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TSattantgne W 















And in yon wither' d bracken's lair, 
Slumbered the wolf and shaggy bear ; 
Once on that lone and trackless sod 
High chiefs and mail-clad warriors trod, 
And where the roe her bed has made, 
Their last bright arms the vanquish' d laid. 

The days of old have passed away 
Like leaves iipon the torrent grey, 
And all their dreams of joy and woe, 
As in yon eddy melts the snow ; 
And soon as far and dim behind, 
We too shall vanish on the wind. 

Lays of the Deer Forest. 



FEW who have studied the literature of British 
Zoology can have failed to remark the gap which 
exists between Owen's " British Fossil Mammals and 
Birds," and Bell's " British Quadrupeds ;" the former 
dealing chiefly with prehistoric remains, the latter 
with species which are still existing. 

Between these two admirable works a connecting 
link, as it were, seems wanting in the shape of a 
history of such animals as have become extinct in 
Britain within historic times, and to supply this is the 
aim of the present writer. 

Of the materials collected, during many years of 
research, some portion has been already utilized in a 
Lecture delivered by the author before the " Hert- 
fordshire Natural History Society," in October, 1879, 
and in several articles in the Popular Science Eeview 
and the natural history columns of The Field. 

The exigencies of time and space, however, neces- 

* Popular Science Eeview, 1878, pp. 53, 141, 251, 396; and The Field, 
^879 : Sept. 27 ; Oct. 4, 1 1 ; Nov. i, 8, 29 ; Dec. 20 and 27. 


sitated a much briefer treatment of the subject in the 
journals referred to than is here attempted, and to 
these essays, now presented to the reader in a con- 
solidated form, considerable additions have been 

That the subject admits of still further amplifica- 
tion the author is well aware ; but^" ars long a vita 
brevis est" and the materials at present collected 
have already assumed such dimensions, that it has 
been deemed preferable to offer them to the reader 
in their present form, rather than postpone publica- 
tion indefinitely, in the hope of some day realizing an 
ideal state of perfection. 

Should the present volume pave the way for 
future research on the part of others, the Author 
will be amongst the first to welcome the result of 
their labours. He has already to acknowledge his 
indebtedness to Dr. J. A. Smith and Messrs. Edward 
Alston, J. A. Harvie Brown, and J. P. Hoare, whose 
taste in the same line of research has prompted 
them to favour him with several interesting commu- 
nications, which have been embodied in the following 
pages ; while to Dr. Smith he is especially obliged 
for the use of four woodcuts which were prepared 
to illustrate papers of his own in the "Proceed- 
ings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland." 


In regard to that portion of the present work 
which treats of the ancient breed of wild white 
cattle, it may be thought, by some, a little presump- 
tuous on the part of the writer to deal with a subject 
on which an entire volume has been so recently and 
so ably written by the late Mr. Storer. But it 
should be stated that almost all the materials for 
this portion of the book were not only collected long 
before Mr. Storer's work was published, but were on 
the eve of being incorporated in an important essay 
by Mr. Edward Alston, which was nearly ready for 
the press when Mr. Storer's volume appeared. 

ft would be ungenerous, however, on the part of 
the writer were he to withhold an acknowledgment 
of his indebtedness to Mr. Storer's work for many 
useful additions to his own (each, in fact, containing 
something which the other had not), and in particular 
for several details of the former extent of ancient 
forests, which have been embodied in the Intro- 







* . . 








Fossil Cranium of Bear, Dumfriesshire 13 

Eecent Cranium of Bear. Under Surface ...15 

Bear Hunt. From an old print 18 

Anglo-Saxon Gleemen's Bear Dance 20 

Bear-baiting. From a carved seat of the I4th century 25 


Cranium from the English Fens. Upper Surface . 44 

The same. Under Surface 45 

Lower Jaw of Beaver from the English Fens . . 51 
A Beaver at work 60 


Fragments of Eeindeer's Horn, from Caithness . .71 
Antler of Keindeer, from Orkney 75 


Wild Boar Hunting. From a MS. of the 9th century 79 
Spearing a Boar. From a MS. of the I4th century 85 

Skull of Wild Boar 86 

Tracking a Wild Boar. Sixteenth century . . .103 
Group of Wild Boars, from a carved horn . , . .109 
The Boar's 'Head, Eastcheap 1 1 1 


Skull of Wolf 117 

Cranium of Wolf. Upper Surface 120 

Cranium of Wolf. Under Surface 121 

Teeth of Wolf. Natural Size 123 

Wolf hunt. Sixteenth century " 151 

Irish Wolf-hound 188 

Ancient Hunting Horn 205 

TheKelay 209 


Skull of Wild Ox, Fifeshire 216 

Skull of Wild Ox, Lancashire 217 

Coin of Cunobelin, with Wild Ox on reverse , . .219 

* Wild Bull of Chartley 231 

Wild Bull of ChiUingham 233 



THE interest which attaches to the history of 
extinct British animals can only be equalled by the 
regret which must be felt, by all true naturalists, at 
their disappearance beyond recall from our fauna. 

It is a curious reflection at the present day, as we 
pass over some of the wilder parts of the country, 
that at one time these same moors and woods and 
glens, which we now traverse so securely, were 
infested to such an extent with ferocious animals, 
that a journey of any length was, on this account, 
attended with considerable danger. Packs of 
wolves, which usually issued forth at night to 
ravage the herdsman's flocks, were ever ready to 
attack the solitary herdsman, or unwary traveller on 
foot, who might venture to pass within reach of their 
hiding-places. In the oak woods and amongst the 
reed-beds which fringed the meres, wild-boars 
lurked while munching their store of acorns, or 
wallowing, as is their wont, in lacustrine mire, while 
they searched for the palatable roots of aquatic 


plants. Many a traveller then had cause to rue the- 
sudden and -unexpected rush of some grand old 
patriarch of the " sownder," who, with gnashing 
tusks, charged out upon the invader of his domain,, 
occasionally unhorsing him, and not unfrequently 
inflicting severe injuries upon his steed. In the 
wilder recesses of the forest, and amongst the caves 
and boulders of the mountain side, the bear, too, 
had his stronghold, and though exterminated at a 
much earlier period, long co- existed with the animals 
we have named ; while in a few favoured localities 
in the west and north, the harmless, inoffensive 
beaver built its dam, and dived in timid haste at the 
approach of an intruder. 

At the present day it is difficult to realize such a 
state of things, unless we consider at the same time 
the aspect and condition of the country in which 
these animals lived, and the remarkable physical 
changes which have since taken place. Nothing 
we have now left can give us any idea of the 
state of things then ; not the moors of North 
Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, and Lancashire, the 
wild wastes of Westmoreland, Cumberland, and 
Northumberland, nor even the extensive deer-forests 
and moors of the Scottish Highlands ; for the pathless 
woods which then covered a great part of these dis- 
tricts are all gone, and so also are the thick forests 
which, outside of but connected with them, skirted 
these higher grounds. The advance of man and the 
progress of cultivation has destroyed most of these 
wild woods, but it was not so in late Saxon and in 


early Norman times. Even in the less hilly districts 
more than half the country was one vast forest, and 
in the north at least these forests flanked the moun- 
tain ranges, extending their wild influence, and at 
the same time rendering them more inaccessible and 
wilder still. 

Between the tenth and twelfth centuries, great 
forests came up almost to the gates of London. In 
a curious tract entitled "Descriptio nobilissimce civi- 
tatis Londoniw" written by Fitz-Stephen, a monk of 
Canterbury, in 1174, it is stated that there were 
open meadows of pasture lands on the north of the 
City, and that beyond these was a great forest, in 
whose woody coverts lurked the stag, the hind, the 
wild-boar, and the bull. 

Two-thirds, or nearly, of the county of Stafford 
was, even in relatively modern times, either moorland 
or woodland. The northern part, going nearly up to 
Buxton, was moorland ; the central and eastern part 
forest. Harwood, in his edition of Erdeswick's 
" Survey of Staffordshire," quoting Sir Simon Degge, 
says : " The moorlands are the more northerly 
mountainous part of the country lying betwixt Dove 
and Trent ; the woodlands are the more southerly 
level part of the country. Between the aforesaid 
rivers, including Needwood Forest, with all its 
parks, are also the parks of Wichnor, Chartley, Hore- 
cross, Bagots, Loxley, and Paynesley, which anciently 
were all but as one wood, that gave it the name 
of woodlands." Leland, about 1536, though he 
speaks of the woods being then much reduced, con- 

B 2 


firms this, and even carries this country of woods 
farther south. He says : " Of ancient tyme all the 
quarters of the country about Lichefeild were forrest 
and wild ground."* That would bring the Stafford- 
shire woodlands close up to the purlieus of Charn- 
wood Forest, in Leicestershire. Nor is this all ; 
for about three miles north-west of Lichfield com- 
mences Cannock Chase, with its parks as numerous 
and extensive as those of Needwood, from which it 
was separated only by the River Trent. This chase, 
even at a comparatively recent period, was " said to 
contain 36,000 acres," while " in Queen Elizabeth's 
time Needwood Forest was twenty-four miles in 
circumference. " t 

The mountainous and moorland district to the 
north of Staffordshire, as many names of places still 
indicate, was also heavily wooded at one time, and 
contains, near its riorthern extremity, the singular 
defile of rocks and caverns locally called Ludchurch, 
said to have been the scene of Friar Tuck's ministra- 
tions to Robin Hood and his merry men.]: This 
part of Staffordshire, bounded by the river Dove on 
its eastern side, and on the west passing close to 
Congleton in Cheshire, and another ancient forest 
known as Maxwell forest, runs like a wedge near 
Buxton into that wild country where the great 

* Leland, " Itinerary," ed. Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1 14. 

t Erdeswick, " Survey of Staffordshire," ed. Harwood, pp. 192, 
279. These were both celebrated for their oaks and hollies : those in 
Needwood alone, in 1658, when it had been much reduced in extent 
and denuded of its timber, being valued at 30,710?. 

I Storer, " Wild Cattle of Great Britain," p. 65. 


forest of Macclesfield, the Peak forest, and the high 
Derbyshire moors uniting together constitute " that 
mountainous and large featured district which in 
ancient times had been well timbered and formed 
part of the great midland forest of England.* And 
a part only ; for we have seen that this midland 
forest district, of which the Peak was the centre, 
included towards the south the greater part of 
Staffordshire, while towards the east an imaginary 
line only separated it from the mighty forest of 
Sherwood. From Nottingham to Manchester was 
one continuous forest, and far into Yorkshire the 
great moor extended to join other and more northern 
forests there. From the Peak northwards, through- 
out West Yorkshire and East Lancashire, the forests, 
moors, and mosses connected with this mountain 
range were immense.t Some idea of their extent 
may be gathered from the remarks of the learned Dr. 
Whitaker, who, describing Whalley, in Lancashire, in 
late Saxon and early Norman times, says : " If, ex- 
cluding the forest of Bowland, we take the parish of 
Whalley at a square of 1 6 1 miles, from this sum at 
least 70 miles, or 27,657 acres, must be deducted for 
the four forests, or chaces, of Blackburnshire, which 
belonged to no township or manor, but were at that 
time mere derelicts, and therefore claimed, as 
heretofore unappropriated, by the first Norman lords. 
There will therefore remain for the different manors 
and townships 36,000 acres or thereabouts, of which 
3,520, or not quite a tenth part, was in a state of 
* Robertson, "Buxton and the Peak," p. 41. f Storer, p. 66. 


cultivation; while the vast residuum stretched far 
and wide, like an ocean of waste interspersed with 
a few inhabited islands."* Let us try to realize the 
state of things, when out of 63,657 acres of land, 
over 60,000 were either forests or waste, and nearly 
half of that amount unclaimed and unappropriated, 
while close at hand towards the north was the still 
larger and wilder forest of Bowland, so admirably 
described by Whitaker, and towards the south that 
of Rosendale with an amazing range of moors beyond 
it. But this statement only shows how the great 
central range was covered and fringed with wastes 
and forests on its western side. On the eastern side 
in the same neighbourhood, the country of Craven, 
it was just the same even so lately as the time of 
Henry VIII. Leland says : " The forest, from a 
mile beneth Gnaresborough to very nigh Bolton 
yn Craven is about twenty miles in length ; and in 
bredeth it is in sum places an viii miles ;" the whole 
intermediate district between Bolton and Bowland 
forest, or between it and Whalley, being about as wild 
as anything can be. In the north of England the 
same state of things prevailed, often on an even 
larger scale ; one forest alone in Cumberland, and 
that not in its wildest part, being described in " The 
Chartulary of Lanercost Priory " as extending at 
the time of the Norman Conquest from Carlisle to 
Penrith, a distance of eighteen miles, and as "a 
goodly forest, full of woods, red-deer and fallow, wild 
swine, and all manner of wild beasts." 

* Whitaker, "History of Whalley," p. 171. 


As for Scotland, we can scarcely over-estimate the 
wildness that everywhere prevailed, when in the 
south a vast forest filled the intervening space 
between Chillingham and Hamilton, a distance, as 
the crow flies, of about eighty miles, including within 
it Ettrick and numerous other forests ;* and further 
north the great Caledonian wood, known even at 
Rome, covered the greater part of both the Low- 
lands and Highlands, its recesses affording shelter at 
one time to bears, wolves, wild-boars, and wild white 

Enough, perhaps, has been here advanced to show 
that the whole of this immense range of mountains 
and hills, with its vast forests and wastes, was as 
^favourable a tract of country for the preservation of 
aboriginal wild animals as could well be conceived ; 
but for further details of the situation and former 
extent of English forests the reader may be referred 
to Whitaker's " History of Manchester" (Bk. I. 
P- 337)5 Gilpin's "Forest Scenery" (vol. ii.), to 
which Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, in his edition 
(1834) has made some valuable additions; Scrope's 
"Art of Deer Stalking" (srd ed. 1847); and Mr. 
Evelyn Shirley's "English Deer Parks" (1867). 

To describe the various modes of hunting in these 
early times would be beside the purpose of the present 
work, which is, rather, to collect together evidence, 
geological and historical, of the former existence here 
of certain wild animals which have become extinct 
within historic times. On the subject of hunting, 
* Storer, p. 68. 


then, we must be brief, and will here be content with 
quoting the following remarks of Mr. Earle in his 
edition of the Saxon Chronicle. " Now-a-days," he 
says, "men hunt for exercise and sport, but then 
they hunted for food, or for the luxury of fresh meat. 
Now the flight of the beast is the condition of a good 
hunt, but in those days it entailed disappointment. 
They had neither the means of giving chase or of 
killing them at a distance, so they used stratagem to 
bring the game within the reach of their missiles. 
A labyrinth of alleys was penned out at a convenient 
part of the wood, and here the archers lay under 
covert. The hunt began by sending men round to 
break and beat the wood, and drive the game with 
dogs and horns into the ambuscade. The pen is the 
haia so frequently occurring amongst the silvce of 
Domesday. Horns were used, not, as with us, to call 
the dogs, or, as in France, to signal the stray sports- 
man; but to scare the game. In fact it was the battue, 
which is now, under altered circumstances, dis- 
countenanced by the authorities of the chase, but 
which, in early times, was the only way for man to 
cope with the beasts of the field." Such, at least, 
was the course usually adopted. Particular animals, 
however, were hunted in a particular manner, and 
to some of these modes we shall have occasion to 
refer later. 



Ursus arctos. 

To treat first of the earliest historic species which 
has died out, no doubt can exist that the Brown 
Bear inhabited Britain in times of which history 
takes cognisance, the few written records which have 
come down to us of its former existence here being 
supplemented by the best of all evidence, the dis- 
covery of its remains. These have been found in the 
most recent formations throughout England, which 
can scarcely be regarded as fossil, and, if not abso- 


lately identical with those of the Bear which still 
exists in many parts of the European continent at all 
events indicate only a variety.* 

In Britain, says Professor Boyd Dawkins, the Bear 
survived those changes which exterminated the cha- 
racteristic post-glacial mammalia, and is found in 
the prehistoric deposits both in Great Britain and 
Ireland, and is of considerable interest, because it is 
the largest of the post-glacial carnivores which can be 
brought into relation with our history. A nearly 
perfect skull from the marl below the peat in Manea 
Fen, Cambridgeshire, and now in the Woodwardian 
Museum, Cambridge, has been described and figured 
by Professor Owen, who has also described portions 
of another skull from the same locality. In 1868 
Dr. Hicks found remains of the Brown Bear in peat 
at St. Bride's Bay ; and numerous bones and teeth 
of this animal have been discovered at various times 
in Kent's Cavern, Devonshire. 

The exploration of the Victoria Cave, near Settle, 
revealed the fact that the Brown Bear afforded food 
to the Neolithic dwellers in the cave, who have left 
the relics of their feasts and a few rude implements 
at the lowest horizon ; the broken bones and jaws 
of this animal lying mixed up with the remains of 
the Bed-deer, Horse, and Celtic Shorthorn.t 

Nor are we without direct testimony that the 
Bear was killed by the hand of man during the 
Roman occupation of Britain. In the collection of 

* Owen, " British Fossil Mammals," p. 78. 

f Boyd Dawkins, Pop. Sci. Review, 1861, p. 247. 


bones from the " refuse heaps" round Colchester 
made by Dr. Bree, the remains of this animal were 
found along with those of the Badger, Wolf, Celtic 
Shorthorn, and Goat. Professor Boyd Dawkins has 
also met with it in a similar " refuse heap" at Rich- 
mond, in Yorkshire, which is most probably of 
Roman origin. 


Dr. J. A. Smith has described and figured^ the 
skull of a large Bear which was found with a rib of 
the same animal in a semi-fossil condition at Shaws, 
in Dumfriesshire, in peat moss lying on marl, among 
the most recent of all our formations, associated 
moreover with the Red-deer, Roe-buck, Urus, and 
Reindeer ; the skull being that of a large adult 
animal of great size and strength, f Strange to say, 
these are the only remains of the Bear which have 
yet been discovered in Scotland. 

As regards Ireland, some doubt seems to exist in 
the minds of palaeontologists whether any of the 
ursine remains discovered there are referable to 

* " Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scotland," vol. xiii. p. 360 (1879). 
f For permission to copy the figure of this skull the author is 
indebted to Dr. J. A. Smith and the Society above referred to. 


Ursus arctos* Dr. Leith Adams, writing on ' Recent 
and Extinct Irish Mammals' ("Proc. Roy. Dublin 
Soc.," 1878), has very fully described several skulls 
and other portions of ursine skeletons exhumed in 
Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, King's County, 
Kildare, Waterford, and Limerick, and after com- 
paring them with similar bones of Ursus spclceus, 
U. fossilis, U. ferox, U. arctos, and U. maritimus, 
has arrived at the following conclusion : 

" A study of the osteological characters of these 
ursine remains which represent all the authenticated 
instances of discoveries hitherto recorded from 
Ireland, appears to me to furnish characters referable 
only to one species, which, on the score of dimensions 
and general features, is inseparable from the so-called 
Ursus fossilis of Goldfuss,f and at all events from 
the smaller Spelean Bear found in English and other 
deposits, as distinguished from the larger congener 
found also in England, but more plentifully on the 
continent of Europe. Unless the skull from Kildare 
represents the Ursus arctos (and that, I think, is 
doubtful), J all the others seem to me to belong to 

* See Dr. R. Ball on the Skulls of Bears found in Ireland, Proc. 
Roy. Irish Acad.," vol. iv. p. 416 (1850); Wilde, "Proc. Roy. Irish 
Acad.," vol. vii. p. 192 (1862); Scott, 'Catalogue of Mammalian 
Fossils discovered in Ireland,' "Jour. Geol. Soc. Dublin," vol. x. p. 144 
(1864) ; Dr. Carte, "Jour. Geol. Soc. Dublin," vol. x. p. 114 (1864). 

f The relationship between Ursus ferox and Ursus arctos is very 
close, not only as regards fossil but also recent individuals, so much 
so that by external appearance only they are indistinguishable. 

J A fine cranium 13^ inches in length was found in cutting a new 
channel for the river Boyne, in the barony of Carberry, co. Kildare ; 
and is of peculiar interest from its resemblance to the Pyrenean 
variety of Ursus arctos, to which it has been referred by Dr. Carte. 


the Ursus fossilis, which, so far as osteological and 
dental characters are concerned, would appear to 
have been the progenitor of the recent Ursus ferox, 
now repelled to Western North America. In this 
latter view I am supported by the distinguished 
palaeontologist, Mr. Busk, F.R.S., whose differentia- 
tions, as regards several of the Irish crania, were 


made before I commenced to study them. It may 
be said, therefore, that Ursus ferox, as in England, 
belonged to the prehistoric fauna, and was a native 
of the island in the days of the Reindeer, Mammoth, 
Horse, and Wolf, with which its remains have been 
found associated, as also with exuvia of the Red- 


deer, Fox, and Variable or Alpine Hare ; and 
although not found along with the Irish Elk, it has 
been generally met with in similar lacustrine beds. 
It seems to me that, -as in the neighbouring island, if 
the Brown Bear had ever been a native of Ireland, it 
would, as in Scotland and England, have come down 
to the historical period ; so that the fact of no notice 
of its presence, and the very emphatic assertions or 
silence of Bede, St. Donatus,* Giraldus Cambrensis, 
and Pennant, seem to me to bear out the results of 
recent disclosures. The probability is, therefore, 
that, like its congeners, all, excepting the Hare and 
Red-deer, became extinct in the island before man 
commenced to make records of theferce of the country; 
for it is a remarkable circumstance that in all the 
remains of Irish extinct mammals, none present 
the fragmentary characters afforded by the cavern 
deposits of the sister island ; thus showing on the one 
hand, that they had not been destroyed by man, nor 
by the bone-crunching hyaena, but that they met 
their deaths, for the most part, through natural 
causes and accidents." 

The Welsh Triads, some of which are supposed to 
have been compiled in the ninth century, but most 
of which are of a much later date,f say that " the 
Kymry, a Celtic tribe, first inhabited Britain ; before 
them were no men there, but only bears, wolves, 
beavers, and oxen with high prominences." 

* In Ireland, according to St. Donatus, who died in 840, the Bear 
was not indigenous : " ursorwn rabies nulla est ibi," 

f See Stephens, " Literature of the Kymry," p. 427 (ed. 1876), and 


Many places in Wales, says Pennant, still re- 
tain the name of Penarth, or " the bear s head," 
another evidence of their former existence in our 

Our illustrious countryman, John Ray, in his 
" Synopsis Methodica Animalium" (a small octavo 
volume, published in 1693), tells us (pp. 213, 214) 
that his friend Mr. Edward Llwyd, in an old Welsh 
MS. on British laws and customs, discovered cer- 
tain statutes and regulations relating to hunting, 
from which it appeared that the Bear was formerly 
reckoned amongst the beasts of chase (E novem guce 
venantur ferarum genenbus fria tantum lafrabilia t 
csse, ursum, scandentia,\ et phasianum, and its 
flesh was esteemed equally with that of the Hare 
and the Wild Boar : " Summam sen prcecipuce cestima- 
tionis ferinam esse, ursi, leporis et qpri." 

* "British Zoology," vol. i. p. 91 (ed. 1812). 

t Latrabilia, " baitable animals." The term is thus explained by 
Ray (op. cit.) : " Ursus fera latralilis [baitable] dicitur, quia cum 
tardigradus sit, nee velociter currere possit, canea eum facile asse- 
quuntur, contra quos deinde corpore in clunes erecto aliquandiu se 
defendit ; canes autem initio timidi nee propius accedere aut eum 
allatrant antequam aggrediantur et occidant." See also Stuart, 
" Lays of the Deer Forest," vol. ii. p. 441. 

J Scandentia, sc., " climbers," the marten and wild cat, perhaps also 
the squirrel. The mention of the pheasant here is remarkable, and 
we should be curious to discover the date of this MS., if still preserved, 
and the Welsh equivalent, in Llwyd'a opinion, for " phasianum." We 
know from another source (a MS. dated about 1177) that this bird 
was to be found here in 1059, since it is included in a bilj of fare of 
that date prescribed by Harold for the household of the canons at 
Waltham Abbey. It would be interesting to know whether the Welsh 
MS. referred to was an earlier document or otherwise. 

In " a letter (dated Sept. 14, 1696) from the late Mr. Edward 
Llwyd, Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, to Dr. Tancred 
Robinson, F.R.S., containing several observations in Natural History, 


Of the ancient British methods of hunting the 
Bear, we are but imperfectly informed. We learn, 
however, from rude descriptions and ruder figurings, 
that he was watched to his couch, or was traced to 
his winter retirement, when arrows, pikes, clubs, 
javelins, and long knives, were used against him ; he 
was also occasionally betrayed into a pitfall. In 


later times the Bear was trailed with boar-hounds, 
and despatched by the spear or knife of the hunter, 

made in his travels through Wales " ("Phil. Trans.," vol.xxvii.p.462), 
the writer observes : 

" Sir William Williams hath several Welsh MSS. (tho' I think 
no dictionary) that woxild be of use to me ; but his son tells me he's 
resolv'd never to lend any. They are chiefly modern copies out of 
Hengwrt Study in Meirionydhsliire, which I am promis'd free access 
to ; and have this time taken a Catalogue of all the ancient MSS. it 
contains. There are the works of Taliefyn, Aneuryn gwawdydh, 
Myrdhyn ab Morvryn and Kygod'to Elaeth, who lived in the fifth and 


as the animal rose to grapple with the dogs, or with 
their master. Bear hunting must have been always 
a dangerous sport, in this respect and if ever the 
great Cave Bear was an object of the hunters' attack, 
the boar-hunt of Calydon, as described by Ovid, 
could alone have furnished a parallel. 

That bears were to be found in Britain during the 
eighth century may be inferred from the fact that 
in the " Penitentiale" of Archbishop Egbert, drawn 
up about A.D. 750, it is laid down (lib. iv.) that " if 
any one shall hit a deer or other animal with an arrow, 
and it escapes and is found dead three days afterwards, 
and if a dog, a wolf, a fox, or a bear, or any other wild 
beast hath begun to feed upon it, no Christian shall 
touch it."* 

In the time of Edward the Confessor, as we learn 
from " Domesday/' the town of Norwich furnished 
annually one Bear to the king, and six dogs for the 
baiting of it.t 

Baiting wild animals was a favourite pastime with 

sixth centuries (but the small MS.containingthem all seemstohave been 
copied about 500 years ago), as also of several others valuable in their 
kind." In a subsequent letter to Dr. Robinson, dated Lhan Dyvodog, 
Glamorganshire, Sept. 22, 1697, he says : " I had no sooner received 
your last but was forced to retire in a hurry to the mountainous parts 
of this county, in order to copy out a large Welsh MS. which the 
owner was not willing to spare above two or three days, and that in 
his neighbourhood. It was written on vellum about 300 years since, 
and contained a collection of most of the ancient writers mentioned by 
Dr. Davies at the end of the Welsh dictionary. So I thought it 
better trespassing on the gentleman's patience that lent it, than lose 
such an opportunity as perhaps will not occur again in my travels. 
This is the occasion of my long silence the transcribing of that book 
taking up two months of our time." 

* Migne, " Patrologiaa Cursus Completus," torn. Ixxxix. p. 426. 

t Gale, vol. i. p. 777 ; Blount, " Ancient Tenures," p. 315 (ed. 1815). 



the Romans and their imitators, the Roman Britons. 
And as amphitheatres were constructed of squared 
stone, and in a magnificent style for these exhibitions 
at Rome, so were others erected here in Britain in a 
less pretentious style of architecture, and of the 
humbler materials of clay, chalk, gravel, and turf. 
Such are the great amphitheatres at Silchester and 
Dorchester, once extending in several rows of seats, 


and still including an arena of nearly two hundred 
yards in circumference.* 

In all probability the trained bears exhibited by 
the Anglo-Saxon Gleemeii were native animals taken 
young and tamed. 

So far as history informs us, it would seem that 
Scotland, and more particularly the great Cale- 
donian forest, was the chief stronghold of our British 
Bishop Leslie says that that great wood was 

* "Itin. Cur.," pp. 155-170; "Phil. Trans." 1748, p. 603. 


once " refertissimam" full of them.* Cainden, too, 
writing of Perthshire, observes : " This Athole is 
a country fruitful enough, having woody vallies, 
where once the Caledonian forest (dreadful for its 
dark intricate windings and for its dens of Bears, and 
its huge wild thick-maned bulls) extended itself far 
and near in these parts, "t 

After the occupation of Britain by the Romans, 
Caledonian Bears seem to have been perfectly well 
known in Rome. We learn from Martial that they 
were used for the purpose of tormenting male- 
factors, of which we have an instance in the fate 
of Laureolus : \ 

Nuda Caledonio sic pectora praebuit urso, 
Non falsa pendens in cruce, Laureolus. 

Which may be Englished : 

Thus Laureolus, on no ideal cross suspended, 
Presents his nude body to the Caledonian bear. 

Camden, quoting Plutarch, assures us " that they 
transported Bears from Britain to Borne, where they 
held them in great admiration. " How these Bears 
were captured, and in what way they were trans- 
ported to the coast and shipped on board the Roman 

* "De origine, moribns, &c., Scotorum," 1578. 

f " Britannia," ed. Gibson, vol. ii. p. 293 ; ed. Phil. Holland, ii. 
p. 40. See also " Old Statist. Ace. ScotL," vol. xii. p. 449 (1794). 

J Martial, " De Spect.," vii. 3, 4. 

Camden, ed. Holland, ii. p. 31. Gough, in his edition (vol. iii. 
p. 367), says that neither he nor Pennant could discover the passage 
referred to, nor have we been more successful. The passage from 
Martial, however, is thus commented on in the Delphin edition: 
" Caledonia, regio Britannia, ubi sylvas densissimco undf scevi ttrsi 
Romam mittelantur," 

C 2 


galleys, must, we fear, for ever remain matters for 
speculation, We do not even know the precise 
period at which these very hazardous consignments 
were made ; but it may be assumed to have been 
probably about the same time that Wolf-dogs were 
being exported to Rome, which we know was about 
the latter end of the fourth century, A Roman 
consul of that day, Symmachus by name, writing to 
his brother Flavinus over here, thanks him for a 
present he made him of some dogs which he calls 
Canes Scotici, and which were shown at the Circen- 
sian games, to the great astonishment of the people, 
who could not believe it possible to bring them to 
Rome otherwise than in iron cages. It was no doubt 
in iron cages that the Bears were transported. 

Some commentators have supposed that the dogs 
here referred to were English mastiffs ; but it may 
be remarked that for some time before Symmachus 
lived, and for many centuries after, Ireland was well 
known by the name of Scotia, and the appellation 
" Canes Scotici," while inapplicable to English 
mastiffs, would be appropriate to Irish wolf-hounds. 
Moreover, the dogs upon which the highest value 
was always set in former times were those which 
were of use for the chase of wild animals, and we 
know from various sources that Wolf-dogs were held 
in such esteem as to be considered worthy the 
acceptance of monarchs, and were frequently sent 
abroad as presents to foreign potentates.* 

* See an article by the writer, on the Irish Wolf-dog, in Baily's 
Magazine for September, 1879. 


As regards the former existence of Bears in the 
Highlands, a shadow of their memory, says Stuart * 
is preserved in their Gaelic name, Magh-Ghamhainn;^ 
and the traditions of some remote districts which 
retain obscure allusions to a rough, dark, grisly 
monster, the terror of the winter's tale, and the 
origin of some obsolete names, in the depths of the 
forest and the dens of the hill. { Hence Ruigh-na- 
beistc, the monster's slope, Loch-na-beiste, the monster's 
lake ; for beist in Gaelic signifies generally, not, as 
might be inferred from its similarity to the English 
word, a mere animal (which is beathach, or ainmhidh), 
but something beyond an ordinary creature, a mon- 
ster, a beast of prey. Thus, in the above instances, 
r we believe it to have been derived from the myste- 
rious and exaggerated recollection of the last solitary 
Bear which lingered in the deep recesses of the forest, 
the terror of the hunter and of the herdsman. 

Thompson states that although he is not aware of 
any written evidence tending to show that the 
Brown Bear was ever indigenous to Ireland, a tradi- 
tion exists of its having been so. It is associated 
with the Wolf as a native animal in the stories handed 
down through several generations to the present 

* "Lays of the Deer Forest," ii. p. 215. 

f Literally " the paw-calf," from mag, a paw, and ghamainn, a 
yearling calf. The name is now often corrupted into matli-ghamainn 
the calf of the plain, which has no meaning, for bears are not 
characteristically inhabitants of plains ; but the implied allusion to 
the size and colour of a calf, with the distinction of the paw, is 
descriptive of the beast. 

J Traditions of this kind will be found in the story of ' The Brown 
Bear of the Green Glen,' related in Campbell's "Popular Tales of the 
West Highlands," vol. i. pp. 164-170. 


time.""" Sir William Wilde asserts that he discovered 
an Irish name for the Bear in an old glossary in the 
library of Trinity College, Dublin ; and it is remark- 
able that the name to which he refers, " maghgham- 
hainn" (corrupted into " math-ghamhainn," which, 
as already explained, conveys a different signification), 
is identical with the Gaelic name for the animal still 
preserved in traditions of the Highlands. 

When the Bear became extinct in Britain is un- 
certain. Prof. Boyd Dawkins thinks it must have 
been extirpated probably before the tenth century, t 
The stoiy quoted by Pennant j from a history of the 
Gordon family, to the effect that in 1057 a Gordon, 
in reward for his valour in killing a fierce Bear, was 
directed by the king to carry three Bears' heads on 
his banner, is altogether a fallacy. Reference to a 
copy of the original Latin MS. from which the 
translation quoted by Pennant was made (preserved 
in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh) shows that the 
animal killed was a Boar, " immanem aprum.'' More- 
over, the arms of the Gordons happen to be Boars', 
not Bears' heads. The difference of one letter only 
in the name might easily account for a mistake 
which has been since blindly copied by many writers. 
As our ancestors, says Jamieson, called the boar 
bare, by a curious inversion the bear is universally 
denominated by the vulgar a boar. 

* " Nat. Hist. Ireland," vol. iv. p. 33. 
f " Cave Hunting," p. 75. 
J "British Zoology," vol. i. p. 91 (ed. 1812). 

" The History of the Ancient, Noble, and Illustrious Family of 
Gordon." By William Gordon, of Old Aberdeen. 2 vola., Edinb., 1726. 


Col. Thornton, in his " Sporting Tour through the 
Northern parts of England and the Highlands of 
Scotland " (1804), states that on the island of Inch- 
merin, which is the largest island in Loch Lomond, 
being nearly two miles in circumference, beautifully 
Avooded and well stocked with deer, Lord Graham 
had turned out a few wild Bears. Whether this is a 
misprint for Boars, we have no means of knowing, but 
from the employment of the adjective "wild," this is 
probable, or he may have been misled by the Scottish 
pronunciation referred to by Jamieson. 

When native Bears no longer existed, our ancestors 
imported foreign ones for a purpose that does no 
credit to the manners and customs of the times. 


" Bear-baiting" in all its cruelty was a favourite 
pastime with our forefathers. 

Fitz-Stephen, who lived in the reign of Henry II., 
tells us that in the forenoon of every holiday during 
the winter season the young Londoners were amused 
with Boars opposed to each other in battle, or with 
Bulls and full-grown Bears baited by dogs. There 
were several places in the vicinity of the metropolis 
set apart for the baiting of beasts, and especially the 


district of St. Saviour's parish in Southwark, called 
Paris Garden, which contained two Bear-gardens, 
said to have been the first that were made near 
London. In these, according to Stow, were scaffolds 
for the spectators to stand upon an indulgence for 
which they paid in the following manner : " Those 
who go to Paris Garden, the Belle Sauvage, or 
Theatre, to behold Bear-baiting, interludes, or fence 
play, must not account of any pleasant spectacle 
unless they first pay one pennie at the gate, another 
at the entrie of the scaffold, and a third for quiet 
standing."* The time usually chosen for the ex- 
hibition of these national barbarisms, which were 
sufficiently disgraceful without this additional re- 
proach, was the after-part of the Sabbath Day. One 
Sunday afternoon in January, 1583, the scaffold 
being overcrowded with spectators, fell down during 
the performance, and a great number of persons 
were killed or maimed by the accident, which the 
Puritans of the time failed not to attribute to a 
Divine judgment.t 

Erasmus, who visited England in the time of 
Henry VIII. , says there were many herds of Bears 
maintained in this country for the purpose of baiting. 
When Queen Mary visited her sister the Princess 
Elizabeth, during her confinement at Hatfield House, 
a grand exhibition of Bear-baiting took place for 

* See also Strutt's " Sports and Pastimes." 

f See Field, "A Godly Exhortation by occasion of the late Judgment 
of God shewed at Paris Garden. 13 January, 1583, upon divers Persons 
whereof some were killed, and many hurt at a Bear-bating," &c. 
I2mo, Lond. 1583. 


their amusement, with which, it is said, "their 
highnesses were right well content." Queen Eliza- 
beth, on the 25th of May, 1559, soon after her 
accession to the throne, gave a splendid dinner to 
the French Ambassadors, who were afterwards en- 
tertained with the baiting of Bulls and Bears, the 
Queen herself remaining to witness the pastime until 
six in the evening. The day following, the same 
ambassadors went by water to Paris Garden, where 
they saw some more Bear-baiting. Some years 
afterwards, as we learn from Holinshed, Elizabeth 
received the Danish Ambassador at Greenwich, and 
entertained him with the sight of Bear-baiting, 
"tempered with other merry disports/' Laneham, 
referring to some Bear-baiting which took place 
before the Queen at Kenilworth, in 1575, says 
that thirteen Bears were provided for the occasion 
and that they were baited with a great sort of 
ban-dogs.* In these accounts we find no mention 
made of a ring put through the Bear's nose, which 
certainly was the more modern practice ; hence the 
expression by the Duke of Newcastle in " The 
Humorous Lovers," printed in 1617: "I fear the 
wedlock ring more than the bear does the ring in 
his nose." 

The office of Chief Master of the Bears was held 
under the Crown, with a salary of sixteen pence a 
day. Whenever the Sovereign chose to be enter- 

* " A Letter : whearin part of the entertainment vntoo the Queenz 
Maiesty at Killingworth Castl, in Warwick Sheer in the Soomerz 
Progress 1575 is signified." 


tained with this sport, it was the duty of the 
Master to provide bears and dogs, and to super- 
intend the baiting. He was invested with un- 
limited authority to issue commissions, and to 
send his officers into every county in England, who 
were empowered to seize and take away any bears, 
bulls, or dogs that they thought suitable for the 
royal service. The latest record by which this 
diversion was publicly authorized is a grant to Sir 
Saunders Duncombe, dated October u, 1561, "for 
the sole practice and profit of the fighting and com- 
bating of wild and domestic beasts within the realm 
of England, for the space of fourteen years. " 

The nobility also kept their " Bear-ward," who 
was paid so much a year, like a keeper, falconer, or 
other retainer. Twenty shillings was the payment 
made in 1 5 1 2 to the " Bear- ward " of the fifth Earl of 
Northumberland "when he comyth to my lorde in 
Cristnias with his lordshippes beests for makynge of 
his lordship's pastyme the said xij. days." 

The Prior of Durham, in 1530-1534, kept bears, 
and apes too, as we learn, from an entry in the 
accounts of the bursar of the monastery, where 
the following entry occurs : Et custodi ursorum et 
cimearum [simiarum] domince Principle, i Junii . . 5$. 

A travelling "Bear- ward" depended entirely on 
his patrons. In the "Household Book" kept by 
the steward of Squire Kitson, of Hengrave, Suffolk, 
and commenced in 1572, we find, under date July, 
1574, the entry : "To a Bear man for bringing his 
Bears to Hengrave .... ij.s vjd." 


Paul Hentzner, who, in the capacity of travelling 
tutor to a young German nobleman, visited England 
in 1598, has left a curious record of his journey in 
the form of an " Itinerary," preserved to us through 
the instrumentality of Horace Walpole.* 

In this " Itinerary " the writer, after describing 
the theatres (p. 269), particularly mentions another 
place, built in the form of a theatre, which served for 
the baiting of bulls and bears. " They are fastened 
behind," he says, " and then worried by great 
English bulldogs ; but not without great risque to- 
the dogs, from the horns of the one and the teeth 
of the other ; and it sometimes happens they are 
killed upon the spot : fresh ones are immediately 
supplied in the place of those that are wounded or 

When any Bear-baiting was about to take place, 
it was publicly made known, and the " Bearward " 
previously paraded the streets with his animal, to 
excite the curiosity of the populace, and induce 
them to become spectators of the sport. On these 
occasions the Bear, who was usually preceded by a 
minstrel or two, carried a monkey or baboon on his 
back. In " The Humorous Lovers," the play above 
referred to, " Tom of Lincoln " is mentioned as the 
name of a famous Bear, and one of the characters, 
pretending to personate a " Bearward," says ; " I'll 
set up my bills, that the gamesters of London, Horsly- 

* "A Journey into England by Paul Hentzner in the year 1598." 
First printed in the year 1757, and contained also in Dodsley's 
' Fugitive Pieces," vol. ii. pp. 233-311 (1765). 


down, Southwark,* and Newmarket may come in 
and bait him before the ladies; but first, boy, go 
fetch me a bagpipe ; we will walk the streets in 
triumph, and give the people notice of our sport." 

The two following advertisements, published in the 
reign of Queen Anne, will serve as specimens of the 
manner in w 7 hich these pastimes were announced to 
the public : 

" At the Bear Garden in Hockley-in-the-Hole, near 
Clerkenwell Green, this present Monday, there is a 
great match to be fought, by two dogs of Smithfield 
Bars, against two dogs of Hampstead, at the Reading 
Bull, for one guinea to be spent : five let-goes out of 
hand ; which goes fairest and furthest in wins all. 
Likewise there are two Bear-dogs to jump three 
jumps a piece at the Bear, which jumps highest for 
ten shillings to be spent. Also a variety of Bull- 
baiting and Bear-baiting ; it being a day of general 
sport by all the old gamesters ; and a bulldog to be 
drawn up with fireworks. Beginning at three 

A second advertisement runs thus : " At William 
Well's Bear-garden in Tuttle Fields, Westminster, 
this present Monday, there will be a green Bull 
baited, and twenty dogs to fight for a collar ; and 
the dog that runs furthest and fairest wins the 
collar : with other diversions of Bull and Bear 
baiting. Beginning at two of the clock."t 

* The Bear-garden at South wark, with its " band-dogges or mas- 
tives," three of which were able to hold down a bear, is briefly alluded 
to by Camden, vol. i. p. 434 (ed. Holland). 

t Strutt's " Sports and Pastimes," p. 237. 


Sometimes as many as seven bears were exhibited 
at once, each confined by a long rope or chain, and 
baited with three or four large and courageous dogs, 
who rushed upon him with open jaws. The bears, 
ferocious and fretful with continued fighting, were of 
great strength, and not only defended themselves 
with their teeth, but hugged the dogs to death, or 
half suffocated them before their masters could release 
them. The bears generally bore the same names as 
their owners "Hunx," "George Stone," " Old Harry 
of Tame," and " Great Ned," were well-known public 
characters, and Shakspeare alludes to one named 

Sometimes the bear broke loose, to the terror of 
women and children. On one occasion a great blind 
bear broke his chain, and bit a piece out of a serving- 
man's leg, who died of the wound in three days. On 
such emergencies a daring gallant would often run 
up and seize the furious beast, entangled as he was 
with dogs, and secure him by his chain. It was 
to an exploit of this kind that Master Slender 
referred when, boasting of his prowess to Mistress 
Anne Page, he said: "I have seen ' Sackerson' 
loose twenty times, and have taken him by the 
chain ; but, I warrant you, the women have so cried 
and shrieked at it, that it passed : but women, 
indeed, cannot abide 'em ; they are very ill-favoured 
rough things." Merry Wives of Windsor, act i. sc. i. 

Shakspeare has drawn not a few illustrations 
and metaphors from this rude sport. In another 
place he speaks of the bearward's bears frightening 


the fell-lurking curs by the mere shaking of their 
chains, and describes a hot o'er weening cur running 
back and biting his owner, who withheld him, yet 
when suffered to get within reach of the bear's fell 
paw, clapped his tail between his legs and howled. 
Second Part of Henry VI. act v. sc. i. 

The noise of the bear-gardens must have been 
well-nigh unendurable, what with the din of men 
eager to bet on their favourites, and the loud shouts 
of the respective partisans of dog and bear. At the 
present day the comparison of a noisy house to a 
" bear-garden" still perpetuates the national amuse- 
ment of our forefathers. 

