Lunesdale & Oxenholme Staghounds

The Mardale Hunt-A History

Lakeland Hunting Memories Vol I

Lakeland Hunting Memories Vol II

Hunting Songs Vol I

HUnting Songs

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Anthony Chapman
A Lakeland huntsman, followed by many, respectd by all.

Ron Black

The book is no longer in print but the ebook is available from : Amazon : Smashwords : and all major ebook retailers.


I remember to this day my first introduction to hunting. It was in the early 1970s whilst out for a weekend drive with my mother and father that we came across a line of parked cars on a road near Witherslack. People were stood around in groups talking and occasionally scanning the great Scar of Whitbarrow with their binoculars. My Dad knew a number of these hunting folk and we stayed for quite a while listening to their stories and chatter before moving off for home. We never saw a hound or heard a hunt, but our interest was aroused so that a couple of weeks later we decided to try again to see what all the fuss was about. Hounds were meeting at Rydal, but we were slightly late arriving so missed the start and were unable to find them. We decided we’d just go for a drive over to Thirlmere and round by Threlkeld and come back over to Ullswater, Kirkstone Pass and home. It was whilst we were driving through Glenridding that we once again came upon the ubiquitous line of cars, indicating that we had at last located the hunt. Today however, things were totally different from our first experience. As soon as we got out of the car we could hear the glorious sound of hounds in full cry up on the fell above us. As it happened the Coniston had joined up with the Ullswater and for the next couple of hours we were treated to a terrific chase around and around St Sunday Crag with over 70 hounds getting ever closer to their quarry. Dusk was approaching when we were on the road up to the Ullswater kennels and the joint pack was driving their fox towards us. Suddenly, there he was just in front of us twisting and turning but unable to escape and was caught within full view to the shouts and holloas of the gathered assembly.

That was it, we were hooked and from that day hunting has been my life. Chappie was already a great institution by then, and I was extremely fortunate to spend the next few years tramping along beside him with a throng of other followers, listening to his anecdotes and stories of the great days in the past. By then, late in his career, he had slowed down so both the young and old could keep up with him, there was always a great train of followers with him on a Saturday and if I was lucky enough to hunt in school holidays or even the occasional day playing hooky from school, there would be fewer members of his train, they were all memorable.

Chappie gathered huge numbers of young followers who would tramp miles across the fells and down country lanes with him looking for hounds. CB radios were unheard of in those days, so often we were just following where we thought the hounds had gone, asking anyone we met, “Has’t heard owt?”

Anyone who hunted with Chappie as a youngster will tell you the same thing, he delighted in the young. “They’re the future,” he would say. He always ensured that we all were able to get home safely at the end of the day with a lift home or to the bus station in Ambleside.

Lambing hunts in the school holidays were best, out at first light, often on every day of the week, sometimes with only Anthony and Chris Ogilvie, the Whipper In, having what seemed like our own personal hunts. I have great memories of these days; terrific hunts, long walks, camaraderie of friends, some gone others still around, singing hunting songs, being in the pub till closing time and then going down to the local hunt ball in the village hall, walking back to the kennels, stopping with the hounds in front of the Golden Rule for a quick shandy, all the pack standing outside the pub as we quenched our thirst before making our way back up Nook Lane to the Kennels.

Chappie had a tremendous sense of humour. I remember one day walking with him down the road at Cartmel Fell looking for the hounds, which had left us long before. We passed Bryan Beck, home of the Lishmans, and the home of the hounds when they were hunting in the neighbourhood for many, many years. It was a lovely balmy morning and a cat was sunning itself by the porch of the house. Chappie’s terriers, coupled together, took one look at the moggy and were off. The cat shot inside the house, with the dogs and Anthony close behind, there was chaos and the noise was deafening. He came out quickly with the dogs and we hurried off, he didn’t say anything for a while and then started laughing. Grandfather Lishman had been asleep in the chair in front of the fire and had been startled awake by the chase which was going round and round him with things falling everywhere. Chappie laughed and said he thought he’d got the dogs away before the old chap was properly awake and he probably didn’t even know what had actually happened and what had caused the devastation in the room.

A few years ago I compiled a history of the Coniston Foxhounds covering the first hundred years of their existence. This was done from the archives and newspaper reports of the time and raised valuable funds for the pack. Since then I have been constantly asked when the next volume was coming out, to which I always reply, “You must be kidding, with the time and effort involved in researching and compiling such a work”. Now, much of that work has been done and once again Ron has put together a brilliant account of Lakeland Hunting, of the Life and Times of Anthony Chapman and his time as a servant of the Coniston Foxhounds.

Now, a lifetime later I am still following the hounds with Chappie’s Grandson, Michael, the huntsman. Times have changed and whilst politicians have tried to take away our way of life, we are still here, still fighting, still hunting. I was lucky to catch the last years of a Lakeland and Hunting life which today has almost gone. Our land has now been totally taken over by tourists and second homes. I guess it was always the case but at least in those days in winter we had the fells largely to ourselves, nowadays the intrusion is constant. There are however, small pockets of true locals who still keep the fire burning. The politicians and our opponents have tried and failed to stop us. One thing is certain though, they can never take away our memories. Read on, you’ll enjoy every minute.

Neil Salisbury
Betty Fold, May 2016

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