^'i VM% f ^Vlte.
Illustrations by the Authoress,
BULLWOOD HALL, HOCKLEY.
FRANCIS AND SONS, PRINTERS AND STATIONERS.
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Who amongst us does not know the trials attend-
ing the beginning of a fresh season. The first time
you ride after months of rest is a species of torture
unknown to the general public. As a rule, the boots
which were so comfortable at the end of the season
have been put in thorough repair. They are so hard
and stiff you can scarcely draw them on, and when
you endeavour to walk downstairs, you feel like a cat
in walnut shells. The day is in all probability broiling
hot. You cannot even think of your usual attire
except with abject horror, and you array yourself (I
now have especially women in my mind) in kind of
nondescript garments, starting with a straw hat with
an elastic which has received no attention during the
interregnum and looks all right but is useless. You
have forgotten how to arrange your tie with that
exactitude for which you were famed, having taken
twice your usual time to dress you are ready to start
— on a mountain of flesh, something like a badly drawn
cow. Hov/ different to the animal when you dis-
mounted after the last day of the season — all spring
and muscle, treading as though going on air — a trifle
The mountain moves off with shoes which have
only recently been put on, and you know at once your
horse feels very much the same as yourself in well
repaired boots. The horse itself is a mixture of sloth
and spirits — very unpleasant to the rider, and add to
this the fact the flies are biting sharp (which gives one
hope of much needed rain) the discomfort of that first
ride is complete. Most likely your stable department,
in the absence of any particular amount of work, have
spent their leisure moments in polishing your saddle,
which gives you the feeling of sitting on ice, and when
the turn for spirits seizes your animal, how you wish
the stable department had refrained from spending
their extra time over the saddle.
The foregoing exactly describes my feelings on my
second volume. I look forward, however, to a very
pleasant time in giving the details of the seasons
during Mr. Carnegy's Mastership. The scent will be
good, and the difficulties, thanks to the vast amount of
information provided by my good friends, are not so
PEOPLE WHO HUNT.
First, there is the man who from his youth
upwards seems to know by instinct the exact
place to be in and how to get there in the
shortest possible way with the least trouble and
fatigue to his horse. This knowledge seems to
run in families, and I have known it to descend
Next is the man who is always in diffi-
culties. Either he has lost a shoe or his stirrup
leather breaks, or he gets into a ditch. This
type of sportsman is not in the least afraid to
ride, but somehow he never can take the right
Then there is the man who lives for
hunting. During the night previous he spends
half his time jumping in and out of bed, and
with his head out of window seeing what sort of
a night it is and the chances of scent for the
morrow; and when he arrives at the Meet he
becomes so wildly excited and does not know
what he is saying, yet when he is not hunting
and in a calmer state of mind he is a most
Then there are the soldiers from a neigh-
bouring garrison. Their horses are perfection,
and their get-up just what it should be. Many
of them go well — wonderfully well. But they
6 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
give one the feeling of riding in a steeplechase.
At the end of the day they are discussing which
man's horse was first over certain obstacles, and
the rest of the field of natives are as nothing to
them. I never felt this more strongly than I
did one day when I was out with the Woolwich
drag. The hairbreadth escapes of that day will
never be obhterated from my memory. The
run was lovely if one could have enjoyed it
alone, but the feeling of horses' breath on your
face at each fence was a nightmare. Well, to
go back to the hunting people. There is the
man who has good horses — but one never has a
chance of knowing if they are any use for the
simple reason that he never rides at all.
Next come the doctors, don't they just
go when hounds run, riding screws of horses,
but such jumpers. I have in my mind one man
in particular, he had the advantage of having
a knacker for his neighbour, and many a horse
after being condemned has carried him to the
front for several seasons. ;^io was a very long
price for him to give.
When, years ago, I used to drive with my
father to the Meet, we always looked out for the
doctor in his surgery, examining patients'
tongues, wearing his hunting boots ready to
start. How the mighty have fallen. The
doctor rides no more and visits his patients in a
Perhaps I should have put the ladies first.
May I say it, they generally are first in a run.
To-day we have some sixty fair ones, riding well
up in front on superb hunters that never put a
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 7
foot wrong. It is a treat to see our leading
lady pop over a gate or stile. She has the most
perfect seat and hands of any woman I ever
came across. Of course they are not all like
her. Some do not know how to dress even
now. How well I remember a young woman
who used to come out in ear-rings and other
adornments — face powdered to match — poor
thing. What a terrible plight she was in when
her horse took it into its head to lie down as we
were going through a washway which was
flooded. When she was eventually fished up
she was a spectacle. Then there was the
farm'er's daughter, much to be commended, who
saw a good deal of the fun on a steady old cob,
but, poor girl, so inspired was she by her ardour
of the chase, that after a season or two she
appeared on a weedy thoroughbred. She was
not so happy, and disaster soon befel her. She
was crossing a greasy bridge when her horse
slipped and down she came. The poor girl
broke her leg, was carried to the Rectory near
by, where she remained for ten weeks, and, sad
to relate, that ended her hunting days.
Then there is the quiet one, nevei^ putting
herself forw^ard or in the way, but always calm
and collected. Quite the reverse of the lady
who came to hunt two seasons. She could go
and no mistake; but her language was a trifle
warm. One day someone called out to her to
mind the drop in front of her. " Damn the
drop," she said.
I must not forget the wit of the Hunt.
What Hunt is without him. Always prepared
8 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
with jest — never a hard man, but with a wonder-
ful knowledge of the game, and generally
accompanied by a bevy of the fair sex who do
not want to ride right up in front and know that
our wit is a safe man to follow.
Last, but not least, are the farmers, who
will always find the warmest corner in my heart.
I suppose because I belong to the land, I make
it a point always to go through a gate at the
same time as a farmer. Don't they throw it
open with a swing? I am always nervous of
gates. Ever since the time when a man " not-
of-the-land" let the gate swing to under my
horse — it was down hill — and I was in the very
disagreeable position of having half my horse
on one side and half on the other, and there I
had to wait until she wriggled her hind legs
over. Fortunately she was not an excitable
How the farmers know the run of the foxes
and just where to go. Many a good run have I
got into through watching which way a certain
I must not forget my fellow worker in this
district. When hounds meet in our country he
takes command and directs matters, and he does
it well. He helps me in a thousand ways, and
gets through many a job I cannot tackle.
I must not omit to mention the man who
rides round last of all and is supposed to shut
all gates, and the day following goes over the
line to note what damage we have done.
I must say how obliging and civil the
second horsemen are. Always ready to lend a
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 9
helping hand or to tell one which way the
hounds have gone.
I think I have finished with the field. We
one and all discuss the huntsman ; and I am
sure there is not one person who does not think
in his heart how much better he could do the
job himself, and what a mess he would make of
it if he only had the chance. Then again we
are all inclined to offer the Huntsman advice.
BY A LOCAL SPORTSMAN.
May all good sportsmen use their endeavour,
Hounds, horses and foxes in plenty be found,
And fox hunting- flourish for ever.
ESSEX UNION FOXHOUNDS.
(Taken from The Field).
January 4th, 1879.
On Wednesday these Hounds opened the
New Year very hopefully. The fixture was at
Rayleigh, one of the highest and most charm-
ingly situated of Essex villages. Animated by
a desire to make the most of open weather, or
perhaps influenced by forebodings of coming
storms, as conveyed through the excessive dis-
turbances of barometrical records, the men and
women of the south came in unusual numbers
to swell the gathering in the quiet High Street ;
and all were evidently bent on enjoying such
sport as might be offered to the utmost. Of
the bitch pack which the Master had out this
lo HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
day he may well be proud, for it is strengthened
by some of the best of the Hertfordshire
Merryman blood, which has done so much good
to the Bramham Moor and other kennels. The
little ladies were trotted quickly off to the
Hockley Woods — two miles distant — which
have a sinister fame as possessing the deepest
and dirtiest rides in England. There is no
fear, however, of their recesses being drawn
blank; the hounds, in fact, found immediately
and, aided by an unexpectedly good scent,
stuck to their fox so persistently that they never
gave him a hope of escape. For a long time he
kept to the woodland, being frequently baulked
of his attempts to break ; but at length forced to
fly, he was so quickly pressed across the open
that they broke his heart, and, at the end of
forty minutes from the find, ran into him in the
middle of Mr. Baker's turnip field. The forty
minutes of hunting and racing, however, were
good for hounds and enjoyable to pursuers.
Two or three small coverts were then drawn
blank, and the Master, turning to the right, just
" looked into " Potash Wood, where, however,
Reynard was not at home. The chimneys of
" The Lawn," where Mr. and Mrs. Tawke are
always ready to offer the hospitality of an open
house to their hunting friends, were smokeless,
as the owner is at present sojourning by
southern seas. The M.F.H. always likes to
force his foxes towards Rochford Lawn about
lunch time ; not unfrequently the field comes to
a long check at these doors ; and there is seldom
an unseemly haste to make a caste forward
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. ii
before the dining room covers have been well
Coming back to the big woods, the hounds
soon got on another of the right sort, and hunted
him, fast and slow, for a couple of hours, until
dusk compelled the Master reluctantly to whip
off. The scent, however, had been getting
worse, as heavy rain began to fall, and there was
little chance of pressing a stout fox then.
Among the many out were Major and Mrs.
Goodeve, several Artillery officers from Shoe-
bury, Messrs. F. A. and C. A. Tabor, Mr. S.
Baker and his brother, and that very keen old
sportsman, Mr. Kemble. On Thursday, when
we had looked forward to meeting the hounds
at a favourite trysting place, Hazeleigh Hall, in
the midst of a capital country, snow began to fall
heavily, and about the time that one should
have been drawing on his " leathers and tops "
there were some six or eight inches of snow
over all the land round about Chelmsford.
SPORT IN SOUTH ESSEX.
" Knee-deep in mud " was a condition of
things that always delighted a Brocklesby
huntsman of old, and his brethren in many a
quarter where ploughed lands prevail would
assuredly welcome it as an essential element of
good sport. Then, and only in such places, a
scent lies well ; hounds can run with heads up
and sterns down; and, most material point of
12 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
all, there is no fear that even the hardest riders
will press them over the line, for the stoutest
steeds will have enough to do to hold their own
in a quick thing when their hoofs sink deep at
every stride into stiff clay holding turf. In
South Essex they say it has never been wet
enough yet. Speaking from one's own exper-
ience of days when the pleasures of a run have
been followed by the discomfort of having a jog
slowly over hills swept by storms of wind and
torrents of rain, and to pull into a walk on hard
roads out of consideration for feet from which
shoes have been wrenched, and, judging from
the stains which Essex clay leaves on those who
have fathomed the depths of ditches for which
that country is famous, my opinion would hardly
be at one with those of the natives on this point.
The delight of a Master of hounds or his hunts-
man when he sees his darlings steaming over
wet fallows far ahead of the foremost horseman
is natural enough, but riders left wearily toiling
in rear can hardly be expected to participate
fully in this enthusiasm. One does not, how-
ever, feel inclined to grumble at anything that
permits of hunting, after having been deprived
of its pleasures by many weeks of frost ; and I
must freely confess that the Essex Union
country, under any circumstances, presents
attractions for me that would counterbalance
many more serious drawbacks than have ever
fallen to my lot there. Leicestershire men
would, as a matter of course, despise it as slow
and uninteresting. If pace were the only thing
for which a man hunted, all of us might agree
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 13
with those fastidious sportsmen ; but when
hounds do run across the Essex fields, the
veriest glutton may find enough of fencing to
gratify his desires ; and if he ride straight, and
get to the end of a good run without a downfall,
he may plume himself on having achieved a feat
which makes no small demand on the cleverness
of a hunter and the judgment of a horseman.
Frequently you may see strangers going well
there during the first burst, holding the lead
perhaps for a mile or two, and keeping well with
the hounds ; for the fences, though big and
treacherous, are such as a fresh hunter should
safely negotiate. But look for them at the end
of twenty minutes of hard going, when many a
ploughed field has been crossed, and you will
probably find them emerging from a ditch where
the over-taxed powers of their steed failed at
last, or stuck fast in the midst of acres of ridge
and furrow, across which they had tried to
bucket their horse too recklessly. A man,
wherever he hunts, should, it is true, learn a
lesson which might save him from such dis-
aster ; but, unfortunately, he never learns it
completely until he has made acquaintance with
the deep furrows ploughed by steam cultivators
in heavy clay. Apart from the chagrin of being
thrown out, however, no one need feel humilia-
ted at a reverse of this kind. The foremost
riders of South Essex are ever ready to welcome
a good man who can keep company through a
long run or a quick one ; but they are never
prone to glory at the discomfiture of one who
has made a gallant effort, and failed in its fulfil-
14 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
ment. Master, field and farmers are ever ready
to welcome a stranger, who shows that he can
share their sport with a true sportsman's
pleasure. Sometimes, unfortunately, this hos-
pitable feeling is abused by people who construe
the liberty and equality of the hunting field as
meaning free and equal right to damage the
crops and fences of those over whose land they
are permitted to ride, for which offence they
would never dream of offering either apology or
reparation. It was either with the Essex
Union or a neighbouring hunt that one gentle-
man, having pursued his pleasure for a very
considerable period without cost to himself, took
it as a great offence that he should be asked for
a subscription at last, replying, " I do not see
what I am to subscribe for ; I do not put tTie
hounds to any expense." The Saturday's
fixtures of the Essex Union are especially
favoured by gentlemen of this order, who take
advantage of the fact that the place of meeting
on that day is fixed for the convenience of the
London contingent, among which are numbered
many of the staunchest supporters of hunting in
Essex. It was a motley crowd which the
Master found assembled to greet him at Heron
Gate the first open Saturday after long frost.
Cavalry from Colchester; Staff Officers from
Warley, endeavouring to brighten the weariness
of depot duty by intervals of companionship
with civilisation ; nondescript followers from
town ; and a score of unknown but well mounted
men from some distant quarters almost swamped
the local contingent, and set at nought the
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 15
authority of the Master, whose attention is so
much absorbed by the duties of huntsman and
by his keen desire to show sport, that he can
have Httle control over such an undisciphned
throng. Happily, however, his patience is not
often taxed in this way. Had there been a
burning scent and a straight neck fox to lead
them a merry chase over the open, many of
these holiday horsemen would have been shaken
off before half a dozen fields had been crossed ;
as it happened, the foxes would ring about the
woodlands. Scent there was none, and the
crowd were thus enabled to indulge to the ut-
most their propensity for being always in the
wrong place. Lord Petre, who is the best
friend of hunting in all the eastern counties, and
whose keepers are said to be retained for the
combined purpose of preserving foxes and des-
troying feathered game, cannot fail to furnish a
goodly supply of this very necessary element of
sport. In fact, there proves such an embarrass-
ment of riches in the well stocked coverts that,
with a total absence of scent, the hounds could
not stick to the line of one fox. Finding their
first in Pigott's Bushes, they ran him for a brief
space, then changed to another, and so kept
ringing round the park of Thornton and its
ruined mansion all day, convinced and half
afraid to speak ; a second later, and another
deeper note is heard. Then, as the pack breaks
into chorus, our long looked for quarry is viewed
stealing from brake to brake. A ringing view-
holloa makes him jump, and he needs no further
warning, but is off like an arrow, and before tlie
i6 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
hounds can be got together, his grey back is
seen fast disappearing over the brown furrows
two fields away. For a brief space the wind has
lulled a little, and, settling down on a good
scent, the pack streams away in hot pursuit.
He who hesitates now must inevitably be left
toiling far in rear. The plough is terribly
heavy and holding, and the fences come in
quick succession ; but there are half a dozen
well in front who have no thought of turning
aside for rotten banks, deep drops, or yawning
ditches. Nearest the hounds — a little too near,
perhaps, to please a Master who values them —
rides young Hugh Massy, of the 56th, whose
seat and style would bring forcibly to the minds
of a Holderness man recollections of far-famed
"Tom Hodgson." Next comes Mr. White,
riding wide, but with always a keen eye on tBe
leading hounds. Then, taking their fences
almost in Hne, are Mr. Horton, Mr. Fred Ind ;
a stranger in cap and green coat of conventional
correctness who, after twenty-five years of
absence, has come back to take his share of
sport in the old country among people that are
all new to him, and to bear himself like a good
man and true; Mr. Wright, and Joe Bailey;
while close to them come Mr. Courage and the
" young uns." Forward still at a rattling pace,
over ground that seems heavier at every stride,
leaving North Lands Covert on the right, and
never attempting to seek shelter there, our fox
faces the next hill gallantly, and holds on
towards Vange Gorse. In a roadway at the
end of ten minutes we come to our first check ;
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 17
but it is only for a moment, as a good hound hits
it off, carries it down the macadam for a hundred
yards or so, and then shows the Une where all
the pack can own to it joyously across the
fallows. A field from Vange Gorse the hounds
are at fault again. " Hold hard now, or you will
press them over the scent !" Not a moment too
soon has that caution come. The old hound
swings round again and begins to flourish down
a hedgerow. Not waiting for a whimper, the
Master at one point and Mr. Horton at another,
gives us a lead over a thick thorn fence, that
hides rotten banks and a treacherous ditch
beyond. There have been dirty coats enough
already, but nobody stops now to see whether
the number is swelled by other downfalls.