Happily, such pastimes have long been obsolete, 
although the memory of these bygone days is still 
occasionally revived by an attempted exhibition of a 
tame performing bear.* 

* Singularly enough while these pages were passing through the 
press the daily papers of August n, 1880, furnished a report of a 
summons which had just been heard by the magistrate at Greenwich 
against two Frenchmen who had been brought before him " charged 
with exhibiting a bear in the streets, to the danger of the public." A 
constable stated that on the afternoon of the previous day he was on 
duty at Eushey Green, Lewisham, when a party of ladies drove up in 
a carriage and said that some men were performing with a strange 
animal at Catford Bridge, and that their horse would not pass it. He 
went to the bridge, where he saw the two Frenchmen with a bear, 
which was dancing, turning summersaults, and climbing a pole. He 
told them that such exhibitions were not allowed in the public streets, 
and on their continuing the performance he took them into custody. 
The magistrate told the men that if they would at once leave the 
country with the bear, he would let them go. They gave the desired 
promise, and were accordingly discharged. 



Castor fiber. 

THERE is no reason to doubt that, within historic 
times, the Beaver was an inhabitant of Britain, 
although, like the Bear, the Wolf, and the Wild Boar, 
it has long been exterminated before the advance of 

The earliest notice we find of it is contained in 
the code of Welsh laws made by Howel Dha 
(A.D. 940), and which, unlike the ancient Saxon codes 
and the Irish Senchus Mor, contains many quaint 


laws relating to hunting and fishing. It is there 
laid down that the king is to have the worth of 
Beavers, Martens, and Ermines, in whatsoever spot 
they shall be killed, because from them the borders 
of the king's garments are made. 

The price of a Beaver's skin, termed " croen 
llostlydan" at that time was fixed at 120 pence, 
while the skin of a Marten was only 24 pence, and 
that of a Wolf, Fox, and Otter 8 pence. This shows 
that even at that period the Beaver was a rare animal 
in Wales. 

The superior warmth and comfort which the 
Beaver's skin afforded, added to the reputation of 
the medicinal properties of the castor, must have 
operated as a very powerful incitement to hunt the 
Beaver in those early times. We must, therefore, 
refer the period of their abundance in this country 
to an age much earlier than that of Howel Dha, the 
period, perhaps, before the Britons were driven from 
the more southern parts of Britain into the wilds of 
Cambria by the Romans, Danes, and Saxons, and 
when the mountainous wilds of Wales were almost 
unreclaimed from a state of Nature by the hand of 
cultivation. At such a time, it is very likely, the 
Beavers were numerous in many of the mountain 
streams and pools, but after the defeat of Vortigern, 
who settled with a remnant of his scattered Britons 
among these mountains, it is easy to conceive the 
Beaver would be sought for by the hunters, perhaps 
for the sake of food, and certainly for its fur ; so 
that after the lapse of some centuries which passed 


before the time of Howel Dha, its numbers 
would be progressively diminished, and that very 
considerably. There still remained, however, ex- 
tensive wastes in Howel's time, for it was among 
the laws of that prince that every man was entitled 
to so much land of that kind as he should bring into 
cultivation. We cannot imagine, therefore, that the 
Beaver was unable to find a secure retreat among 
the valleys of these barren mountains, the hills of 

Howel Dha died in the year 948 ; the travels 
of Giraldus de Barri or, as he is generally 
styled, Giraldus Cambrensis did not take place 
till about two hundred and fifty years after- 
wards ; it cannot, therefore, excite surprise that the 
Beaver had then become scarce and local, since 
we have seen the value attached to its skin, and 
established by law between two and three centuries 
before that time. 

In his quaint account of the journey he made 
through Wales in 1188, in company with Baldwin, 
Archbishop of Canterbury (who afterwards fell before 
Acre in the train of Richard Cceur de Lion), Giraldus 
tells us that the Beaver was found in the river Teivi 
in Cardiganshire, and gives a curious account of its 
habits, apparently derived in some part from his own 
observation, t 

Harrison, in his description of England prefixed to 
Holinshed's "Chronicles," remarks: "For to saie 

* Donovan, " British Quadrupeds." 
t " Itinerary," ed. Hoare, vol. ii. p. 49. 


the truth we have not manie Bevers but onelie in 
the Teifie in Wales."* The precise spot on the 
river appears to have been Kilgarran, which is 
situated on the summit of a rock at a place called 
Canarch Mawr (now Kenarth), where there is a 
salmon leap. 

Drayton, in his " Polyolbion " (song vi.), has thus 
versified the tradition : 

More famous long agone, than for the salmon's leap, 
For Beavers Tivy was, in her strong banks that bred, 
Which else no other brook of Britain nourished: 
Where Nature in the shape of this now perish'd beast 
Her property did seem to have wondrously exprest. 

There is some reason for supposing, however, that 
there were other rivers in Wales, besides the Teivi, 
which were frequented by these animals. " In the 
Conway," says Camden, " is the Beavers' pool," and a 
portion of the river bank above Llanwrst is supposed 
to have been a Beavers' dam. 

Sir Bichard Colt Hoare, in his edition of the 
" Itinerary " of Giraldus, remarks : " If the Castor 
of Giraldus, and the Avanc of Humphrey Llwyd and 
of the Welsh dictionaries, be really the same animal, 
it certainly is not peculiar to the Teivi, but was 
equally known in North Wales, as the names of the 
places testify. A small lake in Montgomeryshire is 
called Llyn yr Afangc ; a pool in the river Conway, 
not far from Bettws, bears the same name (the 
Beavers' Pool) ; and the name of the vale called 
Nant Ffrancon, upon the river Ogwen, in Caernar- 

* Holinshed's " Chronicles," vol. i. p. 379. 


vonshire, is supposed by the natives to be a cor- 
ruption from Nant yr afancwm, or the Vale of the 

Owen, in his Welsh Dictionary (1801), says that it 
has been " seen in this valley within the memory of 
man ;" but says Sir Richard Hoare, " I am much 
inclined to think that 'Avanc' or 'Afangc' is nothing 
more than an obsolete or perhaps local name for the 
common ^Otter, an animal exceedingly well known 
hi all our lakes and rivers, and the recognition of 
it by Mr. Owen considerably strengthens my sup- 
position. Afancwm is evidently the plural of Afangi, 
composed of the words A/an, a corrupt pronuncia- 
tion of Afon (a river), and Ci (a dog), synonymous, as 
I conceive, with Dyfrgi (the water-dog), which is the 
common appellation of the Otter amongst the Welsh. 
The term ' Mostly dan,' or broad-tail, from Llost (tail) 
and Llydan (broad), appears to be more immediately 
applicable to the character of the Beaver as described 
by naturalists, and is equally authorized by the Welsh 
Dictionaries, though not so often used as Afangc."* 

Upon this we would remark that, while it is pretty 
certain that the animal seen, according to Owen, 
" within the memory of man," was the Otter, the 
minute description given by Giraldus shows that the 
animal to which he referred was the Beaver. 

Describing the river Lleder at its junction with 
the Conway, Wood says :f " From a more westerly 
course the Conway here turns nearly due north, and 

* " Itinerary," ed. Hoare, vol. ii. pp. 55-57. 

t "The Principal Rivers of Wales Illustrated." 4to, 1813, part ii. 
p. 239. 

D 2 


exhibits the most enchanting views, in which the 
grand features of the mountains are most happily 
blended with the softer woodland scenery of the 
vale. On either side the river, rude rocks rear their 
naked heads, a scanty covering of underwood com- 
mences half way down, which, increasing as it 
descends, intermixed with rock, clothes the bottom 
through which the river winds. In the midst of 
this luxuriant wood, a stone bridge of one large arch 
is seen crossing the stream. This bridge is called 
Pont Lli/n ar Avangc, or the Bridge of the Beavers' 
Pool, from its situation at the head of a deep pool in 
the river Conway, in old times frequented by those 
animals." He adds, " One part of Nant Francon is 
named Sarn ar Avangc, or the Beavers' Dam : and it 
is improbable that a people would not only have a 
name for an animal in their language, but actually 
assign the places frequented by them, unless such 
animal had existed in that country." 

Amongst the Welsh historians, Sir John Price 
and Humphry Llwyd have both noticed the former 
existence of the Beaver in Wales. The first- 
named of these authorities, Sir John Price, is the 
author of a description of Cambria that is usually 
found annexed to the History of Wales, continued 
from Caradoc of Llancarvon, the contemporary of 
Geoffrey of Monmouth. This description of the 
Cambrian principality by Sir John Price was written 
in the time of Henry VIII., and was afterwards 
augmented by Humphry Llwyd, Gent., of Denbigh, 
who died in 1568. The work in consequence did not 


appear till the time of Queen Elizabeth, when an 
English translation of it was inserted by Dr. Powel, in 
his " History of Wales," published in 1588. We are 
thus minute in describing the circumstance, because 
the passage we are proceeding to notice has been 
attributed to Dr. Powel, while from the preceding 
observations it will appear to be really the writing of 
a much earlier author. The passage is as follows : 
" Kdarup Greek, Fiber Latin, Beaver English, Afanc 
British. Giraldus in Itinerarium." 

" In Teivi, above all the rivers in Wales, were in 
Giraldus's time a great number of Castors, which 
may be Englished Beavers, and are called in Welsh 
avanc, which name onelie remaineth in Wales at this 
date, but what it is very few can tell. It is a beast 
not much unlike an Otter, but it is bigger, all hearie 
saving the taile, which is like a fishe taile, as broad 
as a man's hand. This beaste useth as well the 
water as the land, and hath very sharp teeth, and 
biteth cruellie till he perceive the bones cracke." 

After mentioning the efficacy of the secretions 
of this animal in physic, the writer proceeds : 
" He that will learn what strong nests they make, 
which Giraldus calleth castells, which they build 
upon the face of the water with great bows (boughs) 
which they cut with their teeth, and how some lie 
upon their backs, holding the wood with their 
fore feet, which the other draweth with a crosse stick, 
the which he holdeth in his mouth, to the water- 
side ; and the other particularities of their natures, 
let him read Giraldus, in his Topographic of Wales." 


After stating that the Teivi was the only river in 
Wales, or even in England, that had Beavers, 
Giraldus remarks : " In Scotland they are said to be 
found in one river, but are very scarce." Hector 
Boece (or Boethius), that shrewd old father of 
Scottish historians, writing in 1526, enumerates the 
Fibri* or Beavers, with perfect confidence, amongst 
the ferce naturae of Loch Ness, whose fur was in 
request for exportation towards the end of the 
fifteenth century, and he even speaks of "an incom- 
parable number," though perhaps he may be only 
availing himself of a privilege which moderns have 
taken the liberty of granting to medieval authors 
when dealing with curious facts. Bellenden, in his 
vernacular translation of Boethius' "Croniklis of 
Scotland," which he undertook at royal request in 
J 536, while omitting stags, roe-deer, and even 
otters, in his anxiety for accuracy, mentions " Bevers " 
without the slightest hesitation ; and, though ex- 
ception may be taken to the first clause of the 
sentence, yet the passage is worth quoting : "Mony 
wyld Hors and amang yame are mony Martrikis 
[pine martens], Bevers, Quhitredis [weasels], and 
Toddis [foxes], the furrings and skynnis of thayme are 
coft [bought] with great price amang uncouth [foreign] 

More than a century later, Sir Robert Sibbald was 
unable to say that the Beaver still existed in Scotland. 
In his " Scotia lllustrata," published in 1 684, he 

* Fibri, from Fiber, denoting an animal that is fond of the Jlbrum 
or edge, of the water. 


remarks (par. iii. cap. v.), " Boethius dicit Fibrum seu 
Castorem in Scotia reperiri, an mine reperiatur 

It is more than probable, says Dr. Robert Brown, 
that the worthy historians were influenced by a little 
of the natural pride of country the " perfervidum 
ingenium Scotorum " when they recorded the Beaver 
as an inhabitant of Loch Ness in the fifteenth 
century, since no mention is made of it in an Act of 
Parliament dated June, 1424, although " mertricks, 
foumartes, otters, and toddis " are specified. They 
were perhaps so strongly impressed by the wide- 
spread tradition of its existence in former days as to 
lead them to enumerate it among the animals of 
Scotland, and it may be observed that the authors 
quoted boast immoderately of the productions of their 
country. At the beginning of the century (at least) 
the Highlanders had a peculiar name for the animal 
Losleatlian * or Dobhran losleathan, the Broad- 
tailed Otter ; and, according to Dr. Stewart of Luss, 
in a letter to the late Dr. Patrick Neill, Secretary of 
the Wernerian Society of Natural History, a tradi- 
tion used to exist that the Beaver, or Broad-tailed 
Otter, once lived in Lochaber. 

Of the Beaver in Scotland, says Stuart, f there is 
later testimony than of the Bear. Like that animal, 
it has left in its radical Gaelic name, Dobhar-Chu,\ 

* Compare the Welsh Llostlydan. 

f " Lays of the Deer Forest," vol. ii. p. 216. 

In the modern confusion of obsolete terms, this name is some- 
times confounded with that of the Otter, which is Dolhar-an. 
Stuart, op. cit. 


the water-dog, an evidence of its aboriginal nativity 
in Scotland ; and its existence in Britain is noticed 
in a romance not anterior to the twelfth century,* of 
which the materials were probably derived from 

It must be confessed that the written records we 
have of its occurrence are very fragmentary, and not 
wholly satisfactory ; but abundant evidence of its 
former existence in this country at a date long 
anterior to these historical notices is supplied by the 
remains of the animal which have been exhumed in 
various places, both in England and Scotland. 

In the third volume of the " Memoirs of the Wer- 
nerian Nat. Hist. Society" (1821, p. 207), is an 
account by the late Dr. Neill of some remains of 
Beavers found in Perthshire at the Loch of Marlee, 
Kinloch, and in Middlestots Bog, Kimmerghame, in 
Berwickshire.! Another skull exhumed at Linton, 
in Roxburghshire, is preserved in the Museum at 
Kelso. j Other remains of Beavers, considered to 
be identical with the species found in North America 
at the present day, have been discovered at Mun- 
desley, Bacton, and Happesburg, Norfolk, in the 
nuvio-marine crag near Southwold, Suffolk, in the 
peat near Newbury, and in the Thames Valley at 
Crossness Point, near Erith. || 

* Fragment of the " Romance of Sir Tristram," MS. in the Douce 
Collection, No. 2. 

f See, also, Dr. C. Wilson, 'On the Prior Existence of the Castor 
fiber in Scotland,' Edinb. New Phil. Journ., 1858, N.S., vol. viii. 

J " Proc. Berwicks. Nat. Club," vol. ii. p. 48. 

Collet, " Phil. Trans.," 1757, p. 112. 

|| Boyd Dawkins, Popular Science Review, 1868, p. 39. 


The species has also occurred in a semi-fossil con- 
dition in Cambridgeshire,^ and at one time, it would 
seem, this animal must have been common in the 
eastern counties of England. Mr. Skertchley, in his 
remarks on the prehistoric fauna of the Fens,f says, 
" The remains of the Beaver are tolerably abundant 
in the Fens ;" and further on he adds : " So far as 
my observation goes, the Beaver did not build dams 
in the Fens, owing, in all probability, to the abun- 
dance of still water. The late J. K. Lord, an ex- 
perienced trapper, remarked that in North America 
the Beaver only constructs dams in running streams, 
and chooses still water where possible, to save the 
labour of architecture. " 

Mr. Henry Reeks, however, writing in December, 
1879, states that if such is the case it is utterly 
opposed to the habits of these animals as observed 
by him in Newfoundland. He says " Newfoundland 
is a vast lake district, abounding in ponds and lakes, 
from a few hundred yards to many miles in length 
and breadth ; Beavers also are still plentiful there. It 
is, however, a fact that out of the hundreds of Beavers' 
houses I saw there, none were built in ponds or lakes, 
but invariably on the brooks running into or from 
the lake. From my own observations, I do not 
think it would accord with the economy of the 
Beaver to build a house in still water, especially in 
countries like Canada and Newfoundland where, 
during the winter, there would probably be an 

* Jenyns' " British Vertebrate Animals," p. 34. 
t " The Fenland, Past and Present," p. 348. 


average of five feet of snow on the ground (although, 
of course, not evenly distributed), which means a 
rise of at least two feet of water in the ponds and 
lakes at the break-up of winter. How then would 
a Beaver manage this superabundance of still water ? 
You will probably say. " that's best known to the 


Beaver himself!" Just so ; but we know what a 
Beaver does under similar circumstances when he 
has built his house and dam on a running brook. 
During the summer months Beavers often frequent 
ponds and lakes at a distance from their houses for 
the purpose of feeding on the stems and roots of a 
pond lily (Nupliar advena). When a Beaver's house 

* From a specimen in the Museum of the Eoyal College of Surgeons. 


is placed on the margin of a lake, I think it will 
invariably be found to be at the mouth of a small 
brook running out of the lake, and vice versa." 

Pennant, or rather his editor, refers to a complete 
head of a Beaver, with the teeth entire, which was 
found in the peat at Komsey, Hants, * and Mr. F. 


Buckland has a fine specimen of a Beaver's jaw, 
which was dug up in a fen in Lincolnshire ; various 
portions of the skeleton have been discovered in 
Kent's Hole, Devonshire, the only British cave which 
has yielded the remains of this animal, f 

* " British Zoology," vol. i. p. 60, note (ed. 1812). 
f Pengelly on the Ossiferous Caverns of Devonshire, " Eeport Brit. 
Assoc. 1869," p. 208, and 1877, pp. 1-8. 


Fossil remains of an extinct Beaver, closely allied 
to, but much larger than, the existing species, have 
been found in the Norwich crag at Cromer. Prof. 
Owen has described it under the name Trogontherium 

The town of Beverley, in Yorkshire, is said to 
have derived its name from the number of Beavers 
found in the vicinity, when in the eighth century 
(about 7 1 o) St. John of Beverley built his hermitage 
there, the foundation of the town. The stream on 
which the town was built was then called in Anglo- 
Saxon "Beofor-leag," or "the Beavers Lea;" but 
this has become softened down into its present pro- 
nunciation and spelling. " The town," says Leland, 
" hath yn theyr common seal the figure of a 
bever."f Other places in England also seem to 
indicate by their names the ancient haunts of this 
animal, as Beverege (Worcestershire), and Bevere 
Island, formed by the Beverburn or " Barbon" (two 
miles north of Worcester), Bevercotes (Nottingham- 
shire), Beverstone (Gloucestershire), and Beversbrook 

The lately-attempted re-introduction of the Beaver 
into Scotland by the Marquis of Bute deserves some 
notice here. 

In a solitary pine wood near Rothesay, in the Isle 

* " British Fossil Mammals," p. 184. 

t Other authorities, however, suggest a different derivation e.g., 
in Phillips' " Yorkshire" (and ed. p. 105) we read : " At Beverley was 
the shrine of St. John, preceded by an earlier settlement marked by 
four stones, from which we infer that it was the British Pedivarllecli , 
and Greek Petonar, chief city of the Parisoi, as it still is of the East 
Hiding. From Pedwarllech we have Bevorlac, Bevevley." 


of Bute, a space of ground has been walled in so that 
the Beavers cannot escape, and through this Beaver's 
park runs a mountain stream. Left to themselves, 
they have quite altered the appearance of this stream, 
for they have built no fewer than three dams across 
it ; the lowest is the largest and most firmly con- 
structed, as it would seem the Beavers were fully 
aware that it would have to bear the greatest 
pressure of water. In order to strengthen this dam, 
these intelligent animals have supported the down- 
stream surface of it with props of strong boughs, as 
artfully secured as though a human engineer had been 
at work. Immediately above this the Beavers have 
constructed their hut or home, consisting apparently 
of a large heap of drift wood ; upon examination 
however, it appears that the sticks have been placed 
with regularity and order, so that the general 
appearance of the hut is not unlike that of a bird's 
nest turned upside down. The Beavers have cut 
down a good many trees in their park, gnawing a 
wedge-shaped gap into one side of the tree until it 
totters, and then going round to the other side and 
gnawing the only portion of wood which prevents it 
from falling. If the felled log is too heavy for 
transport, they cut it into pieces, which they roll 
away separately. Although there have been one or 
two deaths, it is satisfactory to learn that these 
Beavers have bred in the island since their introduc- 
tion. In December, 1877, there were twelve known 
to be alive. They were reported to be very shy, 
retiring into their hut, or into the water, at the least 


alarm. Besides the vegetable food they pick up, 
they are fed principally with willow boughs, the bark 
of which they are said to strip off with the neatness 
of a basket-maker. 

Mr. Charles Hockin, who spent a fortnight, during 
the summer of 1879, at the primitive little village of 
Kilchattan Bay, in the Isle of Bute (which is only 
about a couple of miles from the Marquis of Bute's 
Beaver ponds), has been kind enough to supply us 
with the following account of his visit : 

" The Beavers have, I am informed by their keeper, 
increased considerably in number during the last few 
years, and numbered in 1878 about twenty-seven or 
twenty-eight, and there are, it is believed, eight or 
ten more this year ; certainly, judging by their 
works, they are increasing. They have now five or 
six weirs, or dams, across the stream, of which the 
second largest was partially carried away by the 
floods of the late spring, and now displays, in its 
section where cut off by the water, the wonderful 
cleverness of these interesting little engineers. 

" The largest dam they have constructed is about a 
hundred and twenty feet in length, and gives a depth 
of water in the pond above it of some eight or nine 
feet. It is arched against the stream in a manner 
showing almost human ingenuity, taking advantage 
of one or two trees, which originally must have stood 
on the very edge of the stream (a mere rivulet) ; 
it is built up of logs varying from two to four feet in 
length, and from one to four or five inches in diameter, 
worked together and filled in with mud, and 


measures some eight or ten feet thick at the base, 
and about two feet at the top. 

" The house which they have built for themselves is 
constructed of similar materials, and presents a 
dome-shaped top of about ten feet in diameter, 
rising some two or three feet above the water. 
There are two entrances or doors to the house, both 
being at the bottom of the water, and an air-hole or 
ventilator is left at the top, protected with sticks or 

" In addition to the house, they have constructed 
several burrows, which, entering the ground under 
water, run into the bank for three or four yards, and 
are provided with a ventilator similar to that in the 

"The largest pond, that in which the house is 
placed, is about thirty yards long by ten or twelve 
yards wide at the widest, the dam inclosing a little 
bay or inlet at one end, thus accounting for its extra 

"It is very wonderful to observe the manner in 
which these little workmen fell trees (some of them 
upwards of two feet in diameter), and almost in- 
variably bring them down so as to fall directly 
towards the water, thus giving them a shorter 
distance to drag the bark and branches when lopped 
off; and it is only when a tree, being nearly cut 
through at the base, succumbs in a storm coming 
from a wrong direction, or when, as it occasionally 
happens, they themselves wish it otherwise, that 
they fail to bring the trees down directly towards 


the stream. There is one instance of this latter fact 
which is very difficult to explain. A tree of about a 
foot in diameter grew close to the base of one of the 
dams, leaning at a considerable angle over the dam, 
and this, for some reason best known to themselves, 
they had left standing long after they had cut down 
trees at a considerable distance from the stream ; 
but last spring they started to cut it down, and 
down it came not, as it would be supposed, in the 
direction in which it leaned (which would have 
brought it right across the dam), but backwards 
from the water, and nearly exactly in a contrary 
direction from that in which it grew. How this was 
done I do not pretend to say, nor why, for it was not 
of the description of tree on which they feed (mostly 
Scotch fir) ; but there it lay, having been down 
some months, with all its bark on and the branches 
not lopped off, clear of the dam and stream. 

"The mode of felling trees is very interesting; 
their teeth cut as clean and sharp as a chisel, and 
the modus operandi (as seen by the keeper in his 
moonlight watches) is, a cut above and a cut below, 
a wrench, and out comes the chip. They appear 
never to work more than one at a time at each tree 
i.e., so far as the cutting down is concerned and to 
relieve one another at regular intervals, all work 
being done at night or in the very early morning. 
Two or more will join together to drag or roll a log to 
the water which is too heavy for one to manage, and 
the bark is always stripped off and stored under 
water for winter consumption, before the branches 


are cut into lengths and carried off for building 

" The story that Beavers use their broad flat tails 
as a ' trowel ' for plastering purposes is said by the 
keeper (who has spent a very great deal of time in 
watching their habits, getting up into a tree before 
dark, and sitting there without sound or motion for 
hours and hours) to be a myth. He describes the 
process of plastering as follows : The Beaver swims 
away from the dam or house upon which it is at 
work for some distance, then dives, and emerges 


again close to the dam or house, carrying the mud 
in its mouth. It then places it where required, and 
proceeds to knead it with its forefeet; and when 
one considers the enormous amount of work entailed 
in thus plastering a dam of Soft, or looft. long, 
i oft. to isft. thick at the base, and 8ft. to loft, 
high, it makes one wish that our human workmen 
would display a little more of the indomitable per- 
severance shown by these wonderful little creatures. 

* From a specimen in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. 


" They are remarkably shy of anything human, and 
upon the least alarm ' flop ' goes one of the flat tails 
upon the water, and 'presto!' not a Beaver is to 
be seen. 

" They feed mostly on the inner bark of the Scotch 
fir, great quantities of which they store under water 
near their house ; they also eat the younger shoots of 
the bracken fern, and one or two smaller shrubs of 
which I do not know the names. They are also very 
fond of the bark of young willow shoots, which the 
keeper supplies them with from time to time in the 

Since the date of Mr. Hockin's visit the keeper 
who has charge of these Beavers, Mr. J. S. Black, has 
published a most interesting account of them in the 
Journal of Forestry, for February, 1880,* which 
we cannot do better than quote in extenso. He says : 

"In 1874, the Marquis of Bute having obtained four 
beavers, caused a space of from three to four acres in 
extent to be enclosed in the wood between Meikle 
Kilchattan and Drumreach, and placed them there. 
These not succeeding, his lordship, on 6th January, 
1875, obtained seven others. Of these, four suc- 
ceeded so well that in 1878 I was certain .of sixteen 
being alive, which makes an average increase of four 
each season. There is a further increase this season, 
but to what extent I cannot say. 

" Arriving as they did in midwinter, these little 

* ' A Short Account of tow the Marquis of Bute's Beavers have 
succeeded in the Isle of Bute, Scotland.' By Joseph Stuart Black, 
Keeper, Bute Estate. 


animals, I can assure you, had a pretty hard time of it. 
However, after a few days' rest, having viewed the 
situation, they set vigorously to work to make them- 
selves comfortable, and began to construct a dam by 
forming a dyke or embankment across a small moor- 
land stream running through the enclosure ; at the 
same time they commenced to build a house to live in. 
" The materials of which the dyke is constructed 
are wood, grass, mud, and a few stones which are 
used for the purpose of keeping the grass and 
smaller pieces of wood in their place until more Is 
built on the top of them. They have continued rais- 
ing this embankment to a certain extent every year, 
until it has now attained the following dimensions, 
viz. : length, seventy feet ; height in the deepest 
part, fully eight feet; breadth of base at deepest 
part, from fifteen to twenty feet, sloped inside, not 
straight across, but finely arched against the stream, 
so that it may the more easily resist the great pres- 
sure of water which it has to bear ; perfectly level, 
so that when a spate of water comes down it may 
run evenly over the top from side to side. So sub- 
stantially have they built it, that no material damage 
has occurred to it from all the floods that have passed 
over it. They use a number of the larger pieces of wood 
as props, by fixing the thick end into the ground 
and the small end on the top, then build on the top 
of these, so as to fix them firmly. It would require 
to be seen to appreciate the great skill displayed in 
its construction ; as I think it would tax the energies 
of a Bateman or a Gale to make a better with the 

E 2 


same materials. If any damage does occur, they im- 
mediately find it out and repair it. I have seen them 
swim along the edge of the embankment, carefully 
examining it to ascertain the part most needful of re- 
pairs, then go to work with a will to rectify it. The 
dam is now seventy-eight yards long of still water. 

" Besides the dam already mentioned, upon which 
they bestow great care in its construction, owing to 
the house being built in it, they have other seven, 
some larger, some smaller ; one of them having an 
embankment 105 feet long, and an average depth 
of three feet. These serve as places of refuge if the 
beavers are disturbed when out roaming about in quest 
of food or felling the trees, also as a waterway for con- 
veying their food by when storing it for winter. 

In the construction of their dwelling the same 
kind of materials are used. As to how they built it : 
you must understand that for a considerable distance 
along one side of the stream, or burn, the ground 
rises in a steep bank, but about twenty yards above 
where they began to build the embankment for the 
dam there was a small level spot which they selected. 
Then at the bottom of the water they burrowed in 
three or four feet, rose up eight or ten inches, 
scooped out a space large enough to hold themselves, 
broke a hole in the surface about six inches in 
diameter, then began to cover it over with sticks, 
grass, and a few stones, always keeping it open in 
the centre by placing a few sticks perpendicularly, 
so as to act as a ventilator, and as the water rose in 
the dam and the family increased, they continued to 


build and enlarge the house, cutting their way up 
and forming their chamber or chambers inside, until it 
had now attained the following dimensions at the 
surface of the water (which is here about four feet 
deep), viz.-: height about five feet, length and 
breadth about nine feet, having a door at both sides 
placed at the bottom of the water so as to prevent 
their natural enemies from following them, chief 
among which is the wolverine, although happily for 
both them and us there are none of these here to 
disturb them. 

' ' It is out of the water they take the materials with 
which they build their house. Were the sides of 
the house perpendicular they could not land ; to 
obviate that difficulty they built a slip from two to 
three feet broad at its base, except where the doors 
are, so that they can land easily, and if they wish to 
enlarge the house they have got the foundation 
ready. To secure them against the winter storms, 
they commence about the middle of September and 
give their house a coat of mud all over. It is with 
the mouth and forefeet, which are formed more like 
hands than feet, that they convey the materials of 
which their embankment and house are made. They 
do not use their tail, as was at one time said, for 
plastering on the mud, but their forefeet, with which 
they very carefully stow it in among the sficks. As 
to what they use for a bed to lie on, it is wood 
shavings, which they prepare in the following manner. 
After using the bark for food, they then place the 
stick on end, holding it with both feet a bit apart 


then with their teeth pare it down into fine shavings. 
They are very cleanly in their habits, as they often 
clean out their house, not casting away the refuse, 
but using it either on the top of the house or the 
embankment of the dam to patch up a hole. 

" Their food in winter consists wholly of the bark 
of trees ; had they a choice I have no hesitation in 
saying they would prefer the willow and poplar. 
These not growing in the enclosure they had just to 
adapt themselves to circumstances, and take a share 
of what trees they could get, consisting of oak, plane 
tree, elm, thorn, hazel, Scotch fir, and larch. Of the 
hardwood, they seem to prefer elm to plane tree, 
then oak, of which they eat sparingly. Of the firs, 
the Scotch has the preference ; as for the larch they 
did not touch it till early in 1878, since which time 
they have taken to it very well. As for the alder 
and spruce fir, they eat almost nothing of them. 
Along with all these, we have always given them a 
supply of willow. In summer they eat freely of the 
common bracken, likewise grass, and young shoots of 
every description growing in the place. In autumn 
they grub up and feed upon roots, chief among which 
is the tormentil (Potentilla tormentilla], better known 
to Scotch people as ' tormentil root,' and the young 
tender shoots of the common ' spurts' before they 
appear above ground, at the same time cutting down 
a tree now and again and feeding on the bark. 

"As to the tree-felling it is all done at night ; the 
number which they have cut down amounts now to 
187 trees from five feet in circumference downwards. 


These are all forest trees, besides a great many smaller 
bushes. Before cutting down a tree, they mark it 
all round at the height at which they wish to cut it. 
They begin to cut at the opposite side to which they 
intend the tree shall fall, invariably making it fall 
with the top to the water. Where they grow near 
enough, they make them fall across the stream or 
dam, causing many to suppose that they are so 
placed to form a bridge, whereby they may cross 
from one side of the water to another. They do not 
require a bridge, they can swim, and rather than 
cross over a prostrate tree they dive under it. My 
impression is they are so placed to break the current 
of the water when the stream is flooded ; also if con- 
venient they take advantage of building a dam where 
some of the trees lie across the water. Those lying 
across in their principal dam are utilized in storing up 
their winter food, these stores being built on the 
upper side of the trees, so that they cannot be swept 
away with the winter flood. 

"When cutting the trees they use their teeth, on 
the same principle that a forester does an axe, always 
keeping plenty of open space, so that they can cut 
past the centre of the tree on one side before begin- 
ning on the other. It is in the latter end of autumn 
they commence to cut down trees for winter food. 
Having cut them down, they speedily strip off the 
branches, cutting them into lengths to suit their 
strength for dragging them away to the dam, where 
they store them in different places near their house, 
so that they may have sufficient food, although the 


dam may be frozen over, or the ground covered with 
snow. What is left of the trunks of the trees that 
they cannot drag away, they feed on at leisure, eating 
the bark. 

"Besides the work above ground which I have tried 
to describe, they have done a great amount of under- 
ground work, such as cutting channels in their darns, 
and making burrows. These burrows they make by 
cutting a road from the middle of the dam for several 
yards into the dry ground, where they scoop out a 
dome-shaped burrow from eight to ten inches above 
the level of the road, then cut a hole through the 
surface and cover it over with sticks and grass so as. 
to act as a ventilator. Here they live and feed in 
security and contentment. Some of the roads to 
these burrows are from fifteen to twenty yards long, 
and so level that the water follows them in the whole 

" As to the time they bring forth their young, from 
my own knowledge, I cannot say. I have seen it 
stated to be January, and also the beginning of May. 
I can say nothing against that, judging from the size 
of the young when I first saw them in the second 
week of June, the oldest litter being about the size 
of a full-grown rabbit, and the youngest not half that 

" From careful observation, I have good reasons for 
believing they have only one at a birth. One thing 
I am certain of, they have two litters in the season. 
Beavers are a class of animals that are very timid, 
their sight, scent, and hearing very keen, so much 


HO that it is with great caution they can be approached 
near enough to see what they are doing. They are 
under cover all day from seven o'clock in the morn- 
ing till seven in the evening. When one comes out, 
it floats on the surface of the water, carefully survey- 
ing the whole scene around, sniffing the air, and if no 
danger is apprehended it dives and disappears. In 
two or three minutes, a number of the colony begin 
to appear and disperse themselves, some to swim and 
sport about in the dam, while others go in quest of 
food. If one of them espies danger it strikes one 
sharp, loud stroke on the water with its tail, when 
all of them that are out come tumbling into the dam 
and disappear. 

" I have seen them wrestle in playfulness and fight 
in anger, and- also when the mother was feeding and 
the young one sporting about in the dam, I have seen 
it go and begin to tease her, when, if she did not wish 
to be troubled with it she would strike and shake it, 
and pitch it from her in the dam. They will allow 
of no laziness in any member of the colony ; if any 
such there be, they are beaten and driven out to live 
as best they may. These so driven out generally 
roam about, making a burrow here and there, w r here 
they live for a few months and die." 

This is not the only experiment which has been 
made of late years in the reintroduction of Beavers 
into this country. A similar attempt was previously 
made in Suffolk. Some Beavers were turned down 
by Mr. Barnes, of Sotherley Park, Wangford, and, 
on their dams being destroyed as nn eye- sore, they 


strayed further down the stream which runs through 
the park. They were there two winters, and bred, 
having three or four young ones. Two of these, 
which strayed, were killed at Beriacre in the spring 
of 1872, and one was captured. They began to build 
a lodge in the West Bush against Benacre Broad, 
did no damage to trees, but destroyed some under- 
wood. This third Beaver seems to have been also 
killed. Two of the three were sent to London to be 
stuffed for Lady Gooch, and the head-keeper took 
the skin of the third. 

It is interesting to find that, but for the inter- 
ference of man, Beavers would still thrive in our 
climate, as we learn from geology and history they 
formerly did. 


6 i 


Cervus tamndns. 

ABOUT the time that the Beaver was building its 
dams on the rivers of Wales and Scotland, there was 
fast becoming extinct in North Britain another 
animal, whose singular form is perhaps better known 
than that of most animals, from its being amongst 
the earliest presented to youthful naturalists in their 
first zoological picture books for who does not re- 
collect the portrait of the Laplander with his Reindeer 
in a sledge ? 


This animal was one of the earliest arrivals on 
British soil after the ice and snow of the glacial 
epoch began to disappear, and it is in caverns and 
river gravels and sands of post-glacial age that we 
first meet with its remains. Its abundance in 
British deposits of this date is very remarkable. 
Professor Boyd Dawkins has found portions of its 
bones and horns in no less than thirteen out of 
twenty-one caverns examined by him, while the Red- 
deer was only found in seven ; thus, contrary to what 
is generally assumed to be the case, the Reindeer 
predominated in numbers over the Red-deer at the 
time the British bone caverns were being filled. 

In the post-glacial river deposits the same numeri- 
cal preponderance of the Reindeer is observed. It 
has been found in the gravels of Brentford, in a 
railway cutting at Kew Bridge, and higher up the 
Thames in a gravel bed at Windsor, where, in the 
spring of 1867, numerous remains were discovered. 
On visiting the spot with the discoverer, Capt. 
Luard, R.E., Professor Boyd Dawkins found that 
more than one-half of the remains belonged to the 
Reindeer, the rest to Bisons, Horses, Wolves, and 
Bears. They had evidently been swept down by 
the current from some point higher up the stream.* 
In illustration of this accumulation he quotes a 
parallel case from the observations of Admiral Yon 
Wrangel in Siberia, who remarks :f " The migrating 

* " Early Man in Britain," p. 155. 

t " Siberia and the Polar Sea," translated by Major Sabine, 8vo, 
1840, p. 190. The obviously exaggerated figures must be taken to 
represent the vast numbers of the animals. 


body of Reindeer consists of many thousands, and 
though they are divided into herds of two or three 
hundred each, yet the herds keep so near together as 
to form only one immense mass, which is sometimes 
from fifty to a hundred versts, or thirty to sixty miles, 
in breadth. They always follow the same route, and 
in crossing the river Aniuj, near Plobischtsche, they 
choose a place where a dry valley leads down to a 
stream 011 one side and a flat, sandy shore facilitates 
their landing on another. As each separate herd ap- 
proaches the river, the deer draw more closely to- 
gether, and the largest and strongest takes the lead. 
He advances, closely followed by a few of the others, 
with head erect, and apparently intent on examining 
the locality. When he has satisfied himself he enters 
the river, the rest of the herd crowd after him, and 
in a few minutes the surface is covered with them. 
Wolves, bears, and foxes hang upon the flanks and 
rear of these great migratory bodies, and prey upon 
the stragglers, and invariably many casualties occur 
at the fords where the weak or wounded animal is 
swept away by the current." 

A graphic account is given, by the same author, of 
the migration of Keindeer as observed by him in his 
journey through the stony Tundra, near the river 
Baranicha, in north-eastern Siberia. 

"I had hardly finished the observation/ 'he writes, 
" when my whole attention was called to a highly 
interesting, and to me a perfectly novel spectacle. 
Two large migrating bodies of Eeindeer passed us at 
no great distance. They were descending the hills 


from the north-west, and crossing the plain on their 
way to the forests, where they spend the winter. 
Both bodies of deer extended further than the eye 
could reach, and formed a compact mass narrowing 
towards the front. They moved slowly and majesti- 
cally along, their broad antlers resembling a moving 
wood of leafless trees. Each body was led by a deer 
of unusual size, which my guides assured me was 
always a female. One of the herds was stealthily 
followed by a Wolf, who was apparently watching for 
an opportunity of seizing any one of the younger and 
weaker deer which might fall behind the rest ; but 
on seeing us he made off in another direction. The 
other column was followed at some distance by a 
large black Bear, who, however, appeared only intent 
on digging out a mouse's nest every now and then 
so much so that he took no notice of us." 

On the warrantable assumption that migrations of 
a similar character formerly took place in this 
country, the large assemblage of animal remains at 
the Reindeer-ford at Windsor is easily accounted for. 
In the gravels on which Oxford stands, says Professor 
Boyd Dawkins, the Reindeer is found in greatest 
abundance; at Bedford it is associated with flint 
implements, the Red-deer, and Hippopotamus ; at 
Lawford, near Rugby, with the Cave Hyoena ; at 
Fisherton, near Salisbury, with the Cave Lion, Urus, 
Roedeer, Marmot, and Lemming ; in Kent also it is 
abundant in the brick earth of Sittingbourne and 
Maidstone ; in Somerset in the gravels of the Avon 
near Bath. Altogether, it has been determined in 


ten out of eighteen rivor deposits wliicli have fur- 
nished fossil mammals, while the Red-deer has been 
found only in nine."" 

During the arctic severity of the post-glacial climate 
the remains of the Red-deer were rare, while those 
of the Reindeer were most abundant. During the 
pre-historic period the Red-deer gradually increased 
in numbers, while the Reindeer as gradually became 
extinct. In its rarity in the latter epoch we have 
proof of the great climatal change that had taken 
place in France and Britain. 

Professor Owen, in his " British Fossil Mammals," 
has figured a skull with antlers of the Reindeer 
found in a peat- moss on Bilney Moor, near East 
Dereham, Norfolk, and he gives a figure also of a 
metatarsal bone of this animal from the fens of 
Cambridgeshire. During the excavation that was 
made for the reservoir of the southern outfall of the 
metropolitan sewage at Crossness Point, on the south 
side of the Thames, near Erith, a fine antler of the 
Reindeer was discovered at the bottom of a layer of 
peat varying from five to fifteen feet in thickness, 
along with the remains of Beaver and a human skull. 
Another antler was found in a shell marl underlying 
the peat near Whit tington Hall, Lancashire. Leigh, 
in his "Natural History of Cheshire" (Bk. III. p. 84), 
notices a horn of the Reindeer which was found 
under a Roman altar at Chester. 

In Ireland, as we learn from a ' Report on Irish 
Fossil Mammals' by Dr. Leith Adarns (" Proc. Roy. 

* Boyd Dawkins, Popular Science Review, January, 1868. 


Irish Acad.," 1877, 2nd ser. vol. iii.*), remains of the 
Reindeer have been found in shell-marl under the 
Bog of Bally guiry, near Dungarvan, co. Waterford ; 
in the mud of Lough Gur, co. Limerick ; and in clay 
under peat at Ballybetagh, near Kiltiernan,co. Dublin, 
where in 1847 the skull, horns, and lower jaw of a 
Reindeer were discovered by Mr. Moss. But the 
most remarkable discovery of remains of this animal 
in Ireland was that made in 1861, when -a very 
perfect skull, with the antlers still attached, was 
found on the edge of the Curragh Bog, near Ash- 
bourne, co. Dublin. This was brought to the notice 
of the Royal Dublin Society by Dr. Carte in 1863, 
and is regarded as the finest specimen of Reindeer 
which has yet been found in a fossil state. t 

Dr. Carte has also noticed three antlers, found at 
Coonagh, on the south side of the Shannon, in co. 
Clare. A large number of remains, representing at 
least thirty-five individuals, were found in Shandon 
Cave, near Dungarvan, associated with the bones of 
other animals. | These specimens have all been 
preserved, either in the museum of Trinity College, 
or in the Museum of Science and Art, Dublin ; and 
a noteworthy character of the horns is the uniformity 
of the beam, which is slender and round, as in 
English specimens and in the existing Reindeer of 

* See also a paper by the same author on ' Recent and Extinct 
Irish Mammals,' " Proc. Boy. Dub. Soc.," March, 1878. 

t Carte, " Journ. Geol. Soc. Dub.," vol. x., p. 103, pi. vii.; and Geol. 
Mag., vol. iii., p. 546. 

J Carte, " Journ. Roy. Dub. Soc.," vol. ii. p. 12 ; and Leith Adams, 
" Trans. Eoy. Irish Acad.," vol. xxvi., p. 217. 


Norway, and unlike the flattened antlers of the 
Siberian stock/* 

As regards its occurrence in Scotland, much 
valuable information has been brought together by 
Dr. John Alexander Smith, in a memoir published 
in the " Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of 
Scotland," and entitled ' Notice of Remains of the 
Reindeer (Cervus tarandus), found in Ross-shire, 
Sutherland, and Caithness, with notes of its occur- 
rence throughout Scotland. 't 

In 1866 part of a horn (apparently the tine 
that springs from the back part of the middle of the 
beam) was found with a flint arrowhead, and bones 
of an ox Bos longifrons and dog, near two hut 
circles, in the course of draining the Mor-aich Mor, 
or Great Grazing, as the Gaelic words signify a 
flat, sandy tract to the east of Tain, Ross-shire, 
bordered on the north by the Domoch Firth. % 

These bones, which lay beneath the moss on a 
natural shell bed at no distance below the surface 
(the drainage being only carried to the depth of four 
feet), were forwarded for examination to Prof. Owen, 
who had no hesitation in identifying the horn re- 
ferred to as that of a Reindeer. 

