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3 9090 013 419 6 

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Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine 

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at 

Tufts U 

200 Westboro Road 

North Grafton, MA 01536 


Presented to 


in recollection of his victory at the bye-election of Dec. 1894 

and his three other contests for the Unionist Party in 

1886 1892 1895. 

(Painting by W. W. Ouless, R.A.) 







" Racing Career," and " As an Owner 
By the Late Finch Mason 





8, Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, E.C.4. 











How many people, I wonder — or shall I say, how few — take the 
trouble to read the preface of a book ? 

Personally I am one of those few, and have always studied 
my preface ever since I was able to read any work to which the 
author had written such introduction. 

But in my case there is a special, perhaps some would call it 
a sentimental, reason for this practice. 

I was only two years old when my father died, my brother 
Maunsell, the subject of the following life-story, one year older, 
and our eldest brother four years old. We never had, therefore, 
the benefit of his fatherly advice during our childhood, which, 
from all accounts, and from the respected and beloved name 
he left behind him, would undoubtedly have been to our immense 
advantage. Our mother and grandmother, however, with whom 
we lived, and who superintended our upbringing, had been 
devoted to him during his lifetime, and after his untimely death 
at thirty-eight, cherishing his memory, as they did, above all 
things, were never tired of impressing us with any special 
admonition in regard to our conduct or studies to which my 
father had given expression. 

As I was a voracious reader from a very early age, any 
literary direction from that source was regarded by me as 
equivalent to a command from above. Thus, on being told that 
my father never dreamt of reading a book without first studying 
its preface, I then and there adopted this principle for my own, 



and have been absolutely faithful in that respect from my 
earliest childhood up to the present day. My two brothers I 
believe also followed this excellent advice. 

It is rather singular in this connection that the preface 
written for " Gentlemen Riders" by my brother Maunsell, and 
embodied amongst his own particular writings later on in this 
volume, is always read — in fact is never missed — by any one who 
takes up the book in question. I have lent it to scores of people, 
and one and all unite in saying: "We liked the preface so 
much." Even non-sporting men and women when they return 
me the book say, " What a delightful preface by your brother, 
and how well it is written ! " 

And yet, if one really gives the matter a thought, it is but fair 
to your authors, and might influence their reviewers to more 
kindly criticism, to read their apology for taking upon themselves 
the task of trying to interest their readers, however absorbing 
the theme in hand might have been to themselves, whether a 
novel, a play, or the life of a notable man. 

And in the latter case, especially if the life one tries to 
depict is that of a near relation, it is so extremely difficult to 
draw the line at too much praise on the one hand, or again too 
little on the other, just because of that relationship — that the 
very delicate manipulation necessary in this case will, I hope, 
appeal to a kindly public, on my behalf. 

The story of why a book was written has always interested 
me, and perhaps it will interest my readers to know how this 
volume came to be published. Strange as it may seem, the 
publishers are the real authors, for they were the first to 
suggest that a life of John Maunsell Richardson would be 
interesting to the public. And those who suggest — especially 
when, as in this case, it emanated from the source it did — surely 
are the real creators of the work they inaugurate. It happened 

• • • 



on this wise. I had been staying with my sister-in-law, Lady 
Yarborough, and in the course of one of our numerous talks 
about my brother Maunsell, whose death had occurred that 
same year, I had suggested to her that the book " Gentlemen 
Riders, Past and Present," which he had written in collaboration 
with Mr. Finch Mason, might be read by a much larger section 
of the public were it brought out in a cheaper form than the two- 
guinea volume in which it had been published. 

With this idea in both our minds, one day in November, 
191 2, the year my brother died, we called by appointment 
on Mr. Neilson, Managing Director of Vintons, Ltd., and 
to him we propounded our ideas as to the expediency of 
bringing out a new and cheaper edition of " Gentlemen Riders, 
Past and Present." 

We were answered with a straightforwardness which could 
leave no doubt in our minds as to the publishers' opinion on 
the matter. 

"It would be unfair," opined Mr. Neilson, " to the original 
subscribers, and subsequent purchasers of 'Gentlemen Riders,' 
to issue a cheaper edition of so expensive and unique a volume. 

"On the other hand," he continued, "a life of the late Mr. 
John Maunsell Richardson would I am sure be welcomed by 
the public — especially the sporting public — and we should have 
much pleasure in publishing such a book." 

A glance passed between my sister-in-law and myself, and 
reading approval in her eyes, I said at once " how much 
pleasure it would give me to attempt the task." Mr. Neilson 
then said that he was sure I should find a most energetic helper 
and sympathetic coadjutor in Mr. Finch Mason, who, as joint 
author of " Gentlemen Riders," had assisted my brother in every 
way possible, and who he was sure would do his utmost for me 
in the same manner. 

ix b 


I had the pleasure shortly after this to call- upon Mr. Finch 
Mason, and it was forthwith arranged between us that if I 
would undertake to write my brother's family history, collect his 
personal writings, get impressions from his school and college 
friends, and all the illustrations requisite for such a book, he 
would gladly undertake to write what he knew of his racing 

Quite lightheartedly I accepted my part of this undertaking, 
and went down to my home in Cornwall, where I commenced 
operations at once by writing a synopsis of the intended book 
as requested by Messrs. Vinton. The result being deemed 
quite satisfactory, I now sat down in earnest to write the life of 
my brother. 

And I began to live again in the past. Grouped around me 
were those whom I had loved so well in their lifetime, and I 
soon experienced, what no doubt hundreds of writers have done 
before me, the terrible sadness and seriousness of the task I had 
undertaken. Having an extraordinary memory, relatives and 
friends long since departed, and incidents in connection with 
them, were present to my mind in the most vivid manner. It 
seemed almost impossible that they could be dead, and I was 
living without them, almost alone in the world. Around me 
they crowded, persistently claiming my attention and my remem- 
brance, and it is hardly a matter of wonderment that I lost 
myself again and again in the dear old days of long ago. 

And then — back again into the present, with the practical 
part of my work before me ; the collection of material, the actual 
sitting down at my writing-table day after day, to work these 
recollections into shape for publication ; and the ever-present 
fear that I should be unequal to the task of doing justice to my 

Difficult though my task, I managed to struggle through 


somehow. And now that all is finished, and the MSS. out of my 
hands and in those of the publishers, I begin to wish I could 
write the book all over again. I feel I have omitted so much 
and how infinitely better many things could have been expressed. 
How much more might have been made of the material by a 
more experienced writer than myself. 

My one joy is that such " impressions " of my brother's 
character as I have been able to collect — opinions of his 
contemporaries — from school -fellows, college friends and others, 
who had known him all his life, will give the outside public a 
better idea of his true worth than any words of my own could 
convey, and I thank the writers, one and all, most heartily, for 
their ready response to my request, and for the manner in which 
they have recorded their opinions. 

Lord Minto's regretted death just as he had jotted down 
some notes for his promised " impression" of my brother, his 
lifelong friend, was naturally a great disappointment. 

To my colleague, Mr. Finch Mason, my warmest thanks 
are due. The encouragement he gave me when I was in great 
doubt as to my own powers ; his help in the revision of my work ; 
and above all, the sympathy which could only come from a true 
friend of the man — what better word could I choose — whose 
memory we have done our best to perpetuate. 

In conclusion, I beg to thank the Earl of Yarborough for 
the information he so kindly gave me with regard to the original 
planting of the famous Brocklesby Woods, and the building of 
the Mausoleum. Also for his recommendation of Mr. Sherlock 
of 3 Old Market Place, Grimsby, who took infinite pains to 
reproduce with his camera the beauties of the Mausoleum, 
Limber Village, and the Woods. 

To those who will take the trouble to read this preface, I say 
a very heartfelt M Thank you." They begin where I leave off, 



and will perhaps in reading it sympathize with one who has 
done her best to record in an interesting manner " the life of a 
great sportsman." 

July, 1914. 


My thanks are due to Mr. John Neilson (the Managing 
Director of Messrs. Vinton and Co.) for his unfailing courtesy 
and his interest in this book during the long period it has been 
" on the stocks." 

The manuscript was in his hands a month before the war 
broke out, but it was thought unwise to publish it until the 
cessation of hostilities. Now that the Allies have practically 
completed the task to which they had set their hands, and men 
war weary are returning to the more congenial pursuits of peace, 
the sport of kings can again be enjoyed to the full, and so it is 
hoped that this life of a great sportsman may be acceptable to a 
wide range of readers. 

The intervening period, since the manuscript was completed, 
has been saddened by the passing of some of my brother's 
dearest friends, including Lord Minto, Lord Clarendon, Sir 
Chandos Leigh, Rev. Cecil Legard, Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, 
Mr. Thomas Hare, and my sympathetic collaborator, Mr. Finch 
Mason, " Uncle Toby " of the Sporting Times. 

In Sir Heron Maxwell's words engraved on the flask he 
presented to my brother, let us hope they have met " in those 
happy hunting grounds far, far away." 

M. E. R. 

February., 1919. 
























Preface vii 

Introduction by Victoria, Countess of Yarborough . . xix 

An Old Lincolnshire Family i 

John Maunsell Richardson's Father 12 

Birthplace: Limber Magna 20 

"The Cat's" First Steeplechase 32 

The Coming of the Riding Countess; of Yarborough into 

North Lincolnshire 42 

Early School Days 50 

Harrow and Cambridge 63 

Life at Limber 72 

Visitors at Limber 79 

Racing Career. By Finch Mason 91 

As an Owner. By Finch Mason . . . . . . .111 

Marriage to Lady Yarborough ' 114 

As Huntsman — Leaves from his Hunting Diaries . . .124 

Political Campaigns 133 

A Life-long Friend: Lord Minto 149 

Life at Edmondthorpe 158 

The Close of the Day 169 

A Fitting Requiem 176 

Reminiscent 189 

John Maunsell Richardson's Writings collated . . .217 

Introduction to " Gentlemen Riders, Past and Present " 217 

Eton and Harrow — A Few Recollections . . . 225 

The Derby — Some Reminiscences 230 

Royal Ascot—A Retrospect 237 

Fox-hunting 243 

Steeplechasing — To-day and Yesterday .... 258 
The Grand National— Some Experiences . . . .265 

Show Jumping 280 




John Maunsell Richardson, Esq., J.P., D.L. (Presentation Portrait) 

Victoria, Countess of Yarborough „ 

Miss Mary E. Richardson (The Author) ,, 


William Richardson, Esq. (J. M. Richardson's Great Great Uncle) 4 

The Chester Cup, 1788 8 

William Richardson, Esq. (J. M. Richardson's Father) . . .12 

"Huntsman," Bay Gelding 14 

J. M. Richardson (with his Brother and Sister), 1851 . . .16 
Mr. and Mrs. William Richardson (J. M. Richardson's Father and 

Mother) 18 

Brocklesby Hall 20 

Glade in Brocklesby Woods 22 

Great Limber House 24 

Great Limber Church (South Side) 26 

Mrs. Pelham feeding her Chickens . .28 

The Mausoleum at Brocklesby . 29 

Priests' Dyke, Limber 30 

J. M. Richardson at Four Years Old 32 

J. M. Richardson's Very First Mount 34 

The Side Door of Great Limber House 38 

The Forge, Limber Magna 40 

Victoria, Countess of Yarborough (Presentation Portrait) . . 42 

Victoria, Countess of Yarborough (age 33) 44 

Victoria, Countess of Yarborough (1868) 46 

"Gone Away," Hunter Bay Gelding 48 

The Rev. H. G. Southwell 50 

J. M. Richardson at Thirteen Years Old 52 

Elstree School Card, 1861 58 

J. M. Richardson (Cambridge) 60 

Cricket Score Card, 1864 64 

Trophy of Foils, Rackets, etc 66 


List of Illustrations 



Colonel William Richardson 68 

Magdalen College, Cambridge 7° 

J. M. Richardson's Racing Stables, Great Limber 72 

Mr. John Richardson and Celebrated Ram (from Oil Painting) 74 
Mr. John Richardson and Celebrated Ram (Enlarged Section of 

Picture) 76 

Captain Machell 80 

"Disturbance" (Winner Grand National, 1873) 8z 

"Reugnv" (Winner Grand National, 1874) 84 

4 'Furley" (Winner U.K. Grand Handicap Steeplechase, 1873). . 86 

George Angus Marris, Esq 88 

J. M. Richardson 'as Gentleman Rider 91 

Peter," Winner of Steeplechases 92 

The Grand National, 1873— "Disturbance" Wins ! .... 100 

Mr. James Barber 102 

"Revirescat" (from a Painting) 106 

Silver Flask (Presentation) 108 

"Zero"— The Grand National, 1876 112 

J. M. Richardson (1881) 114 

Silver Presentation Shield 116 

Little Brocklesby 118 

Colonel William Richardson 120 

J. M. Richardson and Victoria, Countess of Yarborough, 1881 . 122 
J. M. Richardson, as Joint M.F.H. Cottesmore, 191 1 . . .124 

Cottesmore Hounds at Leesthorpe 126 

Tom Smith (Huntsman to Brocklesby) 128 

"Ormsby," Winner Brocklesby Steeplechase, 1833 130 

J. M. Richardson (1894) 134 

Saddle presented to J. M. Richardson 136 

Rt. Hon. Lord Heneage of Hainton 140 

Shorthorn Bull, "Patriot," 1810 142 

The Present Earl of Yarborough 146 

Earl of Minto, The late ("Mr. Rolly") 150 

Mrs. Catharine Maunsell 152 

Memorial Window, Limber Church 154 

Edmondthorpe Hall (West Front) 158 

Edmondthorpe Church 160 

Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Richardson 162 

J. M. Richardson and his Son Jack. 164 

J. M. Richardson and Lady Yarborough (191 1) 166 

Remarkable Old Tomb in Edmondthorpe Church . . .170 


List of Illustrations 


Mrs. J. B. Richardson and her Two Sons 172 

Master Jack Richardson i74 

The Lichgate, Limber Church 176 

Lord Worsley, The late 178 

"Tom," Chestnut Hunter 180 

J. M. Richardson's Grave, Edmondthorpe Churchyard . . .182 

Memorial Tablet in Edmondthorpe Church 184 

Mausoleum of the Pelham Family 186 

Earl of Minto, The late Fourth 19° 

Lord George Hamilton 19 2 

Earl of Clarendon, The late Fifth *94 

Lady Battersea l 9& 

The Honourable Sir Chandos Leigh 202 

Thomas Hare, Esq., The late 204 

Leopold de Rothschild, Esq., The late 206 

Finch Mason, Esq., The late 208 

J. M. Richardson, a bad " Toss " with the Cottesmore . . . 210 

J. Fulford 214 

Captain "Doggie" Smith 218 

Mrs. John Richardson (J. M. Richardson's Grandmother) . . • 220 

Edward Dowson, Esq 222 

The Earl of Coventry 226 

Harrow School Memorial Pavilion 228 

The Vicarage, Great Limber 230 

Mrs. William Richardson 232 

A Corner of the late Col. Richardson's Dining-room . . .234 

The Corner House, Overstrand, Cromer 238 

Healing Manor, near Grimsby, Lincolnshire 244 

Healing Manor, near Grimsby, Lincolnshire 248 

The " New Inn," Great Limber 252 

Tablets in Limber Church 260 

Tablets in Immingham Church 262 

Grand National— J. M. Richardson's Cap, Jacket, and Whip . . 280 






During the life of my dear husband, it was often suggested 
to him by his intimate friends and others, that he should write 
an autobiography — that such a life as his had been, full of 
interest, especially in connection with matters relating to sport, 
had better be told first-hand by himself. 

