W3C Obituaries 1 GARN YAM


The first posting of a long term project to record the obituaries of Lake District “sportsmen and women”, to begin with Bobby Troughton who founded the Kendal Otter Hounds, Braithwaite “Brait” Black who followed both the Coniston and Ullswater packs and for a short time hunted the Coniston and finally a man who needs no introduction, Joe Bowman.


Death of “Bobby” Troughton

A remarkable character and an interesting personality passed away on Saturday night in “Bobby” Troughton, the veteran otter huntsman, who had latterly been in failing health – since the death of his old friend known as “Brushy” Dixon. “Bobby” was a native of Kendal, being born on Fellside 76 years ago, singularly in the very house in which “Brushy” died. He was for a few years in the National School, and whilst there he showed a taste for outdoor sports, following some hounds which were then used for otter hunting, and risking many a hiding for playing truant. His father had died when he was quite a small boy. He made up his mind that if he grew up to be a man, he would, be an otter hunter. When he left school he became a mortar carrier, and subsequently a builder, and took on contracts for building etc on his own account. He was very unfortunate with one at Millriggs, in Kentmere. In times of heavy rain, the land there was badly flooded, and “Bobby” contracted to widen and deepen the river. It proved a much tougher job than had been anticipated there being a tremendous amount of rock to get out. The price was so low, too that he lost considerably on the contract, and he could not finish the work. At the same time he had contracts at the Bonded Warehouse and the Goods Station. About 30 years ago he became landlord of the Hyena Inn on Fellside, retiring into a cottage close by about 12 years ago, where he spent the rest of his days. “Bobby” was a through sportsman, and nothing delighted him more than to be out with the hounds or talking about them and the hunts in which they had taken part. When in his prime in the early eighties he laid himself out to form a pack of otter hounds of his own. There were at that time some for sale at Sedbergh, and he bought three – “Ragman,” Raleigh,” and “Londesborough,” With these and two terriers he commenced hunting for otters, foulmart and mart, and travelled with his pack up the Kent, the Mint and the Sprint, the Winster, Lune and other rivers further afield. His most enthusiastic colleagues were Adam Cottam, of Burton – who was a very keen hunter indeed. Joe Busher, Wm. Cartmel – who became the master - Amos Ainslie, of Warton and Wm. Atkinson of Lancaster. The first kill was in the Mint near Dodding Green. Hounds had a cast off near Aikrigg End, and they soon gave tongue, following their quarry up the river towards Meal Bank, where there was a fine bit of hunting shown, and the otter weighing 21½ pounds was killed. It was stuffed and from that time formed one of “Bobby’s” treasured possessions. That season the little pack accounted for no fewer than seventeen otters, which was about the average during the time bobby had the pack. Gradually he increased and improved the pack. As he remarked, he “had them to make and teach,” and Courtney Tracey who owned a pack in Devonshire at that time said that there was not another pack like Bobby’s in England. This was a compliment indeed, but that it was well deserved, was proved afterwards when Mr. Edward Hugh Wilson of Dallam Tower, took them over at a valuation made by the late Mr. Geo Cartmel, of between £150 and £200. There were then eighteen couples of hounds. They were still kept in the Kings Yard, and Bobby attended to them and hunted them with Mr. Wilson, the master. There were many votaries of this class of sport then in the district, and frequent kills were made. Mr Wilson’s opinion of his purchase was given in a trite remark made to Bobby. “If you speak to them you very nearly make them turn out of their skins.” Bobby acted as first whipper in to Mr. Wilson until the latter died in 1886. He left the pack to Bobby, but they were so big a charge by this time that he decided to sell them to Mr. Tunstall, of St Anthony’s. Mr. Tunstall hunted with Bobby’s assistance and that of the late Mr. Wm Cartmel and others – for as Bobby said, “when we got to killing otters we got plenty of followers,” Mr. Tunstall did not follow the sport long, and the pack was transferred to Mr. Carnaby Foster of Tarporley. It then looked as if locally the sport would die out, but Bobby was determined that should not be the case. Kennels were built at the back of the Hyena Inn, and a few hounds were kept there. There also for a few years Bobby kept an otter in a large tank, and it became so exceedingly tame that it would follow Bobby around like a dog.