Several similar fragments were found on clearing 
out the ruins of an ancient circular fort or " brocli" 

* Leith Adams, "Beport on Irish Fossil Mammals," I.e. Comparative 
figures of the horns of Lapland and Siberian Eeindeer are given in 
Murray's " Geographical Distribution of Mammals," pp. 152, 153. See 
also Sir Victor Brooke, "Proc. Zool. Soc." 1878, p. 927, tig. 19. 

t "Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scotl.," vol. viii. pp. 186-223. 

Rev. J. M. Joass, "Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scotl.," vol. vi. p. 386. 



at Kintradwell, near Brora, Sutherlandshire, together 
with the remains of domesticated animals (as oxen 
and swine), an iron spear-head and dagger, and ten 
human skeletons.* These notices are regarded by 
Dr. Smith as the first which have recorded the dis- 
covery of Reindeer remains associated with human; 
dwellings in the British Islands. 

Pennant, in his " History of Quadrupeds" (vol. L 
p. 100, 1781), has referred to some fossil horns of the 
Reindeer, which, on the authority of Dr. Ramsay,. 
Professor of Natural History in Edinburgh, are 
stated to have been found in a marl pit five feet 
below the surface, near Craigton, Linlithgowshire. 
Dr. John Scouler, of Glasgow, also, has described 
some fragments of Reindeer horns from the alluvium 
of the Clyde. These were found in beds of finely 
laminated sand on the north bank of the river, below 
the junction of the Kelvin, where also was discovered 
the cranium of a large ox (Bos primigenius] . 

In the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, amongst a 
collection of deer horns, is preserved a fragment of 
the left antler of a Reindeer, which was found in 
boulder clay at Raesgill, on the north side of the 
Clyde, in the neighbourhood of Carluke. 

When the loch of Marlee, in the parish of Kinloch, 
Perthshire, had been partly drained for the sake of 
the marl, some very interesting animal remains came 
to light, amongst others the skeleton of a Beaver, 
already referred to, and a pair of horns and some 

* See ' Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scotl.," vol. v. p. 242. 


leg bones of the Reindeer.* These are probably the 
bones referred to in the old Statistical Account of 
Scotland (vol. xvii. p. 478), as having been found in 
Mr. Farquharson's marl-pit at Marlee, and surmised 
to be those of the Elk. 

Dr. Smith has figured the smooth beam of a 
right horn of a young or female Reindeer (torn, dt., 
p. 23), taken from a cutting of the Forth and Clyde 
Junction Railway, in the basin of the Endrick, near 
Croftamie, Dumbartonshire. This specimen, which 
was identified by Professor Owen, was not in the 
boulder clay, but in a bed of blue clay, about seven 
feet thick, below it, between the boulder clay and the 
underlying rock of the district. 

Again, on the farm of Greenhill, near Kilmaurs, 
Ayrshire, some antlers of a large Reindeer were found 
thirty- six feet below the surface, together with a 
tusk of the Mammoth, t 

The late Sir William Jardine had, a few years 
since, an opportunity of examining some very interest- 
ing animal remains, which were exhumed at Shaws, 
about four miles from his residence in Dumfriesshire. 
Besides several bones of the Red deer, Roedeer, Bos 
primigenius (the last named rare), and a very perfect 
skull of the Brown Bear, already referred to, was a 
portion of an antler, which, from its outline, flattened 
character, and smooth surface, could have belonged 
only to a Reindeer ; it measured about twelve 

* Neill, " Mem. Wern. Nat. Hist. Soc.," vol. iii. p. 214. 
f See Geikie, ' Memoir on the Phenomena of the Glacial Drift of 
Scotland,' "Trans. Geol. Soc. Glasgow," vol. i. p. 71 (1863). 

F 2 


inches long by four and a half inches in its greatest 

In 1865 Sir Philip Egerton met with a small 
fragment of an tier in a peat hag in Ross-shire, which, 
according to Professor Boyd Dawkins, " beyond all 
doubt belonged to this animal. " 

The last instance which we shall notice of the dis- 
covery of Reindeer remains in Scotland has reference 
to the county of Caithness ; and we take this last 
because it leads directly to a consideration of the 
historical evidence which is to be found concerning 
the former existence of this animal in ScotlancT, and 
which evidence relates exclusively to this country. 

Dr. Smith, in the memoir referred to, has de- 
scribed at some length the ancient circular forts or 
"brochs" which are to be met with in some parts of 
Scotland, and which in several instances have yielded 
such very interesting relics of pre-historic man. 
Amongst these is the " broch " of Yarhouse, in 
Caithness, about five miles to the sotith of Wick, on 
the estate of Thrumster, and at the south end of 
the Loch of Yarhouse. Of this Dr. Smith has given 
a very full description, from notes by Mr. Anderson 
and Mr. Robert Shearer, of Thrumster, who care- 
fully examined it, and his remarks are illustrated by 
a ground plan, which renders his account the more 
instructive. When the examination of this "broch" 
first commenced, it was to all appearance nothing 
but a grass-covered mound, and was situated on 
what had once besn an island, a fosse about twenty 
feet broad having separated it from the land. It 


would be beside our present purpose to refer in 
detail to the many interesting objects which were 
brought to light on opening up this mound. Suffice 
it to say that (in addition to human remains, bones 
of domesticated animals, shells of periwinkle, limpet, 
and cockle, coarse hand-made pottery and rude stone 
implements) the smooth flattened horns of the Rein- 
deer came to light, showing that this animal was 
either domesticated by the dwellers in the " broch," 
or at all events was hunted by them, and used for 

Under very similar conditions, other remains of 
the Reindeer have been exhumed from the Har- 


bour Mound at Keiss Castle, also in Caithness, a 
full account of which may be found in Laing's 
" Pre-historic Remains of Caithness," and a briefer 
notice in Dr. Smith's paper above referred to. 
Now, this discovery of the remains of Reindeer asso- 

* Copied from the Memoir referred to, by permission of Dr. J. A. 
Smith and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 


elated with man in Caithness is of especial interest, 
as tending to confirm the truth of the tradition that 
the jarls of Orkney in the twelfth century were in 
the habit of crossing the Pentland Firth for the 
purpose of hunting the Red-deer and the Reindeer 
in the wilds of Caithness. 

Torfseus, in his history of Orkney (" Orcades, sen 
Rerum Orcadensium Historia," Lib. I. cap. xxxvi.), 
written at the close of the seventeenth century, 
thus translates a passage from the " Orkneyinga 
Saga :" " Consueverant Comites in Catenesiam^ndeque 
ad montana ad venatum caprearum rangiferorum.que 
quotannis profiscisi." Dr. Fleming, in his "History 
of British Animals," published in Edinburgh in 
1828, quoting this passage, remarks that "it would 
lead to the belief that Reindeer once dwelt in 
the mountains of Caithness, were it not extremely 
probable that Red-deer were intended." Dr- 
Hibbert also, who has written an elaborate critique 
upon the subject,* was at first inclined to think 
that Torfaeus had made a mistake here, and that 
he should have stated " the Roe-deer and the 
Red-deer," instead of "the Roe and the Reindeer." 
But a learned Icelander, Jonas Jonseus, who in 
1780 published an abstract and Latin translation 
of the Saga,-\ has explained the manuscript sources 

* ' On the Question of the Existence of the Eeindeer during the 
Twelfth Century in Caithness,' in Brewster's Edinb. Journ. of Science, 
New Series, vol. v. p. 50. 

f " Orkneyinga Saga sive Historia Orcadensium : Saga hins Helga 
Magnusa Eyia Jarls, sive Yita Sancti Magni Insulai-um Comitis 
Islandice et Latine," edidit J. Jonaeus, 4to, Hafniae, 1780, p. 384. 


from which Torfseus derived his account, and has 
shown that the animals hunted by the jarls of 
Orkney were in reality not the Hoe, but the Red- 
deer, and the Reindeer, living at the same time in 
that part of Scotland. The original passage runs 
thus : " Thar var sithr Jarla naer hvert sumar at 
fara yfer a Katanes oc tliar upp a merkr at veida 
Rauddyri edr Hreina;" which is translated by Jona3iis 
as follows: " Solebant Comites quavis fere estate in 
Katenesum transire, ibique in desertis feras rubras et 
ranyiferos venari " the jarls of Orkney were in the 
habit of crossing over to Caithness almost every 
summer, and there hunting in the wilds the Red- 
deer and the Reindeer." 

Dr. Hibbert accepts this version of Jonseus, and 
so also does Professor Brandt of St. Petersburgh. 
In the English edition of Jon, A. Hjaltalin. and G. 
Goudie (Edinb., 1873, p. 182), the words are trans- 
lated : " Every summer the Earls were wont to go 
over to Caithness and up into the forests to hunt 
the Red-deer or the Reindeer." An eminent Ice- 
landic scholar, however, Mr. Eirikr Magnusson of 
Cambridge, is of opinion that neither version is 
quite correct as regards the latter words, the literal 
translation being : "It was the custom for the Earls 
nearly every summer to go over into Caithness and 
then up into the woods to hunt Red-deer or reins." 

Mr. Magnusson further observes that the word 
cdr has two meanings, equivalent to the Latin sive 
and vel, and he therefore considers it uncertain 
whether the proper reading is that they went to 


hunt either Eed-deer or Reindeer, or whether, as 
appears to him more likely, the Saga man was under 
the impression that rauddyr and hrein were syno- 
nymous terms."" 

The author of the Saga, says Professor Boyd 
Dawkins, must have been well acquainted with the 
animal in Norway, Sweden, and Iceland, and there 
seems nothing improbable in the natural inference 
that the animal they called reindeer undoubtedly 
was one. The inclement hills of Caithness lie in the 
same parallel of latitude as the south of Norway and 
Sweden, in which the animal was living at the time ; 
and its food, the brushwood, and especially the rein- 
deer moss (Cladonia rangiferina) is still found exten- 
sively over Scotland. Indeed, the abundance and 
variety of lichens is specially noted as a peculiarity in 
the Statistical Account of the parish of Wick, where 
the reindeer moss is stated to grow to the height of 
three or four inches among the heather. 

The jarls of Orkney referred to (Rognvald and 
Ha raid), according to Jonoeus, hunted in Caithness 
in 1 1 59. 

There is another point worth notice, as remarked 
by Professor Boyd Dawkins. t "The Reindeer is men- 
tioned in the Orkneyinga Saga along with the Red- 
deer. At the present -day these animals occupy 
different zoological provinces ; so that the fact of 
their association in Caithness would show that in the 
twelfth century the Red-deer had already appropriated 

* Alston, " Fauna of Scotland" (Mammalia), p. 36 (1880). 
t Popular Science Eevieiv, 1868, p. 43. 



the pastures of the Reindeer, which could not retreat 
further on account of the sea, and was fast verging on 
extinction. From Linnseus's time down to the 
present day, even in Sweden and Norway, it has been 
retreating further and farther north." 

That it formerly existed in Orkney may be sur- 
mised from the discovery of an antler in the island of 
Rousay, where it was found embedded in peat some 
distance below the surface. This horn, about three 
feet in length, as we learn from Dr. J. A. Smith, was 


brought from Orkney by Dr. Arthur Mitchell and 
was presented by him to the Museum of the Society 
of Antiquaries of Scotland, by whose permission it is 
here figured. 

It is true that Dr. Smith has some little hesitation 
in regarding it as the horn of an animal indigenous 
to the Orkneys, in consequence of a rumour to the 
effect that a former proprietor of Rousay had im- 
ported two or three Reindeer into that island. 
He probably refers to Mr. Traill. Against this, how- 


ever, it may be urged that the fact of the horn 
having been found "deep down below the surface" 
seems opposed to the theory of recent origin. 

Several attempts have been made from time to 
time to reintroduce the Reindeer in Great Britain, 
but without much success. Sir Henry Liddell, who 
made a tour through Sweden and Lapland, brought 
five Reindeer to his estate in Northumberland, 
where they bred, and for some time seemed likely 
to thrive ; but they did not live long.* Fleming 
refers to an experiment of the kind made by the 
Duke of Athole ("Hist. British Animals," V 27), 
and Scrope says the Earl of Fife introduced some 
into the great forest of Marr in Aberdeen shire 
(" Days of Deerstalking," p. 406). But they all 
died, notwithstanding their being turned out on 
the summits of the hills, which are covered with 
dry moss, and on which it was supposed they would 
be able to subsist. Some years previously to this, 
a similar experiment had been tried in Orkney, 
where Mr. Robert Traill, in 1816, turned out three 
Reindeer, a male and two females, which he had im- 
ported from Archangel. But they soon died, towards 
the end of winter from want, it was believed, 
of their proper food, in addition to the supposed 
unsuitability of the climate. It is stated by Messrs. 
Baikie and Heddle t that "not being found to 
answer the purposes intended, they were allowed to 
die out." 

* Consett's "Tour through Sweden," p. 152. 
f " Hist, Nat. Orcadensis," p. 19. 



Sits scrofa. 

THE Wild Boar is one of the oldest forest animals in 
Britain, and one of which we find the earliest 
mention in history. Characteristic figures of it 
appear on ancient British coins,* and it is one of the 
earliest animals figured in Celtic works of art.f 
Britons, Romans, Saxons, and Normans all hunted it 

* Evans's " British Coins," pis. vi., viii., xi., xii., and xiii. 

f " Horae Ferales," p. 185, pi. xiv. ; Montellicr, " Memoires sur les 
Bronzes Antiques," Paris, 1865; and Stephens' "Literature of the 
Kymry," p. 250. 


here in turns. Figures of the wild boar are found 
on Roman monuments in England ; Pennant has 
noticed one such at Ribehester, formerly a famous 
Roman station. "It is supposed," he says, "to 
have been an honorary inscription to Severus and 
Caracalla, by the repetition of the address. It was 
done by a vcxillatio of one of the legions quartered 
here. A stone fixed in the wall of a small house 
near the church gives room to suppose that it 
belonged to the twentieth. The inscription is 
LEG. XX. W. EEC., and on one side^ is the 
sculpture of a Boar, an animal P have in two 
other instances observed attendant on the inscrip- 
tions made by the famous Legio vicessima valens 

Nor should we omit to notice the Roman altar 
which was found in 1749 near Stanhope, in the 
bishopric of Durham, usually referred to as the Wear- 
dale altar, and dedicated by a grateful Roman prefect 
to the god Sylvanus for the capture of an enormous 
Boar, which many of his predecessors had in vain 
attempted to destroy. On this altar was discovered 
the following inscription : " Sylvano invicto sacrum 
. . . . ob Aprum eximicc formce captum, quern multi 
antecessores ejus pra'dari non potucrunt" A similar 
altar, also dedicated to Sylvanus by the hunters of 
Banna, was found at Birdoswald, in Northumber- 
land, t 

* " Tour to Alston Moor," 1801, p. 93. See also Horsley, " Bri- 
tannia Romana, or the Roman Antiquities of Britain," folio, 1732. 
f "Wright, " The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon," pp. 207, 267. 


Aubrey lias given a minute account of a sculp- 
tured representation of hunting the wild boar, over 
a Norman doorway at Little Langford Church. This 
bas-relief is figured in Hoare's "Modern Wiltshire." 

After the expulsion of the Danes, and during the 
short restoration of the Saxon monarchy, the sports ot 
the field still maintained their ground, and hunting 
and hawking were favourite pastimes. A painting on 
a MS. of the ninth century, in the Cotton Library, 


represents a Saxon chieftain, attended by his hunts- 
man and a couple of hounds, pursuing wild boars 
through a wood.* 

In the " Colloquy of Alfric," a hunter of one of the 
royal forests gives a curious account of his profession. 
When asked how he practises his craft, he replies : 
" I braid nets and set them in a convenient place, and 
set on my hounds, that they may pursue the beasts of 
chase, until they come unexpectedly to the nets, and 
so become entangled in them, and I slay them in the 
nets." He is then asked if he cannot hunt without 

* Strutt's " Sports and Pastimes," p. 5, fig. i. 


nets, to which he replies : " Yes, I pursue the wild 
animals with swift hounds." He next enumerates 
the different kinds of game which the Saxon hunter 
usually hunted " I take harts, and boars, and deer r 
and roes, and sometimes hares." "Yesterday," he 
continues, " I took two harts and a boar .... the 
harts with nets, and I slew the boar with my weapon." 
" How were you so hardy as to slay a boar ?" " My 
hounds drove him to me, and I, there facing him r 
suddenly struck him down." "You were very bold, 
then." " A hunter must not be timid, foi; various- 
wild beasts dwell in the woods." 

The Welsh laws of Howel Dha (A.D. 940, fide 
Spelman and Llwyd,) provided (cap. xvi. 10) that 
the wild boar should be hunted between the ninth 
of November and the first of December, but later on, 
in Edward II. 's time the season for hunting the 
boar was between Christmas Day and Candlemas 
Day (Feb. 2). 

Edward the Confessor, whose disposition seems to 
have been suited rather to the cloister than to the 
throne, would join in no secular amusement but the 
chase. According to William of Malmesbury,* he 
took the greatest delight to follow a pack of swift 
hounds in pursuit of game, and to cheer them with 
his voice. He had a royal palace at Brill, or Brehull, 
Bucks, to which he often repaired for the pleasure of 
hunting in his forest of Bernwood. This forest, it is 
said, was much infested by a wild boar, which was 

* " Hist. Eeg. Anglorum," Lib. II., cap. xiii. 


at last slain by one Nigell, a huntsman, who pre- 
sented the boar's head to the king ; and for a 
reward the king gave him one hide of arable land, 
called Derehyde, and a wood called Hulewood, with 
the custody of the forest of Bern wood, to hold to him. 
and his heirs by a horn, which is the charter of the 
aforesaid forest. Upon this land Nigell built a lodge 
or mansion-house, called Borestall, in memory of the 
slain boar. For proof of this, in a large folio 
vellum book, containing transcripts of charters and 
evidences relating to this estate (supposed to have 
been written in or before the reign of Henry VI.), 
is a rude delineation of the site of Borestall House 
and manor, and under it the figure of a man 
presenting on his knees to the king the head of a 
boar on the point of a sword, and the king returning 
to him a coat of arms, argent, a fesse, gules, between 
two crescents, and a horn, vert. 

The same figure of a boar's head was carved on 
the head of an old bedstead, now remaining in the 
tower or lodge of that ancient house or castle, and 
the arms are now to be seen in the windows, and in 
other parts. And, what is of greatest authority, the 
original horn, tipped at each end with silver gilt, 
fitted with wreaths of leather to hang about the neck, 
with an old brass seal ring, a plate of brass with the 
sculpture of a horn, and several lesser plates of silver 
gilt, with fleur-de-lys, has been all along preserved by 
the lords of Borestal), under the name of " NigelTs 
horn," and was in the year 1773 in the possession of 
John Aubrey, Esq. (son and heir of Sir Thomas 


Aubrey, Bart.), to whom this estate descended 
without alienation or forfeiture, from before the 
Conquest, by several heirs female from the family of 
Nigell to that of Aubrey." 

At the Conquest, Inglewood Forest was held by 
the Scots, from whom it was taken by the Conqueror, 
and given to Ranulph de Meschines, who made a 
survey of the whole country, and gave his followers 
all the frontiers bordering on Scotland and North- 
umberland, retaining to himself the central part 
between the east and west mountains, described 
as "a goodly great forest full of woods, red-deer 
and fallow, wild boars, and all manner of wild 

A forest law of William I. ordained (A.D. 1087) 
that any one found guilty of killing a stag, roebuck, 
or wild boar should be deprived of his eyes. 

Henry I. was especially fond of boar-hunting, 
as we learn from Holinshed, who stigmatizes it 
as "a verie dangerous exercise;" and Edward I. 
made several grants of land, which were held 
by the serjeanty of keeping or providing boar- 

Robert de Avenel, who lived A.D. 1153 1 165, in. 
granting the right of pasturage in Eskdale to the 
monks of Melrose, reserved to himself the right to 
pursue the wild boar, deer, and stag.J 

A curious story referring to a wild boar hunt at 

* " Archaeologia," vol. iii. pp. 3, 15 ; Kennett's "Paroch. Antiq.," 
and Blount's "Ancient Tenures," p. 243 (ed. 1815). 
t Longstafie, " Durham before the Conquest." 
J Morton, " Monastic Annals of Teviotdale," pp. 273, 274. 


this very period, in Eskdale, is related by Blount in 
his "Ancient Tenures " (p. 557, ed. 1815). He says 
that in the fifth year of Henry II. the lord of Ugle- 
barnby, William de Bruce, the lord of Snaynton, 
Ralph de Percy, and a gentleman freeholder named 
Allotson, met on the i6th October to hunt the Wild 
Boar in a certain wood called ' Eskdale-side,' belong- 
ing to the Abbot of the monastery of Whitby, by 
name Sedman. 

" Then the aforesaid gentlemen did meet with 
their hounds and boar-staves in the place aforesaid, 
and there found a great wild boar ; and the hounds 
did run him very hard near the chapel and hermitage 
of Eskdale-side, where there was a monk of Whitby 
who was a hermit. The boar, being so hard pursued, 
took in at the chapel door, and there laid him down 
and died immediately. The hermit shut the hounds 
out of the chapel, and kept himself at his meditation 
and prayers, the hounds standing at bay without. 
The gentlemen in the thick of the wood, following 
the cry of the hounds, carne to the hermitage, and 
found the hounds round the chapel. Then came the 
gentlemen to the door of the chapel, and called on 
the hermit, who did open the door, and then they got 
forth, and within lay the boar dead, at which the 
gentlemen, in a fury because their hounds were put 
out of their game, ran at the hermit with their boar- 
staves, whereof he (subsequently) died. Then the 
gentlemen, knowing and perceiving that he was in 
peril of death, took sanctuary at Scarborough ; but 
at that time the Abbot, being in great favour with 



the King, did remove them out of the sanctuary, 
whereby they came in danger of the law, and not 
privileged, but like to have the severity of the law, 
which was death." But the hermit, being a holy man 
and at the point of death, interceded for them. On 
the loth December he senb for them and for the 
Abbot, and in the presence of the latter forgave them 
freely, begged that they might not suffer the penalty 
which they had incurred, but perform, instead, a 
penance, (fully described by Blount) which, he then 
and there enjoined them ; and having uttered a 
prayer, he sank back and died ? 

Fitz Stephen, who wrote his description of London 
in 1174 (see Introduction, p. 5), says that the 
forest by which London was then surrounded was 
frequented by Boars as well as various other wild 

Edward III. hunted the Wild Boar in Oxfordshire, 
as we may infer from the following translation of a. 
record of the tenure of land in that county by the 
service of finding the king in "boar-spears" when- 
ever he carne to hunt there : 

"Anno 1339, I3th and I4th Edward III., an 
inquisition was taken on the death of Joan, widow 
of Thomas de Musgrave of Blechesdon, wherein 
it appears that the said Joan held the moiety 
of one messuage, and one carucate of land in 
Blechesdon of the King ; by the service of carryino- 
one boar-spear (unam hastam porci), price twopence, 
to the King, whenever he should hunt in the park 
of Cornbury ; and do the same as often as the King 


should so hunt, during his stay at his manor of 

A quaint illustration of the mode of attacking a 
Boar, copied from MS. of the fourteenth century, 
which is preserved in the Douce collection, is given 
by Strutt in his " Sports and Pastimes," and is here 


The Boar was a badge of Edward III., and might 
therefore have been borne by any of his descendants ; 
but Richard III. is the only one to whom its adoption 
has been traced, t 

In the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York, 
eldest daughter of Edward IV. and consort of 
Henry VII. , is the following entry under date 23rd 
Nov. 1 502 : 

Itm. the same day to a servaunt of Sr. Gilbcrtcs Talbottes in 
rcwardc for bringing a wylde bore to the Quene xs. 

And in the "Household Book" kept by the steward 
of Squire Kitson of Hengrave, county Suffolk, 

* Kennet, " Parochial Antiquities," p. 450. By some unaccountable 
mistake Kenuct translates unam hastam porci " one shield of brawn," 
and his view is adopted by Blount, " Ancient Tenures," p. 97. 

The use of " Bore-speres" in Norfolk, A.D. 1 450-5 1, is referred to in 
the " Fasten Letters," ed. Gairdner, vol. i. pp. 107, 271. 

f " Archaeologia," vol. v. p. 17; Hawkins, "English Coins," p. 278. 

G 2 


beginning 1st October, 1572, we find under date 
January, 1573, tins item: 

" To Miles Mosse for a bore which, he is charged to deliver every 
Christemas as rent rated to the value of vs, for which he paid xxs, 
and so there was allowed of that vs." 

To judge by the remains of the animal which have 
been found in various parts of the British Islands, 
Wild Boars at one time must have completely over- 
run the country. They were hunted in al^ the great 
forests, and in ancient surveys they are often men- 


tioned amongst the wild animals of the district sur- 

Thus Erdeswick, who began his survey of Staf- 
fordshire about 1593, speaking of Chartley, says, 
" The park is very large, and hath therein red deer, 
fallow deer, wild beasts (i.e., wild cattle), and swine." 
In the peat mosses of Northumberland and West- 
moreland, skulls and bones of the Wild Boar have 

* From a specimen in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. 


been frequently exhumed,* as well as in the peat at 
Newbury, Berks, and Romsey, Hants, t 

Leland tells us that at Blakeley, Lancashire, " wild 
bores, bulls, and falcons bredde in times paste," and 
there is close to Blakeley a place still called " Boar's 
Green." Leland also speaks of " Wild Bores or 
Swyne" on one of the Scilly Islands (Itin. second ed. 
vii. 1 08) ; but the animals referred to were probably 
domestic swine which had been introduced there, 
and had run wild. At Great Grimsby an annual 
quit rent of i 35. 46?. is still paid to the Corporation 
of Grimsby in respect of a wood where formerly it 
possessed the right of hunting the Wild Boar, a pay- 
ment presumed to be an acquittal from the burden 
of having to provide one of these animals for the 
corporation to hunt. " The seal of the mayor of 
"Great Grimsby bears the legend Sigillum majoritatis 
de Grimesby, and contains a representation of a Boar 
closely pursued by a dog, behind which is a hunts- 
man winding his horn. This device is descriptive of 
a privilege enjoyed by the mayor and burgesses of 
Grimsby, of hunting in the woods of the adjacent 
manor of Bradley, the lord of which was by his 
tenure obliged to provide yearly a Wild Boar for 
their diversion. These seals have long been laid 
aside and others adopted, containing the arms of the 
corporation: azure, a chevron, sable, between three 
boars' heads ; the shield surrounded by a festooned 

* Some remarkably fine tusks of the Boar, found in Cresswell 
Moss, are preserved at Middleton Hall, near Wooler, the seat of Mr. 
G. H. Hughes. 

f Collet, "Phil. Trans.," 1757, p. 112. 


border, gules, with a narrow edge, vert. Above are 
two oak-branches crossed, proper, embowering an 
escallop shell, azure."* 

In the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons 
are preserved two of the inferior incisors, and the 
right and left lower canines of a Wild Boar which, 
with a quantity of hazel nuts, were transmitted to 
John Hunter in May, '1787, by Mr. Jones, of 
Abingdon, accompanied by a letter in the following 
terms : 

" The inner jaw of a Wild Boar or some other ani- 
mal, and the nuts which I have taken the liberty to 
enclose in the box, were a few days since found about 
ten feet under ground by a labourer as he was dig- 
ging peat or turf. Several single tusks have been 
found, and they were all worn in the manner you 
will observe these to be at the extremities ; and the 
quantity of nuts was very considerable : they seemed 
to lay in a layer of white sand between the strata of 
peat. From whence could they come ? Is it possible 
they could remain there ever since the deluge ? 

(Signed) W. JONES. 

"Abingdon, Berks.. May 23rd, 1787." 

" The layer of sand and nuts extended upwards of 
eighteen feet horizontally. " 

In the same Museum, specimen No. 1079, is 
the left inferior tusk of a Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) 

* Allen, "Hist. Co. Lincoln" (1830), vol. ii. p. 241. 


exhumed, eight or ten feet from the surface, out of 
the peat meadows, half a mile west of Newbury in 
Berkshire, presented by Mr. Alexander, surgeon, 

A good account of this locality, under the name of 
the " Peatpit near Newbury," is contained in a letter 
dated February 24, 1757, from Dr. John Collet to 
the Bishop of Ossory, which is printed in the " Philo- 
sophical Transactions" for 1757 (p. 109). 

Many localities seem to indicate by their name 
the former haunts of this once common animal. 
Brancepeth Castle, Durham, appears to have derived 
its name (Bran's path), from a noted Boar which 
infested that neighbourhood. Swindon, Swinford, 
Swinfield, and Swindale ;* " Wild Boar Fell " in 
Westmoreland, particularly described by Pennant, t 
and "Wild Boar Clough" in Cheshire, are all names 
suggestive of the ancient haunts of this animal. So 
also are Hogmer (Hants), Eversham and Everley, 
(from eofor, a boar), Boarhunt (Hants), and Boars- 
ford (Hereford). 

Prior to the introduction of Christianity into 
Scotland, the country by which St. Andrews is 
surrounded wore the aspect of a forest, in which a 
few patches of cultivated ground seem to have been 
interspersed. In this forest the hog or swine in its 
wild state abounded ; and from this circumstance it 
was denominated by the Picts, who at that period 

* Some interesting notes on the names of places commencing with 
*' Swin" will be found in The Antiquary, vol. i. pp. 47, 94, 139, 234, 
and vol. ii. p. 84. f " Torn- to Alston Moor," p. 134. 


occupied the east coast of Scotland, Macros mite in 
their language, which was the Celtic or Gaelic, signi- 
fying a sow or boar, and ros a peninsula or promon- 
tory. The correctness of this derivation is said to be 
confirmed by the fact that near the extremity of the 
parish the village of Boarhills still retains the 
original name of the district, but translated into the 
modern language. Boethius, however, states (fol. 
272) that the land in question was given to the See 
of St. Andrews by Alexander the First about 1124, 
and was named "the Boar's chase" (cursus apri) in 
consequence of an enormous Boar, which had done 
great damage in the neighbourhood, having been 
pursued and eventually killed there.* He further 
adds that its huge tusks, measuring twelve inches 
long, and three in their greatest width, were pre- 
served as trophies, and chained to the high altar of 
St. Andrews. t His words are : " Auxit [Alexander] 
quoque facilitates sacrce cedis D. Andrea?, cum aliis 
quibusdam prcediis, turn eo agro cui nomen est 'Apri 
cursus,' ab apro immensi magniludinis, qui edita homi- 
num et pecorum ingenti strage, scepe nequicquam a 
venatoribus, magno ipsorum periculo, petitus, tandem 
ab armata multitudine invasus, per hunc agrum pro- 
fugiens confossus est." He adds -."Extant immanis 
hujus bellua indicia, denies, quos maxillis cxsertos 
habent, admirandce magnitudmis longitudinis enim 

* See also Spotswood, " Hist. Church of Scotland" (1665), p. 134; 
and Martine, "Keliquiaa Divi Andrese" (1797), p. 94. 

t " New Statist. Acct. Scotland," vol. k. p. 449. The arms of tho 
city of St. Andrews represent a boar leaning against a tree. 


sunt 1 6 diyitoruni et latitudinis 4, relegati catenulis ad 
cellas Dlvi Andrew"* 

Reference to a Boar-hunt in Scotland at an earlier 
date than this, however, is to be found in a Latin 
MS. history of the Gordon family, dated 1545, 
compiled from older MSS. by John Ferrarius, of 
Piedmont, a monk in the Abbey of Kinloss, Moray- 
shire, who also wrote a Supplement to the work of 
Boethius. A copy of the MS. referred to made for Sir 
Robert Gordon in 1613 and entitled " Historian com- 
pendium de origine et encremento Gordonicv families in 
Scotia, apud Kinloss, anno 1545," is preserved in the 
Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, and from this we 
learn that amongst those who assisted Malcom III. 
of Scotland against the English about the year 1057 
was one Gordon, who some time previously had slain 
a fierce Boar which had committed great depreda- 
tions in the neighbourhood of the Forest of Huntly. 
For this act of prowess he was rewarded by the 
King, who bestowed upon him the lands of Gordon 
and Huntly, and sanctioned his carrying on his 
banner three boars' heads, or, in a field, azure. In 
the English translation of this work, from which 
Pennant quoted (vide antea, p. 19), the animal slain 
by Gordon is called a Bear, but this, as we have 
already shown (p. 24), was the Scottish pronunciation 
of Boar, and reference to the Latin original shows 
that the animal in question was unmistakably a Boar, 

* This must have been a splendid pair of tusks. The Roman digit, 
it should be remembered, was the sixteenth part of a foot ; and these 
tusks were doubtless measured along the outside curve. 


immanent aprum, and that the heads upon the 
banner were likewise boars' heads tria aprorum 
capita aurea. 

In the Highlands, the existence of the Wild Boar 
is generally and familiarly remembered. Its names 
Fiadh-Chullach (genericallythe wild hog), Fiadh-Thorc 
(the Sanglier or Wild Boar), Fiadh Mhuc (the Wild 
Sow) are still well known, and traces of its times 
and locality are retained in tradition, ancient poetry, 
and the names of many places denominated from its 
haunts, as Slochd-Tuirc, the boar's den, Druim-an- 
Tuirc, the boar's ridge, and Beannan Tuirc, the boar's 

On the west side of Benin -glo, Perthshire, are two 
places called " Carn-torey " and " Coire-torey " i.e., 
the hill and the hollow of Boars ; in the same county 
is the Boar's Loch (Loch-an-tuirc).f Traces of 
this animal have been found in Gordon parish, 
Berwickshire, where land is said to have been 
granted by William the Conqueror to one who 
killed a certain Wild Boar which infested the 

In Ireland swine existed, both in a wild and 
domesticated state, from the very earliest times, and 
have ever since contributed largely to the wealth of 
the people. The Wild Boar (Tore fiadhairi) abounded 
in the woods, which formerly covered a large portion 
of the country, and fed upon the acorns and beech- 

* Stuart, " Lays of the Deer Forest," ii. p. 217. 
t " Old Statist. Acct. Scotland," vol. ii. p. 478. 
J Ibid., vol. viii. p. 53. 


mast ; hence the frequent mention in the ancient 
annals of Ireland, of the failure of these crops, as 
well as the years in which they abounded.* 

The earliest account known of the wild animals of 
Ireland is to be found in a tract De mirabilibus Sacrce 
Scriptura', written by an Irish ecclesiastic named 
Augustine about the middle of the 7th century, and 
amongst other ferce natures, Wild Boars (sylvaticos 
porcos) are especially mentioned.! 

Among the restrictions put upon one of the kings 
of Ulster in the Leabhar na g-Ceart, or " Book of the 
Rights and Privileges of the Kings of Erin," was that 
he was not to go into the Wild Boar's hunt, or to be 
seen to attack it alone. Giraldus Cambrensis, in his 
Topographic Hibernice, says, "In no part of the world 
have I seen such an abundance of boars and forest 
hogs. They are, however, small, misshapen, wary, 
no less degenerated by their ferocity and venomous- 
ness than by the formation of their bodies." 

As regards their size, the statement of Giraldus has 
been confirmed by palaeontologists. Compared with 
veritable specimens of the ancient Wild Boar of 
Northern Europe, as found in the peat mosses of 
Scandinavia, especially in Zeeland, the Irish Wild 
Boar appears to have been a very diminutive animal. 
(Wilde,/, c. ) Dr. Seoul er asserts that they continued 

* Wilde, " Proc. Roy. Irish Acad.," vol. vii. p. 208. 

t The brief allusion made in this tract to the fauna of Ireland, as 
quoted by Reeves ("Proc. Roy. Irish Acad." 1861) is as follows: 
" Qnis cnim, verli gratia, lupos, cervos, et sylvaticos porcos et vulpcs, 
taxones ct lepuscnlos ct sesquivolos in Hibcrniam dcvcncrct." This is 
one of the very few sources of information quoted in this volume 
which we have been unable to examine and verify. 


to be plentiful in Ireland down to the seventeenth 
century, but the exact date of their extinction he 
was unable to ascertain."" 

Many places in Ireland are called after the Wild 
Boar, as Sliabh-na-muice in Tipperary ; Gleann-na- 
muice-duibhe near Newry ; Ceann-tuirc in the Co. 
Cork. Muckross and Tore, also, at Killarney, are de- 
rived from the same root. The word Muckalagh 
enters largely into Irish topographical names, and 
signifies a place where pigs feed probably on acorns. 
(Wilde, I.e.} 

Tusks of Wild Boars, dug up in Ireland, according 
to Thompson, are often of goodly dimensions. t 

Several attempts have been made to reintroduce 
these animals for the purpose of hunting, but, from 
various causes, none of the experiments proved very 
successful. In some instances they throve well and 
increased, but the opposition of those whose crops 
they damaged was fatal to their existence for any 
length of time. Charles I. imported some from 
France,^ an( ^ turned them out in the New Forest, 
where, according to Aubrey, " they much encreased, 
and became terrible to the travellers." However, 
" in the civill warres," he says, " they were destroyed, 

* " Journ. Geol. Soc. Dublin," vol. i. p. 226. See also Wilde, 
" Proc. Roy. Irish Acad.," vol. vii. p. 208. 

f " Nat. Hist. Ireland," vol. iv. p. 36. 

J Gilpin says " from Germany." He confirms Aubrey's statement 
as to their increase in the New Forest, and adds that " there is found 
there at this day (1791) a breed of hogs, commonly called forest pigs, 
which are very different from the usual Hampshire breed, and have 
about them several of the characteristic marks of the Wild Boar." 
Forest Scenery, vol. ii. pp. 168-169 (ed. Lauder). 


but they have tainted all the breed of the pigges ot 
the neighbouring partes, which are of their colour; a 
kind of soot colour."* This was written in 1689. 
Evelyn, in a note to this passage, observes : " There 
were Wild Boars in a forest in Essex formerly. I 
sent a Portugal boar and sow to Wotton in Surrey, 
which greatly increased ; but they digged the earth 
so up, and did such spoyle, that the country 
would not endure it : but they made incomparable 

At a later period, as recorded by Gilbert White, 
General Howe turned out some German Wild Boars 
in the forests of Wolmer and Alice Holt, of which 
he had a grant from the Crown ; but, as White 
says, " the country rose upon them and destroyed 

The late Earl of Fife, who tried many experiments 
in introducing different animals into the Forest of 
Marr, turned out some Wild Boars by the advice 
of the Margrave of Anspach, who was at Marr 
Lodge on a visit ; but the experiment in this case 
did not answer, for want of acorns, their principal 

Forty years ago, Mr. Drax, of Charborough Park, 
Dorsetshire, made a similar experiment. Two pairs, 
one from Russia the other from France, were originally 
turned out in the woods at Charboro', and after remain- 
ing there several years they, or their descendants, 

* Aubrey, "Nat. Hist. Wilts," p. 59. 

f " Nat. Hist, of Selborne," Letter ix. to Pennant. 

t Serope's " Art of Deer Stalking," p. 406. 


were removed to Morden, a few miles distant. 
The Russian breed was wilder and more ferocious 
than the French. The litters, which averaged from 
10 to 12, were not interfered with, but ran wild with 
their parents. They were not hunted but caught 
in nets or shot. Writing to a mutual friend in 
September, 1879, Mr. Drax says : "I fenced them in 
with a wood paling in the wood where I built the 
present tower, and used to shoot them. The latter 
part of the time I kept them at Morden Park, and 
bred a lot of them, feeding them on turnips and corn. 
They were savage and troublesome, however, to keep 
within bounds, and I therefore killed them. They 
were good eating when fed upon corn." 

Scott, in his " British Field Sports," the second 
edition of which was published in 1820, says, "Several 
Wild Boars of this accidental kind have flourished 
within my memory ; in particular two in the woods 
between Mersey Island and Colchester, in Essex, 
which many years since were the terror of that 
neighbourhood for a considerable time, and stood 
many a gallant hunt." i 

In olden times the enclosure in which the Boars 
used to be fattened was termed a "Boar-frank." 
Shakespeare uses the word in the Second Part of 
Henry IV." : 

" Doth the old boar feed in the old frank ?" 

And in one of the Household Books of Lord William 
Howard, of Naworth Castle, Cumberland, under date 
Sept. 25, 1622, is an entry of payment 

" To Rob. Burthom for mending a boar-frank .... iiijd." 


These " boar-franks," it would seem, were at one 
time not uncommon in parts of Suffolk. The 
anonymous author of the " History and Antiquities 
of the Ancient Villa of Wheatfield in the County 
of Suffolk" (first printed in 4to in 1758, and re- 
published in the second volume of Dodsley's 
"Fugitive Pieces," pp. 77-1-15), referring to the 
state of the parish and the manners and pursuits 
of the inhabitants, remarks : " The prevailing taste 
runs much upon building temples to Ctoacina and 
menageries for Wild Boars ; structures in them- 
selves beautiful, but at the expense of that noble 
Roman Way, the Via Icenorum, that leads through 
the parish, which they narrow and obumbrate." 

At Chartley Park, Staffordshire where, three 
hundred years ago, as we learn from Erdeswick, wild 
swine roamed at large the present Earl Ferrers 
proposed to reint reduce these animals, having been 
presented, with a boar by Mr. W. J. Evelyn, of 
'VVotton House, near Dorking, and with a sow by 
Mr. F. H. Salvin, of Whitmoor House, near Guild 
ford. The proposed experiment, however, failed, for 
the boar died on the road, from the heat of the 
weather, and the sow not long afterwards, from an 

In Derbyshire a similar attempt at reintroduction 
was made by the late Sir Francis Darwin, to whose 
son, Mr. E. L. Darwin, we are indebted for the 
following graphic account of the experiment : 

"My father (the late Sir Francis Darwin) pos- 
sessed an estate in Derbyshire, which consisted of 


the wildest and most picturesque land, a great part 
of which was naturally wooded, and another part 
artificially planted with larch, Scotch fir, and spruce. 
About the year 1826 he received a present from 
the late Sir William Ingilby of a German Boar, 
and from Mr. Michaelis two Alpine boars and two 
sows. The German boar was a large, powerful 
animal, of a tawny red colour, and the others were 
a dusky black. It was my father's intention to 
turn them all out in the woods, and let them have 
the free run of about two hundred acres ; but the 
red boar was found to be so utterly irreclaimable 
through his ferocity, that, so far as he was concerned, 
the idea was given up, and the black boars and sows 
only were allowed their liberty. A cross of the two 
breeds was, however, determined on, and in sub- 
sequent years the sows produced both red and black 

" Although most formidable-looking creatures, the 
Alpine boars were perfectly harmless, unless inten- 
tionally irritated, and I must allow that their tempers 
were occasionally tried by myself amongst others, 
when they could be teased from some safe spot. 
On such occasions they would stand with one foot 
much advanced, and the head drawn back, and the 
attitude was emphasized by a ferocious ' chopping' 
of the jaws, till the foam used to fall on the ground, 
and the great formidable tusks were alarmingly 
displayed. I only wonder now why the numerous 
blows on the head from large stones, which were a 
part of the performance, were never revenged when 


the recipient met me unexpectedly and no refuge 
was near. Brought up in this wild country, I 
carried a gun when very young, and as I never went 
into the woods without one, I suppose I felt com- 
paratively safe. I recollect that one of our grooms, 
when making a short cut through a fern bed which 
existed on one part of the property, was unexpectedly 
charged by a sow, but he escaped by the hardest 
running. From her manner it was evident that she 
had young ones, and my father, myself, and the 
groom and keeper, went up the same afternoon a 
Sunday it was and we discovered a nest in the 
fern -bed, but could not go nearer than a few yards, 
as the sow stood at the entrance and forbade any 
further advance. The young pigs were seen a week, 
or two afterwards, and they were all red-coloured, 
but with a few black up-and-down stripes. The two 
old boars gradually got to know my father, and 
they would take bread from his hand, and I have 
seen them rub their frothy snouts against his old 
shooting-jacket pocket when he has been sitting 
down, as if asking to be fed which no doubt was 
their meaning. 