Indeed, I often represented to him myself that his life-story, 
written in the charming manner that characterized his articles 
in the Daily Telegraph, and in his introduction to the book, 
" Gentlemen Riders," published in collaboration with his friend 
Mr. Finch Mason in 1910, would be a welcome addition to the 
literature of the sporting world, but, alas ! he was not spared to 
carry out my wish. 

His only surviving near relative — his sister, Miss Mary E. 
Richardson — has, however, undertaken this task, with Mr. Finch 
Mason contributing the chapters on my husband's racing career, 
and to them I leave it with every confidence that they will 
carry out the work ably. 

They will, I have no doubt, be able to interest the outside 
public in my husband's career, and show that in a life apparently 
given up to the pleasures of sport for enjoyment alone, he was 
keenly alive to the duties that should accompany the lot of a 
man whether he be true statesman, or true sportsman, if in 



either capacity he is to respect himself or be respected by his 
friends or by the public. 

My greatest happiness is to remember that although my 
dear husband enjoyed to the full the pleasures of sport, he never 
for one moment dreamt of shirking the many duties, arduous 
often though they were, that his position in the sporting world 

For instance, he would rarely refuse to judge at any horse 
show to which he was invited, unless it were an absolute im- 
possibility for him to be present ; neither would he regard any 
trouble too great to perform his judicial duties at such show in 
the most thorough manner possible. 

And yet, to his great regret, I well know that he has been 
obliged to refuse hundreds of invitations to judge at horse shows, 
from sheer lack of the necessary time to undertake the work 
involved. To prove how keen he was to see and give his 
verdict upon the very best specimens of horseflesh, I may say 
that he never could allow himself to neglect the great Dublin 
Horse Show, until later years, when he felt the fatigue was too 

Although my husband has judged at hundreds of horse shows, 
in fact, all the principal shows of Great Britain, I have never 
known him give a wrong verdict on any animal. In one or two 
cases where his award has been challenged, I have known the 
man come to him afterwards and tell him frankly that his judg 
ment, then doubted by him, had been proved right by the 
subsequent facts of the case. 

As to his powers as a practical huntsman, I have the best 
right to speak, for after our marriage in 1881, during my son's 
(the present Earl of Yarborough) minority, he hunted the 
famous Brocklesby dog pack for four seasons, from 1882 to 



For some time previous to our marriage, when I carried the 
horn, he had taken the keenest interest in the breeding and 
management of hounds, and, as Mr. Collins justly remarks in 
his well-known book, " The History of the Brocklesby Hounds 
from 1700 to 1901," "the Brocklesby Hunt is very much 
indebted to him (Mr. J. Maunsell Richardson) for his labour of 
love on behalf of the historic pack" (p. 215). 

His handling of hounds was, indeed, no amateur huntsman- 
ship. When he took the horn and undertook to hunt hounds, 
he determined that he would show as good sport as any 
professional huntsman. He certainly showed a great deal 
better sport than many huntsman can show ; and what strikes 
me most forcibly as I look back on the happy bygone years of 
our life together, was my husband's all-round ability. I am 
very sure, and many of his friends — men who have succeeded so 
splendidly in their special line, such as his lifelong friend, the 
Earl of Minto, late Viceroy of India — would have agreed with 
me to the full in this thought, that in any career he had chosen 
he would have made his mark. 

He had the power of giving his whole mind to whatever he 
undertook, and if, as a very clever writer has said, " genius is 
the power of taking infinite pains," then, indeed, my husband 
possessed true genius, and in a most remarkable degree. But, 
like all true genius, he was intensely, almost to a fault, humble- 
minded, except in the matter of sport and all that belongs to it, 
which was to him simply second nature, and he required the 
greatest encouragement to undertake anything outside, such as 
politics, etc. 

Indeed, it was only in response to my earnest entreaties, 
that he consented to contest that most Radical of all the 
Lincolnshire parliamentary divisions, viz. the Brigg division of 
Lincolnshire. That he, a strong Conservative, should win the 



greatest political contest on record in this division, speaks 
volumes for his great popularity, and the trust he inspired both 
in politics and sport. 

The turn of my husband's mind was towards a country life, 
and all that goes with it : all through our happy time together, 
it seemed impossible for us to dissociate ourselves from the love 
we both had for country sports of all kinds. Riding, hunting, 
attending race-meetings and horse shows, were to us the natural 
outcome of our lives, and it was a never-failing delight to me to 
see my husband handle a horse. I have never known him 
beaten by any horse he attempted to ride. Many a time I have 
seen him mount an apparently unmanageable animal — at a show 
when he was judging — and after he had taken him round the 
ring two or three times, that same horse would not only behave 
himself in a proper fashion, but would show himself and his 
paces to the best advantage, to the amazement of the onlookers, 
and to the delighted surprise of his owner. 

He had perfect hands, and could do practically what he 
would with his mount. I have never seen him lose his temper 
with a horse, even with the most irritating specimen. He 
possessed that power with horses which gives the true 
horseman that inexplicable sympathy between the rider and 
his horse making them one, and which, to a great extent, 
explains his success both in the hunting-field and on the 

In writing this short introductory chapter, I must cordially 
thank, not only the author of the book for her labour of love, but 
also my husband's other old friends (school-fellows, college 
friends, and those of his later life) who have so ably assisted the 
author with their knowledge of his career. 

In conclusion, I trust that the contents of this book may 
appeal not only to those readers who in the past came in contact 



with my husband, on the race-course, in the show-yard, the 
hunting-field, and elsewhere, but to the general public. I also 
hope that my friends and those who read this will not criticize 
me too severely for paying this tribute to the memory of one I 
so dearly loved and have lost. 

/^^^^ /f . J^AA^r y l^n^/7 


(The Author of this volume.) 




My brother John Maunsell Richardson, whose life-story I tell 
in this book, was the second son of William Richardson, of 
Limber Magna and Immingham, Lincolnshire, and was born 
at Limber Magna on the 12th of June, 1846. His mother was 
Mary Eliza Maunsell, only child of Thomas Maunsell, of 
Limerick, Ireland, and Catharine his wife. 

He had one brother, William,* a year older than himself, 
who predeceased him by two years ; and one sister, still living, 
who is privileged to tell this his life-story. 

For the genealogy of this branch of the old Lincolnshire 
family to which we belong, we have our brother William to 
thank, who although in full accord with the honest pride of his 
ancestors, who were " too proud to care from whence they 
came," was persuaded by a certain Mr. Gibbons to allow him 
to search old deeds, and examine registers dealing with the 
subject, which he had in his possession. 

This resulted in each one of us acquiring a beautiful volume, 

* Lieut.-Colonel 3rd Lincolnshire Regiment. 

I B 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

hand written on vellum, at the cost of £$ 3.?. — little enough 
truly, for the trouble it must have given the author — which 
bears the following title : M A Pedigree of the Family of 
Richardson, and collateral branches of Greyingham, Roxby, 
and Limber in the County of Lincoln. Together with the 
evidences in support of the same. And genealogical notices of 
the Maunsell and other kindred families, by A. W. Gibbons, 

The first entry in this book is to the fact that one Seliora 
Richardson, late wife of Thomas Richardson, of Helpingham, 
in the county of Lincoln, made a will in 141 3, leaving lands 
and hereditaments in that county to her two sons, John and 
Robert, and her daughter, Agnes, and residue to executors, 
Nicholas and Johan, his wife. 

Before that date, according to Mr. Gibbons, who told my 
brother William of the fact, but did not see fit to write down 
any more ancient history on the subject, the name of Richard- 
son had been Malger. To one Malger a son had been born — 
Fitz Malger, or the son of Malger. Then came a Richard Fitz 
Malger, and so the name was corrupted into Richardson, or the 
son of Richard, and the original name dropped out. 

To a relative who has read all through the terrible dullness 
of this genealogical tree, with its collateral branches, I am 
indebted for the remark " That it is the chronicle of an un- 
ambitious family." 

Certainly, reading between the lines, one can tell that John 
Maunsell Richardson's ancestors were content to live quietly 
on their lands,* seeking no special personal aggrandisement, or 
to possess themselves of this world's good by any means which 
would unduly dispossess others. 

Thus, without over-praising my own family, I may fairly 

* As country gentlemen no doubt enjoying all kind of sport then in vogue. 


An Old Lincolnshire Family 

claim that from the year 141 3 to that of 1846, when the subject 
of this memoir was born, his ancestors were thoroughly liked 
and respected in their native county. Surely that is a great 
test, for "a prophet is not without honour, save in his own 
country, and amidst his father's kin," and that John Maunsell 
Richardson, by the straightness of his aims, and by the honesty 
of his dealings, especially in all matters pertaining to his racing 
career — which by general consent is admittedly the form of 
sport most open to monetary temptations — was a worthy 
descendant of the old stock, few will deny. 

In spite, however, of the " unambitious " character of the 
Richardson chronicle, upon examination, one or two entries 
show that the family preserved a certain determined dignity of 
surroundings, and that some of the marriages in the family were 
advantageous in a worldly sense. 

For instance, we find that one Mary, grand-daughter of John 
Richardson, of Kirton, married Edwin Anderson, of Manby, in 
1 743, an ancestor of the present Pelham family, now Earls of 
Yarborough. We also find that in 1808, one Richard Maun- 
sell, son of Robert Maunsell, of Bank Place, Limerick, married 
Catharine, daughter of William, 1st Earl of Listowel. Hence, 
before my brother, John Maunsell Richardson, married Victoria, 
Countess of Yarborough, who was Victoria Alexandrina Hare, 
daughter of the 2nd Earl of Listowel, the families were con- 
nected on both sides. 

My brother Maunsell, there can be little doubt, not only 
inherited one of his Christian names — the one by which he was 
usually called — from his delightful Irish grandfather, but also 
the peculiar brightness of intellect, and fascination of manner, 
possessed by our Hibernian neighbours in so remarkable a 
degree, which characterized him all through life, making him 
a favourite wherever he went. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

There were many pictures in the old house at Limber where 
we three were born and brought up, that grew up with us, and 
of these, two life-size portraits impressed us with a certain 
amount of awe, and interested us immensely, as soon as we 
were old enough to understand who they were, and in what 
relation they stood to us. 

One was a life-size portrait of an old gentleman with a kind 
but fiery face, short grey hair, small yet twinkling grey-blue 
eyes, dressed in a striped waistcoat, blue coat with brass 
buttons, breeches and top boots. 

We were told this was our great-great-uncle, " Squire " 
Richardson of Limber and Immingham, who, being childless 
himself, had adopted our father when he was quite a small boy 
— little older, in fact, than we were — had educated him ; and, 
finally, when he and his wife died, left him all his money, which 
last was to come to us in equal shares, when I, who was the 
youngest, was twenty-one years old. Naturally it took some 
time for this information to dawn upon us in its full value, but 
we learned soon enough that we were indebted for all we 
enjoyed, and were to enjoy in time to come, to this same jovial, 
red-faced old gentleman. We also learned, that it was no 
mean fortune we were each likely to inherit. 

It is a matter of history, as we were often told, that in the 
first place, the artist who painted this picture had so modified 
the tints of the face, that our uncle indignantly repudiated his 
facsimile. "Paint me as I am, or not at all," said he. As a 
matter of fact our grandmother, Mrs. Maunsell, used to tell us 
that " the old gentleman could talk himself handsome in ten 
minutes." He often laughingly told the story that he had 
heard strangers say when travelling, " It's taken some port wine 
to colour that face." In reality, "eczema" was to blame for his 
high colour, for he was a water-drinker all the latter part o£ 



Of Limber and Immingham, Deputy Lieutenant for Lincolnshire ; 

born 1754, died 1830. 

(J. M. Richardson's Great Great Uncle, from whom he inherited his fortune.) 

An Old Lincolnshire Family 

his life. We had a most beautifully chased silver jug with a 
wicker handle, in our possession, which he used for his hot 
water at night, and which no one exactly knew how to describe. 
It was neither a coffee-pot nor a claret jug. At last the grand- 
son of the silversmith who made it enlightened us upon the 
point, expatiating at the same time — no doubt in his grand- 
father's words — on the extraordinary fact, that any one like 
their old client should in those hard-drinking days be a water- 

There is no doubt that our great-great-uncle was a most 
kind-hearted, if slightly eccentric, old gentleman, and his wife, 
who was a Miss Catharine Marris, daughter of William Marris, 
of Roxby, was very much of the same persuasion, though 
history relates that she was a proud and stately lady, invariably 
styled " Dame Richardson." 

An anecdote I remember of her, bears out the idea that 
she possessed a certain dignity, which perhaps her lord and 
master did not trouble himself to emphasize on his own account. 
Going into her kitchen one day, a man who had come in for 
some reason or other, in his ignorance, or possibly nervousness, 
remained seated, instead of rising to do homage to the lady 
of the house. " Have I a bear in my kitchen ? " she is reputed 
to have said in scathing tones, standing directly in front of the 
unfortunate villager. But, be that as it may, she evidently 
possessed a heart of great kindliness, and, being childless, must 
have aided and abetted her husband in his adopting the eldest 
son of his nephew, John Richardson of Horkstow, who had 
a numerous family of sons and daughters. 

History relates that the method of my father's adoption 
was unique to say the least of it. One fine summer day, by 
which time, doubtless, everything had been carefully discussed 
beforehand between Squire Richardson and his Dame, the big 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

barouche was ordered to be in readiness and the black horses 
harnessed. In these days of motor cars and splendid roads, a 
journey of twenty-five miles or so is a mere nothing, but at 
that period it was a solemn undertaking, and the black carriage 
horses were only brought out on very special occasions. 

When I was a child we still drove a pair of black horses, 
and I used to wonder how anybody could think of driving with 
any other colour. With due solemnity, for the night had to 
be spent from home, the shaped carriage trunks were adjusted 
behind, and away went my great-great-uncle Richardson and 
his wife on the errand which meant so much to all of us. 

There can be no doubt that our grandfather, John Richard- 
son, had not the least idea what this state visit portended, 
when his great-uncle, addressing him in solemn tones, but with, 
no doubt, a twinkle in his kind grey eyes, enquired, "Which 
is your naughtiest boy, John ? " Without hesitation, my grand- 
father at once replied, " My eldest son William, of course ! " 
" Good !" exclaimed the Squire. "Then I will adopt him, and 
if you will have his things packed up, he can return with us 

And thus it came about that our worthy father came to 
Limber about the year 1820, and lived at the old house 
with his adopted parents, remaining with them until the 
Squire died in 1830, and afterwards until Dame Richardson's 
demise in 1836. Eight years later, in 1844, he himself married, 
and brought his wife to live at the old home. 

