PUBLISHED: 18:53 18 May 2014 | UPDATED: 18:53 18 May 2014
Meet the marmalade cat who has taken up residence at Sir Winston Churchill’s Westerham retreat
Churchill was known for his love of cats, and was given a handsome marmalade cat on his 88th birthday by his private secretary, Sir John ‘Jock’ Colville, in 1962.
The cat accompanied Churchill to many meetings and even travelled to London with the wartime Prime Minister on more than one occasion.
In honour of this close relationship, when they presented the property to the National Trust in 1966, the Churchill family stipulated that there should always a marmalade cat with a white bib and four white paws living at Chartwell.
Big paws to fill
There have only been five Jocks at Chartwell since that time. The original Jock, who was only two when Churchill died, lived at Chartwell until his own death in 1974. He was buried in the pet cemetery in the grounds.
Jock V was the most recent feline to vacate the position, moving to Scotland with his owner, the former house and collections manager, who couldn’t bear to part with him when she moved on from Chartwell late last year.
Jock VI was originally rescued by Croydon Animal Samaritans before being adopted by Chartwell’s house and collections manager, Katherine Barnett.
Formerly known as Malley, Jock VI will live with his new owner in one of the top flats at Chartwell and will have the run of the extensive gardens and mansion (with the exception of the showrooms).
There’s even a green cat flap, approved by the Historic Buildings Inspector.
Larger than life
Jock VI is already showing signs of being as large a character as Chartwell’s famous former resident. He is very friendly and comfortable around people.
Jock is also said to enjoy afternoon naps, Persian rugs and cuddles, while expressing clear disdain for heights, lightning and being on his own.
Katherine Barnett, pictured below, says of her new charge: “When Jock VI was rescued he was in a bad state, pawing at a window to be let out, with paint on his fur. He hadn’t been vaccinated or neutered and was showing signs of neglect.
“I am thrilled that we can offer him a new life of luxury here at Chartwell, with 80 acres of gardens, abundant wildlife and a constant stream of doting visitors to offer attention and love.
“We think Churchill would have approved of our choice and hope that Jock VI has many happy years as the Chartwell cat,” adds Katherine.
Jock VI can be seen wandering around the gardens at Chartwell, which are open to the public every day. The house, too, opens daily, with many fascinating items and memorabilia on display.
Visitors can also enjoy a browse in the gift shop or some delicious treats in the newly refurbished restaurant to round off their trip. n