" At one time there were a good many vipers and 
snakes on the property, but they gradually dis- 
appeared ; and my father, attributing this to the 
presence of the boars, succeeded once in catching a 
full-grown viper, and, having enticed one of the 
boars into a shed, threw the viper down close to 
him. The viper, instead of attempting to escape, 
at once came to "attention," and the boar, after a 



preliminary " chop " or two, dashed at it. The 
viper seemed to strike him two or three times on 
the snout, but the boar, putting one foot on him, 
pulled him to pieces in a few seconds, and certainly 
did not suffer any subsequent inconvenience from 
the viper's attacks. Jack and Dick (the two black 
boars) died natural deaths, and their successors de- 
generated in size, and seemed gradually to become 
tame and spiritless ; they have been extinct for 
forty years or so. The old red boar lived for some 
years confined in a large yard, and at enmity with 
everyone ; a more untam cable animal there could 
not be. He came to an undignified end, being fed 
and killed like his tame brethren. After death he 
was skinned and stuffed, and when I last saw him 
he was in the lumber room at the Priory, near 
Derby, and, like the celebrated wolf killed by the 
deerhound Gelert, he was ''tremendous still in 
death." The head of one of his grandsons is or was 
in the Derby Museum, and a formidaKfe -looking 
object it is, with immense tusks. This descendant 
died from eating a poisoned rat which had been 
thoughtlessly thrown to him. 

" The very last of the Sydnope boars was shot in 
the year 1837, and the fact was recorded in verse, 
by one of the party, very humorously and success- 

The exact date of the extinction of the Wild Boar 
in Britain is uncertain. 

There were Wild Boars in Durham in 1531-33. 
Tn the Accounts of the Bursar of the Monastery of 

7 HE WILD BOAR. 101 

Durham for these years are several entries of pay- 
ments made for bringing in Wild Boars ; thus : 

1531. 28. Marcii. Et Chrislifcro Richardson, i aper, 6s. Sd. 
1 533. Et in uno apro empto de Thoma Cottijsfurth, 6s. 
Etin uno apro empto de Thoma Chepman, us. 

The price doubtless varying with the size and con- 
dition of the animal. 

When Henry VIII. visited Wulf hall, Savernake, 
the residence of the Seymours, in 1539 and 1543, 
there were Wild Boars in the adjoining forest, as we 
learn from the "Household Book" of Edward Sey- 
mour, Earl of Hertford, some extracts of which have 
been printed in the Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine 
for June, 1875 (pp. 171-177).* The following 
entries occur : 

" Paid to Morse and Grammatts for helpyng to take the 

wylde swyne in the forest 4d. 

And for 8 hempen halters to bynd their legs 4d. 

And for drink for them that helped to take them . . . 4d. 

Again : 

To Edmuud Coke and Wm. Morse and others for 

sekyng wilde swyne in the forest 2 days . . . 2s. 6d. 

To Thomas Christopher for his costes when he caryed 
the two wilde bores to the Court to my Lord 
att Wynsor, All-hallowen even 3. 4d. 

In 1617, it was still to be found in Lancashire ; 
for when James I. in that year visited Sir Richard 
Hoghton, at Hoghton Tower, near Whalley, one of 
the dishes with which the royal banquet was more 
than once supplied was " Wild-boar pye.' "t 

* An interesting article on Savernake Forest, by the Rev. Canon 
Jackson, will be found in tho same Magazine for August, 1880 
(pp. 26-44). 

f Nicholls, "Progresses, &c., of James I.," vol. in. p. 42. 

H 2 


In the same year the King hunted the Boar at 
Windsor. Adam Newton, in a letter to Sir Thomas 
Puckering, Bart., dated Deptford, Sept. 28, 1617, 
writes: "I was at Hampton Court on Sunday 
last, where the Court was indeed very full ; King, 
Queen and Prince all residing there for the time. 
The King and Prince, after their ccming from 
Theobalds this day sennight, went to Windsor 
to the hunting of the Wild Boar, and came back on 

In Westmoreland the last Wild Boar is said to 
have been killed near Staveley by a man named 
Gilpin,f the country round being at that time all 
forest and fell. Close to the spot indicated is an inn, 
still called " Wild Boar Inn," while the bridge over 
the beck is known as "Gilpin's Bridge." A tradition of 
the former existence of the Wild Boar in this neigh- 
bourhood is still current, but no date can now be 
assigned for the destruction of the last of its race. 
It is referred to approximately as " about 200 years 
ago," which carries us back to the reign of Charles II., 
and this is the latest date at which I have been able 
to find any mention of this animal in a wild 
state in England. An old "Account Book of the 
Steward of the Manor of (/hartley : Praeses. Com. 
Ferrers," contains the following entry : 

" 1683. Feb. Pd. the cooper for a paile for ye wild swine 0-2-0 " 

This shows that the Wild Boar was not extinct in 

* " The Court and Times of James I.," vol. ii. p. 34. 

f It appears by an Inquisition 20 Eliz., that in this year William 
Gilpin held the manor of Over Staveley (see Nicholson, " Hist, and 
Antiq. Westm. and Cumberl.," vol. i. p. 139). 



England so early as has been supposed that is, 
previously to Charles I. 'a attempt to reintroduce 
it into the New Forest. 

Of the few English writers who have described the 
hunting of the Wild Boar as formerly practised in 
England, George Turbervile, a gentleman of Dorset - 


shire, has furnished the best account in his " Booke 
of Hunting," published in 1575, a second edition of 
which appeared in 1 6 1 1 . In this work, which is 
now very rare, and of which we possess an im- 
perfect copy, a long account is given of the " Wyld 
Bore" and its ways. " Although it ought not," he 


says, "to be counted among the beasts of venery 
which are chaseable with hounds, for he is the 
proper prey of a mastiffe and such like dogs, for 
as much as he is a heavy beast and of great force, 
trusting and asseying himselfe in his tuskes and his 
strength, and therefore will not so lightly flee nor make 
chase before hounds. So that you cannot (by hunting 
of the Bore) know ye goodnesse or swiftness of them, 
and there withall to confesse a truth, I think it a 
great pitie to hunte (with a good keriell of hounds) at 
such chases : and that for such reasons and considera- 
tions as followe. 

" First, he is the onely beast which can dispatch a 
hound at one blow, for though other beasts do bite, 
snatch, teare, or rend your houndes, yet there is 
hope of remedie if they be well attended ; but if a 
Bore do once strike your hounde, and light betweene 
the foure quarters of him, you shall hardly see 
him escape ; and therewithall this subtil tie he hath, 
that if he be run with a good kenell of hounds, 
which he perceiveth holde in rounde and followe him 
harde, he will flee into the strongest thicket that he 
can finde, to the end he may kill them at his leisure 
one after another, the which I have seene by experience 
oftentimes. And amongst others, I saw once a 
Bore chased and hunted with fiftie good hounds 
at the least, and when he saw that they were 
all in full crie and helde in round together, he 
turned heade upon them, and thrust amiddest 
the thickest of them in such sorte that he slew 
sometimes sixe or seaveii in [this] manner in the 


twinkling, of an eye: and of the fiftie houndes 
there went not twelve sounde and alive to their 
masters houses. 

" Againe, if a kennell of houndes be once used to 
hunte a Bore, they will become lyther, and will never 
willingly hunte fleeing chases againe. Forasmuch as 
they are (by him) accustomed to hunte with more 
ease and to find great scent. For a Bore is a beast 
of a very hot scent, and that is contrary to light 
fleeing chases which are hunted with more paine to 
the hound, and yet therwith do not leave so great 
scent. And for these causes, whosoever meaneth to 
have good hounds for an. Hart, Hare, or Row-deare, 
let him not use them to hunt the Bore : but since 
men are of sundry opinions, and love to hunte such 
chases as lie moste commodiously aboute their dwell- 
ing places, 1 will here describe the propertie of the 
Bore and how they may hunt him, and the manner 
of killing him either with the sword or bore-speare, 
as you shall also see it set out in portray ture hereafter 
in his place." 

Then follows a chapter " of the nature and subtiltie 
of the Bore" wherein we are told that "the Bore is 
of this nature, that when his dame doth pigge 
him, he hath as many teeth as ever he will have 
whiles he liveth, neither will their teeth any 
way multiply or encrease but onely in greatnesse 
^ind length. Amongst the rest they have foure. 
which (with the Frenchmen) are called defense*, 
and we call them tuskes or tusches, whereof the 
two highest do not liurte when he striketh, but 


serve onely to whet the other two lowest : but with 
those lower tuskes, they stryke marvellously and kill 

There is a difference between the wild and tame 
swine which, as may be supposed, did not escape 
the notice of huntsmen in olden times, when the 
pursuits of the chase alone engrossed their most 
immediate attention. The information which they 
have left us on this and many other points is all 
the more valuable, as we have no longer the means 
of forming those comparisons which, from the expe- 
rience of their lives, they were able to record with 

" The difference between the wild swine and our 
hogs," says Turbervile, " is great, and that in sundry 
respects. First they are commonly blacke, or grisled, or 
streaked with blacke, whereas ours[are white, sanded, 
and of all coloures. Therewithal the wyld sywne in 
their gate do always set the hinder foote within the 
fore foote, or very neare, and stay themselves more upon 
the toe than upon the heele, shutting theirclaws before 
close : and commonly they strike their gards (which are 
their dew clawes) upon the ground, the which sway out- 
wards : and the sides of their hoofs do cut and pare 
the ground, the which our swine do not, for they 
spread and open their fore clawes leaving the ground 
between them : and they be commonly round and 
worne, leaning and staying more upon the heele, than 
upon the toe. Againe, they set not their hinder foote 
within their fore foote, and their gards fall straight 
upon the ground, and never shoyle or leane outwards : 


and they do beat down and soile the ground and cut 
it not. Also the soale of their feete is fleshy, and 
maketh no plaine print upon the ground as the wild 
swine do. There is likewise great difference in their 
rowtings : for a wild swine doth rowt deeper, because 
his snout is longer : and when they come into corne 
fieldes they follow a furrow, rowting and worming all 
along by some balke untill they come to the end. But 
tame swine rowte here and there all about the field, 
and never followe their rowting as the wild swine do. 
Likewise you may know them by the difference in 
their feedings in corne growne : for the wild swine 
beare downe the corne rounde about them, in one 
certaine place, and tame swine feede scattering here 
and there." 

" The Wild Boar," says Turbervile, " has only one 
litter in the year." 

In regard to the mode of hunting this animal as 
formerly practised in England, the plan seems to 
have been to follow it with relays of hounds until 
brought to bay, and then to rush in on foot or on 
horseback, and despatch it with sword or spear. 
Turbervile says : " If he stand at bay, the hunts- 
men must ryde in unto him as secretly as they can 
without much noyse, and when they be neare him, 
let them cast round about the place where he 
standeth, and run upon him all at once, and it shall 
be hard if they give him not one skotch with a 
sword or some wound with a bore-speare : and let 
them not strike lowe, for then they shall commonly 
hit him on the snoute, because he watcheth to take 


all blowes upon his tuskes or thereabouts. But let 
them lift up their hands high and strike right 
clowne ; and let them beware that they strike not 
towards their horses but that other way ; for on that 
side that a Bore feeleth himself hurte, he turneth head 
strayght waies whereby he might the sooner hurt or 
kill their horses if they stroke towards them. And . 
if they lie in the plaine, then let them cast a cloake 
about their horses, and they maye the better ride 
about the Bore, and strike at him as they passe ; 
but stay not long in a place. 

"It is a certaine thing experimented and found 
true, that if you hang belles upon collers about your 
houndes necks, a Bore will not so soone strike at 
them, but flee end waies before them, and seldome 
stand at bay." 

In France, where the sport of Wild Boar hunting is 
still kept up in the olden style, different names are 
given to the animal at different ages. While quite 
young, when it is striped, it is called la livree, and 
marcassin ; in the autumn, when the stripes disap- 
pear and it assumes a reddish brown colour, it is 
termed bete rousse and bete de Compaq nie (from 
keeping with the herd), names which are retained 
until two years old ; from two to three years old it 
is called ragot, a word the etymology of which is 
unknown ; * from three to four, sanglier a son tiers-an, 
or simply tiers an ; from four to five, quartanier ; 
from five to six, quintanicr and vieux sanglier. After 
this age, when both sexes become quite grey, the ears, 

* See Holland, " Faune Populairj de la France," p. 75. 


legs, and tail only remaining black, it is called grand 
vieux sanglier and solitaire. 

The winter coat of the Wild Boar is quite different 
to that which he wears in summer. The entire body in 
winter is clothed with down, over which comes a thick 
coat of coarse hair, forming a stiff mane of long bristles 
down the neck and shoulders. This is all shed as 
the summer approaches, when, with a smooth coat and 
no bristles, he looks quite a different animal. To see 
him at his best it is needless to say he should be 
viewed in winter. His appearance is then extremely 
picturesque, with his short round black ears standing 


erect through his stiff grey mane ; high shoulders, 
drooping towards the tail ; his black legs almost as 
fine as those of a deer, denoting speed and activity ; 
and a tail which he nervously twitches while champ- 
ing his tusks and darting "mischief" in every look 
of his small twinkling eyes. 

The tail, it should be observed, is never curled, as 
frequently, though erroneously, rep resented in pictures, 

* From a carved horn in possession of the author. 


but is perfectly straight, with a tuft at the end, not 
unlike that of the bison, and is carried erect when 

Mr. F. H. Salvin, to whom reference has been 
already made, kept a Wild Boar for six or seven years, 
which was given him by H.H. the Maharajah 
Dhuleep Singh, and came originally from Syria. This 
animal, a female, became remarkably tame, and would 
follow her owner about like a dog. In Land and 
Water of January 12, 1867, he gave an interesting 
account of her, which is too long to be quoted here 
in extenso, but from which we extract the following 
particulars : 

" She follows me almost daily in my walks like a 
dog, to the great astonishment of strangers. Of 
course I only take her out when the crops are too low 
to be injured ; during the spring and summer months 
I merely take her for a run in the park, where she 
can do no harm. No dog can be more obedient to 
the whistle than she is. In the heat of summer she 
is fond of a swim, and has followed me in a boat to 
a great distance. I always have her belled, to 
hear where she is in the woods, and the bell, which 
is a good sheep's bell, is fastened round her neck with 
a strap and buckle. This was of use last autumn, for 
upon one occasion I lost her for a night or two by her 
remaining behind with her young ones amongst the 
acorns ; and when I found her by the bell's sound, I 
was amused to see the immense quantity of rushes 
w^hich she had collected in. a snug dry spot for a lair 
for herself and family. 



Her leaping powers are extraordinary, over water 
or timber. On one occasion she cleared some palings 
three feet ten inches in height. As she had young 
only in the summer time, I suspect they breed but 
once a year in the wild state." 

This confirms the statement of Turbervile to the 
effect that the Wild Boar produces only one litter 
in the year. 

It was formerly the custom on Christmas Day at 
Queen's College, Oxford (whether still observed or 
not, we cannot say), to bring into hall a boar's head 


with great ceremony and song, as described by 
Aubrey in one of his MSS. preserved in the Ash- 
molean Museum. Tradition represents this usage of 
Queen's as a commemoration of an act of valour per- 
formed by a student of that college, who, while walk- 
ing in the neighbouring forest of Shotover, and read- 
ing Aristotle, was suddenly attacked by a wild boar. 
The furious beast came open-mouthed upon the 


youth, who, however, very courageously and with a 
happy presence of mind, is said to have " rammed in 
the volume and cried Grcecum est," fairly choking the 
savage with the sage.* 

We can scarcely dip into the history of the Wild 
Boar in days gone by without being reminded of the 
" Boar's Head" in Eastcheap, so happily referred to 
by Shakespeare, and so pleasantly descanted on by 
Goldsmith in his "Reverie at the Boar's Head 
Tavern ;" and we are tempted to give an illus- 
tration of this famous sign, in reduced facsimile 
from the engraving in Pennant's "London." That 
author thus alludes to it: "A little higher up on 
the left hand is Eastcheap, immortalized by Shake- 
speare as the place of rendezvous of Sir John 
Falstaff and his merry companions. Here stood 
the Boars Head tavern ; the site is now covered 
with modern houses, but in the front one is still 
preserved the memory of the sign, the Boar's Head 
cut in stone. Notwithstanding the house is gone, 
we shall laugh at the humour of the jovial knight, 
his hostess, Bardolph, and Pistol, as long as the 
descriptive pages of our great dramatic writer exist 
in our entertained imagination." 

Hone, in his " Year Book," gives a brief account 
of a visit which he paid to this memorable hostelry. 
" I could not," he says, " omit a sight of this remark- 
able place ; but upon my approach to Eastcheap, the 
inhabitants were fled, the house shut up, and instead 
of an half timber building, with one story projecting 

* Wade's " Walks in Oxford," 1817, vol. i. p. 167. 


over the other, as I expected, the edifice was modern, 
with a date in the front of 1668. I immediately 
concluded that the old house was burnt down by 
the great fire." Goldsmith's latest editor, Colonel 
Cunningham, in a note to the essay above referred 
to, assures us that this was so. 

Hone, however, continued his researches. On 
each side of the doorway he observed " a vine- 
branch carved in wood, rising more than three feet 
from the ground, loaded with leaves and clusters ; 
and on the top of each a little Falstaff, eight inches 
high, in the dress of his day." This induced him to 
make further inquiry, when he ascertained that the 
place had been sold by auction three week's before, 
at Garraway's coffee-house ;* that the purchaser was 
a stranger, and had the keys ; and that a sight of 
the premises could not be obtained. " There is 
nothing," he says, " more difficult than to find out 
a curiosity which depends upon others, and which 
nobody regards. With some trouble," he continues, 
" I procured a sight of the back buildings. I found 
them in that ancient state which convinced me that 
tradition, Shakespeare and Goldsmith, were right ; 
and could I have gained admission into the premises 
of mine hostess, Mistress Quickly, I should certainly 
have drank a cup of sack in memory of the bulky 
knight. " 

There was another and more ancient hostelry 

* The date of his visit is not stated, but the date of his Preface to 
" The Year Book," in which his account is printed (under "December 3"). 
is January, 1832. 


called the "Boar's Head," though less celebrated 
than the one just mentioned. It was situate in 
Southwark, and was standing in Henry the Sixth's 
time. It is referred to in the " Paston Letters," in a 
letter from Henry Wyndesore to John Paston, dated 
August 27, 1458. The writer says, "Please you 
to remembre my maistre at your best leiser, wheder 
his old promise shall stande as touchyng my pre- 
ferrying to the 'Boreshed' in Suthwerke."* 

It is in this same collection that we find mention 
made of the use of "boar-spears" in Norfolk, in the 
fifteenth century, first in a petition of John Paston 
to the King and Parliament, in 1450, touching his 
expulsion from Gresham by Lord Molyns, whose 
retainers held forcible possession of this man or "with 
bore-speres, swordes, and gesernys" (battle-axes) ; 
and again in a similar petition of Walter Ingham in 

The boar-spear of those days was very different 
from the spear now used by boar-hunters in India. 
Nicholas Cox, in " The Gentleman's Recreation," 
first published in 1674, thus describes it: "The 
hunting spear must be very sharp and broad, branch- 
ing forth into certain forks, so that the boar may 
not break through them upon the huntsman." The 
modern Anglo-Indian spear is from six to eight feet 
long ; the shaft of bamboo weighted with lead ; the 
spear-head a broad and stout blade. 

* " The Paston Letters," ed. Gairdner, vol. i. p. 431. 
f Op. cit., vol, i., pp. 107, 271. 



Canis lupus. 

OF the five species which come within the scope of 
the present work, the Wolf was the last to disappear. 
On this account, partly, the materials for its history 
as a British animal are more complete than is the 
case with any of the others. 

To judge by the osteological remains which the 
researches of geologists have brought to light, there 
was perhaps scarcely a county in England or Wales 
in which, at one time or another, Wolves did not 



abound, while in Scotland and Ireland they must 
have been even still more numerous. 

The vast tracts of unreclaimed forest land which 
formerly existed in these realms, the magnificent 
remnants of which in many parts still strike the 
beholder with awe and admiration, afforded for 
centuries an impenetrable retreat for these animals, 
from which it was well-nigh impossible to drive 
them. It was not, indeed, until all legitimate 
modes of hunting and trapping had proved in vain, 
until large prices set upon the heads of old and 
young had alike failed to compass their entire 
destruction, that by cutting down or burning whole 
tracts of the forests which harboured them, they 
were at length effectually extirpated. 

In the course of the following remarks -it is proposed 
to deal, first, with the geological evidence of the 
former existence and distribution of Wolves in the 
British Islands ; secondly, with the historical evidence 
of their survival and gradual extinction. 

Under the latter head it will be convenient to 
arrange the evidence separately for England and 
Wales, Scotland, and Ireland : and, as regards 
England and Wales, to subdivide the subject 
chronologically into (i) the Ancient British Period; 
(2) the Anglo-Saxon Period; and (3) the period 
intervening between the Norman Conquest and the 
reign of Henry VII. 

In this reign, it is believed, the last trace of the 
Wolf in England disappeared, since history there- 
after is silent on the subject. In Scotland and 

THE WOLF. 117 

Ireland, however, this was by no means the case, as, 
later on, we shall be able to show. 


( )\\ing to the great similarity which exists between 
the skeleton of a Wolf and that of a large Dog, such 
as would be used in the chase, it is very difficult to 
distinguish between them. Professor Owen, in his 


" British Fossil Mammals," has remarked upon this 
difficulty, and, following Cuvier, has pointed out the 
chief distinguishing characters which may be relied 
upon for identification, and which lie chiefly in the 
skull. He says : " The Wolf has the triangular 
part of the forehead behind the orbits a little nar- 
rower and flatter, the occipito-sagittal crest longer 
and loftier, and the teeth, especially the canines, 
proportionately larger. ' '* 

* Compare the crania of the Wolf here figured (pp. 120, 121) with 
those of the Dog, upper and under surfaces, given by Professor 
Flower in his " Osteology of the Mammalia," pp. 1 13, 116 (rst ed.). 

I 2 


So far as we have been enabled to collect the evi- 
dence, it would appear that undoubted remains of the 
Wolf have been found in the following localities, for 
a knowledge of many of which we are indebted to 
Professor Boyd Dawkins' able paper, " On the 
Distribution of the British Post-Glacial Mammals," 
published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological 
Society, vol. xxv. 1869, p. 192. 

BERKSHIRE. Windsor (Mus. Geol. Survey). 

DERBYSHIRE. PleasbyVale (Mus. GeoL Survey); "Windy Knoll, 
Castleton (Dawkins, " Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc." xxxi. p. 246, 
and xxxiii. p. 727) ; Creswell Crag Caves (Mello and Busk, 
"Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc." xxxi. p. 684; Dawkins, op. cit. 
xxxii. p. 248, aud xxxiii. pp. 590 and 602.) 

DEVONSHIRE. Bench Cave, Brixham (W. A. Sanford) ; Kent's 
Hole, Torquay (Mus. Geol. Soc., Mus Eoy. Coll. Surg., and 
Mus. Oxford) ; Oreston, near Plymouth (Brit. Mus. and Mus. 
Geol. Soc. ; Owen, " Brit. Foss. Mamm." p. 123). 

GLAMORGANSHIRE. Gower.Bacon's Hole (Mus. Swansea ; Falconer, 
"Palseont. Mem." ii. pp. 183, 325, 340, 349, 501); Bosco's 
Hole (Mus. Swansea; Falconer, torn. cit. pp. 510, 589) ; Crow- 
Hole (Mus. Swansea; Falconer, torn. cit. p. 519) ; Deborah 
Den (Mus. Swansea; Falconer, torn. cit. p. 467) ; Long Hole 
(Falconer, torn. cit. pp. 400, 525, 538) ; Minchin Hole (Brit. 
Mus. ; Mus. Swansea) ; Paviland (Mus. Oxford and Swan- 
sea; Owen, "Brit. Foss. Mamm." p. 124); Kavenscliff 
(Falconer, torn. cit. p. 519); Spritsail Tor (id. pp. 179,462, 
477, 522). 

GLOUCESTERSHIRE. Tewkesbury (Owen, " Brit. Foss. Mamm."). 

KENT. Murston, Sittingbourne (Mus. Geol. Survey). 

ESSEX. Valley of the Boding, Ilford (Sir A. Brady). 

NORFOLK. Denver Sluicef (Mus. Geol. Cambr.). 

OXFORDSHIRE. Thame (Coll. Codrington, " Quart. Journ. Geol. 
Soc." xx. p. 374). 

SOMERSETSHIRE. Benwell Cave ("W. Borrer) ; Blendon (Mus. 
Taunton) ; Hutton (Mus. Taunton) ; Sandford Hill (Mus. 
Taunton) ; Uphill (Mus. Bath and Taunton) ; Wokey Hole 
(Mus. Oxford, Taunton, and Bristol). 

t A landscape by E. W. Fraser " On the Ouze near Denver Sluice " 
was exhibited at the Eoyal Academy in 1877, TsTo. 794. The locality 
is a few miles to the South of Downham Market, and just below where 
the old and new Bedford rivers run into the natural stream. 

THE WOLF. 119 

SUSSEX. Bracklesham (Brit. Mus. and Mus. Chicliester) ; Peven- 

sey* (" Sussex Archaeol. Coll." xxiv. p. 160.) 
WILTSUIRE. Vale of Kennet (" Sussex Archaeol." torn. cit.). 
YORKSHIRE. Bielbecks (Mus. York ; " Phil. Mag." vol. vi. p. 225) ; 

Kirkdalo (Brit. Mus., Mus. Geol. Soc. and Roy. Coll. Surg ; 

Buckland, "Trans. Eoy. Soc." 1822 ; Clift, id. 1823, p. 90). 

We have here a dozen counties in different parts 
of England and Wales, north, south, east, and west, 
which show clearly from their position how very gene- 
rally distributed the Wolf must formerly have been. 

The geological record, however, is but an im- 
perfect one in showing the distribution of the Wolf 
in bygone times, for to the localities above mentioned 
might be added numerous others in which we know 
from history that this animal formerly abounded. 
The forest of Rlddlesdale in Northumberland ; the 
great forests of Blackburnshire and Bowland in 
Lancashire ; Richmond Forest, Yorkshire ; Sherwood 
Forest, Nottinghamshire ; Savernake Forest, Wilts ; 
the New Forest ; the forests of Bere and Irwell, and 
many others, are on record as former strongholds of 
these ferocious animals. To these we shah 1 have 
occasion to refer later when dealing with the 
historical evidence. 

Unlike other extinct British animals, the Wolf 
apparently has not deteriorated in size, for the fossil 
bones which have been discovered, as above men- 
tioned, are not larger, nor in any way to be dis- 
tinguished from those of European wolves of the 
present day. 

* Iu 1851 many skulls of Wolves were taken out of a disused 
mediaeval well at Pevensey Castle. 



Ancient British Period. Dio Nicseus, speaking 
of the inhabitants of the northern parts of this 
island, tells us they were a fierce and barbarous 


people, who tilled no ground, but lived upon the 
depredations they committed in the southern dis- 
tricts or upon the food they procured by hunting. 
Strabo also says (lib. iv.) that the dogs bred in 
Britain were highly esteemed upon the Continent on 
account o their excellent qualities for hunting, and 
these qualities, he seems to hint, were natural to 

THE WOLF. 121 

them, and not the effect of tutorage by their foreign 
masters. Wolf-hunting appears to have been a 
favourite pursuit with the ancient Britons. Mem- 
pricius or Memprys, one of the immediate descendants 
of Brutus, who reigned until B.C. 980, fell a victim 


in that year to the Wolves which he delighted to 
pursue, and was unfortunately devoured by them. 

" Hys brothir he slwe 
For tyl succede tyl hym as kyng. 
It happynde syne at a huntyng 
"VVytht wolwys hym to weryde be ; 
Swa endyit his iniquite." 

Wyntoivnits Ci'onylcil, i. p. 54. 

Blaiddyd, another British monarch (B.C. 863), who 
seems to have been learned in chemistry, is said to 


have discovered the medicinal properties of the Bath 
mineral waters, by observing that cattle when 
attacked and wounded by the Wolves went and 
stood in these waters, and were then healed much 
sooner then they would have been by any other 
means. From this it may be inferred that Wolf- 
hunting was found by the ancient Britons to be a 
necessary and pleasurable, yet dangerous, pursuit. 

We do not find, says Strutt,* that during the 
establishment of the Romans in Britain, there were 
any restrictive laws promulgated respecting the 
killing of game. It appears to have been an 
established maxim in the early jurisprudence of that 
people, to invest the right of such things as had no 
master with those who were the first possessors. 
Wild beasts, birds, and fishes became the property of 
those who first could take them. It is most 
probable that the Britons were left at liberty to 
exercise their ancient privileges ; for had any 
severity been exerted to prevent the destruction of 
game, such laws would hardly have been passed over 
without the slightest notice being taken of them by 
the ancient historians. 

Anglo-Saxon Period. As early as the ninth cen- 
tury, and doubtless long before that, a knowledge of 
hunting formed an essential part of the education of 
a young nobleman. Asser, in his " Life of Alfred the 
Great," assures us that that monarch before he was 
twelve years of age "was a most expert and active 
hunter, and excelled in all the branches of that most 

* " Sports and Pastimes of the People of England." 



noble art, to which he applied with incessant labour 
and amazing success." Hunting the Wolf, the Wild 
Boar, the Fox, and the Deer, were the favourite 
pastimes of the nobility of that day, and the Dogs 
which they employed for these various branches of the 
sport, were held by them in the highest estimation. 
Such ravages did the Wolves commit during winter, 


particularly in January when the cold was severest, 
that the Saxons distinguished that month by the 
name of " Wolf month." 

"The month which we now call January," says 
Verstegan, "they called 'Wolf monat,' to wit, 'Wolf 
moneth/ because people are wont always in that 
month to be in more danger to be devoured of Wolves 
than in any season else of the year; for that, through 
the extremity of cold and snow, these ravenous 


creatures could not find of other beasts sufficient to 
feed upon."* 

The Saxons also called an outlaw " wolfs-head/'t 
as being out of the protection of the law, proscribed, 
and as liable to be killed as that destructive beast. 
" Et tune gerunt caput lupinum, ita quod sine judiciali 
inquisilione rite pereant."^ 

In the " Penitentiale" of Archbishop Egber, 1 -, drawn 
up about A.D. 750, it is laid down (lib. iv.) that, " if 
a wolf shall attack cattle of any kind, and the animal 
attacked shall die in. consequence, no Christian may 
touch it." 

It is to the terror which the Wolf inspired among 
our forefathers that we are to ascribe the fact of 
kings and rulers, in a barbarous age, feeling proud of 
bearing the name of this animal as an attribute of 
courage and ferocity. Brute power was then con- 
sidered the highest distinction of man, and the 
sentiment was not mitigated by those refinements of 
modern life which conceal but do not destroy it. 
We thus find, amongst our Anglo-Saxon kings and 
great men, such names as Ethel wulf, "the Noble 
Wolf;" Berth wulf, "the Illustrious Wolf ;" Eadwulf, 
" the Prosperous Wolf;" Ealdwulf, " the Old Wolf." 

In Athelstan's reign, Wolves abounded so in York- 
shire that a retreat was built by one Acehorn, at 

* " Restitution of Decayed Intelligence," p. 64 (ed. 1673). 

f Ang.-Sax. Wulvcslwofod, that is, having the head of a Wolf. In 
1041, the fugitive Godwin was proclaimed Wulveshcofod, a price being 
set upon his head. The term was in use temp. Henry II. 

J Bracton, " De legibus et consuetudinibus Anglia?," lib. iii. tr. ii. 
c. ii (1569). See also Knighton, " De Eventibus Anglise," in 
Twysden's " Historic Angiicame Scriptorcs Decem," p. 2356 (1652). 

THE WOLF. 125 

Flixton, near Filey, in that county, wherein travellers, 
might seek refuge if attacked by them. 

Carnden says : " More inward stands Flixton, 
where a hospital was built in the time of Athelstan, 
tor defending travellers from Wolves (as it is word 
for word in the public records), that they should not 
be devoured by them/'* It is currently believed 
that a farmhouse between the villages of Flixton 
and Staxton now stands on the site of this hospital. 
It was restored and confirmed in 1447 by the name 
of Canons Spittle, and was dissolved about 1535, 
The farm is still called Spittal Farm, and a small 
stream running by it is called Spittal Brook.* 

When Athelstan, in 938, obtained a signal victory 
at Brunanburgh over Constantine, King of Wales, 
he imposed upon him a yearly tribute of money and 
cattle, to which was also added a certain number of 
" hawks and sharp- scented dogs, tit for the hunting 
of wild beasts."| His successor, Edgar, remitted 
the pecuniary payment on condition of receiving- 
annually from Ludwall (or Idwal||), the successor of 
Constantine, the skins of three hundred Wolves.' 

* Camden, " Britannia," tit. Yorkshire, vol. ii. p. 902. 

f This information was communicated to the author by the Rev. 
Henry Blane, of Folkton Rectory, (Jantou, York. 

* William of Malmesbury, " Hist. Reg. Anglorum," lib. ii. c. 6. 

Of. Holinshed's " Chronicles," vol. i. p. 378 (4to cd. 1807), and 
Selden's Notes to Drayton's " Polyolbion," Song ix. 

|| Cf. Camdeu's " Britannia," tit. Merionethshire, vol. ii. p. 785. 
^f William of Malmesbury, op/ cit. lib. ii. c. 8. See^also the quaint 
remarks on this subject by Taylor, the Water Poet, in his "Journey 
through Wales," 1652 (p;i. 31, 32, Halliwell's edition, 1859). The 
value of a wolf-skin in Wales, as fixed by the Code of Laws made by 
How el Dha in the ninth century. \v;is eight pemv. the tame value 
being set upon an otter-skin. 


We do not find, indeed, that the hawks and hounds 
were included in this new stipulation, but it does 
not seem reasonable that Edgar, who, like his pre- 
decessor, was extremely fond of field sports, should 
have remitted that part of the tribute.* 

It is generally admitted that Edgar relinquished 
the fine of gold and silver imposed by his uncle 
Athelstan upon Constantine, and claimed in its 
stead the annual production of 300 wolf- skins, be- 
cause, say the historians, the extensive woodlands 
and coverts, abounding at that time in Britain, 
afforded shelter for the Wolves, which were ex- 
ceedingly numerous, especially in the districts 
bordering upon Wales. By this prudent expedient, 
in less than four years, it is said, the whole island 
was cleared of these ferocious animals, without 
putting his subjects to the least expense.t But, as 
Strutt has observed, \ "if this record be taken in 
its full latitude, and the supposition established, 
that the Wolves were totally exterminated in Britain 
during the reign of Edgar, more will certainly be 
admitted than is consistent with the truth, as certain 
documents clearly prove." The words of William of 
Malmesbury on the subject are to this effect, that 
"he, Edgar, imposed a tribute upon the King of 
Wales, exacting yearly 300 Wolves. This tribute 

* Strutt, " Sports and Pastimes." 

t It is singular that the same expedient has been resorted to in 
modern times, and with considerable success. In the accounts of 
Assinniboia, Bed River Territory, there is an entry of payment for 
Wolves' heads; and in 1868 the State of Minnesota paid for Wolves' 
scalps 11,300 dollars, at the rate of 10 dollars apiece. 

+ " Sports and Pastimes." 

THE WOLF. 127 

continued to be paid for three years, but ceased 
upon the fourth, because, ' nidlurn se ulterius posse 
invenire professus,' it was said that he could not 
find any more."* 

" Cambria's proud Kings (tho' with reluctance) paid 
Their tributary wolves ; head after head, 
In full account, till the woods yield no more, 
And all the rav'nous race extinct is lost." 


But this must be taken to refer only to Wales, for in 
the first place it can hardly be supposed that the 
Welsh chieftain would be permitted to hunt out of 
his own dominions, and in the next place there is 
abundant documentary evidence to prove the exist- 
ence of Wolves in England for many centuries later. 
Holinshed, who gives a much fuller account, says :f 
" The happie and fortunate want of these beasts 
in England is vniuersallie ascribed to the politike 
government of King Edgar, who to the intent the 
whole countrie might once be clensed and clearelie 
rid of them, charged the conquered Welshmen (who 
were then pestered with these rauenous creatures 
aboue measure) to paie him a yearlie tribute of 
woolfes skinnes, to be gathered within the land. He 
appointed them thereto a certaine number of 30x3, 
with free libertie for their prince to hunt and 
pursue them ouer all quarters of the realme ; as our 
chronicles doo report. Some there be which write 

* "Hist. Eeg. Anglorum," lib. ii. cap. 8. Sec also Wynne's 
" Caradoc," p. 51. 

f " Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland," (ed. 4to, 1807), 
vol. i. p. 378, bk. iii. chap. iv. : ' Of Savage Beasts and Vermines.' 


how Ludwall, prince of Wales, paid yearelie to King- 
Edgar this tribute of 300 woolfes, whose carcases 
being brought into Lloegres, were buried at Wolfpit, 
in Cambridgeshire, and that by meanes thereof 
within the compasse and terme of foure yeares, none 
of these noisome creatures were left to be heard of 
within Wales and England. Since this time, also, we 
read not that anie woplfe hath beene seene here that 
hath beene bred within the bounds and limits of our 
countrie : howbeit there hkue beene diuerse brought 
over from beyond the seas for greedinesse of gaine, 
and to make monie onlie by the gasing and gaping of 
our people vpon them, who couet oft to see them, 
being strange beasts in their eies, and sildome 
knowne (as I haue said) in England." 

This event is related somewhat differently by the 
Welsh historians. " In the year 965," says Powel, 
" the country of North Wales was cruelly wasted by 
the army of Edgar, King of England ; the occasion 
of which was, the non-payment of the tribute that 
the king of Aberffraw (North Wales), by the laws 
of How el Dha, was obliged to pay to the king of 
London (England). But at length a peace was con- 
cluded upon these conditions, that the king of North 
Wales, instead of money, should pay to the king of 
England the tribute of 300 Wolves yearly ; which 
creature was then very pernicious and destructive to 
England and Wales. This tribute being duly per- 
formed for two years, the third year there were none 
to be found in any part of the island, so that after- 
wards the prince of North Wales became exempt 

THE WOLF. 129 

from paying any acknowledgment to the king of 

The amount of the original tribute commuted for 
this tax of Wolves, the time when that tribute was 
appointed, and the cause for which it was imposed, 
are altogether circumstances not very generally under- 
stood. It is vaguely imagined to have been a de- 
grading tax paid by the people of Wales to the 
English monarch, in token of their subjection to his 
sovereignty as their conque'ror. "This," says Powel, 
" is not the fact ; it arose from a local cause : from one 
of those cruel dissensions among the native princes 
which too often disgrace the Welsh annals, and to 
settle which the weakest never failed to invite the 
aid of foreign force. 

About the year 953, Owen, the son of Griffith, was 
slain by the men of Cardigan ; and Athelstane, upon 
this pretext, entering with an army into Wales, 
imposed an annual tribute upon certain princes to 
the amount of 20 in gold, ^300 in silver, and 200 
head of cattle, but which was not observed by these 
Welsh princes, as appears by the laws of Howel Dha, 
wherein the levy is appointed. It is there decreed 
that the Prince of Aberffraw should pay no more to 
the English king than 66 tribute, and even this sum 
was to be contributed to the prince of Aberffraw by 
the princes of Dinefawr and Powis, upon whom this 
tax was virtually imposed. The principality of Dine- 
fawr, it may be observed, included Cardigan, by the 
men of which district the alleged crime had been 
committed ; and Powis, which was close to the 


English borders, was apparently implicated in the 
same offence." 

Hence it appears the tax was a local fine imposed 
upon these two princes, only that the prince of 
North Wales was made answerable for its due per- 
formance. The tax existed therefore, though but 
nominally, for the space of two-and-thirty years 
namely, from the time of Athelstane to Edgar when 
the above recorded commutation of the tribute took 
place, and for the fulfilment of which condition it is 
apparent the prince of North Wales was again made 

That the principality of Wales was, by this salutary 
means, delivered in a great measure from the pest of 
Wolves may be conceived. In this the histories of 
the Welsh agree ; but there is some shade of differ- 
ence in their conclusions as to the utter extermination 
of the race ; and it is now believed that they were 
not entirely destroyed in Wales till years after. 
Owen, in his " Cambrian Biography," says it was not 
till forty-five years after.* 

Drayton, in his " Polyolbion" (Song ix.), has thus 
commemorated the wisdom of Edgar's policy : 

" Thrice famous Saxon king, on whom Time ne'er shall prey. 
Edgar ! who compell'dst our Ludwall hence to pay 
Three hundred Wolves a year for tribute unto thee ; 
And for that tribute paid, as famous may'st thou be, 
O conquer'd British king, by whom was first destroy'd 
The multitude of Wolves that long this land annoy'd." 

* " lago ap Idwal Yoel, king of Gwynedd, from A.D. 948 to 979. 
From 948 to 966 he reigned jointly with his brother Jevav. In 962 
Edgar made him pay tribute of wolves' heads ; and in forty-five years 
after, all these animals were destroyed." 

THE WOLF. 131 

The learned Dr. Kay* acquiesced in the vulgar 
opinion of the extinction of Wolves in England by 
King Edgar, and in his work on "British Dogs/' pub- 
lished in 1570, treating of the sheep-dog (Pastoralis) 
he says : " Sunt qui scribunt Ludwallum Cambrics 
principem pendisse annuatim Edgaro regi ^ooluporum 
tributi nomine, atque ita annis quatuor onmem Cambriam, 
atque adeo omnem Angliam, orbasse lupis." 

" Regnavit autem Edgarus circiter annum 959, a quo 
tempore non legimus nativum in Anglia visum lupum." 

The worthy doctor seems to have been little aware 
that even at the date at which he wrote wolves still 
existed in the British Islands. Dr. John Walker 
was almost as much at fault when he wrote : " Canis 
lupus. Habitavit olim in Britannia. Quondam incola 
sylvai caledonice. In Scotia seculo xv. extinctus, et 
postremo in regions Navernice."^ 

Pennant, referring to the received opinion that a 
great part of the kingdom was freed from Wolves 
through the exertions of King Edgar, says : " In 
England he attempted to effect it by commuting the 
punishments for certain crimes into the acceptance 
of a number of Wolves' tongues from each criminal ; 
in Wales by converting a tax of gold and silver into 
an annual tribute of 300 Wolves' heads. Notwith- 
standing his endeavours, however, and the assertions 

* " Joannis Caii Britanni 'de Canibua Britannicis.' " Liber unus. 
Londini, per Gulielmum Seresium. 8vo, 1570. There is a transla- 
tion of this work in the British Museum, entitled, " Of Englisho 
Dogges, newly drawn into English." By Abraham Fleming, Student. 
London. 4^0,1576. A reprint of this has been recently published. 

f* Mammalia Scotica,' in "Essays on Nat. Hist, and Kural 
Economy," 1814, p. 480. 



of some authors to the contrary, his scheme proved 

We have met with a statement to the effect 
that "two wooden Wolves' heads still remain near 
Glastonbury on an ancient house where [query, on 
the site of which] at Eadgerly, King Edgar lived and 
received annually his tax from the Welsh in 300 
heads, "t 

This statement, however, conflicts somewhat with 
that of Holinshed, who says that " the carcases being- 
brought into Lloegres, were buried at Wolfpit in 
Cambridgeshire. "| 

In the Forest Laws of Canute, promulgated in 
1016, the Wolf is thus expressly mentioned : " As 
for foxes and wolves, they are neither reckoned as 
beasts of the forest or of venery, and therefore who- 
ever kills any of them is out of all danger of for- 
feiture, or making any recompense or amends for the 
same. Nevertheless, the killing them within the 
limits of the forest is a breach of the royal chase, and 
therefore the offender shall yield a recompense for 
the same, though it be but easy and gentle." 

It was" doubtless to this constitution that the 
Solicitor-General St. John referred, at the trial of the 
Earl of Strafford, when he said, " We give law to 
hares and deer, because they are beasts of chase ; but 
we give no law to wolves and foxes, because they are 

* "British Zoology," vol. i. p. 88 (1812). 
f " Sussex Archaeol. Coll." vol. iv. p. 83 (1851). 
I "Chronicles," vol. i. p. 378 (4to ed. 1807). 

