W3C Hartsop Hall 1933 DO U KNOW?

Like many fell farms Hartsop Hall has a long history associated with hunting, however several of the memorable stories of the Ullswater Foxhounds began at the farm.

Hartsop Hall, in the care of the National Trust, is located on the far side of the valley from the village of Hartsop. The hall dates from the 16th century, formerly the home of the de Lancasters; in the 17th century it passed into the owner Sir John Lowther, a member of the family that later became the Earls of Lonsdale. After that it became used as an ordinary farmhouse. Local history relates that when the hall was extended in the 18th century it was built across an ancient right-of-way, a right which at least one dalesman insisted on exercising, by walking through the hall. (Ref: Towns and Villages of Cumbria, Terry Marsh, Sigma Press, 1999.)

There are various outlying barns on the estate, all examples of vernacular Lake District constructions of the 16th and 17th centuries, featuring cruck frames, bank barns, etc., as well as two farm holiday cottages which make a great place to stay.

A Murderer Run Down
Fox Worries 19 Lambs

Lamb-worrying by foxes usually keeps the Ullswater Foxhounds busy at this time of year, but during last week they had an experience that luckily is rare. In ten days or so Mr. J. V. Allen of Hartsop Hall has had 19 lambs worried in the fields at the head of Brotherswater. Since Tuesday of last week half the Ullswater pack has had five runs in an effort to kill the fox responsible for these depredations, and after reynard had beaten he hounds on each occasion h was finally killed on Wednesday, after drastic measures had been taken in the form of loosing the whole pack at his brush. He gave the hounds some remarkable run, and in the course of the six hunts they must have covered in the region of 80–100 miles. Each morning the loose was at daybreak-about 5 am, - but such was the sagacity of reynard that after the first hunt he paid his nocturnal visits so early in the night that at daybreak little scent remained at the scene of his killing. That the same fox was responsible there can be little doubt, for on three occasions out of the six he was seen and described as a “small, dark coloured specimen”, and when finally worried underground by terriers proved to be an old dog. The fact that he was worrying lambs out of sheer badness was proved time after time, as the majority had not been carried away.


A brief description of the six hunts, to show the vast territory over which reynard wandered, would not be out of place. On Tuesday last week Joe Wear’s portion of the pack took a drag from a dead lamb near Caudale Beck and carried it up to High Dod, across Caiston Beck and into Dod Bields, where the fox was marked to ground. Tiny effected a bolt and reynard shot straight down into the fields, across Caiston Beck and climbed the screes to Middle Dod. Being hard pressed, reynard again turned down Steel End and after going through Caudale Beck farmyard ran the wall top from there to the Brotherswater Hotel. Here he turned into ...?

Close round Hartsop Dod and took a wash in the beck. This trick worked and probably saved the fox’s life, as hounds could make nothing of the line after ......? Bridge. This was a narrow escape for reynard and it is significant that never again was he found within five miles of the scene of his ravages.

On Wednesday Joe Wear again took a drag from alongside the Kirkstone road at Caudale Bridge, up Caiston Beck and over to Petts Quarries, where the fox was marked to ground. Terriers could not effect a bolt from this stronghold, and the “sly un” had to be left. B. Wilson’s portion of the pack had a similar fruitless drag on Thursday, the line taking them up Caiston Beck, through Red Screes, past Petts Quarry and over Greengate to Cobdale Hall, just above Ambleside, where they were stopped. The same hounds had a remarkable hunt on Saturday and the drag covered about 15 miles from Bull Crag in Hartsop via the Sails, the Stangs, Dove Crag, Huntsman’s Cove, Hart Crag (Deepdale), Hart Crag in Rydal, Fairfield, Cofa Pike in Grisedale, Big Rigg, Seat Sandal, Heron Crag, Nab Scar (Grasmere), Rydal Hall Park and Low Pike before reynard’s resting place after his nocturnal ramblings was reached. Hounds were on good terms from the start and drove their game up to Rydal Head, Hart Crag, forward to Dove Crag, Blake Brow, Lingy Cove and under Greenhow End in Deepdale. He then went through Sleet Cove to Deepdale Hause, climbed Cofa Pike, Fairfield, back into Rydal bottoms nearly to the sheepfolds, and went out again by Hart Crag, over Dove Crag into Scandale Head, and forward to High and Low Pikes. At this point hunters lost touch with the hounds, but it was later ascertained that two hounds had run into Nab Scar near Grasmere. That they had not killed the fox was shown the following morning when two more dead lambs were found at Hartsop Hall. On Monday a further two lambs were worried and B. Wilson cast off in the Forest. Hounds immediately took what proved to be another long drag by way of the Stangs, under Dove Crag down Blake Brow, through Ghyll Crag to Low Wood, in to Deepdale Hall Fell and across Deepdale valley over Lattra, Brow Crag, and through Banersides to Gavel Pike. From here the line went over St Sunday Crag into Grisedale – the fourth valley – and the fox jumped up in the vicinity of Spion How. Reynard was forced down across Grisedale bottom at a terrific pace and he was unable to climb Grisedale Brow towards the noted stronghold at Bleaberry Crag. Marcus, Daisy, Rally and Magic were close to his brush as he sped down the Helvellyn path, past the hound kennels and actually through the huntsman’s kitchen garden. Reynard again triumphed however, for when he was on the point of being rolled over he got into laurels at the waterfall just above Patterdale Hall and scent failed, as is usual at this place, which has saved foxes from time immemorial.