When Bobby got his second lot of hounds together Sir Maurice Bromley Wilson who had succeeded to the Dallam Tower estate bought them. During each season they hunted the Kent and its tributaries, the Bela or the Pool two or three times a week but were not so successful as Bobby were with the first pack. In the latter here was one dog “Brilly” which won nine first prizes at leading shows like the Crystal Palace and Birmingham – never been beaten – and “Bugleman” another dog was only beaten once in the show ring. Another called “Carver” got a second prize at Brussels and when the pack was turned over to Mr William Tattersall they, to use Bobby’s words “cleared the deck at Blackburn Show for dog’s, bitches, braces and pack.” Bobby was typical of the old school. He was hard as iron. His constitution must have been wonderful as often even in later years his clothes dried on his back when the day’s hunting was over. Bobby had many trophies of the sport he loved, in the shape of pads and masks, and others of his friends were not forgotten at different kills. Some few years back owing to advancing age and infirmity, Bobby followed the sport less and less, particularly in the water, but there were few meets at which he was not present, when they were in the immediate neighbourhood of Kendal. Until the Dallam Tower pack was dispersed a year or two back he was always ready with his sound advice to develop and improve it. Though otter hunting was his favourite sport he did not miss other sport of a kindred character, and many a main he had seen in secluded corners along with “Brushy” and others. Though his environment was not such politically as would tend to make him an “old Tory,” he was one all his life, and a staunch one too. His genial face, solid character and cheerful “crack” will be much missed by those who knew him. The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon. The cortège left the house at half past two o’clock, there being numerous relatives present. in addition there were a number of neighbours and friends of the deceased’s hunting days. At Parkside cemetery where there was a fairly large gathering, the Rev. P. H. Stewart, curate at the parish church, met the funeral party and conducted a short service in the little edifice near the entrance, concluding the service at the graveside, where amongst those present were Messers. A. B. Dunlop. (The Howe. Troutbeck.) A. and J. Gunson. (Lowick) Jonathon Porter. (Eskdale) R.F. Chorley. Tro. Thompson. E. Davis. T. Atkinson. Robinson. W. Wiper. T. Turner (Hyena Inn.) John Thompson. J. and T Walker. R. Coulter and “Boatie” Ward. There were a number of handsome wreathes sent by relatives and friends as a last token of respect.


I was greatly shocked (writes a correspondent) to hear of Bobby Troughton’s death. He was about the last of the old school otter hunters left in the Kendal district. A few are still with us - Charles Wilson, the master of the Oxenholme Staghounds; Christopher Wilson of Rigmaden. Dick Fawcett migrated to Eccles, and last but not least Bill Lee. “Boatie” Ward, Bobbie’s son, Atkinson who used at times to act as whipper in, and a few others, - but this small band are fast disappearing, and in a few more years those who hunted with Bobby and his famous pack will be no more. William Cartmel, the secretary of the hunt and beloved target of the local Radicals at Conservative meetings, joined the great majority years ago. I well remember Mr. Cartmel at one meeting in St. George’s Hall got no further than “ladies and gentlemen”. The rest of his speech was drowned in yells of “Hi Ragmuff.” “On him Sultan.” and other encouraging sounds from the audience. It was very ludicrous and quite unlike a political meeting. Norman Eadson –a descendent from the sporting Greenhow’s, who had a short life and a merry one, Rawdon Lee, one of the whippers in who had a sad death in London a few years ago. Billy Atkinson of Lancaster, Jim Bell the host of the Kings Arms who once served Raven Hill in punch for a brilliant drawing, William Tattersall and E. H. Wilson, the last two masters at different periods of the Hunt, and now Bobby the mainstay and brilliant huntsman of the old hunt has gone. Upto a few years ago whilst Bobby was able to knock about, there was always a chance of him resuscitating the old pack, but now he is no more, and it is very unlikely the banks of the Kent will echo the wonderful music of a hunt in full cry. This in a sense will be a great loss to the district as otter hunting has the power to draw all sorts of conditions of them together. Unlike fox hunting in the shires, rich and poor can join an otter hunt. There are no expensive horses and kennels to be kept going. £300 would keep a moderate sized pack for a year. I sat down, however to write a few reminiscences of the Old Hunt, and at this rate am getting no nearer to my objective. My best hunt was at Stramongate Bridge when the Kendal pack was in a small way and we met at 5 am. Otter hunting had not attained the popularity it did a few years later; the gathering was not a big one, as soon as we threw off that fine old hound,


And as the scent was strong hounds went at a rattling pace as far as the meeting of Kent and Mint. Here the otter had taken a walk across country, trying the big Gilthwaite meadow, he however returned to the Mint, and we worked up as far as Ellenholme, after some fine feathering and scenting by Ragman and Rally in Beck Mills woods. Just below Laverock bridge the quest was bolted from a tangle of roots and rubbish, and after a very fine hunt of over an hour’s duration we killed him, and he proved to be one of the largest otters killed in the Kent, he was a dog and weighed 23½ lbs.

