Enid Plummer - Lucas Terrier Club

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Enid Plummer

Lucas Terriers > History

Enid Gridley was born in Saltburn-By-The-Sea in Yorkshire in 1909, the third child of Arnold (created 1 st Baron in 1955) and Mabel Gridley. She joined Sir Jocelyn Lucas as kennel manageress for his Ilmer kennels, near Watford, breeding mainly Sealyhams. In 1936 she married Alex (Bill) Plummer and moved to Harpenden.

In 1944 the Plummers moved to Bonners, at Pepperstock, near Luton, and Enid ran Sir Jocelyn’s Ilmer kennels from there as well. Although he took an interest in the running of the kennels and breeding of the dogs, the day to day work was carried out from the start by Mrs Plummer and her kennel staff. Sir Jocelyn was becoming disenchanted with the extremes he felt were appearing in the Sealyham Terrier.  He thought they were too large, with too much bone, coats that were too soft and which were being bred almost exclusively for showing, so developed his own smaller Ilmer Sealyhams.  Because he used them for hunting vermin they needed to work as a pack, and so had to be good tempered - fighting dogs were not tolerated. His pack consisted of 20-40 Sealyhams and he was regularly invited by many landowners to hunt on their land. People came from all over the world to watch the spectacle:

Ilmer Sealyhams were much sought after, bred by today’s standards on an almost industrial scale, and were sent all over the world. Well-known owners included Princess Margaret (Ilmer Johnny Boy, an ancestor of many of today’s Lucas Terriers) and Sir Alfred Hitchcock. The smaller Ilmer Sealyhams found whelping difficult when mated to larger show bred dogs. Sir Jocelyn therefore decided to look for a suitable breed of terrier to which these bitches could be mated, and so bought a small Norfolk Terrier dog. The main colouring of the subsequent cross with his Ilmer Sealyham was a sandy red, with a white vest and feet.  With docked tails they looked very smart and attractive.






The new mix proved to be very stable and popular with owners, and he named them after himself. Six completely new lines of inheritance were created over the early years using a range of Norfolk Terriers with Ilmer Sealyham bitches, as well as eight half lines using Lucases with either Norfolks or with Sealyhams. In addition, a number of Lucas-Lucas matings took place and the breed became better established. Norfolk Terriers were not used as the dam due to their small size and difficulty with whelping, and always the aim was to have more Sealyham in the Lucas pedigrees than Norfolk whilst type was being fixed. It was found that when the proportion of Norfolk Terrier outweighs Sealyham Terrier there is a rapid degeneration in type and the desirable attributes passed on from the Sealyham are lost. This produces a terrier which lacks depth and strength of muzzle, width between the ears, is light in bone and has little body. The two advantages the Lucas has which favours the Norfolk are that they tend to carry a hard coat and have the characteristic red (tan) colour.

Sir Jocelyn gave up his kennels at Watford in the late 1950s but Enid Plummer continued to breed Ilmer Sealyhams and Lucas Terriers at Bonners.  She also continued to use the cachet of his name as the registered breeder, and this is shown on pedigree documents well into the 1970s. In the late 1970s Enid Plummer retired to Rose Cottage at Bodieve in Cornwall with the remainder of the Lucas Terrier kennel and a Norfolk Terrier called Osmor Trevor. For a while, and then without the Ilmer Sealyhams, this resulted in a greater percentage of Norfolk genes in Lucas Terriers than was desirable.  This was later rectified by other breeders who used a variety of different Sealyhams. Enid lived in Cornwall until 1986 when she died of complications following a leg amputation.  Her last surviving Lucas Terrier, Plummer's Bramble, died in 1998.

Postscript
After Enid Plummer’s death Jane Irwin, Basil Wallwork (Jane’s Uncle) and Jumbo Frost set up the Lucas Terrier Society which, in 1988, became the Lucas Terrier Club. The aim of this group has been to help and advise owners to find a suitable mate should they wish to breed from their terrier, and generally to promote the breed.

Under the succeeding chairmanships of key owners such as Jane Irwin (now Mounsey), Judy Colville, Cathy Thomas and Annabel Whitehead the breed has continued to grow in numbers. Mention should also be made of Lynette Langford, Meg Peat, Jo Rodwell and Mark Parsons, each of whom has bred more than 20 Lucas Terriers. More breeders are up and coming and, with clear plans for the way ahead, the future is looking brighter again.

In 1999 a breakaway Club, known as the Sporting Lucas Terrier Club, was formed to register and promote a terrier which has a degree of Lucas Terrier in its make-up but also has genes from both Fell and Plummer Terrier - the latter being a mix of various breeds including Beagle and Pit Bull Terrier. Incidentally, Brian Plummer - who gave his name to this terrier - is not related to Enid Plummer. In 2003 a separate Sporting Lucas Terrier Association was also formed. The fact that these terrier clubs breed a type of dog with a very similar name to the original Lucas Terrier has created considerable confusion, but all three clubs co-exist perfectly happily and promote distinctly different attributes in their dogs.

Last updated 17 Dec 12

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