W3C Letter from France DO U KNOW?

Anthony Chapman, Sweden Bridge
Anthony Chapman with hounds on Sweden Bridge

One morning out of the blue an e-mail arrived. This site was intended to evoke memories of times past following the fell packs and this it had obviously done. With Peter's permission, here is what it said ...

"In 1959 - in October - my father announced that one weekend soon, the family were to drive to Westmorland in a rented car (as we didn't own one then) and "go hunting". I was nine years old and for as long as I can remember I had gazed at the family photos and played with the mysterious fox's brush kept in the sideboard cupboard! You see for all my life till then we had lived away from my Dad's beloved Lake District - where he had grown up until the War dragged him away and to which he had never returned to live.

"One cold dark morning, then, we left our house in Preston at 6.00 am in high excitement and drove up the A6 to Ambleside (no motorways then!) and then to Langdale to meet the Hounds and to meet a man whom I held in awe for the next twenty odd years - the legendary Anthony Chapman - my uncle!

"I have vivid memories of that day - hearing hounds in full cry for the first time - hearing Anthony's voice shout them away - and seeing a fox for the first time as it was bolted from Deer Bields and rolled over down the scree slope. I met characters like Lanty Langhorn riding his little motorbike and Fred Pricket, champion stick carver, both of whom were at school with Dad and I believe formed the core of the infamous "Rydal Crows" whose teenage exploits are probably best brushed over, and of course Bruce Logan the Master - always "Mr Bruce" to us youngsters.

"Over the following twelve years we drove up to hunt from wherever Dad was stationed as a Prison Officer, usually every other weekend when he wasn't on duty, and my elder brother and I would fight over the Westmorland Gazette, when it arrived, to read the hunting notes - how disappointed were we when the Coniston had a blank week.

"Many many memories I could recount until first Dad and then Anthony passed away and studies and work took me away. But hunting to me has always meant frosty mornings and long car journeys and the thrill of seeing Anthony walk up to the meet with the Hounds - no horses and hypocrisy - just working men doing what comes naturally.

"In 1968 I was proud to stand as Godfather to my cousin Mavis' youngest son Michael and I have seen him work his Hounds and heard his voice egging them on and can only say the Dynasty lives on.

"Let's hope we can all get through this wretched time and Michael can hunt again in freedom soon.

From France
Peter Chapman

Peter now lives in France running a B&B in the Loire valley with his wife Wendy (www.lebignon.com) and sees quite a bit of hunting French style.

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