Bearing left over the road once more, our
hunted fox speeds on, twisting like a hare, and
evidently hard pressed, until within one field
of the Crown at Laindon Hill. Into a little
shaw close by some farm buildings the hounds
carry it with acrash of music ; but suddenly their
chorus ceases. Quickly they are got to the
sound of Mr. White's horn, and held on for a
cast towards Coombe Wood ; but it proves
useless, and, being brought back, the hounds
tell us where our fox has sneaked along a wet
drain, until, happening on the track by which
he came, he has retraced his footsteps towards
Vange. Over the plough of many fields, and
only owing to the line at intervals, the hounds
follow slowly, hunting up to Vange Gorse ; but
the red rascal has too great a start now, and
nothing more can be made of it. Twenty
i8 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
minutes the run has lasted up to that Httle shaw
by Laindon, and the pace over such ground was
not to be despised. Martin's Hole was next
drawn blank, and even Northlands, where Mr.
Edward Ind exercises such firm and uncom-
promising sway. In Westwood Shaw the
hounds came on a vixen* napping close to the
mouth of her closed kennel. A young hound
tried to pull her down, but met his match, and
acknowledged with a loud howl the strength of
the old lady's fangs. Bounding through the
pack, she got clean away, with them almost at
her brush. A sharp burst of some five or six
minutes brought us back to Bushey Legs, where
the vixen disappeared suddently, and in such
mysterious fashion that not a hound could own it
afterwards. A heavy storm of wind and rain
came at a critical moment, destroying all hopes
of recovering this fox, and damping the ardour
of many pursuers. Those who stayed to see
two or three more coverts drawn, stopped for a
ride home in a deluge of rain and a hurricane
of wildly whirling wind, that would have made
the " worst un's worst room " a welcome shelter.
LINES ON MY LORDS SANDWICH
Two noble Lords — the Earls of Sandwich and Spencer —
Have left us fair proof of their Lordship's good sense,
By a fashion in dress and invention in diet,
The pangs both of cold and hunger to quiet :
Which, by the covert in the chill of November,
My Sandwich and Spencer oft bade me remember,
When from my full flask I had quaff 'd off my port,
And I rode on again refreshed for the sport.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 19
One fine morning we had come to a check
on Langdon Hills, and were all standing outside
the School at the moment the children were
coming out for the dinner hour. At this
juncture the field were taking advantage of a
momentary pause in the proceedings, and out
came the sandwich cases.
The children were very much interested in
watching us, and one boy bigger than the rest
remarked : " They have stopped to eat their
Tuesday, January 13th, 1880.
Meet : Stifford.
Found in Moor Hall Spring and had a very
pretty twenty minutes' gallop up to the Nightin-
gale's Nest by way of Running Water Wood, a
holloa back towards Fourteen Acre induced the
Master to go back there, where hounds were
soon running hard (not improbably the hunted
fox). Going away on the Aveley side they ran
back into and through Running Water Wood,
and away to Stubbers (a longish check here),
got on the line again, and then hounds set to
racing, sending their fox over the open country,
straight up to Cranham, never touching the
Cranham covers, crossing the road near
Cranham Rectory, the bitches ran him hard up
to Upminster Hall, a short check here, cast
them over the road and hit him off again, hounds
going on to the Hornchurch brook, crossed it as
if for Lea Gardens, but turned right-handed and
20 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
ran beautifully straight to the village of Harold
Wood, across Great Eastern Railway and high
road into the Essex country, through Hatters
Wood and across Dayman Park into the oaks,
from here to Weald village, turned sharp back
across the Park to Rochett's cover, to the brook,
again to a small cover. Here there were several
foxes afoot, and holloas in several places. Went
on with a fox across Rochett's, and up to Work-
house Wood, and gave it up between there and
the Moors. One hour and forty minutes up to
the cover where so many foxes were afoot. I
take the time to here, as hounds never left the
line till we got there. I feel sure we changed
(though they didn't seem to leave the Hne) in
the Platters. It was one of the finest runs I
have ever seen, as scent was so brilliant that
hounds were only cast twice, and the country
gone over a most unusual line. No cover either
was touched from Nightingale's Nest to
Dayman. After hounds crossed the Horn-
church Brook till they got to Harold Wood only
three of us were with them, as the rest of the
field went back over the Brook thinking hounds
had turned back. It was a very good day.
One morning I was riding to the Meet, and
on the way met a boy. He was about eleven
years of age, and the son of a man farming
about 500 acres of land — a grand supporter of
hunting — and many a good run have we had
over his land ; so my feelings can be somewhat
imagined when, after talking about his pony and
the weather, chances of scent, etc., I said to
him, " Many foxes down your way ?" " I should
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 21
think there are," said the boy. " Why, father
was walking by the brook on Sunday and up
jumped the greatest old fox ever you see — and
father hadn't got a stick, nor yet a gun ! ! "
In March, 1889 (excepting the King
William), we had one of the best runs known
with the Essex Union. We found in wood,
raced away through Noke Wood, by Fanton
Hall, Squeaking Boys' Lane, nearly to Kingsley
Wood, where the fox was headed ; turned by
North Benfleet to Nevendon Bushes, away to
the back of Pitsea, over Timber Log Lane as
if making for Laindon Hills ; down to the back
of the Fortune of War, over the road, and away
to Lady Springs ; up Bottledown Hill, and
finally lost him near Little Burstead Church.
There was barely a check during the whole time,
and the pace was killing. You had no time to
select your places. One man jumped into a
gravel pit, but I don't think he was the worse for
it ; in any case, there was no time to enquire.
There are very few of us left in the country who
rode through the run that day. One man still
goes as well as ever ; I shall never forget seeing
him race down a field at the start, his horse,
called Nebuchadnezzar, quite the master of the
situation. All the first part of the run the man
had a very rough time of it. Dr. Marshall,
Mr. Gardiner and Charles Tabor as usual show-
ing us the best way to go, and how to get there
quickest. When it was all over, we had to face
a long ride home on tired horses, most of them
as stiff as pokers. Besides that, it was a bitter
cold day to start, and to add to our trials snow
22 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
was coming down fast ; but we did not mind in
the least, feeling much too pleased with our-
selves and our horses to care for the weather.
I shall never again see a run I enjoyed so
much as that one.
On Tuesday, October 19th, these hounds
met at Sutton Ford Bridge for cub hunting, but
it turned out to be an " out-and-out " good fox
hunt, as the sequel will show. The meet was
at ten o'clock sharp, when a goodly gathering
put in an appearance. Of ladies there were
Mrs. Tawke, Mrs. and Miss Garrood, Miss
Boosey, etc., mounted on wheels, Dr. Bourne,
R.A., Messrs. Courage, Tabor, Baker (2),
Rickett (2), Deane, Hudson, Rankin, Benton
(2), Master Victor Tabor, and several more on
foot, on horseback, and on wheels. Mr.
Carnegie, of course, was there with his pack,
looking " for the fray." The hounds came over
night, for, let me tell you, Mr. Editor, that this
meet is about twenty miles from the Kennels,
so the hounds stayed at the old Ship Inn,
Rochford, so that they should be ready to
account for one of Mr. Cross's Mucking Hall
foxes the next morning if possible, for the foxes
require a good deal of killing in this part of the
country, and to bring weary hounds to do so
would be simply fun for the foxes and cruelty to
hounds. With the usual congratulations on
having appeared to be a splendid hunting
morning we jog off to draw Mucking Hall
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 23
Grove, which turned out blank, but that is not
so much a matter of surprise, considering that it
is very narrow — only about three acres in extent
— and a footpath running through the middle.
It is the only cover in the neighbourhood, how-
ever, so a find is generally looked upon as pretty
certain this time of the year. We then move on
to a field of cole seed adjoining, where the
hounds found immediately, as that " fine speci-
men of the old English yeoman " (Mr. Cross)
assured us we should. Now then " all you des-
pairing souls," harden your hearts and look out
for the blind fences, for you are in for a good
thing! The fox soon makes up her mind that
her only safety depends on flight ; so betakes
herself off without a moment's hesitation, point-
ing for Butler's, the residence of that good fox
preserver, Mr. Perry. Crossing his land, she
sets her mark for Shopland, then towards New
Hall, Sutton, giving the field a taste of timber,
in the shape of a five-barred gate or two, which
are safely negotiated by Mr. Charles Tabor (on
his clever hunter), closely followed by Miss
Tawke. This brings us to the Prittlewell,
Sutton Brook, where our gentleman, who
has been going well, had a morning's bath in
company with his four-footed companion.
Fortunately, no serious harm came of it, but
neither came out of said bath much the cleaner.
If I were they I should not get in again, cer-
tainly not before it was cleaned out ; even then
I should rather object. But I am wasting time.
Hounds are going hard, and cross the road not
far from Halfway House, and on to Mr. James
24 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Tabor's big field, where we have a check; not
for long, however, as Mr. Carnegie hits off the
line " like a workman," as he is, and Duster cuts
out the work for the pack, pointing for West
Barrow Hall and the Eastwood Water
Meadows. She does not enter these, however,
but turns sharp to the left, past Mr. Stallibrass'
residence, and its " ding dong," as hard as you
can, to keep pace with the " dappled darlings."
Away we go over the road, pointing for Mr.
Allerton's, scent good and fences blind; from
there straight for Chalkwell Hall. We are now
running with the sea in view, and what our good
fox means to do she must soon determine. But
what is that beat figure near the water's edge?
Why our hunted fox ! Another minute, and the
Southend Railway is the only thing betw^een her
and her pursuers. A turn inland by the beach,
a double over the line of rail, and we are in the
Hamlet Brickfields at Southend. A scurry
round the bricks, a snap, a growl, and Duster
has her at the hedge, and its all up with as game
a little two-year-old vixen as ever was cubbed.
Well done, Mr. Carnegie. You have tasted
blood in Rochford Hundred, and there's plenty
more foxes left that will feel hurt if you don't
hunt them, or they will all die of " fatty degener-
ation." Let them have plenty of that good old
physic, " Essex Union Anti-fat," in the shape of
frequent doses of fox hounds' music to dance to
— no one will complain of its strength and fre-
quency. To resume, after we had broken up
our fox we drew some cole seed at Eastwood
and West Barrow without a find. Then we just
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 25
ran up to the Lawn, as, of course, it would be
a sin to pass " The Lawn " without acknowledg-
ing the hospitality of our good friends, Major
and Mrs. Tawke, which is always so ungrudg-
ingly dispensed to all comers — the more so as
it is so very acceptable, and so much appreciated
by all. It would be a good thing for fox
hunting if there were more of their sort about
the country. We now draw the wood called
Potash, which we know is almost a certain find,
for the foxes are well looked after in this cover,
and many are the rats that have been put down
for the foxes in this wood, thanks to the owner
and his " better half." This time it does not
belie its reputation as a fine fellow crosses the
ride just as hounds are " thrown in." He goes
away at the top end, but scent has altered for
the worse, and we cannot do much with him, so
we all go home well pleased with a capital day's
sport, and fully impressed with the fact that if
scent is at all accommodating this season the
foxes will not be troubled with " fatty degenera-
tion " in the Essex Union country; at least, we
feel assured that nothing will be wanting on the
part of Mr. Carnegie or his whips to show Essex
gentlemen the way they do things " over the
When all went so well it would be in-
vidious to make comparisons, but Mr. C. Tabor
and a lady took some five-barred gates in rare
style, and Master Victor entered well to hounds,
showing that the Tabor love of the chase is not
likely to die out at present. The young gentle-
man was rewarded with the brush, which he well
26 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
deserved, considering the riding abilities he
The Essex Union met at the Lawn, at
Rochford, Major Tawke's place; and a large
field sat down to breakfast. Captain Carnegie
has already shown his intention of hunting the
country with spirit and thoroughness, and ardent
sportsmen in the Union country are hoping to
see a continuance of the good fields with which
the season has opened. A very fair sprinkling
of symmetrical habits and coquettish hats is to
be seen careering over the flats of southern
Essex; and their owners, whose prowess in
former seasons is well remembered, are rarely
far away at the crisis. The Forfarshire Captain
has already shown the country some very res-
pectable sport, and foxes are understood to be
plentiful. The East Essex have commenced
their first regular season without their old Secre-
tary, Mr. Page Wood. The inaugural meet
and breakfast took place at Mr. H. R. G.
Marriott's, at Abbot's Hall, which was for many
years the headquarters of the Hunt. An hour's
rattling run and a double kill certainly made a
good beginning. Sir Henry Ibbetson met a
good field at Matching, when the Essex Hunt —
I wish the names of the Essex packs were a
little more distinctive — had what has been des-
cribed to me as " a glorious opening."
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 27
How grievous it is to see the sad changes
in the Hadleigh country. Mr. Carnegie used to
say it had been left as " God Almighty made it."
Now I am afraid another " gentleman " has a
hand in the job. There are Httle houses, like
ants' nests, and a complete bird cage of wire
forms the gardens. One man kept a fox trap
always going near the main earth, with the result
that I have seen him clothed down to the waist
entirely in foxes skins. Another sportsman
caught a fox in his hen house, and being of a
saving turn of mind, he skinned it and boiled
the flesh for his dogs. The result was his
neighbours were poisoned by the smell, and
there was some talk of calling in the sanitary
^ ^ ^ «^ a^ ^
W W "7v" "TT •«* "Tv*
How often one sees the folly of putting an
inexperienced rider on too good a horse. I do
not mean that he should not be a clever one,
because it goes without saying, what the man
does not know the horse ought. One that has
seen his best days and not over keen is the sort.
The beginner should be entirely master of the
situation. I remember many years ago when,
as a child, hunting with the Brighton Harriers,
in the charge of Mr. Poole, the riding master,
Captain Grant came up to me. " Why," said
he, " your pony has only three legs." I was
28 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
horrified, and ambled away to Mr. Poole. " Oh
Mr. Poole, Captain Grant says Kitty has only
three legs." — " Quite right. Miss, if she had four
you would not be able to manage her."
I have often thought since how true that
was, and what a clever riding master Mr. Poole
October 19th, 1880.
Hounds met at Sutton, found in Potash;
went away to Shopland, turned over Warner's
Corner to Leigh, where the fox was shot in
front of the hounds. Very fast.
I opened a bazaar exactly thirty-one years
after in the same spot where we ran that fox.
Who could have believed it possible in what
appears so short a time to look back upon, in-
stead of the fields and fences we crossed that
day, a town has sprung up. In my opening
speech I mentioned the run of thirty years ago,
but what seemed to impress the audience most
was the fox being shot in front of the hounds —
doubtless they thought what a lot of trouble it
January loth, 1881.
We found in Merrylands and ran with a
burning scent to Hadleigh. Only George Rae,
Charles Tabor and the two Bakers were in it.
Manly, much to Charles Tabor's annoyance,
got first to the only negotiable place in the
Hadleigh Brook, and his horse, not quite fancy-
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 29
ing the job, was " pausing on the brink," filling
up the only available hole, Charles Tabor from
behind laying into him with his hunting crop
for all he was worth. If one had not been in a
bit of a hurry at the time, it would have afforded
a most amusing spectacle.
Meet at Danbury. Good scent; capital
THE ESSEX UNION HOUNDS.
(Taken from The Field).
The sport with these Hounds has improved
very much of late ; in fact, the country is hold-
ing a scent — a commodity which has been sadly
deficient throughout the season. On Saturday,
the 19th, they had a very good hour and three-
quarters in the afternoon, ending with a cHnking
forty-five minutes and a kill. Frost and snow
had prevented the hounds going out on Monday
and Tuesday ; indeed, the state of the weather
on Thursday would have prevented a less inde-
fatigable sportsman than Mr. Carnegie taking
his hounds out ; but he is not the man to stay at
home so long as there is even an outside chance
of hunting, and in this instance I am glad to say
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 30
a fair day's sport rewarded him for his zeal.
Stock was the fixture on Saturday week, and,
as usual at this Meet, a very large field attended.
After spending an hour and a half in fruitless
search for fox, the hounds showed a fine in Rook
Wood, which they carried to a faggot stack,
showing unmistakably that a fox had sought
shelter within it. The stack was immediately
stormed by half a dozen enthusiastic votaries of
the chase, headed by the " Nestor " of the hunt.
Their united efforts soon rendered the strong-
hold untenable, and as good a fox as ever went
out on a midnight excursion, "on amatory
thought intent,' betook himself to the open,
trusting to strong legs and a stout heart to carry
him out of harm's way. But in a wtinkling the
Master had his hounds on the Hne, and, running
for a few fields in a northerly direction, they
crossed the railway near Margaretting. Here
they showed a second line, the majority of the
pack picking out a cold scent to the right, while
a couple of hounds were observed racing away
to the left. No sooner was this fact communi-
cated to the Master than he hastened to join
them ; and now business began in real earnest.