Another very vivid recollection of our childhood and its 
sporting inheritance, was the silver Urn we used on those 
special occasions when visitors either came to stay in the 
house, or to a party. The arrival of the great silver Urn, 
hissing gloriously, was hailed by us as a delightfully sportive 
addition to our breakfast or tea-table, and still more so when 


An Old Lincolnshire Family 

we were of an age to understand its mysteries, and the inscrip- 
tion upon it was explained to us. Thus it ran : 

"Chester Cup, 
won by William Richardson's Conqueror* in 1788." 

Further, it was explained why this Urn was so particularly 
beautiful. Its shape always commended itself to us, for children 
naturally love beautiful things, but we were also shown that 
the inside of the Urn, where the heater went with its mysterious 
cover, was all solid silver. It appears that, as well as the 
Chester Gold Cup of that date, Conqueror also won, during 
the week's racing at Chester, either a silver cup value £$0, or 
its equivalent in money. 

Now, Dame Richardson being of a very practical turn of 
mind, decided that the two cups were not useful, and, as she 
and her husband had not as yet adopted my father, no doubt 

* Conqueror was an aged horse in 1786 when his record in " Baily's Racing 
Register " first commences to be recorded. On August 10 that year he won a ^50 
stake at Nottingham and five days later at Derby secured a similar award in a 
similar race, i.e. one of four-mile heats. On September 15 he ran in a ^100 race at 
Stockton, where he finished last of five horses in two of the four-mile heats, and was 
withdrawn from the third and final heat. In the June of 1787 he won the Members 
Plate of .£50 at Peterborough, beating four others. One of them was Mr. Galwey's 
Superb, who seven days later won the Stamford Corporation Plate of ^50. 
Conqueror next secured the Members Plate of ^50 at Grantham on July 6, and then 
he was " laid aside " for the two events at Chester in 1788. A month after his Roodeye 
victories he was running in the name of Mr. Singleton at Beverley, where he won a 
£50 race decided over two four-mile heats. Except for the defeat at Stockton-on- 
Tees in 1786, when he may have been lame or, most likely, knocked up by the journey, 
Conqueror did actually not lose a four-mile heat race. Mr. Richardson very likely 
being satisfied with the possession of the Grosvenor Gold Cup, a trophy always 
keenly contested for by the county families — and actually the only trophy that the 
horse did win — the designation " Plate " being but gentle camouflage for actual 
" stakes " — his owner doubtless sold him to Mr. Singleton, for whom he won the .£50 
race at Beverley, and then the game old son of Espersykes departs from the pages of 
" Baily's Racing Register," leaving behind him the record of a sterling and game 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

thought they might as well have a nice tea Urn, as two 
unnecessary cups, however ornamental. 

Through the courtesy of the manager of the "Chester 
Courant," Mr. J. A. Birchall, whose publication is one of the 
oldest English newspapers still in circulation, having been 
established in 1730, I am able to give the account of what 
appeared in that paper as to the Chester Race week, which 
lasted from May 5th to May 9th, 1788. I have also to 
thank Mr. F. J. Warmsley, Secretary of the Chester Race 
Company, Ltd., who took the trouble to get particulars for me, 
and Messrs. Weatherby & Sons for their kind contributions 
from the " Racing Calendar" of that date. 

Racing must have been a much slower kind of sport in 
those days, as far at least as the number of events were con- 
cerned. One race a day was the limit, but seeing that it was 
run in four-mile heats, and the best out of three, there was 
plenty of excitement. The old account runs thus : — 

"Entered May the 5th to run at Chester Meeting 1788 
the annual City Plate value ^30, with a purse of ^20 given 
by the Corporation for 4, 5, 6, and aged horses, the best two 
of three four-mile heats. Four years old, seven stone : five 
year old, 8 stone; and aged horse 9 stone." 

Regarding this race I find that Mr. William Richardson's 
aged bay gelding, Conqueror, by Espersykes and ridden by 
G. Sell, carried 9 stone, ran and won the two first heats of four 
miles each, beating two other horses, Attraction and Oberon. 

We must presume that horses, however good, would have 
to rest a considerable time between such long heats, and no 
doubt the ladies and gentlemen amused themselves between 
whiles in quite as pleasant a fashion as they do in these 

After his performance on the Monday, it appears Conqueror 


Won by Conqueror in 1788. 

An Old Lincolnshire Family 

did not run again until the Thursday following, when on the 
8th of May the Gold Cup, value ^50 (the gift of the Rt. Hon. 
Earl Grosvenor), was decided. In it four-year olds carried 

7 stone 5 lbs. ; five-year olds 8 stone 2 lbs. ; six-year olds 

8 stone 1 1 lbs. ; and aged horses 9 stone 6 lbs. 

For this race, also, Mr. Richardson's Conqueror ran against 
two others, both six-year olds and in receipt of 4 lbs., and to 
win it this good old horse had to travel some 1 2 miles racing 
speed. He won the first heat from Oberon, came in second 
to Oberon for the next bout, and won the third trial, again from 
Oberon, with Sharper third to them in each heat. Thus did 
the son of Espersykes win the much-coveted Chester Gold 
Cup and the forerunner of the present Chester Cup, for 

It strikes me, in the light of the preceding reports, that 
the Silver Cup supposed to have been won in the race for the 
" City Plate " on the Monday must have been a childhood's 
myth, and that our great-great-uncle landed at home as fast 
as the slow travelling in those days would permit, with the 
Gold Cup in one hand and ^50 good sovereigns in the 
other, to be presented in triumph to Dame Richardson, 
who later on, as I have previously stated, had them con- 
verted, through the medium of the melting pot, into the his- 
torical Urn. 

With respect to the other amusements which the patrons of 
the turf in those days must have enjoyed, I note from an old 
MS. kindly copied for me by Mr. Warmsley the following 
significant account : — 


Cheshire versus Lancashire. 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

I understand this to mean, that on the mornings of the days 
mentioned, which were those of the Race meeting at Chester, 
there was Cock-fighting between the leading breeders of 
Cheshire and Lancashire, and that the interests of the specula- 
tive race-goers were in this fashion maintained until the 
afternoon's racing came on. 

There is a specially characteristic story told of the jovial 
owner of Conqueror, which under similar circumstances could 
readily be accredited to his fun-loving descendant who forms 
the subject of this book. One wild dark night, in the winter 
say of 1775, or thereabout, when the snow lay thickly on the 
ground, and was still falling, a belated traveller riding along 
the road from Caistor saw the cheerful lights gleaming in the 
wide front of the old house at Limber, and riding up to the side 
door, rapped loudly thereon with his whip, demanding a night's 
lodging, and to see Mine Host. 

Mr. Richardson, who at the time was sitting in his study, 
which adjoined the side door, heard this unexpected knock 
and demand, and at once came rightly to the conclusion that 
the stranger had mistaken his house for the inn for which he 
was evidently seeking. Being the soul of hospitality, however, 
and determined to rescue this unexpected guest, at any cost, 
from the horrors of the night, he brushed aside the astonished 
servant, and courteously invited the traveller to enter. 

One can readily imagine what a comfort the sight of Mr. 
Richardson's smiling red face would carry to the cold-stricken 
stranger, and how he would hug himself for joy at the thought 
that not only had he found the inn he sought, but also one 
of the jolliest and cheeriest landlords imaginable into the 

One can also imagine, too, how Mr. Richardson, having let 
the servants into the secret, with orders that it was to be 


An Old Lincolnshire Family 

strictly kept until the morning, persuaded his Dame to let him 
have his joke, and to absent herself from the evening meal, 
whilst he played his part as host, and (as was often the custom 
in those days) did the entertaining at supper himself. Then 
the racy stories he would tell, and how he would draw the 
stranger out all the time, chuckling all the while when he 
thought what an awakening it would be on the following morn- 
ing, and his visitor's confusion when he found out the trick that 
had been played upon him. 

The story goes that Mr. Richardson brought out a bottle of 
his famous port, famous even in those days when port wine 
was the wine of the time, and men vied with each other in 
obtaining and keeping in their cellars the very best. One can 
see, too, when morning dawned, the unfortunate stranger coming 
down to breakfast, and instead of an inn repast, finding the 
stately figure of Dame Richardson, seated behind the historic 
Urn won for her by Conqueror and now smoking away for all 
it was worth. We can picture his confusion — his apologies. 

Whatever passed, it is tolerably certain, that with such a 
hospitable couple, the stranger would soon find that he had 
only exchanged his experiences of Limber House from the 
thought of it as an inn to the joy of it as a country house, 
where he ever would be a welcome guest. And from all I 
have heard he and his host and hostess remained the best of 
friends to the end of their lives. 

There is an old and trite saying : " Be careful to entertain 
strangers, for by so doing, men have entertained angels un- 
awares." And such, by all accounts, seems to have been the 
case in this instance. 

1 1 



The other picture in the old house that impressed we children 
very strongly, was a life-sized portrait of our father, who died 
when we were very young. My eldest brother, William, was 
four, John Maunsell Richardson three, and myself — bringing 
up the rear — two years old. We liked to look at his face 
whenever we got the chance, as it had a very kind expression, 
with a nice colouring, not at all fiery like the picture of the 
owner of Conqueror. I say " whenever we got the chance," 
advisedly, because rose-coloured curtains were drawn over it, 
and only withdrawn on State Occasions, or if we three com- 
bined in a request to mother and grandmother to let us see 
it as a special treat. Then when with much solemnity, and with 
many tears, they would draw back the curtains, the sense of 
mystery, which is always delightful to children, deepened into 
a kind of imperfect sympathy for a pain we could not under- 
stand, and which for many years perplexed us greatly. 

I remember one morning especially well, when we three 
were invited into the drawing-room where the picture occupied 
a prominent position. The curtains were withdrawn, and some 
of the villagers were gazing at the picture, and both men and 
women were crying bitterly. Naturally such a sight perplexed 
us still more, but we soon understood sufficiently to know that 
this picture of the dead William Richardson conveyed to others 


Born, 1812 ; died, 1850. J. M. Richardson's father. 

John Maunsell Richardson's Father 

beside our mother and grandmother a sense of intimate loss, 
that had hurt them one and all badly. Then as we grew older 
we learnt that he had been loved and respected by all who 
knew him, in a manner that falls to the lot of few men. 

Our eldest brother, William, was the only one of us who 
could remember his father alive — though the remembrance 
was not altogether a happy one, being connected with a sound 
thrashing for telling a lie, which lie was, I really believe, the 
only one he ever told in his life. Maunsell and I always 
cherished a slight feeling of jealousy on this point, not as 
regards the thrashing, which certainly neither of us wished to 
have experienced, but we thought our mother and grandmother 
favoured our eldest brother, and considered him a being set 
apart from us, and especially blessed for this remembrance. 

Our father was by no means an indifferent horseman, and I 
call to mind one very special instance of his prowess, which 
was related to us when we were exceedingly small, and being 
determined riders ourselves, it naturally interested us immensely. 
Moreover, to make the story more entrancing, a picture hung 
in the dining-room of a bay horse called Huntsman, with a 
racing saddle on him, and a groom standing at his head, evi- 
dently awaiting his rider at the side door of our old home. 
This picture we had often studied before we knew the story, 
as our own groom, " Tommy " Rickalls, who taught us all to 
ride, was there portrayed, and we loved him very much. 

It appeared that one day, not long before his marriage, a 
guest who was dining, with him had recently won a rather 
celebrated race, and during dinner had regaled his host ad 
nauseum with his own prowess as a rider, and his horse's 
excellence as a chaser. At that time my father had this fine 
old upstanding bay horse Huntsman in his stables, and one 
that could be described as a thoroughly safe conveyance,. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

perfect at fences, but as slow as a top compared with even a 
moderate steeple-chaser. Having no doubt dined well, and 
being sick unto death of his guest's boasting, he there and then 
made a match with him for ^"ioo a side, Huntsman against 
the other's wonderful chaser — Owners up. It was a mad 
enough after-dinner wager, truly, for my father must have 
known full well that, if his opponent's horse kept on its legs, 
his own had not a ghost of a chance. But there was never 
any idea of backing out of anything my father ever undertook, 
and it was some comfort to know that Huntsman would be 
sure to keep on his legs, and that, at any rate, he would leap 
as well as the other. 

The event duly came off — a Point to Point race — four miles 
over the stiffest country that could be found. My father had 
stipulated for the choice of the course, and he certainly gave 
his opponent no quarter in that direction, his argument being, 
no doubt, that even should the chaser fall and pick himself up 
again, pace was bound to tell and he could very easily catch 
up old Huntsman. However, he did fall, and evidently either 
could not pick himself up again quickly enough, or, more 
probably, his horse got away from him, for Mr. Richardson 
came in an easy winner of the race and the ^"ioo wager, and 
forthwith had his good old horse and equally faithful servant, 
Thomas Rickalls, perpetuated on canvas together, to com- 
memorate the victory. 

Naturally as we got older we were continually asking 
questions, and Maunsell being a special favourite with his 
mother, we generally made him the examining counsel. As it 
usually began and ended with many tears from our mother 
and grandmother, the examination was not altogether as de- 
lightful and amusing an experience as we desired, but at any 
rate we generally elicited some point of interest and I think 













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John Maunsell Richardson's Father 

profited to a certain extent, especially Maunsell, who was 
always a quick and more than ordinarily intelligent boy. 

For one thing, we learnt he was the soul of honour and 
truthfulness. His chastisement of our elder brother, when he 
must have been terribly ill himself and must have heartily 
disliked the ordeal, told us this fact when we came to a reason- 
ing age. He was, too, a great lover of animals, who in turn 
adored him. He had a Black and Tan Old English Terrier, 
Duke by name, and so obedient was the dog, that being 
upstairs in the nursery, which was on the third floor, and the 
window open, his master unthinkingly pointed in its direction, 
Duke, thinking he was intended to jump out, and with no 
thought but to obey, jumped accordingly, and was only rescued 
just in time by his tail. This same old dog lives in my 
memory as rather a sad instance of keeping old pets alive too 
long. He lived to be twenty-one years old — a really authentic 
case of a dog's longevity — but before he died even now I can 
remember, with horror, his fits, his sad, sightless eyes, and the 
various other ills that beset an animal that has outlived his 
natural limits. Yet who can blame the wife who kept this' 
living reminder of her dead husband, until from sheer old age 
he dropped into his grave ? On both sides Maunsell inherited 
an almost inordinate love of animals, which in his case showed 
itself more especially in his intense love of horses. His mother 
was simply a slave to any animal, it did not matter how in- 
significant, and her love for them was returned in full measure. 

Once she had a pig as a pet, and I can see even now in 
my mind's eye this little humble follower close at her heels, 
his tail wagging in porcine ecstasy at being allowed to be near 
her and follow her about. Our greyhounds once chased and 
bit a kitten very badly, and their victim should have been 
destroyed at once, so shockingly was it mauled. But no, for 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

two nights my mother sat up nursing it, till in its death 
struggles it bit her in each hand. Then the horrible idea was 
mooted, was the unfortunate kitten mad ? At that time the 
wife of the huntsman of the Brocklesby hounds, who lived at 
the Kennels, was known to possess a certain antidote against 
madness — a potion said to be infallible. So my mother went 
off to interview Mrs. Smith, and took me with her. To this 
day I can see the horrible, thick, red-brown concoction, which 
my poor mother drank without turning a hair, quite a fair-sized 
basin full. I remember it the more distinctly, as it reminded 
me so much of the Gregory mixture we unfortunates often had 
to take, only it seemed still nastier, and much thicker. At any 
rate, whatever its virtues, it could have done no harm, for our 
mother luckily felt no ill-effects, either from the bite of the 
poor little kitten, or from the extraordinary medicine she had 
imbibed ! 

