W3C Ullswater Foxhounds      HUNTS


Book cover A history of the Ullswater carefully researched and compiled using reports and publications of the time.

Out of print.

Ebook available from : Amazon : Smashwords : and all major ebook retailers.




Book cover The next fifty years, part two of a trilogy, compiled meticulously and chronologically from original reports and accounts.

Out of print.

Ebook available from : Amazon : Smashwords : and other ebook retailers.

Early Days

Since this page was first posted Ron has completed and published the first two volumes of a trilogy - see our other website Gone2Ground Books.

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This is the first part of what is intended to be a history of the Ullswater Foxhounds 1812–1939. The first part covers the years leading up to the formation of the pack in 1873.

Hunting reports are taken from newspapers of the time, some are difficult to read and your forgiveness is appreciated if I have misspelt a place name, etc.


The fox has always caused hardship to Lakeland Farmers, a visit to either the poultry pen or lambing field could cause financial difficulty to a farmer operating at a subsistence level, which in those days many did. The introduction of wire netting in the mid 1800s helped the farmer to a point but did not stop predations of poultry. In the main the foxes concerned appear to have been the now extinct breed known as “greyhound”. Bigger than the fox of today, they had a good knowledge of the terrain for miles around.

“Fusedale” writing of them in 1910, comments, “Foxes then were more of the greyhound type, and as a rule real flyers; no one knew to twenty or thirty miles where the chase would finish. I well remember Tom Parker un-kennelling a fox at Swarthfell, which took right away over High Street, down Kentmere, and was run into on the open at Staveley, near Kendal. Joe Dawson* once roused one at Yew Crag, on Gowbarrow Fell, which went through by Sparket, Newton Moss, Maiden Hill and was killed at Memmerby. That was when the famous hound Champion was at his best. He was black with a short tail, he returned home the following day, bringing a note tied around his neck telling of the result of the chase. These are only two out of many stories of long runs I could mention”

(*Joe Dawson, Uncle of Joe Bowman. Dawson hunted the Bald Howe pack.)

The “greyhound” had a ferocity, unmatched by the foxes hunted pre- ban (2005). One “greyhound” in Kentmere was reputed to have turned and fought with the hounds on occasion. (Skelton 1921)

Most farms kept a couple of hounds to attempt to deliver retribution to these marauding foxes, although there appear to have been organised packs also.

“Thirteen foxes have been killed, since the 23rd of April last, by the Long Sleddal hounds, and eight others, since the first of April, by Mr Mounsey’s hounds of Patterdale Hall.”

Lancaster Gazette 1st August 1812

Later on came The Patterdale Hounds. The Patterdale Hounds were most of the time kennelled at Grassthwaite Howe, the present kennels, and had different masters. John Gelderd was one of the first, and the dogs were at that time known as the Gelderd hounds, John Grisdale, John Walton, and the late William Marshall all having their terms. They also had several huntsmen, there being Daniel Pattinson (better known as Dan Patty), W. Rewcastle, who hunted them for something like two years. John Pearson and Birkett Dixon also hunted them for a little time.

The hounds appear to have hunted both fox and hare as the following accounts show.

ANNUAL HUNT AT WINSTER -The annual hunt came off at Mr. Wood’s, the Bay Horse, here on the 4th instant. Mr. Geldert of Patterdale’s hounds were procured for the occasion. The weather was anything but favourable, being hard frost, which gave the hare ample means of escape by foiling her pursuers. The gathering of the hunters was numerous, which was also favourable to poor puss, as their notion of hunting oft baffle the skill of the huntsman, who got so much excited at an old cobbler, that to horsewhip him for his interference was thought necessary, but being too fleet for the huntsman he escaped the stroke of his whip. However the hunt still continued through the day, til nightfall, without being able to kill, but the hunters were satisfied with many strong contests in their field sports, and adjourned to partake of Mr. Wood’s best cheer-ample justice being done to roast beef and plum pudding. Old hunting tales were listened to with admiration, and hunting songs were numerous at this merry making. Mr. L. Denny, the Mayor, having discharged his duties faithfully, was highly complimented for his past years service, he having kept the highways clear of stray cattle and pigs (by deputy) but not without recourse to the use of the pinfold. There were three candidates for the civic chair. A poll took place, when the honour fell upon Benson Taylor, cordwainer who was duly elected as mayor of Winster for the ensuing year.