With heads up and sterns down the hounds
settled to their work, driving their fox through a
succession of coverts without the very semblance
of a check, to Skreens Park. Here he was
viewed about two hundred yards in front, and
most of us thought the end was at hand. All
the same, he managed to cross into Skreens
Wood, and immediately after the hounds were
at fault — by no means an unwelcome check
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 31
either, as most of those who had ridden the line
had bellows to mend, and the macadamites ob-
tained a lucky opportunity of nicking in. For
a little time the hounds could make nothing of
him; but, with moderate luck, our Master is a
bad one to beat (and, I may add, a rum one to
follow). A cast back had our fox on the move
again, and scarcely had the hounds spoken to
him, when he was viewed stealing away from the
north side of the covert. Though the scent was
now simply wretched, so admirably were the
hounds handled that they ran into their fox fair
and square within a couple of hundred yards of
the King William Inn, after one hour and fifty
minutes' pursuit. As I am a stranger in that
part of the country, I cannot give the exact
points ; but this much I do know, that the first
or brilliant part of the run, namely, from Rook
to Skreens Wood, occupied as nearly as possible
an hour, and that we were all going as fast as
we could. The casualties were the reverse of
" angels' visits," one brook receiving no less
than four men and horses into its chilling
embrace. All the same the following gentle-
men saw most of the fun : — Messrs. Saunders,
Colley, Tabor (2), Bourne, Hilton, Garrstt,
Lawrence (2), Barker, Horton, Usbourne,
Ridley, Sir L. Graham, and a few others whose
names I cannot remember, or do not know,
notably a man with a bandage round his thigh.
Miss Tawke, on her grey, occupied a prominent
position in the first flight throughout.
[The mask of this fox hangs in our hall.
This is the best run ever known with the Essex
32 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Union Hounds. I may feel proud to think I
managed to be in it.]
The foregoing is still talked about as " the
famous King William run."
Met at Southminster ; it was a very hard
day for horses ; we were always on the go.
Charles Tabor got into a ditch, where it was
likely his horse would remain. During the
run we had to cross over the brook at Moor
Gardens by the horrid narrow bridge.
Jack Page's horse sHpped over and got in
the brook ; I came next and nearly did the
same ; Madge dropped one hind leg, but re-
covered herself just in time to save me from
taking a cold bath.
November 14th. Monday. Sutton Ford.
Fine day, but foggy. Found on the
marshes at Barling, and had a quick fifteen
minutes, then changed foxes and had another
quarter of an hour in the same neighbourhood.
Found again in a little spinney at Thorpe, and
went a racing pace for nine minutes, and to
ground close to Shoebury Garrison, running in
view over the last field. A good field out, but
many Taylors from Southend, one of which
tumbled about a good deal.
Most of this run took place round the big
field at Thorpe where at the time there was
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 33
not one single house. Thorpe Bay has become
a town with a golf links, and is quite a flourish-
ing portion of the district of Southend.
The following accounts have been suppHed
from the hunting diary of a sportsman who has
hunted with the Essex Union for many a
season, and only a short time back he reminded
me "there are only six of us remaining of the
150 to 200 who hunted in Captain White's
time." We six have seen the most extra-
I have given the notes without adding
much to them, they so well describe the many
excellent runs of that period, and bring back
the whole thing so vividly to my mind that I am
afraid of spoiling them. There is much truth in
the saying of " too many cooks," and again " two
people cannot churn butter," and the few who
remember those good old days would not thank
me for altering the very excellent description
November 17th. Thursday.
Dull day and windy in the morning. Found
in Fambridge Hall, but the scent was so bad,
that we could do nothing. We then went to
Purleigh Round Bush, but on the way there got
on the line of a fox, which took us through the
Round Bush to Clarke's Wood, and on
through Fambridge Hall to a drain at Jarvis'
34 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Farm, by the Ferry ; time twenty-one minutes.
Bolted him from there, and ran him for seven
or ei^ht minutes to the Hall Wood and lost.
The first part of the run was very good. Found
again in Mundon Furze, and had a slow hunting
run of about forty-five minutes to Wrights Leys.
Note. — Rochford Hundred saw the best of
it, including our general, Charles Tabor.
November 19th. Saturday. Roxwell.
Fine day, with a little rain during the
night. Did not find till we got to Langley's,
where we found a good fox, which took us right
into the East Essex country. First across the
Park, then to Lyons Hall, which we went
through without dwelling, and on to Sandy,
where there was a slight check. Up to this
point we had had a good twenty-four minutes
over a nice country. Then on through Scarlets
to Hazelton, where we lost our fox through
putting up several others. Time altogether,
fifty-seven minutes, the latter part slow hunting.
I then left to come home, as we were in the
middle of East Essex country, and the hounds
had at least eight miles to go back before
This was one of the very few occasions on
which I have been out with the Essex Hounds,
and I very much enjoyed the capital run, and
appreciated the skill with which Bailey handled
his hounds. I have several times heard him
speak at the Puppy Judging Luncheons, and
on one occasion one of his fellow judges said,
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 35
" If Bailey had been a parson instead of a
huntsman, by now he would have become
Archbishop of Canterbury," and as this remark
came from a gentleman of the cloth, and one of
no mean order, that must have been a proud
moment for Bailey — showing the high estate he
had attained in his profession. He is another
example of what I have so often remarked on
before, that Essex people keep going for an
extraordinary length of time.
December ist. Thursday.
Dull day and wet. Got on to the line of
a fox in a field onjeo Crack's Farm, which took
us down to the brook, up the hill at the back of
Rasch's house, through Danbury Park, over
Lingwood Common, and through Lingwood,
where we had a check after a very good twenty-
six minutes, the fox having been headed in the
road, back on to the Common, then through a
corner of Mr. Water's Common, then through
Summers Wood, Ratcliffs Grove, and into the
Thrift, when we ran to ground after a good hour
and three minutes. Found again in the Hydes,
ran through the Thrift, along the top of Barrit's
Farm to Wood Corner Grove, and oh to the
Schools at Maldon, checked in some gardens
there, then ran back and killed at the back of
Maldon Hall, time forty seven minutes. ' I
managed to jump into a pond in the first run.
36 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Was a memorable day in the history of the
Essex Union Hunt, and I am convinced of one
fact ; no one who was unfortunate enough to
be out will ever forget it. It was a pouring wet
day; the Meet was at Hockley Bull, and that
was the last anyone saw of the Hounds until
quite late in the afternoon. No sooner were
they in the Bull Wood, than they must have got
away at once on the line of a fox, running abso-
lutely mute and gone straight through the
covert without dwelling a moment. The result
was hounds were miles away before it even
dawned on anyone what had occurred, and for
hours Mr. Carnegie, whips and field and all were
riding all over the country enquiring for the
The first man to come up with the pack
was Tiger Bournes, and the only reliable infor-
mation was obtained from a man in a baker's
cart. He said he had seen hounds crossing
the Leigh Road, and when at last we found
them at Hadleigh Castle they had killed and
eaten their fox. I see entered in my diary:
" Mr. Carnegie's face was a study!' The most
vexatious circumstance, besides being wearied
out with riding in all directions, without result,
was missing such a good run ; it is only about
once in a lifetime there is a scent to carry a fox
through the Bull Woods.
The Meet was at Hadleigh. It was rain-
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 37
ing in torrents. Field numbered seven. Found
in Kingsley Wood ; we simply raced away,
where Rayleigh Station now is ; north of Down
Hall, on past Trende Henry's as though we
were going to Hull Bridge; swung sharp left-
handed, running due north leaving Bedlow's
Corner and Rawreth Church on the west, ran
straight on down to the River Thames and
killed after forty-five minutes. His point was
no doubt Mr. Kemble's coverts, but we caught
him before he had time to cross the water.
I was riding a very good horse called
Banker, he jumped a fence under a tree bigger
than I expected, and I damaged my nose to
such an extent that I regret to add it has never
recovered to this day. Otherwise the run was
Met at Danbury. A very hard day ; I left
them still running.
Met at the Fortune of War. Running
hard all day, but never any point. I have
reason to remember it ! " Madge " gave me a
fall, which was a most unusual occurrence. I
always said she had five legs. I was inspired
by seeing Colonel Kemble jump his iron-grey
horse over the brook below the Fortune of War,
to do likewise ; the place where Madge took off
was underhung and she dropped into the water ;
38 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
I shot over her shoulders and found myself
sitting amongst the bushes, and so escaped a
January 3rd, 1882.
Met at Woodham. Splendid run and kill in the
open. Very fast at times.
Met at Billericay. Hounds divided. Mr.
Carnegie was in no end of a temper. Went
home at 2.30. I never saw so many falls.
We met at Stow; had a capital day.
Madge was cooked to a turn : she came on her
head at the last fence. Charles Tabor said,
" Good job your mare had a head to land on! "
Horrid windy day. Meet at Hadleigh;
had a charming run; found in Hadleigh Big
Wood, ran across Eastwood and killed at
Meet at Burstead. Bessie and Mr.
Wightman Wood out. A very good run ; found
in Mill Hill, ran to North Benfleet, turned
again northwards, and lost at Stock. Mr.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 39
Wood was riding Mulvaney's one-eyed mare,
called " Patent-Safety." He was very nearly
drowned trying to ford the river west of Battles-
bridge. He is now a Judge, so we will hope
he has learnt wisdom. On another occasion
when he was out with " Patent-Safety," he took
a toss into the brook below Pandam, lost his
watch and purse containing ^5. For days
afterwards the whole juvenile population spent
its spare moments wading about in the brook
in search of treasure.
September 30th. Saturday. Belvoir Arms.
Fine morning. Went cub hunting for the
first time this season. Met at 7 a.m. Found
plenty of foxes in Mill Wood and Foxearths,
also Moor Gardens, but the scent was not good
enough to do much with them. Carnegie had
a fall, and got his leg squashed between his
horse and the bank, but I don't think much
damage done ; anyhow, we left off there.
Note. — Mr. Carnegie was most unfortu-
nate in meeting with accidents. He fell heavily,
and there was such a length of him, that when
he did come down there was generally some
portion of his body under the horse.
Met at Rochford. Mr. Carnegie not out,
so George hunted the hounds. Found at
Barton Hall, ran by Loftman's, over Scott's
Hall, Hyde-Ashingdon, and killed at Trinity.
49 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
A most enjoyable run. One man managed
to get into a ditch north of Barton Hall, and
would have been there still if he had not been
Met at Baddow. No scent. Very much
vexed on arriving at the river at Hull Bridge to
find the ferry boat had gone to be painted or
tarred or something; the result was a weary
tramp round by Battlesbridge.
Met at Downham. Mr. Carnegie said it
was only fit to dry clothes, not to hunt a fox, and
so he went home.
November 9th. Thursday. Stow Bullocks.
Fine day, cold, and cloudy at times.
Found at Fambridge Hall, but were unable to
get a fox away. Went to Mundon Furze, and
had a slow run with very catchy scent through
Purleigh Round Bush to Wright's Leys, and
on through Brook Mead Grove to Gale's, where
we lost. Found another at Hawe's Wood,
which took us to the Grove, then to Partridge's,
and back to Hawes, where I left them in the
wood. This being my first regular day with the
Union, turned out in pink for the first time in
Note. — Don't I remember the sensation
caused by the writer's appearance in the same
MR. DANIEL ROBERT SCRATTON, 1st, Master of the Essex Union
Hounds, Page 19, Vol. 1.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 41
pink coat, and the admiring crowd by whom he
was surrounded — all loud in their praise of his
November 27th. Monday. Rayleigh.
Fine day, cold, westerly wind. Went by
Hull Bridge to the Meet. Found our first fox
on a hedge-row just outside Hockley Hall
Wood, ran it through the wood and afterwards
in the open and to ground near Blunt's Wood ;
about eighteen minutes. Found a second in
Hockley Bull Wood, which gave us a good
gallop, going straight away from the covert at
once at a good pace to the Hadleigh Wood,
which we pushed him through without dwelling,
and on to Hadleigh Castle ; then we turned
back, and once more made the wood; forty-
seven minutes up to this. Again straight
through it, and on to Pound Wood, after which
we did nothing more. Time altogether, one
hour and five minutes, and a good run.
Hunted with the East Essex and had a
very good run. The Meet was at Boreham.
January 13 th, 1883.
Again I hunted with the East Essex at
Boreham, and had a most enjoyable run.
The Meet was at Wickford, and we were
foohshly trying an experiment — driving a hunter
42 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
in the cart, which had been sold as quiet in
harness ; and so he was, for about every mile or
so he " put up " and refused to move. How-
ever, after enduring agonies of suspense, we
arrived at Wickford at twelve — exactly the right
moment. We met hounds running hard ; they
had crossed the river, leaving the field on the
other side. So, as it turned out, we were rather
pleased, as we had hounds to ourselves; and
during that happy time Mr. Baker jumped the
brook south of Runwell Hall. It is not the sort
of place you would select, but Tiger had com-
plete control of the situation, and decided to
show what he was made of.
The East Essex Hounds met at Danbury
by invitation. At that time foxes ran about like
mice, and it was impossoble to catch them ; and
so the East Essex wanted to try what they could
do. " They hunted and they halloaed, and they
blew the horn all day," but without any result.
However, we all enjoyed the fun, and I am sure
Mr. Carnegie did.
February 15 th.
Was a red-letter day. The Meet was at
Woodham ; found in the Woodham coverts and
ran over Woodham Lodge, Hyde Hall, past
Square Grove, Rettendon, Kemble's coverts,
Flemings, south of Downham Rectory, Meps
Hole, Grays Wood and on to Norsey, where we
lost him. This took forty-one minutes to do.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 43
I had a very unpleasant ride home — Banker
was not at any time the best of hacks. " Which
leg is my horse lame with ? " " Impossible to
say," repHed Charles Tabor, " because he is
lame all round." Though a very good hunter,
Banker was by no means fast, and I expect the
run had been a bit too sharp for him.
February 21st. Wednesday. Cricketers.
Fine day, westerly wind. Had a day with
the East Essex at Danbury, where they had
come by invitation. Found on Lingwood
Common, and had a lot of hunting between
there, N.W. Common and Danbury, and
eventually lost; found again in Long Springs,
and had a short gallop. Afterwards came down
to the Hydes, but unfortunately found them
blank for the first time this season.
Note. — This was the memorable day
(when foxes used to swarm around Danbury
like mice) the East Essex were invited to show
their skill in catching them. There was no end
of rushing about and holloaing — no result.
Mr. Carnegie sat still watching the performance
with the keenest delight.
February 22nd. Thursday. Stow Bullocks.
Fine, warm day, south westerly wind.
Found directly in Fambridge Hall Wood
and ran down to and round the Rectory at a
good pace, back over the Rookery Farm,
through Pantile, over the hill by the Rise,
44 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
skirting Purleigh Hall Wood and on to Pur-
leigh Hall, then made a turn to the left by the
windmill to the bottom of Hanging Wood, over
Hazeleigh Glebe, and across the field to Wood
Corner Grove, after which we had slow hunting
over part of Maldon Hall Farm and Sam
RatcHff's, on to Beeleigh, where we killed after
a very good hunting run of two hours twenty
minutes, the hounds picking out the scent
during the last hour in a marvellous manner.
We then trotted on to the Thrift, and found
directly, going away at a racing pace towards
the Schools, then through our wood, over the
hill to Mr. Rayner's, through Box Iron and
Hanging Wood to the Corporation, twenty-
three minutes. Here I believe we changed,
and went on through New England, Squeaking
Gate and the Hall Wood, and on towards
Woodham Fen; on Allans Hill we came to a
check, after fifty-one minutes, and then on to
F. Hart's Farm, through Edwin's Hall, and on
to Hawes, where we lost; time from find to
finish, one hour and fifteen minutes, horses and
hounds all having had quite enough of it, the
country being very heavy.
We met at Rochford. A "scented" fox
had been provided, but the sportsman who
undertook the job had used no light hand ; the
result was a regular fiasco. We " found " on
Hampton Barns, and hounds got on the line;
but they ran the tail line as well, and so up and
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 45
down the field they went, as Charles Tabor said,
" for all the world like the piston of an engine " ;
and there we all sat aghast watching the hunt.
The rest of the day has rather escaped my
Meet at Downham ; two first rate runs and kills.
Met at Rettendon. Good day.
We had a capital run. Met at Rettendon,
found in Square Grove ; ran fast by Nevendon
on to DoUermans. The fox took refuge under
the old barn, which was almost demolished
before Mr. Fox was dislodged. I was riding
Tiger; he had a most unpleasant habit of
working the bit through his mouth. Someone
who saw my helpless condition sent me a most
useful Christmas present : it was a bit, with long
side pieces, and with that I was entirely master
of the situation, and Tiger was forced to keep
the bit in his mouth.
Met at Woodham Fen ; found in Reddings.
There was a capital scent, and if it had not been
for a thick fog, which spoilt everything, we
should have had a most enjoyable day.
46 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Rebecca, the big chestnut mare, put me down
somewhere close to Reddings, and Charles
Tabor told me afterwards she set three feet of
four on my prostrate form during her struggles
to get up.
January ist, 1884.
The Meet was at Downham. We found
in Well Wood, and ran in two wide circles by
Houndon, and killed at Muggleton's Farm,
Sandon. There was a burning scent, and at
times hounds raced. George's Httle mare,
Polly, carried him like a bird.
It was quite a red-letter day, and I
thoroughly enjoyed the run.
One man, who has deserted us now for
many a long day, was riding a new purchase for
the first time ; it was a beautifully made little
brown horse, but he went mad directly hounds
ran, and away he went with his new owner, and
only pulled up when completely blown ; he had
rolled into the middle of a ditch.
Needless to say, he had a place secured at
Tattersall's for next available sale, and I believe
he sold well ; he was such a very taking horse,
so long as you did not have to ride him.
Meet at Burstead ; fair day.