We used also to question "Tommy" Rickalls, the faithful 
old servant, and from him we extracted a good deal of in- 
formation as to the "horsey" side of my father's character. 
We learned that although he could never be called a thrusting 
rider with hounds, he was a keen upholder of the sport, and 
no doubt Maunsell learned thus early that the joy of hunting 
does not consist entirely in tearing over fences, cutting some 
one else out, or over-riding hounds, and such like atrocities, 
for I never knew him guilty of such deeds, nor has any one else 
that I ever heard of, and for this good trait in his character he 
had to thank his early grounding in hunting lore, inherited from 
his father, and filtered through faithful old "Tommy" Rickalls. 
Now " Tommy " also had his failing — his only one, I verily 
believe, for a better all-round man with horses has never existed. 

My mother and grandmother used to tell the story 

with great gusto, as showing that Mr. Richardson, although 



John Maunsell Richardson's Father 

extraordinarily kind and forbearing, could be stern and sharp 
enough when he chose. "Tommy" Rickalls had driven the 
three of them some long distance to dine with friends, and had 
refreshed himself in the meantime in the public-house, not 
wisely but too well. On the homeward journey, my father, 
seeing him swaying backwards and forwards on his box, told 
him to pull up and get down, whilst he, mounting to the box 
of the carriage, held the reins. Obedience to authority being 
" Tommy's " watchword, he swayingly obeyed. 

As soon as he was down, off drove my father, leaving poor 
" Tommy " to cool his heels and his head, some miles from home. 
It was supposed to teach him a lesson, and no doubt it did 
until next time. However, "Tommy" drunk was a better 
servant than many sober, and Maunsell had to thank him for 
his early instruction in riding, his unvarying faithfulness to 
his dead master, and his first lesson in the " hunting field " of 
the real meaning of the " Sport of Kings." 

Naturally we learnt many other details concerning my 
father. Undoubtedly he was eccentric. But that, no doubt, 
was accounted for by the fact, that he lived from his boyhood, 
when about fourteen, until he married at thirty-three, with old 
Squire Richardson and his wife, and except for a very short 
time at school; had no playmates at all of his own age to share 
in his amusements. He was never sent to college either, 
although three of his brothers went. It is more than likely 
that he refused to go, and was allowed — as I believe he was 
in everything — to have his own way by the fond old couple 
who had adopted him for their own. For instance, we were 
told that in the middle of being shaved by his barber, he 
would jump up and play a tune on the flute or violin — which- 
ever was the handiest — for he loved music and played, I believe, 
fairly well on both instruments. 

17 c 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

This talent for music was inherited by our eldest brother, 
who could play practically any instrument. As children we 
suffered much from his cornet, flute, and such-like ear-splitting 
torments, but eventually he settled down to the viola, and in 
later life discoursed sweet music upon that instrument. To 
his youngest son he has transmitted the full harmony of sound 
that his soul possessed, but for which, in the absence of 
adequate study of the technique of music, he could find no 
outward expression. It is good to know that in that son his 
family possess a musical genius of no common type, who has 
had the chance his father never enjoyed of a musical education. 
To Maunsell, on the other hand, music never came naturally, 
though in later life the singing of hymns in church gave him 
infinite delight. Indeed, his widow tells me that she had 
sometimes to restrain his ardour. 

My father possessed a fine vein of humour, and could 
see the funny side of a thing, turning what might prove a 
serious matter, causing unnecessary inconvenience and possibly 
grave consequences, into a laughable and easily forgiven 
circumstance, leaving no ill-will on either side. He had a 
capital manservant once, called Dent, whose one fault was a 
great weakness for sweets, more particularly the creams and 
jellies left from the dinner- table. Being told of this, Mr. 
Richardson hit upon a plan. He chose the moment when he 
knew Dent was in the kitchen, talking to Mrs. Killick the 
cook, and coming in, observed, as the man was in the act of 
making off — u Don't go, Dent, I want to speak to Mrs. Killick, 
and tell her how pleased you are with her cooking, and how 
much you appreciate her sweets in particular. And now, Mrs. 
Killick," he said, " I want you, whenever you make us that " 
(naming a very delightful cream mould that had disappeared 
in much too rapid a manner), "to put some of it into a special 


(J. M. Richardson's father and mother.) 

John Maunsell Richardson's Father 

mould for Dent. You like it, don't you, Dent ? " By this time 
Dent, covered with confusion, had escaped, but he had learnt 
his lesson, and no more sweets disappeared. It is a fair 
example of the love that Mr. Richardson inspired in those who 
came into contact with him, for notwithstanding this rebuff, Dent 
remained a faithful servant with his master to the very last. 

When in Lincolnshire collecting information for this book, 
I went to see the last surviving member of my father's gene- 
ration, Miss Colquhoun Marris, who lives at Brigg. I thought 
I would gather again from her some impressions first hand of 
Mr. Richardson, whom she well remembered, and she very 
kindly gave me some most interesting particulars. In person 
he was tall, just under six feet in stature, giving the impression 
of still greater height by his upright carriage and trim figure. 
His manner was the perfection of dignity and urbanity, for, 
without being strictly handsome, he had the fascination that 
descended in such full measure to his son Maunsell. He 
adored children, all of whom loved him in return. In fact, 
my dear cousin said — and even at this long distance of time 
tears were in her eyes as she spoke — " Every one loved him, 
and I never have in all my life — neither had my father — 
heard a word in his disfavour." Truly a fitting parent for 
John Maunsell Richardson and John Maunsell Richardson a 
worthy son of such a father. 




The village of Great Limber, or, strictly speaking, Limber 
Magna, now so well known in the sporting world for the stables 
that in 1873 and 1874 produced two Grand National winners 
in Disturbance and Reugny, is situated well to the north of 
North Lincolnshire. It is some twelve miles west of the noted 
fishing and seaport of Great Grimsby, about five miles south 
of the vast new Immingham Docks, partly built upon land 
held by John Maunsell Richardson's ancestors for generations, 
and a mile and a half south of Brocklesby Hall, that fine old- 
time seat of the Pelham family, now Earls of Yarborough. 

The spacious park surrounding this mansion, which with its 
glorious old trees and fine springy turf is second to none in 
England, formed, amongst many of its other joys, a grand 
training-ground for horses destined to compete for the honours 
of the turf — that is, to the privileged few, who like Maunsell 
were allowed to enjoy its advantages. 

Now, although the county of Lincolnshire is by no means 
all fenland, and quite flat, as it is generally supposed to be by 
many people who have not taken the trouble to study the 
geography of that county, it must be confessed, that unless a 
Lincolnshire village nestles amidst the wolds, it often presents 
a somewhat bare, not to say ugly appearance. 

Thus, Great Limber village, which is on comparatively 










. u 
















Birthplace : Limber Magna 

flat land, might not, except for its fine old twelfth-century 
church, have presented any special feature of interest to the 
world in general unless to those who, like my brother Maun- 
sell, were bred, born, and reared there ; he loved it better than 
any place in the world. Its environment grew upon him. The 
magnificent Brocklesby woods, stretching for miles, right away 
from Brocklesby Hall to Pelham's Pillar, no doubt formed to 
him, amidst many other charming features, a most picturesque 
background to the village of Limber. 

This beautiful setting of woodland not only takes away all 
reproach of bare ugliness from the village, but makes it 
positively unique, for in its straggling mile of length — sup- 
posing you are walking from one end to the other — one is 
accompanied by this stretch of trees, which follows you, either 
on your right hand or your left, as you go up or down the long 
village street. Over a century ago, the then owner of the 
Brocklesby estates, Squire Pelham, planted these millions of 
trees for the benefit of his heirs in succeeding generations, and 
for the beautifying of his favourite village, that of Limber Magna. 
It is also a happy thought to his descendants, that Squire 
Pelham's lifelong friend, Squire Richardson of Immingham, our 
great -great-uncle, who rented the big " Top House" at Limber, 
and much land adjoining from Squire Pelham, had also a hand 
in adorning the village he too loved so well. 

As one imagines those men and their times and ambitions, 
one can see them in one's mind's eye, two fine old English 
gentlemen, both then in the prime of life, in top boots, buff 
breeches, and brass-buttoned blue coats, astride their respec- 
tive bob-tailed nags, and sallying forth day after day, to 
determine which would be the best site for the planting of the 
trees, and deciding where the proposed great belt would be 
best broad, or best narrow. They no doubt took with them 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

professional foresters, who would finally help them to deter- 
mine upon a scheme of woodcraft, the realization of which has 
since become the pride and glory, not only of Squire Pelham's 
direct descendants, but of the whole folk of North Lincolnshire. 
Surely each individual tree bears silent witness that the man 
who gave so much thought, time, and money to the beautify- 
ing of his estate, and his county, is worthy of praise and 
perhaps some emulation in present days. 

An inscription, upon one of the well-known landmarks of 
North Lincolnshire, Pelham's Pillar, where the woods end, and 
which is also their furthest point from Brocklesby Hall, tells 
the story of the undertaking, and from its height, will repay 
the sightseer the trouble of climbing so many steps, not only 
to see these miles of trees and to note the grace of their 
waving lines, but to be rewarded with a bird's-eye view, which, 
on a clear day, gives a radius of some forty miles of the 
surrounding country. The inscription on Pelham's Pillar 
runs thus : " This Pillar was erected to commemorate the 
planting of these Woods by Charles Anderson Pelham, 
Lord Yarborough, who commenced planting in 1787, and 
between that year and 1823, planted on his property, 12,552,700 
trees. The Foundation of this Pillar was laid in the year 
1840 by his son, and the building finished by his Grandson 
in 1849." 

It seems wonderful, looking at these grand century-old 
trees, that they, as well as the sturdy oak, or its graceful neigh- 
bour, the silver birch, were once such tender saplings, that the 
smallest child was forbidden on pains and penalties to play 
amidst their tempting recesses ; and that they were then called 
" The Plantations," which only merged into the more dignified 
name of " The Woods " by very slow degrees. 

When Mrs. Maunsell, our grandmother, from whom came 










Birthplace : Limber Magna 

my brother's name Maunsell, was quite a little girl — she also 
having been born and bred at Limber — the parental commands 
against making the tempting Plantations a playground were so 
strictly enforced, that, when she said the Lord's Prayer at 
night, instead of repeating the words " lead us not into tempta- 
tion," she always said to herself, " and lead me not into the 

Then, too, the Sport of Kings, a hundred years ago, if not 
quite so fashionable a pursuit as it is now, was as well and as 
enthusiastically supported in North Lincolnshire, as in any 
other county. Moreover, these new Plantations soon became 
valuable breeding grounds, and cover, for Master Reynard ; 
and, as such, assumed a still more sacred character to lovers of 
fox-hunting, as all good Limber folk were, the celebrated 
Brocklesby Hounds being then well to the fore. 

The delight of the Brocklesby Woods does not, however, 
consist of splendid trees alone. The broad grassy rides that 
traverse them from end to end make them a veritable paradise 
for lovers of riding. Think of it ! With fine trees, on either 
side of you, sheltering you from the cutting winds of winter, 
and shading you from the too great heat of the summer sun, 
you can canter along on springy turf for miles if you wish, with 
neither a rabbit-hole to give you a nasty fall, nor a rise in 
the ground high enough to necessitate a breather for your 

Was ever any neighbourhood so perfect for riders, old or 
young, as this happy part of the world, this piece of dear old 
Lincolnshire ? Small wonder, then, that Maunsell Richardson 
never remembered when he first began to ride, or even when 
on some small steed he first followed the hounds. In fact, 
riding was more natural to we three children than walking, and 
infinitely more agreeable. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

As for the houses that form the village of Great Limber, 
they consisted when Maunsell was born, as they do now — with 
the exception of the house that the late Lord Yarborough built 
for my brother's occupation — of five principal residences, the 
rest being cottages. There are the village shops — one being 
dignified by the possession of the post-office — and the inn, 
which still rejoices in the name of the " New Inn," although 
some one hundred years have passed since its foundation stones 
were laid. 

The largest of these five houses was known as Great 
Limber House, or more often called by the villagers " The 
Top House," as it stands at the extreme east end of the 
village, generally regarded as the " Top." It is a fine specimen 
of Georgian brickwork, and is surrounded by a large grass 
homestead — so large, in fact, that one half of its space was 
enough for the setting up of three of the regulation-size 
hurdles, and a good gallop round, which ensured the u taking 
down the back " of a too fresh horse, as ours were often wont 
to be, upon first leaving their stables. And that the homestead 
was large enough for this necessary adjunct to good horseman- 
ship was all that concerned us, the then inhabitants of the 
11 Top House," from childhood upwards. 

If you walk through the west gate of this homestead — for 
though the inhabitants of the "Top House " have unfortunately 
changed, the House and grounds are the same — you come into 
the village. As you walk past solidly built brick cottages, 
generally gable-ended, with gardens back and front — the front 
garden bright with flowers — everywhere you see signs of the 
well-being of the farm labourer, and the kindly care of the 
respective landlords. 

These cottages are built on each side of a pleasantly broad 
street, curving somewhat to the left, as you pass down from 









■ I ■ 















Birthplace : Limber Magna 

the " Top House," and a few hundred yards further on you 
come to a turn on the left which leads you (now, alas ! through 
the beautiful Lych Gate, erected to John Maunsell Richardson's 
memory by his Lincolnshire friends) to the old church, which, 
like most of those in Lincolnshire, has a sturdy square tower, 
and is full of interest, both inside and out, to the students of 
the church architecture of that period. 

In our childhood, the old-fashioned square pews still filled 
the body of the church. They have been carted off to the 
rubbish heap long since, and the newer-fashioned, low, door- 
less pews have been substituted. But somehow it always 
seems to me that the old square pews — loose boxes as they 
were often irreverently called — accorded better with the old 
Norman arches and the grey old walls. 

When we were children one of these square pews was 
assigned to the occupants of each of the large houses, with a 
separate oblong pew at the back of it, for the servants of each 
residence, giving a kind of feudal setting to the picture. 

Unfortunately for us children — consisting of my two 
brothers and myself — our pew was situated directly under the 
pulpit, and it was a fearsome sight when the clergyman looked 
down upon us, with eyes which in our imagination boded ill 
for our happiness — in this world at all events. 

