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Key Number: HS 72247
Site Name: E.P. Ranch
Other Names: Bedingfield Ranch
Prince of Wales Ranch
Site Type: 0501 - Farming and Ranching: Farm or Ranch House
2005 - Ranch

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
17 3 5


Address: N/A
Number: N/A
Street: N/A
Avenue: N/A
Other:
Town:
Near Town: Longview

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape:
Storeys:
Foundation:
Superstructure:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Environment: N/A
Condition: N/A
Alterations: N/A

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
1886/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Active
1886/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
Mrs. Beddingfield (A.K. Beddingfeld)
George Lane
Edward Prince of Wales
Helen Mary Cartwright (widow)
John Alastair Cartwright (rancher)
Gordon J. Cartwright (rancher)
1893/01/01
1918/01/01
1919/01/01
1978/08/14
1978/08/14
1978/08/14
Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: The EP Ranch was started originally by Frank Bedingfeld and Brown. His Royal Highness Edward Prince of Wales bought the ranch in 1919 and had a lot of new buildings put up. The Gambrel Roof barn to the extreme left of picture 13 is shown on the extreme right on picture number 14.  
The ranch was homesteaded by an English immigrant, one Mrs. Beddingfield (A.K. Beddingfeld) and her son Frank, sometime before 1893. The original holding encompassed 1600 acres. The residence was substantial, consisting of an 8 room log house and several associated buildings. Sometime between 1893 and 1919 the Prince of Wales was visiting at a nearby ranch. He became quite fond of the area, and bought the Beddingfield Ranch in 1919. At the time of purchase, the ranch encompassed 8100 acres both leased and owned. Dean W.L. Caryle managed the ranch for the Prince until 1950.
Shortly after the takeover in 1919, four rooms and a bath were added to the house. In 1956 the Prince (now the Duke of Windsor), in conjunction with several British associates, formed the E.P. Ranching Co. running pigs, sleep, horses and Cattle on the Duke's holding. On January 15, 1962 the E.P. Ranch was absorded by the 'D' Ranch of High River.
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D-396 - E.P. RANCH

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: In 1881, shortly after the decision was made to extend the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Kickinghorse Pass, the federal government promulgated regulations by which vast tracts of land in the southern foothills of the Rockies could be leased for grazing purposes. In order to create a ranching industry in the region, leases of upward to 100,000 acres could be made available for 21 years at a rate of one cent per acre per year. As track of the CPR headed to Fort Calgary, the response was overwhelming, and within a year, 75 leases were authorized, covering an area of over 4 million acres.

Before long, the region south of Calgary became dominated by a few large cattle companies, as several mergers took place. There was, however, still room for small family ranches, and, in 1886, one of these was started by Agnes Bedingfield and her son, Frank, who filed on land next to each other as homesteaders. This was on Section 1, Township 17 Range 3, west of the 5th Meridian. Agnes was the widow of a British military officer stationed in India, and, following his death, she and Frank had spent some time in the United States. Coming to the High River district in 1884, they had taken employment with the Bar-U Ranch, Agnes as a housekeeper and Frank as a cowboy. Two years later, they decided to strike out on their own, with Frank, at age 18, being old enough to homestead.

The Bedingfields' small ranch began slowly. Log cabins were constructed on each property, and cattle were purchased a few at a time. In the meantime, Frank continued his work with the Bar-U. Over the years however, the Bedingfield Ranch proceeded to grow, as adjacent quarters were purchased from neighbours who decided to relocate elsewhere. For a while, it was operated as part of a partnership with another neighbour named Joseph Brown. In 1908, Frank married Josephine Maitland, and Agnes decided to return to England. By this time, the Ranch comprised 1,440 acres of land held outright, with much more being leased. When World War I broke out however, Frank decided to enlist, although he was now 47 years old. While he was serving in Belgium and France, Josephine took care of the Ranch, being assisted by one Jack Barber. Following the war, Frank returned to the Ranch, but with a small daughter in the family, he and Josephine decided to return to England and begin a new life there. They therefore put the Ranch up for sale and waited for offers.

In the summer of 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales, made plans for an excursion to Canada, including a visit of the western prairies. The ostensible purpose of the trip was for him to learn more about the Dominion over which, it was assumed, he would one day rule. Among his many stops was a day and night at the Bar-U Ranch, a venture that impressed him so much that he made inquiries about purchasing a ranch in the area for himself. Fond of horses, and taken by the scenic foothills environment, he was mostly interested in a venue for raising high quality thoroughbred horses. Apparently, a deal was struck with George Lane of the Bar-U as intermediary, and, on October 7, the sale was executed. It involved 1,440 acres of land at $25 an acre and a half share in 41,400 acres of leased land. There were also 400 horses and 150 head of cattle. The total price was $130,000. The manager of the Ranch was to be Professor W.T. Carlyle, who had been serving as a veterinarian with the Bar-U.

