Over £20,000 of prize money will be up for grabs at this year’s English Winter Fair at the Staffordshire County Showground.

The event will take place from November 18-19, 2023, and Bagshaws partner and auctioneer Mark Elliott has called it the pinnacle of the pedigree, prime and fatstock show season.

Elliott, who has presided over the fair’s concluding sale for nearly 30 years, said: “Many competitors who end up selling their animals in the auction have been showing them all year across the country.

“It’s an honour to see them compete at the winter fair against some tough opposition, then end up in your sale ring as their crescendo to the season.”

Elliott said the quality of livestock at the fair, whether pig, sheep or cattle, has been consistently high. Although, with cattle in particular, the type of animal has changed over time.

“We’re definitely looking at smaller frames these days. The 800kg steer of the past has fewer markets now, so we see this preference for smaller carcass weights reflected in the animals being shown in the ring, then making their way through for sale,” he said.

Entries at the fair were affected after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but they have bounced back, with last year’s event taking in over 5,000 visitors.

“People really enjoy the chance to buy and sell at this very special event, as well as coming to compete and spectate,” Elliott said.


In addition to livestock, large entries are expected for beef, lamb, pig and poultry carcass competitions, which are held in a refrigerated hall.

Local butcher Paul Sargeant, who operates out of Bramshall near Uttoxeter, will again be the judge for these categories. 

Those invited to judge the live animals this year include Herefordshire’s Colin Phillips and Cumbria’s Neil Slack, who are presiding over the pedigree and non-pedigree cattle classes respectively.

They will also join forces to decide the champion beef animals at the conclusion of the show.

Phillips said he will be on the lookout for a “fleshy and finished beast, but with correctness and mobility”. However, he also values “ring presence” and style.

As judge, Slack said he will be searching for an animal that catches his eye, is correct and walks well, and also has ring presence, as well as “meat in the right places”.

The judge covering all live sheep classes is Neil Glaves from near Scarborough in North Yorkshire.

As well as keeping pedigree Suffolks and Texels, Glaves runs a catering business including a bakery and butchers, and said he will be looking for lambs “suitable for both shop and catering trade” to appoint winners.

Entries for the English Winter Fair will open from September, with forms available on the Staffordshire County Showground website.