See Manwood's " Forest Laws." The Charter of the Forest of 
Cauutusthe Dane ( 27). 


beasts of prey, but knock them on the head wherever 
we find them."* 

Liulphus, a dean of Whalley in the time of Canute, 
was celebrated as a wolf-hunter at Rossendale, Lan- 
cashire, t 

Matthew Paris, in his " Lives of the Abbots of St. 
Albans," mentions a grant of church lands by Abbot 
Leofstan (the I2th abbot of that monastery) to 
Thurnoth and others, in consideration of their keep- 
ing the woods between the Chiltern Hundreds and 
London free from wolves and other wild beasts. 

It would seem that the " ancient and accustomed 
tribute" due to the English kings was repeated by 
the Welsh princes in the very last years of the 
Anglo-Saxon monarchy. It was demanded by and 
rendered to Harold.J 

Period from the Conquest to the reign of Henry VII. 
Historical evidence of the existence of wolves in 
Great Britain before the Norman Conquest, as 
might be expected, is meagre and unsatisfactory, 
and the abundance of these animals in our islands 
prior to that date is chiefly to be inferred from the 
measures which in later times were devised for their 

In the "Carmen de Bello Hastingensi," by Guido, 
Bishop of Amiens (v. 571 ), it is related that William 
the Conqueror left the dead bodies of the English 
upon the battle-field to be devoured by worms, wolves, 
birds, and dogs vermibus, atque lupis, avibus, cani- 

* Clarendon, "Hist. Reb." fol. ed., i. p. 183. 

f Whitaker's "History of Whalley," p. 222. J Palgrave. 

K 2 


busque voranda. When Waltheof, the son of Siward r 
with an invading Danish army arrived in the 
Humber, in September, 1069, and, reinforced by the 
men of Northumbria, made an attack upon York, it is 
related that 3,000 Normans fell. A hundred of the 
chiefest in rank were said to have fallen amongst 
the flames by the hand of Waltheof himself, and the 
Scalds of the North sang how the son of Siward gave 
the corpses of the Frenchmen as a choice banquet for 
the Wolves of Northumberland.* 

In 1076 Robert de Umfraville,t Knight, lord of 
Toures and Tain, otherwise called " Robert with the 
Beard," being kinsman to that king, obtained from 
him a grant of the lordship, valley, and forest of 
Riddesdale, in the county of Northumberland, with 
all castles, manors, lands, woods, pastures, waters, 
pools, and royal franchises which were formerly pos- 
sessed by Mildred, the son of Akman, late lord of 
Riddesdale, and which came to that king upon his 
conquest of England ; to hold by the service of 
defending that part of the country for ever from 
enemies and Wolves, with the sword which King 
William had by his side when he entered North- 

1087-1100. The inveterate love of the chase 

* Freeman's " Norman Conquest." 

f " The name seems to be derived from one of the several places iu 
Normandy now called Amfreville, but in some instances originally 
Omfreville, that is Humfredi villa, the vill or abode of Humphrey." 
LOWER, Patronymica Britannica. 

J See Dugdale's " Baronage," vol. i. p. 504 ; and Blount's " Ancient 
Tenures," p. 241. 

THE WOLF. 135 

possessed by William Rufus, which prompted him to 
-enforce, during his tragical reign, the most stringent 
and cruel forest laws, is too well known to readers of 
history to require comment. It cannot be doubted 
that in the vast forests* which then covered the 
greater part of the country, and through which he 
continuously hunted, he must have encountered and 
slain many a Wolf. Yet, strange to say, a careful 
search through a great number of volumes has re- 
sulted in a failure to discover any evidence upon 
this point, or indeed any mention of the Wolf in con- 
nection with this monarch. 

Longstafle, in his account of " Durham before the 
Conquest," states that a great increase of Wolves 
took place in Richinondshire during this century, 
and mentions incidentally that Richard Ingeniator 
-dealing with property at Wolverston (called Olveston 
in the time of William Rufus) sealed the grant with 
an impression of a Wolf. 

1100-1135. In his passion for hunting wild 
.animals, Henry I. excelled even his brother William, 
and not content with encountering and slaying those 
which, like the Wolf and the Wild-boar, were at 
that time indigenous to this country, he " cherished 
of set purpose sundrie kinds of wild beasts, as bears, 
libards, ounces, lions, at Woodstocke and one or two 
other places in England, which he walled about with 

* " The word ' forest,' in its original and most extended sense, 
implied a tract of land lying out (foras), that is, rejected, as of no 
"value, in the first distribution of property." WIIITAKER, History of 
Whalley, p. 193. 


hard stone An. 1120, and where he would often 
fight with some one of them hand to hand."* 

Amongst other forest laws made in this reign, was- 
one which provided that compensation should be 
made for any injury occasioned during a wolf hunt. 
Si quis arcu vel balista de subitanti, vel pedico ad 
lupos vel ad aliud capiendum posito, dampanum vel 
inalum aliquod recipiat, solvat qui posuitf 

1 156. There can be no doubt that at this period, 
and for some time afterwards, the New Forest, as well 
as the Forest of Bere, in Hampshire, both favourite 
hunting-grounds with William Rufus and his brother 
Henry, were the strongholds of the Wolf, as they 
were of the Wild-boar and the Red-deer, for in the 
second year of the reign of Henry II. the sheriff of 
Hants had an allowance made to him in the Ex- 
chequer for several sums by him disbursed for the 
livery of the King's wolf-hunters, hawkers, falconers, 
and others. " Et in liberatione lupariorum ioo*. r 
et in Hberatione accipitrariorum et fahonariorum Regis 
22li per Willelmum Cumin "\ 

In the fourth year of the same reign, the sheriffs of 
London were allowed by the Chancellor 405. out of the 
Exchequer for the King's huntsmen and his dogs, " Et 
venatoribus Regis et canibus ejusxl*. per cancellarium.'\ 

Conan, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond, 

* Harrison's "Description of England," prefixed to Holinshed's 
" Chronicle," p. 226. 

" Leges Regis Henrici primi," cap. 90, 2. 

| Madox, " History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the King* 
of England from the Norman Conquest to the end of the Eeign of 
Edward II.," vol. i. p. 204 (1769). 

Madox, torn. cit. p. 207. 

THE WOLF. 137 

in 1 1 64, granted, amongst other privileges, to the 
Abbey of Jourvaulx, several pastures on the north 
side of the river Jore, reserving only liberty for his 
deer, likewise pasturage throughout his new forest, 
near Richmond, Yorkshire, for all their cattle, with 
power to keep hounds for chasing Wolves out of 
those their territories.^ 

It is related in the "Annales Cambria?" (Harl. 
MSS., No. 3859 on vellum) that in 1 166 a rabid Wolf 
at Caermarthen bit twenty-two persons, nearly all 
of whom died.t 

In 1167, the Bishopric of Hereford was vested in 
the King in consequence of the see being then vacant ; 
and in the account of John Cumin, who acted in 
the capacity of Gustos, we find in the accounts of 
the revenue and expenditure of the temporalities a 
payment of i os. for three Wolves captured that year. 
" Etpro tribus Lupis capiendis, x s " 

William Beriwere obtained from Henry II. the 
confirmation of all his lands, as also the forestership 
of the Forest of De la Bere, with power to take any 
person transgressing therein between the bars of 
Hampton and the gates of Winchester, and likewise 
between the river of Ramsey and the river of Win- 
chester to the sea, as amply as his father had held 
the same in the times of King William and King 
Henry I. From Richard I. (whom he accompanied 

* Dugdale's " Baronage," vol. i. p. 48. " Ex. Kegist. Archiep. 
Cant." p. 8;5a. 

f " Apud Kermerden lupus rdbiosus duo de viginto Jbomtitea 
momordit qui omnes fere protinus periereunt." This MS. is believed 
to be a translation from the original Welsh. Ed. Williams (Master of 
the Rolls Series), pp. 50, 51. 


to the Holy Land, and whom he was instrumental 
in delivering from prison when that king was con- 
fined in Germany) he obtained many valuable emolu- 
ments as well as large territorial grants, and in the 
following reign was no less fortunate with King 
John, who, having a great regard for him in conse- 
quence of his knowledge in the art and mystery of 
venery, gave him license to enclose his woods at 
Joare, Cadelegh, Baddon, Ailesberie, and Burgh 
Walter, with free liberty to hunt the hare, fox, cat, 
and Wolf, throughout all Devonshire, and likewise 
the goat beyond the precincts of the forest ; and to 
have free warren throughout all his own lands for 
hares, pheasants, and partridges.* 

From a charter of liberties granted by King John, 
when Earl of Morton, to the inhabitants of Devon- 
shire, it appears that the "Wolf was at that time 
included amongst the " beasts of venery " in that 
county. The original deed, which is still pre- 
served in the custody of the Dean and Chapter of 
Exeter, is under seal, and provides inter alia as 
follows : 

" Quod habeant canes suos et alias libertates, sicut 
melius et liberius illas haberunt tempore ejusd. Henrici 
regis et reisellos suos, et quod capiant capreolum, 
vulpem, cattum, lupum, Icporem, lutram, ubicumque 
ilia invenirent extra regardum forestce mece."^ 

1209. Mr. Evelyn P. Shirley has printed J two 

* Dugdale's " Baronage," vol. i. p. 701. 

f Ex Autographo penes Dec. et Capit. Exon. From Bp. Lyttelton's 
Collection. Quoted by Pennant, " British Zoology," vol. ii. p. 308. 
J " Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica," vol. vi. p. 299. 

THE WOLF. 139 

deeds of the loth of John relating to the manor of 
Henwick, in the parish of Bulwick, county North- 
ampton, held by the tenure of hunting the Wolf 
(fwj acorn lupi), and he suggests that from this 
tenure probably the family of Luvet or Lovett, 
originally of Rushton, and afterwards of Astwell, 
in the county of Northampton, bore, for their arms : 
Argent, three Wolves, passant, in pale, sable, armed 
and langued, gules. * 

1212. In this year, when the neighbourhood around 
Kingsclere was all forest, an entry occurs in the 
Patent Rolls of a payment of 55. as a reward for the 
capture of a Wolf at Freemantle. t The Roll referred 
to is doubtless the Eotulus Misce, annis Regis Johannis 
quartodecimi (1212-1213), where the following entries 
occur relating to the capture or chase of the Wolf : 

" On Thursday next in the octave of the Holy 
Trinity [May 12], for a Wolf captured at Freemantle, 
[Surrey] by the dogs of Master Ernald de Auc- 
lent, 5 s." 

"Item, [at Hereford]. Thursday next following 
the Feast of St. Martin [Nov. 22] to Norman the 
keeper of the Veltrars,J and to Wilkin Doggett, his 
associate, for two Wolves captured in the forest of 
Irwell, 10.9., by the king's command, &c." 

" Item. Wednesday next following the Feast of 

* The Wolf frequently appears on heraldic bearings. 

t " Patent Kolls," May 31, 1212, quoted in " Sussex Archaeological 
Collections," xxiv. p. 161. 

J VeUrarius, or vautrarius, from the French vault-re, was a mongrel 
hound for the chase of the wild-boar. See Blount, " Ancient Tenures," 
P- 233- 


St. Gregory [March 12], for two Wolves captured, 
one at Boscha de Furchiis, the other at Willes, i os. , 
given to Smalobbe and Wilck, the keepers of the 
veltrario of Thomas de Sandford." 

It is perhaps not generally known that the cir- 
cumstance narrated in the story of Bedd Gelert, 
with which every one is familiar, is said to have 
occurred in the reign of King John, and, as it is a 
story of a British Wolf, it is scarcely to be passed 
over here without some brief notice, the more so as 
it is not at all unlikely that it is founded on fact. 

The tradition, as related by Bingley in his " Tour 
round North Wales,"* is to the effect that Llewellyn, 
who was Prince of Wales in the reign of King John, 
resided at the foot of Snowdon, and, amongst a 
number of other hounds which he possessed, had one 
of rare excellence which had been given to him by 
the king. On one occasion, during the absence of 
the family, a Wolf entered the house; and Llewellyn, 
who first returned, was met at the door by his 
favourite dog, who came out, covered with blood, to 
greet his master. The prince, alarmed, ran into the 
house, to find his child's cradle overturned, and the 
ground flowing with blood. In a moment of terror, 
imagining that the dog had killed the child, he 
plunged his sword into his body, and laid him dead 
on the spot. But, on turning up the cradle, he 
found his boy alive and sleeping by the side of the 
dead Wolf. This circumstance had such an effect 011 

* "A Tour round North Wales," 1800, vol. i. p. 363. See also 
Sir John Carr's " Stranger in Ireland," 4to, 1806. 

THE WOLF. 141 

the mind of the prince, that he erected a tomb over 
the faithful dog's grave on the spot where afterwards 
the parish church was built, called from this incident 
Bedd Gelert, or the grave of Gelert. From this 
story was derived the common Welsh proverb, "I 
repent as much as the man who slew his greyhound. " 

The dog referred to belonged probably to the race 
called by Pennant "the Highland gre-hound," of 
great size and strength, deep-chested, and covered 
with long rough hair. This kind was much esteemed in 
former days, and was used for hunting by all the great 
chieftains in preference to any other. Boethius styles it 
" genus venaticum cum celerrimum turn audacissimum." 

1216-1272. In the following reign of Henry III. 
Wolves were sufficiently numerous in some parts of 
the country to induce the king to make grants of 
land to various individuals upon the express con- 
dition of their taking measures to destroy these 
animals wherever they could be found. 

In 1242 it appears that Vitalis Engaine made 
partition with William de Cantelupe, Baron of Ber- 
gavenny, of the manor of Badmundesfield, in Suffolk, 
as heir to William de Curtenai, and the same year 
had a summons, amongst divers great men, to attend 
the king, well appointed with horse and arms, in 
his expedition into France. He died in 1 249, seized, 
inter alia, of part of the lordships of Laxton and 
Pichesle, in the county of Northampton, held by 
"petit serjeanty" viz., to hunt the Wolf whensoever 
the kiny should command* 

* Dngdale's " Baronage," vol. i. p. 466. 


Selden, in his notes to Dray ton's " Polyolbion" 
(ix. 76), refers to the manor of Piddlesey in Leices- 
tershire, which was held by one Henry of Angage 
per serjeantiam capiendi lupos, and quotes as his 
authority "Itin. Leicesters. 27 Hen. III. in Archiv. 
Turr. Lond." In the same reign, William de Limeres 
held of the king, in capiie, in the county of South- 
ampton, one carucate* of land in Comelessend by 
the service of hunting the Wolf with the king's 

1272-1307. In the third year of the reign of 
Edward I., namely, in 1275, Sir John d'Engayne, 
knight, and Elena d'Engayne, his wife, held lands in 
Pightesley, in the county of Northampton, by the 
service of hunting the Wolf, for his pleasure, in that 
county, J from which it is to be inferred that this 
animal was then common enough to be hunted for 
sport, as the fox is now-a-days. Other lands in the 
same county were held at this time on condition of 
the tenant finding dogs "for the destruction of 
Wolves" and other animals. It appears by the 
Patent Eolls of the Qth year of Edward I. that in 
1280, John Giffard of Brymmesfield or Brampfield, 
was empowered to destroy the Wolves in all the 
king's forests throughout the realm. || 

In 1281, Peter Corbet was commissioned to destroy 

* Carucate, a plough land. As much arable land as one plough, 
with the animals that worked it, could cultivate in a year. 

f Esc. temp. H. B, fil. E. Johannis. Harl. MS. Brit. Mus. No. ;o8,p. 8. 

J Plac. Coron. 3 Edw. I. Eot. 20, dorso. Blount, " Ancient 
Tenures," p. 230. 

Camden, "Britannia," p. 525, and Blount, p. 257. 

j| " Calend. Eot. Pat," 49. See also Eymer's " Foedera,'' sub anno. 

THE WOLF. 143 

all the Wolves he could find in the counties of 
Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford. Salop, and Stafford, 
and the bailiffs in the several counties were directed 
to be ready and assist him. The commission, which 
has been frequently referred to by different writers, 
runs as follows : 

" Pro Petro Corbet, de lupis capiendis. 

"Rex, omnibus Ballivis, &c. Sciatis quod in- 
j unximus delecto et fideli nostro Petro Corbet quod in 
omnibus forestis et parcis et aliis locis intra comitatus 
nostros Gloucester, Wygorn, Hereford, Salop, et 
Stafford, in quibus lupi poterunt inveniri, lupos cum 
hominibus canibus et ingeniis suis capiat et destruat 
modis omnibus quibus viderit expedire. 

" Et ideo vobis mandamus quod idem intendentes 
et auxiliantes estis. 

" Teste rege apud Westm. 14 Maii A.I>. 1281."* 

In the Wardrobe Accounts of Edward I. pre- 
served in the British Museum (Add. MS. No. 7966) 
anno 29 Edw. I. (1301), the following entry occurs : 

"April 29. To the huntsman of Sir Peter Corbet, deceased, for 
bringing to the King the dogs which belonged to the said Peter at the 
time of his death .... 6s. 8t7. 

In 1285, William de Reynes held two carucatesf 
of land at Boy ton, in the parish of Finchingfield, in 
the county of Essex, by the serjeanty of keeping for 
the king five Wolf-dogs (canes luporarios).\ In the 

* Eymer's " Focdera," i. pt. 2, p. 192 ; ii. p. 168. 
f See note on last page. 

* Plac. Coron. 13 Edw. I. Essex; Blount, " Ancient Tenures," p. 236. 


following year, John Engaine was returned as hold- 
ing one carucate of land in Great Gidding, in the 
county of Huntingdon, by the serjeanty of hunting 
the Wolf, fox, and wild cat, and driving away all 
vermin out of the forest of the king in that county.* 
About the same time, Richard Engaine held one 
hundred shillings of land in the town of Guedding, in 
the county of Cambridge, by the serjeanty of taking 
Wolves, and he was to do this service daily (et 
facit servi* suum cotidie)^ from which it may be 
inferred that Wolves at this date were particularly 
troublesome. Indeed, it is recorded that during this 
reign in a certain park at Farley the deer were 
entirely destroyed by Wolves. J 

In 1297 John Engaine died, seized, inter alia, of 
certain lands in Pytesle, Northampton, found to be 
held of the king by the service of hunting the Wolf, fox 
[cat], badger [wild boar, and hare] ; and likewise the 
manor of Great Gidding in com. Huntendon, held by 
the service of catching the hare, fox, cat, and Wolf 
within the counties of Huntendon, Northampton, 
Buckingham, and Roteland. 

In the accounts of Bolton Priory, quoted in 
Whitaker's "History of Craven" (p. 331), occur 
entries in the years 1306-1307, of payments made in 

* "Plac. Coron. 14 Edw. I. Rot. 7," dorso ; Blount, p. 230. 

t " Testa de Nevil," p. 358 ; Blount, p. 262. 

J " Will. Poer fecit parcum apud Farley et quod pater Comitis 
Gilbert! de Clare comes Gloucestriae dedit ei quasdam feras ad prre - 
dictum parcum instaurandum, quae ferae per lupos destruebantur." 
1 8 Edw. I. (1290) Wygorn. rot. 50 in abbreviat. Eotul. 

Dugdale's "Baronage," vol. i. p. 466. See also the Eotuli 
Hundredorum, ii. p. 627. 

THE WOLF. 145 

reward for the slaughter of Wolves, as " Cuidam qui 
occidit lupum" but the price paid to the slayer is not 
stated. Whitaker in a note to this remarks : 
" Wolves, therefore, though rare, were not extinct 
in Craven in the beginning of the fourteenth cen- 
tury. This is an important circumstance." 

1307-1327. In the fourth year of Edward II. 
(1311) a composition was made between Sir John 
de Mowbray, son and heir of Sir Roger de Mowbray, 
of the one part, and the Abbot of Selby of the other 
part, whereby the said Sir John quitclaimed and 
released to the abbot all his right in the soil and 
manor of Crowle and other places therein mentioned, 
and the abbot and convent granted to the said Sir 
John de Mowbray certain woods, saving their free 
warren of goats, foxes, Wolves, conies, &c.* 

The king's forest of the Peak in Derbyshire was 
of great extent, and about this time was much in- 
fested with Wolves. A family of the hereditary name 
of Wolfhunt held lands by the service of keeping the 
forest clear of these destructive animals.t From the 
records in the Tower of London (13 Edw. II.) it 
appears that in 1320 some persons held lands at 
Wormhill, in the county of Derby, by the service of 
hunting and taking Wolves, from whence they were 
called Wolfhunt or Wolvehunt. 

Mr. W. H. G. Bagshawe, of Ford Hall, Chapel-en- 

* Burton, " Monasticon Eboracense," p. 389. The Abbots of Selby 
and of St. Mary, at York, were the only two mitred abbots in York- 

f 'The Local Laws, Courts, and Customs of Derbyshire,' " Journ. 
Brit. Archseol. Assoc." vol. vii. p. 197. 


le-Frith, Derbyshire, a descendant of the same family 
as Mr. F. W. Bagshawe, the present owner of Worm- 
hill Hall, in reply to inquiries on the subject, has been 
good enough to write as follows : 

" With the particulars in Blount's ' Tenures ' I 
have long been familiar, but I am sorry to say that 
I cannot add to them. Wormhill Hall was never, 
so far as I know, held under the tenure of destroying 
Wolves, but it is most probable that a portion of the 
lands there were originally held by the tenure of 
preserving the king's 'verte and venyson' in his 
forest of the Peak. There is a tradition that the 
last Wolf in England was killed at Wormhill, but I 
never saw any evidence of it, nor did I ever hear any 
date assigned. In my pedigree of our family I find 
a note to the effect that John de 1'Hall (the ancestor 
of John de 1'Hall, whose daughter Alice was the wife 
of Nicholas Bagshawe) was appointed a forester 
(of fee, I suppose) to the king by deed dated 1349."* 

In 1321 William Michell, son and heir of John 
Michell, held a messuage and land at Middelton 
Lillebon, co. Wilts, of the king in capite, by the 
serjeanty of keeping his Wolf-dogs per serjantiam 
custodiendi canes luparios Eegis.^ 

1327-1377. So far as can be gathered from history, 
it would seem that while stringent measures were 
being devised for the destruction of Wolves in all or 
most of the inhabited districts which they frequented, 

* Camden, " Britannia," tit. Derbyshire, i. p. 591 ; Blount, " Ancient 
Tenures," p. 250. 

f Luparios elsewhere hiporarios ; Harl. MS. Brit. Mus. No. 134, 
p. 80. Blount, " Ancient Tenures," p. 258. 

THE WOLF. 147 

in the less populous and more remote parts of the 
country, steps were taken by such of the principal 
landowners as were fond of hunting to secure their 
own participation in the sport of finding and killing 

In Edward III.'s time, Conan, Duke of Brittany, 
in 1342, gave pasture for cattle through all his new 
forest at Richmond in Yorkshire to the inmates of the 
Abbey of Fors in Wensleydale, forbidding them to use 
any mastiffs to drive the Wolves from their pastures.'"' 

In the same year, Alan, Earl of Brittany, gave 
them common of pasture through all his forest of 
" Wandesley-dale ;" and to cut as much grass for hay 
as they might have occasion for, and also gave them 
leave to take such materials out of the said forest 
to build their houses, and for other uses ; and 
such iron and lead as the monks found they might 
apply to their own use ; and if the monks or their 
servants found any flesh of wild beasts in the forest, 
killed by Wolves, they might take it to their own use.f 

In 1 348, we find that Alan, son and heir of Walter 
de Wulf hunte, paid a fine to the king of 2s. 4^. for 
his relief in respect of lands at Mansfield Woodhouse 
in the county of Nottingham, which he held by the 
service of hunting Wolves out of the forest of Shire- 
wood, if he should find any of them. J 

* Escheat, 15 & 16 Edw. III. No. 76, in Turr. Lond. See also 
Burton, "Monasticon Eboracense," p. 370. The Abbey of Fors, in 
Wensleydale, was founded in 1 145 (Whitaker). 

j- Burton, loc. cit. 

J Determine Trin. anno 21 Edw. III. Rot. i. Harl. M.S. Brit. 
Mus. No. 34, p. 166. Blount, " Ancient Tenures," p. 258. 



Thomas Engaine, dying without issue in 1 368, was 
found to be seized of 14 yardlands and meadow, and 
1 45. 4-d. rent, in Pightesle, in the county of North- 
ampton, held by the service of finding, at his own 
proper costs, certain dogs for the destruction of 
Wolves, foxes, martens, cats, and other vermin within 
the counties of Northampton, Roteland, Oxford, 
Essex, and Buckingham.* 

1 377-1 399- In Richard II. 's reign Wolves must 
have been common enough in the forests of York- 
shire, for in the account-rolls of Whitby Abbey, 
amongst the disbursements made between 1 394 and 
1396, we find the following entry of a payment for 
dressing Wolf skins : 

Pro tewyngf xiiij pellium luporum . . . . 10. ixrf. 

Doubtless the skins of animals killed in some great 
raid made upon them at the instigation of the 

1399-1413. In Henry IV.'sreign, Sir Thomas de 
Aylesbury, knight, and Catharine his wife, held of the 
king, in capite, the manor of Laxton, inter alia, with 
appurtenances in the county of Northampton, by 
"grand serjeanty " viz., by the service of taking- 
Wolves, foxes, wild cats, and other vermin in the 
counties of Northampton, Rutland, Oxford, Essex, 
Huntingdon, and Buckingham.! 

Shakespeare has pictured wolves as existing in Kent 

* Rot. fin. 42 Edw. III. m. 13. Dugdale's "Baronage," vol. i. 
p. 467 ; and Blount, "Ancient Tenures," p. 231. 

f To " tew," or " taw," an obsolete word signifying to beat and dress 
leather with alum. Nares, " Glossary." 

J Blount, op. cit. p. 260. 

THE WOLF. 149 

in the time of Henry VI. When the Duke of Suffolk 
lands at night upon the shore near Dover, he hears 

" Loud howling wolves arouse the jades 
That drag the tragic melancholy night." 

Second Part of Henry VI., act iv. sc. i. 

This may or may not be a poetic license. At all 
events, no evidence on the subject is now forth- 
coming, and we must turn, therefore, to some more 
reliable source of information. 

1422-1461. In the eleventh year of Henry VI. 
(1433), Sir Robert Plumpton, Knight, was seized of 
one bovate of land in Mansfield Woodhouse, in the 
county of Nottingham, called Wolf-hunt land, held 
by the service of winding a horn and chasing or 
frightening the Wolves in the forest of Shirewood.* 
This tenure is particularly referred to by the Rev. 
Samuel Pegge in his Paper " On the Horn as a 
Charter or Instrument of Conveyance, "t A coloured 
plate of an ancient horn of the kind referred to, in 
the possession of the late Lord Ribblesdale, will be 
found in Whitaker's " History and Antiquities of the 
Deanery of Craven" (1805), p. 34. 

In the seventeenth year of the reign of Henry VI., 
namely, in 1439, Robert Umfraville, a descendant, no 
doubt, of the Robert de Umfraville mentioned in 
1076, held the castle of Herbotell and manor of 
Otterburn, of the king, in capite, by the service 
of keeping the valley and liberty of Riddesdale, 

* Escaet. 11 Hen. VI. n. 5. Blount, p. 312. 

f " Archscologia," vol. iii. p. 3. See also Thoroton, " Autiq. 
Nottingham," p, 273 ; and Strutt, " Sporta and Pastimes," p. 19. 

L 2 


where the said castle and manor are situated, free 
from Wolves and robbers.* 

1461-1483. If no particular mention of Wolves is 
to be met with in the days of Edward IV., his- 
reign would nevertheless deserve notice here from 
the fact that at this period lived Juliana Barnes, 
or Berners, a lady of an ancient and illustrious house, 
who was commonly styled the Diana of her age, and 
who writ or compiled divers treatises on Hunting, 
Hawking, Fishing, and Heraldry, f 

In her "Book of St. Albans," written about 1481, 
and first printed in 1486, she includes the Wolf 
amongst the beasts of venery, and thus instructs her 
readers on the subject : 

" Wheresoeure ye fare by fryth or by fell : 
My dere chylde take hede how TristramJ cloo you tell, 
How many manere bestys of venery there were : 
Lysten to your dame, and she shall you lere. , 

Foure maner bestys of venery there are : 
The fyrste of theym is the Jiarte, the seconde is the hare, 
The ~boore is one of tho : the wulfc and not one mo." 

The old books on hunting state that the season for 
hunting the Wolf was between the 25th of December 
and the 2$th of March. This of course was only 
so long as Wolf-hunting was an amusement and a 
royal sport. As soon as it became a necessity, and a 
price was set on the animal's head, it was killed 
whenever and wherever it could be found. 

1485-1509. Some time between these two dates, 

* Madox, " Baronia Anglica," p. 244. 

f Longstaffe, " Memoirs of the Life of Ambrose Barnes" (Surtees 
Society), 1867, p. 27. 

J Manwood, in his " Forest Laws," mentions " Sir Tristram," an 
ancient forester, in his worthy treatise of hunting. 

THE WOLF. 151 

during the reign of Henry VII., it is probable that 
the Wolf became finally extirpated in England, 
although for nearly two centuries later, as will pre- 
sently appear, it continued to hold out against its 
persecutors in Scotland and Ireland. That it was 
rare if not quite extinct in England about this time, 
may be inferred from the circumstance that little or 


no mention is made of it either in this or any 
subsequent reign. It is true Professor Newton, 
.in his "Zoology of Ancient Europe," has stated 
(p. 24) that the Wolf was found in the North 
<>f England in the reign of Henry VIII, a statement 
which has been also advanced, or copied, by other 


writers,* but we have not met with any proof of this. 
Indeed, Professor Newton has lately been good 
enough to inform us that he has forgotten his- 
authority for the statement, and thinks it possible a 
reference to the MS. of his essay, which was not 
preserved, would show that, by a typographical 
error, the numerals VIII. were printed for VII. 

In Longstaffe's " Memoirs of the Life of Ambrose 
Barnes,"t it is stated that " his immediate ancestors 
held an estate of 500^. a year of the Earls of Rutland 
and Belvoir, one of whom (a Barnes of Hatford near 
Barnard Castle) was commonly called Ambrose ' Roast 
wolf/ from the many wolves which he hunted 
down and destroyed in the time of Henry VII. "| 

In a footnote to this passage, the editor remarks 
that " the statement must be taken cum grano salis. 
Belvoir is not a title, and the Manners family did 
not become Earls of Rutland until 1525, in the reign 
of Henry VIII. On the other hand, the period of 
VII. is late for wolves, although Richmondshire 
might well yield some of the latest specimens in 
England. Doubtless they were familiarly associated 
with wildness of country long after their extinction. 
Many a tradition would linger in the families of their 
destroyers. Ambrose ' Roast Wolf ' was probably a 
real person of some date or other." 

* Wise's " New Forest, its History and its Scenery," p. 14. 

f "Memoirs of the Life of Mr. Ambrose Barnes, late Merchant 
and sometime Alderman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne," p. 28. (Surtees 
Society, 1867.) 

J See also Longstaffe's " Durham before the Conquest," p. 49. 

It is possible that a typographical error may have been made here 
also, and that Ambrose " Eoast Wolf " may have lived in the reign of 
Henry VIII., not Henry VII. 

THE WOLF. 153 

Within the precincts of Saver nake Forest, the pro- 
perty of the Marquis of Ailesbury, near Marlborough, 
there is still existing a very old barn and part of a 
house, known as " Wolf Hall/' or " Wulf-hall." It 
was the ancient residence of the Seymours, and when 
Henry VIII. married Lady Jane Seymour it was 
here that he came a-courting, here that he was 
married, and in this barn the wedding festivities are 
said to have taken place. In reply to an inquiry 
whether any tradition exists in the county to explain 
the name " Wolf Hall," the Rev. A. C. Smith, of 
Yatesbury Rectory, Calne, has obligingly written as 
follows : " It is supposed to have had nothing to 
do with the animal 'Wolf/ but rather with ' Ulf/ 
the owner's name, if there was such a person, and 
in the Domesday record it is spelt 'Ulfhall.'* At 
the same time I must add that Leland in his Itine- 
rary (ix. 36) calls it in Latin ' Lupinum villa 
splendida,' and again in his poem on the birth of the 
Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VI., 
Incoluit villam, quce nomine dicta lupinum.'^ Bishop 
Turner also ("Bibl. Brit. Hibern.") speaks of certain 
epistles written by Edward, the future Protector, 
son of John Seymour, ' de Puteo Lupino, vulgo Wolf- 
hall' So I am not so certain that the derivation is 
not from the animal. At all events, it is quite clear 
that no place could be more fitted for Wolves than 
the wild extensive forest of Savernake hard by ; 
indeed, if Wolves existed at all in England now, that 
would be just the very harbour for them." 

* See Wilts Archaeological Magazine, June 1875, p. 143. 

f " Genethliacon illustrissimiEluardi Principis Cambrioe," 1543- 


Many names of places compounded with "Wolf" 
still remain to attest probably the former existence of 
this animal in the neighbourhood. Wolmer i.e., 
Wolfmere or Wolvemere is an instance of this. 
Wolfer ton is another. Besides these, we have Wolfscote, 
Derbyshire ; Wolfharncote, Warwickshire ; Wolfer- 
low, Hereford ; Wolfs Castle, Pembroke ; and Wolf- 
pits, [Radnorshire ; the last named very suggestive, as 
indicating probably a former burial-place for the 
carcases of Wolves brought in during the period of 
their persecution in Wales. In the parish of West 
Chiltington, near Pulborough, Sussex, on the south 
edge of the lower greensand formation which over- 
looks the Weald, is a spot called " Wolfscrag," where, 
tradition says, the last Wolf of the Weald was killed. 
Three fields in the neighbourhood still bear the respec- 
tive names of Great Den, Little Den, and Far Den 

Wolfenden in Rossendale, and Wolfstones in 
Cliviger (Lancashire), both attest the existence of 
this animal there when those names were imposed.* 
Many other instances, no doubt, might be adduced. 
In the parish of Beckermont, Cumberland, is a small 
hill, commonly called " Wotobank." A traditionary 
story, of great antiquity, says that a lord of Becker- 
mont and his lady and servants were one time 
hunting the Wolf; during the chase this lord missed 
his lady ; after a long and painful search, they at last, 

* Whitaker, " History of Whalley," i. p. 74. " The first mention 
of Rossendale by name is in the memorable story of Liwlphus, Dean 
of Whalley, who, at a place called Ledmesgreve, cut off the tail of a 
Wolf in hunting" (torn. cit. p. 316.) 

THE WOLF. 155 

to his inexpressible sorrow, found her body lying on 
this hill or bank, slain by a Wolf, and the ravenous 
beast in the very act of tearing it to pieces, till 
frightened by the dogs. In the first transports of 
his grief the first words that he uttered were, " Woe 
to this bank !" since which time it has been com- 
monly called " Wotobank."* 

In Lancashire, Dr. Whitaker particularly mentions 
the great forests of Blackburnshire and Bowland as 
" among the last retreats of the Wolf."t 

The " wolds" of Yorkshire appear, from the dates 
of parish books, to have been infested with Wolves 
perhaps later than any other part of England. 

" In the entries at Flixton, Hackston, and Folk- 
ston, in the East Riding of Yorkshire," says Elaine, 
" are still to be seen memoranda of payments made 
for the destruction of Wolves at a certain rate per 
head. They used to breed in the ' cars' below, 
amongst the rushes, furze, and bogs, and in the 
night-time to come up from their dens ; and, unless 
the sheep had been previously driven into the town, 
or the shepherds were indefatigably vigilant, great 
numbers were sure to be destroyed." j 

Apparently, however, some error has been made in 
the orthography of the localities referred to. Flixton 
is in the parish of Folkton, near Scarboro'. We can- 

* Hutchinson, " Hist, and Antiq. Cumberland" (1794), vol. ii. p. 16. 
Upon tins tradition was founded an " elegant elegiac tale " by Mrs. 
Cowley, which will be found prefixed to the second volume of the 
work quoted. 

f Op. cit. i. p. 205. The last herd of red deer was destroyed there 
in 1805. 

J Elaine's "Encyclop. Rural Sports" (1858), p. 105. 


not find that there is any such place as " Hackston ;" 
but Staxton adjoins the other places named, and is 
in the parish of Willerby. The Vicar of Willerby, 
the Rev. G. Day, at our request most obligingly 
instituted a search, but could not succeed in finding 
any parish books of any kind to throw light on the 
subject. He writes : " There are no gentry resident in 
this parish, and the churchwardens have been tenant- 
farmers for generations. Of course great changes 
have occurred within the last, say, fifty years, amongst 
these tenant-farmers. Many names have altogether 
disappeared from the parish roll, and it is thought 
probable by some of the old farmers here that church- 
wardens in past days having left their farms and 
gone to other parishes took the parish books with 
them, and that these have either been destroyed or 
are lying hid in some descendant's lumber-room." 

In a Paper " On Druidical Remains in the Parish 
of Halifax, Yorkshire," by the Rev. John Watson, 
M.A., F.S.A.,* the author says that " in the township 
of Barkisland is a small ring of stones, now called 
(1771) by the name of the wolf -fold. It is but a 
few yards in diameter, but the exact measurement of 
it I have lost or mislaid. 

" The stones of which it consists are not erect, but 
lie in a confused heap like the ruins of a building. 
This place I took at first, from its name, to have been 
either a decoy for the taking of wolves, or a place to 
secure them in for the purpose of hunting ; but 
observing that Mr. Borlase (p. 198) has attributed 

* "Archa?ologia," vol. ii. p. 355. 

THE WOLF. 15; 

some such little cirques to the Druids, I have men- 
tioned it here for the further examination of anti- 
quaries, who are desired to take notice that if ever 
there was a wall here of any strength, the best stones 
must have been carried away ; for what are left are 
extremely rude, and totally unfit of themselves to 
compose any sort of building ; also that these few 
insignificant pebbles, as they now appear, must be of 
considerable antiquity, as well as once have been of 
considerable account, because they give the name of 
Ringstone Edge to a large tract of land around them." 

The late Wm. Hamper, F.S.A., in some learned 
observations on certain ancient pillars of memorial 
called Hoar Stones ("Archseologia," xxv.), gives a list 
of such as were known to him, and, in particular, 
mentions (p. 53) the wolf -stone, a single merestone, 
one immense natural block on Dr. Whitaker's estate, 
which, in all probability, was erected to commemorate 
some notable slaughter of Wolves in days gone by. 

The fur of the Wolf was formerly used for trimming 
robes, and was employed for this purpose at least as 
late as the time of Elizabeth. In a will dated 1573 
preserved in the Registry of the Prerogative Court 
of Canterbury the following clause occurs : 

" Also I give unto my son Tyble my sherte gown 
faced with Wolf and laid with Billement's lace ; also I 
give unto my brother Cowper my other sherte gown 
faced with foxe ; also I give unto Thomas Walker 
my night gown faced with coney, with one lace also, 
and my ready [ruddy] colored hose." 

Where the testator procured the Wolf- skin it is of 


course impossible to say, but it is noticeable that no 
foreign furs (such as sable, ermine, and lynx) are 
mentioned in his Will ; the only furs disposed of 
besides Wolf being those of indigenous animals the 
fox and the coney. 


In a preceding page it was incidentally remarked 
that the Wolf survived in Scotland to a much later 
date than was the case in England. The reason is 
pretty obvious. Long after the animal had been extir- 
pated in England the condition of the country in 
North Britain remained eminently suited to its nature. 
Vast tracts of forest and moor, rugged and well-nigh 
impenetrable in parts, entire districts of unreclaimed 
and uncultivated land, the absence of roads, and the 
consequent difficulty of communication between scat- 
tered and thinly populated hamlets, long contributed 
to shelter the Wolf not only from final extinction but 
from the incessant persecution which had driven it 
from the south. 

The aspect of the country in Scotland at the 
date to which we refer may be imagined from a 
remark of John Taylor, the Water Poet, who in 1 6 1 8 
travelled on foot from London to Edinburgh. When 
visiting Braemar, he says, " I was the space of twelve 
days before I saw either house, cornfield, or habita- 
tion of any creature, but deer, wild horses, Wolves, 
and such like creatures, which made me doubt that I 
should never have seen a house again." 

It must not be supposed, however, that the Wolf 

THE WOLF. 159 

at any time lived unmolested in Scotland. As 
the herdsman's foe, it was always regarded as a beast 
to be pursued and killed whenever and wherever 
practicable, and from the earliest times the chase 
of the Wolf was considered by kings and nobles 
to be one of the most exciting and enjoyable of field- 

We learn from Holinshed that Dorvadil, the fourth 
King of the Scots, u set all his pleasure on hunting 
and keeping of houndes and greyhoundes, ordayning* 
that every householder should find him two houndes 
and one greyhounde. If a hunter chanced in following- 
the game to lose an eye or a limme, so that he were 
not able to helpe himselfe after that time, he made 
a statute that he should be founde of the common 
treasury. He that killed a Wolf should have an oxe 
for his paines. This beast, indeed, the Scottish men 
even from the beginning used to pursue in al they 
might devise, because the same is suche an enemie 
to cattayle, wherein consisted the chiefest portion of 
all their wealth and substance."*" 

Of a later king, Ederus, we are told that his 
" chiefe delighte was altogyther in hunting and 
keeping of houndes and greyhoundes, to chase and 
pursue wild beastes, and namely the Woolfe the 
herdsman's foe, by means whereof his advancement 
was muche the more acceptable amongst the nobles, 
who in those dayes were who! lye given to that kynde 
of pleasure and pastyme."t 

* Holinshed's " Chronicles of Scotland," 1577, p. 13. 
f Holinshed, torn. cit. p. 27 


Ferquhard II., who died A.D. 668, is said to have 
proved so bad a king that Colman, Bishop of Liridis- 
farne, declared the vengeance of God would overtake 
him. " And sure his wordes proved true ; for within 
a, moneth after, as the same Ferquhard followed in 
r.hase of a Wolfe, the beast being enraged by pursuite 
i)f the houndes, flew back uppon the king, and 
snatching at him, did wounde and byte him righte 
sore in one of his sides, immediately where- 
upon, whether through anguishe of his hurt, or 
by some other occasion, he fell into a most filthie 

The sport enjoyed in Scotland in former days 
must have been incomparable. Bellenden, the trans- 
lator of Hector Boece, says, that in the forests of 
Caledonia there were "gret plente of haris, hartis, 
hindis, dayis, rais, Wolffis, wild hors, and toadis," 
(foxes), and he particularly mentions "the Wolffis " as 
being "rycht noysum to the tame bestiall in all 
partis of Scotland." 

In the reign of Malcolm IV. (1153-1165) Kobert 
de Avenel granted to the monks of Melrose the right 
of pasturage in his lands in Eskdale, reserving to 
himself the privileges of the feudal baron, to pursue 
the wild boar, the deer, and the stag. One of his 
successors questioned several of the claims to which 
the grantees considered themselves entitled, and it 
was ultimately decided in 1235, in presence of King 
Alexander II., that they had no right to hunt over the 
lands in question, and were restricted from setting 

* Holinslied, p. 148. 

THE WOLF. 161 

traps, excepting for Wolves* It seems that, in order 
to protect their flocks, the monks of Melrose were 
in the habit of setting traps for Wolves as early as the 
reign of W illiam the Lion (1165-1214)^ Wolfclyde, 
a part of the barony of Culter, in Lanarkshire, passed 
by grant to the Abbey of Melrose in 14314 

In a grant of Alexander II. (1214-1249) to the 
monks of Melrose, in Ettrick Forest, mention is 
made of "Wulfhope," a name still familiar in the 
south of Roxburghshire^ 

In 1283, there was an allowance made for " one 
hunter of Wolves" at Stirling. || 

In 1427, in the reign of James I. of Scotland, an 
Act was passed for the destruction of wolves in that 
kingdom. Further Acts with the like object were 
passed in 1457, in 1525, and in 1577. The Act of 
1525, however, is merely a modernized version of 
the law of 1427, which is referred to in the statute 
of 1577 as "the auld act made tharon." 

The law required " that ilk baron within his barony 
in gangand time of the year sail chase and seek the 
quhelpes of Wolves and gar slay them. And the baron 
sail give to the man that slays the Woolfe in his 
barony and brings the baron the head, twa shillings. 
And when the baron ordains to hunt and chase the 
Woolfe, the tenants sail rise with the baron. And 
that the barons hunt in their baronies and chase the 

* Morton's " Monastic Annals of Teviotdale," pp. 273, 274. 

f Chalmers' "Caledonia," ii. p. 132. Chart. Mel. 91. 

J Morton, op. cit. p. 276. 

Chalmers' " Caledonia," ii. p. 132. 

|| limes' " Scotland in the Middle Ages," p. 125. 


