W3C The Eskdale & Ennerdale Thread SONGS



Tommy Dobson
Tommy Dobson




































William Porter
William Porter leaving the Eskdale kennels with his hounds


Tommy Dobson

Tommy Dobson it is said began hunting at his own expense in the 1850s, apparently killing his first fox in Eskdale in 1857. It seems at that time there were several small packs in the area.

In 1883 a meeting was held and a subscription pack formed, Tommy Dobson being appointed as Master and Huntsman. Although he hunted hounds for almost half a century, apparently he could not blow a horn and instead used a whistle. In 1899 he then, aged over 70, admitted he was too old to hunt hounds handing over to Willie Porter. He remained Master of the Eskdale and Ennerdale until his death in 1910.

A much respected man, Master of Hounds and Huntsman.

Tommy Dobsonbr
(sung to the tune of John Peel)

O ye who love to race after foxes in the chase br
’Mongst the hills and dales of Cumbria at an invigorating pacebr
Your attention now I claim while I sing to you the famebr
Of the gallant Eskdale Pack and Tommy Dobson.

Tally-Ho, Tally-Ho, how the gallant dogs they gobr
How their music from the mountains fills the valleys far belowbr
how their deep voice, baying swells waking echoes on the fells

When they hear the sounding horn of Tommy Dobson.

In the dawning of the day when the eastern sky is grey
 brushing hoar frost from the brackens they are up and far away
And the foxes quake with fear when the mingled tones they hear
Of the hounds and bugle-blast of Tommy Dobson.

When once they take a drag, O their spirits never lag
But their speedy prey they follow to its beild in ghyll or crag
And the hardy hunters rush each to first secure the brush
While there swells a ringing cheer for Tommy Dobson.

From Duddons valley fair to Pillar gaunt and bare
O’er Red Pike back to Scawfell searching every rocky lair
Onward sweep both dogs and men while view hallo now and then
Is repeated as it comes from Tommy Dobson.

Then when the chase is done, after victory is won
When Reynard’s lifeless body meets their gaze ere set o’ sun
Every hunter boasts with pride, throughout all the countryside
No equals have their pack and Tommy Dobson.

Here’s a health to hunters hale, may they long tread hill and dale
To the gallant dogs success may their prowess never fail
And you voices raise with glee, here’s a glorious three times peel
To honour and the name of Tommy Dobson.

* * * * * * *

A Hunt With the Eskdale – About 1900 Sometime

They met at dawn on Birkby Fell
Hounds and men together
To hunt the wily mountain fox
In grey November weather.
Li’le Tommy Dobson blew his horn
When hunters viewed a vixen
Condemned for killing four fat geese,
(The geese were Farmer Dixon’s).
The drag was found, the hounds were off,
The doughty dalesmen followed
Tramping over heathered hills
And moor, and wooded hollow
Sly Reynard crossed a stubble field
Down in the lower dale,
Then most astutely swam the Esk
To wash away his trail,
The hunt renewed when Porter viewed
The quarry from a hill,
Heading for a refuge in
The crags at Linbeck Ghyll,
Earthing in a stronghold there
The fox refused to yield
Til tackled by the terrier Rose
And routed from the Bield- 
And lest you deem them cruel
Who closed in at the death–
Remember farmer Dixon’s geese
Were also - out of breath.

* * * * * * *

Linbeck Ghyll

Good company they say, it should always have its way, 
About these hounds I think I cannot lack
I think I can’t be wrong if I give a hunting song
Of Tommy Dobson’s hounds, a famous pack.

Our dalesmen love to hear those jolly hounds draw near
And everyone knows Tommy’s rousing cry
He sends the startled fox to shelter in the rocks
A Tally-ho which makes the distant crags reply.

It was on a hunting morn when Tommy blew his horn
The meet was down at Linbeck Ghyll at eight
And woe betide the chap that takes an extra nap
For Tommy he was never known to wait.

I think I see him still ascending Linbeck Ghyll
A smittle place you’ll often find
Each gay and busy hound with nose turned to the ground
And group of eager hunters at their feet.

When old Foreman first gave tongue and the merry echoes rung
When Ransome, Rockwood, Rover soon joined in
Away then they went across you frosty bent
It was plain they meant to give the field a spin.

It soon became a race and few could stay the pace
For Tommy he is very hard to beat. 
Thrice he knelt to pray and twice he got away
They killed him down at Whitbeck on the beach.

Give me the morning air, the weather  bright and fair
The short bent grass is pleasant for the tread.
Give me the huntsman's track and the music of his pack
From daybreak til the sun has gone to bed.

Come lads now don't be shy, to Dobson fill up high
How often have we followed where he has led
He makes the hills around send back a right good sound
A better huntsman, lads, was never bred.

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