Lancaster Gazette 13th December 1851

A FOX ON ULLSWATER LAKE – A few days ago the famous pack of foxhounds belonging to Mr. Gelderd of Patterdale, raised a fox on the fells near Ullswater, but did not kill. However the “chang” of the hounds aroused another fox, which made off in a contrary direction to the sound, to the lake near Hallisteads, into which it plunged and swam across to near Howtown Bay, the width of the lake at that place being fully a mile. – Carlisle Patriot.

The Morning Post 9th March 1853

The Patterdale hounds seem to have been held in high esteem.

FOX HUNT – a few weeks ago a tame fox made its escape from confinement and located itself in the bosky glades of the neighbourhood of classic Elleray and Troutbeck, and nightly made foraging excursions to the poultry yards of the surrounding farms and homesteads.

The Ambleside Hounds were the first invited and after three chases gave up the task in despair. The Patterdale dogs next gave poor reynard a couple of runs, but without success. The Old Hutton pack then offered their services and were readily accepted, but after two days retired from the field fairly beaten. On all those occasions there were “splendid runs” and “glorious bursts triumphant,” but foxy none the worst. Some of the older folk of the district began to relate tales of charmed foxes in their young days, and hinted that a certain nameless gentleman “had business on his hands.

Last week, Mr. Geldert, of Patterdale, sent his huntsmen and hounds with strict orders not to return until reynard was slain. And they threw off one fine morning in the picturesque vale of Troutbeck, where they soon unkennelled the old fellow, who after ten minutes chase, was run into near Troutbeck Bridge. He was a fine old fox and weighed 17lbs. A subscription was entered into in the district, and the hunters handsomely treated to our vaunted native fare.- Cor

The Foxhounds - During the pasts season this far famed pack have succeeded in killing 33 head of the “varmint” consisting of 21 foxes and 11 martin.

Kendal Messenger 20th June 1863

But by 1866 they seem to have settled to fox.


The winter campaign of hunting by this pack being about to commence, six of the dogs gathered up were on Saturday morning last cast off at Blind Cove, near St. Sunday Crag, where they found a good drag and went at a rattling pace over the top and through Deepdale Head, via Fairfield, Scruby Crag, and on to Hart Crag, near Dove Crag, where they found the “vixen” snugly ensconced in her lair. A determination to take the place by force had the desired effect of making her ladyship skedaddle and swept away lightly over the top, with the hounds in hot pursuit. Away she went through Rydal Head, by Stoney Cove, over Great Rigg in by Grassmere, turning towards Rydal, and on to Nab Scar, across the bottom to Nook End, and then turned up Scandal, but here she was obliged to turn back, “the gallant six” galloping fast and furious o’er hill and dale. Turning in by Buckstones she again tried Scandal Bottom, making vigorous efforts to regain the high fells, but her pursuers were evidently too fast for her, as they again turned her down the valley, where she crossed to Rydal Park and to the fields near Rydal hall, where she took refuge in a drain. The hunters were quickly at the place, and put in the noted terrier “Jack Miller;” but the drain being narrow and full of water, he could not stay in long at a time, and was obliged to back out several times, nearly drowned. After a good deal of hard working, however, little “Dally,” one of the hounds, “marked” the vermin from the surface of the drain, nearly at the other end of the field. The hunter set to work and dug down nearly three feet from the surface, when they came upon the stone covers of a continuation of the drain, upon the removal of which, to their joy, they found the object of their pursuit. Miss Fox was once more set at liberty on terra firma, but was soon killed by the gallant little pack in true foxhunting style. The hunters and hounds were very kindly taken down to the hospitable mansion of Rydal Hall, where a plentiful repast was supplied to them by the worthy gentleman now resident there. In a few days the whole of the pack will be collected in their kennel, after which we trust our hardy Northmen in the fell-dales of Cumberland and Westmorland will be able to enjoy the ancient sport of foxhunting with these famed hounds -PENRITH OBSERVER