Woolfes four times a year, and als oft as onie Woolfe 
beis seen within the barony. And that na man seek 
the Woolfe with schott, but allanerly in the time of 
hunting them." The duty of summoning the people 
for a Wolf-hunt devolved upon the " schireffs" or 
"bailyis," three times a year, between St. Mark's Day 
(April 25th) and Lammas (August ist), for, as the 
Act states, "that is the tyme of their quhelpes." 
The penalty for disregarding this summons was " ane 
wedder," " quhatever he be that rysse not." On 
the other hand, it was enacted that whoever slew a 
Wolf " sail haif of ilk householder of that parochin 
that the Woolfe is slayne within, a penny." 

The Act of James II. 's time (1457), provided 
that "they that slay is ane Woolfe sail bring the 
head to the schireffe, baillie, or baronne, and he sail 
be debtour to the slayer for the summe foresaide. 
And quhatsumever hee bee that slayis ane Woolfe, 
and bringis the head to the schireffe, lord, baillie, or 
baronne, he sail have sex penny es."* 

In some active instances, the exertion of these 
statutes might have cleared local districts, and a 
remarkable example of success was given by a woman 
Lady Margaret Lyon, Baroness to Hugh third 
Lord Lovat. This lady having been brought up in 
the low country, at a distance from the Wolves, was 
probably the more affected by their neighbourhood, 
and caused them to be so vigorously pursued in the 

* "Laws of the Parliament of Scotland," folio, 1781, pp. 18, 19. 
See also Glendook's Scots Acts, 7 James I. c. 104, and 14 James II. 
c. 88. 

THE WOLF. 163 

Aird, that they were exterminated out of their prin- 
cipal hold in that range. According to the Wardlaw 
MS., "she was a stout bold woman, a great huntress; 
she would have travelled in our hills a-foot, and 
perhaps outwearied good footmen. She purged Mount 
Caplach of the Wolves." Mount Caplach is the 
highest range of the Aird running parallel to the 
Beauly Frith, behind Moniach and Lentron. Though 
the place of the lady's seat is now forgotten, its 
existence is still remembered, and said to have been 
at a pass where she sat when the woods were driven 
for the Wolves, not only to see them killed, but to 
shoot at them with her own arrows. The period of 
her repression of the Wolves is indicated by the suc- 
cession of her husband to the lordship of Lovat, 
which was in 1450, and it is therefore probable that 
the " purging " of Mount Caplach was begun soon 
after that date.* 

Such partial expulsions, however, had little effect 
upon the general " herd " of Wolves, which, fostered 
by the great Highland forests, increased at intervals 
to an alarming extent. During the reign of James 
IV. (1488-1513), rewards continued to be paid for 
the slaughter of Wolves in Scotland, and we learn 
the value of a Wolf's head in those days from the 
accounts of the Lord High Treasurer.! For in- 

* MS. History of the Frasers, in the library of Lord Lovat (p. 44). 
Also the curious account of the North Highlands called the Wardlaw 
MS. in the possession of Mr. Thompson, Inverness (p. 67). 

f Extracts from these accounts will be found in Pitcairn's " Criminal 
Trials in Scotland," vol. i. p. 1 16. 



stance, under date "October 24th, U9 1 /' we find 
this entry : 

' Item, til a fallow brochtye king ij wolfis in Lythgow . . . Vs." 

In the time of James V. their numbers and ravages 
were formidable. At that period great part of Ross, 
Inverness, almost the whole of Crornarty, and krge 
tracts of Perth and Argyleshire, were covered with 
forests of pine, birch, and oak, the remains of which 
continued to our time in Braemar, Invercauld, Rothie- 
murchus, Arisaig, the banks of Loch Ness, Glen 
Strath-Farar, and Glen Game ; and it is known 
from history and tradition that the braes of Moray, 
Nairn, and Glen Urcha, the glens of Locliaber, and 
Loch Erroch, the moors of Rannach, and the hills of 
Ardgour were covered in the same manner.* All 
these clouds of forests were more or less frequented 
by Wolves. Roethius mentions their numbers and 
devastation in his time;t and in various districts where 
they last remained, the traditions of their haunts 
are still familiarly remembered. Loch Sloigh and 
Strath Earn are still celebrated for their resort, and 
in 1848 there were living in Lochaber old people 
who related from their predecessors, that, when all 
the country from the Lochie to Loch Erroch was 
covered by a continuous pine forest, the eastern 
tracts upon the Blackwater and the wild wilderness 
stretching towards Rannach were so dense and 

* MacFarlane's Geographical Collections. MS. Bibl. Factilt. Jurid. 
ii. 192. Quoted in Stuart's " Lays of the Deer Forest." 
t " Scot. Hist." fol. 7. 

THE WOLF. 165 

infested by the rabid droves, that they were almost 

In 1528 the Earl of A thole entertained the king, 
James V., with a great hunt which lasted three 
days. "It is said, at this tyme, in Atholl and 
Stratherdaill boundis, thair was slaine threttie scoir 
of hart and hynd, with other small beasties, sich as 
roe and roebuck, Woulff, fox, and wild cattis."t 

A story is told of one John Eldar, a clergyman of 
Caithness, who on the death of James V. journeyed 
to England to present to Henry VIII. a project for the 
union of the two kingdoms. Being asked to ex- 
plain the meaning of the name " redshanks," at that 
time given to the Highlanders, he said, " They 'call 
us in Scotland, ' redshanks/ please it your Majesty 
to understand, that we of all people can tolerate, 
suffer, and away best with cold : for both summer 
and winter (except when the frost is most vehement) 
going always bare-legged and bare-footed, our de- 
light and pleasure is in hunting of red deer, Wolves, 
foxes, and graies [badgers] whereof we abound and 
have great plenty. Therefore, in so much as we use 
and delight so to go always, the tender, delicate 
gentlemen of Scotland call us 'redshanks. "'J 

Harrison, who wrote in Elizabeth's time, sa^s that 
though the English " may safelie boast of their 
securitie in respect to wild animals, yet cannot the 
Scots do the like in everie point within their king- 

* Stuart's " Lays of the Deer Forest," vol. ii. pp. 231, 232. 
f Robert Lindsay, " Chronicles of Scotland," ii. p. 346. 
J Pinkerton's " History of Scotland," ii. p. 396. 

M 2 


dome, sith they have greevous Woolfes and cruell 
foxes, beside some other of like disposition con- 
tinuallie conversant among them, to the general 
hindrance of their husbandmen and no small damage 
unto the inhabiters of those quarters."* 

William Barclay, who was a native of Aberdeen- 
shire, and spent the early part of his life at the Court 
of Queen Mary, accompanied her Majesty on an 
excursion to the Highlands, and has left a curious 
accountf of a royal hunt at which he was present, 
and which was organized for the Queen by John, 
fourth Earl of Athole, in 1 563. Two thousand High- 
landers were employed to drive all the deer from 
the woods and hills of Athole, Badenach, Mar, 
Moray, and the surrounding country. After men- 
tioning incidentally that the Queen ordered one of 
the fiercest dogs to be slipped at a Wolf " Laxatus 
enirn reginte jussu, atque immissus in lupum, insignis 
admodum ac ferox cants " Barclay concludes his 
account of the "drive" with the statement that 
there were killed that very day 360 deer, 5 Wolves, 
and some roes. 

According to Holinshed, Wolves were very de- 
structive to the flocks in Scotland during the reign 
of James VI. in 1577. At this time they were so 
numerous throughout the greater part of the High- 
lands, that in the winter it was necessary to provide 
houses, or " spittals " as they were termed, to afford 

* Harrison's "Description of England," prefixed to Holinshed's 
" Chronicles," i. p. 378. 
t "De Eegno et regali Potestate," Ac., 4to, 1600, p. 279. 

THE WOLF. 167 

lodgings to travellers who might be overtaken by 
night where there was no place of shelter. Hence 
the origin of the Spittal of Glen Shae, and similar 
appellations in other places. 

Camden, whose "Britannia" was published in 
1586, asserts that Wolves at that date were common 
in many parts of Scotland, and particularly refers to 

" The county/' he says, " hath little cause to brag 
of its fertility. By reason of the sharpness of the 
air it is very thinly inhabited, and thereupon ex- 
tremely infested with the fiercest of Wolves, which, 
to the great damage of the county, not only furi- 
ously set upon cattle, but even upon the owners 
themselves, to the manifest danger of their lives. 
In so much that not only in this, but in many other 
parts of Scotland, the sheriffs and respective inha- 
bitants are bound by Act of Parliament, in their 
several sheriflfdoms, to go a hunting thrice every year 
to destroy the Wolves and their whelps."* 

Bishop Lesley, writing towards the close of the 
sixteenth century, complains much of the prevalence 
of Wolves at that period, and of their ferocity, f 

" About this tune there was nothing but the petty 
flock of sheep, or herd of a few milk -cows, grazed 
round the farm-house, and folded nightly for fear of 
the Wolf, or more cunning depredators. "| 

* Camden, "Britannia," vol. ii. p. 1279. Bishop Gibson, in 
his edition, has a marginal note to this passage " No Wolves now 
in Scotland (1772). 

f " De Origine, Moribus et Eebus Scotorum." 

\ Irvine's " Scotch Legal Antiquities," p. 264. 


Towards the end of the sixteenth and beginning of 
the seventeenth centuries large tracts of forests in the 
Highlands were purposely cut down or burned, as 
the only means of expelling the Wolves which there 

" These hills and glens and wooded wilds can tell 
How many wolves and boars and deer then fell." 

CAMPBELL'S Grampians Desolate, p. 102. 

" On the south side of Beann Nevis, a large pine 
forest, which extended from the western braes of 
Lochaber to the Black Water and the mosses of 
Rannach, was burned to expel the Wolves. In the 
neighbourhood of Loch Sloi, a tract of woods nearly 
twenty miles in extent was consumed for the same 

John Taylor, the Water Poet, who made his 
"Pennyles Pilgrimage" into Scotland in 1618, saw 
Wolves in Braemar. He writes : " My good Lord of 
Mar having put me into shape, I rode with him from 
his house, where I saw the ruins of an old castle, 
called the castle of Kindroghit. It was built by 
King Malcolm Canmore (for a hunting-house), who 
reigned in Scotland when Edward the Confessor, 
Harold, and N.orman William reigned in England. 
I speak of it because it was the last house that I saw 
in those parts ; for I was the space of twelve days 
after before I saw either house, cornfield, or habita- 
tion of any creature, but deer, wild horses, Wolves, 

* Notes to Sobieski Stuart's "Last Deer of Beann Doran." See his 
"Poems" published in 1822 tinder the assumed name of James Hay 

THE WOLF. 169 

und such-like creatures, which made me doubt that 
I should never have seen a house again."* 

Years later, as we learn from Sir Robert Gordon, 
the Wolf was still included amongst the wild animals 
of Sutherlandshire. He says the forests and 
" schases " in that county were " verie profitable for 
feiding of bestiall, and delectable for hunting, being 
full of reid deer and roes, Woulffs, foxes, wyld catts, 
brocks, skuyrells. whittrets, weasels, otters, martrixes, 
hares, and fumarts."t 

In 1621 the price paid in Sutherlandshire for the 
killing of one Wolf according to statute was 
61. 136-. 4d. 

Wolf-skins are mentioned in 1661 in a Customs 
Roll of Charles II., J whence it appears that two 
ounces of silver were paid " for ilk two daker." 

Twenty years later, if we are to credit the state- 
ment of Sir Robert ISibbald, whose " Scotia Illus- 
trata " was published in 1684, the animal had 
become extinct. His words are : Lupi olini frequentes 
want, quidarn etiam de Caledoniis ursis loquuntur. 

* " The Pennyles Pilgrimage, or the Moneylesse Perambulation of 
John Taylor, alias the King's Majesties Water Poet. How he travailed 
on foot from London to Edenborough in Scotland. With his descrip- 
tion of his entertainment in all places of his journey and a true report 
of the unmatchable hunting in the Brea of Marre and Badenoch in 
Scotland." 4to, London, 1681. 

t " Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland, from its 
origin to the year 1630." 

J See Glendook's " Scots Acts," Charles IT., p. 36. 

The word " daker" or " dicker" (Greek Secca, ten) is still in use in 
the leather trade, and means a roll of ten skins. It was anciently 
spelt " dyker" or " dykker," and the market-toll was a penny each 
"dyker." See the Durham Household Book, 1530-1534, pp. 107,205, 
where this word freqtiently occurs. 


Scd horum genus deletum et ex insuld exterminatum 


Pennant states that the Wolf became extinct in 
Scotland in 1680, when the last of the race was 
slain by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel.t He adds 
that he had travelled " into almost every corner of 
that country, but could not learn that there remained 
even the memory of these animals among the oldest 

From more recent investigation, however, it is 
clear that Sir Robert Sibbald and Pennant were 
both mistaken, for not only were Wolves slain 
in Scotland subsequently to 1680, but numerous 
traditions concerning these animals survived in 
the country to at least as recent a date as 1848. 

Traditions. In a Gaelic forest lay " of a remote 
period, the date and author of which are uncertain," 
the Wolf is thus referred to as inhabiting the ancient 
pine woods of Scotland : 

" CM mi Sgbrr-eild' air bruaich a' ghlinn' 
An goir a' chuthag gu-binn an dos. 
'Us gorm mheall-aild' nam mile guibhas 
Nan lub, nan earba, 's nan Ion." 

" I see the ridge of hinds, the steep of the sloping glen 
The wood of cuckoos at its foot, 
The blue height of a thousand pines, 
Of wolves, and roes, and elks. 

* " Scotia Illustrata, sive Prodromus Historise Naturalis," folio r 
1684, pars ii. p. 9. 

f Surtees gives the date of the death of the last Wolf in Scotland as 
1682. "History and Antiquities of the County of Durham,"vol. ii. p. 172. 

J "British Zoology," vol. i. p. 88; and "Tour in Scotland," 
vol. i. p. 206. 

From 'The Aged Bard's Wish,' given in Stuart's " Lays of the- 
Deer Forest," ii. p. 9. 

THE WOLF. 171 

Other Gaelic names for the Wolf are madadh 
alluidh, commonly used ; faol chu, and alia mhadadh, 
all of which are composed of an epithet and a word 
which now means dog.* It is also called faol and 
mac tire, " earth's son."t 

In Scrope's " Days of Deer- Stalking" (p. 109) is 
related an adventure with a Wolf that happened to 
Macpherson of Braekaely, when he had charge of the 
forest of Benalder, and was furnished to the author 
by Cluny Macpherson, chief of Clanchattan. 

" He sallied forth one morning, as he was wont, in 
quest of venison, accompanied by his servant. In 
the course of their travel, they found a Wolf den a 
Wolf being at that time by no means a rarity in the 
forest. Macpherson asked his servant whether he 
would prefer going into the den to destroy the cubs, 
or remaining outside to guard against the approach 
of the old ones. The servant, preferring what 
appeared to be an uncertain to a certain danger, 
said he would remain without ; but here Sandy had 
miscalculated, for, to his great dismay, the dam came 
raging to the mouth of the cave, which no sooner did 
he see than he took to his heels incontinently, 
without even warning his master of the danger. 
Macpherson, however, being an active, resolute man, 
and expert at his weapons, succeeded in killing the 
old Wolf as well as the cubs." 

This Macpherson of Braekaely was commonly 

* Pinker-ton's " Enquiry into the Early History of Scotland," vol. ii. 
P- 85- 
t Campbell's " Tales of the West Highlands," vol. i. p. 274. 


called Callum Beg, or little Malcolm ; and there is 
reason to believe that he was one of those who 
fought in the famous battle of the Inch of Perth in 
the reign of Robert III. (1390-1406.) 

In the districts where Wolves last abounded, says 
Stuart in the " Lays of the Deer Forest," many 
traditions of their history and haunts have descended 
to our time. The greatest number preserved in one 
circle were in the neighbourhood of Strath Earn. 

At Inver-Rua, on the Spean, and consequently 
within the lands of Keppach, there lived a Campbell 
of the Slioched Chailein Mhic-Dhonnacha, or Glen 
Urcha race. Although thus a tenant of one of the 
principal branches of the Clan Donald, and removed 
to the distance of forty miles from his cean tigfie, he 
continued to pay his " calps " to his blood chief, the 
Knight of Loch Awe. This tax was a heifer, which 
was paid annually, and it happened one year that a 
short time before it fell due, the beast was killed on 
her pasture and half eaten by a Wolf. Campbell 
left what remained to tempt his return, and on the 
following night, watching the carcase, he shot the 
Wolf from behind a stone. Not being able, however, 
to afford another " calp," he flayed the dead heifer, 
and sent the torn hide to MacChailein Mhic- 
Donnacha, with a message that it was all which he 
had to show for his " calp ;" upon which the chief 
observed, that he had sent sufficient parchment to 
write his discharge. 

This is said to have happened in the time of Sir 
Duncan Campbell, called " Donacha dub/i a' Cur- 

THE WOLF. 173 

radid" "Black Duncan of the Hood," so called from 
having been the last person of his rank who bore the 
old Highland hood in Argyllshire, and who lived in 
the reign of James VI. (1567-1603). 

Several traditions relative to Wolves are evidences 
of the accuracy with which oral relations have been 
transmitted through many generations, which is 
exemplified by the familiarity and fidelity with which 
they retain allusions to objects and customs disused 
for two hundred years. 

An example of this occurs in an account of the 
slaughter of a remarkable Wolf killed by one of the 
lairds of Chisholm in Gleann Chon-fhiadh, or the 
Wolves' Glen, a noted retreat of these animals in 
the sixteenth century. 

The animal in question had made her den in a 
"earn," or pile of loose rocks, whence she made 
excursions in every direction until she became the 
terror of the country. At length the season of her 
cubs increasing her ferocity, and having killed some 
of the neighbouring people, she attracted the enter- 
prise of the Laird of Chisholm and his brother, then 
two gallant young hunters, and they resolved to 
attempt her destruction. For this they set off 
alone from Strath Glass, and having tracked her 
to her den, discovered by her traces that she was 
abroad ; but detecting the little pattering feet of the 
cubs in the sand about the mouth of the den, the 
elder crept into the chasm with his drawn dirk, and 
began the work of vengeance on the litter. While 
he was thus occupied, the Wolf returned, and infu- 


riated by the expiring yelps of her cubs, rushed at 
the entrance, regardless of the younger Chisholm, 
who made a stroke at her with his spear, but such 
was her velocity, that he missed her as she darted 
past, and broke the point of his weapon. His 
brother, however, met the animal as she entered, and 
being armed with the left-handed Idmhainn chruaidh, 
or steel gauntlet, much used by the Highlanders and 
Irish, as the Wolf rushed open-mouthed upon him, 
he thrust the iron fist into her jaws, and stabbed 
her in the breast with his dirk, while his brother, 
striking at her flank with the broken spear, after 
a desperate struggle she was drawn out dead. 

The spear and the left-handed gauntlet referred to 
in this tradition are arms mentioned, by Spencer, 
Leslie, and other authorities, as characteristic of the 
Highlanders and Irish in the days of Queen Mary.* 

It is true they retained the use of such weapons 
as late as their muster called the " Highland Host " 
in i6/8.t But no such remains appeared at Cillie- 
chranchie, and it is therefore probable that the story 
has descended from the time of Charles II. 

Another story is on record of a Wolf killed by a 
woman of Cre-lebhan, near Strui, on the north side of 
Strath Glass. She had gone to Strui a little before 
Christmas to borrow a girdle (a thick circular plate 
of iron, with an iron loop handle at one side for lift- 
ing, and used for baking bread). Having procured it, 

* See Spencer's " Views of Ireland;" Derrick's " Image of Ireland ;" 
Leslie, " De Origine, Moribus et Rebus Scotorum ;" and a print in the 
Douce Collection, Bodl. Lib. G-. vi. 47. 

f Wodrow MS. Bibl. Facult. Jurid., xcix. No. 29. 

THE WOLF. 175 

and being on her way home, she sat down upon an old 
earn to rest and gossip With a neighbour, when sud- 
denly a scraping of stones and rustling of dead leaves 
were heard, and the head of a Wolf protruded from a 
crevice at her side. Instead of fleeing in alarm, how- 
ever, " she dealt him such a blow on the skull with 
the full swing of her iron discus, that it brained him 
on the stone which served for his emerging head." 

This tradition was probably one of the latest in the 
district, and seems to have belonged to a period 
when the Wolves were near their end. Their last 
great outbreak in the time of Queen Mary led to 
more vigorous measures, which in the time of 
Charles II. reduced their ranks to so small a number 
that in some districts their extinction is believed to 
have followed soon after that period. Thus, in 
Lochaber, the last in that part of the country is said 
to have been killed by Sir Ewen Cameron in 1680, 
which Pennant misunderstood to have been the last 
of the species in Scotland.* 

Some traditionary notices there are of the destruc- 
tion of the last Wolves seen in Sutherlandshire, 
consisting of four old ones and some whelps which 
were killed about the same time at three different 
places, at Auchumore in Assynt, in Halladale, and 
in Glen Loth widely distant from each other, and 
as late as between the years 1690 and i/oo. 

The death of the last Wolf and her cubs on the 

* In the Sale Catalogue of the " London Mnsenm" which was 
disposed of by auction in April, 1818, there is the following entry: 
' Lot 832. Wolf a noble animal in a large glass case. The last Wolf 
killed in Scotland by Sir E. Cameron." 


eastern coast of Sutherlandshire, says Scrope, was 
attended with remarkable circumstances. 

"A man named Poison, of Wester Helmsdale, 
accompanied by two lads, one of them his son and 
the other an active herdboy, tracked a Wolf to a 
rocky mountain gully which forms the channel of the 
Burn of Sledale in Glen Loth. Here he discovered a 
narrow fissure in the midst of large fragments of rock, 
which led apparently to a larger opening or cavern 
below, which the Wolf might use as his den. The 
two lads contrived to squeeze themselves throng] i 
the fissure to examine the interior, whilst Poison 
kept guard on the outside. 

" The boys descended through the narrow passage 
into a small cavern, which was evidently a Wolfs den, 
for the ground was covered with bones and horns of 
animals, feathers, and eggshells, and the dark space 
was somewhat enlivened by five or six active Wolf 
cubs. Poison desired them to destroy these ; and soon, 
after he heard their feeble howling. Almost at the 
same time, to his great horror, he saw approaching 
him a full-grown Wolf, evidently the dam, raging- 
furiously at the cries of her young. As she attempted 
to leap down, at one bound Poison instinctively threw 
himself forward and succeeded in catching a. firm hold 
of the animal's long and bushy tail, just as the fore- 
part of her body was within the narrow entrance of 
the cavern. He had unluckily placed his gun against 
a rock when aiding the boys in their descent, and 
could not now reach it. Without apprising the lads 
below of their imminent peril, the stout hunter kept 


a firm grip of the Wolf's tail, whicli lie wound round 
bis left arm, and although the maddened brute 
scrambled and twisted and strove with all her might 
to force herself down to the rescue of her cubs, Poison 
was just able with the exertion of all his strength to 
keep her from going forward. In the midst of this 
singular struggle, which passed in silence, his son 
within the cave, finding the light excluded from above, 
asked in Gaelic, ' Father, what is keeping the light 
from us ? ' ' If the root of the tail breaks,' replied 
he, ' you will soon know that. ' Before long, how- 
ever, the man contrived to get hold of his hunting- 
knife, and stabbed the Wolf in the most vital parts he 
could reach. The enraged animal now attempted to 
turn and face her foe, but the hole was too narrow 
to allow of this ; and when Poison saw his danger he 
squeezed her forward, keeping her jammed in whilst 
he repeated his stabs as rapidly as he could, until 
the animal being mortally wounded, was easily 
dragged back and finished. 

" These were the last Wolves killed in Sutherland, 
and the den was between Craig- Rhadich and Craig- 
Voakie, by the narrow Glen of Loth, a place replete 
with objects connected with traditionary legends."* 

This story was related by the Duke of Sutherland's 
head forester in 1 848 to Mr. J. F. Campbell, who has 
narrated it in his "Popular Tales of the West 
Highlands," vol. i. p. 273. 

" Every district," says Stuart in his " Lays of the 
Deer Forest," "has its 'last ' Wolf," and there were 

* Scrope's " Days of Deer Stalking," p. 374. 


probably several which were later than that killed 
by Sir Ewen Cameron.* The " last" of Strath Glass 
was killed at Gusachan according to tradition " at no 
very distant period." The "last" in Glen "Orchard on 
the east side of the valley between Loch Leiter and 
Sheugly, at a place called ever since Sloclid a 
mhadaidh i.e., the Wolfs den ; and the last of the 
Findhorn and also (as there seems every reason 
to believe) the last of the species in Scotland, at a 
place between Fi-Giuthas and Pall-a-chrocain, and 
according to popular chronology no longer ago than 
the year 1 743. The district in which he was killed 
was well calculated to have given harbour to the last 
of a savage race. All the country round his haunt 
was an extent of wild and desolate moorland hills, 
beyond which, in the west, there was retreat to the 
vast wilderness of the Monaidh-laith, an immense 
tract of desert mountains utterly uninhabited, and 
unfrequented except by summer herds and herdsmen, 
but, when the cattle had retired, abundantly re- 
plenished with deer and other game, to give ample 
provision to the " wild dogs." The last of their race 
was killed by MacQueen of Pall-a-chrocain, who died 
in the year 1797, and was the most celebrated 
"carnach" of the Findhorn for an unknown period. 
Of gigantic stature, six feet seven inches in height, 
he was equally remarkable for his strength, courage, 
and celebrity as a deer-stalker, and had the best 

* A portrait of this devoted partizan of the house of Stuart was 
exhibited at the meeting of the British Association at Aberdeen in 

THE WOLF. 179 

" long dogs " or deer-hounds in the country. One 
winter's day, about the year before mentioned, he 
received a message from the Laird of Macintosh 
that a large " black beast," supposed to be a Wolf, 
had appeared in the glens, and the day before killed 
two children, who with their mother were crossing 
the hills from Calder, in consequence of which a 
" Tainchel " or " gathering " to drive the country was 
called to meet at a tryst above Fi-Giuthas, where 
MacQueen was invited to attend with his dogs. He 
informed himself of the place where the children had 
been killed, the last tracks of the Wolf, and the con- 
jectures of his haunt, and promised his assistance. 

In the morning the " Tainchol " had long assem- 
bled, and Macintosh waited with impatience, but 
MacQueen did not arrive. His dogs and himself were, 
however, auxiliaries too important to be left behind, 
and they continued to wait until the best of a 
hunter's morning was gone, when at last he appeared, 
and Macintosh received him with an irritable 
expression of disappointment. 

"CM ea chalhag?" ("What was the hurry?") 
said he of Pall-a-chrocain. 

Macintosh gave an indignant retort, and all pre- 
sent made some impatient reply. . 

MacQueen lifted his plaid and drew the black, 
bloody head of the Wolf from under his arm ! 

" Sin e dhuibh /" (" There it is for you !") said he, 
and tossed it on the grass in the midst of the surprised 

Macintosh expressed great joy and admiration, 


and gave him the land called Sean-achan for meal to 
his dogs." 

Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, in his " Account of the 
Moray Floods of August, 1829," tells the story of 
the Wolf killed in that district by MacQueen. of 
Pall-a-chrocain, but lays the scene of the exploit in 
the parish of Moy, in the county of Inverness, which, 
although within the bounds of the ancient province 
of Moray, is far beyond the present limits of the 
forest of Tarnaway. 

Sir Thomas gives the very words which MacQueen 
is said to have used in describing to the chief of 
Macintosh how he killed the wolf: "As I came 
through the sloclik (i.e., ravine) by east the hill 
there," said he, as if talking of some everyday occur- 
rence, " I foregathered wi' the beast. My long dog- 
there turned him. I buckled wi' him, and dirkit 
him, and syne whuttled his craig (i.e., cut his 
throat), and brought awa' his countenance for fear he 
might come alive again, for they are very precarious 
creatures/' In reward for his bravery, his chief 
is said to have bestowed on him a gift of the lands of 
Sean-achan "to yield meal for his good greyhounds in 
all time coming." Sir Thomas Lauder has preserved 
another tradition of the extirpation of the Wolf in 
Morayshire, when two old Wolves and their cubs were 
killed by one man in a ravine under the Knock of 
Braemory, near the source of the Burn of Newton. 

In the old " Statistical Account of Scotland," 
edited by Sir John Sinclair, and published in 
twenty- one volumes between the years 1791 and 

THE WOLF. 181 

1799, a lew entries relating to the Wolf occur, 
but they are neither numerous nor important. 
Mr J. A. Harvie Brown, who has lately examined 
the entire series of volumes for another purpose, has 
obligingly communicated the following particulars : 
" The woods in Blair Athole and Strowan in Perth- 
shire once afforded shelter for Wolves (vol. ii. p. 486), 
as did also the district around Cathcart in Renfrew- 
shire (vol. v. p. 347). In Orkney it appears they 
were unknown (vol. vii. p. 546). The wilds and 
mountains of Glenorchay and Innishail in Argyll- 
shire are noted as being formerly haunted by these 
animals, whence they issued to attack not only the 
iiock but their owners (vol. viii. p. 343). Towards 
the west end of the parish of Birse in Aberdeen - 
shire there is a place in the Grampians still known 
( 1 793) by the name of the Wolf-holm (vol. ix. p. 1 08). 
Ubster, a town in Caithness (from 'Wolfster,' 
Danish or Icelandic), appears to have received its 
name either from its being of old a place infested 
with Wolves, or from a person of the name of Wolf 
(vol. x. p. 32). In Banffshire the last Wolf is said 
to have been killed in the parish of Kirkmichael 
about 1644" (vol. xii. p. 447). 

Dr. Robert Brown heard a tradition in Caithness- 
shire that the wood on the hills of Yarrow, near 
Wick, was cut down about the year 1500 by the 
enraged dwellers in the district on account of its 
harbouring Wolves, and that the last Wolf in that 
neighbourhood was killed between Brabster and 
Freswick in a hollow called Wolfsburn. 

N 2 


The place where the last Wolf that infested Mon- 
teith was killed is a romantic cottage south-west of the 
mill of Milling, in the parish and barony of Port,* 

" The devastations of Oliver Cromwell in the vast 
oak and fir woods of Lochaber are well known, and 
hi 1 848 the old people still retained traditions of the 
native clearances in the same century, when the 
great tracts south, of Loch Treig and upon the Black- 
water were set on fire to exterminate the Wolves, "t 

In the Edderachillis district, forming the -western 
portion of what is called Lord Reay's country, a 
tradition existed to the effect that Wolves were at 
one time so numerous that to avoid their ravages in 
disinterring bodies from their graves, the inhabitants 
were obliged to have recourse to the island of Handa 
as a safer place of sepulture, j 

The Earl of Ellesmere, referring to an extract from 
the journal of his* son, the Hon. Capt. Francis 
Egerton, R.N., written in India, and relating to an 
apparently well authenticated story of some children 
in Oude who were carried away and brought up by 
Wolves, says : " It is odd that the same tale should 
extend to the Highlands. I got a story identical in 
all its particulars of the Wolf time of Sutherland from 
the old forester of the Reay, in which district Gaelic 
tradition avers that Wolves so abounded that it was 
usual to bury the dead in the Island of Handa to 
avoid desecration of the graves." 

* Nimmo's " Stirlingshire," pp. 745, 750. 

f Stuart, " Lays of the Deer Forest," ii. p. 221. 

J Wilson's " Voyage round Scotland," vol. i. p. 346. 

" Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist.," second series, viii. p. 153. 

THE WOLF. 183 

There is a tradition on Loch Awe side, Argyllshire, 
that Green Island was used as a burial-place for the 
same reason.* 

In like manner an island in Loch Maree, Ross-shire, 
was for the same reason selected for a similar purpose.t 

On the western shores of Argyllshire the small isle 
of St. Mungo, still used as a burial-place, has been 
appropriated to this purpose from the days when the 
Wolves were the terror of the land, the passage 
between it and the mainland opposing a barrier which 
they in vain attempted to cross.J 

In Athole it was formerly the custom to bury the 
dead in coffins made of five flagstones to preserve the 
bodies from Wolves. 

When treating of the Wolf in England it was 
observed" that many names of places compounded of 
" Wolf" indicate in all probability localities where this 
.animal was at one time common. The same may be 
said of Scotland. Chalmers cites in Roxburghshire, 
" Wolf-cleugh " in Roberton parish on Borthwick 
Water ; " Wolf-cleugh" on Rule Water;" and " Wolf- 
hope" on Catlee-burn, in Southdean parish ;|| to which 
maybe added "Wolflee" or "Woole," on Wauchope- 
burn; and " Wolfkeilder " on the Northumbrian 
border. There are also " Wolf- gill land," in the 

* This island is still used as a burying -ground. Mr. Harvic Browii 
saw fresh graves there in May, 1879. 

f Macculloch's ' Western Isles," quoted in Chambers' " Gazetteer 
of Scotland," p. 755. 

Constable's Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1817, p. 340. 

" Statistical Account of Scotland" (1972), vol. ii. p. 465. 

|| Chambers' " Caledonia," vol. ii. p. 132. 


parish and shire of Dumfries, and "Wolfstan," in> 
the parish of Pencaitland, East Lothian.* 

Craigmaddie, " the rock of the Wolf," in the parish 
of Baldernock, and Stronachon, "the ridge of the 
dog," in the parish of Dry men, point by their name 
to localities in Stirlingshire which were formerly the 
haunts of the Wolf. 

Mr. Hardy states (/. c.) that on the farm of Gods- 
croft a cairn, now removed, was called " Wolf-camp."" 
It may have been a Wolf s den, or perhaps an ancient 
" meet " of the Wolf-hunters who were summoned by 
the sheriff in the days of the early Kings James. 

He adds that in 1/69 there was a farm called 
"Burnbrae" and "Wolfland" in the parish of 
Nenthorn belonging to Kerr of Fowberry. The 
name seems to imply that it had been held in former 
times by the tenure of hunting the Wolf; lands thus 
granted being called " Wolf-hunt lands," as already 
remarked under the head of the Wolf in England. 

In 1756 BufFon was assured by Lord Morton, then 
President of the Royal Society, " a Scotsman worthy 
of the greatest credit and respect, and proprietor of 
large territories in that country," that Wolves still 
existed in Scotland at that date. 

William Smellie, the translator and editor of 
Buffon's " Natural History," thus comments on this 
statement (vol. iv. p. 210, note, 3rd edit., 1791): "We 
are fully disposed to give due weight to an authority 
so respectable and so worthy of credit ; but we are 
convinced that the Count has misapprehended his. 

* Hardy, "Proc. Berwickshire Naturalists' Club," 1861, p. 289. 

THE WOLF. 185 

lordship, for it is universally known to the inhabitants 
of Scotland that not a single Wolf has been seen in 
any part of that country for more than a century past." 
In asserting that this is universally known to the 
inhabitants of Scotland, the translator and editor has 
erred in the other extreme, for, as has been already 
shown, Wolves were killed in Sutherland within fifty 
years of the date of his remark and within thirteen 
years of the date mentioned by Buffon. 


From the scanty and more or less inaccessible 
nature of the records relating to the natural history 
of Ireland, compared with what exists in the case of 
England and Scotland, the result of a search for 
materials for a history of the Wolf in Ireland has 
proved less satisfactory than could have been wished. 
Nevertheless, some curious fragments of information 
on the subject have been collected from various 
sources, and are now brought together for the first 

There is abundant evidence to show that Wolves 
formerly existed in great numbers in Ireland, and 
that they maintained their ground for a longer 
period there than in any other part of the United 
Kingdom. In bygone ages they must have fared 
sumptuously amongst the herds of reindeer and 
Irish elk, which at one time were contemporary with 
them ; and the discovery of numerous skeletons, 
often entire herds of deer, imbedded in the mud of 
ancient lakes, has led to the surmise that these 


animals probably perished in this way in their 
attempts to escape from packs of pursuing Wolves. 

' Giraldus Cambrensis, who lived in the reigns of 
Henry II., Richard I., and John, and who visited 
Ireland in 1183 and again in 1185-6, when he 
accompanied Prince John there, has left a curious 
account of the wild animals then existing in Ireland, 
amongst which is included the Wolf. He adds, " the 
Wolves often have whelps in the month of December, 
either in consequence of the great mildness of the 
climate, or rather in token of the evils of treason 
and rapine, which are rife here before their proper 

In the "Polychronicon." of Ranulphus Higden, the 
monk of Chester, who died about 1360, we have a 
later account of the Irish fauna, and in this also the 
Wolf figures. Thus he says : " Terra hcec magis 
vaccis quam bobus, pascuis quam frugibus, gramine 
quam grano fecunda. Abundat tamen salmonibus, 
murcenis, anguillis, et cceteris marinis piscibus ; aquilis 
quoque, gruibus, pavonibus, coturnidbus, niso, falcone 
et acdptre generoso. Lupos quoque habet, mures 
nocentissimos ; sed et araneas, sanguisugas, et lacertas 
habet innocuas. Mustelas quoque parvi corporis sed 
valde animosas possidet:\ This passage is thus 
rendered by his translator, John Trevisa (A.D. 1357- 
1387), and adopted by Caxton in his " Crony cles of 

* "Topographia Hiberniae," lib. ii. cap. xxvi. p. 726, ed. Dimock, 
vol. v. p. 112. And not only "Wolves, but crows and owls are said to 
have had young at Christmas. Op. cit., p. 112. 

f "Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden, Monachi Cestrensis," ed. 
15abington (Master of the Rolls Series), vol. i. pp. 334, 335. 

THE WOLF. 187 

England," 1480 : " In this londbeetli mo kyn than 
oxen, more pasture than corne, more grass than seed. 
There is grete plente of samon, of lam prey es, of eles, 
and of other see fisch : of egles, of cranes, of pekokes, 
of corlewes, of sparhaukes, of goshaukes, and of 
gentil faucouns, and of Wolfes, and of wel shrewed 
mys. There beeth attercoppes, blood-soukers, and 
enettes that dooth noon harm," &c.* Some trans- 
lators and later copyists have here and there 
singularly perverted the original meaning of this 
passage by blunders and mistranslations. Amongst 
these may be mentioned the author or authors of 
" The Book of Howth," a small folio in vellum of 
the sixteenth century, written in different hands, 
and preserved amongst the Carew MSS. (vol. dc.xxiii.), 
in the Lambeth Library, t 

* Some little interest attaches to this passage from the curious 
assemblage of animals named in it. At the period referred to "cranes" 
seem to have become common enough in Ireland: "in tanta vero 
nnmcrositate se grues inyenint, ut uno in greye centum, et circiter liunc 
numerum frequenter invcnias" (" Topog. Hibcrn.," ed. Dimock, v. 46). 
By " pekokes" (pavonilus), it would seem the capercaillie is intended, 
" pavones sllvestres hie abundant," says Giraldus (torn. cit. p. 47). 
" Coturnicilus" should bo rendered " quails," not "curlews." ("Item 
coturnicus hicplurimi," Girald. v. 47). '-Mures nocentissimoa" are not 
necessarily shrew-mice, which are insectivorous. In all probability 
that destructive little animal, the long-tailed field-mouse (Hits sylvaticus) 
is referred to. By reading " arancos " (shrews) for " araneas" (spiders) 
some confusion is accounted for. " Attercoppes" is the translation of 
arancas. Jamieson, in his " Scottish Dictionary," gives " Atter-cap," 
"Attircop," spider, with two variants Northumberland, " Attercop," 
and Cumberland, "Attercob," a cobweb. A. S. atter coppe, from 
niter, venenum, and copp, calh; ; receiving its denomination partly from 
its form, and partly from its character; q. a cup of venom. By 
" bloodsuckers," of course, leeches are meant : for " enettes " lacertas 
we may read " euettes" or " evettes" i.e., efts, that do no harm. 

f Cf. Brewer and Bnllon, Calendar Carew MSS., "The Book of 
Howth," p. 31. 


Campion, whose "History of Ireland" was pub- 
lished in 1570, refers to the chase of the Wolf there 
with Wolf-hounds. " The Irish," he says, " are not 
without Wolves, or greyhounds to hunt them ; bigger 
of bone and limme than a colt."* 

Sir James Ware, in his "Antiquities of Ireland" 
(1658), notices, "those hounds which, from their 
hunting of Wolves, are commonly called ' Wolf-dogs/ 


being creatures of great strength and size, and of a 
fine shape." 

Ray has described the Irish Wolf-hound as a tall, 
rough greyhound ; so also has Pennant, who descants 
at some length on his extraordinary size and power. 

The Wolf-hound here figured is a dog belonging to 

* See also Holinshed,"Descrip.Irel." 1586; and Camclen, "Britannia," 
vol. ii. p. 1312 (ed. Gibson). 

THE WOLF. 189 

Capt. G. H. Graham, of Rednock, Dursley, Glouces- 
tershire, and bred from the only authentic strain 
of Irish Wolf-hound now known. His dimensions 
are as follows : Height, 29^ in. ; girth, 33 J in. ; 
length of head, 1 2 in. ; girth of do. in front of ears r 
:8f in. ; forearm, S^ in. Weight, 102 Ibs. 

In a Privy Seal from Henry VIII. to the Lord- 
Deputy and Council of Ireland,* his Majesty takes 
notice of the suit of the Duke of Albuquerque, of 
Spain (of the Privy Council to Henry VIII.), on 
behalf of the Marquis Desarrya and his son, " that 
it might please his Majesty to grant to the said 
Marquis and his son, and the longer liver of them, 
yearly, out of Ireland, two goshawks, and four Wolf- 
hounds," and commands the Deputy for the time 
being to order the delivery of ths hawks and hounds, 
and to charge the cost to the Treasury. 

In November, 1562, as we learn from the State 
Papers relating to Ireland,t the Irish chieftain, Shane 
O'Neill, forwarded to Queen Elizabeth, through 
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a present of two 
horses, two hawks, and two Irish Wolf-dogs. In 
1585, Sir John Perrott, who was Lord-Deputy of 
Ireland from January, 1584, to July, 1588,! sent to 
Sir Francis Walsingham, then Secretary of State in. 
London, " a brace of good Wolf-dogs, one black, the 
other white." 

Again, in 1 608, we find that Irish Wolf-hound* 
were sent from Ireland by Captain Esmond, of 

* Hot. Cane. Dec, 9, 36 H. 8, dorso. 
f Eliz., vol. vii. No. 40, in Pub. Rec. Off. J Eliz., vol. cxx. No. 12. 


Duncaimon, to Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrews- 
bury. * 

These dogs were considered very valuable, and 
were highly thought of by those who received them 
as presents ; but some years later, when, owing to 
the great increase in the number of Wolves in some 
parts of Ireland, their services were more than ever 
required to keep down these ferocious animals, a 
law, presently to be noticed, was passed to prohibit 
their exportation. 

About this time George Turbervile, a gentleman of 
Dorsetshire, was writing his " Booke of Hunting,"! 
in which, referring to this animal, he says : " The 
Wolf is a beaste sufficiently known in France and 
other countries where he is bred ; but here in 
England they be not to be found in any place. In 
Ireland, as I have heard, there are great store of 
them ; and because many noblemen and gentlemen 
have a desire to bring that countrie to be inhabited 
and civilly governed (and would God there were 
more of the same mind), therefore I have thought good 
to set down the nature and manner of hunting the 
Wolf according to mine author. "J He then proceeds 
to describe the mode then in vogue of hunting this 
animal. An open spot was generally chosen, at 
some distance from the great coverts where the 
Wolves were known to lie, and here, in concealment, 
a brace, sometimes two brace, of Wolf-hounds were 

* " Archaeol. .ZEliana," vol. ii. p. 226. 

t "Imprinted at London for Christopher Barker at the sigiie of the 
Ci rashopper in Paules Churchyarde. Anno 1575." 
J Jacques de Fouilloux, "Traite do Yenerie." 