The Meet was at Stow Bullocks, and, up
till four o'clock a bitter cold day, with occasional
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 47
snow storms. Charles Tabor and I agreed to
see them draw S quags Grove and then off home.
We were no distance to speak of, but before one
had time to think of it hounds were racing away
on a burning scent, and on they went, every
yard taking us further from home ; but the end
came at last, and after a nine mile point the fox
was killed at Woodham Walter Church ; and,
after such a good run, we did not complain of
the long dark ride in front of us.
Rochford was the Meet. Had a very good
run from the Bull Woods to Lion Creek,
Paglesham. We went by Clement's Hall,
Ashingdon, Hyde's Wood, Pudsey Hall, by
Canewdon (where the Witches dwell in peace to
this day)"^, Lambourne Hall, and down to the
water, where Mr. Fox beat us.
At one time during this good run I found
myself hanging head downwards, having been
swept clean out of the saddle by a thick fence.
Fortunately Tiger knew as much as most
people, and, finding out something was wrong,
remained quiet until Charles Tabor came up
and set me free. No damage was done, and we
went on again.
Met at Hockley ; not much of a day. The
only reason I remember anything about the day
is, Rebecca, the big chestnut mare, broke her
pastern bone : it was done in such a foolish way.
48 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
We had just found in Potash, and we were
galloping through a disused farmyard ; I sup-
pose she came on a stone covered with grass —
it was done in a moment.
Met at Latchingdon. Very nice run.
Fortune of War. Very good day.
Meet was at Thundersley. Good day,
and killed at the Carpenter's Arms.
Met at Rayleigh, found in Pound Wood;
out on the north side pointing for Rawreth Hall,
but turning left-handed along the brook we
went over Lime House, through the Plantations
and on to Coombe Wood ; without dwelling a
moment they were away on the west side, cross-
ing the Pitsea Road on to Bowers, to Canvey
Island ; and this good run only came to an end
when we reached the river Thames.
Tiger managed to subside into a ditch, but
I can't complain much as during the twenty
years I rode him he only gave me three falls.
He was a very powerful horse, and if he did put
a foot wrong, he could generally recover himself
before I had time to fall off. It used to be said
of Tiger, he could climb a tree or go down a
well in safety.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 49
One gloriously fine hot day in the spring —
just the weather one would select for a point to
point meeting, or even a horse show, or, more
appropriate a picnic — but not at all calculated
to inspire the ardent sportsman with the slightest
hope of the chance of a run, let alone a scent —
when hounds met in the middle of March at
Nevendon, being near the end of the season,
there was a fairly large field out. Suddenly, on
the far side of a high fence, in an uncultivated
field, there came the welcome holloa, and away
we raced with a burning scent. Dr. Marshall,
Mr. Gardiner, and all the men one would expect
to meet on such occasions were there, and they
had to ride.
I very soon made the discovery that we
were in pursuit of no ordinary fox, and the scent
was of the strongest. A gallant sportsman
galloping down a field beside me said, " What a
scent there is ; yonder they go racing, and who
could have expected it in such brilliant sun-
shine ? "I looked at him, and saw that he was
quite unaware we were riding after a drag, and
so I left him in ignorance. I know how perfect-
ly miserable he would have been if the true state
of affairs had dawned on him, and he was
thoroughly enjoying himself. I feel sure Mr.
Carnegie knew the game, because after racing
for forty minutes and killing our fox in a ditch
near Fan Hall, as he was moving off to draw
Runwell, I asked him, " Any use going on } "
" No, I think not ; there won't be such a
scent this afternoon."
And years after I heard the details of the
preparation for that run. The first part was a
drag, and a fox had been procured to turn down
at the right moment ; but unfortunately by some
means he got stifled during the night, and the
only thing to prevent him from getting stiff was
to keep him in a pail of hot water. Besides
this, the hounds ran so fast, they all but caught
the man who was running the drag; but it all
ended well, and besides Mr. Carnegie, very few
of the field discovered there was anything out
of the common, excepting that they had enjoyed
a most unlooked-for and pleasant run.
For many years I have done the work of
assistant to the Secretary, and very few even
hunting people know what it means to under-
take the job. In the first place, when you go to
interview irate persons from whom you have had
complaints of wire cut, gaps made, horses let out
and last heard of twenty miles away, cows let
out so that no afternoon milk could be obtained
for the customers, you come away feeling you
are responsible for the whole thing, and have
done every bit of the damage yourself. I
always say I have been round with my oil can,
but at times one has to put up with all sorts of
most unpleasant people. On the other hand, it
is a first-rate means of becoming acquainted
with one's neighbours, and I am bound to say
I have made many friends during these
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 51
With poultry claims, I always begin the
business by asking when the things were taken,
and if the answer is " At night," I reply, " I am
very sorry, but I can't advise the Secretary to
pay for poultry taken at night ; you should keep
your birds shut up."
Next I ask : " What sort of footmark was
it? " If he answers, " Just like a dog's," I may
feel pretty sure it is the work of a self-hunting
dog. Few people seem to know it, but a fox's
footmark is very much like a cat's. Often the
claimant says, " Oh, we have asked the poHce-
man, and he says he is quite sure it is a fox."
Now, though I have the greatest respect for the
police force, few are able to give advice on such
Many years ago I was thoroughly taken in
myself. I had several beautiful birds taken by
a fox — ^.s- / thoiight — some were carried away,
and feathers strewn about all over the place (I
must say the whole plan was well carried out).
Several years after a man, called Bottle Thomas,
a noted poacher, was dying in the Union, and
he confessed he was the fox who had taken my
Buff Orpingtons. This same man had a dog
called the Dodger, and he knew nearly as much
as his master. When he caught a rabbit or
hare, if he met anyone in his path, he would
leave the path and make a tour of the field, until
the coast was clear. A policeman was the
Dodger's especial horror,, and he would keep a
look-out and be ready to give notice to his
master. It is astonishing how poacher's dogs
52 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
learn their business in the clever manner they
Of all persons who have sent in poultry
claims and whom from time to time I have had
to interview, I think a Lady Doctor who kept
a Home for Inebriates took the biscuit, and
made me feel small and of no importance.
" Ride," she said, " you people who come
about here think you can ride. Why, you
should see the country I used to ride over in
Australia. We used to come down drops the
height of this house."
After that I collapsed, and paid her what
It would be quite impossible to say the
amount of poultry I lose during the year owing
to the visits of my neighbour, the fox. On
Sunday, which he observes as a special feast
day, Mr. Fox went down to the pond and des-
troyed sixteen large white Aylesbury ducks;
some he ate, others he took home. The re-
mainder he buried alive Tor a more convenient
season, and my poultryman found the poor
ducks, with their legs stuck up out of the
The day following hounds met at Rayleigh.
I asked Mr. Cernegie to come and punish my
enemy. After a few moments' consideration:
"Not I," he repHed, "while the fox is eating
your things, he won't trouble other people. I
shall go to Hadleigh."
THE AUTHOR, Page 61, Vol. 1.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 53
THE ESSEX UNION HOUNDS.
(Taken from The Field),
With all its humidity, there must be some-
thing in the air of Essex that conduces to the
longevity of man, and to the preservation of
pristine vigour to a green old age. Whether
it may be the plentiful supply of ozone borne
from the North Sea across the eastern marshes,
or the many mingled odours that are wafted up
from Barking and the Thames, or the cheery
good fellowship that makes life pleasant, or the
combination of all these, I cannot pretend to
say ; but certainly few hunting fields with which
I am acquainted can boast so many veteran
sportsmen, who, in their seventh decade, are
still going with all the vigour of boys, as the
Essex Union. If it were possible to estimate
the influence of fox hunting on health, we
should probably find that it adds many more
years to the sum of human life than are taken
away by the accidents which sometimes form a
sad chapter in hunting records.
Although this article was written over thirty
years ago the same thing strikes strangers now,
and we who were going then, are the old ones
now, and pride ourselves many of us still take
a lot of beating.
If this side of the picture could only be
made clear to the dyspeptic grumblers who
denounce our sport as childish and irrational,
more of them would probably join our ranks, in
54 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
the hope of winning back something of their
boyish freshness of feeUng and fulness of
health ; at any rate, they might well envy some
veteran followers of Mr. White's pack the pos-
session of these desirable qualities. There is
Mr. Davidson, the father of the hunt, who has
apparently quite abandoned his idea of retiring
from the field, and who, after a httle rest, has
come again, as all good ones do, hale and hearty
as ever. He does not ride hard now, but his
keen enjoyment of the sport evidently does not
diminish, and one may hope that a younger
generation bearing his name will cherish an
equal enthusiasm. Mr. Robert Cotton, of
Snaresbrook, is another, in whom a youthful
fondness for the chase seems to increase with
the advance of years ; and he, unlike Mr. David-
son, goes as straight as the hardest riding man
of them all still. An Indian sun, under which
he Hved, I think, for nearly thirty years, has
apparently left no ill effects on him — it certainly
has not lessened either his activity or pluck. If
a stranger to the country should need a pilot, he
could do no better than select the " old 'un,"
from whom the hounds are never able to get
away. However fast the pace or formidable
the fences may be, he is nearly always in a good
place, and yet nobody has ever known him have
a second horse out. Knowledge of the country
and the usual run of foxes may frequently help
him to this enviable position, and enable him to
save his horse ; but nobody will say he ever
turns aside from a fair hunting obstacle to seek
the friendly aid of a road, and his quick decision
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. S5
in taking the right Hne is more like the result
of unerring instinct (I know Mr. Cotton will
object to the word) than the slow process of
fallible reason. Then there is Mr. Tom
Kemble, of Runwell, a capital preserver who in
the course of a long career has hardly ever
jumped a fence, but who has probably viewed
more foxes than any man living. Nobody ever
went faster along roads or slower over a country
than he, and no one ever held hunting for its
own sake and apart from the wild excitement of
riding, in higher esteem. If landholders in
other parts of Essex only possessed something
of the same .spirit there would not be many
coverts drawn blank. In this respect, however,
the Essex Union are exceptionally fortunate.
Unfriendly proprietors or lessees of coverts with
a fondness for pheasants rather than foxes will,
of course, always be found in any country, and
especially near London ; but they cannot long
resist the opinion of their neighbours when a
feeling in favour of fox preservation is as strong
as it is here. The example of Lord Petre has
perhaps a great deal to do with this, and it would
be a day of ill omen for hunting in South Essex
were the Lord of Thorndon Park to discontinue
the sport. Happily, however, a love of hunting
is a tradition in the family. The late Lord
Petre was master of these hounds before Mr.
Scratton's day, and the present holder of the
title, though he does not hunt now, is the
staunchest supporter in the country. Lord of
twenty thousand acres, he insists on all the
tenants within his domain preserving foxes,
56 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
indeed they all covenant to do so; and instant
dismissal would be the fate of any keeper
against whom the M.F.H. might lodge a com-
plaint. If other great landholders were to
follow this excellent example we should not hear
so much of the scarcity of foxes or of actions for
trespass against pursuers.
Sir Thomas Lennard, in the south, is
another good friend to fox hunters, whose
coverts, however well stocked with game, are
always a sure find. In fact, nearly every part of
the country can show a plentiful supply of the
red rascals, some coverts being even too well
stocked for sport; but this is a fault that will
soon be remedied if Mr. White's pack continue
to rattle them about as merrily as they have
done thus early in the season. Owing to the
fact that very httle cub hunting could be got,
foxes still run short in some of the more wood-
land parts, and those who prefer a long run and
a merry one would naturally prefer a day in the
open country about Maldon to one among the
denser coverts on the home side. Between
Hazeleigh and the Marshes is the cream of Mr.
White's country, if such a term can be apphed
to any hunting ground where there is scarcely
an acre of pasture to be found and all is deep
plough. [How very much surprised the writer
of this article would be to ride over the Union
country and find at least half of it grass. I am
sure of one thing, scent has not improved
through the change, and we ran better over the
ploughs when the place was in a high state of
cultivation than is the case in the present day.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 57
In one thing I quite agree, he has picked out
the cream of the country.] In this extensive
tract all the coverts are small and the fields big,
so that there is ample room to get away and httle
chance of being left behind in the intricate sides
of a dense wood. The foxes are wild, and
straight of neck, too, owing to their habits of
nocturnal wandering about the marshes from
distant haunts. Long runs at a good pace are
therefore the rule, and the land generally holds
such a capital scent that hounds do not often
dwell on the line. Such a country as this one
would of course select in preference to the
woodland tract if he wished to see hounds and
horsemen at their best ; but a wanderer among
many hunts cannot always select his ground,
especially at a time of year when a break
between periods of frost has to be made the
The fixture was at Billericay — not by any
means the best, and certainly not the worst,
trysting-place the Essex Union have. The
hard frost of two or three preceding days had
given place to rain, and there was so Httle
promise of pleasant weather that a small gather-
ing might well have been anticipated. " A
favourite " meet.
February 20th, 1885. Saturday. Latchingdon.
Fine day, easterly wind, looked very much
like snow early in the morning. Found in the
gorse at Asheldham, and ran to ground after a
quiet twelve minutes. Went back and found
58 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
again, took a line through the brick yard to
the Hurdles, on to Old Moon Wood, and over
the brook to Mrs. Robinson, a good thirty
minutes without a check and then slow hunting
for another eighteen minutes, and lost on Batts
Farm. Chopped a fox in Lords Wood and
went away with another up to Tathams, then
to the left to the Cliffs, but turned again before
getting there, over the Burnham road, leaving
Baker's Grove a field on our left, then a direct
line to Mayland, and lost on Mr. John Page's
farm. Altogether a very good day. Carnegie
unfortunately broke his collar bone when we
were near Bakers Grove, and had to drive
February 25th. Thursday. Sandon.
Fine day, cold N.E. wind and slight frost
last night, but not enough to prevent us making
a move at the appointed time. First drew
Flowery Wood with no result, then Chapman's
Gorse, which produced the required article.
It at first seemed as if there was no scent, but
when hounds settled, we had a good run first to
Thorny Wood and one field beyond in a
westerly direction when we bore to the right and
crossed the brook at the Sandon end of the piers
up to the road across the Bishops Park and
Chelmsford Road, through Long Spring, pas-
sing in front of Riffhams House, across a corner
of Lingwood Common, through Ling Wood,
and on as if for W. Water Common before
getting there turned to the right through
Summan Grove, then bearing left over the road
and through RatcHff Grove, skewed across the
barren farm on to W. Water Common, when
hounds hunted uncommonly well, and went
away on the Little Baddow side, up the hill
through Long Wood into Blakes, when we got
beat, having changed foxes on to W. Walter
Common. Time, one hour twenty minutes.
Later on we found in Woodham Hall, and
started as if for the Lodge Gorse, but bearing to
the right, took a line across Libcracks and over
the brook to Danbury Common, where we had
some slow hunting, but went on, leaving Gay
Bowers on our left, again over the brook, when
one noted sportsman on a grey had a thorough
ducking, up to Denmain's farm, then doubled
back towards Chapman's Gorse, and lost after
a good hunting run of fifty-four minutes.
February 27th. Saturday. Billericay.
Fine morning, white frost, easterly wind,
clouded over in the afternoon, and snowed
coming home. Did not start from home till
1 1 a.m., thinking it too hard. Met the hounds
at one o'clock, just moving off to dray Norsey ;
did not find till we got to Little Bishops, and
had a slow hunting run with a catchy scent to
Blue Hedges, on to West Hanningfield, then
Pandon, back to Bishops and Forty Acres, then
to Ramsden, and marched to ground under a
wheat-stack on the south side of the village, one
hour fifteen minutes. Trotted off to Kemble's
found three foxes in the Gorse, one of which we
6p HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
ran through Rettendon Shaw, down the side of
the Dale Farm to Mr. Kemble's, then parallel
to the Wickford road, leaving Wickford on our
left, and bore right nearly to Downham Church,
a long, fast seventeen minutes. A wide cast,
but in all round brought us to the line, but to
do no more good.
March 20th. Saturday. Billericay.
Fine day, warm, S.W. wind. Had the
Annual Hunt Meeting at 10.30, and found a
deficiency of £160 odd to be made up.
The Master was offered ^2,000 to hunt
the country next se?.soii three days a week.
Made a start soon after 11.30, drew Mill Hill
Forty acres, and found in Bishops, but had to
whip off a vixen. Afterwards found in Well
Wood, and ran for forty minutes with a very
bad scent by Downham and Bock Hill. Found
again in Pandam and had another long dragging
run to Kemble's, Wickford, More Gardens, &c.,
with no result.
April loth. Saturday. Gatwick.
Fine bright morning, but turned to heavy
rainstorms, and a strong, cold, westerly wind.
Found in an uncultivated field at Basildon, and
ran very fast for seventeen minutes to Pitsea
Mill, then slow hunting for another twenty-three
to North Benfleet Hall Wood, and lost. After-
wards found in Northland Wood, Laindon
Hills, but could not get our fox away. Rode
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 6i
home from there, twenty miles, and thoroughly
wet, but Norse came home very gay. The last
day out with our hounds this season.
Note. — I feel sure Mr. Hilton must have
been very good company during his twenty
miles ride. It was a most enjoyable day, in
spite of the rain, the only regret being it was the
last day of the season, and hunting clothes and
everything connected therewith had to be put
away for so many months. I once heard a very
ardent sportsman remark, when saying good-
night, on the last day of the season, " I wish I
could go to bed and to sleep, and not wake up
till the next cubbing season begins."