Another fine hunt was when we met at Halton Bridge on the Lune. Almost immediately a nest of cubs was found, and Bobby who generally kept a tame otter put one in his capacious pocket. It was on this hunt that an otter sprang from the bridge parapet into the river below. The jump did him no good as there was not much water in the river. He was however still game and gave “Cobbler” a rare dusting, but “Crafty” came up in time and between them and the rest of the pack he was given his quietus. He was one of the gamest otters ever killed on the Lune. He gave many of the pack a severe gruelling and weighed 23 1/2 lbs. There was never a halt or a check from nine in the morning until half past three in the afternoon. The Lune provided another


And a wonderful worry took place in a deep pool, with Bobby almost up to the neck in the water, Rockwood and a light terrier fastened onto the otter on a steep bank, all three rolled into the pool below with the rest of the pack all in a heap on top of them. After a glorious mix up the otter was killed. The Lune again recalls a fine hunt, but this time the otter, after a six hour run escaped hounds, although it was tailed just above Lowgill by, I think George Webster who now practices as a solicitor in Kendal and Kirkby Lonsdale. The Kendal Hunt was always noted for it’s fair play, and there was nothing to prevent this otter having been ignominiously worried on dry land if the code of honour of the pack had not forbade it. The otter was marked in a long drain and dug out, hounds were whipped off, the game “tailed” and carried to the river and liberated. Another fine hunt was on the Bela, where an otter bolted from a hole in the bank 12 feet above the river, and was immediately followed into the water by one of the followers of the hunt, who was fished out, none the worse for his involuntary ducking. But the otter escaped as just about here on the Bela, the holts are numerous and very difficult. Perhaps the finest hunt the Kendal pack ever had was one on Levers Water on the top of the fells near Coniston. Anyone who is alive and was present on that memorable day will certainly never forget it. We met about 5am at the foot of Yewdale Beck. A drag was immediately struck and the hounds went racing up to the fells. A sheet could have covered them, and when near the edge of the tarn they rushed the otter from his couch and


into the tarn. Then began a most memorable hunt. The otter was one of the gamest ever hunted by the Kendal pack, and against fearful odds he kept them going for nine hours. He was often collared, but being in a deep tarn he managed to drown off the hounds. Ultimately a relay of sportsmen were dispatched to Coniston for a boat, and in it Bobby and Adam Cottam went to the assistance of the hounds, many of whom were in a perilous state. Just now, eight and a half hours after the hunt began, the otter, for the first time tried to land on a small island in the middle of the tarn. As soon as he did so, Sultan fastened him, and the end soon came. It was a marvellous hunt.

Another fine hunt and kill took place at Sandy Bottoms on the Kent. On this hunt, Bobby showed his wonderful faculty of thinking like an otter. He seemed as if he could read the otters thoughts, and it was this gift – for surely he had the gift – that enabled the pack to kill. Bobby’s attentions were not confined solely to the local rivers, and occasionally he went further a field to give strangers an exhibition of his marvellous skill. Yorkshire, Cumberland and Lancashire were frequently visited, and wherever he went, the pack received hearty invitations to pay another visit. One of the


That I can recall between a hound and an otter took place on the Lune when the meet was at Hornby Bridge. We were hunting a big dog otter, and he had taken to the bank of the stream. “Crafty” and he met face to face, and a battle royal ensued. The rest of the pack was some distance away and for fully five minutes the two had the field to themselves. “Crafty” was badly mauled and in the end the rest of the pack came up and gave their quarry his coup de grace. Another hunt I can recall was held on Bank Holiday and the meet was at Nether Bridge, Kendal. As could only be expected, hundreds of people turned up, and most of them had never seen a hunt or an otter before. An otter was however, killed on the Sprint in spite of the rabble, it was not a good hunt, as the crowd were always in front of the hounds, and Bobby used some very unparliamentarily language. “One kill a day,” was the packs accepted maxim, and this rule was generally kept. On one occasion, however, it was not and hounds were allowed three kills on the Lune – it would be in 1888-I think at a meet at Burrow. The first otter was marked by “Londesborough,” and was soon killed, being a small dog of 14lbs. The hunt then worked up stream, and at Barbon Bridge we found game in a lot of wreckage. The river was stemmed above and below, and Bobby tailed his otter. It was of course liberated, but not for long. It was only a small dog about the same size as the first kill. The third kill was below Barbon and was the last hunt of the day and topped 18lbs.