The grand finale came on Wednesday when 30 hounds turned out in charge of B. Wilson (huntsman) and J. Wear (whip). The ground was dry, but the “weight” of a full pack enabled faster dragging and reynard was driven at a great pace when once on foot. Traces of the dag were again found in the Stangs and the drag went up and around Dove Crag where the fox was unkennelled. Reynard did a lot of doubling and dodging in Hart Crag and through Rydal Head to Big Rigg above Grasmere. He then turned and climbed back again for Fairfield and in to Deepdale Head. The pace was too hot for him, however, and there were no laurel bushes or becks to avail him, so he went to ground at Cofa Pike. He refused to bolt and was worried by the terriers. As he was drawn the hunters crowded round to see if he was the “small, dark” customer, lost at Wath Bridge by the whip on the first morning. A sigh of relief came from all, for the carcase was that of a “small, dark” dog fox and Hartsop Hall lambs were to have a respite. COFA PIKE

Westmorland Gazette 6th May 1933

Bracken Fires Aid Hunters
In Nocturnal Meet
“Wiliest” Fox Worrier of Young Herdwicks

What is described as one of the wiliest and destructive foxes ever remembered in the Ullswater district met his fate in the early hours of Monday morning. During the past three weeks lamb worrying has been carried out on an extensive scale, chiefly among the flock of Mr. J. V. Allen, Hartsop Hall, Patterdale. In all about 30 lambs have come to an untimely end despite night watching by shepherds. Some of the lambs have been carried away, while the savaged bodies of others have been found in the meadows by Mr. Allen and his shepherds.

Ullswater Foxhounds, which usually terminate their season about the first week in May, were called in to assist. Altogether seven early morning meets of the pack were held on the spot and three foxes were accounted for. With the dispatch of the third killer fox at Cofa Pike the worrying of lambs ceased for two or three days and arrangements were being made for the delivery of hounds to their summer quarters. On the very day that these arrangements were to be carried out, a message was received by the officials of the hunt that the depredations had recommenced. Hounds met again at daybreak the following day, and ran a fox to Petts Quarry on the Ambleside side of Kirkstone Pass. On this occasion two hounds go into difficulties in the stronghold, and hunters worked well into the night to release them. The fox of course had to be left. Three further chases ended at the same stronghold, and worrying of lambs continued. All efforts to oust the killer from his den failed.


Finally a ruse to defeat the fox’s cunning was adopted on the suggestion of the deputy master Mr. C. R. Farrer and Mr. Allen. A day break meet was arranged at Hartsop Hall, the pack being housed in the farm buildings. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, Joe Wear, whip, in company with Mr. John Wilson, head shepherd to Mr. Allen proceeded to Petts Quarry. On arrival, bonfires of dead bracken were set ablaze around the borran, so that if Reynard was out on his midnight prowl he would be unable to enter on his return. The huntsman, Mr Braithwaite Wilson, cast off shortly before 3am. In the meadow adjoining a line was struck which led hounds past Caudale Beck to Caiston and over Dod Bield to Scandale top. Here, Reynard with his usual cunning had followed the wall top for a considerable distance. Hounds were at fault for a short time, but Marksman and Marriner soon put matters right. Scenting improved at Chimney Crags and the pace quickened over Red Screes and at Cat Holes in Kirkstone Cove the fox broke cover. Hounds soon got on good terms and drove their game over the top to Chimney Crags. Turning here, a fast hunt ensued along the breast of Red Screes and down to Kirkstone Inn. Passing through the Cove, the fox was viewed by Mr. J. V. Allen and others. It was obvious that he was heading for his stronghold at Petts Quarry. A loud halloa from the huntsman warned the whip and shepherd to be on their guard. In spite of the bonfires, Reynard tried hard to reach his sanctuary, but each time he was thwarted by the two watchers. As hounds were quickly he had no option but to move on, he took over the Struggle road and Brackney Beck and aimed for High Grove. Turning left-handed he crossed the allotments and gained the main Patterdale-Windermere road. Keeping to this for some distance he left it near the Kirkstone Inn and went over to Woundale, through Birkett Forest Lot and on to House Rigging Ghyll.


A thrilling sight was witnessed by followers on the Pass, as Brilly, Clara, Marriner and Birdale were almost viewing the fox in the terrific chase through the boulder–strewn breast of Rough Sides in the direction of Caudal Slate Quarries. The pace was proving too much for the fox, and he turned his head downhill through Long Lot. He gained the meadows near Brotherswater Hotel and made straight for Hartsop Hall. He actually entered the building which only an hour or two previously had been occupied by his pursuers. Leaving the buildings, and also leaving the hounds to puzzle out the result of his wiles, he gained the breast of Low Wood and went past the Lead Mines. Flattering himself on his exploits in the sheep folds and buildings and the consequent maze his followers had to solve, Reynard rested, but this proved his undoing. Brilly, a good nosed and speedy hound was soon on his track. This hound brought him down the fellside, but he took refuge in a zinc shed. A bolt was now effected and he was viewed away by most of the pack. Near the back entrance to Hartsop Hall he was rolled over by Marriner and Marcus. So ended the career of the “varmint.” Most of the hunters who turned out were in at the kill, which took place at 6am. At the conclusion of the hunt Mr. and Mrs. Allen with their customary kindness provided refreshments for the hunters. During the week hounds have been taken to their off-season homes.