November 12th. Thursday. Latchingdon.
Dull, foggy day, small field out. Found in
Lyle Hall Wood, and ran with a good scent
through Shoreham Hall, then bore to the left
to Chas. Clarke's, on to Wrights Leys and Star
Grove, and worked slowly up to Hawes Wood,
time one hour fifteen minutes. Afterwards
found in Wright's Leys, ran to Pantile, and back
then to Fambridge Hall, over the hill to Pace-
frit, on through Purleigh Round Bush, and lost
by Purleigh pump, both runs being very good,
and not such heavy riding as we sometimes get.
December 3rd. Thursday. Stow Bullock.
Dull, drizzling day. Found in Fambridge
Hall, ran through Brook Mead to Pantile, then
to Wrights Leys, by the Rise to Purleigh How
Wood, where we lost, the scent being very bad.
Took a line again out of Fambridge Hall by
62 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Wright's Leys, and on towards the Round
Bush Grove, and on towards Mundon, but lost
before getting there. Drew Mundon Furze,
and went away over the Hall Farm on to the
marshes and saltings, crossed them and hunted
slowly on towards Mayland, but having got so
very far behind our fox in crossing the saltings,
had to give it up as a bad job. Hounds worked
very well, and Carnegie was full of life, and did
all he could to kill his fox.
December 31st. Thursday. Latchingdon.
Fine day, westerly wind. Found at first
on Batts Farm, and afterwards in the Gorse, but
could not run either of them a yard. Then
found in Old Moor Wood, went away over the
brook at a rattling pace, down the lane towards
Asheldham Rectory, then to the left over Batts
Farm, through Robinson's Grove, across the
Caidge Farm to Lords Wood, past Bakers
Grove, leaving that on our left, on to Tatham,
over Andrew's Farm, heading to Althorne
Grove, but before getting there doubled back to
Mayland Church, where we had our first check,
after a hard forty-seven minutes, then on again
past John Page's house, over the Caidge, and
into the buildings, and killed in the adjoining
field. The best day we have had.
September i6th, 1886. Thursday.
Dull, cloudy morning and east wind.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 63
Went out for the first time at 7 a.m. Drew all
the Woodham cocerts blank. Found a cub in
Woodham Lodge Gorse, but were unable to do
anything with it; then a brace in Readings
Wood, which we ran about a field, the ground
very hard and dry. The second whip had a bad
fall over a fence, landing on his head and face
through the horse not rising, and it looked Hke
a bad job.
December 6th. Monday. Rayleigh.
Dull day, strong S.W .wind. Found in
Pound Wood and ran to ground, the earths not
being stopped. Found again in a hedgerow in
Beak Hall, and ran across Rawreth Hall to
Trundels, over Stubbers Lodge, Batts Hill, to
Hockley Hall Wood, and lost in the Bull Wood.
A good run in the open for about thirty-five
December i6th. Thursday. Latchingdon.
Fine bright day, and a large field out for
the country. Drew Tile Hall, Althorne Grove
and Freemans. Found in some cabbages,
chopped one and ran the other through Althorne
Grove and on to Freemans, where we hunted
him for at least half an hour, and killed in the
wood. Found again a brace in Snoreham Hall,
and had a very good run of twenty-eight minutes
fast down to the village, then back, leaving the
wood on the left, two fields over Purleigh Barns
to the old Church, and to ground in Tile Hall,
64 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
dug out and killed. Again found in Fambridge
Hall, ran throughBrook Mead towards Wright's
Leys, but bore left through Pantile to Stow
Grove, over the hill through Hawes and King's
Grove, down to the marshes, which we ran
nearly to Green's house, then bore left to Stow
Green, where we lost. A first-rate run, the
first thirty-five minutes very fast, and the last
ten minutes fairly good. A capital day all
January 20th, 1887. Thursday. Stow.
Fine day, S.W. wind, slight frost last night.
Found in Fambridge Hall, ran over Kits Hill,
across Mr. Parkers farm, and back along the
marshes to the wood, away again over the hill
to Snoreham Hall and Tile Hall^ and lost near
Latchingdon Rectory. Went to Mundon Furze
and had a good twenty minutes across Purleigh
Burns to Fambridge Hall, where we remained
hunting in the wood for some time, but I believe
eventually went away.
February 14th. Monday. Rayleigh.
Fine day, but cloudy, N.E. wind. Found
three foxes in Hadleigh Wood. The pack
divided and ran two of them to ground, one in
the covert and one in Pound Wood. Found
another in Stones Grove, which was killed at
once, as it was not able to run, being so stiff
from a severe hustling eight days ago. Found
a third in an uncultivated field behind Gardiners
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 65
which we ran to ground under a barn, bolted it,
and had a gallop over a few fields and lost.
Fourteen miles to ride home, and the filly lame
which Bob was riding, so had to walk most of
February 21st. Monday. Hockley Bull.
Fine bright day after rain during the night.
Found in the Bull Wood, and after one ring
round it went away through the broom at the
top, and hunted well up to Pound Wood, and
eventually to ground in Hadleigh Big Wood.
Found again in the Potash, first made the Bull
Wood, where we hunted about for some time,
and then went away towards Rayleigh, bore left
to Hadleigh, through that, and Killed close to
Leigh ; or rather, a seafaring man shot our fox
as the hounds were running into it.
March loth. Thursday. Grays.
Fine bright day, cold N.E.E. wind. Drew
the Danbury coverts, Thrift, Hyde and Slough
Woods; found in Woodham Hall, and had a
long slow hunting run of two and a half hours,
hounds working very well, to the Gorse,
Reedings Wood, on to Rettendon Bell, then
Square Grove, New Wood, Hounden, Pandam,
Little Bishop, Great Bishop, then back through
Little Bishops nearly to Well Wood, where we
66 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
February 9th, 1888. Thursday.
Fine, bright day, westerly wind. Found
in Embersons, ran through Squeaking Gate and
New England, round by the Slough to the
Corporation Wood, then again through Squeak-
ing Gate and the Hall Wood, Fauxes, New
England, and or to Embersons, where we killed.
Fifty-two minutes. Found next in Hawes, and
ran fast along the brow of the hill through Caney
Wood and killed close to the " Rise." Fifteen
minutes. Found in Pantile, ran down to
Bashalts, then left to Fambridge Hall, to Brook
Mead Grove, and back to Pantile and lost again
in Wrights Leys, and killed after about ten
minutes. Then trotted to Mundon Furze and
had the best run of the day through Purleigh
Wash Grove, then fast up to Hazeleigh Hall,
through it, and over the brook to Lunbourne
Brook, then turned sharp to the right, over the
line, crossed the road by Jenkins Farm, and on
to the Furze, where he was marked to ground
after heavy going all day. A good field out.
March 8th. Thursday. Latchingdon.
Dull day, cloudy and drizzling at times.
Found in Althorne Grove and killed a field from
the covert. Then found in Batts Farm, ran
towards Asheldham as far as Dennis's, when we
turned sharp to the right to Southminster, over
the Caidges Farm to John Page's, on to Althorn
MRS. TAWKE, AGED 93, who gives an account of run.
Page 37— Vol. I.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 67
Grove and Kemps Grove, and killed on Lyie
Hall Farm. A good forty-seven minutes.
Found a^ain at Mundon Furze, started towards
Ittney, then ran nearly to Maldon, but bore to
the left west through Hazeleigh Hall, on by
Hanging Wood, through the Corporation
Wood, New England and Squeaking Gate,
where we lost after an hour and twelve minutes.
Heavy going all day. A good field out.
March 29th. Thursday. Stow Bullocks.
Fine bright morning, S.W. wind, rained
heavily in the afternoon. Found in Wright's
Leys, ran through Pantile, across the Morris
Farm, over Austin, and up the hill to Carey
Wood, then on to Partridge Farm, Dobsons and
Hove Wood, where we lost ; slow hunting run.
Found ag-ain in Mundon Furze and had a very
good run and fast over Bolts and Freeman's
Farms to the Round Bush Grove, under the
line, up to Purleigh Hall, and down to Holts
Grove, twenty-seven minutes ; then on to Haze-
leigh Hall, thirty-three minutes ; over the brook
out of the Ten acres, on to and through our
wood, through the further end of the osiers, and
over the Little Grange Farm to the Hydes,
where we lost in a very heavy shower. Time
altogether, one hour; the first twenty-seven
minutes very good.
November 8th. Thursday. Stow Bullocks.
Fine day, misty, cold easterly wind. Found
68 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
in Pantile, ran to Brook Mead, up to Norton
Hall, where the fox was headed and went back
by Wright's Leys to Norton Rectory, on to and
through The Grove, over the line to the Morris
Farm, and ran the road to Bashalts, then back
across a meadow towards Greens, and killed in
a hedgerow; time forty-five minutes. Then
went to Fambridge, and after a long turn in the
Court, ran up towards Chas. Clarke's and over
Kits Hill, where we lost in crossing a heavy
plough, so went on to Mundon, went away over
Meads Farm, over the brook towards the Stud
Farm, crossed the road between Jenkyns and
Maldon, on by a circular route to Hazeleigh
Hall, straight through the wood, and out over
our Mill Field a nd front meadow, through the
garden, then right across the farm up to Lloyds
fields, to Hazeleigh Common, where we bore to
the right to the Place, and on past Speakmans
to the Wilderness, and to Walter Rectory, where
we lost, scent failing after a good hunting run of
one hour and forty minutes, hounds and horses
having had quite enough.
This was another excellent day, which I
January 2nd, 1889, was a rare good hunting
day, and, taken as a whole, one of the best I
have seen. The scent was so good — one of
those days when hounds seem as if they must
keep on the line. The Meet was at South
Hanningfield, and the first fox was found in
Hondan. We ran over a beautiful line of country
to Woodham, and killed near Squeaking Gate.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 69
The second fox was found in Moor Gardens,
went away on the north side to Fox Earth, Well
Wood to Pandam, and on to the Glebe, where
he was lost.
I was riding a most perfect hunter called
Cypriop, and thoroughly enjoyed both runs.
The clanging- horn swells its sweet winding* notice,
The pack, wide opening, load the trembling air
With various melody.
January 15th. Meet: Shepherd and Dog.
Found in Stone's Grove ; went away at a
great pace, running for thirty minutes in the
direction of Laindon, when the fox turned down
wind ; hounds hunted well back to Wickford
Bridge, where they killed, after an hour and
twenty minutes. Grays Wood was drawn, a fox
found, ran through Misses Hole, Forty Acres,
on to Lilley Stones, through Long Wood, nearly
to the Forest, and back to ground in Swan
Wood ; time, one hour and three minutes.
Note. — Mr. Hilton says only four saw the
run, namely, himself. Colonel Kemble, Mr. C.
Parker and George Rae. The rest of the field
were thrown out through the gates being locked
and did not get a look in till Swan Wood.
January 24th. Thursday. Stow Bullocks.
Fine day, foggy in the morning. Went
straight off to Mundon Furze to start with, but
found nothing at home, then drew Snoreham
70 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Hall and on to Fambridge ; found and ran up to
Norton Hall and threw up. Afterwards found
in Caming Wood, ran along the hill side east-
ward, bearing right by Norton Rectory, through
Wrights Leys to a drain by Norton Hall, going
a good pace over the grass and washed him out
from there, ran towards Kits Hill and down the
road into Fambridge Hall, out at the other end,
past the Rectory towards the Hall Farm, then a
ring round the marshes to the left, and to ground
on Kits Hill ; dug out and killed.
Note. — I remember seeing the fox emerge
from Mr. Clarke's drain looking such a poor,
miserable, saturated little object — it took an
enormous amount of water to dislodge him, and
the drains must have been so well cleaned out
they could have required no more cleaning for
January 29th. Tuesday. Stock Ship.
Dull, wet day, S.W. wind. Found in
Temple Grove and ran with a very poor scent
to Sir Hughes at Great Baddow, but could not
make anything more of it. Found again in
Long Wood, and had a very nice run of an hour,
good hunting through Cockshill Wood, on over
Crondon Park to the Forest, where we had a
slight check, then over the road to Fox-burrow
wood, through that and Stock Ship, over Galley
wood, and past Markham Barnards house, leav-
ing it on aur right, and on to the Beehive Farm
on the Baddow Road ; killed in the wood close
by. A very enjoyable day, although so wet.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 71
February 14th. Thursday. Rettendon Bell.
Dull, showery day, S.W. wind. Found
near Square Grove, ran up to the old Rettendon
Mill and back to Square Grove, then down by
the Rectory and towards Battlesbridge. About
fifty minutes ; very httle scent indeed. Then
found in Kemble's Gorse, ran through New
Wood to Rettendon Common, across to the
brick kilns, to Scrub Wood, on to Well Wood
and Cock Wood, and lost in Beaver Wood.
Thirty-five minutes very fair run. A very
small field out, not more than twelve. I sup-
pose the snow of late prevented more from
turning up, but the snow ha dall vanished.
Charles Tabor called on his way to Retten-
don, and came galloping up to the house,
cracking his whip as no one else has cracked a
whip in the County since : " Put your habit on at
once ; I have ordered your horse — Not fit to
hunt ? — of course it is " ; and as no one ever
dreamt of disputing his commands, off I went to
dress, and we were soon jogging along the
slushy roads, and glad enough, I recall the fact,
that I did go out that day. We had a thorough-
ly enjoyable run. The ditches were rather full
of the melting snowy water. Charles Tabor
and Treacle managed to subside into one of
these as we were crossing Crows Heath, and it
took him some time to emerge, and at one
moment it seemed probable that Treacle would
have to be dug out. Fortunately the run was
nearly over by that time, and Charles Tabor
being wxt through, we said good-night and went
72 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
February 21st. Thursday. Rettendon Bell.
Dull, stormy day, northerly wind, cold
snow storms. Found in Embersons, but got on
to heel line, then went away from Jackets,
through Squeaking Gate to Rank Wood, over
Flamberts Farm to Corporation Farm, doubled
over Walton Hall and Dobson's Farm, down by
the Rise at Norton, with a trace of foxes in
front of us and into Wright Leys, where we
were unable to make anything of it, then put up
a fox by Brookmead Grove, ran it across the
Rookery Farm and into Fambridge Hall Wood,
out again, over the road without dwelling, and
up to Norton Hall, ajid on towards the Three
Ashes, but was headed back on the top of the
hill to Wright's Leys, and went to ground in
earth ; dug out and killed.
March 4th. Monday. North Benfleet Pump.
Fiji^e bright day, sharp frost last night,
N.E. to S.E. winds. Found when we got to
the Meet that hounds were not coming out on
account of frost, but would go out later if anyone
went to the Kennels. We then rode on there,
four Kembies and two selves, and picked up
Marshall, found Carnegie and got him to come
out at about one p.m. Drew Mups Hole and
Crags Hill, and found in Forty Acres, ran the
whole leng^th of the wood and on to Little and
Great Bishops, then away for Stock, past Lilly-
stones, through Whiteswood and heading for
Rook Wood, when the fox was viewed about
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 73
two fields from the brook, made a right turn up
through Long Wood, then through Turk's
Wood, over Webster's Farm, round by Swan
Wood, and killed in Turk's Wood. One hour
and three minutes nice hunting run, only about
ten people out, and well repaid for our trouble
in going to the Kennels.
March 14th. Thursday. W. M. Oak.
Cloudy day, with sun at intervals and a
Httle drizzle in the afternoon. Cold northerly
wind. Found in the Hyde Woods, ran one to
ground and another up to Danbury, over the
Common, across the brook to Chapman's Gorse,
on to Slough Wood, then Hanging Wood and
Hazeleigh Hall, back to Hanging Wood, where
we lost, the hounds having divided. Time, one
hour and ten minutes. Found again later in
Mundon Furze, ran by Purleigh Wash, through
the Wash Grove to Hazeleigh Hall Wood, then
back over Jenkins and the Stud Farm to the
Furze, but lost before getting there ; time forty-
five minutes. Galloping all day and quite
enough for horses, the scent at the first being
March 28th. Thursday. Latchingdon.
Fine, bright day, westerly wind. Found
in Althorne Grove, ran fast through Kemps
Grove and over the hill to Althorne Church,
where it was more or less all up. Drew Lords
Wood, and found in the Gorse, ran down to
74 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Dengie and along below Tillingham to Marks
Farm, and to ground in a pollar dtree ; got him
out and went merrily for five or ten minutes, and
again to ground in a bank on Mark Farm, from
which we got him out and killed, an old dog fox.
A large field out and several from the East
Essex country, forming a goodly throng. If I
mistake not, amongst them were the Colvins,
Mr. and Mrs. Luke Hill,— he is High Sheriff
this year — and Mrs. Townsend — always such
excellent company. I only wish her health
would allow her to come out with us now.
ESSEX UNION POINT TO POINT
On Tuesday, April 9th the steeplechase of
this Hunt came off at Laindon. The Master
had selected a capital course on Mr. Harrison's
land. The line was of an oblong form, extend-
ing^ from Great Gubbins to Wootton's Farm,
parallel to the Tilbury railway, a liberal four
miles, nearly all grass, with fair hunting fences.
There were seven entries for the Subscribers'
race. Mr. Secretary did not run his black
horse ; indeed, rumour suggested that his horse
had abandoned the chase for a melancholy
calling especially suited to his speed and colour.