Preston Guardian 10th November 1866

GALLANT FOX CHASE - During the past month the poultry yard of Mr. Fiddler, of Rydal, has been suffering severely from the nocturnal visits of Reynard. They have, however, now been brought to a summary conclusion by the combined efforts of Dan Patty and his celebrated pack. On Saturday the 3rd inst., the dogs took the drag of “Sly boots” at St Sunday’s Crag and had not proceeded far when unmistakable indications of the vermin’s proximity were manifest. It was unkennelled near to Hart Crag, and immediately made off over Fairfield, where no doubt, like all other tourists, foxy fully appreciated the splendid view of the several lakes that are visible from its summit. Little time, however, was given for the contemplation of natures beauties-only, indeed, sufficient to take a last farewell of the scene of its late depredations, which lay in the distance. Here the loud bay of the hounds made the valley ring with their pursuing cry, which no doubt disturbed the meditations of the sly-un, and caused it to proceed with all dispatch across the ridge of mountains in the direction of Lord Cove. From thence it took over Great Rigg, through the classical Vale of Grasmere to Buttermere Crag. To “throw out” its pursuers the fugitive doubled back again by way of Nab Scar, through the grounds of the late poet laureate when its speed began to slacken. The hounds were now nearing it at every bound, but on through Rydal Park the fox bounded, passing the noble mansion of General Lee Fleming, ascending by Humphrey’s Crag, over High Pike to Dove Crags. It had, however, no time to avail itself of this shelter, which seldom fails in time of need, and retracing its steps it made for Rydal Park, where it ran to earth, and for a short time secured breathing time. Attracted by the bay of the disappointed hounds, Gwordie Jenkinson and Bob Irving, two veterans, were soon on the spot, the former having with him his dame and tried terrier “Shifter,” which, together with the celebrated “Jack,” from Patterdale, soon succeeded in ejecting Reynard from the fancied place of security, and on reappearing in the open, it was instantly surrounded and dispatched by the hounds. It proved to be a fine bitch fox, weighing 16lbs, and considering her condition, had evidently done justice to the ample fare of Mr. Fiddler.

Preston Guardian November 1866


Hark! I hear the huntsman’s horn;
As to Glencoindale in the early morn,
The Patterdale hounds a hunting go;
Hark forward, forward, tally-ho!

On Monday the 20th inst, the above pack under the able huntsmanship of William Rucastle, accompanied by the renowned pedestrian and veteran hunter, Mr. Joseph Brownrigg, of Hartsop, and who invariably renders a good account after a hard day’s run, were cast off at Glencoin, when the drag of reynard was soon taken up by hounds, being unkennelled at Black Crag, and went away by Glencoindale Head to Greenside Mines, and turned in by Lucy Tongue, and then through the Glenridding Screes and back over Earen Pike, to the starting place, thence again by nearly the same route, turning a little lower down by the Rake Cottages, then up by Rake Head, and over the top to Black Crag. This course he ran over no less than three times, when finding it useless to shake off the pack he altered his plan and made a steep dash down the steep declivity, and crossed Glencoindale bottom. After ascending Latterbarrow Gill he passed through the Brown Plantation and on into Glencoin Park, near to the Park Brow, with hounds “fast and furious” in close proximity. At that place the Glencoin shepherds had been gathering up their sheep and the fox adopted a stratagem, which for a considerable time baffled the hounds in their pursuit. He ran right through the midst of the flock and whilst the dogs were at fault he improved the opportunity of trying to rid himself of his pursuers by running down a small rivulet to the Tower gate, in which he cooled his fevered limbs, beside making several ablutions, before the hounds found out his dodging. Being thus refreshed, his next procedure was by way of Lyulph’s castellated tower, and over Gowbarrow Fell to Yew Crag, where the hunting was slow, the hounds having to hunt yard by yard through the Deer Park. From Yew Crag, his next stage was to the Riddings Plantation, where he was found napping and in dreamland. He was suddenly aroused from his slumbers by the famous pack, when off he bounded and scampered back over Gowbarrow Fell to Yew Crag. The hounds now getting on better terms with him they drove him along at a rattling pace. From Yew Crag he made the return journey by Hind Crag, having ……

Twice cross’d Gowbarrow Fell with skill,
And by Lyulph’s Tower they pursued him still;
His course the unwearied hunters trace,
With hounds ever foremost in the chase.

