W3C Vale of Lune Hounds HOUNDS


In 1902 The Lancashire Daily Post produced a series of articles on the “Northern Hunts”. Here is the Vale of Lune.


How eagerly forward they rush,
In a moment how widely they spread;
Have at him there, Hotspur! Hush! Hush!
‘Tis a find, or I’ll forfeit my head.

The Vale of Lune Harriers hunt some of the most lovely country we have in the North of England, and there is no prettier sight than to see the pack in full cry in the sylvan valley of the Lune, with the master and the field on good terms. In this portion of our North Country there has been hunting for generations. It must be remembered that it is within the century that the present system of hunting came into force. In the old days the whole countryside turned out on hunt days, and Dick, Tom, and Harry from the towns were regarded as interlopers. The formation of railways made a vast difference in the hunting systems of England. The yeomen and farmers took less and less part in the chase; private and subscription packs came into existence, and the prosperous man from city and town is often, nowadays, the mainstay of the fine old sport, and as keen and anxious to show sport as those two old time classical hunters, Osbaldeston or Assheton Smith. The Vale of Lune is a subscription pack, and its origin runs back to 1859 or 1860. The late Mr T G Edmondson, of Grasyard, who became master, and continued to hold that office until he handed the horn to Colonel Foster in 1890 – Mr Teddy Wright, of Wenning Cottages; Mr Christopher Ingleby, of Anstwick; and the Fenwick’s of Burrow Hall, were the beginners, Mr Wright being secretary. The pack was then supported financially by Mr Gillow, of Leighton; Mr Henry Garbett; the Rev G Manby, of Morecambe; and the Rev J W Royds, of Heysham, all of whom were often seen out with the hounds. The father of the hunt today is venerable Mr Gillow, who droves out as long as he could, and who now in his 96th year takes delight in nothing so much as a chat on bits of cross country experience. The only original members of the hunt who now follow the hounds are Mr Barton, of Warton Grange, who has ridden to these hounds since 1864, and Mr Pickard, of Kirkby Lonsdale.

The Vale of Lune country lies in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Westmorland, and consists of about 75 per cent of pasture, 15 per cent of plough, five per cent of moss land, and five per cent of wood. The country is somewhat cramped, and you need a horse that can jump and with a lot of stout and staying blood, for many of the days are long, the hunting often being particularly good. The pack consists of 25 couple of pure harriers, 19 to 20 inches (entered in H and S Stud Book). Much of the country is somewhat cramped, the fences and banks being very numerous, and you must have good-hearted horses that can negotiate both timber, water, and stone walls. It may be said that the country is practically all grass, the best of it, from Ingleton to Tunstall, being bounded by the Cant and the Wenning. Formerly the Vale of Lune used to hunt the Morecambe and Heysham side, and the the Fire Lane Ends at Bay Horse. Some good meets were at Slyne, but the scarcity of hares has made it impossible to show sport in a considerable area in which formerly they had good runs. There is a good deal of wire in the country, and it increased every season. There is no general arrangement for its removal, but arrangements to that effect are made with some of the farmers, and, as a rule, what remains is marked with flags. Some of the farmers are most friendly to the hunt, others are indifferent, and some few decidedly opposed to the hounds. The latter, however, are greatly in a minority, and Col. Foster, the master, is so rigid in his regard for tenants’ rights and interests that the hunt appears to be gaining in popularity.

The hounds were first kennelled at Park House, Tatham, and they were afterwards removed to Milling Hall, where George Bell, generally known as “Squire”, lived, and was a good supporter. A man named Sharp was the first mounted huntsman, and he was a keen, efficient man, who stopped a full ten years. He was followed by Rucastle, and the present huntsman is David Hayward, a particularly smart, well informed man, with a thorough knowledge of hound form and blood alliances, and fit as a fiddle for all aspects of a huntsman’s duty. The hounds are the most beautiful harriers that can be found, and both in work and in appearance leave nothing to be desired. Hayward has them in the pink of condition. They have true head expression, shape and make, depth, muscle, bone, straight flat legs, and real good feet. They are full of music, and often end almost as fresh after a day’s close work as they are at the start. Let us look at the stallions, as they are called by the huntsman, from the yards. There is Acrobat, by Eamont Albany, out of Clara, a lemon-pied hound, with beautiful neck and shoulder, full of quality, standing 20½in with flat and perfectly straight legs. Next comes Archer, by Eamont Rodney, out of Miss Agate, a thick-set 20 in hound, with tremendous bone and power. Link Boy is a 20 in Belvoir tan, by Major Aikman’s Lanark, out of Holm Mill. Matchless is a wonderful hound in work, with great power, short on the legs, but not so good at the ground as some of the other hounds. Foeman, by Aspull Farrier, out of Carmen, is a 20½in stallion, a fair useful hound in his work. Amongst the other dog hounds Waverley, by Wrangler, out of Barbara, is a wonderful dog in his work. He is black in colour, with a dark tan head, and is full of drive and dash when he is out. You will generally see him and Acrobat among the first six hounds. The bitches are of the best. There is the old hound Brilliant, in her seventh season, a most wonderful bitch on the road. She will hunt a hare down a road for a mile, and you can always rely on her. She is perhaps the best known hound in the pack, for the field takes to her. She is almost a pure-bred old Southern, and has as much drive in her as the others, generally being at the form. This pack can go a pace, and given a good long point, you get a putting up in the saddle. What is more, they come home with their sterns up, and that’s the gamey sort you want. Then there is in the pack – Musical, by Artist out of Moonshine; Cowslip, by Eamont Albany, a hound which won a second in the unentered chase at Peterborough in 1900; Rakish, by Eamont Albany, a picture of contour and quality, which won the Peterborough champion cup in 1899, and a portrait of which we reproduce by the kindness of the master from a painting in his gallery; Radiant, sister to her, very handsome and stylish, with quality and bone, but never yet shown; Aimwell and Active, own sisters to Acrobat, both lemon-pied hounds, brilliant in their work, and so much alike that it is with difficulty you can pick one from the other. These are included in the hounds which I inspected. The six couple of bitches are all of a type with wonderful noses, and are very hard to beat over any country for either pace, perseverance, or chorus. Puppies are walked in the district. Out of 20 couple bred 16 are sent out, and as a rule 12 or 13 couple come out all right, showing the care and attention they receive in the district. There are puppy shows held in the lovely grounds of the historical castle of the master, who gives a breakfast. Prizes are given, and attractive ones, too, so that the puppy walkers have every encouragement to do the best they can for the young hound.

