Pavis, Arthur


Said to be the most handsome of jockeys - and also one of the most conceited - Arthur Pavis was born at Hounslow Heath on 17 January 1806. At the age of 12 he became apprenticed to Captain Farmer with whom he stayed for fifteen months. The Captain quickly spotted Arthur’s potential and recommended him to his friend Lord Rossmore to whom Arthur then became private jockey.

Rossmore took Arthur to his stables in Ireland then, unexpectedly, gave up racing. Deflated, Arthur returned to England and teamed up with Mr Dilly, and stayed with him for six years. Mr Dilly did not give Arthur a ride for nearly a year – Arthur made his debut at Exeter in 1821 aboard Nightshade in a handicap. On that day, Arthur weighed just three stone eleven pounds. He could comfortably ride at seven stone without wasting, and became greatly in demand in lightweight handicaps.

By 1829 he was jockey to the Duke of York, then – the ultimate accolade – George 1V  appointed him royal jockey. When the King died, Arthur rode for Colonel Peel, Lord Suffield and Lord Uxbridge among others. Arthur was not lucky in big races, finishing second in two Derbies, one Oaks and one St Leger. Staying with Colonel Peel till his death, Arthur enjoyed life outside racing: he was a first rate pugilist, he loved coursing and cock-fighting and would often ride out with the hounds.

In 1833 he married Eliza, the daughter of James Edward, trainer to the Earl of Jersey. They had three sons – Arthur, Albert and Alfred, but he was not to see them grow up. In October, 1839 – ten days after the Houghton meeting - Arthur was seized with a fit. He had what was described at the time as brain-fever. He died aged 33 on 15th October, one of the most respected and popular of men of his time.

At Salisbury on August 9th, 1827, riding a five-year-old-mare called Conquest, Arthur rode five victorious heats in succession over a total distance of nine miles.

In April 1834, a newspaper wrote of him ‘Arthur Pavis has the call for the lightweights at Newmarket, worth £100 per annum to him at least. He is in very high practice in public and in private, and never being called on to waste, is in great request and perhaps rides more races in the year than any other jockey in England. As practice makes perfect, Pavis is approaching perfection and will no doubt, arrive at it in time. He has a very elegant seat, being cast in the mould for a jockey, and is very full of power for his size.’ 

The family:

Parents: John and Eleanor

Arthur was baptized on 9th Feb 1806 at St Dunstan with St Catherine,  Feltham, Middlesex.

Arthur married Eliza Edwards (born 1819) at Newmarket Saint Mary, Suffolk, on 28 Nov 1833