On leaving the Tower Park, he next went by the celebrated Airey Force, where he had other thoughts, of more importance, then, at least to him, than of contemplating the picturesque and the sublime. Getting up all the energy he could muster, he boldly steered his course up Glencoin Park to Latterbarrow Ghyll, where he binked, the hounds baying him for some time, when at last he was compelled to make his exit, which he did by turning up for the Matterdale Stinted Common, where, alas poor reynard! It was evident that his steam was fast evaporating, as he could not leap the wall on to the Common; and so he made a detour and kept on well as he could by the side of the wall, inside the Park, on the main road leading to Matterdale, in the presence of Messrs. Jacob Blamire and Joseph Thornbarrow, who happened to be returning from the Troutbeck Station at the time the hounds laid their fangs across his back. Mr. Blamire took up the fox, being a good finish after one of the best runs of the season -PENRITH OBSERVER

Westmorland Gazette 9th December 1871

WORRIED BY HOUNDS - A man employed in attending the Patterdale Fox Hounds was sadly worried on Thursday. It seems that two of the dogs were fighting and the attendant hastened to part them, when, not only the two, but most of the pack fell upon him and mangled and tore him dreadfully.

Lancaster Gazette and General Advertiser for Westmorland, Lancashire, Yorkshire 25th January 1873


Probably only a “small pack” perhaps at times “trencher fed,” their records do not appear to have survived the years and their exploits do not seem to have troubled the local press.

The Bald Howe hounds also had various masters. Hounds were most of the time kennelled at Jennie Hill, Bald Howe; John Taylor better known in those days as “Squire” Taylor was master, and owned them for many years. Joe Head afterwards managed them and when Mr. James Hutchinson, Horrock Wood, Watermillock, was master, hounds were kept at Bett Grove. The last masters were George Donaldson and John Martin, Thomas Jackson, now of Dockray, Matterdale, being secretary. They were hunted by John Stamper, Tom Parker, James Dawson and last by the famous Joe Dawson who died at Greystoke. Joe was considered one of the finest hunters who ever hunted a pack of hounds. His fine musical voice was well known and taken all round he would have outclassed the famous John Peel. When once asked if his hounds were in good form, Joe remarked “Aye, my lad; they can kill out but fleeing things, an they hev to be a gay bit off t’ grund”. He was uncle to Joe Bowman the present huntsman. It must be remembered that foxes were not so numerous as they are now. There were two packs hunting nearly the same country as the one does now.” (FUSEDALE 1910)

After the amalgamation in 1873, Mr. J. W. Marshall was the first master; the deputy being Mr W. Parker, and the pack was called the Ullswater foxhounds. Abe Pattinson, another great huntsman, was first to have charge of the joint pack. For whips he had from time to time W. Pattinson, J. Donaldson, J. Cameron. H. Watson and H Lancaster. The records now for a time were kept by Mr. Aaron Nelson, the schoolmaster of Patterdale, who not only kept the minutes of the hunt, but recorded the chases in a very delightful manner. It is estimated in those days the subscription to the hunt amounted to something like 160, of which 70 was expended in kennel establishment, and 45 in hound feed.

The following minutes of the first meeting held, "at a meeting of the proprietors and others interested in the foxhunting of the mountain districts, held at Patterdale Old Hotel 10th of May 1873, an arrangement for uniting the two packs called the Matterdale or Bald How Hounds and the Patterdale foxhounds was entered into and agreed to", of which the following is a copy.

