W3C The “Mystery” of Tommy Dobson GARN YAM


Tommy Dobson

There is little doubt the Tommy Dobson (Laal Tommy) is one of the major characters in the history of hunting in Lakeland, however new research has thrown new light on his background. Using public records this is the story of Tommy Dobson.


Christened 18 March 1827 at Staveley, Parents Joshua and Margaret Dobson.

1841 Census – Rydal & Loughrigg
Skelwith Bridge Thomas Dobson aged 15 Apprentice.

1851 Census – Rydal and Loughrigg
Skelwith Bridge Thomas Dobson Unm Aged 25 Bobbin turner b. Lancashire Blakeburn (sic).

1861 Census – Eskdale
Thomas Dobson Unm Aged 34 Bobbin Turner b. Blakeburn Lancs.

1871 Census – Eskdale with Wasdale
Long Rigg Green Thomas Dobson Boarder Unm Aged 44 Bobbin Turner b. Westmorland Staveley.

1881 Census – Eskdale and Wasdale
Low Holm Thomas Dobson Boarder Unm Aged 53 Bobbin Turner b. Westmorland Staveley.

1891 Census - Langdales
Back House Inn Thomas Dobson Visitor Unm Aged 65 Huntsman Groom b.Westmorland Staveley.

Cannot find him on 1901 Census but he is listed in the 1901 Cumberland Directory as being at Eskdale Green and as the Huntsman for the Eskdale and Ennerdale Fox Hounds.

As he died in 1910 there are no more Census to look at.

It looks as though the legend has some truth in it (the story goes he fled Staveley to “escape” something), as he obviously lied about where he was born in 1851 and 1861. But why Blackburn? He hid his Westmorland origins until late on which implies there was either something he was escaping or someone whom he did not want to know where he was. The story becomes more complicated by the fact that he returned to the Kendal area (Staveley is a few miles away) to whip-in to Bobby Troughton and the Kendal Otter Hounds during the summer months of the late 1800s.

Which suggests things (whatever they were) had cooled down.

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