Is marvellous hunting. Although I was not present at the hunt at Rydal when the pack killed their largest otter, I have often heard Bobby talk about it. It was one of the few worries on land that the pack took a hand in, and it was not Bobby’s fault they did. He tried many a time to get the otter into the lake, but it was such a huge beast, and the pack was so wild that it was impossible to do so. Many of the hounds were badly marked and it took the whole lot of them about twenty minutes to kill it. The otter was a dog and weighed 32 lbs. The largest otter that there is any record of is in the possession of Mr. H. W. Baron, who got it from his uncle Mr. Jim Hoggarth, it was killed about 30 years ago in Skeggleswater, and weighed 36 lbs. If space permitted, I could fill a page of the doings of Bobby Troughton and his wonderful pack. Many a grand days sport did he give us, sport in the true meaning of the word. No killing of lousy imported foxes or hunting of tame ones. But sport in the old fashioned meaning of the word. The odds were always on the quarry and it always had a fair chance of making good its escape. A worry on dry land was


And it was his one great regret that the record Kendal otter was not hunted and killed in its native environment. Towards the later days, the Kendal pack did not flourish as it did in days of yore. This was no fault of the greatest otter hunter that ever lived, it was rather the result of circumstances, first one water master dies and then another and funds did not come in sufficiently well to keep the pack going. Hounds were ultimately sold and afterwards a pack was again started but its life was only a short one. Bobby could not keep off his second nature, and he again got a few hounds together, but age was creeping in and he could not travel as he once did. His Herculean strength was giving out and he had to give up the idea of ever hunting the banks of the Kent and Lune again. He retired into private life about 14 years ago. Life was very kind to him towards his latter end, he had plenty of old cronies to spend his time with and he enjoyed nothing more than to fight his battles over again. The death of his old friend “Brushy,” was a sad blow to him, and he never really rallied from the shock. He was devotedly nursed during his last illness by his daughter who lived with him, and his married daughters who always gave all the help they could. We shall never see the like of “Bobby” again. His genius and unique knowledge of the otter has died with him, and there is no candidate for his mantle.

By the death of Bobby Troughton, Kendal has lost one of its most noted and interesting characters. Bobby was known throughout the north of England as the huntsman of the old Kendal Otter Hounds. He started with two or three couples of hounds, among which were Londesborough, Ragman and Raleigh, three hounds that proved to be the most famous that ever ran an otter to its death. With the assistance of Mr. Jonathon Gudgeon, who acted as first whip to the pack, bobby bred from his small stock until he had one of the finest packs in the country. Though the hounds were of exceptional quality, it was only the expert knowledge of hunting and the fine management of Bobby and Mr. Gudgeon that brought to the pack its great reputation. They killed a large number of otters and took part in some remarkable hunts. Bobby always attributed his success to the earnest and serious manner in which he went about his business. When on the drag of an otter, he would allow no member of the field to speak a word, under penalty of being thrown in the river. Bobby and his hounds travelled far afield, hunting on the Eden, Lune, Wharfedale, Crake, Wyre, Leven and all the local streams. His most famous hunt was at Halton Deeps. Bobby was always in his happiest mood, when discussing this day with his old comrades. He found an otter in the Deeps at nine o’ clock in the morning and throughout the day he hunted the otter up and down the deeps which are about a mile in length. He did not kill until late in the afternoon when his otter proved to be a fine specimen weighing 25lbs. This, Bobby said, was the finest thing he ever achieved. The pack soon passed out of Bobby’s hands, being run as a subscription pack, with Mr. Wilson of Dallam tower, as Master, but he still continued to hunt them. Bobby’s first experience of hunting was with the late Tommy Dobson, huntsman and master of the Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds. Tommy Dobson, who occasionally acted as whip to the otter hounds, was, in Bobby’s opinion the finest huntsman that ever lived being superior to the famous John Peel. Bobby outlived most of his old comrades, the only two members of the old hunt now living being Mr. Charles Wilson and Mr. Jonathon Gudgeon. Among the most famous of the hunts followers were Messers. Joe. Bowsher, George Teasdale, Jim Bell, Rawdon Lee, William Cartmell, William Atkinson, Adam Cotton, Dick Fawcett, Norman Headson and Charles Wilson.

On one occasion Bobby captured a young otter, which he brought up at home, and he caused much amusement when he was seen in the town with the animal at his heels like a dog. He also kept a tame badger.

But the old huntsman’s mind was not wholly centred on hunting. He could spin many a yarn about his old cockfighting days, being tremendously keen on this sport. Almost up to the time of his death, he kept a few birds from the old strain. His colleague in this particular branch of sport was the late Brushie Dixon and during the latter part of Brushie’s life, when he was practically a cripple, Brushie was a faithful friend to him, accompanying him wherever he went and acting as a crutch for him. By trade Bobby was a mason and contractor and among some of his largest undertakings were the Bonded Warehouse and Shaw Bridge.