He certainly managed to make our Sundays the most 
dreary day of all the week — a day we detested with our whole 
hearts, and the only one on which we were as sad to rise in 
the morning as we were delighted to go to bed at night, which, 
it goes without sayings was by no means our usual state of 
mind. To be compelled to listen twice every Sunday, for a 
whole hour, to the dreariest of discourses, was a penalty which, 
thank goodness ! is not now inflicted as it was then on church- 
tormented children. Truly, among the many fine traits in my 

2 5 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

brother Maunsell's character, it is not the least, that after the 
nauseous dose of so-called religion he was subjected to as a 
child, he retained to the last a great and ever-growing respect 
for the Church and her service. To churchgoers nowadays, 
even in very remote country districts, it seems incredible, that 
as late as the middle of the last century such a caricature of 
what Church worship ought to be certainly existed. 

Oh ! the dreariness of the long, droned-out prayers ! The 
appalling length of the nasal abomination of the drawled-out 
singing by the village school children, without even the modest 
harmonium to keep them in tune ! Well might we children 
come to the conclusion that if this were the prototype of 
Heaven, and Heaven consisted entirely of Sunday, we should 
much prefer everlasting week-days amongst the, perhaps, more 
wicked, but certainly more sympathetic community. 

Looking back through the long vista of years, one can only 
think that the then Vicar of Great Limber found peace for his 
own conscience in boring himself as well as his congregation 
profoundly once a week, thus doing penance for the fact that 
he absented himself from his parish most week-days, and, 
instead of visiting his parishioners, found more recreation in 
operations on the London Stock Exchange. 

Leaving the church and coming back to the main road, 
you pass the rectory on your left, screened from the road by 
a wall, to pass which, to us children, was always a sensational 
experience, for it was there our ogre of Sunday dwelt, and we 
often longed to see what he looked like out of church. 

From this, the road bears slightly to the left, and you come 
to the forge. In Maunsell's racing days the owner of the 
forge, Grimbleby by name, excelled in all matters of shoeing, 
in fact, was a perfect master of his craft. No horse was too 
vicious for him to tackle, no equine foot too difficult for him 




U o 

> ^ 



Birthplace : Limber Magna 

to fit, no racing plate too delicate for him to manipulate. 
When my brother first started what I may call serious racing, 
Grimbleby determined that he would thoroughly master the 
blacksmith's finest art, the racing plate, and with such infinite 
care did he study the matter, that never once did he fail, nor 
a horse that he had shod lose a race through bad shoeing, as 
is so frequently the case. 

From the blacksmith's you come to an open space, and on 
the south side, facing the New Inn, is a broad, iron-railed, 
gravel road, leading to a pair of finely wrought gates, which 
bring you to Limber's famous and most cherished building, the 
Mausoleum of the Earls of Yarborough. This dome-shaped 
building was erected under the direction of James Wyatt by 
the same Squire Pelham to whom Limber owes its background 
of woodlands, in memory of his much-loved wife, who has 
gone down to posterity in Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous picture, 
entitled " Mrs. Pelham feeding her chickens." She died at the 
age of thirty-two years. 

This grand tomb stands on a grassy insulated eminence 
known to have been a Roman tumulus, many Roman sepulchral 
urns having been found there when digging the foundations, 
right in the heart of the woods, where they are broadest, and 
is surrounded by magnificent specimens of the cedar of Lebanon, 
the seeds of which were brought from the East and planted on 
the spot where they now flourish, by Squire Pelham's own 
hands, over a hundred years ago. 

The interior of the Mausoleum, consecrated by Dr. Prettyman, 
the then Bishop of Lincoln, in 1794, is circular, and is divided 
into four compartments by eight fluted columns supporting a 
vaulted and highly decorated stained glass dome, which when the 
door of this mortuary chapel is closed throws a soft and beautiful 
light upon the interior of the building. This light, as was 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

specially designed by Mr. Wyatt, falls directly on the beautiful 
white marble statue of Mrs. Pelham executed by the celebrated 
sculptor Nolikins, and surely one of his finest works of art, 
which stands alone in the centre of the chapel, enclosed by 
thick brass rails. 

Even as a child, I can well remember how beautiful this 
sculptured figure appeared to me, and quite recently when I 
saw it again, and the custodian closed the door in the old 
familiar manner, I felt a curious thrill when looking at it, 
realizing, as I did, how the man who had loved her so well 
thought no expense too great, no personal trouble too much, 
to surround her even in death with undying marks of his 

Having visited the Mausoleum, one should return by the 
main road of the village. Near the New Inn, on your left-hand 
side, you come to cross-roads, and if you walk a few hundred 
yards on the right-hand road you see a very charming long, low, 
pointed house, which in our young days was occupied by the 
Nelson family, of whom one son and one daughter, though some 
years older, were, for most purposes, our comrades in arms. 

Should you, however, take the left-hand road from the New 
Inn, and walk for a hundred yards or so, you come to a still 
more picturesque long, low house, on your right hand. In fact, 
you come to all that remains — except its extensive foundations 
which are situated in a field adjoining the " Top House," — of 
what was a fine old Priory, founded by R. de Humer in 
1 1 80 a.d., and one that flourished and gave kindly hospitality 
to all the poor of Great Limber, and for many miles around, 
without discrimination. A pond in front of this house is still 
called Priest's Dyke, and though shallow now at its sides, is so 
deep in the middle, that a full-sized horse getting into it would 
have to swim to get out. 



From the celebrated painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the possession 

of the Earl of Yarborough. 

(The Mausoleum at Brocklesby was built to her memory.) 



Birthplace : Limber Magna 

A propos of the depth of this pond, which doubtless formed 
one of the sources from which the inhabitants of the Priory 
derived their fish supply, there are two other fishing ponds in 
Limber. We had a stolid, good-humoured bay carriage horse 
and an evil-minded black pony, rightly named Beelzebub. The 
latter belonged to our grandmother, who used to drive him in 
a low basket phaeton, and with her he was always tractable. 
With us children, however, he was quite the reverse, exercising 
his demoniacal qualities by rearing over end several times with 
one or the other up ; running away with us in our grand- 
mother's pony-carriage when we had sneaked it, as was frequently 
the case, and in other ways showing us how very much he pre- 
ferred to be handled by his superiors instead of by us, for whom 
he felt no respect whatever. 

Now Beelzebub, who, as many people do their opposites, 
loved the stolid bay horse and in summer roamed the home- 
stead with him, was continually leading his friend into mischief. 
Once having opened the gate which led into the village, and 
which had been fitted with a special iron bar against his 
depredations, the two careered with infinite joy all through the 
place. Then finding they were in danger of immediate capture, 
made a bee-line for their paddock, and swam across the fine 
old Priest Dyke, showing its exceeding depth, which no one 
appeared to have plumbed before. 

Walking back to the main street, and going straight on 
from the junction of the cross-roads, you pass cottages on both 
sides, and then come to the large end house of the village, 
generally known as " The Other End," or more commonly as 
" The Marriss." This house, situated at the extreme west of 
the village of Great Limber, was the birthplace of our grand- 
mother, Mrs. Maunsell, where our mother was brought up from 
a baby, and it was from this house that the latter migrated to 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

the " Top House " on her marriage with one of the then great 
catches of North Lincolnshire, our father, the fascinating young 
Squire Richardson, himself no mean sportsman. 

Thus, it will be seen that the village of Great Limber, with 
its environs and its traditions, was a fine training ground in 
the sporting direction, and no doubt was a great factor in leading 
my brother Maunsell's mind, even as a child, and ultimately as 
a man, to make sport in the best sense of the word the one 
absorbing interest of his life. 

There is also another peculiarity of North Lincolnshire that 
gives even hack-riding a particular pleasure. The ordinary 
high-roads rejoice in broad grassy sides, where two or three 
riders can canter along abreast, quite secure from any pitfalls 
for miles, and without any necessity for the "'ammer, 'ammer, 
'ammer on the 'ard 'igh road." They can ride from village to 
town, or from town to village, ad lib. Roads may have grassy 
sides in other counties, but so far as the present writer has 
seen, none comparable, either in size or in the springy quality 
of the turf, to those of North Lincolnshire. 

No doubt the roads were mapped out on a generous scale 
by those then in power long centuries ago, for the Romans are 
undoubtedly responsible for many of the roads in North 
Lincolnshire. Land grabbers were not ; railways had not 
ploughed their iron tracks through the country ; even stage 
coaches were non-existent, the only mode of locomotion being 
the trusty Roadster and the Pack-horse. 

My brother Maunsell's childhood was by no means entirely 
taken up by the one sport, of riding or hunting. He loved, as 
in fact he did all his life long, every kind of honest sport for 
sport's sake, excelling from childhood in every game to which 
he put his hand. 

In fact, for Maunsell to become one of the greatest 




«— 1 













































1— 1 









Birthplace : Limber Magna 

sportsmen of his age was but the natural outcome of the love 
of his early days. And there is no doubt that he gained his 
wonderful capacity for never losing his head in a race, or any 
other form of competitive exhibition, from the fact, that from 
childhood he always sought out youths considerably his senior 
in>ge, and well worthy of his steel. 

We all three emancipated ourselves at a very early age 
from the control of our grandmother and mother, and dispensed 
as often as possible with the attendance of our kind old groom, 
who had taught us all to ride, really believing that we were in 
every way capable of managing ourselves and our ponies. 
And although it would not be advisable for every boy to 
attempt this early emancipation in matters equine, yet it can 
hardly be doubted that it made my brother, from a very early 
age, a self-reliant horseman. 

The great love of horses which grew up with him, from the 
day when at four years old he was presented with his first 
mount, a very handsome Shetland pony, no doubt contributed 
in a large measure to his wonderful judgment where horses 
were concerned, and made him one of the soundest, as he was 
one of the most popular judges at the hundreds of Horse 
Shows at which he was called upon to adjudicate. I recall 
that this same small steed gave him his initial taste for racing, 
for the first time he mounted it, with much pride before an 
admiring crowd, I amongst the number, it promptly ran away 
with him round and round the field, but he stuck to it, and at 
last reined it in before us in triumph. Frightened he was, no 
doubt, but victorious. 




For some time past an acute rivalry had existed between we 
three children, our cousins and our friends in Limber, as to the 
comparative merits of our steeds, especially in connection with 
the powers of the latter in crossing a country. 

On the flat we had always a good means of judging, for 
it was a rare thing indeed if a race of some kind did not come 
off each day we rode out. It was our regular practice to ride 
somewhere every day, wet or fine. As a matter of fact, in our 
heterogeneous riding parties, none of us could pass or even 
come up to the other, but the trot or canter became a gallop, 
then a race to the nearest stone-heap, tree, or gate. In these 
extemporary races my chestnut pony Tommy, who had a 
knack of jumping off quickly at the start, nearly always proved 
a winner. We had, however, so far, never attempted a 
steeplechase, and our souls were thirsting to prove which of 
our mounts was the best across country. 

After long and anxious deliberation between the three of 
us, our cousins and friends, it was decided unanimously that 
there must be a test, which should take the form of a real 
steeplechase, on the most approved grown-up lines. It was 
also decided that we three must take the initiative, it being a 
recognized fact, that whatever the arbiters of our fate allowed 
us to do, the other parents in the village followed suit, and 



"The Cat's" First Steeplechase 

allowed their sons and daughters to do likewise. But in this 
instance, determined as we were to have our own way in 
every particular, we felt that to organize a real grown-up 
steeplechase without the aid of our elders was absolutely im- 
possible. We had, therefore, to consider seriously how we 
could best " work the oracle," or in other words, how we could 
get our mother's and grandmother's consent and assistance. 
In minor matters, such as riding, hunting, playing quoits, foot- 
ball, cricket, etc., we had always been successful, and did as we 
liked ; but we felt that more diplomacy than we had ever 
exercised before was necessary, if we were to be allowed to 
organize the projected race meeting. 

At last we decided upon our plan of campaign, which was 
to approach the enemy individually. Maunsell being my 
mother's favourite was told off to attack her, and my brother 
Willie being his grandmother's boy was to bring up his forces 
to bear upon her in like manner. My part was that of a 
deeply interested spectator, who gave the weight of her 
influence and support to the attacking party ; the more so as 
my precious pony was to be ridden in the race by Maunsell, 
who, as I had been forbidden to ride him myself in the race, 
would, I knew, place his mount in the best position possible. 

Stout and self-willed as our hearts were, so much depended 
upon the glad consent of our elders, that I remember well, 
pulses were beating pretty fast when the great subject was 
broached to them. But oh ! the joy when permission was 
given — just permission at first, but which very soon afterwards, 
no doubt after anxious consultation with others, developed 
into an enthusiasm almost as great as ours over the whole 

Certain stipulations, however, were made. The race was 
to be run over our own land ; the fences to be thoroughly well 

33 d 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

trimmed down ; ditches cleared, etc., etc., and the course (this 
we also had determined) flagged in correct steeplechase fashion, 
and the desired racing kits to be home made. Thus, we having 
won the day with the arbiters of our fate, the other parents of 
competitors in the coming race fell into line ; and nothing now 
remained but to get the racing kits ready, the racecourse in 
order, and to fix the day. 

Naturally, first in order came the choosing of their racing 
colours by my two brothers. In anxious conclave, assisted by 
our elders, it was decided that the new Richardson colours 
should be Orange and Blue. My eldest brother's should 
be " Orange body, blue sleeves, orange cap ; " Maunsell's 
were " blue body, orange sleeves, blue cap." It was in these 
same colours that my eldest brother won many races as a 
young man ; and they were also Maunsell's colours for many 
years, in fact until those were registered in which he won his 
first Grand National. 

But after the selection of the colours, there were so many 
other practical and important details to be attended to, that a 
fortnight was considered the shortest time in which everything 
could be got ready. Two weeks at that time of life is more 
like two months later on, but we tried to possess our souls in 
patience, and revelled in the thought of superintending the 
necessary details, including the buying and fashioning of each 
article that would be required for the racing outfits, to the 
minutest detail. 

Glazed calico of the correct shade was ordained for the 
jackets and caps (we were not allowed to run to silk) ; while 
for the breeches, two pairs belonging to our defunct racing 
great-uncle, Mr. Thos. Marris, one of grandmother's brothers, 
were to be cut down to the required size. The correct racing 
boots, we soon found, were to prove our greatest trouble. 



"The Cat's" First Steeplechase 

We certainly found boots galore, hunting boots, racing 
boots, etc., etc., when we had the joy of ransacking Uncle 
Tom's old chests of clothes. But the size of these boots ? 
That was the rub ! However, as my brothers had quite 
determined that they must have racing boots — and these at all 
events were not too small — we felt sure that we could devise 
a plan of making them as wearable as they were appropriate. 
And this we did, with what result will be seen afterwards. 
During these at first seemingly interminable two weeks our 
time was fully and delightfully occupied by superintending and 
watching our good household tailor, Josiah Fytche, cutting out, 
trying on, and otherwise busying himself in carrying out the 
racing jackets and caps from correct grown-up patterns, and 
from the calico which had arrived in due course, not only quite 
perfect in colour, but looking so like silk that we forgot to be 
disappointed that it was only an imitation. 

The breeches, too, had to be tried on many a time before 
they could be pronounced comfortable and workmanlike. And 
the delight of the feel of a first pair of well-made and comfort- 
able riding breeches must be known to be appreciated. 