Westmorland Gazette 27th May 1933

Foxes have started lamb-worrying in the Ullswater neighbourhood and following the loss of several newly-born lambs at Hartsop Hall at the week end, the Ullswater hounds met at 6am on Tuesday and accounted for the culprit after a gruelling run of six hours over snow covered mountains.

The full pack with Joe Wear in charge was cast off at Cow Bridge and tried Low Wood above Brotherswater. Within a few minutes a line was taken and it was not long before Reynard was unkennelled. Hounds got a good start and the valley resounded with a glorious burst of music as they drove their game up into the snow at the head of Dovedale and across the head of Caiston to Red Screes and the top of Kirkstone Pass. Reynard descended to better going and crossed the main road to Hartsop village, where his cunning availed him nothing and he was driven back across the main road to his favourite haunt in Low Wood. Leaving the wood with hounds in full cry he crossed Deepdale and climbed out by Arnison Crag to Glemara Park and Grisedale-the fourth valley through which the hunt had passed. The exact route taken in Grisedale is not known but it is probable that this exceptionally strong fox traversed St Sunday Crag to Fairfield, for when next heard by followers hounds were descending Dove dale for Hartsop and Brotherswater.

Followers waiting near Brotherswater had a thrilling experience as the looked into the snow smothered recesses of Dove Crag and Hart Crag. They could hear thrilling and sustained music but did not see the hounds until the descended below the snow line. Reynard had now been running for six hours, but the hunt did not last much longer. The sure-footed hounds forced the lamb worrier down to the valley at Hartsop Mines and he was eventually bowled over at the back door of Hartsop Hall, on the doorstep of Mr. J.V. Allen the farmer whose lambs it has slain. Reynard crossed seven valleys and must have run well over 25 miles. He was a fine dog fox.

Newspaper report 1935 (Spring)

The story of Badger and Butcher two terriers belonging to the Ullswater Foxhounds entombed for 15 days above Brotherswater is well known.

Two Lakeland Terriers which had completed the work of the Ullswater Foxhounds in accounting for a lamb worrying fox on Hartsop Dod, above Brothers Water on Saturday morning were entombed in a notorious borran for 57 hours before being rescued on Monday afternoon.

The fox which during the preceding seven days, had killed or carried off 20 newborn lambs belonging to Mr JW Allen. Hartsop Hall was hunted by the hounds at 5 AM on Saturday, and after running the Dove Crag area for an hour, crept into the rocky labyrinth on Dod End which has been known locally as the “Terrier Holes” since the epic rescue in 1948 of one of two terriers which had been entombed 15 days.

On that occasion, nearly 1000 tons of rock was removed by volunteers over a period of a fortnight before one of the terriers “Butcher” was brought out alive. The other terrier was dead.

The borran on Hartsop Dodd is usually guarded to keep foxes out but one was bolted by the same terriers as recently as Easter Saturday. On Saturday morning followers had not quite reached the place when the fox got in. Whipper-in Maldwyn Williams, a 28 year old Welshman, noted for his three terriers, soon arrived to enter Rock, Judy and Lassie and sounds of battle could be heard from far away in the rocky crevice.

Sometime later Lassie emerged, and when the others did not follow suit several hours afterwards, it was believed that the fox was dead and that the means of exit for the other two was blocked by the dead fox.

When four years old black and tan Rock, and two years old sandy-coloured Judy were still missing at nightfall. It was decided to start excavations on Sunday, and more than a dozen volunteers spent 12 hours hauling out slabs of rock. When Maldwyn called to his terriers they gave answering whines and it became more and more evident that they could not get out. Many spectators climbed the hill during Sunday but were not rewarded by seeing the terriers recovered. They did see, however, the carcasses of five lambs and three fox cubs brought out.

Some of Sunday’s helpers had to go to work on Monday, but there were still nine determined rescuers to carry on the gruelling task.

As the tunnel into the steep fell side became deeper and deeper, the danger of collapsing rocks from above became greater and ours of laborious cleaning out had to be done after each fall. By using chains to haul out huge slabs, successively deeper passages were revealed, and soon after mid-day the whines from the terriers became much plainer. Eventually about 2.30 pm a still lower passage was revealed, rubble and dirt were scraped out – and round the corner came the two terriers, tails wagging and eyes blinking in the sun light but non the worse for their adventure. Someone had carried cans of beer up with him that morning and these were opened and drained in celebration and it was a happy band of rescuers who descended the fell with Rock and Judy trotting happily beside them.

Westmorland Gazette 18th May 1962

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