THE WOLF. igi 

placed. A horse was killed, and the fore-quarters- 
were trailed through the paths and ways in the 
wood during the previous day, and back to where the 
carcase lay, and there they were left. When night 
approached, out came the Wolves, and having struck 
the scent, they followed it until they found the dead 
horse, when of course they began to feed on the 
flesh, and early in the morning, just before daybreak, 
the hunters placed their dogs so as to prevent the 
Wolves from returning to cover. When a Wolf 
came to the spot, the men in charge of the Wolf- 
hounds suffered him to pass by the first, but the 
last were let slip full in his face, and at the same 
instant the others were let slip also, so that, the 
first staying him ever so little, he was sure to be 
attacked on all sides at once, and therefore, the 
more easily taken.* 

In Robert Legge's " Book of Information/' com- 
piled in 1 5 84 by order of Sir John Perrott, the above- 
named Lord-Deputy of Ireland, " for the information 
of the civil government of that realm," it is recom- 
mended, inter alia, that for the " destruction of raven- 
ing and devouring Wolves, some order might be had, as 
when any lease is granted, to put in some clause that 
the tenant endeavour himself to spoil and kill Wolves 
with traps, snares, or such devices as he may devise, "t 

* The most complete account which we have met with of Wolf- 
hunting in modern times is that given by Col. Thornton in his 
"Sporting Tour through various parts of France in 1802," vol. i. 
pp. xxi-xxxix. A more recent treatise, however, has been published 
under the title of " Wolf-hunting in Brittany." 

f Carew MSS., vol. dcvii. p. 115. Brewer and Bullen, Calendar of 
Carew MSS., Eliz., p. 401. 


About this time, it is said, Wolves committed 
great devastation amongst the flocks in Munster. 
After the destruction of Kilmallock by James 
Fitzmaurice, in 1591, that place is stated to have 
become the haunt of Wolves. 

For some account of their ravages during Des- 
mond's rebellion, the reader may be referred to 
O'Sullivan's " Compendium Historise Catholic 
Hiberniee," 1621 (lib. viii. cap. 6). 

At a later period, according to Fynes Moryson, 
who was Secretary to Lord-Deputy Mountjoy, and 
who wrote a "History of Ireland from 1599 to 
1603," the cattle had to be driven in at night, "for 
fear of thieves (the Irish using almost no other kind 
of theft), or else for fear of Wolves, the destruc- 
tion whereof being neglected by the inhabitants, 
oppressed with greater mischiefs, they are so much 
grown in numbers as sometimes on winter nights 
they will come and prey in villages and the suburbs 
of cities."* 

In May, 1594, Lord William Russell was ap- 
pointed Lord-Deputy of Ireland by Queen Elizabeth. 
From entries in his "Journal," extending from "June 
24, 1 594, to May 27, 1 597,"! it appears that both he 
and Lady Russell, who accompanied him to Ireland, 
frequently participated in the pleasures of the chase, 
and amused themselves at different times with hawk- 
ing, fishing, and hunting. Under date May 26, 
1596, it is recorded: "My Lord and Lady rode 

* Moryson, "Hist. Ireland," Dublin ed., 1735, v l- " P- 367. 

f Preserved amongst the Carew MSS. at Lambeth Palace, vol. dcxii. 

THE WOLF. 193 

abroad a hunting the Wolf." As the Vice-regal Court 
was then located at Kilmainham, almost within 
the city of Dublin, it would appear that the Wolf 
in question was to be found at no great distance 
beyond the city walls, 

Sir Arthur Chichester, writing to Sir John Davys, 
March 31, 1 609, in reference to the pending planta- 
tion of Ulster, incidentally remarks, that " if the 
Irish do not possess and inhabit a great part of the 
lands in some of those escheated countries, none but 
Wolves and wild beasts would possess them for many 
years to come ; for where civil men may have lands 
for reasonable rents in so many thousand places in 
that province, and in this whole kingdom, they will 
not plant themselves in mountains, rocks and desert 
places, though they might have the land for nothing. "* 

In the reign of James I. it would seem that 
active measures were advised for the destruction of 
Wolves in Ireland, and the following " Heads of a 
Bill in the Irish Parliament, 1611," will be found 
preserved amongst the Carew MSS., formerly in the 
Record Office, but now at Lambeth Palace :t " An 
Act for killing Wolves and other vermin, touching 
the days of hunting, the people that are to attend, 
who to be their director, an inhibition not to use any 
arms. The Lord Deputy or Principal Governor to 
prohibit such hunting if he suspect that such assem- 
blies by colour of hunting may prove inconvenient." 

* State Papers, Ireland, in Record Office, vol. ccxxvi, 58. 
t Carew, MSS., vol. dcxxix. p. 35. See also Hamilton's " Calendar of 
State Papers referring to Ireland," Jac. I., sub anno, p. 192. 


This proposed Act, however, seems never to have 
become law, for no mention of it is made in the eight 
volumes of Irish Statutes published by authority in 
Dublin in 1765. It is not surprising therefore that 
the ravages of the Wolves in Ireland continued. In 
1619 their numbers in Ulster compelled people "to 
house their cattle in the bawnes of their castles, 
where all the winter nights they stood up to their 
bellies in dirt. Another reason is to prevent thieves 
and false-hearted brethren who have spies abroad, 
and will come thirty miles out of one province into 
another to practise a cunning robbery."'' 5 

Howell, in one of his " Familiar Letters," written 
to Sir James Crofts, September 6th, 1624, says: A 
pleasant tale I heard Sir Thomas Fairfax relate of 
a souldier in Ireland, who having got his passport to 
go for England, as he past through a wood with 
his knapsack upon his back, being weary, he sate 
down under a tree wher he open'd his knapsack and 
fell to some victuals he had ; but upon a sudden he 
was surpriz'd with two or three Woolfs, who, coming 
towards him. he threw them scraps of bread and 
cheese till all was done ; then the Woolfs making a 
nearer approach unto him, he knew not what shift to 
make, but by taking a pair of bagpipes which he 
had, and as soon as he began to play upon them, the 
Woolfs ran all away as if they bad been scar'd out of 
their wits. Whereupon the souldier said, " A pox 
take you all, if I had known you had lov'd musick 
so well, you should have had it before dinner !" 

* Gainsford's " Glory of England," p. 148. 

THE WOLF. 195 

In 1 64 1 and 1652 Wolves were particularly trouble- 
some in Ireland, and in the latter year the following 
Order in Council was issued by Cromwell, prohibiting 
the exportation of Wolf-dogs : 

"Declaration against transporting of Wolfe Dogges. 

"Forasmuch as we are credibly informed that 
Wolves doe much increase and destroy many cattle 
in several partes of this Dominion, and that some of 
the enemie's party, who have laid down armes, and 
have liberty to go beyond sea and others, do attempt 
to carry away such great dogges as are commonly 
called Wolfe dogges, whereby the breed of them which 
are useful for destroying of Wolves would (if not 
prevented) speedily decay. These are therefore to 
prohibit all persons whatsoever from exporting any 
of the said dogges out of this Dominion ; and 
searchers and other officers of the Customs, in the 
several partes and creekes of this Dominion, are 
hereby strictly required to seize and make stopp of 
all such dogges, and deliver them either to the com- 
mon huntsman, appointed for the precinct where they 
are seized upon, or to the governor of the said precinct. 

"Dated at KILKENNY, April 27, 1652." 

The following year another Order in Council was 
made which ran as follows : 

"Declaration touching Wolves. 

"For the better destroying of Wolves, which of 
late years have much increased in most parts of this 


nation, it is ordered that the Commanders in Chiefe 
and Commissioners of the Revenue in the several 
precincts doe consider of, use, and execute all good 
waves and meanes how the Wolves in the counties 
and places within the respective precincts may be 
taken and destroyed ; and to employ such person or 
persons, and to appoint such daies and tymes for 
hunting the Wolfe, as they shall adjudge necessary. 
And it is further ordered that all such person or 
persons as shall take, kill, or destroy any Wolfes and 
shall bring forth the head of the Wolfe before the 
said commanders of the revenue, shall receive the 
sums foUowing, viz., for every bitch Wolfe, six 
pounds;* for every dog Wolfe, five pounds ; for 
every cubb which preyeth for himself, forty shillings ; 
for every suckling cubb, ten shillings. And no 
Wolfe after the last September until the loth 
January be accounted a young Wolfe, and the Com- 
missioners of the Revenue shall cause the same to be 
equallie assessed within their precincts. 

"DUBLIN, June 29, i653."t 

The assessments here ordered fell heavily in some 
districts. Thus in December, 1665, the inhabitants 
of Mayo county petitioned the Council of State that 
the Commissioners of Assessment might be at liberty 

* The price paid in Sutherlandshire, in 1621, was 61. 13*. 4^. 
See p. 169. 

f These documents were extracted from the original Privv Council 
Book of Cromwell's government in Ireland, preserved in Dublin Castle 
and are quoted by Hardiman in his edition of O'Flaherty's " West or 
H'lar Connaught," p. 180. 

THE WOLF. 197 

to compound for Wolf-heads ; which was ordered 

In 1662, as appears by the Journal of the House 
of Commons, Sir John Ponsonby reported from the 
Committee of Grievances that a Bill should be brought 
in "to encourage the killing of Wolves and foxes in 
Ireland. " 

In the "Travels of the Grand Duke Cosmo III. in 
England," 1669 (p. 103), the author speaks of Wolves 
as common in Ireland, "for the hunting of which 
the dogs called 'mastiffs' are in great request." 

O'Flaherty, in his "West or H'lar Cormaught" 
(1684), enumerates the wild animals which were to 
be found in that district in his day, and names 
" Wolves, deere, foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, hares, 
rabbets, squirrells, martens, weesles, and the amphi- 
bious otter, of which kind the white-faced otter is 
very rare." Hardiman, in a note to his edition of 
this work (1846), says: "When our author wrote 
(1684), and for some years afterwards, wolves were 
to be found in lar Connaught, but not in such 
numbers as in the early part of that century. The 
last Wolf which I have been able to trace here was 
killed in the mountains of Joyce country, in the 
year 1700. After the wars of 1641 the ravages of 
the Wolves were so great throughout Ireland as to 
excite the attention of the State. ' Wolf-hunters ' 
were appointed in various districts, and amongst 
others in lar Connaught, who helped to rid the 
country of these ferocious animals. "* 

* Hardiman, op. cit., p. 10, note. 

O 2 


In an account of the British Islands, published at 
Nuremberg in 1 690, the Avilds of Kerry are referred 
to as harbouring Wolves and foxes ;* and in the 
reign of William and Mary, Ireland was sometimes 
called by the nickname of "Wolf-land." Thus in 
a poem on the Battle of La Hogue, 1692, called 
" Advice to a Painter," the terror of the Irish army 
is described : 

A chilling damp, 
And Wolf-land howl runs through the rising camp. 

"Three places in Ireland are commemorated, each as 
having had the last Irish wolf killed there namely, 
one in the south, another near Glenarm, and the 
third, Wolf-hill, three miles from Belfast. "t The 
one in the south is probably that referred to in 
Edwards's "Cork Remembrancer" (p. 131), wherein 
the following entry occurs: "This year (1710) the 
last presentment [to the Grand Jury] for killing 
wolves was made in the county of Cork."J In the 
old " Statistical Account of Scotland," however, 
edited by Sir John Sinclair, it is stated (voL, xii. 
p. 447) that the last was killed in Ireland in 1 709. 

The great woods of Shillela, on the confines ot 
Carlow and Wicklow, now the property of Earl 
Fitzwilliam, are said to have held Wolves until 
about the year 1700, when the last of them was 
destroyed in the neighbourhood of Glendaloch. 

* This work we have not seen. It is quoted by Macaulay, in his 
" History of England," vol. iii. p. 136. 

f Thompson, " Nat. Hist., Ireland," vol. iv. p. 34. 

J See also Scouler, " Journ. Geol. Soc.," Dublin, vol. i. p. 226. 

Mackenzie's "Natural History," p. 20. This volume, published in 
London in modern times, is undated, 

THE WOLF. 199 

In a poem, in six cantos, published as late as 1719, 
and entitled, " MacDermot, or the Irish Fortune- 
Hunter," " Wolf-hunting" and " Wolf-spearing" are 
represented as common sports in Munster. Here is 
an extract : 

" It happen'd on a day with horn and hounds, 
A baron gallop'd through MacDermot's grounds, 
Well hors'd, pursuing o'er the dusty plain 
A Wolf that sought the neighbouring woods to gain : 
Mac hears th' alarm, and, with his oaken spear, 
Joins in the chase, and runs before the peer, 
Outstrips the huntsman, dogs, and panting steeds, 
And, struck by him, the falling savage bleeds." 

The crest of the O'Quins of Munster is " a Wolf's 
head, erased, argent," possibly perpetuating the 
prowess of some former noted Wolf-hunter in that 
ancient family. 

The author of "The Present State of Great 
Britain and Ireland," printed in London in 1 738, 
wrote at that date, " Wolves still abound too much 
in Ireland ; they pray for the Wolves, least they 
should devour them." 

In Smith's " Ancient and Modern State of the 
County of Kerry," 1756 (of which book Macaulay 
said, " I do not know that I have ever met with a 
better book of the kind and of the size," "Hist. 
Eng." in. 1 36), the author, speaking of certain ancient 
enclosures, observes (p. 173) that many of them were 
made to secure cattle from Wolves, which animals 
were not entirely extirpated until about the year 
1710, as I find by presentments for raising money 
for destroying them in some old grand -jury books." 

Traces of old circular entrenchments, into which 


cattle and sheep were driven for protection from 
Wolves, are still to be seen in many parts of Ireland, 
especially in the south. One of these, in the county 
Tyrone, will be noticed presently. 

In Harris's edition of Sir James Ware's " Works n 
(Dublin, 1764), the editor, commenting upon the 
passage, " I shall but just hint at the eagerness of 
the Irish in the chase, as in hunting Wolves and 
stags," remarks in a footnote (p. 165), "So said in 
the year 1658. But there are no Wolves in Ireland 
now." This statement in turn may be controverted 
upon very respectable authority, but the conflict of 
evidence renders it very difficult to fix with certainty 
the precise date at which the animal became extinct. 

The following account is given of the destruction, 
by a noted Wolf-hunter, of the last Wolves in the 
county Tyrone : 

" In the mountainous parts of the county Tyrone, 
the inhabitants suffered much from Wolves, and gave 
as much for the head of one of these animals as they 
would now give (1829) for the capture of a notorious 
robber on the highway. There lived in those days. 
an adventurer who, alone and unassisted, made it 
his occupation to destroy those ravagers. The time 
for attacking them was at night. There was a 
species of dog kept for the purpose of hunting 
them, resembling a rough, stout, half-bred grey- 
hound, but much stronger. 

"In the county Tyrone there was then a large- 
space of ground enclosed by a high stone wall, having 
a gap at the two opposite extremities, and in this. 

THE WOLF. 201 

were secured the flocks of the surrounding farmers. 
Still, secure though this fold was deemed, it was 
entered by the Wolves, and its inmates slaughtered. 

" The neighbouring proprietors having heard of the 
noted Wolf-hunter above mentioned, by name Eory 
Carragh, sent for him and offered the usual reward, 
with some addition, if he would undertake to destroy 
the two remaining Wolves that had committed such 
devastation. Carragh, undertaking the task, took 
with him two Wolf dogs and a little boy, the only 
person he could prevail on to accompany him, and, 
at the approach of night, repaired to the fold in 

" ' Now,' said Carragh to the boy, ' as the Wolves 
usually attack the opposite extremities of the sheep- 
fold at the same time, I must leave you and one of 
the dogs to guard this one, while I go to the other. 
He steals with all the caution of a cat ; nor will you 
hear him, but the dog will, and will positively give 
him the first fall. If you are not active when he is 
down, to rivet his neck to the ground with this spear, 
he will rise up and kill both you and the dog.' 

"Til do what I can,' said the boy, as he took the 
spear from the Wolf- hunter's hand. 

" The boy immediately threw open the gate of the 
fold, and took his seat in the inner part, close to the 
entrance, his faithful companion crouching at his side 
and seeming perfectly aware of the dangerous business 
he was engaged in. The night was very dark and cold, 
and the poor little boy being benumbed with the 
chilly air, was beginning to fall into a kind of sleep, 


when at that instant the dog, with a roar, leaped 
across him and laid his mortal enemy upon the earth. 
The boy was roused into double activity by the voice 
of his companion, and drove the spear through the 
Wolf's neck, as he had been directed ; at which time 
Carragh made his appearance with the head of the 

In an interesting article on the Irish Wolf-dog, 
published in The Irish Penny Journal for 1841 
(p. 354), the writer says :t " I am at present 
acquainted with an old gentleman between eighty 
and ninety years of age, whose mother remembered 
Wolves to have been killed in the county of Wexford 
about the years 1730-40, and it is asserted by 
many persons of weight and veracity that a Wolf 
was killed in the Wicklow mountains so recently 
as 1770. 

A few years since, Sir J. Emerson Tennent wrote 
on this subject as follows : 

" Waringstown, in the county of Down, on the con- 
fines of the county of Armagh, takes its name from 
the family of Waring, which, in the reign of Queen 
Mary, fled to Ireland from Lancashire to avoid the 
persecution of the Lollards. At the close of the 
seventeenth century the Waring of that day was a 
member of the Irish Parliament ; and his eldest son, 
Samuel Waring, was born about the year 1699, and 

* " The Biography of a Tyrone Family " (Belfast, 1829), p. 74. 

f This article, published under the initials of H. D. R., has since 
been admitted to have been written by H. D. Richardson, author of 
" The Dog : its Origin, Natural History, and Varieties," in which 
work it has been embodied with additions, 1848. 

THE WOLF. 203 

<lied at a very advanced age in 1793. Ho was suc- 
ceeded by his nephew, the Very Reverend Holt 
Waring, Dean of Dromore, who was born in 1766, 
and whom I had the honour to know. With him I 
happened to be travelling through the Mourne moun- 
tains, in the county of Down, on our way to the Earl 
of Roden's, about the year 1 834 or 1 83 5, when the con- 
versation turning upon the social condition of Ireland 
in the previous century, he told me that a foal belonging 
to his uncle had been killed by a Wolf in the stable 
at Waringstown, and that he, when a boy, had heard 
the occurrence repeatedly adverted to in the family 
circle. The dean was a man of singularly acute mind 
and accurate memory, and unless this statement of his 
be altogether a delusion, this would seem to be the 
last recorded appearance of a Wolf in Ireland. " 

The last piece of evidence collected has reference 
to a communication which appeared in The 
Zoologist for 1862 (p. 7996), under the heading, 
" Wolf Days of Ireland." On applying to the writer, 
Mr. Jonathan Grubb, of Sudbury, for further parti- 
culars, he obligingly replied in a letter, dated June 6, 
1877, as follows : 

"I am now in my seventieth year. My father, 
who was born in 1767, used to tell the Wolf stones 
to us when we were children. His mother my 
grandmother related them to him. She was born in 
1731. Her maiden name was Malone ; and her 
uncles, from whom she received her information, were 
the actors in the scenes described at Ballyroggin, 
county Kildare. She remembered one of thorn, 


James Malone, telling her how his brother came 
home one night on horseback pursued by a pack of 
Wolves, who overtook him, and continued leaping on 
to the hind quarters of his horse till he reached his 
own door, crying out, ' Oh ! James, James ! my horse 
is ate with the Wolves.' " 

The precise date of this occurrence cannot now be 
fixed ; but it seems plain that Wolves existed in 
Kildare during the first quarter of the eighteenth 
century, and perhaps as late as 1721. 

To sum up. So far as can be now ascertained, it 
appears that the Wolf became extinct in England 
during the reign of Henry VII. ; that it survived in 
Scotland until 1 743 ; and that the last of these animals 
was killed in Ireland, according to Richardson, in 
1770, or, according to Sir James Emerson Tennent, 
subsequently to 1766. 

In the foregoing observations, no reference has 
been made to " Were-wolves," nor has any matter 
been introduced touching the fabulous or superstitious 
aspect of the Wolfs history in the British Islands. 
All such allusions have been purposely avoided, in 
order to confine the subject within reasonable limits. 

Before concluding, however, we may perhaps be 
excused for citing so respectable an authority as Sir 
Thomas Browne, who, in his " Enquiries into Vulgar 
and Common Errors," has alluded to the popular 
notion that Wolves cannot live in England. 

In vol. iii. p. 344, of his " Works " (Wilkin's 
edition), he says : " Thus because there are no 
Wolves in England, nor have been observed for divers 

THE WOLF. 205 

generations (1646), common people have proceeded 
into opinions, and some wise men into affirmations, 
that they will not live therein, although brought 
from other countries." 

He also notices the popular belief that " a Wolf 
first seeing a man begets a dumbness in him," a 
notion as old as the time of Pliny, who wrote : " In 
Italia, ut creditur, luporum visus est noxius, vocemque 
homini, quern prius contemplatur adirnere" In France, 
when anyone becomes hoarse, the say " II a vu le 
loup."* " 

" The ground or occasional original thereof," says 
Sir Thomas Browne,t " was probably the amazement 
and sudden silence the unexpected appearance of 
Wolves doth often put upon travellers, not by a sup- 
posed vapour or venomous emanation, but a vehement 
fear, which naturally produceth obmutescence, and 
sometimes irrecoverable silence." 

A critic, adverting to this passage, has somewhat 
wittily remarked : " Dr. Browne did unadvisedly 
reckon this among his vulgar errors, for I believe he 
would find this no error if he were suddenly sur- 
prised by a wolf, having no means to escape or save 

* Howell's " Familiar Letters," vol. ii. p. 52. 
f Op. cit, vol. ii. p. 422. 


Ix considering the causes, besides those already 
referred to, which have led to the extinction of 
the wild animals now under consideration, it should 
be borne in mind that for some centuries after 
the Norman Conquest they were not hunted down 
and destroyed by everybody and anybody, as 
they would be if they existed at the present 
day, but were strictly preserved under very severe 
penalties by the kings and powerful noblemen of 
the day for their own particular sport and recreation. 
William the Conqueror punished with the loss of 
eyes those convicted of killing a wild boar, stag, or 
roebuck ; and wolves and foxes, although reckoned 
neither as beasts of the forest nor of venery, could 
not be killed within the limits of the forest without 
a, breach of the royal chase, for which offenders had 
to yield a recompense. 

The inveterate love of the chase possessed by 
William Rufus, which prompted him to enforce during 
his tragical reign the most stringent and cruel forest 
laws, is too well-known to readers of history to require 



In his passion for hunting wild animals Henry I. 
excelled even his brother William, and not content 
with encountering and slaying those which like the 
wolf and the wild boar, were at that time indi- 
genous to this country, he " cherished of set purpose 
sundrie kinds of wild beasts, as bears, Hbards, ounces, 
lions, at Woodstocke, and one or two other places in 
England, which he walled about with hard stone 
(A.D. 1120), and where he would often fight with some 
one of them hand to hand." 

Henry II. and John were both great preservers of 
wild animals, and monopolized large tracts of country 
wherein to indulge their passion for hunting. Ferocious 
animals were in consequence long suffered to remain 
at large against the will of the people, and hence 
survived to a much later period in this country 
than would have been the case had the subjects of 
these monarchs dared sooner to assert their inde- 
pendence. But at length came the repeal of the 
forest laws. The operation of the Charter of the 
Forests, which was signed by John at the same time 
with Magna Charta, restrained the worst abuses of 
the feudal tenure; all lands which had been con- 
verted into woods or parks since the commencement 
of this reign were disafforested, and the tenants 
bordering on the royal forests secured against spolia- 
tion ; in a word, the laws made for the protection of 
the game and wild animals were either partially 
repealed or considerably mitigated. 

A confirmation of this charter was obtained, 
though with much difficulty, from Henry III. It 


directed that all woods that had been taken in, or, 
as it was termed, afforested, to the prejudice of the 
owners, should be disafforested, and no more addi- 
tions were to be made. Still further concessions on 
this score were made by Edward I. 

From this time it may be said that the presence 
of ferocious animals in this country was no longer 
tolerated. They were slain wherever and whenever 
they could be found, and only managed to survive 
in reduced numbers, for some few centuries longer, 
in consequence of the utter impossibility of dislodging 
them from the almost impenetrable forests and moun- 
tain fastnesses to which they were driven. Later on, 
when large tracts of forests were purposely cut down 
or burned for the purpose of expelling these animals, 
and statutes were put in force which rewarded 
the slayers of them, their extermination was finally 

Another cause which has doubtless contributed in 
no slight degree to the extinction of the above-men- 
tioned animals, is the insular character of the country 
which they inhabited. 

As civilization advanced, as forests were cut down, 
mosses drained and moorlands cultivated, they were 
driven further and further away, until finally their 
retreat was cut off by the sea. Unable to retire beyond 
so irresistible a barrier, they gradually succumbed to 
the attacks of their pursuers, or to the altered condi- 
tions of life, which deprived them per force of the 
means of existence. We have seen how fully this 
is exemplified in the case of the reindeer, whose last 


home in Britain was among the remote hills of Caith- 

To the naturalist it is a somewhat sad reflection, 
that animals of the forest and the chase, now only 
known by name as the inhabitants of other countries, 
were once as familiar to our ancestors as they are at 
present to the people of the remote kingdoms which 
they frequent. Man has been warring against these 
forest denizens, and as tract after tract which they 
once claimed as their own has been brought under 
the ploughshare, they have been driven farther and 
farther back, until the last of them has been blotted 
out from our fauna. 

Lake and moor have become fields of yellow grain ; 
forest has been changed into morass, morass into 
moor, and moor again into forest, until finding 
nowhere to rest in peace, the bear, the beaver, the 
reindeer, the wild boar, and the wolf, have become 
in Britain amongst the things that were. 


2I 3 


THE few scattered herds of so-called Wild White 
Cattle which still exist in parks in England and 
Scotland may be said to form a connecting link, as it 
were, between the wild animals which have become 
extinct in this country within historic times, and 
those which may still be classed amongst our fercc 

The race is undoubtedly of great antiquity, but 
whether it is descended, as some affirm, from tl.c 

p 2 


aboriginal wild breed of the British forests the 
Urus of Caesar (Bos primig eniits) or whether, as 
others assert, it has at some period long remote 
been imported from abroad and since become feral, 
are questions upon which, at present, considerable 
difference of opinion prevails. The weight of scien- 
tific opinion, however, seems to favour the view that 
these wild white cattle were descended from the 
Urus, either by direct descent through wild animals 
from the wild bull, or less directly through domesti- 
cated cattle deriving their blood principally from 
him. That the Urus existed in Britain in prehistoric 
times, and was contemporaneous with man of the 
Palaeolithic or older Stone Age, must be admitted. 
In the fluviatile deposits of the Thames, and in some 
other places, the remains of the two have been found 
together,* and instances have been recorded in 
which the remains of the Urus have been found 
contemporaneous with man of the Neolithic or 
later Stone Age. In the Zoological Museum at 
Cambridge, where there is a remarkably fine skeleton 
of this animal from Burwell Fen, may be seen the 
greater portion of a skull from the same locality, in 
which a neolithic celt was found, and still remains 
imbedded. t Another skull of this animal was found 
in a moss in Scotland, in conjunction with bronze 

* The Eev. Samuel Banks, Sector of Cottenham, possesses a fine 
skull of the Urus, found in Cottenham Fen, the fractured bone of which 
clearly testifies that it was destroyed by a human weapon. 

t See Carter, Geological Magazine, November, 1874. Both the 
specimens here referred to are figured in Miller and Skertchley's " Fen- 
land, Past and Present," p. 321. 


celts, indicating a still later period the Bronze 

Mr. Woods has published a good description, with 
figures of the cranial part of the skull and horn-cores 
of Bos primigenius which were discovered in 1838 in 
the bed of the Avon, at Melksham, and has referred 
to similar remains found in the neighbourhoods of 
Bath, Tiverton and Newton St. Loe.* 

In the Magazine of Natural History (1838, p. 163), 
Mr. Brown of Stanway has recorded the discovery 
in a mass of drift sand overlying the London clay 
at Clacton, Essex, of a portion of the cranium with 
horn-cores of Bos primigenius, a very perfect skull 
of which has been admirably figured by Professor 
Owen,t from a specimen found at Athole, Perthshire, 
and preserved in the British Museum. 

Fleming, in his " History of British Animals" 
(1828), has referred to a skull of this animal which is 
now preserved in the Museum of the New College, 
Edinburgh, and of which he has briefly given 
dimensions. It was found in a marl-pit at New- 
burgh, Fifeshire. Through the kindness of Dr. J. A. 
Smith, and by permission of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland, we are here enabled to figure it from an 
illustration, slightly reduced, in Dr. Smith's excellent 
" Notes on the Ancient Cattle of Scotland," printed 
in the " Proceedings" of the Society referred to. To 
the proprietors of The Field we are also indebted 
for permission to make use of an engraving of an 

* Woods' " Description of Fossil Skull of an Ox," 4to, 1839. 
f " British Fossil Mammals," p. 498. 



English skull of this animal, which, in The Field 
of April 1 8, 1868, illustrated some remarks on its 
discovery from the pen of Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier. 
This specimen was found in the bed of the Kibble, 
below Preston, Lancashire, in the spring of 1867, and 
passed into the possession of Mr. James Dobson of 
the Preston Chronicle, who kindly forwarded it for 


Iii these and other instances which have been- 
recorded, the animals whose remains were found were, 
in all probability, wild, and not domesticated. In- 
deed, no discoveries have yet been made which lead 
to the supposition that the Urus was domesticated in 
Britain in pre-historic times ; while Bos longifrons, 
the " Celtic short-horn," as it has been termed, was 


everywhere subjugated and used by man. The 
latter was the only ox in Britain in the time of the 
Romans, and afforded sustenance to their legions. 
From it the small dark breeds of Wales and Scotland 
are descended ; and it survived until recently in 
Cornwall, Cumberland and Westmoreland. The 
remains of Bos longifrons are plentiful in the English 
fens, and it seems to have afforded a staple article of 


food in the Neolithic Age. Mr. Sydney Skertchley 
found immense numbers of the bones of this animal 
in what are probably the remains of a Stone-age lake- 
dwelling at Crowland.* At the great flint-implement 
manufactory at Grimes Graves, near Brandon, the 
remains of this animal are very plentiful, and belong 
chiefly to young calves. It would appear from this 

* Miller and Skertchley, " Fcnland, Past and Present," p. 343 


that a principal element in the food of these people 
was milk, and therefore they could not afford to keep 
the calves, which must have consumed a large por- 
tion of what would otherwise have been available for 
the use of the household.* 

But to return to Bos primigenius. While such 
authorities as Professors Riitimeyer and Nilsson, 
Sir Charles Lyell, Professor Boyd Dawkins,t and 
Mr. Darwin are inclined to believe that our wild white 
cattle are descended from the Urus in one or other of 
the two ways above indicated, Professor Owen and Dr. 
J. A. Smith (whose excellent " Notes on the Ancient 
Cattle of Scotland " are apparently less known than 
they deserve to be}) hold a different view, and con- 
sider that Bos primigenius became extinct throughout 
the whole island in pre-historic times. There seems to 
be much probability, though it can scarcely be con- 
sidered proved, that such was the case in the southern 
parts of Britain; but, as Mr. Storer in his lately 
published work has pointed out, it has yet to be shown 
that in the northern parts the same rule prevailed, 
the Caledonian deposits especially (partly perhaps from 
their remote positions) having in but few instances 
been examined with that consummate skill, care, and 
attention which southern discoveries have received. 

* Greenwell, 'Grimes Graves,' " Journ. Eth. Soc.,"vol. ii. p.43i (1871). 

f Professor Boyd Dawkins once thought the Urus might have sur- 
vived in Britain within historic times in some of the wilder parts of 
the country, ("Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc.," 1866, p. 397), but subsequently 
altered his opinion (" Trans. Internat. Congress, Praehist. Archeeol.," 
1 868, pp. 269-289.) 

J See "Pro. Soc. Antiq. Scotl.," vol. ix. p. 587. 

" The Wild White Cattle of Great Britain." 


But our concern is not so much with the origin of the 
race of wild white cattle, of which a few representative 
animals still survive, as with the history of the herds 
which are known to have been preserved in different 
parts of the country, and of which some half-dozen 
still exist at the present day. Of these we propose 
to give some account ; but, before doing so, we may 
glance briefly at the historical notices of the existence 
of wild cattle in England and Scotland which 
been preserved to us in the works of various his- 
torians, antiquaries, and naturalists. On looking 
over the plates of British coins figured by Camden 
in his " Britannia" (vol. i. p. Ixv.) we were struck by 
a coin of Cunobelin (fig. 1 3) bearing on the obverse 
a head of this king, and on the reverse a really 
characteristic figure, as we take it, of a wild bull an 
animal which was no doubt frequently hunted by the 
early rulers of Britain. 


Some indication of the existence of wild cattle 
in Saxon times is furnished in the celebrated 
traditionary legend of the slaughter of the wild 
cow by Guy Earl of Warwick, which is said to 
have taken place in the days of King Athelstan 
(A.D. 925-941). The ballad, "Sir Guy of War- 
wick," is given in Ritson's " Ancient Songs and 


Ballads," and in Percy's "Keliques of Ancient 
English Poetry,'' where we are informed that it was 
entered on the Stationers' books in 1591, although 
undoubtedly of much older date. Much of this 
story, as Mr. Storer has observed, may be mythical, 
and many of its circumstances fabulous ; but it 
nevertheless seems to prove just as clearly the exist- 
ence in very ancient times of the dangerous and 
ferocious wild cow, as the popular ballads about 
Robin Hood prove the existence of fallow deer in 
Sherwood Forest in the time of King John.* 

In the Welsh laws of Howell Dha, which date 
from about A.D. 940, or before the middle of the 
loth century,t we find white cattle with red ears 
(that is, resembling in colour the wild cattle of 
Chillingham) ordered to be paid in compensation for 
offences committed against the Princes of Wales. 
It is a question, however, whether the description 
indicates a difference of breed, or merely a difference 
of colour in individuals of the ordinary breed of 
Welsh cattle. 

In the forest laws of King Canute (A.D. i o 1 4- 1 03 5) , 
wild cattle are thus referred to : " There are 
also a great number of cattle which, although they 
live within the limits of the forest, and are subject 
to the charge and care of the middle sort of men, 

* See also Woods' remarks on this point in his " Description of a 
Fossil Skull of an Ox found in Wiltshire," 4to, 1839. 

t An English translation of these laws will be found appended to 
" The Myvyrian Archaeology of Wales collected out of Ancient Manu- 
scripts," ed. Owen Jones and others (Denbigh, 1870), pp. 1014-1062. 
Vide cap. ii. 3. 


or Ilegardors, nevertheless cannot at all be reputed 
beasts of the forest as Avild horses, bubali, wild cows, 
and the like/'* The word bubali, literally " buffaloes," 
is considered to mean " wild bulls," being the sense 
in which it is frequently used by Roman authors. 

Speaking of a somewhat later period, Matthew 
Paris, in his " Lives of the Abbots of St. Albans," 
says of Leofstan, abbot in the time of Edward the 
Confessor, that he cut through the thick woods 
which extended from the edge of Ciltria (the Chil- 
terns) nearly up to London, smoothed the rough 
places, built bridges, and levelled the rugged roads, 
which he made more safe, "for at that time there 
abounded throughout the whole of Ciltria spacious 
woods, thick and large, the habitation of numerous 
and various beasts, wolves, boars, forest bulls (tauri 
sijtvestres), and stags. 

Fitz-Stephen, writing about the year 1174, de- 
scribes the country beyond London in somewhat 
similar terms. " Close at hand," he says, "lies an 
immense forest, woody ranges, hiding-places of wild 
beasts, of stags, of fallow deer, of boars, and of 
forest bulls," and he employs the same term (tauri 
sylvestres) to designate the wild cattle to which he 
refers, t 

Nor was this the only part of the country 
in which these animals were at that time to be 
found. Knaresborough Forest, for instance, in York- 

* See Manwood's "Forest Laws," 27 ; Thorpe's "Ancient Law* 
of England," vol. i. p. 429 ; and Spelman's " Glossary," p. 241. 
t " Vita Sancti Thomae," torn. i. p. 173 (ed. Giles). 


shire, about the year 1200, had its " fierce wild 

Speed tells usf that Maud de Breos, in order to 
appease King John, whom her husband had offended, 
sent to his queen a present from Brecknockshire of 
four hundred cows and a bull, all white with red ears. 
Whether this was the usual colour of the ancient 
breed of Welsh and British cattle, or a rare variety, 
esteemed on account of its beauty, and chiefly pre- 
served in the parks of the nobles, cannot be deter- 
mined with certainty. It is, perhaps, more natural 
to suppose that they were all domesticated, and not 
wild cattle. In later records, however, wild cattle 
are particularly referred to by this name. " Six 
wylde bulls," are included in the bill of fare on the 
occasion of the feast given at the installation of 
George Nevill, Archbishop of York, in 1466."! 

Hector Boece(Boethius), who was a contemporary of 
Leland, and who published his " Scotorum Historise, 
a prima Gentis Origine," in 1526, has often been 
quoted to prove the former existence of wild white 
cattle in Scotland. His statement is to the effect 
that in the great Caledonian wood, which covered a 
great tract of country, running through Monteith and 
Strathearn, as far as Athole and Lochaber, there were 
bulls of the purest white, having manes like lions ; 

* Walbran, " Memorials of the Abbey of St. Mary of Fountains" 
(Surtees Society, vol. xliii.). 

t Speed, "History of Great Britaine," folio, 1611. 

J Lelaud, " Collectanea" (ed. Hearne), vi., p. 2. 

This work was translated into the Scottish vernacular by John 
Bellenden, Archdeacon of Moray, in 1 5 5 3, and into English by Eaphael 
Holinshed in 1585. 


and, though in other respects they much resembled 
domestic cattle, they were still so wild and un- 
tamable, and so fearful of the approach of man, that 
they even fled from any grass, trees, or fruit that 
had been touched by him. 

This account has been copied, or at least fol- 
lowed by Paulus Jovius,* Gesner,t Bishop Leslie,;]; 
Aldrovandus, Jonston,|| and many other writers 
much nearer to our own time. 

That it was to some extent exaggerated there can 
be no doubt ; and it is not surprising that Sir Robert 
Sibbald, in his "Scotia Illustrata" (1684), should 
have expressed the opinion that it " wanted con- 
firmation." Not that the existence of wild cattle in 
Scotland was questioned, but only that they pre- 
sented the appearance which was ascribed to them 
by Boethius. 

From causes readily understood, wild cattle held 
their ground longer, and continued in a truly wild 
state later, in Scotland than in any other part of 
Great Britain. As civilization spread from the south, 
forests became partly cleared, partly converted into 
parks, and waste lands were gradually drained and 
cultivated. Wild animals became either exter- 
minated, like the wolf and the boar, or, like the 
white cattle, were driven further north to their last 
strongholds. As the population increased, game 

* " Descriptio Britannia, Scotiao, Hiberniae, et Orcadum," 1548. 

f " Historia Animalium," 1551. 

J "De Origine, Moribus, et Rebus Gestis Scotorum, 1578. 

" Quadrupedum Omnium Bisulcorum Historia," 1632. 

|| "Historia Naturalis de Quadrupedibus, 1657. 


everywhere decreased, except in places where "liberty 
to inclose " forest land was granted by the king to 
influential nobles or deserving courtiers. Great 
tracts of forest were from time to time inclosed 
within a pale, haye, or wall, with the game and wild 
animals they contained, or with others driven in, and 
these inclosures became parks. Thus the land and 
all that it contained was secured for ever to the 
person having the liberty to inclose, and no one could 
thereafter enter or interfere without subjecting him- 
self to severe penalties.* 

This was the saving of the wild cattle, which, 
except for the protection thus afforded them, would, 
like the other animals mentioned, have become 
extinct centuries ago. 

Many such "licenses to inclose " (some of very early 
date) are still preserved, and furnish, in not a few 
instances, a clue to the history of private herds of 
wild white cattle. In enumerating the herds which 
are known to us, and concerning which some historical 
notices are to be found, it will perhaps be convenient 
to take them alphabetically, those which are still 
existing being distinguished by an asterisk. 

unknown origin, it is certain that a herd of white 
wild cattle, with black ears and muzzles, existed here 

* Storer, op. cit. pp. 75, 76. By Stat. Westminster, I. c. 20, 
trespassers in parts might be compelled to give treble damages 
to the party aggrieved, suffer three years' imprisonment, be fined 
at the King's pleasure, and give surety never to offend in the like 
kinil again ; and if they could not find surety, they had to abjure the 
realm, or, being fugitive, were outlawed. 


between the years 1750 (when they were introduced 
by Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton) and 1820, 
when, on the death of the twelfth earl, Hugh, being 
much diminished in numbers, they were sent away 
to be killed. Sir John Sinclair, in 1814, referred to 
this herd as one of the few remaining representatives 
at that time of Caledonia's ancient breed ; and 
Robertson, in his " Description of Cunningham and 
Ayrshire," published in 1820, has given a good 
description of it. He states that the animals in this 
herd were pure white, with the muzzle and inside 
of the ears black, and that they differed from the 
Chillingham cattle in being polled or hornless ; 
in this respect resembling the herds at Gisburne, 
Middleton, Somerford, Whalley, and Wollaton. 
Their number, he adds, was limited, not being allowed 
to increase beyond about a dozen ; they were thinned 
by shooting, which required some precaution to 
accomplish. This account is confirmed by a somewhat 
similar notice, given by the Rev. Mr. Bryce, minister 
of Ardrossan, in the "New Statistical Account of 
Scotland," 1837. 

AUCHENCRUIVE, AYRSHIRE. A little more than 
a century ago, when this estate, now the property of 
Mr. Oswald, belonged to the Lords Cathcart, a herd 
of white wild cattle existed there. In 1763 the 
estate changed hands, and a few years afterwards, 
within the lifetime of the first Mr. Oswald, who died 
in 1 784, the cattle, being found troublesome, were 
got rid of. 

BARNARD CASTLE, DURHAM, formerly part of the 


chase of Marwood, adjoining the great forest of 
Teesdale, belonged successively to the Baliols (after- 
wards raised to the Scottish throne), and subsequently 
to the Beauchamps and the Nevills, Earls of Warwick. 
By the marriage of the daughter and co-heiress of 
Richard Nevill, Earl of Warwick, the King-maker, 
in 1471, with Richard Duke of Glo'ster, afterwards 
Richard III., it became the property and favourite 
residence of that prince until he ascended the throne ; 
at his death it reverted to the Crown. There can be 
little doubt that during the whole of this period wild 
cattle existed and were hunted here, for they still 
existed here 150 years later. Charles I, by a grant 
dated March 14, 1626, in consideration of a consider- 
able sum of money, granted to Samuel Cordwell and 
Henry Dingley, in trust for Sir Henry Vane, the 
reversion of Barnard Castle, with its parks, " together 
with all deer and wild cattle in the said parks. "* It is 
believed that wild cattle also existed at one time at 
Raby Castle, about six miles distant, the seat of the 
Duke of Cleveland. 

BISHOP AUCKLAND, DURHAM, originally part of 
Weardale Forest, belonged to the Bishops of Durham, 
who kept wild cattle here before the Reformation. 
Leland describes it as " a faire parke by the castelle, 
having fallow deer, wilde bulles, and kin." In 1338 
it was let to Sir R. de Maners, from which it may be 
inferred, says Raine,f that the deer and wild cattle, 

* Hutchinson, " Hist. Durham," vol. iii. p. 245. 

t "Historical Account of the Episcopal Palace of Auckland," pp. 


not mentioned until afterwards, were then either few 
in number or none at all "Wild kyne, with calves 
and bulles, &c., of all sortes, remayned in Auckland 
Parke, Sept. 24. 1627, the number thirty-two" 
(Raine, p. 77). 

In 1634 Sir Wm. Brereton, while a guest of Dr. 
Moreton, Bishop of Durham, at Bishoppe Auckland, 
thus described the cattle he saw : "A daintie stately 
parke ; wherein I saw wild bulls and kine which had 
two calves and rimers ; there are about twenty wild 
beasts all white ; will not endure jo r approach, butt 
if they be enraged or distressed, very violent and 
furious : their calves will bee wondrous fatt."* 
These cattle appear to have been all destroyed 
during the civil wars of Charles I.'s time. In the 
Parliamentary Survey of March 22, 1646-7, this park 
is described, and it is said " the deere and game 
viz., fallow-deere and wilde bulls, or bisons utterly 
destroyed, except two or three of the said bisons, and 
some few conies, in that part of the park called ' the 
Flaggs,' under the said walls of the said castle or 
palace." Stainwick Park, also in the county of 
Durham, the property of the Duke of Northumber- 
land, is believed at one time to have held a herd of 
wild white cattle, while there is good reason for sup- 
posing that other herds existed at Baby Castle, the 

* This description is quoted by Raine in his " Historical Account of 
the Episcopal Castle or Palace of Auckland" (p. 79), from a MS. in the 
possession of Sir Philip Grey Egerton, entitled " The Second Yeare's 
Travell throw Scotland and Ireland, 1635." This MS. has been 
printed by Sir Philip Grey Egerton, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., vol. ii. 
(1839), and also in the first volume of the Cheetham Society's 
Publications, 1844. 



principal seat of the Nevills, and at Beaurepaire, the 
ancient hunting park of the Priors of Durham. The 
cattle at this last-named place, it is said, were all 
destroyed by the Scots in 1315. 

