'The Great Horse'
Museum no. E.652-1940
The Great Horse is referred to in English writing during the Medieval period. The breed originated from the heavy war horse brought to England by William the Conqueror in 1066. During the Medieval period it was bred in large numbers so that it could carry knights in full armour. Later it was used principally in agriculture as the main source of power. Its build is ideal for pulling ploughs carriages and canal boats. We now know this breed as the Shire Horse. During World War I and II the Shire horse was used to pull heavy artillery. Today the breed is still used in leisure, commerce and to a lesser extent in agriculture and timber operations.