pullets often commencing to lay at eighteen weeks old.   It is, however, not advisable to encourage them to lay so early, as it stops their growth and the eggs are very small.   Well matured birds lay good sized eggs and scarcely ever cease laying in the winter except in the most severe weather.

They are non-sitters.   The chicks are very easily reared, but the best time for hatching them is in February, March, April and May.   Later, when the weather gets hot, they do not do so well as in the earlier months of the year."      Thom. Watchorn

Editor’s footnote:  Please bear in mind that some of the material in these articles was originally written as far back as 1867 and since that time good sense on comb size has prevailed and the Redcap standard now recommends a comb size much smaller, set straight on the head and carried well off the eyes and beak.

  TO BE CONTINUED                                                                                                                                     

 ©Derbyshire Redcap Club 2023








CHANGE LOG:  26th September 2020 - V2P form + show cancellation banners

                            27th October 2020 - V3P form - change of secretary

                            3rd November 2020 - Chapter I & II - H. Hopkinson added

                            23rd January 2021 - Diary dates amended as affected by CV19 lockdown restrictions.

                            30th September 2021 - AGM information posted with new venue - updates to the shows information - Events banner enabled

                            1st October 2021 - Upload membership application form V4P with Acting Secretary's details

                            9th October 2021 - Photo of  S & E Johnson (East) cup added

                            12th March 2022 - Update to show details

                            19th March 2022 - Hopkinson Chapters III & IV added

                            30th March 2022 - Show dates updated

                            14th June 2022 - Update due to ongoing Avian Flu outbreaks

                            31st July 2022 - National & Federation Show cancellations due to more ongoing Avian Flu outbreaks.

                            18th September 2022 - Date and time details of 2022 AGM updated - Events banner on HOME page updated with AGM details.

                            6th October 2022 - Downloadable Membership Form V5P updated with latest membership fees and Secretary's details

                            20th October 2022 - General edit due to increasing Avian Flu outbreaks

                            25th March 2023 - Minor changes to text with reference to cancelled bird shows - DEVELOPMENT OF EXTRA FEATURES ON WEBSITE IN PROGRESS

                            18th August 2023 - Add note for HPPC egg show.  (Currently outbreaks of Avian Flu in SW Scotland)

                            23rd August 2023 - Add APHA/Poultry Club notice of shows ban being lifted in England.

                     4th September 2023 - Logo updated (GP) on Home page.

                     22nd September 2023 - Facebook Group link (text only) added on Home page.

                     30th September 2023 -  Rosettes added to Gallery

                      12th October 2023 - HPPC Eyam Show results - Redcap classes