On passing through Winnipeg on his was back to England, Edward gave a speech in which he said that he wanted to have a permanent home in western Canada, "a place where I can come sometimes and live for a while. To this end I recently purchased a small ranch in southern Alberta and I shall look forward to developing it and making it my own." In his memoirs, he later wrote in a similar vein, claiming that he had been "overwhelmed by an irresistible longing to immerse myself, if only momentarily, in the simple life of the western prairies." Edward did not own other properties outside Great Britain, and, although it is not evident that he provided direct input into the operation of the ranch, the property and its buildings were handsomely upgraded during the 1920's, and became known as the E.P. Ranch. High quality cattle and horses were also brought in to breed and be raised under the best conditions. The foreman, William Elliott, took a personal interest in developments and would serve the Ranch for 30 years.

Edward himself visited his Ranch in 1923 and 1924, during his Canadian tours in which he traveled under the alias of Lord Renfrew. He also visited it briefly in 1927, when he was invited to celebrate Canada's Diamond Jubilee. During the early 1930's, the Ranch experienced some financial difficulties, and, just before his abdication in December 1936, Edward attempted unsuccessfully to sell it. His next visits occurred in 1941 and 1955 when, as Duke of Windsor, he was accompanied by his wife, the Duchess. All the while, the operation of the Ranch was under the management of either a board of directors, who reported directly to Edward, or by some subsidiary corporation. Finally, in 1962, the E.P. Ranch was sold to Jim Cartwright and integrated into the adjoining and much larger D Ranch.


HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the E.P. Ranch lies in its direct association with King Edward VIII, who owned it in various guises from 1919 to 1962. For years, it was his only property outside Great Britain, and, although he did not visit it often, he described it as his home away from home. The Ranch is also important in being a continually operating southern foothills ranch from its founding in 1886 until today.

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Description of Historic Place
The E.P. (Edward Prince) Ranch cultural landscape is a 41 hectare ranch headquarters, situated adjacent to Pekisko Creek, in a rural setting in the foothills of Alberta. The site comprises: a 1927 Ranch House addition constructed for the Prince of Wales (later His Majesty King Edward VIII); a collection of log and wood frame residential and agricultural buildings and structures dating from the late 1880s; a formal garden; irrigated working gardens; woodland paths; shelter belts; and archaeological remains of early homestead-era structures.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the E.P. Ranch resides in its direct association with His Majesty King Edward VIII, who owned it from 1919 to 1962. Edward, while Prince of Wales, purchased the ranch in 1919 from Frank Bedingfeld, who had established it in 1886. Under his direction, the ranch was developed as a model for the promotion of breeding excellence. Breeding livestock, most notably Shorthorn cattle, Dartmoor ponies, Shropshire sheep, and Clydesdale horses, were imported from Edward's breeding farms in his Duchy of Cornwall in the United Kingdom. His stock diversification initiatives proved unprofitable resulting in the sale of the livestock in the 1930's. Edward maintained a personal interest in the ranch for the period that he owned it. He visited it on several occasions in the 1920's, while Prince of Wales, and, after his abdication, as Duke of Windsor in the 1940's and 1950's while accompanied by his wife Wallis, the Duchess.

Source: Alberta Community Development, Heritage Resource Management Branch (File: Des. 396)

Character-defining Elements
Character-defining elements of the E.P. Ranch site cultural landscape include:

The E.P. Ranch as a whole:
- the siting of the Ranch House and Ranch Workyard on the south bank of Pekisko Creek adjacent to a natural ford and at the head of an open valley
- the unimpeded valley viewscapes from the Ranch House and Ranch Workyard to the foothills and the eastern slopes of the Kananaskis Mountains

The Ranch House and Managerial precinct:
- Homestead Buildings (3 log buildings) - circa 1886 one storey log settler's cabin - circa 1890's one storey log residence with gable roof - circa 1900, one and one half storey log residence with gable roof
- the 1927 wood frame ranch house addition undertaken for HRH Edward, Prince of Wales - glazed verandah, open porch, sitting room/parlour with field stone fireplace and gable roof
- circa 1920's manager's house - prairie vernacular one and one-half storey house, bevel siding.
- designed grounds including Caragana lined entrance alley/driveway circa 1930's; formal lawn with central walk, steel gate, flagpole and perimeter hedge; remnant vegetable fields with poplar alley and irrigation works; kitchen garden; woodland walk

The Ranch Operations precinct:
- circa 1900's log work shop, gable roof
- circa 1920's log bull barn - gambrel roof
- 1920's horse barn - wood frame, monitor roof
- circa 1920's implement shed, wood frame with cottage roof
- circa 1930's corrals, pens and shipping platform
- circa 1930's utility shed - wood frame with gable roof

Archaeological remains:
- settler's homestead cabin foundations
- ranch yard barns, corrals and pens
- the original entrance trail / river crossing

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
1981/03/24
Designation Status: Designation Date:
(not assigned)
Provincial Historic Resource

2004/06/11
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
S. Khanna 1993/08/30

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0891
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