Good kind old friend, tailor Fytche ! Truly he took as 
much interest in that racing outfit as we did ourselves, and 
repaid the infinite variety of our childish teasings — for he was 
a constant worker in our house, sitting cross-legged upon a 
table in our big front kitchen — by a nobility of spirit that 
scorned to take a mean advantage upon us, when we were in 
such deadly earnest to get all things ready in time for the great 
day, by even pretending to be slow. I really believe, moreover, 
that we had the grace from that time forth to no longer hide 
his beeswax, to blunt his big scissors, or to squirm so per- 
sistently when he was trying on any of our clothes, that it was 
almost an impossibility to make a good fit. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

We also superintended the clipping of the hedges, and the 
length of the course, in which we were greatly assisted by 
our great-uncle Mr. William Marris, another of our grand- 
mother's brothers, and one of our trustees! His opinion we 
treated with great respect, as having ridden in several steeple- 
chases himself, we considered him competent to advise — actually 
to advise us — just think of it ! Then came the final decision as 
to who should ride this or that horse or pony in the race ? 
Who, in fact, were to be the competitors ? 

Finally it was arranged that the field was to consist of four 
runners. My two brothers ; our great friend George Nelson ; 
and our second cousin George Marris (our uncle William's 
eldest son) ; owners up ; catch weights. 

My brother Willie was to ride his thoroughbred bay cob, 
14.2, a handsome, high-spirited little animal, and a perfect 
fencer. Maunsell's mount was my 14 hands dark chestnut 
pony Tommy, a nice thoroughbred, with a touch of the Arab 
in him, never beaten on the flat in our impromptu races, and 
a remarkably fine fencer. George Nelson was to ride his own 
brown horse, 15*2, and George Marris his grey mare, also 15*2. 
Both these last-named riders and horses were in every way 
superior in age, size and weight to my brothers or their 
mounts, but as catch weights had been ordained it did not 
matter much. George Nelson was eighteen years old, and a 
good weight for his age, and George Marris was seventeen, 
and also scaled a fairly proportionate amount for his age and 
size, but my brothers, respectively ten and eleven years old, 
carried no superficial amount of flesh, and so it was justly 
supposed that the conditions of the race would bring the horses 
together. Catch weights, of course, meant in this case that the 
jockeys, being owners of their respective horses, were neither 
to increase nor diminish their weights by a single ounce. 


" The Cat's ' First Steeplechase 

Really it was a race between youths and mere boys ; 
between full-sized horses and ponies. Still, as out larking we 
had always been able to negotiate every fence our elders and 
their horses had cleared, we were undaunted, and believed 
that if we could not win we could at least put up a very 
good show. The two weeks passed at last, and the fateful day 

It was a lovely January morning, on a Tuesday and con- 
sequently non-hunting day, for nothing could have induced us 
to fix the race for a day on which it would have been possible 
to go out hunting. Needless to say, amongst our other pre- 
parations, each day had seen the two ponies thoroughly well 
schooled, either over the fences, later on to become the race- 
course obstacles, or over some other part of our well-known 
skylarking grounds. 

My two brothers' mounts were, in consequence, in perfect 
condition, and I suppose never had owners, even professional 
trainers of racehorses, all the world over, regarded the feeding, 
exercising and health of their animals more anxiously than we 
had done. In this we were ably seconded by our head groom, 
" Jimmy " Marfleet, the successor of " Tommy " Rickalls, to 
whom any prowess we or our steeds exhibited in the hunting 
field, or elsewhere, was a matter of infinite delight. 

Seeing that we three children, and those whom we led 
astray, practically provided the whole village of Limber with 
amusement and wonder over our escapades, it is not surprising 
that there was quite an imposing muster of the natives in the 
winning field, anxiously waiting to see the finish. 

"Just ye think, now, that tha' young Squire Richardson 
(so my eldest brother was called) and Mr. Maunsell was agoing 
to race over fences agin Maister George Nelson and Maister 
George Marris ! " 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

" Aye, that they was and no mistake ! " 

Against driving in the big barouche I had definitely 
"struck." Barred from riding in the race, I was determined 
to be as locomotive as possible, and had borrowed Maunsell's 
pony in place of my own, on which he had the mount. 

My grandmother had the smaller dinner bell, which she 
was deputed to ring when they were "off," in the approved 
race-course fashion. We had pleaded for the larger bell to be 
unshipped from its coign of vantage over the Side door, as it 
would, we thought, be louder and more effective. But on this 
piece of vandalism the authority at the Home Office at once 
put a veto. 

Soon after our carriage had taken up its position at the 
winning post (which was also the starting post), the com- 
petitors in their bright colours were seen coming along in the 
approved leisurely fashion down the road which led into the 
starting field. 

Then came the preliminary canter. How my heart beat 
when I saw Maunsell and my dear chestnut pony ! What a 
gallant little figure he looked, and it was only natural that in 
my heart of hearts I wished him to be the winner. Although 
so long as the Richardson colours were to the front, whichever 
brother wore them, I felt it ought to be the same to me. And, 
then, wild joy and excitement, for at the ringing of the dinner 
bell, the competitors assembled in a line, four abreast, at the 
starting post, and at the word " off" from Uncle William 
Marris, who was the starter, the whole four made a splendid 
start. The quartette took the first hedge in fine style, Maun- 
sell, to my excited imagination, carrying off the palm in every 
particular. After the first fence, the course turned to the left, 
over another hedge and ditch into a fair-sized field ; then 
round a flag, and to the right again, over two more fields, 


£ -55 

cq .2 








— i 






" The Cat's ' First Steeplechase 

which brought them to one of the most intricate and important 
jumps, viz. : the crossing of the Caistor Road, in and out. 

It was to this point that I galloped off after seeing the start, 
and arrived just in time to see the field, minus one of their 
number, rapidly approaching. Of the three, two, I was delighted 
to note, were my brothers; the missing one being George 
Marris, whom I could discern in the distance, in hot pursuit of his 
grey mare, which had apparently come to grief at the second 
fence. My brother Willie was leading on his bay cob, George 
Nelson on his brown horse close behind, and Maunsell, evidently 
on the best of terms with his mount, as I anxiously noticed, was 
lying close on their quarters. 

Willie and George Nelson crossed the road, jumping the 
fences in splendid style ; but, alas ! a sad fate awaited poor 
Maunsell. Some spirit of evil must have entered into my pony 
— at the best of times apt to be a little too free at his fences — 
for in the midst of his usual little rush at his jump, he stopped 
dead short as he got up to the first fence, and threw his rider 
right over his head into the road. But even then, the same 
agility which afterwards earned for him the sobriquet of " The 
Cat " stood Maunsell in good stead. 

Turning a complete somersault, he alighted on his feet, 
facing the hedge with the reins, to which he clung, still in his 
hands, with a determination to hold on at any cost to his steed. 
But not all of him left the saddle. One of Uncle Tom's big 
faithless and unmanageable racing boots remained behind, 
jammed in the stirrup. We had made these look possible to 
wear, for we had determined that they were necessary to 
complete the beauty of the racing kit, and had arranged that 
by the wearing of several pairs of socks, the feet at least would 
appear a perfect fit. 

It was the tops that had given us the most thought and 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

anxiety, and this difficulty we had only overcome by stuffing 
the calf of each leg, after the boots were on, with newspapers. 
It was quite clear that the paper had shifted, and out came the 
leg. I can see Maunsell now, standing in the road ; a boot on 
one leg, on the other only a sock ; his arm stretched to its 
fullest extent, holding on to the reins, determination in his face 
— in every line of his little body — as, nothing daunted, he 
clambered back over the stubby hedge. I can see him remount- 
ing, getting his stockinged foot into his enormous boot again, 
and after taking his mount back to the required distance, 
jumping in and out of the road, then racing after the first two 
as hard as his pony could lay its feet to the ground. 

As far as my eyes could follow, I watched him galloping 
along in the wake of the others, grimly determined to catch 
them up. Then I made the best of my way back to the winning- 
field, in order to see the finish. George Nelson came in first 
on his brown horse, my brother Willie second half a length 
behind, and Maunsell in spite of all drawbacks finished by no 
means a bad third. Thus ended Maunsell's first steeplechase. 
Possibly it was — who can tell ? — the most exciting race, in a 
sense, he ever rode. In it he displayed, at ten years old, the 
same extraordinary pluck and determination not to give in which 
in later years stood him in such good stead. 

Indeed, I have often wondered, when, as Mr. Finch-Mason 
relates in his record of my brother's racing career, given later 
on in the book, he broke three stirrup leathers at the first fence 
in as many important steeplechases, winning in spite of the way 
he was handicapped, whether the thought of that faithless racing 
boot that betrayed him in his childhood's first race, ever caused 
him, not only an inward laugh at the recollection, but made his 
determination the stronger to persevere to the bitter end ? 
As I write this Memoir, one of those small glazed calico racing 



















k— ( 




«— < 


















"The Cat's" First Steeplechase 

jackets lies before me. It is my eldest brother's "orange body 
and blue sleeves." Beautifully made, it is exactly like a real 
silk grown-up racing jacket, truly a most faithful reproduction ! 
Dear old tailor Fytche ! Good old days, the best remembered 
of all, perhaps, being that on which my afterwards famous 
brother rode his first steeplechase. 





It is by no means overstating the case, and I am sure every- 
one of her old friends, and young ones too, who have known 
this fact from their cradle upwards, and who read this book, 
will agree with me, that the coming of Lady Worsley, now 
Victoria Countess of Yarborough, into North Lincolnshire, 
caused a revolution of the most joyous kind over the whole 

Before her advent there had been a vein of marked dullness 
in and around the old Pelham stronghold, as the family rarely 
visited Brocklesby, and if they did, the visit was of very short 
duration, the flag, always flying when the family were in 
residence at the Hall, and which was so anxiously looked for 
by the residents for miles around, being seldom hoisted. Most 
unfortunately, the then reigning Earl of Yarborough, grand- 
father of the present Earl, was a confirmed invalid, and the 
Countess, his wife, being no special lover of outdoor sports of 
any kind herself, and disliking the dullness of the country, 
naturally preferred life in town. 

The famous Brocklesby pack of foxhounds was kept up, 
however, in the fine old style of former years, the huntsman, 
Tom Smith, one of the celebrated Smith succession of hunts- 
men to the Pelham family, showing thoroughly good sport, and 



On Brilliant, with two celebrated hounds of the Brocklesby Pack. 
(From the painting by Sir Francis Grant, presented by the Brocklesby tenantry and friends in 1865. 

The Coming of the Countess of Yarborough 

keeping foxes down even to the satisfaction of exacting farmers. 
At the time of which I write, the Brocklesby Hunt, sound as 
it was for all practical purposes, lacked the leadership of an 
M.F.H. able to attend to his duties as such, which in a county 
such as Lincolnshire, as in fact in all hunting counties, promotes 
good fellowship in the hunting field. 

In the case of the Brocklesby Hounds this was, perhaps, 
more noticeable, as the successive Earls of Yarborough were 
not only the owners of the splendid packs of hounds by which 
that part of the county was hunted, and as such, hereditary 
Masters of their hounds, but were also the landlords of the vast 
Brocklesby estates. Even when our invalid M.F.H. was able 
to show himself at the covertside, I well remember how his 
presence was hailed with delight, and how courteous and kind 
he was to every one ; especially singling out we three children, 
who were all allowed to hunt directly we could ride, for he and 
our father had been great friends. 

One special hunting day, when the writer, then five or six 
years old, was the one small female person out with the hounds, 
I remember a gentleman coming up to me, and in the kindest 
manner telling me to come with him and he would show me 
the fox — always a much- coveted sight. He was riding a very 
small hunter, almost a pony, and I soon felt quite at my ease 
with him, especially as his mount being hardly taller than mine, 
our heads were almost on a level, a fact which made conversa- 
tion flow more easily, as may readily be imagined. Moreover, 
he was dressed in ordinary plain clothes, with straps to his 
trousers, and this combined with a charming Pelham manner, 
which the present Earl inherits in a marked degree, made him 
appear less formidable, and a much more friendly companion 
than had he been red-coated and top-booted. 

Although I had seen much touching of caps and hat-liftings 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

I did not quite recognize to whom I had had the pleasure of 
conversing, but after he had shown me the wily Master 
Reynard crossing a ride in the woods as he had promised, and 
had left me, and my old groom "Tommy" Rickalls had joined 
me again, the latter told me with bated breath that the gentle- 
man I had been speaking to was none other than the Earl of 
Yarborough himself. To the best of my recollection this was 
the last time the covertside, or hounds, ever saw their kindly 
owner, for although the Earl lived some years longer he was 
never able to appear in the hunting field again. 

Thus, the fact that the Brocklesby M.F.H. had not taken 
an active place in the hunting field for some years, makes it 
readily understood with what joy the whole countryside 
welcomed the news that Lord Worsley, the heir to the title 
and estates, and who all knew must, in the course of nature, 
soon assume the reins of power, and his eighteen-year-old wife, 
daughter of the second Earl of Listowel, were to spend the 
winter of 1859-60 at Brocklesby. That joy was not lessened 
when it came out that not only was she a very fine horsewoman, 
but a true Diana of the chase. Truly, their coming worked a 
never-to-be-forgotten change in North Lincolnshire. 

The year was a remarkable one also in other ways. The 
Great Comet of 1859, which many had foretold was to be the 
end of the world, had appeared. When the two great planets 
appeared in its lustrous tail, it was a most awe-inspiring sight. 
I remember well gazing at it with wonderment not unmixed 
with fear, and certainly no comet I have ever seen has impressed 
me in the same manner. 

At that time I was at a boarding school at Kensington, 
Maunsell and my eldest brother being at Elstree, a preparatory 
school for Harrow, for which well-known place of learning and 
sport they were both destined. It was in a letter to my 


At the age ot thirty-three. 

The Coming of the Countess of Yarborough 

brothers and myself from my grandmother, Mrs. Maunsell, we 
learned the tidings that Lord and Lady Worsley had come 
down to Brocklesby Hall to live there for the winter ; also that 
her ladyship especially loved hunting, and went out with the 
hounds every day she could get a " satisfactory " mount. 

That there were not really " satisfactory " hunters " for 
ladies " in the Brocklesby stables is not to be wondered at, for 
at that time no ladies of the Pelham family had ever ridden 
to hounds. In fact, hardly any ladies hunted in those days. 
Neither, as it proved afterwards, were there any side-saddles 
fit for a lady to hunt upon, that is, for one who, like Lady 
Worsley, was determined not only to see the Hounds " throw 
off," but to ride to hounds. 

The crowning joy was, that the Christmas holidays were 
approaching, and with what delight and anticipation we three 
in our different places of detention were looking forward to 
these holidays and the extra joys that hunting would possess, I 
can hardly describe. My special and peculiar joy was that 
Lady Worsley, whom I had already begun to worship in my 
childish mind in an anticipatory manner, had borrowed my 
pony, my beautiful dark chestnut, 14 hands pony, Tommy, 
the same one that figured in the story of Maunsell's first steeple- 
chase ; had ridden him very straight to hounds ; and had after 
the run pronounced him a perfect mount. How well I 
remember, too, upon my first appearance out hunting, that 
memorable season of 1859, that Lady Worsley came up to me 
directly she saw me in the field, and thanked me personally for 
the loan of my pony, praising him in the kindest way, and 
thereby capturing my childish heart. 