Bobby passed away on Saturday evening at the age of 76 after a long trying illness. He was liked and respected by all who knew him. Though to a great extent his memory failed him, right upto the time of his death he would tell with pride experiences of his hunting days.

Kendal Mercury and Times 16th February 1912


Lakeland Chat
(By Red Screes)

By the passing of Braithwaite Black the Lake Country has lost one who had an almost unique reputation in the local world of sport. On the mountainside, the Rugby field, running a hound trail rag or training a hound, following or hunting fox hounds in the Lakeland fells, handling terriers at a fox borran, leading a hunt sing song he was equally useful and thorough. It may not be generally known but for a time he hunted the Coniston Foxhounds in the temporary absence of the then huntsman George Chapman, through a damaged ankle. His elder brother George with whom he lived for the past 28 years used to act as whip for a former huntsman of the Coniston hounds, Harry Lancaster who hunted for the Rev. E. .M. Reynolds, the Master.

The youngest brother, Fred Black, hunted the Carlisle Otterhounds for a while. George and Brait Black used to run the aniseed trail for the Rydal Sheep Dogs Trial. The possessor of a sweet tenor voice, Braithwaite Black was in great demand at singsongs. He formerly sang in the Ambleside opera, the old Ambleside Minstrels and Mr. Rawlings Ambleside Choir in the Westmorland Music Festival. He invariably opened the ball at the annual concert at Mardale Shepherds' Meet, where some of the best hunting and folk songs of Westmorland and Cumberland used to be heard.

Versatile Sportsman

Brait Black was equally at home at the base of the scrum in Rugby (a position often filled also by Eric Barnett) and played in that quick moving combination at Ambleside which pivoted round Laidley Hawksworth at stand-off half and Arthur Bentley at centre. As an instance of endurance I can recall the following, concerning two of the Blacks and a friend: they walked over Kirkstone Pass one Friday evening to the Ullswater Hunt Ball. They had been hunting during the day and one of the party had walked from Rydal to Mardale and back. After attending the hunt ball they walked back over Kirkstone Pass to Ambleside and immediately took part in one of the most gruelling Rugby matches of the season. Though not particularly speedy he was a good fell racer, renowned more for his staying power, It is interesting to recall that he was awarded the Serbian gold medal for “services rendered by his courage and endurance during the retreat from Serbia” He was with the 1st platoon 9th Borders (Pioneers) in Salonika.

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The death took place at Kendal on Monday of Mr Braithwaite Black, The Green, Ambleside, at the age of 61 years. He was a slate river and served his time at Loughrigg Quarry, Rydal. A great lover of dogs, he was a keen foxhunter and hound trailer and regularly attended at the Mardale Shepherds' Meet. He was a member of the Male Voice choir and sang in a B.B.C broadcast. He played for several seasons with Ambleside Rugby club. He was an observer of the Wild Birds Protection Society. During the last was he served with the Border Regiment and was awarded the Serbian Gold Medal in 1915. This medal was presented personally by the King of Serbia. He received a diploma of honour from the townsfolk of Ambleside.

A correspondent writes: Braithwaite Black hunted with many foxhound packs. He had an almost uncanny instinct of the habits and runs of the fell foxes. “If you want to see anything of the hunt stick to Brait Black – if you can”, was sound advice, but he was a terror to keep up with on foot. The famous Ullswater huntsman, Joe Bowman, used to observe that what Braithwaite did not know about hunting wasn’t worth knowing. He almost knew to a point where hounds and fox were likely to reappear amidst the crags, screes or bracken after they had been out of sight and hearing for a space.

Lost – And – Won

As a hound trailer, he proved a successful breeder and competitor. He had numerous trail hounds through his hands, including such well known ones as Trimmer, Misty Morn, Sally, Welcome, etc. Once on his way to Mardale he and Trimmer were lost in the mist on Roman High Street for many hours, an experience not uncommon among hunters and trailers. Despite this handicap Trimmer won a great trail on ultimately arriving at Mardale Green. This hound won the memorable trail at Ullswater sports when Lord Lonsdale disqualified the whole pack except three for starting before he gave the signal. Black had held Trimmer up, and in spite of the very considerable start, by the main body. Trimmer overlapped them and came in first. Black was also a successful breeder of working terriers.

Mountain Guide

Black was a good all–round athlete, and a meritorious fell runner, more enduring rather than speedy. While his battalion was in training Black won medal after medal for cross country runs, being recognised as the best cross country runner in the battalion. He also had the honour of walking the regimental mascot, a fine foxhound at the head of the battalion on the march.

