Sparkenhoe is being made on a Leicestershire farm, something that has not happened since 1956, therefore this cheese is the ONLY Leicester to be made on a farm with raw milk in Leicestershire.
Leicester cheese was made on Sparkenhoe Farm by Mr George Chapman in 1745. He was quoted by Robert Bakewell, a famous breeder of the time, to have had ‘one of the best herds of longhorns known anywhere,’ these included his prize winning bulls ‘Old Sparkenhoe’ and the ‘Earl of Upton.’ The Chapmans ceased cheese production in 1875 due to the fact there was no money to be made from cheese production!
Sparkenhoe is an old Leicestershire name meaning gorsey nob. It was the name given to the old medieval one hundred area and as the farm is situated in the middle of this area it was named Sparkenhoe Farm.
The last time Leicester cheese was made on a farm in Leicestershire was in the 1950’s by a Mr Shepherd of Bagworth. He was a dairy farmer and was said to have made the finest Red Leicester Cheese and supplied all the local butchers and cheese shops. Over 50 years on this age old art has been revived by Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company making the aptly named ‘Sparkenhoe’ Leicester.
In 2017 William Clarke finished Harper Adams University and joined the family cheese making business. A new dairy was built and William started to develop a new blue Leicestershire cheese with the herds raw milk. This is Sparkenhoe Blue cheese.