Perhaps a description of one of the most fascinating and 
soundest women any one could be privileged to meet will not be 
out of place here, for though it is from a child's point of view — 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

my own when I first saw her — there are, after all, few truer 
judges of character than children, and that same impression has 
only been intensified in later years. 

As to her personality, it was her eyes that struck one first. 
Large, clear, and blue, as only Irish eyes can be, her manner 
had the peculiar fascination that only a thoroughly kindly 
heart and buoyant temperament can give. Then, again, who 
would fail to admire the perfect little figure, showing to such 
advantage on horseback ? 

The good Lincolnshire folk, whether those in her own rank of 
life or in a humbler position, were completely captivated by her. 
Men, women, and children — she charmed them all. A dignified 
yet true kindliness proceeded from a soul brimful of the real love 
of humanity, that true nobleness of the human soul which is, 
alas ! by no means always the accompaniment of a noble name. 

In the days I am writing about, so very few of the gentler 
sex followed the hounds, that when one appeared, as in Lady 
Worsley's case, who really went well, without thrusting herself 
forward, over-riding hounds, or in any way making herself a 
nuisance to the hunting field, it can be readily imagined how, 
in a sporting country like ours, such a visitant was not only 
very noticeable, but very welcome. And undoubtedly with her 
advent into North Lincolnshire and her love of sport, the whole 
aspect of the Brocklesby hunt changed from grave to gay. Not 
only did she come out to every meet that it was possible she 
could attend, but it was an extremely rare thing, if her mount 
was good enough, that she did not stay out the day through, 
and ride not only well, but with extraordinary courage and 
judgment, and still more rare if she did not see a run through 
from start to finish. 

But perhaps the most remarkable feat of all was that she 
jumped fences seated in the old-fashioned two-crutched saddle. 



The Coming of the Countess of Yar borough 

I may mention for the benefit of the present generation of 
ladies who follow hounds, that to jump fences in this kind of 
saddle not only required an amazing amount of courage, but 
would have been an impossibility unless the rider had held on 
to something. Nothing, however, daunted Lady Worsley. In 
her determination to be with the hounds, she held on with her 
left hand to the saddle behind, the right only being at liberty 
to steer her horse, and hold him to his fences. And no fence 
that could be negotiated by anybody else was too high, no 
ditch too broad, for her to attempt. She might fall sometimes, 
horse and all, in which case she was up again like a flash, 
and away after the hounds. 

Naturally her extraordinary pluck, combined with her irre- 
sistibly charming manner, had won all hearts, and I am prepared 
to swear that there was not one man, woman, or child, including 
Maunsell, then thirteen years old, who would not have willingly 
died in her service. There is no doubt, indeed, that the erst- 
while somewhat cold-hearted population of North Lincolnshire 
were stirred to the greatest enthusiasm their natures were 
capable of expressing when Lady Worsley came amongst them, 
and by her unaffected manner taught them that to have a title 
of nobility may also mean real nobility in every particular. 

There is a peculiar arrogance of childhood difficult to define, 
but I must confess I found rather a delightful satisfaction in 
the fact that I could negotiate all my fences without holding 
on to my saddle behind, while Lady Worsley had to use this 
means of keeping her seat over fences. Naturally in my 
conceit I thought it was my own superior horsemanship, 
whereas it was my new saddle which in reality should have 
had the credit of it. For I was riding on a saddle which 
possessed one of the first three crutches, or leaping heads as 
they were called in those days, ever invented for ladies' saddles. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

How well I remember that day out hunting (it being always 
an intense joy to we three to be noticed by her), when Lady 
Worsley came up to me and said, " How do you manage to 
sit your pony over fences without holding on to the back of 
your saddle ? I cannot." 

Then I remember it suddenly dawned upon me that it 
might possibly be the new saddle my grandmother had given 
me, with its delightful and safety three-crutch leaping head, 
which gave me this most unfair advantage. Naturally before 
that I had never thought it possible I could have anything 
better or newer than Lady Worsley. Then I remember how 
astonished we both were when, jumping down from my pony 
when the hounds checked, she discovered that wonderful new 
third crutch, and I that her saddle did not possess one. How 
well I remember, too, with what pride I lent her my saddle, 
and how she loved her day's hunting upon it ; how a saddle 
with the leaping head was obtained for her as soon as it were 
possible ; and how my own saddle was glorified in my eyes 
for ever afterwards. 

In these days, when side-saddles are constructed with 
pommels of such a size that it is an impossibility for any 
woman to fall off at her fences, or even off her horse at all, 
unless she deliberately throws herself to the ground, it is hard 
to realize what courage and determination was required by our 
hard-riding' Lady Worsley when she came amongst us in North 
Lincolnshire, and hunted on these old-fashioned saddles with no 
leaping head at all, being still further handicapped by having 
only one hand with which to guide her horse at the fences. 

Yet I hardly ever remember a horse refusing with her, for 
her one hand on the reins was considerably better than most 
people's two, and her sympathy with her horse either hunting 
or hacking was perfect, as indeed it is to this day. 




















































!— < 








>— , 





The Coming of the Countess of Yarborough 

Apropos of my eleventh birthday-saddle present, I can never 
forget the unselfish joy which my brother Maunsell displayed 
over its arrival. We had all seen a big hamper arrive on the 
Saturday, and had led Mother and Grandmother a dreadful 
life of questioning as to what it could possibly contain. The 
carrier, Crowe by name, we knew, had brought it from Caistor, 
our nearest shopping town, on the Saturday ; my eleventh 
birthday being on the Monday. His son still carries to and 
fro for the inhabitants of Limber village, and his sweet-shop 
still sells the "lollypops" we then loved so well as children. 
On the Monday, at the first moment possible, we rushed to 
the call of our elders to see the hamper unpacked. First there 
came a lovely bridle. Then, later, after much pulling out of 
straw, came the saddle with its wonderful new-fashion third 
crutch. Though not usually demonstrative, I well remember 
Maunsell flinging his arms round Grandmother's neck, and 
thanking her with all his heart. Then there was a saddling up 
of ponies — especially mine, as I was the birthday queen — and 
away we started to jump the hurdles, a feat I had never been 
able to attempt before. Oh ! the joy of the security in jumping 
which that third crutch gave ! 

Looking back over this long vista of years, my wonder 
is in no way lessened that any woman could have had the 
amazing pluck to ride to hounds as our Lady Worsley did 
during the greater part of the hunting season of 1859-60 with 
the Brocklesby, under such almost impossible conditions. Only 
the same intense love of every description of sport and of "the 
Sport of Kings " in particular, which Maunsell also possessed, 
can account, not only for her youthful exploits in the hunting 
field, but for the energy which made Lady Worsley her hus- 
band's gallant companion in many a fine run of later years. 




In 1859, just eight years after father died, our mother married 
again. Her second husband was the Rev. Harry Glanville 
Southwell, only child of Mr. Henry Southwell, of Saxmundham, 
Suffolk, a well-known and wealthy solicitor. The advent of 
the young man into our quiet Limber village, as curate to 
Mr. Brown, the rector, was a great event. Not only did he 
succeed in enlivening the depressingly dull services in Limber 
Church as much as it was possible in the absence of organ and 
choir, but he brought with him a great reputation as a cricketer, 
as well as being known as an exceptionally good shot. At 
Harrow he was in the First Eleven of 1848 and 1849, an d tne 
last two years of his college life at Trinity, in the Cambridge 
University Eleven of 1852 and 1853. It was, therefore, scarcely 
to be wondered at, that a budding cricketer, such as Maunsell 
was at that time, became at once his bond slave and would-be 
imitator in this special line. As a first-rate man behind a gun, 
he also fascinated my eldest brother, who was devoted to 
shooting, and possessed "a real gun" when he was ten years 
old, giving quite a good account of himself amongst the 
partridges at that early age. Indeed, to the end of his life, he 
remained fonder of shooting than of any other kind of sport. 
At that time the days of tremendous scoring in the cricket 
field were not so generally known as now, and to get a 


J. M. Richardson's stepfather. 

Early School Days 

44 century" was considered a wonderful performance, and 
although, when Mr. Southwell played in the University match, 
his scores were not large, he was known as a tremendous 
swiper when he did get hold of the ball, as well as being a 
very sound all-round cricketer. It is, therefore, not astonishing 
that the young curate soon established the most cordial 
relations with we three children, especially with Maunsell, in 
whom his foresight no doubt detected the coming sporting 
genius. Nor is it astonishing that the " Cat " was and 
remained his special favourite, even when we were all grown 
up, in fact, to the end of our stepfather's life. 

In addition to Mr. Southwell's popularity and importance 
in North Lincolnshire, he was received at Brocklesby as a 
welcome guest, whenever the young Lord and Lady Worsley 
(the latter now Victoria, Countess of Yarborough) were in 
residence at the Hall. This fact had the effect of opening 
automatically every house in the county to him ; and combined 
with the extraordinary geniality of his disposition, won him 
all hearts in and around Great Limber village. His, too, was 
a striking personality, being over six feet high, very broad and 
immensely powerful ; indeed, the very reverse in every 
particular of the ordinary curate of fiction. He had also a 
manliness about him and a way with him which were most 
attractive, and which certainly appealed as powerfully to we 
three children as to our elders. But his chief social success 
was in the captivating of our grandmother, Mrs. Maunsell. 
She was by no means susceptible to outside personal influence 
— indeed quite the reverse, especially if she suspected any man 
of the desire, which practically most men who came in contact 
with our pretty widowed mother had, of marrying her. I must 
say Mr. Southwell deserved every credit for his perspicuity in 
seeing that it was necessary to approach the mother through the 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

grandmother, to have any chance in the matrimonial stakes, as 
more than one aspirant for her daughter's hand had found out, 
to his bitter disappointment and chagrin. 

Another point in Mr. Southwell's favour as our prospective 
stepfather was, that very soon after he came to Limber, the 
question of a school for my two brothers had to be decided. 
My school career was already determined, a boarding school in 
Kensington, kept by four sisters, the Misses Hare, and where 
my mother had been their first pupil. Curiously enough, as it 
turned out, when my six happy, healthy years with them ended, 
I was destined to be their last pupil. 

Thus, at this critical time of Maunsell's life, there is no 
doubt that Mr. Southwell, who was rapidly becoming very dear 
and necessary to our mother, had a considerable and most 
honourable share in persuading her to enter my two brothers 
at Harrow, which, having been there himself, he could 
naturally recommend with confidence. He also advised an 
establishment at Elstree, kept by a Dr. Bernays, as being the 
best preparatory school for Harrow then existent. 

Up to now we had had our governesses, and the boys a 
tutor, the Rev. James Pooley, who not only preceded Mr. 
Southwell as curate at Limber, but had also been an aspirant 
to our mother's hand. Being, however, unsuccessful in his suit, 
he married our Aunt Margaret, one of my father's sisters, 
retiring with her from Limber, and from our ken, thus making 
room for the conquering Mr. Southwell. 

Owing to our late Queen Victoria, of blessed memory, 
having married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, the 
German language was just then the order of the day, and our 
governesses were, in consequence, selected from that nationality. 
Two of these poor ladies quickly proved themselves quite 
incompetent to manage we unruly children, in any shape or 



Early School Days 

form. Our first, I think, stayed about a week, and during that 
period cried continuously. Our second was a massive Fraulein, 
very fat, kindly, and cheerful, but hopelessly out of place where 
three spoiled children required managing. 

One experience lives to this day in my memory. I was 
going into the schoolroom, and had got near the door, 
when I suddenly became aware of a sound of weeping and 
wailing from within. This was exciting, for up to that moment 
our new Fraulein had not given way to tears like the Niobe 
first mentioned. I went in and found my mother trying to 
pacify the poor lady, who, with a huge red wheal on her fat 
arm, was in the act of pouring forth in broken English, in no 
measured tones, the dreadful iniquities of my brother Maunsell, 
who in her opinion was the most cruel boy that ever lived. 

It appeared that, having tried to coerce my brother against 
his inclination, he had retaliated with a cutting whip, trying his 
prentice hand on the poor lady's soft arm. Whether he was 
punished for this escapade I have no recollection, I should say 
not from my experience of later years, but our fat Fraulein soon 
disappeared, taking with her, it is to be feared, but a poor 
opinion of the Limber House discipline. 

Our third and last German governess was a lady the exact 
opposite of my brother Maunsell's victim in every sense of the 
word. A very pretty fair young girl, Fraulein Harpfner spoilt 
us quite as much — possibly a little more — than our mother and 
grandmother, and was therefore tolerated by us, and treated 
with kindness, consideration, and much gratitude by our elders, 
so much so that when our governess period was over, she 
remained with us for some time as a friend of the family. I 
cannot remember that she taught us anything, excepting to 
speak German with the purest Hanoverian accent, and a 
number of German games which she played with us to our 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

satisfaction ; whilst she gave our mother and grandmother, both 
of whom were " Marthas," some very good cookery receipts for 
special German dishes, which we relished exceedingly. I 
particularly remember she told us that they never dreamed of 
cooking a hare in Germany until its nine skins had been 
carefully removed. Naturally, after this piece of interesting 
information, nothing would suit our inquiring minds but to see 
these nine skins in actual process of dissection. We duly 
experimented upon the first poor "puss" which fell to our dogs 
or guns, my brother Maunsell, who loved the eating of hare and 
the coursing of it too, besides being the most practical culinary 
artist of the three, watching the operation with intense eager- 
ness. We kept greyhounds in our young days, and coursed 
whenever possible on non-hunting days, we three going out 
with the groom and dogs, and ranging the fields in the most 
approved fashion. But this form of sport, if indeed it is worthy 
to be dignified by that name, we gave up early in our lives. I 
remember I was the first to give it up, and whether from the 
same reason my two brothers followed suit I have never known 
for certain, but I should think it extremely likely, for both were 
humane even as boys. My relinquishing of the sport came 
about in this way. One day I found myself in the proud 
position of being the only one going for a ride, and expected 
to take out the greyhounds as was our wont for exercise and 
sport. So very jauntily I set out quite alone with a pony I 
could easily get off and on, and a couple of the fastest grey- 
hounds — "Grews" as they are called in the Lincolnshire 
vernacular — to thoroughly enjoy myself, and betook me to a 
field which was a well-known " find " for a hare. I found, ran 
into, and killed my terrified quarry, and the cries of that poor 
coursed hare ring in my ears to this day. I had to take her 
from the dogs, and kill her, and from that moment I renounced 


Early School Days 

coursing and all its ways, and would sooner, even now, at my 
age, ride or walk twenty miles in the opposite direction, than 
go to a coursing meeting, or see a hare chased and killed, in 
any shape or form. 

It was when this young Fraulein, our last German governess, 
was in charge, that Mr. Southwell appeared upon the scene, 
the man who was destined to play no small part in Maunsell's 
upbringing, and to whose manly influence and firm treatment in 
his early life, no one was more grateful or showed that 
gratitude in a more substantial manner than my brother. 