Hayward, the huntsman, started his career in 1885, with the Chidding Fold Hunt, Surrey, under Lieut. General Marshall. After two seasons as second whip, he went to the Essex and Suffolk, under Mr P G Barthropp. A season here, and he went to go as second whip to the Shropshire Hunt, under Mr Heywood Lansdale. After a season he went to the Cotswold, under Mr Hicks Beach, and remained here two seasons. Then he went as first whip to the Astley, under Mr Joseph Baxendale, for two seasons, and when Mr Barthropp took the Suffolk hounds again he went as first whip and kennel huntsman. Next he went to Ickleton, to Mr William Thursby’s private pack, built up out of purchases from the pack of the Compte de Paris, and thence he came to the Vale of Lune, where he appears to be well liked, and perfectly settled.

The Vale of Lune is still a subscription pack, handsomely and liberally supported by the popular master, Col Foster. The minimum subscription to the hunt is a guinea. As one walks about the environs of Hornby Castle one feels what an ideal hunting centre this is, and the field of the Vale of Lune Harriers flatter themselves on their master, who shows the best traditions of the hunting field and who knows every hound and its capability. Mrs Foster has had to relinquish riding for a time owing to an indisposition, but she is recovering and is anxiously anticipating getting into the saddle again. Miss Hornby is a famous rider, and certainly has a good mount in a bay with just the symmetry and conformation for jumping. The hocks of this hunter are exceptionally good. The master’s favourite is a deep-shouldered clever horse, Major. He has had years on him, but is a picture of form, with bloodlike head and a lot of power and go. He is a horse with an almost human eye, a lot of sense, and he can go through a long day with ease. Primrose is another of his horses, standing 16 hands, and built on blood lines, and he has others in the boxes, including Shamrock, a beautifully built horse, with which he won the cup at Edgworth last year. Hayward’s crack horse is Cashmere, standing 15-3, a beautiful light weight bay hunter, up to 12 stone. He is by Young Victor out of a Lord Hastings mare, and is chiselled about the head, clean cut at the throat, and established for pace and endurance, with no fear as to obstacles. The other horse he rides is the 16 hands bay Butler, one of the old-fashioned type you see in the old-time sporting prints. There have been many well-known noblemen and gentlemen out in the Vale of Lune. Lord Ribblesdale said he had never had a better day with harriers in his life than the 40 minutes’ spin he had when he was out with the pack last year. Usually 17 couple are taken out, but every hound must be fit.. The hunt meets at the Castle of the master, at Mr Wm Garnett’s, Quernmore Park, at Mr C Wood’s Beaumont Cote, at Colonel Marton’s, Capenway, at Dr Padget Tomlinson’s, of Kirkby Lonsdale, at Mr Hubert Storey’s, Bailrigg, Carnforth, and other places. Lord and Lady Henry Bentinck come out occasionally. Owing to his accident this season his lordship has not been out, but last season he was out a great deal with the Vale of Lune. There are some keen sporting farmers in the district. One could cite for instance Mr T Harrison, of Biggar’s Hall, lover and follower of the hunt for over half a century and always a good puppy walker; Mr Canby, of Kentsfield; Mr Teddy Dodgson, of Standerber; Mr Wm Taylor, of Laithbutts, and others.

There have been some funny incidents during the history of this Vale of Lune Hunt. On one occasion, when hounds were at fault, a man standing on a hill a couple of fields away, was shouted to for information as to which way the hare had gone. No notice being taken, the shouting became more energetic, but without eliciting any response, whereupon a certain irate member of the hunt galloped off towards the man, vowing he could make him speak. The “man” was a scarecrow! A sporting parson, not a member of the hunt, attended a meet at Grassingham Bridge, when the hares, hard pressed, took the river Lune, followed by the hounds. Our clerical friend essayed to follow with the other horsemen, but immediately his horse touched the water it sprang back, and the rider took a header into the river, whereupon the horse proceeded across, his master ignominiously following on foot through the river, which was there from 4ft to 5ft deep.

The Lancashire Daily Post, Thursday February 6 1902

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