W3C The Oxenholme Staghounds     HUNTS


Book cover


by Ron Black

Using material written at the time,
this book tells the story of the
Lunesdale and Oxenholme Staghounds.

eBook available to download from
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Season 1933/34

Elsewhere on the site is a brief history of The Oxenholme Staghounds as well as pictures taken in the 1920s and 1930s. Below are some of the hunting reports from The Westmorland Gazette of 1933/34 season. From the reports of that season it would apper that the hounds did not actually catch anything, the “hunt” being content to ride in pursuit, and stopping hounds short of any kind of conclusion to the hunt itself, in actual fact they appear to have been a type of “drag hunt” using deer as quarry.

1934 saw the turning point in the great depression in America with unemployment decreasing to 22%. In the UK, it was around 25%, but in other parts of the world some of the political changes occurring would cause the next world war. In Germany Adolf Hitler declared himself the Fuhrer, in Russia Stalin began his massacres. The drought problems in the US Midwest continued in and some 35 million acres of farmland were utterly destroyed and a further 225 million acres were in danger. In April R K Wilson allegedly took the first photograph of the Loch Ness Monster. The FBI had considerable success ending the careers of celebrity criminals John Dillinger, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson. 

The Season 1934/35

These hounds met at Thorpinsty on Thursday for the first day of the season. A hind was found in Loft Wood and she ran a ring round Simpson Ground, but hounds were stopped, as there were roe deer on foot. A second hind from Loft wood ran across Winster to the Witherslack Woods when hounds were taken home.

On Monday the meet was at Middleton Smithy. A very fine stag was put up in Synagogue Wood and he went way south through Barbon Woods and over Barbon Fell. He then ran over Bull Pot and nearly to Leck, where he turned back to Kirby Lonsdale station. Here hounds were stopped after a hard and fast hunt on a warm day.

Westmorland Gazette 28th October 1933

These hounds met at Skelsmergh Hall on Thursday last week, when the following were out: - Miss Weston, Mrs. M Rigg, Miss Radcliffe, Mrs, Higgin-Birket, Miss Diana Drew, Mrs. Locke King, Miss Jeffreys, Miss Somerville, Miss M. Heaton, Miss Crewdson, Mr Cropper, Mr Heaton, Mr Bruce Rigg, Mr L. King, Col Crewdson.
A hind had been harboured in a small wood close to the farm, and hounds soon had her on the move. She ran a circle towards Patton before going way over Burton house to Low Groves. She took to the river at Mint Bridge and hounds were held up. Both banks were tried but she could not be found, so after drawing for an hour and a half hounds were taken home.
Monday’s meet was at Witherslack Post Office when there was a small “field” including Miss Weston, Mrs Higgin-Birket, Miss M. Rigg, Miss Bentley, Miss M. Heaton and Mr. H Dobson. Hounds were taken on to Strickland Hill to draw, and took a line across into the Lawns Wood. They could not hunt it out, so were taken back to draw the Outcast. Here roe deer got up and they were hunted for the rest of the day in the woods round Witherslack Hall, no red deer being seen all day.

Westmorland Gazette 11th November 1933

(Miss F. Weston had been Master of Staghounds since 1930)

These hounds met at Milenthorpe Station on Thursday last, when the following were out: Miss Weston, Mrs Crewdson, Mrs M. Rigg, Miss Crewdson, Miss Drew, Miss Heaton, Miss Somerville, Mrs L.W. Somerville, Mr Heaton and Mr. Bruce Rigg. A hind had been harboured at Hang Bridge and hounds ran her on to Beetham Hall and round by Pye’s Bridge and back to Hang Bridge. She then ran up the Bela to Overthwaite, across left handed to Milenthorpe Station and on to Kidside. Here she turned back to Overthwaite and almost across to Holme, but doubled back to the river at Overthwaite, where she was left after a pleasant day.
On Monday the meet was at Gilpin Bridge, when the following were out: Mrs Higgin-Birkett, Miss Heaton, Miss Diana Drew, Miss. M Rigg and Mr H Dobson. Hounds were taken on to Thorpinsby to draw and a very fine stag from Loft Wood was soon away. He ran over Simpson Ground and straight down to Windermere Lake. He crossed to Lakeside with hounds behind him and they ran him by Newby Bridge to the Finsthwaite Woods, where they were stopped close to Backbarrow after a fine wild hunt over rough country.

Westmorland Gazette 18th November 1933

The meet last Thursday was at Crooklands when the following were out: Miss Weston, Mrs Crewdson, Miss Deborah Crewdson, Mrs Morden Rigg, Miss Drew, Miss Diana Drew, Mrs Higgin-Birket, Mrs Heaton, Miss Radcliffe, Mrs L.W. Somerville, Miss Somerville, Miss Creswall, Mr J.W.Cropper, Mr J. Heaton, Mr A.B. Rigg, Col Crewdson, Capt Ashworth, Mr J. Rutter, Mr.H Dobson.
A hind was found at once in Black Trees on Preston Fell and she ran up by West View and over Bell Plantain to Lupton high, then down by Foulstones to Farlton Beck and up on to the slopes of Farlton Knott. There she turned east and ran to Spittal, back by Badger Gate to the river again below Lupton Tower, where she was left after a pleasant days hunting.
On Monday, the meet was at Rigmaden Bridge when the field included Miss Weston, Mrs Crewdson, Mrs Morden Rigg, Miss D Crewdson, Miss Rigg, Miss Heaton, Mrs Higgin-Birket, Mrs L. W. Somerville, Miss Somerville, Miss Bickersteth, Miss Hubbersty, Mr Cropper, Mr Bruce Rigg, Mr Dobson and Mr J. Rutter.
A hind from Hartside ran up Middleton Fell and put up fresh deer. Hounds divided in all directions, and could never be gathered to give a hunt.