Dr. Marshall jumped off with the lead, which he
retained almost to the end, on Mr. Jones'
" NobiHty," closely followed by Mr. Stallibrass
on his horse, " Fisherman," and Mr. Blackburn's
" Morning Glory," ridden by Mr. Tippler, while
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 75
the van was composed of Mr. Landen's
" Parchment," with Mr. Payne up, Mr. Russell's
two horses, and Miss Tawke's " Conspiracy,"
ridden by Mr. Manley Baker. With the last-
named gradually drawing up to the leading two,
when three parts of the course had been com-
pleted, it was evident that an interesting race
would follow. The last two fences were in and
out of the lane leading to Laindon Church, and
from the winning field it looked as if all four
horses were in the lane together, but here
Morning Glory blundered, almost coming down,
and Mr. Tippler lost a stirrup, and, after an
exciting finish that is not often witnessed at the
end of a four miles cross country race. Con-
spiracy just won by a neck from Morning Glory,
Fisherman, barely a length behind, third, and
old Nobility, close up, fourth. Parchment next,
and the other two horses completing the course.
The Farmers' Race also produced seven
starters. Mr. Stallibrass, on his horse, Nebu-
chadnezzar, cut out the work for the great part
of the race, with Mr. Goodchild on his chestnut
mare, " Countess," and Mr. Payne on Mr.
Rogers' mare, " Radwintee," in close attend-
ance ; at a short interval came Mr. Richardson's
" Peter," ridden by Mr. Blyth, Mr. Blackburn
on his " General," Mr. Gardner's " Tormentor,"
ridden by Mr. HiUiard, and Mr. Davis's horse,
which fell early in the race. Half a mile from
the winning field Nebuchadnezzar had shot his
bolt, and the race seemed to lay between
Countess and Radwinter, when, just before
reaching the last obstacle, Peter, coming along
76 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
with a wet sail, collared them both, and won the
cup and ;^20 by a length from Countess, Rad-
winter being a good third, the three remaining
horses passing the post not far behind. Both
victories were most popular. Mr. Carnegie has
no keener follower, and few ride straighter to
hounds than Miss Tawke, and it was a really
good performance of the little mare to carry
3 stone 7 lbs. in excess of the weight she was
accustomed, and win in such company. Mr.
Richardson, too, is a pillar of strength to the
Hunt in the Woodham country, where the cup
he won will doubtless be the medium of wishing
success to for hunters for some time to come.
The mare. Conspiracy, was not what you
would describe as the pleasantest of hunters.
At times she was a briUiant performer, and you
could depend on her to carry you well in front
in the fastest of runs. She could gallop, but
unfortunately Conspiracy had her bad days.
Perhaps when you least expected she would
land on her head at the easiest of places, and if
she started like that you might be pretty sure
she would go on making mistakes all day ; and
so it was a tremendous surprise when she won
the cup which has stood on the middle of my
dining room table ever since.
Training Conspiracy was an occupation
which entirely met with my approval.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 77
Every day Manley Baker, mounted on the
mare, and myself on Tiger (some one asked a
friend of mine if this horse, Tiger, could jump).
" Jump ? I should say he can ; he can cHmb a
tree or go down a well." But there was one
thing Tiger could not bear, and that was a plain,
simple hurdle ; he would sooner push his way
through the blackest and ugHest of fences before
he would jump a hurdle, and many a time I have
been simply furious — he would canter up : when
I thought I was going all right, he would stand
still and with his head hanging over the top —
and yet such a horse to ride through a run I
have never known ; nothing tired him. He
knew all about hunting, and turned with hounds
like a knife, and he was always right. It was a
pleasure to stand at the corner of a covert
waiting for the fox to break. I knew at once
when the fox was away ; he caught sight of him
long before I did, and he would keep as still as
a mouse till hounds were well on the line ; then
away he went with a bound, and I don't think
it would have been an easy job to stop him.
But, to go back to Conspiracy : Tiger rather
looked down on her performance, but he did his
best to help her. The time I write of was
twenty-two years ago, when there was only one
house between Hockley House and Stone's
shop, and we could scamper over the fields and
fences as we pleased; and from Hockley Hall
Wood to Murrel's Farm there was nothing but
big, black fences. Manley Baker was always
considered a first-rate man on a horse, and there
is no doubt about it : he rode the race well.
78 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
December 23rd. Monday. Burnham.
Fine, bright, warm day, westerly wind.
Hounds came down by train. Drew Lords
Wood, and found a good fox, which gave us an
hour's gallop; went away on the Burnham side
of the road, then bore right to Baker's Grove,
right again, heading for John Page's, over the
Caidge Farm to Mr. Robinson's Grove, over
the road up to Dennis's Farm, then down to
Asheldham Bridge, up the road, then left to
Old More, up at the back of Jack Page's house
and through Frank Page's garden, tried the
earth on the other side of the road, then on to
the West Old More, but finding that too hot,
made back to the earth by the road-side, where
we killed. The first half-hour very good
indeed. Found afterwards a brace in the
Gorse, but could not make anything of it.
January i8th, 1890. Saturday. Billericay.
Fine day, cold S.W. wind. Found in
Norsey Wood, and ran down to White Bridge
and on to Noak Wood, where we marked a fox
to ground, but I believe not our hunted one ;
dug him out, and had a good run from here of
forty-five minutes, and almost a straight line
through Stone's Grove and over a nice^ bit of
country to Thundersley, and lost when we got to
the road by Mr. Belcham's house, just going
MR. CHARLES TABOR ON TREACLE, Page 43. Vol L
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 79
January 30th. Thursday. Bicknace.
Fine day after rain during the night ; N.W.
wind. Drew the Though and Hydes without
finding. Found in our wood, ran across to
Hazeleigh Hall, and nearly twice round the
wood, then broke towards the Box Iron, on to
Hanging Wood, over Burchwood Farm by the
marsh pits and heading as if for the Slough
Wood, but turned to the right and was run into
one field from the West Hyde ; time, thirty-six
minutes. We afterwards found in New Eng-
land, ran up through Squeaking Gate, then back
and through the Hall Wood, over Woodham
Lodge Farm, across Plgaes and the Rettendon
Farm (Parkers), then back by Hyde Hall, over
the Hyde Hall, over the hill by Woodham, on
by Embersons, where we had some pretty
music for several minutes, then away on the
track of the foxes through Squeaking Gate,
New England, Fawkes and into Woodham
Hall, where hounds were completely puzzled
and lost their fox. Altogether a nice run of
one hour thirty-six minutes.
February i8th. Monday. Shepherd and Dog.
Fine, bright day, frost in morning, easterly
wind. Picked up a fox on our way back to
Noak Wood with a snare on ; dispatched that,
and did not find in the wood. Sent one off a
hedgerow near Moor Gardens, which went into
and through the wood nearly to Rettendon
Church, then turned sharp back to the right
through Flemings Wood, then Well and Cocks
8o HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Wood, on to Misses Hole, Grays Wood and
Norsey, down by Gatwick, and again through
Grays Wood, where I left them as they were
not doing much, but the first part of the run was
fairly good. Garnegie had a fall, his horse
coming over backwards at an uphill jump, and
one man, a friend of Hapthams, broke his
horse's back — so it appeared at the time, but I
heard afterwards that it was a fit, and that the
horse got all right again.
Note. — I saw Mr. Garnegie's horse in the
ditch just off the Grange Downham, from the
take-off side. Only the horse's ears were
visible. Besides being an uphill jump, with the
ditch — a very deep one — on the landing side,
and the bank level with the line, I always con-
sider it to be one of the nastiest fences in the
Essex Union country. Taken the other way
about, though a very deep drop, it is not nearly
Few persons remember it is only by the
goodness of the farmers that we ride over the
land at all. And if the hunting world would
only recognise this fact and let it be seen by the
farmers that they do so, there would be less
friction. Personally I have always met with the
greatest courtesy, but then I think I may say I
have always felt the deep obligation we owe to
the farmers and landowners whose land we
cross, and I have often wondered how they put
up so patiently with crowds of persons tearing
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 8i
across their land as though the whole place
belonged to them. Only a few days ago a
fellow worker of mine was deploring how
thoughtless the hunting men are, and he got
insufficient support to keep up the wire fund he
had worked so hard to raise.
Talking of wire, the first time I heard of
such a thing was in a letter from Captain White,
telling me the astounding news of Bashall Farm,
Woodham (over which we had enjoyed so many
good runs) falling into the hands of a man who
had wired up every fence, and made a regular
bird cage of the place.
Shortly after, one warm sunny day, we had
come to a check on the grass hill behind the
buildings. Up came the occupier, and after a
shower of abuse, he addressed himself princi-
pally to Mr. Oxley Parker (he was High Sheriff
that year), and the wrathful man little knew that
he was addressing the greatest man for the time
being in the County. "And as for you," he
said, " you, the oldest of the lot, ought to be
ashamed of yourself." Mr. Parker only
beamed on him, as though our irate friend was
saying everything that was courteous and
It is comforting to know that after many
years the farm is in the hands of a real sports-
man. Not only has the way been made easy
for us, but, better still, Mr. Hollington hunts
Mr. Parker and my father were at the same
school, and boys were not fed as they are now.
My father used to tell us how hungry the boys
82 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
were, they were glad to catch mice and roast
them in the candle. I am bound to say neither
of them had the appearance of having been
starved in their youth. The friendship, began
over the roast mouse suppers, continued until
my father's death.
At Laindon Hills there was an irate farmer.
He was standing on a bank, ready with his gun
to stop any one of the field who might venture
over the fence. " I shall shoot the first man
who comes." A young barrister (now a Judge
— I wonder if he remembers the incident.^)
riding one of Mulvaney's hirelings known as
" Patent Safety," thus addressed him.
" Ah, my good man, you want to shoot ?
You can start on me. Now then, shoot away."
The man was so taken aback, all his anger
and importance passed away.
"Come on," he said, "I don't mind you,
and such as you may go where you Hke." The
last we saw of him was in the most friendly con-
versation with the Barrister from town.
Another incident of the same sort took
place near Tile Wood, Hadleigh. A gallant
sportsman was pursued by the angry owner
armed with a pitchfork, who called out to a boy
who was with him, " Shut the gate, boy, we have
got one of them."
He was rather taken aback when his
prisoner quietly turned his horse round and was
over the fence by the side before the would-be
jailor had time to say " knife." He had quite
overlooked the fact that the man and horse he
had to deal with were hard to beat over any
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. S3
country, and stiff indeed must be the fence to
stop that pair.
On another occasion, Kving on the edge of
a wood, whose yard we constantly pass through,
we found him in furious altercation with a local
tradesman, whom he refused to allow to pass
through his gate, and we were all kept prisoners.
At last I went to him and asked permission to
come out. " Yes, yes, you can come," and he
let several of us through, but the tradesman had
to retire defeated, the farmer explaining, " I
don't mind the head 'uns, like you ; but ting-
tang things like he I won't have through my
place for anybody."
Once at Cold Norton some people from
Maldon hired a few acres of land and most an-
noying they were one day when hounds were
running hard, they came out with sticks and
stopped the entire field ; but one of our party,
more diplomatic than the rest, produced golden
ointment which quickly appeased their wrath,
and we were allowed to proceed. I believe the
gentlemen were retired sweeps — at least, so I
FOX IN A BOX.
I was going one morning to meet the
hounds at Billericay, and, as I had often
done before, I took a fox in a box (at the
time I speak of foxes ran about the Bull Woods
like mice, and the Master was glad to make
84 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
sure of a run for a Saturday field).
There was a fresh ticket boy at Hockley
Station, and he had not got accustomed to
my ways. He said, " You have got to pay
for this." I replied, " No, it is my personal
luggage." " Well," he answered, 'Hts alive!'
" MISS GRACE."
One of the best hunters I have had was a
Httle grey mare called Grace. I picked her up
for a mere song. She belonged to a local
butcher, and was too gay to carry the meat out
on his rounds in safety. He bought her at
Aldridge's — she had been too much for her
former owner. Soon after I had her I dis-
covered what a real good sort she was, but she
required understanding. I found a noseband
which shut off the wind most useful. After a
few seasons I could hold her with a thread, but
though it was quite loose Grace knew in a
moment if the noseband had been left ojff.
Grace was one of the most wonderful
stayers I ever came across; she was only 14-2,
and the butcher used to win all the little local
races with her. I used to ride her with the Stag
Hounds, and if I shook her up I knew I could
pass almost anything out ; she bounded over the
biggest places as though they were gutters.
During the first summer the butcher and
his friends came and asked me if I could lend
her to them to pull off the local races as usual.
No doubt I was to " stand in," but I declined
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 85
with thanks. Grace was just losing all her
nasty little tricks — and she had some. I rode
her for several seasons, and then she became a
victim to rheumatism, and, much to my regret,
I was obliged to give up riding her.
She now lies buried in the gravel pit with
several other of my other favourites ; but before
she went to her long rest she had several foals.
One was a beauty, just like herself; she was
broken in at home, as were all our young horses,
and when she was supposed to be fit for me to
ride, one fine spring morning I went out alone
with her into the Bull Woods. I walked up and
down path after path, and was just considering
how very comfortably we were getting on to-
gether, when a bird flew up ; the mare gave a
bound, and off came my hat, and, as luck and
carelessness would have it, the guard was too
long and the hat bumped on her back; off she
tore, entirely regardless of paths ; on she went,
straight through the high wood, as fast as she
could go, with my hat dangling on her back all
the way. As long as I live I shall never forget
that ride. We got to the edge of the wood at
last, and I managed to guide her into a swampy
lane, where she was up to her knees in mud and
was obliged to come to a standstill. There I
found two boys gazing at the spectacle I pre-
sented ; from them I borrowed a knife and cut
off the hat which had done all the mischief, and
proceeded to turn the mare back into the wood,
and walked slowly home. All went well till we
got into the meadow ; then she took the bit in
her teeth, and away she went straight to the
86 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Stable-yard. Mercifully she turned into the
yard in safety, and still more fortunately the
stable door was closed. My groom heard us
coming, and in his fright shut himself in the
harness room, fearing what he might see. My
face was streaming with blood.
The result of this incident was my people
made me promise not to mount the mare again,
and so I was obliged to let her go.
I must now say a word or two in praise of
Busvine's habits. I believe I am right in sur-
mising, the excellent safety skirt invented by
that firm was mainly due to an accident which
occurred to my cousin. She was following her
husband, and in jumping a fence she was swept
out of the saddle by a branch. Her husband,
quite unconscious of what had happened, was
riding on ahead. Just as he was getting to the
next fence, he looked back, and to his horror
saw his wife hanging from her saddle, head
downwards. She was taken to a farmhouse,
where she remained for ten weeks in a most
critical condition, and with three doctors in
attendance. I can vouch for the safety and
comfort which is derived by wearing Busvine's
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 87
I consider Messrs. Champion & Wilton's
saddles are quite the most comfortable, and if
you have one of their foremen down to point
out to your groom the exact spot where the
saddle should be placed, you stand very little
chance of a sore back ; and with the patent
stirrup it is most unlikely you will find yourself
in the very undesirable position of hanging
head downwards if your horse makes a mistake.
Before all these comforts of safety stirrups
and patent skirts were invented, Charles Tabor
used to say, " It's fortunate you have a tidy pair
of boots ; I see them nearly as often as your
hat." And his remark brings me to the subject
of boots. I can safely say, nothing can compare
with the comfort of Messrs. Hartley's boots; if
you get a pinch in a gateway or against a tree,
you never see mto feel it.
There can be but one opinion of the hats
made by Messrs. Robert Heath & Co., of
Knightsbridge — they don't come off at the first
fence, and you don't get a headache.
One's comfort is very much increased by
getting clothes from establishments where they
thoroughly understand the business.
88 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
LONG HAT GUARDS.
A gentleman I was once teaching to ride
did not understand when I told him how danger-
ous it was to have too long a hat guard. One
day his horse gave a jump ; off went his hat and
bumped on the horse's back, w4th the result that
up went her heels, and off went the rider over
I never forget the first time he jumped a
fence. I cantered down a field in front of him,
very well knowing the horse he was riding would
follow mine anywhere ; but, to my horror, when
I looked round, there he was flat on the ground
in the middle of the road, and the mare standing
looking at him in the greatest surprise. He did
not get up for some moments, and I feared the
worst. One thing I was certain he would say:
" No more jumping for me ! " but he didn't.
When at last he discovered the fact that he was
lying in the middle of the road, he merely said,
" I am rather glad ; it is a new experience."
But I was angry with him once ; when we were
in the middle of a good run, he not only fell off,
but pulled the bridle off at the same time.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 89
HER MAJESTY'S HOUNDS IN THE
(Taken from The Field),
Ever since the days of the great Meynall,
Leicestershire has been considered to be first
and foremost of all other counties when con-
sidered as a district suited for fox-hunting. Its
prestige has been sustained up to the present
day in that respect, although it has laboured
under many difficulties. At one time the
plough threatened to invade the " Siberian
waste of grass " ; iron in another form is at this
moment putting its unwelcome mark upon the
country in the form of many, and — as sportsmen
think — uncalled for railways. Racing masters
of hounds, political masters of hounds, many
other varieties of M.F.H.'s., have all had a share
in letting the glories of the Shires diminish;
still, like a phoenix, Leicestershire raises lier
head after each apparently extinguishing blow,
and the conclusion at which we arrive, is that
there are worse places from which to hunt than
But it is as a fox-hunting country that the
reputation of Leicestershire has been made.