It is mutually agreed this 10th day of May 1873 by John Grisedale, Wm. Atkinson Grisedale and John Walton on behalf of the proprietors of the Patterdale hounds, and George Donaldson and, John Taylor and John Martin, on behalf of the Proprietors of the Bald How Hounds, that the Patterdale Foxhounds and the Bald How Hounds shall from this date be untied and hunted as one pack of foxhounds.

“That the united pack shall be managed in future by a committee to consist of the following personages:-John W. Marshall, Esq., Henry G. Howard, Esq. Mr. George Donaldson. Mr. John. Grisedale. Mr. John Martin. Mr. John Walton. Mr. John Taylor. Mr. Wm. Atkinson Grisedale. Mr. James Airey, and Wm. Parker, Esq., to act for J. W. Marshall, Esq. in his absence.”

“Four members of the committee to form a quorum. A general meeting to be held annually on the first Saturday in the month of September, at the Royal Hotel, Dockray one year, and the Patterdale Old Hotel the succeeding year, the first meeting to be held at Dockray at 4 o’clock in the afternoon of September 6th to make all arrangements for the ensuing season.”

It is also agreed that a huntsman be appointed who is unconnected with either pack.

As witnessed our hands the day and year aforesaid:
John Grisedale John Martin
John Walton (x) John Taylor
George Donaldson . Wm Atkinson .Grisedale.

The following notice of amalgamation was published in the Penrith Observer September 9th 1873 .

“We are glad to find these excellent packs are now and will be known as the Ullswater Foxhounds. At an adjourned meeting of the committee of management held at the Royal Hotel, Dockray, on Saturday, 6th September, present J. W. Marshall. W. M. Parker. G. Donaldson. John Grisedale. John Walton. John Taylor and W. A. Grisedale. Mr. J. W. Marshall was unanimously appointed Master. The kennels will be at Patterdale Hall. Subscription lists are opened, the Earl of Lonsdale most kindly lending support both to the funds and in giving leave for the hounds to draw the coverts near Lowther.

Sir H. C. Musgrave, Bart, Mr. Howard, of Greystoke and Mr. Hassall also giving similar aid. There can be but one opinion that this much desired arrangement of uniting the packs will prove a great boon to the admirers of fox hunting in the district, the now only desideratum being a generous contribution to the subscription list.

Master 1873 – 1880 Mr. J. W. Marshall
Deputy Mr. W. Parker
Huntsman 1873 – 1879, Abraham (Abe) Pattinson

It was also noted at about this time it was claimed that the Ullswater pack, never suitably situated for acquiring horse-flesh, and since the purr of the motorcar replaced the jingle of traces on Kirkstone Pass, the difficulty is yearly becoming more acute.

The Field (March 1873) describes the Ullswater pack as consisting of, “between fifteen and twenty couple of hounds and three couple of shaggy mountain terriers.”

“They hunt five days a fortnight. The hounds are bred to be hardy, fleet and musical. The huntsman, Abe Pattinson is a tall, lank and wiry man, who can walk as fast as most men can run. He had various men acting as whipper-in including W. Pattinson and J. Donaldson. Despite foxes being low in number, at the Shepherd’s Meet at Kirkstone on 3rd November 1876 his hounds managed to kill three foxes between 7.30am and 4.00pm.

The kennels are at Patterdale Hall, a huntsman (mounted in the riding districts) and whip form the staff; they have other help when needed. Upwards of 15 brace of foxes have been killed on an average each season. The foxes are of the large greyhound breed, very fast and stout. The loss of hounds each year is serious, owing to falling from precipitous rocks and rheumatic founder from running foxes into far-distant localities and then laying out for the night, thus a hardy constitution and good coat are indispensible.”

The article goes on to report a hunt which met at Lyulph’s Tower on the western shore of Lake Ullswater with a field of ten horsemen and one hundred foot followers. The day was a blank.

The first three meets of the now combined pack at Lyulph’s Tower, kennels for Black Crag and Mardale drew blanks. On 13th November 1873 saw the first kills at a meet from Aldby Divisions, among those present were Lord Lonsdale and Lord Lowther.