BLAIR ATHOLE, PERTHSHIRE. Fifty years ago, in 
one of the parks of this ancient seat of the Hurrays, 
Dukes of Athole, in the forest of that name, roamed 
a herd of wild cattle, white with black points, having- 
the ears, muzzles, and hoofs black. In 1834 this 
herd was sold, a portion going to Taymouth to the 
Marquis of Breadalbane, and the remainder toDalkeith, 
to the Duke of Buccleuch. Both these herds are now 
extinct, but from them has descended in part the 
semi- wild herd which still exists at Kilmory House, 
Argyllshire, the property of Sir John Powlett Orde. 

at present containing about 290 acres, is the property 
of Sir F. Clifford Constable. At one time it contained 
a herd of white cattle, as we learn from Bewick, who 
in 1 790 wrote of them as having been then a few 
years extinct. " Those at Burton Constable," he 
says, " were all destroyed by a distemper a few years 
since. They varied slightly from those at Chilling- 
ham, having black ears and muzzles, and the tips of 
their tails of the same colour. They were also much 
larger, many of them weighing sixty stone, probably 
owing to the richness of the pasturage in Holderness, 
but generally attributed to the difference of kind 
between those with black and white red ears, the 
former of which they studiously endeavour to preserve. 
The origin of this herd has only been surmised.* 

* Sec Storer,p. 255. 


Duke of Hamilton, with its park, originally formed 
part of the great Caledonian Forest, wherein King 
Robert Bruce, according to tradition, hunted the wild 
bull in 1320, and where, two centuries later (namely 
in 1500), James IV. of Scotland indulged in the same 
wild sport. This park lias from time immemorial 
contained a herd of wild white cattle, which has been 
frequently described, and which still exists.* Sir 
Walter Scott has immortalized these cattle in his 
ballad of " Cadyow Castle": 

" Mightiest of all the beasts of chase 

That roam in woody Caledon, 
Crashing the forest in his race, 

The mountain bull comes thundering on. 

" Fierce, on the hunter's quiver'd hand, 
He rolls his eyes of swarthy glow, 
Spurns with black hoof and horn the sand. 
And tosses high his mane of snow." 

He is in error, however, when he states that the 
Cadzow cattle were extirpated for their ferocity 
about 1769.1 In all probability he derived this im- 
pression from a statement to that effect in the " Old 
Statistical Account of Scotland," vol. i. p. 180 ; ii. 208. 
As compared with those kept at Chillingham, the 
animals in this herd differ in having the inside of the 
ears black instead of red, and the fore part of the 

* One of the best accounts of this herd is that published by Jesse, 
vrho received it from a Mr. Brown, chamberlain to the Duke of 

f "Lay of the Last Minstrel," 8 vo, 1809, notes, p. 40- M also 
Stuart's " Lay of the Deer Forest," vol. ii. p. 225. 



leg, from the knee downwards, mottled with black. 
The cows seldom have horns ; their bodies are thick 
and short, their limbs stouter, and their heads rounder 
than in the Chillingham breed, with small turn-up 
horns. In October, 1874, there were about thirty 
animals in this park, including one bull, and in a 
field near the park with similar pasturage were 
fifteen bulls and steers, along with one old cow and 
a young heifer in all_forty-five head. In June, 1877, 
the number had increased to fifty-six.* 

acres in extent, the property of Earl Ferrers, was 
formed by inclosing part of the Forest of Needwood 
by charter of Henry III. "About this time (32, 33 
Hen. III., that is, 1248-9)," says Sir Oswald Mosley, 
" some of the wild cattle of the country which had 
hitherto roamed at large in the Forest of Needwood 
were driven into the park at this place, where their 
breed is still preserved, "t Erdeswick, who began his 
" Survey of Staffordshire " about 1593, speaks of it 
as very large, and having therein red-deer, fallow- 
deer, wild beasts (i.e., cattle) and swine. In an old 
" Account Book of the Steward of the Manor of 
Chartley, Prseses, Com. Ferrers," is the following 
entry : 

" 1658. P d a moytie of the charge of mowings, makings, and carry- 
ing of hay for ye wild beasts 2 "js. jd." 

In this herd, the usual average number of cattle, 
which were white with black ears, is said not to have 

* A. H. Cocks, The Zoologist, 1878, p. 283. 
f "Hist. Tutbury, co. Stafford" (1832). 


exceeded thirty; yet in April, 1851, according to 
Mr. E. P. Shirley, there were forty-eight, and in 1873 
there were twenty-seven. In July, 1874, Mr. Storer 
found only twenty-five namely, ten breeding cows, 
four bulls (two adult), six steers, and five heifers, of 
various ages ; the finest old bull and one of the 
cows, besides some calves, having died since the 
previous autumn. In June, 1877, when Mr. A. H. 
Cocks visited this park, as described by him in The 


Zoologist (1878, p. 276), the herd, consisting of 
twenty animals, was thus constituted : One nine- 
year-old bull, one five-year-old bull, one bullock, five 
or six young bulls of different ages, two young bull 
calves (one called two months old, the other two or 
three weeks), the remaining nine or ten being cows 
and heifers of various ages. 

In appearance the Chartley cattle independently 


of the different colour of the ears, which are black 
instead of red are very unlike those at Chillingham.* 
They are, in fact, "long-horns." Nor are they so 
wild as the Northumberland herd. Mr. Storer has 
suggested that this is probably owing to the circum- 
stance that the park is bounded on one side by a 
public road, from which it is only separated by a 
paled fence, which is not the case at Chillingham, so 
that they are at Chartley much more habituated to 
the sight of. man. 

seat of the Earl of Tankerville, has been oftener 
visited, and oftener written about, than any other 
park containing wild cattle, and is, therefore, better 
known to the reading public. Of the date of the 
inclosure of this park (originally 1 500 acres ; now, 
exclusive of woods, about 1 1 oo) no record has been 
found ; but there is evidence of its existence in 1 292,t 
and " a park with wild animals " is referred to in an 
inquisition 42 Edward III., as "of no value beyond 
the maintenance of the wild animals." The "great 
wood" of Chillingham is referred to in a document of 
I22O.J Mr. Darwin seems to have thought that this 
referred to the park, since he regards the date above 
mentioned as that of its inclosure. This, however, is 
not proved by the document in question. At the 
same time it is not at all unlikely that the inclosure 

* See Plot, "Nat. Hist. Staffordshire," 1686, pi. 5; and Shaw 
"Hist, and Antiq. Stafford," 1798. 
t See Tate's " History of Alnwick," vol. i. p. 94. 
\ Hindmarsh, "Ann. Nat. Hist.," vol. ii. p. 274. 
" Animals and Plants under Domestication," vol. i. p. 81. 


took place about that time (temp. Hen. III.), and 
that the cattle were then driven in, just as they were 
at Hamilton, Drumlanrig, and Naworth, all of which 
herds, together with that at Chillingham, were pro- 
bably detachments from the main body of wild 


cattle which formerly roamed the Caledonian Wood. 
Mr. Storer says : 

" Whatever may be the age of the park, that, I 
imagine, indicates also the time when the wild cattle 
were first confined within its boundaries, for no 
record of their introduction exists. I suppose that 
they, previously wild denizens of the surrounding 

* For these two illustrations from Mr. Storer's \vc.rk \v- 
to the courtesy of Messrs. Cassell, Fetter and Galpin. The horns of the 
Lymc Park herd are of an intermediate character lift \\fi-n these two. 



forest, were then first incarcerated, as they were at 
Chartley and at Lyme."* 

It is at least certain that this herd was in existence 
two centuries ago. In Mackenzie's " View of the 
County of Northumberland" (1825) there is the 
following note (vol. i. p. 390) : 

" In a family account book, written by William Taylor, steward of 
Chillingham, and now (1821) in the possession of his great-grandson, 
William Taylor, Esq., Hendon Grange, near Sunderland, is an outlay : 

" 1689, Dec. 5, pd "Win. Kadyll's white calf ten shillings. 

" May 1692. Beasts in the Parke. My lorde's 16 white wilde beasts, 
2 black steers and a guy,f 1 2 white, read and black ear'd, 5 blacke 
oxen and brown one, 2 oxen from Warke, from last a steer killed. 

" August '92. Ye guy had a calfe, and went to Upwarke with the 
twelve black and read-ear'd, two of the Warke, and the brown one at 

Many accounts of this herd have been published 
from time to time, amongst which we may refer to 
those of Pennant, Cully, Bewick, Lord Tanker- 
ville, Hindmarsh, and quite recently those of 
Mr. A. H. Cocks and the Rev. John Storer, all of 
whom have written from personal observation. 

The account given by the late Lord Tankerville 
(" Ann. Nat. Hist.," vol. ii.) commands perhaps the 
chiefest attention, since it comes from a former* 

* Chatton, adjoining Chillingham, imparked by Edward I. in 1291- 
1 292, contained " wild animals," presumably the same as those at 

t This word, which is variously spelled "quhy," "whye," "why," 
"wye," and "twy," appears to be an abbreviation of "twynters'* 
(two winters), and signifies a two-year-old heifer. In the Accounts of 
the Bursar of the Monastery of Durham, 1530-1534, commonly called 
" The Durham Household Book" (pp. 205, 301, 327), are the following 
entries : 

" Et in 2 twynters (whyes) et 2 twynters (whyes) emptis de Wil- 

helmo Bernarde @ 9*. . ' 36*.. 

Et in 4 vaccis, vocatis whyes emptis de Wilhelmo Bernarde, hoc 
anno @ gs 36,^ 


owner of the herd, who naturally would be expected 
to know more about it than any visitor. 

In 1692, according to the steward's account, the 
herd consisted of only 14 breeding animals, bulls, and 
cows, and calves of both sexes, and 1 2 steers ; in 
all 28. In 1838, according to Mr. Hindmarsh, there 
were about 80, comprising 25 bulls, 40 cows, and 
15 steers of various ages. In May, 1861, Mr. Darwin 
was informed by the agent, Mr. Hardy, that they 
numbered about 50. This was about the number 
we saw when visiting the park in May, 1863. In 
August, 1873, the herd consisted of 64 head 1 7 bulls 
of all ages from calves upwards, 19 steers, and 28 
cows, heifers, and female calves (Storer, p. 171). In 
October, 1874, according to Lord Tankerville, the 
herd numbered 71. In March, 1875, the number had 
again decreased, amounting to 62 only viz., 14 bulls 
and bull calves, 3 1 cows and cow calves, and 1 7 steers. 
In July, 1 877, there were still fewer 59 only con- 
sisting of 8 bulls, 2 7 cows and heifers, and 1 6 steers 
(Zoologist, 1878, p. 281). Lord Tankerville says 
they increase slowly, several dying each year by 
accidents or by overrunning their calves when dis- 
turbed ; and the cows breed slowly, owing to having 
frequently the calves still sucking the second year." 

Bewick's assertion that a few of the Chillingham 
cattle in his day had black ears is confirmed from other 
sources. In 1 692 there were more with black ears than 
with red ears, and the present prevalence of red ears 
seems to have been brought about by selection. 



close of the last century there was a herd of white 
wild cattle here, the property of the Duke of Queens- 
berry. Its origin is unknown, but it appears to have 
been of some antiquity. Pennant (who went to see 
these cattle) and Bewick, who has noticed them, 
describe them as white with black ears. According 
to Mr. Hindmarsh, who derived his information from 
the clergyman of the place, " they were driven away 
about 1780 " by the fourth and last Duke of Queens- 
berry. Other writers besides those named have 
identified the animals in this herd with " the wild 
Caledonian cattle." 

EWELME PARK, OXFORDSHIRE, formerly belonging 
to the De la Poles, Dukes of Suffolk, once contained 
a herd of wild cattle. In 1536 Edward Ashfield was 
appointed by Henry VIII. "keeper of the Park of 
Ewelme and master of the wild leasts there. In 
1 606 Lord William Knollys was keeper of the park 
and master of the wild beasts in the same" for 
James I. That the term of "wild beasts " referred 
to wild cattle, and not to any of the other wild 
animals which James I. delighteth to keep, is shown 
by a reference to the hay which was provided for 
them, which occurs in the conveyance of the park by 
Charles I. to Sir Christopher Nevil and Sir Edmund 
Sawyer in 1627.* 

Bibblesdale, is situated in the district of Craven, in 
the West Hiding. It once formed part of Gisburne 

* Napier's "Historical Notices of Swyncombe and Ewelme,'' 1838, 
pp. 204, 207, 212, 217 ; Shirley, " English Deer Parks," p. 137. 


Forest, while the still more extensive forests of 
Bowland and Blackburnshire were closely contiguous. 
80 far as can now be ascertained, it appears tolerably 
certain that this herd, seldom numbering more than 
eight or ten head, was once part of the herd atWhalley 
Abbey, the property of the Asshetons, and that 
in 1697, on the death of Sir John Assheton, the last 
baronet of Whalley Abbey, part of the herd there 
went to Gisburne, to the Listers (afterwards Lords 
liibblesdale),* with whom the Asshetons were con- 
nected by marriage : and the other part was added to 
the previously existing herd at Middleton Park, 
belonging to his heirs, the Asshetons, baronets of 
Middleton. In 1790 Bewick wrote: At " Gisburne 
there are some perfectly white, except the inside of 
the ears, which are brown. They are without horns, 
very strong boned, but not high. They are said to 
have been originally brought from Whalley Abbey, 
in Lancashire, upon its dissolution in the twenty- 
third year of Henry VIII., and to have been drawn 
to Gisburne by the power of music" in the same way 
that a herd of about twenty Red- deer is said to have 
been brought out of Yorkshire to Hampton Court.t 

A few years later, Di. Whitaker, in his " History 
and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven," published 
in 1 8 1 2, gave the following account of them, with 
portraits of a bull and cow (pis. 8 and 9, p. 37) and 
a view of the park (pi. 10). 

* The grandson of Thomas Lister (to whom Sir John Asheton had 
bequeathed Gisburne and part of the Whalley herd) and Catherine 
Asheton of Middleton, was created Baron Ribblesdale in 1797. 

t Playford's " Brief Introduction to the Skill of Music," 1655. 


" Gisburne Park is chiefly remarkable for a herd of 
wild cattle, descendants of that indigenous race 
which once peopled the great forests of Lancashire. 
After their extinction in a wild state which we 
know did not take place till a short time before the 
age of Leland it is highly probable that the breed 
was kept up by the Abbots of Whalley in the ' Lords 
Park/ and fell into the hands of the Asshetons, who 
acquired possession of that rich domain after the 
Dissolution. This species differs from those of Lyme 
in Cheshire, and Chillingham Castle in Northumber- 
land where alone in South Britain they are now 
preserved in being without horns. 

" They are white, save the tips of their noses, which 
are black ;* rather mischievous, especially when guard- 
ing their young, and approach the object of their 
resentment in a very insidious manner. They breed 
with tame cattle ;f but it is to be hoped that respect 
for so ancient and singular a family will induce the 
noble owner to preserve them from any foreign 
admixtures. " 

They became extinct in 1859, having become so 
delicate from breeding in-and-in, that their owners 
could no longer keep them. They had become quite 
tame, and were housed in winter. The last cow and 
calf were sold to Mr. Legh, of Lyme Park, in October, 

* A copy of the "History of Craven" in the library at Gisburne Park 
has the following note opposite the statement that the noses were 
black, in the handwriting of the first Lord Eibblesdale : " the ears 
and noses of this species of cattle are never black, but most usually 
red or brown." 

t This attempt to cross the breed failed, as did a similar attempt 
which was made by bringing a heifer from Lyme to Gisburne. 


1859, and on the loth of November in that year the 
bull, the last of his race, was killed. 

HOGHTON TOWER, LANCASHIRE, the park whereof 
once formed part of the forest of Bowland, had a very 
ancient herd of wild cattle, which has been extinct 
probably about two hundred years. 

licensed to be imparked in 1578, and was much en- 
larged when James I. purchased the estate of Sir 
Christopher Hatton in 1607 (Pell Records, p. 80). 
During the Civil War Holdenby was seized, and 
granted by the Parliament to Thomas Lord Grey of 
Groby, who sold it to Adam Baynes, of Kiiowsthorp, 
Yorkshire, who in 1650 destroyed the park and pulled 
down the mansion. At the time of the sale, the 
park of 500 acres was stocked with upwards of 
two hundred deer of different kinds, worth 200, 
and eleven cows, and calves of wild cattle, worth 
4.2.* Mr. Storer thinks they were introduced by 
James I. 

ATHOLE, whence this herd was derived. 

once contained a herd of wild cattle, formerly belonged 
to the Augustinian Canons of Bristol, and was 
beautifully wooded. It is now the property of Sir 
William Miles, Bart, whose father in 1 808 purchased 
it from the heirs of Lady Norton. Two years pre- 
viously-^., in 1806 the wild cattle there had 
become so savage that the owner was obliged to have 

* Baker, " History of Northamptonshire," vol. i. p. 197. 


them shot/" There is no clue to their origin, and 
this is the only instance yet known of a wild herd in 
the west of England. 

*LYME PARK, CHESHIRE, was originally part of the 
Forest of Macclesfield, and was granted by Richard 
II. toward the close of the fourteenth century to Sir 
Piers Legh, who was standard-bearer to the Black 
Prince at the Battle of Cresci. It has ever since 
remained in the family of Legh, and the breed of 
cattle still preserved there is thought to be at least 
as ancient as the park itself. Hansall, in his " His- 
tory of Cheshire" (1817), says : 

" In Lyme Park, which contains about one thousand 
Cheshire acres, is a herd of upwards of twenty wild 
cattle, similar to those in Lord Tankerville's park at 
Chillingham chiefly white with red ears. They 
have been in the park from time immemorial, and 
tradition says they are indigenous. In the summer 
season they assemble in the high lands, and in the 
winter they shelter in the park woods. They were 
formerly fed with holly branches, with which trees the 
park abounded ; but these being destroyed, hay is 
now substituted. Two of the cows are shot annually 
for beef." 

Thirty years ago this herd, it is said, numbered as 
many as thirty-four head. Then it gradually 
dwindled until in August, 1875, when Mr. Storer 
visited Lyme, there were only four animals surviving 
a three-year-old bull, a cow, a three-year-old heifer 
in calf, and a young calf. In two years' time there 

* Shirley, " English Deer Parks," p. 99. 


was a slight increase, for in June, 1877, Mr. A. H. 
Cocks found two bulls, two cows, and two heifers, 
although one of the cows unfortunately was parti- 

The loss of two cows during the present owner's 
time, and impairment of the fertility of others by 
the foot-and-mouth disease, as well as the reten- 
tion at one time of a single bull which proved in- 
fertile, are the chief causes which have led to the 
threatened extinction of the herd, added to which 
Mr. Legh attributes its present diminished numbers 
to long-continued in-and-in breeding from near 

Although in habits the old Lyme cattle resembled 
those at Chillingham, they were larger than any 
breed of cattle now existing in this country higher 
on the leg, more upstanding, and longer in the body 
very large cattle, with strong bone, much substance, 
and a large amount of flesh about the neck and dew- 
lap. They had abundance of long rough hair, which, 
in the males was very fully developed, curly and 
mane-like on the head and fore- quarters, and the 
hide was of immense thickness. They were very 
grand and symmetrical in appearance, and their 
movements were distinguished by a peculiar majestic 
stateliness. Their flesh was excellent, but there does 
not seem to have been any record kept of their 
weights. For a great many years, indeed, none but 
cows were ever slaughtered, and latterly not even 
these. The colour of the ears is subject to variation, 
and, although generally red, it is sometimes black or 


blue approaching to black. The horns are of an 
intermediate character between those of the Chilling- 
ham and Chartley breeds. 

of the Asshetons, was originally part of the great 
forest of Bowland, whence possibly the ancestors of 
the herd of white cattle which existed here were 
driven in on the inclosure of the park. At Blakeley 
(about a mile from Middleton Hall), says Leland, 
" wild bores, bulles, and falcons bredde in times 
paste."* Tradition, however, affirms that the Middle- 
ton herd originally came from Whalley Abbey, and 
the family connection which existed between the 
Asshetons of Middleton, the Asshetons of Whalley, 
and the Listers of Gisburne renders it, in the words 
of Mr. Assheton, " highly probable that had either 
family by any means acquired the wild cattle, they 
were very likely to have spread from them to 
the others." The cattle in this herd were white 
and polled ; some had black, others brown ears. 
Dr. Leigh, in his " Natural History of Lancashire, 
Cheshire, and the Peak of Derbyshire" (book ii. p. 3), 
published in 1700, thus alludes to them : " In a park 
near Bury in Lancashire are wild cattel belonging to 
Sir Ralph Ashton, of Middleton ; these, I presume, 
were first brought from the Highlands of Scotland [a 
mere surmise, probably founded on his acquaintance 
with the accounts given by Boethius and Leslie of the 
Caledonian bull]. They have no horns, but are like the 
wild bulls and cows upon the continent of America :" 

* Leland, " Itiu.," vol. vii. p. 47 (ed. Hearne). 


from which we may infer that in Dr. Leigh's 
day the bulls showed some indication of a mane. 
The descendants of this herd are not yet entirely 
extinct, although they have become quite domesti- 
cated ; for, on the death of the third baronet in 1 765, 
when the baronetcy became extinct, the elder of his 
two daughters, co-heiresses, married Sir Harbord Har- 
bord (afterwards, in 1780, created first Lord Surfield), 
and inherited Middleton and the wild cattle, which 
were then removed to Gunton Park, Lord Suffield's 
place in Norfolk. Here they were preserved for 
many years, but gradually declined, until on the 
death of the fourth Lord Suffield, in 1853, they ceased 
to exist there. In the meantime, however, some had 
been transferred to Blickling Hall, originally the 
property of the Hobarts, created Earls of Bucking- 
hamshire in 1 746, and eventually inherited by the 
Hon. William Assheton Harbord (eldest son of the 
first Lord Suffield) on his marriage with one of the 
three daughters of the second Earl of Buckingham- 
shire, who died in 1 793 without male issue. Others 
were sold about 1 840 to Mr. Cator, of Woodbastwick 
Hall, near Norwich, but, being subsequently crossed 
with shorthorns, the character and colour of the sur- 
vivors have become much altered, although, as 
remarked by the Eev. Mr. Gilbert, who visited this 
herd in November, 1875, "there is a perpetual 
struggle at Woodbastwick to reproduce the original 
type : and this proves how much more firmly fixed is 
this in the blood than is that of any of the recently 
introduced crosses." 


from the "Household Book" of Lord William Howard, 
of Naworth, commenced in 1612, that wild cattle 
were introduced into this park in 1629, from Martin- 
dale Forest, in the neighbourhood of Thornthwaite, 
where at that time probably they roamed in a state 
of nature.* The entry is as follows : 

1629. Januari 9. To Anthonie Bearper George Bell & William 
Halle for their charges and paines in bringinge wilde cattell from 
Thornthwate vs. iiijd. 

The date of their introduction at Naworth is thus 
approximately fixed. t 

The " hirde of the forest " at this time was Richard 
Fisher, whose wages were 8 a year, paid half-yearly 
in May and November. When any of the w r ild 
cattle here were killed, the skins were sold with those 
of other oxen, but apparently did not fetch so much. 
Thus (at p. 284) we find the entry : 

1633. June 22. Rec. for 2 kine skinns xiijs. 

Rec. more of him [i.e. the purchaser, Wm, Buckle] for one wild kowe 
skine iiijs. 

The calves were sometimes killed for the table, and 
being considered a delicacy, were sent as presents like 
game and wildfowl. Thus (at p. 318) an entry runs : 

1633. Aug. 23. To Mr. Thomas Howarde's manne bringinge one 
quarter of a -wilde calfe to my Ladie vs. 

The cattle in this park, however, did not remain 
there many years. In 1675 it appears they had 

* This " Household Book," edited by the Eev. George Ornsby for 
the Surtees Society, seems to have escaped the notice of Mr. Storer. 

t The park at ISTaworth was then enclosed by a wall, as we gather 
from entries of payments for repairing it (e.g. p. 320). 


ceased to exist, having been destroyed probably 
during the Parliamentary wars. 

In a MS. and anonymous "Description of Cumber- 
land," dated 1675, an d said to have been written by 
Edmund Sandford, a gentleman of good family in the 
county, the writer, describing Naworth Castle and 
the neighbourhood, says that around it formerly were 
" pleasant woods and gardens ; ground full of fallow 
dear feeding on all somer tyme ; braue venison pasties, 
and great store of reed dear on the mountains, and 
white wild cattel with black ears only, on the moores; and 
black heath-cockes and brone more-cockes, and their 

*SOMERFORD PARK, CHESHIRE, the property of Sir 
Charles Shakerley, is situate near Congleton, in the 
heart of what was once Maxwell Forest, t An ancient 
herd of white cattle, resembling those at Chartley, 
but polled, still exists here ; and these animals are 
considered to be the best surviving representatives 
of the hornless and tame variety of the original wild 
white breed. The colour is pure white ; the ears, 
rims of the eyes, muzzle, and hoofs being quite black. 
Like all other old herds of the forest breed, they have 
a strong tendency to produce small black spots on 
the neck, sides, and legs, and this the proprietors 
admire and encourage ; many of them have therefore 
become more or less speckled. When Mr. Storer 
visited this herd in August, 1 875, it numbered twenty 
head. It is to be regretted that no record or even 

* Jefferson, " Hist, and Antiq. Carlisle" (1838), p. 361. 
t Leland, " Itinerary," vol. v. p. 87 (ed. Hearne). 

R 2 


tradition with regard to the origin of this herd exists ; 
for its appearance, according to Mr. Storer, bespeaks 
great antiquity. In answer to inquiries on the 
subject, the present owner, Sir Charles Shakerley, 
replied : " We have no history of how they came, or 
how long they have been here. I am of the third 
generation which has known nothing about them. 
The tradition is, they have been here two hundred 
years. " It is quite possible that, like those at Lyine 
and Chartley, they may have been originally wild in 
the adjacent forest, and were driven in to the park 
when it was first inclosed. On the other hand, being 
of the same race as those at Middleton, they may 
have come originally from Shakerley, only a few 
miles distant from Middleton and Blakeley. 

attached, which was originally part of the Forest of 
Bowland (granted by Edward VI. to a branch of the 
family of Assheton), and until 1697 contained a herd 
of white wild cattle, which were polled. Some of 
these, according to tradition, were in that year sent 
to Gisburne Park, as above mentioned, where they 
existed until 1859 ; the remainder being transferred 
to Middleton Hall, where, after the death of the 
fourth Lord of Sheffield in 1853, they were no longer 

the family of Willoughby, Baron Middleton, was 
formerly part of Sherwood Forest, and held white 
cattle until about fifty years ago.* In 1790 Bewick 

* See Thoroton, " Antiquities of Nottinghamshire," 1677, pi. 7, and 
Throsby's edition of this work, 1790, vol. ii. p. 214, pi. 27. 


mentioned this herd as one of the five " only breeds 
now remaining in the kingdom." They were all 
white, with black noses and black ears, and had a 
fine circlet of black round the eyes. They were 
polled, or hornless, arid were known as the " old park 
breed," a name denoting some antiquity. Their origin 
can now only be surmised.^ They became extinct in 
the time of Henry, sixth Lord Middleton that is, 
between 1800 and 1835 when, fourteen of them 
having died at one time from eating dead branches 
cut from trees near the hall, and the herd having 
thus become so reduced by the accident, and the 
survivors showing no tendency to breed, they were 
ordered to be sold and slaughtered. 

Of all these herds, there are now existing only 
those at Cadzow (Hamilton), Chartley, Chillingham, 
Kilmory, Lyme, and Somerford. 

In Ireland no trace of these wild cattle has yet 
been discovered, although remains of the smaller 
Bos longifrons have been procured from many Irish 
localities, t 

* Storer, pp. 274, 275. 

t See Ball, "Proc. Koy. Irish Acad.," vol. ii. p. 541 ; Wilde, op. cit., 
vii. p. 183. Adams, op. cit. (second series), vol. iii. p. 90; Scouler, 
" Journ. Geol. Soc.," Dublin, vol. i. p. 228 ; Owen, "British Fossil Mam 
mals," p. 508; and Thompson, "Nat. Hist. Ireland," vol. iv. p. 35. 


ACCIDENTS at Bear-baiting, 26, 31 

Advertisements of Bear-baiting, 30 

Alfric, Colloquy of, 79 

Ambrose, " Roast Wolf," 152 

Annales Cariibrice, 137 

Antlers of Eeindeer, 71, 75 

Asser's " Life of Alfred the Great," 122 

Aubrey, " Natural History of Wiltshire," 94, 95 

BEAR, remains of, 1 1 
in Manea Fen, 12 
at St. Bride's Bay, 12 
in Kent's Cavern, 1 2 
in the Victoria Cave, 12 
at Colchester, 13 . 
at Richmond, Yorkshire, 13 
in Dumfriesshire, 13 
in Ireland, 13-16 
in Wales, 17 

a beast of chase, 1 7 

its flesh esteemed, 17 

mode of hunting, 18 

in Saxon times, 19, 20 

with the Romans, 21 

transported from Britaiu to Rome, 2 1, 22 
Bears, Caledonian, 21 

traditions of, in the Highlands, 23 
in Ireland, 23 

date of extinction in Britain, 24 
Bear-baiting, 25 

accidents at, 26, 31 

advertisements of, 30 

garden, 32 
Bear-wards, 28 

250 INDEX. 

Bears, Chief Master of the, 27 

of the Earl of Northumberland, 28 
of the Prior of Durham, 28. 
Beaver, 33 

in Wales, 34 

Welsh name for, 37 

mentioned in Welsh laws, 33 

by Giraldus Cambrensis, 35 

by Harrison, 35-36 

by Drayton, 36 

by Camden, 36 

by Sir E. C. Hoare, 36 

by Owen in Welsh Dictionary, 37 

by Sir John Price, 38 

by Humphrey Llwyd, 38 

Beavers in Scotland, 40 

mentioned by Boethius, 40 

Bellenden, 40 

Sir E. Sibbald, 40 
Beaver, Gaelic name for, 41 

discovery of remains of, 42 

in Perthshire, 42 

in Berwickshire, 42 

in Eoxburghshire, 42 

in Norfolk, 42 

in Suffolk, 42 

in Berkshire, 42 

in Kent, 42 

in Cambridgeshire, 43 

in Hampshire, 45 

in Lincolnshire, 45 

in Devonshire, 45 

in Isle of Bute, 46-59 
Beaver skin, value of, 34 
Beverley, derivation of name, 46 
Beverege, 46 
Bevere Island, 46 
Beverburn, 46 
Bevercotes, 46 
Beverstone, 46 
Beversbrook, 46 
Bedd-gelert, story of, 140 
Belle Sauvage, the, 26 
Berners, Dame Juliana, 1 50 
Bernwood, Forest of, 80 
Boar, Wild, see Wild Boar 
Boar's chase, the, 90 

INDEX. 25! 

Boar-frank, 96 

Boar's head, custom of bringing in, 1 1 1 
in Eastcheap, in, 112 
in Southwark, 114 
Boar-hunt, in Eskdale, 83 
Boar-spears, 84, 85, 114 
Boar, the, of Borestall, 81 
Bolton Priory, accounts of, 144 
Book of St. Albans, 150 

of Howth, 187 

of Information, 191 

of B,ights of the Kings of Eriu, 93 
Boyd Dawkins, Prof. W., on remains of Bear, 12 

Eeindeer, 62, 74; on Wolf, 118 

Bos primigenius, skull of, 216, 217 
Bowland Forest, 7, 8, 119, 155 
Brochs, or ancient circular forts, 70 
Burial Places, insular, as protection from Wolves, 182 
Browne, Sir Thomas, on errors concerning Wolves, 204 

CAITJS, deCanibus, 131 

Caledonian Forest, 9, 21, 160 

Campbell of Glen Urcha, 172 

Canes Scotici, 22 

Cannock Chace, 6 

Canute, forest laws of, 132, 220 

Carmen de Bella Hastingensi, 133 

Carte, Dr., on Irish Fossil Mammals, 14, 66 

Cattle, Wild, 213 

British, 219 

in Anglo-Saxon times, 219, 

Welsh laws affecting, 220 

forest laws of Canute, 220 

in Scotland, 222, 223 

,, ,, herds of, in parks, 224-245 

,, at Ardrossan, Ayrshire, 224 

,, ,, Auchencruive, Ayrshire, 225 

Bamard Castle, Durham, 225 

,, Bishop Auckland, Durham, 226 

Blair Athole, Perthshire, 228 

Burton Constable, Yorkshire, 228 

Cadzow Castle, Lanarkshire, 229 

Chartley Park, Staffordshire, 230 

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, 232 

Drumlaurig Castle, Dumfriesshire, 235 

Ewelme Park, Oxfordshire, 236 

Gisburne Park, Yorkshire, 236 

252 INDEX. 

Cattle, Wild, at Hoghton Tower, Lancashire, 239 
Holdenby Park, Northamptonshire, 239 
Kilmory House, Argyleshire, 239 
., Leigh Court, Somersetshire, 239 
Lyme Park, Cheshire, 240 
Middleton Park, Lancashire, 242 
,, Naworth Castle, Cumberland, 244 

Somerford Park, Cheshire, 245 
Whalley Abbey, Lancashire, 246 
Wollaton Park, Nottinghamshire, 246 

Charnwood Forest, 6 

Chief Master of the Bears, 27 

Chisholm's, the Laird of, adventure with Wolf, 173 

Coins, ancient British, 77, 219 

Corbet, Peter, Wolf -hunter to Edward I., 143 

Cosmo, Grand Duke, travels in England, 1669, 197 

Craven Forest, 8 

Cumberland, Moors and Forests, 4, 8 

Cunobelin, coin of, 219 

Drayton's " Polyolbion," 36, 142 

ELDAK, JOHN, story of, 165 

Erdeswick's " Survey of Staffordshire," 1593, 86, 97 

Ettrick Forest, 161 

Evans's " British Coins," 77 

FITZSTEPHEN'S Description of London, 1174, 5, 84 
Flower, Prof. W. H., on cranium of Dog, 117 
Forest of Bere, 119, 136, 137 

of Bowland and Blackburnshire, 7,119 

of Irwell, 119 

near London in 1174, 5, 84 

of Marr, 76, 95 

of the Peak, 7, 145 

of Riddlesdale, 119 

of Savernake, 101, 119, 153 

of Wolmer, 95 
Forests, former extent of ancient, 4-9 

GIBALDUS CAMBRENSIS, Itinerary of, 35, 93, 186 
Gordon, story of a Gordon and a Boar, 24, 91 
Great Grimsby, Seal of the Corporation of, 87 

HAYE, or Haia, 10 
Hentzner's Itinerary, 29 


Highland Deer Forests, 4 
Horns of Reindeer, 71, 75 

of Wild Cattle, 216, 217, 231, 233 
Horn, Hunting-, 10, 149, 205 

Nigell'e, 81 

Household Book of, Earl Ferrers, 102 
Bolton Priory, 144 

Whitby Abbey, 148 
Earl of Northumberland, 28 

Squire Kitson, 28, 85, 86 

Monastery of Durham, 28, loo, 101 

Earl of Hertford, lot 
Elizabeth of York, 85 

Howel Dha, laws of, 33, 80, 125, 128, 220 
Howell's "Familiar Letters," 194 
Hunting in ancient times, 10 
the Bear, 18 
Beaver, 34 
Eeindeer, 72-74 
Wild Boar, 79 
Wolf, 151, 159, 161 


Isle of Bute, Beavers in, 46-59 

Ireland, earliest account of wild animals in, 93 

,, Bear in, 13-16, 23 

Reindeer in, 65-66 

Wild Boar in, 92-94 

Wolf in, 185 

JOHN, Charter of Liberties of, 138 


Lauder, Sir T. D., account of Moray Floods, 180 

Leith Adams, on Irish Fossil Mammals, 14, 65, 67 

Liulphus, a celebrated Wolf-hunter, 133, 154 

Llwyd on Welsh MSS., 17 

Lyon, Lady Margaret, and the Wolves, 162 

Macpherson of Braekaely, 171 
MacQueen of Pall-a-chrocain, 178 
Marr, Forest of, 76, 95 
Matthew Paris, 133 
Maxwell Forest, 6 
Memprys, killed by a Wolf, 121 





Newbury, the Peat-pit near, 89 

New Forest, 119 

Newton, Prof. A., on Zoology of Ancient Europe, 151 

Nigell and the Wild Boar, 81 

Nigell's horn, 81 

Northumberland Moors, 4 

O'FLAHERTY'S West or H'lar Connaught, 197 

Orkney, Jarls of, hunting Reindeer, 72-74 

" Orkneyinga Saga," 72-74 

Owen, Prof., on Fossil Mammals, 12, 65, 1 17, 215, 218 

PARIS Garden, 26 

"Paw-calf," the, 23, 24 

Peak, Forest of the, 7, 145 

Peat-pit near Newbury, 89 

Pennarth, 17 

" Penitentiale" of Abp. Egbert, 19, 124 

Pennyles Pilgrimage, 168 

Peter Corbet, Wolf-hunter to Edward I., 143 

Poison of Wester Helmsdale, 176 

" Polychronicon" of Ranulphus Higden, 186 

"Polyolbion" of Michael Drayton, 36, 130 

QUEEN ANNE, advertisements of Bear-baiting, 30 
Elizabeth bear-baiting, 27 
Mary Wolf -hunting, 166 

RAY, " Synopsis Methodica Animalium," 17 
Reindeer, 61 

remains in post-glacial deposits, 62 

at Brentford, 62 

Kew Bridge, 62 

Windsor, 62 

Oxford, 64 

Bedford, 64 

Rugby, 64 

,, Salisbury, 64 

Sittingbourne, 64 

,, Maidstone, 64 
Bath, 64 

East Dereham, 65 

Cambridge, 65 

Erith, 65 
Chester, 65 

in Lancashire, 65 

INDEX. 255 

Reindeer in Ireland, 65 

at Waterford, 66 

Limerick, 66 
Clare, 66 

Dublin, 66 

horns, character of, 66- 67 

figxu-ed, 71, 75 

in Scotland, 67 

Eosshire, 67, 70 

Sutherland, 68 

Caithness, 67, 70, 71 

Linlithgowshire, 68 
Perthshire, 68 

Dumbartonshire, 69 

Ayrshire, 69 
Orkney, 72-74 

hunted in Caithness in I2th century, 72-74 

reintroduced, 76 

in Northumberland, 76 

in Aberdeenshire, 76 

in Orkney, 76 

.Rewards for slaying Wolves, 137, 145, 159, 162, 164, 169, 196 
Richmond Forest, 119 
Roman monuments in England, 78 
Rosendale Forest, 8, 1 54 

SALVIN, F. H., his tame Wild Boar, no 

Savernake Forest, 101, 119, 153 

Scotch Forests, 164 

Sherwood Forest, 7, 119 

Sibbald's " Scotia Illustrata," 40, 169 

Skins of Wild Animals, value of, A.D. 940, 34 

Skins used for trimming, 34, 1 57 

Smith, "Ancient and Present State of Co. Kerry," 199 

Smith, Dr. J. A., on remains of Bear, 13 

on remains of Reindeer, 69, 71 

,, on ancient Cattle of Scotland, 215 

Staffordshire Moors and Forests, 5 

Sussex, last Wolf in, 154 

" Swin," names of places compounded with, 89 

TAYLOR'S " Pennyles Pilgrimage," 158, 168 
Tennent, Sir J. E., on Wolves in Ireland, 202 
Torfaeus, account of the Orkneys, 72 
Tract, earliest relating to fauna of Ireland, 93 
Turbervile on Boar-hunting, 102-108 
on Wolf-hunting, 190 

256 INDEX. 

Tusks, enormous, of Wild Boar, 90, 91 
of large size from Ireland, 94 

WALKER'S "Mammalia Scotica," 131 
Wangford, Beavers at, 59 
Welsh, historians, notice of Beavers by, 38 
laws of Howel Dha, 33, 80, 125, 128, 220 
Triads, 16 

West or H'lar Connaught, 197 
Westmoreland Moors, 4 

White, Gilbert, on Wild Boars in Wolmer Forest, 95. 
Wild Boar, 77 

its early mention in history, 77 

figured on British coins, 77 

in Celtic works of art, 77 

on Roman monuments, 78 
at Eibchester, 78 

in Weardale, 78 

at Birdoswald, 78 

at Little Langford, 79 

in Saxon times, 79 

,. period for hunting, 80 

in Forest of Bernwood, 80-8 1 

in Inglewood Forest, 82 

in Eskdale, 82, 83 

anecdote of a, 83 

near London, 84 

in Oxfordshire, 84 

mode of spearing, 85, 114 
in Suffolk, 85 

in Staffordshire, 86 

in Northumberland, 86 

,, in Westmoreland, 86 

in Berkshire, 87, 89 

in Hampshire, 87 

in Lancashire, 87 

in Lincolnshire, 87 

names and places, 89 

St. Andrews, 89, 90 

huge tusks of, 90, 91 

Gaelic names of, 92 

in Perthshire, 92 

in Berwickshire, 92 

in Ireland, 92, 93 

Irish names for, 94 

attempted reintroduction of, 94 

in the New Forest, 94 

INDEX. 257 

Wild Boar, in Essex, 95, 96 

in Wolmer Forest, 95 

in the Forest of Marr, 95 

in Dorsetshire, 95, 96 

in Staffordshire, 97 

in Derbyshire, 97, 98 

date of extinction of, 100 

in Durham, 100 

in Savernalce Forest, 101 

,, in Lancashire, 101 

at Windsor, 102 

in Westmoreland, 102 

mode of hunting, 102-108 

names for, at different ages, 108 

a tame one, 1 10 
Wild Cattle, see Cattle, Wild 
Wolf, 115 

formerly common in Britain, 116 

geological evidence, 117 

., districts formerly infested, 118, 119 

skull of, 117, 120, 121 

hunted by the Britons, 121 

by the Saxons, 122 

mentioned in the " Penitentiale" of Abp. Egbert, 124 

retreat at Flixton, 125 

tribute imposed by Edgar, 125-132 

Edgar's house, near Glastonbury, 132 

Forest laws concerning, 132 

on English battle-fields, 133, 134 

in Northumberland, 134, 149 

in Eichmondshire, 135, 147, 152 

in the New Forest, 1 36 

in the Forest of Bere, 136-137 

in the Forest of Bowland, 119, 155 

in Caernarvonshire, 137 

in Devonshire, 138 

in Northamptonshire, 139, 141, 142, 144 

in Surrey, 139 

story of Bedd-gelert, 140 

in Leicestershire, 142 

in Hampshire, 142 

in Gloucestershire, 143 

in Worcestershire, 143 

in Herefordshire, 143 

in Shropshire, 143 

in Staffordshire, 143 

in Huntingdonshire, 144, 148 

258 INDEX. 

Wolf, in Cambridgeshire, 144 
in Buckinghamshire, 144, 148 
in Eutlandshire, 144, 148 
in Yorkshire, 144, 145, 155, 156 
in Derbyshire, 145, 146 
in Wiltshire, 146, 153 
in Nottinghamshire, 147, 149 
in Oxfordshire, 148 
in Essex, 143, 148 
in Lancashire, 154, 155 
names and places, 1 54 
in Scotland, 158 
in the Caledonian Forest, 1 60 
in the Ettrick Forest, 161 
statutes for destruction of, 161 
in Mount Caplach, 163 
in Scotch forests, 164-168 
Gaelic names for, 171 

rewards for slaying, 137, 145, 159, 162, 164, 169, 196 
traditions concerning, 170-183 
Wolf-hall, Savernake, 101, 153 
Wolf's-head, signification of, 124 
Wolf -hounds, 188 

sent as presents, 189, 190 

prohibition against exporting, 195 

Wolf -hunt lands, 145-149 
Wolf-skins, temp. Charles II., 169 
Wolf-stone, the, 157 
Wolves in Ireland, 185 
in Ulster, 193, 194 
in Munster, 192-199 
in Connaught, 197 
near Dublin, 193 
in Cork, 198 
in Kerry, 199 

proposed Act for destruction of, in Ireland, 193, 197 
names and places, 183, 184 
date of extinction, 204 

VERSTEGAN'S, "Restitution of decayed intelligence," 123, 124 


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