Harriers are unknown in the county, though by
means of earnest research I discovered that a
pack of harriers had once, in the dark ages,
existed somewhere near Melton; but to whom
90 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
they belonged, or what they did, and where they
hunted, seemed to be circumstances so buried in
obHvion that your Commissioner was fain to
give up his inquiries on that subject in despair
— despair mitigated by the reflection that his
present mission was to describe the pursuit of
another animal than Lepus timidus — an animal
with which " timidus " has nothing in common,
saving a posthumous connection with the
currant jelly pot — and so to business.
Whose fertile brain first suggested a stag
hunt in the Melton country this deponent sayeth
not, for the very best of good reasons. How-
ever, a stag hunt is now a fait accompli, and
with it we have to deal for the edification of
future generations. How the idea originated
remains at present a mystery. Still a notion
was widely disseminated that a chasse au cerf
would be a desirable finish to an unusually
severe season. At first (as I am informed)
there was a notion that Lord Wolverton would
import his blood hounds, and so give the gilded
youths of Melton one more chance of breaking
those necks by which they appear to set so little
store. But that idea fell through, not unreason-
ably, as the blood hounds had been enjoying a
long holiday, their master having spent most of
the season at Melton, and any collision between
them and the " customers " was considered un-
desirable. Then came, so I am told, a sugges-
tion in which the pack of harriers and a deer
figured harriers to be imported from a neigh-
bouring country. This notion also fell
through ; and if the Master of the said harriers
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 91
values them at all, he is rather a subject to con-
gratulation. Fancy harriers with a fragrant
stag before them, and Melton — ^well, I won't
say behind, but rather on top of them.
" A different hound," says Somerville, " for
different chases select," or words to that effect ;
but in his day the hound had only to consider
the game in front of him. Now his thoughts
are divided: for if he has any instinct of self-
preservation, the customer behind must com-
mand a certain amount of his attention. So the
harrier idea was abandoned, and for a time no
sta^ hunt loomed in the future. However,
Lord Hardwicke came to the rescue, and only
asking that the hunt servants should be
mounted, volunteered to bring down Her
Majesty's hounds and deer, and solve the long
unanswered problem as to whether the Melton
district is a good stag-hunting country. The
eccentric Lord Waterford used, when at Losely
to run red deer from time to time with a pack
which were not very particular about what might
be before them, as may be inferred from the fact
that they once had a capital gallop after the
village parson, whose pony's feet had been sur-
reptitiously perfumed with aniseed. In later
days, on the Donnington side of the Quorn
country, the late Marquis of Hastings used to
have an occasional stag hunt with the harriers
which he kept before taking the Quorn hounds,
but it does not appear that he did particularly
well at that game ; and with these exceptions,
stag hunting has always been, from one cause or
another, as rigorously excluded from Leicester-
93 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
shire as Don Giovanni and Leporello would
have been from a young ladies seminary at
Clapham, the mistress of which knew the gentle-
men in question and their pecuHar idiosyn-
crasies. However, stag hounds have now had,
like other dogs, their day, and this day has to be
The present winter has been a most trying
one to everybody. From the swell whose
stud of priceless nags has been put hors de
co7nbat by the deep ground, to the city clerk
whose accounts for omnibus fares on rainy days
form a prominent item, all sorts and conditions
of men have suffered from the continued down-
pour — excepting perhaps Club hall porters, who
never leaving their posts are presumably inde-
pendent of weather. Well, everyone thought
Jupiter Pluvis, after such an innings would have
been content; but no! on Tuesday night he
began again, and what between him and
Aquarius, half the low grounds were under
water on Tuesday. Rivers were great locustrine
districts; brooks, rivers; ditches were brooks;
furrows ditches, and so on. A sort of general
brevet had gone forth promoting every obstacle
in which water had a share. All this was
against stag hunting, as a deer generally is no
more fond of deep going that is a horse, and
being (unlike the latter) free to choose his own
course, is not unlikely to leave the fields and
betake himself to a friendly road and follow it
for miles, to the joy of the funkers, the discom-
fiture of the hounds, and the disappointment of
the hard riders. Yes, there is an uncertainty
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 93
even in the delights of stag hunting. There are
very few " morals " going nowadays (in any
sense of the word), and those who get hold of
them are usually ungenerous enough to keep
the knowledge of them strictly to themselves ;
let us hope that such selfishness will never
These and many other such thoughts
chased each other through your Commissioner's
brain, as he proceeded to Barleythorpe on
Tuesday, April loth. " Water, water every-
where," after the night's rain ; but the rest of the
quotation would have been singularly inappro-
priate, as, on arrival at the meet, it became
obvious to the meanest capacity that no man,
thanks to Lord Lonsdale's hospitaHty, need go
away either thirsty or fasting. The morning
was very warm, and after a gallop of several
miles to the fixture, a glass of champagne cup
was by no means a thing to be despised ; in fact,
it came as natural as it does in the five minutes
of excitement preparatory to the start of the
Ascot Cup. What reminds us of Ascot, I
wonder? Ah, of course. Lord Hardwicke, with
green coat and golden couples. And now let
us look at the pack and their attendants. Four-
teen and a half couples " mixed " are the
hounds, and a mixed pack never, unless in a five
days a week estabHshment, looks quite level.
Out of sixty couple, a huntsman can select little
dogs and bitches to run together, with the ad-
mirable results seen in the Belvoir country.
Connoiseurs also criticise the hounds as being
fat. Well, they are fatter than fox hounds
94 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
usually are ; but they are not going to hunt a
fox. We shall see presently what they can do.
Now look at the officials and their remarkably
splendid dress. I always admire the dress of
the Queen's hunt servants. It is not that I
have not seen many fine clothes in the course of
a rather long, and I trust not altogether ill-spent
Suffice it to say that all Melton was there
with the exception of Lord Grey de Wilton (on
the sick list) ; all the Cottesmore Hunt ; all Mr.
Tailby's champions, led by himself, whilst a
special train brought those Quornites whose
lines have fallen on the Forest side. Of ladies
there are many. Shall we try and name them?
Lady Wilton, Lady Florence Dixie, Lady Grey
de Wilton, Mrs. Younger, Mrs. C. Chaplin,
Mrs. Molyneaux, Miss Elmhurst, Mrs. Feather-
ston Dilke, Miss Dixie, Mrs. Featherstonhaugh,
Misses Markham (2), Mrs. Tryon, Mrs. Henry,
Miss Paget, Mrs. Candy, Mrs. Stanley, Miss
Chaplin, and no end of others. Now there is a
stir in the crowd, the deer cart appears, not
unlike a station omnibus, barring the colour,
with a verderer upon the box, whose costume of
bright green velvet confers dignity upon the
otherwise almost homely-looking vehicle. After
the fashion of the Horse Artillery's " Hak,"
" Action front," the deer cart presents its latter
end to the country, its face to the field ; the door
opens, and out he comes. He is by name the
Baron — a noted red deer. Looking with iTl-
concealed contempt upon the assemblage, and
cutting his old friend the verderer dead, the
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 95
Baron trots off, looking rather rudely from side
to side, with an expression which clearly states
his opinion that the present company is not
good enough for him. An open gate lets him
out of the first field ; the next is bounded by a
fair hunting fence. Approaching it no faster
than he would do if his intention were to browse
upon it, he makes a half halt, and as we wonder
what his game is, he rises in the air like a rocket
and vanishes over the hedge. Now commences
a stampede. Down the road go traps of all
descriptions encircled by crowds of excited and
incompetent horsemen. A gold-laced ofhcial
follows the stag, and his mission is a subject of
great speculation amongst the populace. He
does nothing much, however, and at length
stands still, the centre of an awe-struck and
admiring crowd, omne ignotum pro magnifico.
At length and at last the hounds are laid on, and
something less than a score of horsement start
with them. The rest are staring at the yeoman
pricker, or whatever the man may be called who
has been, as it were, wishing the deer bon
voyage. As a rule the hounds are stopped at
the place where the deer has showed his heels
to the ofJficial ; but on this occasion, plenty of
law having been given, and scent seeming in-
different (indeed, the ground was foiled with
hares and sheep, besides horses), hounds went
on, and the fun began.
Two or three friendly gates produced com-
petition rather than politeness. A fair stake-
and-bound fence, however, put matters a little
to rights ; and Lord Carington sets a good
96 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
example by jumping some rails by a gate which
is being opened, the hounds running on at a fair
pace, and with more music in one field than the
Meynell Ingram hounds or Belvoir bitches
would show forth in a season. Some say that
tail hounds have no business to throw their
tongues ; but to-day we had fourteen and a half
couple, all told, and they probably all felt the
scent. This sort of thing goes on for a long
time, the next object of interest being one of
Her Majesty's men rolling his gold lace in the
mud, but a rustic catches his horse, and though
apparently the worse, he progresses gamely.
Ranksborough is on our right, and a nasty
scramble into, and a nastier flounder out of, a
strip of plantation, lands us in an immense grass
field studded with ant-hills, below Overton Park
Wood. A semi-check hit off by the hounds,
and down the hill we rattle. The fence at the
bottom is vulgarity personified! an overflowed
ditch to yon, a bit of bank too narrow for a horse
to " double " off, and a stake-and-bound fence
beyond. Sir John Kaye, on a neat little brown
horse, flies the lot — it is clearly practicable,
though unpleasant. " Come up horse," we are
well over ; and with a rush like that of a round
shot, a young lady charges the fence, and lands
by our side. The majority diverge, but on go
the hounds. Not carrying a head, though — not
running " franctic for blood " — but going along
with their heads in the air, and (may we suggest
such a notion ?) tailing a bit — yes, tailing, as we
leave a wood (Chesildene's Coppice, I'm tol3)
on the right, but running merrily down a hill
MRS. BENSON ON BULLY, Page 57, Vol. 1,
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 97
beyond. The first flight with red faces and
sobbing horses — for the ground is deeper than it
is possible to reaUse that grass can be — swoop
down to an overflowed brook. Well, when all
Melton and all " Tailbyshire " turn away from a
place it may be considered objectionable. Is it
wise then for a lady, however brave, to charge
an obstacle which has been avoided by good
men and true ? " But then these charming
women will do just as they please," says the
songster. A few moments of anxiety, a very
drenched habit and etceteras, and no harm done,
luckily! Meanwhile, the hounds have shot
ahead, Launde Abbey being left to the right ;
the deer goes into but immediately emerges
from Launde Wood. Here a few hounds
slipped their companions, so a check is caused
some way beyond the wood and opposite
Belton. Who is there with the hounds? It is
invidious to name names no doubt! Still, for
the information of future ages, we will look
round and count noses. Fifty minutes up to
now, and over eight miles from point, let alone
the angle formed by running up to Langham
and turning thence to the left. Well, who is
here? Mrs. Dilke and Miss Dixie, the noble
Master, Goodall, one whip. Lords Averdone
and Carrington, Messrs. Samuda, Fludyer,
Creyke, Powell and Parker, Captains Boyce,
Coventry, Candy, Kings, Atkinson and Ashton,
and indeed the Hst is swelling each moment, for
the hounds are really in a difficulty now. A
holloa is heard in the distance, but the huntsman
ignoring it, casts to the left and back, then down
98 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
the hill to the right with no result. A whip has
careered away meanwhile towards the holloa,
and succeeds in stopping the hounds which had
slipped on. Meanwhile, up come the second
horses and the tail generally. On again though
at a much reduced pace, below Belton, and so
for AUerton. The deer has run the Uppingham
road for a bit, but deserts it gain. By Ayston,
with more holloaing than hunting, and at last,
and for the first time since the start, the deer is
viewed by the pursuing horsemen. He takes
matters easily enough, though running on for
Glaston. Here the huntsmen being away for a
minute, Lord Hardwicke takes hold of the
hounds, and gives them a lift, assisted by Neil
and Goddard, of the Cottesmore. Tom Firr is
handy but in plain clothes and strictly en
amateur. On and on by a new railway to an
overflowed brook in the valley. Here the deer
stops, but breaks away on the arrival of the
hounds. Hounds and deer are all together in
Gaston Gorse, but the deer coming out alone
delivers himself over some high timber, and
stops in the water again. Excited officials and
amateurs wade into the water, regardless of their
boots and breeches, but the Baron isn't caught
yet. Up the opposite hill he canters, and the
Now we arrive at another village, Wing by
name, and the deer takes up his position on a
heap of stones that place him nearly on a par
with the top of a high wall overlooking a farm-
yard, and throws up the sponge. Now to take
him! The gold-laced officials approach, the
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 99
hounds being kept well away. They throw
ropes at him, with very indifferent success, for
some time. Finally the deer is lassoed, two
ofhcials upset, and then the hounds are intro-
duced to the stranger who has led them such a
dance. Who- whoop! the performance is over,
and the visit of Her Majesty's hounds to the
Shires is a thing of the past. Time, two hours ;
distance, as the hounds ran, quite fifteen miles,
the run being in the form of a semi-circle. This
being the day on which a testimonial was to be
presented to the Duke of Rutland was unlucky,
as the Belvoir sportsmen were unavoidably
absent. Now shall we criticise the day's per-
formance ? It was a good run ; the deer was
unusually stout and bold ; Goodaal was well with
his hounds throughout. The hounds were, of
course, hardly in trim to cross so severe a
country — for a severe country tries hounds as
well as horses — and they certainly seemed
blown at times. The fences, too, puzzled them,
as may well be imagined. That they were
pressed upon is undubitable, yet they ere better
treated in this respect than Leicestershire fox-
hounds usually are, and they ought to be used
to being over-ridden. Had this run been with
foxhounds, and ended with a kill, it would have
been a very different hunting run, but the pace
was certainly not equal to the pace of foxhounds
in the Shires on a good scenting day. Still it
was a most enjoyable outing. There were lots
of falls and lots of fun, and the best thanks of
the Meltonians are due to Lord Hardwicke for
his spirited conduct in affording such a day's
lOo HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
amusement to the members of three hunts.
Altogether the chase was a great success. The
crowd was not overwhelming, the fixture having
been kept dark, and the field, though large, was
not troublesome to those who meant going after
the first mile or so. Another season is over;
boots and breeches must be put away, horses
summered or sold, and hunting forgoten by all
save Masters and huntsmen until next season.
Amongst the many interesting persons I
came across was Colonel Burnaby, Grenadier
Guards, cousin to t-he man who wrote " The
Ride to Khiva." The Colonel had distin-
guished himself in the Crimea, and Kingslake
devotes te npages to him. He was founder of
the Military Tournament. He has joined the
majority years ago, but he would be surprised to
find what an important function the MiHtary
Tournament has become.
Colonel Burnaby was not by any means a
hard man. You rarely saw him in difficulties,
and he managed to enjoy himself. He was
excellent company — a thorough man of the
world. One thing (which is perfectly true) he
used to say : " If you want to make yourself
agreeable to your company, never talk of what
is interesting to yourself ; but discover, if
possible, the subject which is most congenial to
Lady Florence Dixie was another most
remarkable individual ; she used to go like " old
boots " — not always, perhaps, with the soundest
judgment. She was very bright and cheery.
I remember one occasion when my hair came
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. lo;
down (that was before I learnt the secret how to
look calm and collected at the end of the day).
Lady Florence : " Why in the world don't you
have your hair cut short Hke mine ? "
Later on there was a terrible fuss over her
ladyship's head-dress. Queen Victoria refused
to allow my lady to appear at the Drawing-
room without the orthodox plumes.
Another fair lady was Mrs. Sloane Stanley
— and how lovely she was, with such perfect
hands and seat ; never in difficulties, and always
in the ri^ht place.
But I must not forget our own countryman
— one of whom we may all be proud. At eighty
years old Mr. Wingfield Baker could sail over
the Shires with the best. I remember him on
a smart little brown horse without the slightest
hesitation jumping as nasty a stile as you often
meet with. He met his death while hunting
with the Blackmoor Vale Hounds.
During one of my visits to Leicestershire I
came in for the great run with the Queen's Stag
Hounds, and with that I give you the accounts
of several good days I enjoyed, taken from The
Were I to go into full detail of last week's
sport, I should want a quill from the wing of
Pegasus, and your readers might want more
than ordinary patience to wade through it, so
I shall content myself with doing as the naughty
boy did in the nursery rhyme, and " pick out the
I03 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
plums." I must confess to considerable enjoy-
ment out of that pretty gallop on Wednesday
with the Belvoir, after a morning spent in that
horse breaking country called the Heath, where
every other field almost is a cover, and no one
remembers the correct name of any one of them.