In those days the pack travelled quite considerable distances to hunt and after staying the night at Nook End, Ambleside cast off on Loughrigg, the unkennelled a fox in Miss. Cookson’s wood, which took them to Huntingstile, returning via the Great Langdale valley to Wetherlam, the fox finally being pulled down near Coniston Old Man.

Mardale saw the start and finish of a 60 mile hunt which occupied eight hours. The day ended in the Dun Bull with a 17lbs fox hanging from the beams whilst the followers celebrated.

At the close of the first season the pack had caught 26 foxes.

The second season saw 29 foxes accounted for and the pack strengthened by the addition of five couple of hounds from the Earl of Lonsdale’s pack at Barleythorpe.

On November 4th 1875 at a Wythburn meet, the pack killed a sweet mart on Helvellyn.

Whilst on 9th December at a Crosby Ravensworth meet three foxes were accounted for.

January 17th 1876 saw a fox swim Ullswater Lake twice, he was unkennelled on Helvellyn at almost the same spot where the unfortunate Gough lost his life in 1805.

THE ULLSWATER FOXHOUNDS – Monday, the 29th January, the Kennels. Found at Thornhow Intake, thence carried him up the valley of Grisedale to St. Sunday Crag and Askhowe, where he was killed. Wednesday 31st at Howtown on the Westmorland side of Lake Ullswater. A delightful morning – free from mist – the frost of the night causing no impediment. A glorious find on the rocks above “The Bower Earth,” and away went as line a fox as eyes could see in full view of horsemen, pedestrians and hounds – the famous “Ruby” leading – through Swarthfell Breast and Ghyll to the top of the Green Hill, and far away as straight as possible to Brock Crag, Rampscale Dale Head, where he went to ground – Margery, Clasher, Ruby and Ranger first up. Before the huntsman arrived reynard had bolted, and was off in front of the pack to Bonscale Pike, his point evidently being the impregnable stronghold of “The Bower.” This after several detours he sighted, but one of the horsemen putting on all steam, arrived there before him and with a crack or two of his whip and a hint “Hark – Hack – Away,” turned him down to the Otterstone Farm, the pack running together in close and beautiful order. “Towler,” "Mercury,” "Trumpeter,” “Margery,” “Ruby,” and “Roguery in front, - carrying a full chorus of grand music, rattled him away across the Otterstone Farm, through the young plantation and across the gorse to Thrang Crag Farm towards Crookdyke. Here he was headed by a shepherd, and whether he was scared by this “David,” or his collie, your correspondent saith not, yet, with his own eyes beheld the bad luck, and back the sly un went behind the buildings, retracing his steps through the whins (the pack now piloted by the staunch old “Ranter” and “Royal,”) towards his stronghold, “The Bower,” here, for a second time, he was barred by the “Tally Ho,” and sight of a veteran hunter who caused him to skedaddle up the rugged Barton Fell and again he steered towards Swarthfell. Two hours in front of “The Ullswater” had, however, now told its tale; he began to climb inaccessible rocks, and for a time lodged there in security – the knowing hounds, perfectly well aware of his retreat, and although powerless to reach him, the huntsmen, by their gestures, guessed Vulp’s whereabouts and succeeded in whipping him off the ledge of a glassy rock face and away he forthwith betook himself in his race for life. Once more he binked on a hideous precipice, and being compelled to make himself scarce, in the attempt to gain another harbour in Ivy Crag, missed his footing and fell headlong down (50 feet) on the shellies below, dragging his more than half lifeless body into a hole near “The Bower,” so oft a sure refuge – now too late – his brush being soon to hand. Great was the excitement in respect to poor Reynard, anxiety had been unceasingly turned to “the situation” of the gallant hounds. “Where are they?” Happily the huntsman’s eye caught sight of the danger, and with a blast from his horn drew them back from seeing Vulp’s terrible measure and escaping the same fate.

A hearty invitation from the worthy owner of Ravencragg next claimed the personal attention of the hunters, himself a keen sportsman and for many years a popular master of the E.H. right glad were all to see him out this day mounted on a princely black cob, “doing the run, and there at the finish.” COR

Westmorland Gazette 10th February 1877

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