W3C Lost Otterhounds of Lakeland   HUNTS




















Carlisle Otterhounds
Carlisle Otter Hounds on the banks of the Eden 1880s








Kendal & District Otterhounds on Lilymere, 1963
Kendal & District Otterhounds on Lilymere, 1963

Kendal & District Otterhounds - 1930s

West Cumberland Otterhounds

In the 1830s this pack hunted Pine Martin and Polecat (Foulmart) from March until May and then otters for the remainder of the season. The country hunted around West Cumberland was quite extensive and the pack also travelled to hunt in Scotland. One of the packs at this time was a Newfoundland. At the end of the 1857 season the hounds were sold to a Mr. Newton of Devon to supplement his own pack the Millaton Otterhounds.
What happened next is unclear, a Mr. Benson from Cockermouth Master of the Melbreak Foxhounds took over the country, but it is not known if the Melbreak hunted as a dual pack or if he kept Otterhounds separately, newspapers of the 1880s begin to refer to a pack called the Cockermouth Otterhounds, however other references call the pack The West Cumberland Otterhounds it is likely they were one and the same. At the end of the 1889 season Mr Benson gave up the pack subsequently taken over by a Mr Clift who hunted the whole country and also that hunted by the Egremont O.H.

The West Cumberland O.H. finished at the end of the 1938 season, owing a debt of 80.

North Cumberland Otterhounds

Master and Huntsman. Mr. C.N. De Courcy–Parry.

The Dumfriesshire O.H gave the Master a pure bred otterhound which he hunted along with foxhounds from his own pack and one couple of Welsh hounds. The opening meet of this pack was in May 1949 on the River Ellen, it is claimed that the pack continued into 1950,but other information tells a different story. “On the day of the second meet at Derwentwater Lake an otter was bolted and soon lost” It is claimed the final tally for the North Cumberland O.H was two outings, one otter found and one otter lost.

Carlisle Otterhounds

The Carlisle Otter Hounds although began formally in 1863 appear to be much older, there are records of a joint meet with Dr. Hildebrand’s Otterhounds in the 1830’s, where these hounds met with a few hounds owned by the local Carlisle butchers, this was some 20 odd years before the formation of the Carlisle Otter Hunt Club and the Carlisle Otter Hounds. The link with the butchers being reflected by the blue and white stripes of the butcher’s aprons incorporated in the hunt uniform.

In 1869 the then Master declared the hunt would never use a spear and would rely on the skill and fitness of the hounds.

In the 1930’s after a successful hunt a foxhound named Dualist went missing, the next morning a local farmer telephoned to say he had locked the hound overnight in his barn, however he would not be released until the hunt had paid for the cured hams in the barn he had devoured during his stay. The outcome is unknown!

In 1907 the Carlisle Otter Hounds achieved the record for the longest hunt of an otter lasting 10.5 hours, the meet was on the River Eden and they hit off the drag at 8 am, they put the otter down at 10 am and although hounds lost the otter on a number of occasions, the hunt was continued to no conclusion, the otter being given best at 6.45pm in the dark of an October evening. The distance covered was some 4 miles of water.

Kendal Otterhounds
1873–1889 and 1893–1900

There is a long history of Otter hunting in the Kendal area, in 1805 a Mr. Bradshaw of Halton Hall Lancaster hunted the River Lune with his own pack of Otterhounds, from 1829 a Mr Lomax paid regular visits to hunt the waters. In 1889 the Kendal Otter hounds were sold to a Mr.Foster who hunted them for the 1890 season, he left in 1891to take the Mastership of the Hawkstone OH and in 1893 Sir Henry Bromley bought back the Kendal hounds from the Hawkstone and in 1896 purchased a pack of hounds belonging to a Mr. Yeats which had been hunting in Ireland.

At the end of the 1900 season the hounds were sold to Mr. Foster for a second time.

 Egremont Otterhounds

Kennelled at the Red Lion Public house in Egremont, local tradition claims there was a metal ring attached to the door so that thee otter could be displayed for all to see.

There seems to have been about 11 couple of otterhound and crossbred hounds, the foundation stock coming form T.L. Wilkinsons O.H. in the first season the pack was joined by the Scawfell Foxhounds their huntsman J. Patrickson carrying the horn.

A pack supported by subscription, the Egremont Otterhounds gave up in 1888 due to the lack of otters. Their waters were taken over by the West Cumberland O.H from Cockermouth who were also finding otters quite scarce.

Lake District Otterhounds

Kennelled at The Borrans Ambleside, there were 11 couple of hounds, nine couple being pure bred Otterhounds with a couple of Welsh hounds and a couple of foxhounds, in 1911 and 1912 a few hounds paid a visit to the East of Scotland O.H and hunted the waters with a few hounds from the E.S.O.H.

Ambleside at this time was known as “houndville” the village supported three separate packs.

Maryport Otterhounds

Mr J. Irving a miller on the river Ellen at Maryport, kept 3 / 4 couple of hounds and some terriers, in the late 1860s, when the pack gave up the hounds went to the recently formed Carlisle Otterhounds

Dr. Hildebrand’s O.H

A local general practitioner, the doctor kept a small pack to hunt in the local rivers around Carlisle.

Kendal and District Otterhounds

The history of the Kendal and District Otterhounds is rather confusing, originally known as the Wharfdale Otterhounds they were established in the year 1903, the Master being a Captain W Thompson, hounds were kennelled were at Addingham, Ilkley Yorkshire. They consisted of fifteen couple of purebred Otterhounds, hunting four days a week and a subscription was 5 and 2. In 1910 Captain Thompson purchased the pack and made it a private subscription hunt which became known as Mr W.Thompson’s Otterhounds, he hunted hounds himself and they were kennelled at Beckhouse, Giggleswick near Settle.

In 1921 his health began to fail and he was unable to continue to hunt hounds, no one was willing to “step in” and the country was divided, half the pack being “lent” to the east side of the country, which was hunted from Malton as the Malton and District Otterhounds. A committee looked after this pack and they were hunted by a Mr Anson (Hon huntsman) and Mr W Thompson was Master. The remainder of the pack were known as the Kendal and District Otterhounds (Mr.W Thompson’s).

At the end of the 1922 season the Malton and District Otterhounds folded and hounds were returned to Mr W Thompson, who then loaned fifteen couple to the Kendal and District pack.

There were more otters about than in later years and in the seasons 1922, 1923 and 1924 hounds accounted for 25 otters, 17 and 21 respectively.

In 1924 Captain Thompson died and his younger brother Mr T. Thompson took over the Mastership. In 1926 hounds were moved to the old kennels at Dallam Tower, Milenthorpe that were enlarged and brought upto date, with large and lofty lodges at a cost of 148.

From 1926 to 1939 the pack consisted of twenty couple of purebred Otterhounds. In 1953 there were eleven couple of purebred Otterhounds, three foxhounds and four Otterhound cross. By 1977 there were eighteen couple of purebred Otterhounds.

The K.D.O.H were always a pack that aimed to consist of purebred Otterhounds, Except for a period during the late 1940s and early 50s when there was a shortage of such hounds.

Further Reading:

A Trail of Bubbles complied by Rod Adair, published by WPD
The Book Of The Otter by Richard Clapham, published by Heath Cranton 1922
Otter hunting and Otter hounds 1818 to 1930 An Anthology by various authors, edited by Tony Read, Coutry Books 2007
Otters and Otter Hunting by L.C.R Cameron, Upcot Gill 1908
Otter hunting Diary 1829 to 1871 0f the late James Lomax, Esq. of Clayton Hall, published by Thomas Briggs 1910

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