As a reliable mountain guide, his friends were constantly requiring his company in mountain rambles. One of his most recent occupations was acting as a sort of handyman and guide for the Huyton (Liverpool) Girls School evacuated to Rydal Hall, where his services were thoroughly appreciated.

A Hunter's Requiem

The funeral took place at St. Mary’s, Ambleside on Wednesday, whither the Union Jack–draped coffin had been borne from the hospital at Kendal. The services resembled a huntsman’s requiem, though all branches of Lakeland sport were represented amongst the assembly. The Rev. H. A. Thompson, vicar, took the service. As the mourners gathered in the church the organist Mr. E. A. Skelton who had met Mr. Black on active service in the last war, played the old Scottish soldiers lament, “The Flowers of the Forest” (his own arrangement), and the haunting John Peel lament, “The horn of the huntsman’s now silent”. The 23rd Psalm was sung, and the hymn, “For ever with the Lord”. As the funeral filed out from the church, the organist played his own composition of a beautiful requiem, “Huntsman, Rest, they chase is done”.

Among the mourners were Messers. J. and R. Logan, Geo. Grundy, Geo. Chapman (representing the Coniston Fox Hounds), A. S. Dixon, W. C. Skelton, W. Robinson, T. Bell, A. Capstick, Gilb. Smith and W. Rigg (Grasmere), M. McGarr, H. Mason, E. Vity, J. Hardisty, I. and S. German, B. Squire, H. Dixon, J. Greaves, F. Hopkirk, H. Holmes, R. Dugdale, T. Stobbart, and many others as well as a contingent of students from Huyton (Girls) School, Rydal Hall.

The chief mourners were Mr. and Mrs. George Black (brother and sister-in-law), Mr. Fred Black (brother), Mrs. Clara Kay (sister), Messrs. John, Dick and William Black (nephews): Misses Winifred, Mary and Margaret Black (nieces), and the following cousins: Mr. and Mrs. Fred Fradley, Mr. Jos. Dugdale, Mrs. Anna Watson, Mrs. Dora Ostiff, Mrs. Agnes Clarke, Mr. John Dugdale, Mr. Richard Dugdale, Mrs. Mary Dugdale, Miss Jenny Holme and Mr. W. Lewis.

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42 Years with Ullswater Pack

Killed 2000 Foxes: Joe Bowman, former huntsman to the Ullswater Foxhounds for 42 years, who accounted for 2000 foxes during his wonderful career, died on Tuesday morning in his 90th year. He was regarded all over the North of England as a worthy successor to John Peel and had many a song written in his honour.

For the past few years Joe Bowman had lived in peaceful retirement at Grassthwaite How, Glenridding, and in the same cottage he had occupied throughout his long carrier. He had enjoyed the devoted services of his daughter,, Mrs Willis, as housekeeper. In spite of his great age Joe enjoyed comparatively good health, although his eyesight failed him about two years ago. Each year, he spent a holiday with his sister in-law Mrs W Bowman at Matterdale, the parish of his birth. Up to last year he had not missed attending the Patterdale Sheep Dog Trial since its inauguration.

The death of his son, Joe about a month ago, was a very severe blow, and this was closely followed by the death of a very dear friend, Mr John Hebson, the Martindale shepherd. Only one member of the family to which Joe belonged is now living. She is Mrs Hindmoor, Placefell Cottages, Patterdale. 93 years of age, and Patterdale’s oldest inhabitant. Joe is survived by five sons and two daughters.

Lord Lonsdale’s Tribute

“There is nobody for whom I have a greater respect than Joe Bowman, and the services he has rendered to the fox-hunting community and the Ullswater Hounds on the Lakeland hills are so well known that it is almost impossible for me to express any views regarding him that are not entirely shared and appreciated by those living in that country.”

Thus wrote Lord Lonsdale in a foreword to the Reminiscences of Joe Bowman, a book published in 1921 by W. C. Skelton. A copy of this book was accepted by the Prince of Wales (now Duke of Windsor) and is included in almost every hunting squire’s library in England. Though Joe did not retire until 1924, and outlived his retirement by 16 years, he never receded from the public affection or esteem.

Born at Matterdale, in May 1850, he was the eldest of a family of two sons and three daughters of the late Matthew and Mary Bowman. Joe’s father had been an Alston miner who came to live at Matterdale to work in the local mine. His mother was Mary Dawson, a member of a family, who, it has been said were connected with hunting for seven generations and had in their possession a horn handed down 200 years. It was evidently from his mother that Joe inherited his love of sport and hunting in particular. Joe’s mother retained full possession of her faculties until she died at the age of 90. Joe’s uncles, James and Joseph Dawson both hunted hounds in his boyhood days and from them he learned much which was of value to him afterwards when he became one of England’s most renowned huntsmen.

