Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill in Kent, has recently welcomed its newest recruit—a marmalade cat named Jock. On leaving their home to the National Trust in 1966, the Churchill family requested that there would always be a marmalade cat named Jock, with a white bib and four white paws, in comfortable residence at Chartwell. The National Trust has always honoured this request and has recently welcomed Jock VII, a six-month-old rescue kitten, to the property to take up this unique role.
The original Jock was a birthday present to Churchill from one of his private secretaries, Sir John ‘Jock’ Colville, and was named after him. Today’s Jock VII, previously known as Sunshine, was rescued by the RSPCA before being adopted by Chartwell’s Visitor Experience Manager, Viktoria Austen. He was rescued along with thirty other cats from squalid conditions. The kittens were very weak and undernourished but were young enough to be brought back to health quickly. Jock was the most confident of the whole group and was already playful and full of fun.
Viktoria Austen, Visitor Experience Manager at the National Trust property Chartwell, comments: “Jock VII has had a difficult start to his life, but he is very lucky to come to our loving home. He has already made friends and started to explore the 80 acres that Chartwell has to offer him. He is a friendly, delightful kitten who enjoys taking naps in the various suntraps of Chartwell and chasing butterflies around the borders. We’re certain he will bring joy to our visitors.”
Viktoria adds, “Jock is settling into his residency and has developed a mischievous character. His favourite pastimes are investigating what the gardeners are up to and trying to persuade people to give him snacks. He also likes lots of cuddles on the sofa after an eventful day. Jock’s newest trick is jumping out of bushes and planting to introduce himself to unsuspecting visitors”
Jock VII’s predecessor, Jock VI had gone almost completely blind and was finding life at Chartwell very hard. Once it became dangerous, Chartwell made the decision to retire him from public life after his six years of service. Jock VI is now enjoying the life of a former celebrity with Chartwell’s House and Collections Manager in a much quieter, more peaceful garden of his own.
For more information on Jock VII and Chartwell visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell. Chartwell garden is now open daily, 10am-5pm. For a quieter visit and less competition to welcome Jock, Chartwell recommend booking for a visit from 2pm onwards.