I think, however. Stoke Wood was the place
where we got on a traveller, who took us into a
country Httle known to me, and although they
did not kill their fox whilst I stopped it was a
The bye-day of the Quorn on Thursday
inaugurated twelve o'clock meets, which warns
one how soon all will be over. Gaddesby is the
trysting place, and a fit and proper place, too,
for no name stands higher on the muster roll of
Leicestershire sportsmen, past and present,
than that of Cheney, and, notwithstanding his
serious illness two years since, it is a treat to see
him now put one of his favourite chestnuts at a
big place as cool as a cucumber. A perfect
spring morning and not much to do from Cream
Gorse, where hounds were blooded on Ashby
Pasture, which is too near ; but after some time
spent in this locality, we find ourselves ready for
anything, at Thorpe Trussells — name engraven
on the heart of every Leicestershire sportsman
— for who has not seen many a good spin from
this favoured spot.'^ A fox is at home, but he
soon moves, and is away over the road, and dips
down into the valley. Oh ! it was a merry ring ;
he ran at his best pace, hounds well on, and
going as the Quorn can go ; and had it been
straight, where would have been the crowd .'^
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 103
But, luckily, the ring let us all have a cut in, and
back at the cover there was a respectable muster
— those who had been the whole journey show-
ing plenty of signs of the severity of the journey
— but not long to wait, for he is away again on
the other side this time, and we went a journey
often travelled before over hill and dale, and at
last up Brough Hill, which finds out all weak
points, and detects the slightest noise. But I
have seen roarers get up as well as sound horses,
and a little music is no new thing in Leicester-
shire. Pull up for a minute as you crown the
hill, and your friend comes up making an awful
row (I mean his steed). " Hark at the train,"
says a wag close by. " Oh, I beg pardon, my
dear fellow! I thought I heard an engine."
And so it was, but good enough, for all that to
carry him along the top close under Pickwell,
where the fences are not to be despised, and at
last up to Leesthorpe, where pace died away,
and the most delicious fifty minutes a man could
ride to came to an end. Of course we all wanted
to see the finish, than whom no one was more
anxious than Captain Hartopp, who certainly
wears the belt amongst welter weights, and it is
a blessed marvel how he gets over a country —
down, down into the valley, but slowly and with
only a cold Hne, we hunt him on to Berry Gorse
and drop at 17.
Allured iDy the fascination of the craft, in
common with all hunting men here, I joined
them at a Masonic Ball at the Town Hall, and a
right jolly evening we had. It might have been
a hunt ball from the number of scarlet coats
I04 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
present, and it really did one good to see such
steady going cards as Captain Boyce and Farley
spinning round the room in the giddy waltz with
all the zest they display in a good forty minutes
across country. Sir Beaumont Dixie, exuber-
ant and happy, contributed to the pleasure of the
evening by bringing his lady with him, and Lord
James Douglas, assisted by Lord Hastings, and
one or two more of the right sort, performed a
pas suel to the delight of all beholders. A more
complete success than the whole affair I never
saw, and it leads me to think that, after all there
is something in Masonry more than we outsiders
have been taught to believe ; for when such men
as Lord Carington and Colonel Burnaby, and
lots of others, don the apron and go in for that
sort of thing it surely must be worth taking up.
The hours flew by fast, as they always do when
spent most happily, and I crept unwillingly to
bed not long before the streaks of day appeared,
dreaming of happy faces and all sorts of things,
until the continued rapping at the door told me
I was in fairyland, but that the sun was up and
shining, and the meet at Baggrave a reality.
Thank goodness, it is twelve o'clock instead of
eleven, and Colonel meets us looking as fresh as
a daisy, and looking as if he had been up hours,
and never I should think, was there a greater
run upon his liquors. His cherry brandy was
voted by all to be the best ever tasted, and as
ladies joined in the vote, it was carried unani-
mously. Add to such hospitality a capital cover
with a fox in it, and you have a faint idea of
SPORTING CHEMIST taking an unpremeditated dip in the Crouch.
Page 35, Vol. 1.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 105
what Baggrave is. Put some three hundred
horsemen on the lawn in front, and about half
a mile of carriages in the road, and the picture
is complete. What a rush there was over the
park, when the fox broke cover, bringing us past
the Hall, and giving hounds the best chance in
the world, as the field had to go right or left to
get through the grounds — a chance which both
fox and hounds availed themselves of, for they
crossed the brook, and ran clean out of sight
over the high road ; but Pug knew her line, and
went to ground just down the hill, and those who
got first up found hounds baying round the hole
he had gone in at. It was a perfectly wild
scamper — horses and men wild with delight;
but it let off the superfluous steam, and we
settled down quietly as we moved off to John
O'Gaunt's cover for next draw, before which we
had a slight " divarsion," as our Irish friends
would say, in the shape of a hunt in a gigr, which
a horse took French leave with, ran away bang
over the next field to where the hounds stood,
gallantly charged the fence, came clear into the
field, down which he shot like a rocket, and left
the trap and its occupants stuck in the middle
of the hedge. Not much to say of our rather
dragging run for John O'Gaunt, which ended in
a kill in Sutton village ; nor does the after gallop
from Botany Bay require much comment. A
damp ride home kept us awake, and we sought
our couch early. Our topic of conversation at
Baggrave was the decision of the committee
who has been appealed to to adjudicate respect-
ing Mr. Tailby's country, overwhelmed, no
io6 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
doubt, by the threat of Mr. Hunt, that he would
not allow the Quorn to draw his extensive
covers, and acting, many of them, against their
consciences, they have decided to keep the
country relinquished by so good a sportsman as
Mr. Tailby, on the sole ground that its area is
too limited, separate, and as it is, and they pro-
pose to put Sir Bache Cunard at the head of
affairs, over-ruling the better judgment of such
men as Captain Whitmore, and others than
whom no better supporters of fox hunting are to
be found. The sequel to this move will be seen
in a couple ol^ears hence, unless some change,
not now foreseen, opens up more country for
them. We wish the new Master every success.
Mr. Tailby is a bad man to follow, as he was so
thoroughly conversant and largely connected
with hounds, but no doubt he will not refuse his
advice, although he resigns the horn.
A FOX'S NARRATIVE.
I relate you a story, false be it or true,
You may believe it or not as best pleases you ;
The reader is certainly much the best able
To judge of the story, be fact or be fable.
I will merely now give you a conversation,
Written upon my informant's own dictation.
Two foxes, he told me, on a wintry morning,
Met in November as the day was just dawning,
And after customary fox-like greeting,
And expressions of pleasure at their happy meeting,
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 107
Were heard to talk over each separate Pack,
Of Sutton and Forester, Goodall and Jack;
The experienced fox recounted over
Many a chase from many a covert.
" Tow'ds the Belvoir," he said, *'he'd the greatest
For a fox had no chance, he was sure to be burst ;
And since he had left them and retired to the Quorn,
He had ne'er felt so safe since the day he was born.
** With Goodall, that devil," said he, ** when they find
There's no time to be lost as when Sutton's behind me;
My life well I know's but a delicate question,
It is enough to disturb a fox's digestion.
** Not so with old Sutton, when I hear him chatter,
I feel well assured there is not much the matter.
For full oft for a while I have topped to survey
The start from the covert when they holloa ' away ! *
** I know there's no hurry, for while there's such
And the field are recklessly riding and cramming,
I've time to look back and view at my leisure,
My pursuers at fault with infinite pleasure.
"What contrast there is between the field and the Pack !
The one are all ardour and the other all slack ;
There are Bromley and Forester riding like mad,
For there is nothing can stop that terrible lad.
"When close hugging the hounds he switches a rasper.
Rides over the best dog whoop to old Jasper ;
Then Gardiner's impatient, his patient behind.
But gently reproves him, and says he is unkind.
** And swears there's no scent; what idiot supposes
The dogs from his kennel are born without noses?
Or that his system so good should e'er be deemed slack.
With his very fine headwork in handling his Pack.
" These Leicestershire sportsmen are born without
He who tries to show sport is a fool for his pains.
His time is thrown away, also wasted his art —
* I will take my hounds home,' says Sir Richard the
io8 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
Somewhere about this time our maid left to
be married, and my mother said we could have
the housemaid to take her place. Her name
was Mary Anne, up to this time, but soon after
her promotion, we were staying in a house where
the butler, the essence of refinement, invariably
called her Mary Hann, and from that time she
was always known as Mary Hann. Before she
arrived at the great distinction of being acknow-
ledged by a butler (in point of fact she had
never been out of Rochford Hundred, being the
daughter of what used to be termed " a good
farmer's man,") an invitation came from an old
friend of my mother's to stay at a smart place in
Northamptonshire. We held a council of war,
and came to the conclusion that there was no
other course open, except to take Mary Ann.
The full horror of the situation did not
dawn on us till we got into the fly at Kettering
for the seven mile drive to the house where we
were going, and Mary Ann was seated opposite.
I recognised what was in store for us. Her face
was round, red, and poHshed ; her gown was
plum colour ; a round velvet hat and feather and
much jewellery completed her attire ; and she
had a sick headache. Even after years, I
always associate journeys and sick headaches
with Mary Ann.
My mother, on the verge of despair, kicked
me, and I responded with interest, knowing full
well that every mile was bringing the dreaded
moment of our arrival nearer. Well, it came at
last. A groom of the chamber, the butler and
three young footmen — I think the latter were
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 109
the worst — all looking down their noses as Mary
Ann — she was not the least taken down —
strutted into the hall, and was taken possession
of by the neat lady's maid, dressed in black.
She soon picked up the duties of the situation,
and developed into a most devoted servant, only
leaving to be married after twelve years'
service. I saw her recently, and she said she
had three daughters in Government offices,
getting 30s. per week. No wonder Mary Ann's
are now scarce, but we have been most fortunate
in this respect. Quite the reverse of the
experience of a lady, who was heard to say to
her maid, " You are the essence of imperti-
nence." Upon which the maid repHed, " And
you are the essence of lemon." There is much
to be said as to the way domestics are treated.
Good masters make good servants.
JOURNEY WITH A BULL-DOG.
It has been said on excellent authority that
the plans of men and mice are alike doomed to
failure, and so it happened to me. It was
decided that I should stay at Colchester with my
sister, and have a few days' hunting with the
Essex and Suffolk ; but a frost set in the night
of my arrival and continued six weeks. Any-
thing equal to the cold of the Colonel's quarters,
in the Cavalry Barracks, where we were located,
I never experienced. We dined in ulsters, hats
and woollen shawls over our heads; sponges
and water jugs were frozen in the bedrooms,
no HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
and, to add to our misery, the boiler burst. But
all things, good and bad, come to an end, and
so did the frost ; and one steaming afternoon I
set out on my return journey, accompanied by
a very beautiful large white bull-dog called
" Punch,'' a present from an officer going on
Punch and I had a carriage to ourselves,
and as we slowed up for Chelmsford I saw
standing on the platform one or two men of my
acquaintance, one of whom was about to enter
my carriage. When he saw through the foggy
window a female : " No," said he, " don't catch
me travelling alone with a lady." The other
replied, " I should not mind the lady, but I don't
fancy the dog " ; and I was left very happy with
Punch as my companion. An event had only
recently occurred with reference to travelHng
alone with a lady. The next time I met that
cautious man, I had the greatest pleasure in
reminding him how he had been afraid to travel
Hunting days were Punch's especial
horror; he used to spend the time away from
his comfortable arm chair by the fire, anxiously
looking out for my return, and when the happy
moment did arrive he did his best to sulk and
look as if he did not remember me.
A PLUNGE INTO HULL BRIDGE.
One evening we were all returning from
hunting through Hull Bridge (the name is most
MR. LANCASTER'S RIDE HOME TO SOUTHEND.
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. iii
misleading ; there has been no bridge since the
days when Cromwell's soldiers destroyed it.
There is, in fact, a portion of the old bridge to
be seen in Whitbred Garden). The water was
pretty deep, as it was we just managed to save
the tide. One of the party — a young man
living at Southend — was riding a horse quite
unused to fording the river ; it started plunging,
the poor young man lost control of the animal,
also his seat, and at the same time dug his spurs
into its side, the result being the rider was
deposited in deep water. He found himself in
a most awkward predicament, but managed
scramble on to land. We adjourned to the
Anchor, according to custom, for tea, which we
were all enjoying, when a dripping spectacle
appeared in the doorway. " Get out, man ! "
roared Charles Tabor, "you will give us all a
cold." There was a complete transformation
scene when he returned, clothed in white socks
and slippers, a pair of the landlord's Sunday
trousers reaching half-way down his legs, and a
covert coat lent by one of the party ; and in that
costume he rode back to Southend.
Like the P.S. in a lady's letter often con-
tains the most important matter in the whole
letter, so the short account I propose to give
now ought certainly to have occupied a more
prominent place, and really belongs to the first
volume, but before the details (which have been
sent by kind friends) reached me, the book was
in the printer's hands, and I feared to worry him
with fresh matter, so I must apologise to my
readers for running a "heel-line," and going
112 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
back to the days of Mr. Scratton, and giving an
excellent note supplied by my good friend, Mr.
Coverdale, who I believe is the oldest member
of the Union Hunt, and which I feel sure will be
read with keen interest ; and the account of the
Temple Grove run ought not to be left out of
Saturday, December 21st, 1861.
Galleywood (Chelmsford) Racecourse.
A large field of over 1 50 to meet " The
Squire of Prittlewell," and the " lively ladies."
Drew Moulsham Thrift and found no fox,
though there was a line in it. Next, a grove by
the side of the Racecourse, then Temple Grove,
here one of the stoutest foxes that ever stood
before hounds was at home and off in a second.
Setting his head at once due south, he seemed
to have a stiffness of neck that prevented his
looking right or left — true as a needle to the
North Pole was he to the South Pole — leaving
Stock Ship on his right he " slashed " through
the narrowest part of Blue Hedges, crossed an
off-shoot of Pandam, and went straight to Cock
Wood, apparently his point from the first ; clear
of it, he bent slightly to the left (the only bend
in his course) appearing to mean Moor Gardens,
but disdaining even that refuge he sunk the hill
by Downham Church, and faced that splendid
valley to the south without a covert for shelter
between him and the Thames. Fifteen minutes
more racing, and Grays Hill was at hand.
" Yonder he goes," cried a leading horseman,
and there he was, not two fields ahead, strugg-
ling gallantly on. Crossing the Wickford Road,
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 113
west of the village, " the lively ladies " tickled
on, a check of two or three minutes on some
greasy fallows giving him a little respite. Clear
of these, away they went again. Cream Gorse, a
field on the left ; an upraised hat in the clear
distance told his course ; but his " merciless pur-
suers " needed not that signal. On, on they
raced till Bowers Giffard was reached. Into the
road he turned, too beat to leave it; running
from scent to view, the darling ladies rolled him
over within one yard of Bowers churchyard.
Ten miles from point to point, fourteen as they
ran, one hour twenty-six minutes.
To the astonishment of a well satisfied field
(some nags were more than satisfied) the " in-
satiable " Squire said he would draw again, and
he did too. Found instantly in Nevendon
Bushes, came away due east, and ran a
" burster," about six only with the hounds,
nearly to Bowers Church, into the marshes, and
up to Vange Creek ; but the tide being in and
water very salt, could make nothing of our fox,
and gave it up very willingly. Twenty-five
minutes, a " tickler."
Mr. Scratton was succeeded by Mr. John
Offin, the half brother of Mr. Tom Offin, to
whom I owe the accounts of so many of the
runs in which he took such an honourable
position, and which appear in the first volume.
He lived at Hutton Hall and kept the hounds
from 1869 till Captain White took them in 1873.
Bentley was his huntsman and Joe Bailey first
whip. I was away at school most of the time,
114 HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS.
and I therefore rely on the note suppHed by
THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT.
The following account of a very im-
portant event in the history of the Essex Union
Hunt, and which ought not to be omitted, has
been sent to me by Mr. Fred Wood, and I give
it in his own words.
Mr. John Ofhn had the honour of " blood-
ing " his Royal Highness the Duke of Con-
naught, who was then Prince Arthur, and who
was quartered at Woolwich. He kept four cobs
at the Essex Arms, Brentwood.
The Meet was at the Dog and Partridge,
Stifford. A fox was found in Fourteen Acres,
and there was a good hunting run of about forty-
five minutes, terminating in a kill near Warley
Barracks. While the fox was being broken up,
His Royal Highness asked Mr. Offin to blood
him, as he had been informed it was the custom
to do so, this being the first fox he had seen
killed. Mr. Offin at first demurred, asking to
be excused, but His Royal Highness would take
no denial. Consequently the ancient ceremony
was duly performed. Prince Arthur then left,
and went to Brentwood Station, caught the first
train to London, and went straight home with
his face smeared with blood.
Mr. Wood goes on to say: — His Royal
Highness was most affable and agreeable to all,
and not above speaking to any one. He was a
HUNTING RECOLLECTIONS. 115
bold and fearless rider. On one occasion I,
knowing the country well, cautioned him about
the fence we were coming to. " I will take my
chance," was his reply. I know it is quite true
what Mr. Wood says of the Duke's kindness of
manner. He was for some time at Dover, and
constantly with some connections of mine whose
father commanded the 17th Lancers, and later
on his son also was Colonel of that Regiment.
Both father and son were named Dosey — the
name sticks to the son to this day ; but, to return
to the Duke — I am always getting off the line,
and running riot, aand many a raking should I
have got if I had been a fox hound — His Royal
Highness spent a good deal of time with this
family, but great was their astonishment when
the girls, terribly nervous of course, were going
through the ordeal of a first drawing room, he
stepped out of the circle of royalties surrounding
the Queen and shook hands with them. On
one occasion when hunting he cantered up to
my brother, and with the greatest deHght said,
" Why, Tawke, you are on fire " — and, true
enough, a box of matches had caught fire in my
unfortunate brother's breeches pocket, and they
were slowly burning off.
My next series will cover the three years enjoyed
under the Mastership of Captain Kemble.