Farmer and Miner

Joe Bowman followed farming in his younger days, and never forgot the knowledge of the land that he acquired. He afterwards worked at Greenside Mines where he acquired that strong frame and robust constitution which endowed him with more than ordinary physical strength and great powers of endurance. At the same time, he learnt to be a “handy man” in every respect which made him valuable adjunct to the Patterdale Hall Estate, where he lived and worked apart from hunting for the greater part of his life. As a youth, Joe followed hounds whenever he possibly could. He was always a great lover of nature and could hold his own with geologists, botanists, ornithologists, anglers and others, in discussions relating to their particular cults or pastimes. But his heart centred chiefly round his kennel, his hounds and his terriers, their comfort, welfare and efficiency. Joe believed in a hound and terrier earning their keep the same as a human being. He had no place in his kennel for mere “glad mouthed shirkers” but had a warm corner for a trier and a worker.

He married Miss Martin of Dockray a faithful and fitting companion, who died many years ago. They had a large family and he spent his declining years in the company of various members.


The history of the Ullswater pack is very largely the history of Joe Bowman’s hunting carrier. They were formed as stated, out of an amalgamation of the Matterdale and Patterdale packs of trencher fed foxhounds, in 1873. Their first huntsman was Abram Pattinson, a tall, wiry, capable huntsman, of whom it was stated he could walk as fast as most men could run. Many of the hounds in those days were of the old John Peel strain, probably acquired from the late Mr. John Crozier, the famous master of the Blencathra Foxhounds. The early hunts of the combined Patterdale and Matterdale packs were comprehensively described by the late Aaron Nelson schoolmaster of Patterdale. Schoolmaster of Patterdale The Nelson family had a very close connection with the Ullswater Foxhounds, particularly the late Mossop Nelson, of Keswick, in providing Joe Bowman, who succeeded Abram Pattinson in November 1879 with his valuable and incomparable strain of pack terriers. The Master of the Ullswater Hounds was then Mr. J. W. Marshall. He was succeeded in 1880 by Mr. J. E. Hasell, who was Master for 30 years and then followed Mr. W. H. Marshall, who along with the late Mr. Christopher (Kitty) Farrer, were Joe Bowman’s staunch and reliable pillars throughout the greater portion of his career.

The following is an extract summing up Joe’s first season; “on the whole, a fairly satisfactory season when we take into account the lateness of the time before the hounds were got into hunting condition, and the loss of about 20 hounds the previous season by falling over precipices, killed on the railway, lost in old coal pits and accidently drowned, half of which were the flower of the pack. The number of foxes killed this season was 19.”


To compare this with 1903 shows how the pack had increased in value, for in the latter year 70 old foxes and 48 cubs were accounted for. The Ullswater Hounds went better still in 1923 when they put the record up to 80 before the season closed in April. During his career, which terminated in June 1924, it was estimated that Joe Bowman accounted for no fewer than 2000 foxes. More than any huntsman living before or since, he exemplified the statement that foxes are killed in the kennels. Joe was a grand kennel man, he was an unsurpassable breeder of fine hounds, knew a good terrier when he saw one, and though an inveterate enemy of the fox allowed bold reynard every clemency. Like many more great hunters he was a keen lover of animals. He was held in high esteem by countless friends in all parts of the universe.

Since Joe’s retirement, his record of 80 foxes has been beaten under the present huntsman, Joe Wear. It may be remembered that Braithwaite Wilson, Joe’s “flying whip” succeeded him as huntsman in 1924, and after Brait’s departure for a fresh sphere of action, the present huntsman, who was well steeped in Joe’s lore and traditions in his younger days has proved a worthy successor to the departed huntsman.

During Joe Bowman’s connection with the Ullswater Pack which officially began in 1879 and concluded in 1924, there were four years when George Salkeld of Kentmere proved a very capable huntsman.. owing to an accident in 1911 Joe had to give up the position, but when George Salkeld was called to the Colours in 1915, the veteran huntsman stepped back again into his hunting kit


It was when he retired the first time in 1911 that Joe was the recipient of a gift of £150, a token of esteem from 700 friends. It was during this presentation that Joe Bowman who was a genius at telling interesting yarns made a singular reference to blind and deaf hunters. Joe said he was proud to come from a healthy never-say-die kind of people, and he was told of an ancestor of his who was deaf and dumb used to go out hunting above Dockray with a man who was blind and used to say to him, “Thoo mun lissen and I’ll leuk”.