Westmorland Gazette 25th November 1933

On Thursday last week the meet was at Upto Smithy. Hounds were taken to Terry Bank to draw, and after drawing all round they went down to Mansergh Hall and Underlay. No deer could be found so Rigmaden Moor and Stony Park were drawn but nothing was found all day.
Hounds met at Barkin House on Monday and found a hind on Sill Field land, she ran in rings but would not go away, so hounds were whipped off. Two hinds were then found in Banks planting and ran fast over Rigmaden moor to Nether Hall Wood, up to Old Town and down to the river at Rigmaden. She was fresh put up in Carradice Wood and ran again over Rigmaden moor and made a circle over Stony Park back to the River Lune at Drybeck, where hounds were stopped after a most excellent hunt.

Westmorland Gazette 2nd December 1933

These hounds met at Dallam Tower on Boxing Day, where Sir Maurice and Lady Bromley-Wilson entertained a very large gathering. Hounds were taken to Elmfield to draw an out-lying hind. She was found immediately and ran east for the canal close to the Duke of Cumberland at Farlton. Here she turned for the River Bela and on to Kidside where hounds checked. They found the line again and took her to Warth Sudden and down river to Waters Meeting. They checked here for some time, but she was fresh found in Farlton Beck. She then ran down by Overthwaite and back behind Elmfield to the railway at Holme, where hounds were whipped off after a pleasant day’s hunting.
On Thursday a large “field” enjoyed the hospitality of Captain and Mrs Ashworth at Summerlands. Eight hinds and two stags had been harboured at Black Essett, and hounds were laid onto the stag. He ran over Stony Park to the River Lune at Grimeshill and hounds were taken back to Black Essett to draw for a hind. One was soon away by her self, and she ran to Hood Farm, over Barkin Moor to Moorcock, through Hazelrigg and Terry Bank to Mansergh Hall Wood stopped.
Hunting was impossible on New Year’s Day owing to frost and fog. Hounds were taken to the meet at Leighton Hall but after waiting some time were sent home. Mr. And Mrs. J Reynolds entertained those present.

Westmorland Gazette 6th January 1934

These hounds met at Low Sampool, Levens, on Thursday. A stag had been harboured on the top of Whitbarrow, and after drawing through the young larch plantation he was found in???
He ran down to the Witherslack Woods, where several fresh deer got up and hounds divided. Some went to Thorpinsty, and along Cartmell Fell to Grange, crossing to Holme Island. Others ran north to Lamb Howe, but the greater part of hounds were collected and taken home form Witherslack Woods after about four hours hunting.
Monday’s meet was at Barbon, to draw the Manor woods. A hind went away almost at once, and ran over Middleton Fell and Place Fell to the River Rawthey and down to Ingmire. She crossed to Sedbergh station, doubled back to the river, and then ran down the Lune to (Bainsbank?) where she turned left handed for Barbon. After going as far as Ellesmere plantation, she doubled back again, along Middleton Fell on the same line as earlier in the day, and hounds were stopped at Middleton Bridge after an excellent hunt.
At the end of the day, the huntsman A Simms unfortunately broke his anklebone when his horse slipped and fell on the Westmorland side of Middleton Bridge.

Westmorland Gazette 3rd March 1934

(this entry was difficult to read and there may be some mistake in typing)

These hounds finished the season on Saturday week, when they met at Yealand Smithy. Grizedale Woods were drawn, and then hounds taken to the Potts Woods on Warton Crag in thick fog. A young stag and a hind went away, almost at once and ran back by Leighton Hall, through Deepdale, and across Hale Moss to Beetham Park, and on to Hang Bridge. Hounds checked by the river at Kidside, but fresh found the line close to Woodlands and hunted slowly to Crooklands Bridge and across by the Friends Meeting house to Preston. She then climbed to Preston Hall lot and hounds were stopped through running into fog on the top of Warth hills. This was a nine-mile point and 11 miles as the hounds ran. It was a capital finish to a successful season. Hounds have been out 42 times, and have only been stopped by frost or fog on four occasions.

Westmorland Gazette 7th April 1934

That was the final hunt of the 1933/34 season, and before long the end of The Oxenholme Staghounds who folded at the outbreak of WW2. This is a report of almost their final meet in 1939.

After meeting at Slack Head, last Thursday, Underlaid was drawn, and also the woods around Arnside Tower, but no deer could be found.
On Monday from Swan Inn, Middleton hounds were taken to draw Carradice Wood. Two stags and two hinds went away at once and the hinds took most of the pack up to Rigmaden wood. They doubled back here, made down the river to Park Wood. Hounds hunted slowly up the Rawthey till she was fresh put up opposite Ingmire and she then ran by Briggflatts back to Park Wood. She Kept on downstream to Rigmaden and ran hounds out of scent in Carr Wood. Hounds were then laid on to one of the stags, which had been seen opposite Hawkrigg. He ran up to Carr Wood and along Under the Harprigg Copses till hounds were stopped at Stanerthwaite Lane end after a pleasant days hunting.

Westmorland Gazette 25th February 1939

The final meet was on 4th March 1939. The hunting diary of Nancy Metcalf-Gibson who rode on that day records ...

“The very last day, a great day. I left here at 08.15, arrived in time. Had a good hunt with a lot of stonewall jumping. Sampoodle went awfully well. We found at Leighton, ran round by Arnside Tower, along to Sandside, the stag went down into the sea.

Went and drew Arnside Tower, ran up into the woods, quite a good hunt.”

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