Celebrated as a highly successful racehorse, Bay Bolton was also crucial to the development of the thoroughbred, being perhaps the first non-Eastern stallion to be accepted as truly outstanding.
Bay Bolton was foaled in 1705, by Grey Hautboy out of a Makeless mare belonging to Sir Matthew Pierson, an important breeder and owner with a stud at Lowthorpe, Yorkshire. In the days before the full calendar came out in 1727, records of races are very sketchy but, originally registered as Brown Lusty, he won for Sir Matthew at York, Middleham and Quainton Meadow, and after having been sold to the Duke of Bolton, and renamed Bay Bolton, he appears to have won matches against several of the leading horses of the day, thought to include the Duke of Somerset's Grey Windham, Tregonwell Frampton's Dragon, and possibly Sir Matthew's own Merlin. Retired to stud at Bolton Hall (where he may well be depicted in the present picture), Bay Bolton was a great success, breeding many top class horses including Fearnought, Sloven, Bolton Starling, Camilla, Gipsy, and Whitefoot. When he died in 1736 aged 31, he was buried on Midelleham Moor between two pillars erected by the Duke in alignment with the avenue running from the Hall.