Another touching little presentation apart from the official recognition at the annual meeting in 1924 was that of a silver horn, named “The Horn of Mardale” from his Mardale friend, for Joe was the inspiring genius of the famous Mardale Shepherd’s Meet. This was made on 22nd November 1924 in the presence of a record gathering by Dr. W. Stanforth, Cleator Moor, a well known Cumbrian poet and songwriter, and the late Mr. Matthew Sedgwick, Sedbergh, who used to drive four in hand to the meet. The horn bore the following inscription:

“May he who windes this silver horn
Aye wake the echo of the morn
And heavenwards where e’er he wend
The spirit off Auld Joe attend.”


“Auld Hunty,” as Joe was intimately known among his cronies, was the hero, narrator and subject of countless tales, many of them original and invariably characteristic. Here is a short one taken from the book of his Reminiscences:

Scene : Howtown pier. Joe Bowman has arrived with hounds after a long hunt and proceeds to embark. Important steamer official insists upon tickets being taken for each of the hounds. Joe declines. After the usual argument officiousness prevails and Joe embarks minus his four footed companions who are left behind. Half-way across the lake out comes Joe’s horn. A ringing blast vollies into Raven Crag and echoes back to Birk Fell. Hounds take up the call and fly around the margins of the bay as if Reynard was a brush length in front. They arrive in full force on Ullswater pier as the steamer arrives and the delighted Joe steps off with a smile and a dry remark “Noo than, whoa’s won?

Good stories have been told relating to Joe’s hounds and terriers. The best hound he ever hunted was old Cleaver a fine, well-set-up hound, bred by Mr. Wood at Grayrigg Hall, which could leap in and out of the kennels. Single handed Cleaver once chased a fox from Helvellyn to Ennerdale killing Reynard on the shore of the lake and returned home to Grisedale the next day. There were many other grand types which won at shows. But Joe preferred a hound to show its mettle on the fell breast amid scree and crag and bracken rather than in the show ring. The names of his good terriers were legion. Two of his favourites were Turk and Fury.


Turk once saved Joe’s life. He was furiously beset by a powerful specimen of bovine majesty in a bull coppice. Turk was thrown over the hedge to him and the little terrier barked defiance in the bulls face, dividing his attention and allowing Joe to make his escape. Fury is alleged to have accounted single-handed for three large foxes in one of those underground dungeons fell foxes take to for sanctuary.

Joe’s activities were not confined to foxes’, he loved a day with the otter hounds or harriers, beagles and bassets, and in addition to fox, hare otter and badger had been known to have experienced the joy of a mart hunt.

Stories have been written describing how a fox was killed in a coal mine, another in a greenhouse, one in a wash house, another in a church yard, one up a chimney, in a school classroom, several in Ullswater lake and Hugh’s Cave at Mardale, even on a railway line, in Levers Water on Coniston Old Man, in Joe’s own garden at Grassthwaite How and the hounds kennel at Mardale.

Many exciting rope-rescue incidents happened from time to time and during Joe’s carrier there were plenty of losses sustained by the pack with hounds falling down precipitous crags. The biggest fox he ever killed weighed 24 lbs and measured 54 inches from tip of mask to end of brush. This was in Wycop Ghyll, Crossfell.


JOE Bowman killed foxes in many curious places, some accounts savouring of fiction and romance albeit true. But he always upheld the best traditions of sportsmanship. His deeds have been written about in columns and chapters. They have been extolled in verse and song. His name like that of his predecessor John Peel has been sung in every country where English sportsmen have forgathered. “Dye ken John Peel” was sung at the Relief of Lucknow. “The Mardale Hunt” and “Joe Bowman” were volleyed forth in the canteens in Flanders during the Great War. They have made the rafters echo in every concert hall in Cumberland and Westmorland and will years after the grand soul of Joe has gone aloft. He has passed where he lingered his life’s evening, within sight and sound of the kennels where his last official act, in the presence of the joint Masters. Mrs Anthony Lowther and Dr. Thompson was to officially open the new extension.

Here in the shade of the mighty Helvellyn he has gone to that bourne from which there is no returning, haloed with the memories and treasured recollections which have crowned his long and useful life.

Huntsman, rest! Thy chase is done,
While our slumberous spells assail thee
Dream not with the rising sun
Bugles here shall sound reveille.
Sleep! the deer is in his den;
Sleep! Thy hounds are by thee lying.
Sleep! Nor dream in yonder glen,
How a gallant steed lay dying
Huntsman rest! Thy chase is done,
Think not of the rising sun
For at dawning to assail thee
Here no bugles sound reveille.

The funeral takes place at Patterdale Church today (Friday) at 2pm, when the Ullswater pack will be in attendance as a tribute to their famous huntsman. Blasts on the hunting horn will be his requiem.

Westmorland Gazette 9th March 1940

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