In 1 858, about a year before Mother married for the second 
time, but when Mr. Southwell was no doubt exercising a great 
if outwardly unrecognized influence over her decision, my two 
brothers went to Elstree, and Mother, who felt she could not 
bear the strain of the separation from them for so long a time 
as the school term, took a house at Great Stanmore, about 
four miles from their preparatory school for Harrow. I went 
with her to live there, and the nice young German governess 
also accompanied us to look after me for a time. When she 
went back to her home in Germany, I had daily lessons from 
the Misses Wilde at Edgeware. These ladies were aunts of 
the talented but unfortunate Oscar Wilde, and their careful 
grounding in many scholastic ways I have by no means for- 
gotten. Naturally during the time my mother and I were at 
Stanmore both my brothers came over whenever possible for 
" exeats," also for any special holidays, and very happy they 
seemed. Both were put almost at once in the Cricket and 
Football Elevens, and very soon were in the First Elevens of 
Cricket and Footer. 

The time soon came when we youngsters were, if not 
exactly to be relegated to the background, at all events not to 
be the first, final, and only interest in our mother's life — for my 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

brothers had not been long at Elstree, and duly entered for 
Harrow, when Mr. Southwell claimed my mother, the house 
at Stanmore was given up, and her second marriage took 
place at St. Mary-le-bone Church in London, I being her only 

Directly after this interesting event, I went to the Misses 
Hare's Boarding School in Kensington, and during that time 
of probation, I trust, absorbed something at least of the noble 
precepts the dear ladies endeavoured to inculcate into we 

After Mother's second marriage nothing seemed altered 
outwardly, as far as we children were aware at the old home 
at Limber, excepting that Mr. Southwell came to live there 
instead of at his lodgings in the village, retaining his curacy 
under Mr. Brown, and no doubt, though we did not under- 
stand it at the time, helping our mother very materially in the 
arduous work of bringing up two very self-willed boys. One 
very special instance of his help with regard to my brother 
Maunsell, which, indeed, I am only too glad to acknowledge 
here, is a fact I was never cognisant of until many years after 
it happened. It was, however, small wonder that such a thing 
happened, and that he revolted at school discipline, as any 
very spoilt and headstrong boy with a tremendously strong 
character was practically certain to do, naturally detesting and 
fighting against real restraint. 

Moreover, Dr. Bernays, the Headmaster of Elstree, was 
not only renowned as a first-rate schoolmaster, but for his 
terrible temper — even foaming at the mouth with rage at times, 
so it was said — and that he thrashed any offender with an 
extraordinary mercilessness upon the slightest provocation. Be 
that as it may, early one summer morning, two very small boys, 
minus caps and in well-worn slippers, arrived at Limber House, 


Early School Days 

having run away from school, travelling all night, after climb- 
ing down a water-pipe out of their dormitory, walking four 
miles from the station at the home-end, and I forget how 
many miles at the school end. That these two forlorn little 
specimens of the genus boy expected to be welcomed with 
open arms, caressed and cuddled to their hearts' content, is 
quite certain ! That the wicked headmaster who had treated 
them so cruelly and driven them to the extremity of running 
away from school would be execrated and punished by the 
Genial Powers that watch over little boys in general they never 
doubted for a moment ! 

What Mother, worshipping Maunsell as she did, would 
have done had she been left to her own devices, or for the 
matter of that Grandmother, either, Heaven only knows ! 
But I shrewdly suspect the exact reverse of what did happen. 
Luckily, however, for my brother and his absconding com- 
panion,— it appeared that my brother had persuaded this 
little person to run away with him — Mr. Southwell, as in duty 
bound, intervened, and after both the runaways had been 
washed and fed, which ministrations they badly needed, he 
took them back to the school they had deserted. 

History has never revealed, at least not to me, what 
happened to the two truants when they arrived at Elstree in 
the charge of Mr. Southwell. It is to be hoped that Maun- 
sell's stepfather, who proved himself at that time to be the 
boys' stern "grey angel of duty," was able to represent to the 
irascible but conscientious Dr. Bernays that by their uncomfort- 
able journey, by their anything but joyous reception at home, 
and by the bitter experience that instead of being welcomed 
and petted they were " expressed " back to their hated school 
bondage, they had been sufficiently punished. It is certain, 
at any rate, that Maunsell was not only reinstated in the 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

school, but acquitted himself well ever afterwards, for amongst 
the papers he had carefully preserved, was this card : — 

« Elstree Hill School. 
" Presented to John Maunsell Richardson in testimony of a 
well-spent term, Easter 1861. 

" (Signed) TiiOMrsoN Podmore, M.A." 

Mr. Podmore was the immediate successor of Dr. Bernays. 

My being at school in London, and my two brothers at 
Elstree, only twelve miles from town, our holidays often 
coincided, and we used to hit off our journeys down from 
school together whenever possible, meeting at some station 
en route, and arriving at our home station at the same time. 
Sometimes my brothers' ponies would be sent to meet them, 
and they would canter off in the highest spirits from the 
station, leaving me in my uncomfortable, and as I considered 
inglorious girl petticoats, to envy them hugely, and longing to 
have been born a boy. But sometimes we all three drove out 
together, and the groom who had brought our vehicle would 
go home with the luggage cart and draught horse, in a more 
leisurely manner. 

One lovely evening we arrived together at Haborough 
station from school for our summer holidays. On the way 
down in the train, for some reason or other, the boys had 
been on the verge of quarrelling. No real fighting had, 
however, taken place in the railway carriage, as we had had 
grown-up companions, to whom we generally made ourselves 
agreeable, and they were too much of " little gentlemen " to 
fight in public. 

On our arrival at the station, instead of their two beloved 
ponies meeting them, and as they had joyfully anticipated, 
having a good gallop — possibly a jump or two — going home, 












Early School Days 

the phaeton was there to take us all three home. It was one 
of the old-fashioned high and roomy kind of vehicles, with a 
good seat in front, and only a moderately comfortable one at 
the back. The only consolation to them being that the young 
black carriage horse was in the shafts, and as he took a little 
more careful driving than his older comrade, I suppose Mother 
and Grandmother had thought the idea of driving him would 
somewhat make up to my brothers for the absence of their 

Undoubtedly this driving home, which they both hated in 
comparison to feeling a good mount under them, was the last 
straw, and two very cross boys looking for trouble and occasion 
to quarrel in fisticuff fashion climbed into the front seat, rele- 
gating me to the back of the carriage, which, however, I knew 
well to be my usual position when we three drove that phaeton 
together. My eldest brother by right of his year's seniority 
claimed the reins, most unfortunately as it turned out, for of 
the two he was by far the worst driver. 

We had proceeded in somewhat sulky silence, but quite 
safely, for about a quarter of a mile, when a heavy waggon 
carrying big trees, a " wood cut " as they are called in North 
Lincolnshire, met us, and my eldest brother either could not 
or would not try to give enough room space on the road for 
this cumbersome vehicle to pass us comfortably. 

At any rate we very narrowly escaped landing ourselves 
on the huge wheels, and this careless driving, added to the 
natural fear of the accident we had escaped by the skin of our 
teeth, was too much for Maunsell's nerves and temper. Then 
the " row riz." He seized the reins, and how at that critical 
moment we did not, phaeton and all, capsize, I shall never 
know, for the young black horse, though called " young " by 
courtesy, was by no means over-quiet, and the sharp jag at 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

his mouth, caused by Maunsell seizing the reins, was a dis- 
quieting experience for any animal young or old with the 
natural spirit of a well-bred and well-fed horse. But that 
special Providence which watches over children, sailors, and 
those who have dined " not wisely but too well " saved us, 
and as my brothers fell to fighting over which should have the 
reins, I, like the fox in the fable, secured them as they were 
falling to the ground, and pending the end of the quarrel 
assumed the ribbons, which I held to the right of the com- 
batants, and to the right of the phaeton. 

Many thousand times have I driven since then in later life, 
but for variety, excitement, and no doubt considerable danger, 
though I thought nothing of that at the time, commend me to 
that particular drive. 

For four miles we proceeded in this fashion, neither boy 
mastering the other sufficiently to get possession of the reins 
again. At it they went as hard as they could go, swaying this 
way and that in their seats, arms working, legs working, but 
so evenly were they matched, that luckily for them, for me, 
and for the black horse, neither got in a knock-out blow. My 
only fear was that the gate of our homestead would be shut, 
and then I did not know what on earth could be done, or how I 
should land my fighting passengers, for I could not leave the 
horse to get down or stay the combatants for a moment. 

Luckily it had been thrown open by loving hands to 
welcome we three delightful specimens of humanity, and I 
turned in and drew up to the side door in fine style, and with 
much empressement. I even remember turning the horse round 
to face the stables, as we had been taught was the correct way 
of driving up to the house. And still the boys in the carriage, 
even when I pulled up, were at fisticuffs as hard as they could 
fight, although our Mother and Grandmother were standing at 


When at Magdalen College, Cambridge, 

Early School Days 

the open door with wondering faces, naturally unable to make 
out what on earth was happening. But they were soon to be 
enlightened, for Maunsell, who was watching his opportunity, 
as the horse stopped, finally landed a decisive blow on his 
brother's temple, knocking him right out of the phaeton to the 
ground, where he lay stunned. And so ended the " four-mile 

But when servants and all hastened to rescue the vanquished 
warrior, it was a very different Maunsell who stood there, 
repentant, when he saw what he had done ; and it was a 
tearful small boy who later looked sadly on, while two angry 
ladies tended the swelling temple, and tried to mitigate the 
blackening eye of his brother, and ease his aching head. Next 
morning all was peace again, and through those summer holidays 
I do not remember another really serious fight between my 
brothers. Generally, however, in any scrimmage, jovial or 
serious, Maunsell came off the victor. 

I can remember once only during their childhood and 
boyhood my eldest brother getting the better in a quarrel, and 
then it was partly an accident that ended the fight, the end 
being that Maunsell's head was jammed through the dining- 
room window. A fine scolding Willie had for it too, though 
quite possibly he had been in the right, for it was a rooted idea 
with our elders that Maunsell would have a fit if he were 
whipped, or generally cornered in any shape or form, such as 
had then happened by the window incident. 

But these brotherly fights, like lovers' quarrels, left no 
bitterness in their train, for the two boys were as good friends 
after one of their " sets-to " as they were before, possibly 
better, if the truth were known. As small children they shared 
their toys together, then their ponies, and later their horses — 
in fact, everything; and were more like twins than brothers 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

with over a year between their respective ages. Indeed, my 
eldest brother looked up to his " minor," especially when they 
became older, as natures slightly weaker naturally admire and 
depend upon those stronger than themselves. It has often 
struck me that one of the most extraordinary factors proving 
the soundness of my brother Maunsell's natural character was 
that, spoilt as much as possible in his earliest days by an 
adoring mother and grandmother, worshipped at school, 
immensely admired at college, nearly always, in fact, " cock 
of the walk " wherever he went, he remained unspoilt after 
childhood's days of selfishness were passed, and in his early 
youth, manhood, and to the end of his life, was one of the 
most kindly, unselfish and unspoilt men that ever lived. 




From Elstree my brother Maunsell naturally gravitated to 
Harrow, under the reign of Dr. Butler, following his elder 
brother, who had gone there about a year earlier. Maunsell 
brought with him from his first school at Elstreefa well-earned 
reputation for skill at most games, and a real love of sport, 
that soon made him immensely popular with his schoolfellows 
at Harrow, and in a very short time proved in this wider field 
of action that he was just as good as he had been represented. 
Indeed, there is no doubt he speedily established a wide and a 
sound reputation as an all-round coming sportsman. When I 
had the pleasure some time ago of meeting one of his 
Harrow schoolfellows, the late Earl of Clarendon, who has 
very kindly contributed an impression of my brother to this 
book, he said to me, " I believe your brother was the only 
schoolboy ever known who possessed a race-horse of his own." 
This undoubtedly is a fact, although we thought nothing of it 
at the time, having been accustomed to owning ponies, and 
afterwards horses, from our childhood upwards, so that the fact 
of one of us owning a race-horse seemed quite an ordinary 
matter. The animal, Lord Clarendon alluded to, was the grand 
thoroughbred brown mare Vienna, which was ridden for my 
brother by one of our Limber friends and boon companions, 
George Nelson, who won a steeplechase plate value ^"ioo on 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

her whilst her owner was at Harrow. Many a time I have had 
a mount on that mare and can answer for it that she was a 
beautiful goer, seemingly hung on springs. She won several 
races after her first experience on the turf, but none I think 
over which we three sang metaphorically such paeans of joy as 
over her first win for the " Bold Harrow Boy." 

My brother had been but a very short time at Harrow when 
he took the School Cup as their best fielder, and as I write 
these lines, the small silver shield he won for " the best catch 
at Harrow school," and which he gave me many years ago to 
have made into a brooch, hangs over his picture, the last ever 
taken of him on horseback, as Joint Master of the Cottesmore 
Hounds ; as I lift my eyes it meets mine in bright testimony to 
Maunsell's prowess as a first-rate fielder. 

Among Maunsell's most cherished possessions, I have 
found, carefully stowed away, the identical cricket card published 
by Lilly white, of the historic match at Lord's, Harrow v. Eton, 
in 1864, when, captained by the late " Charlie " Buller, Harrow 
scored a glorious victory over Eton, beating them in one 
innings with sixty-seven runs to spare. This match, which 
ranks as one of the most famous, if not the most successful, in 
the annals of Harrow School, I was privileged to see, partly as 
a tremendous treat, and partly because I had a brother playing 
in this match. Two of my favourite schoolfellows and myself 
were taken by one of our kind principals of the Kensington 
Boarding School to Lord's Cricket Ground for the purpose. 

How vividly it all comes back to my memory now ! I have 
been to many cricket matches at Lord's since then, but on that 
glorious day in July 1864, the sense of personal pride that 
possessed me, by the reflected glory of my brother's prowess, 
has never been equalled. But though Maunsell's performance 
that day was a most creditable one for Harrow, the special hero 


Also Published, Price 3s. 6d., Tfie.Pablte SchooUTatchei 

Winchoster. from the Commencement. 

oolJKatches of Eton/Harrow, a« "~7~* 



W.T. Phipps, Esq.. 

F. W. Smith, Esq 

H. Montgomery, Esq 

Harrow v. Eton 
Fridayday,& Saturday, July 
HARROW First Innings 

A. N. Hornby, Esq. ... b Tabor 19 

M. H. Stow, Esq c Tabor, b Prideaux 54 

Hon. J. G.Amherst .. c N G Lvttelton, b Evans 3 

C. F. Buller, Esq c Barring-ton, b Prideaux 61 

H. G. Phipps, Esq — b Prideaux 9 

J. M. Richardson, Esq c S G Lyttelton, b Evans 29 

not out 28 

c S G Lyttelton, b Evans 8 

run out .-. 

W. Evetts, Esq c S G Lyttelton, b Prideaux 

G Arkwright, Esq ... c Barrington b S G Lyteltnl4 

b 9, 1-b 4. w 9. n-b ... 22 

Total 242 

ETON First Innings 

A. M. Evans, Esq c Montgomery, b Arkwrigt 

W. S. Prideaux, Esq •• c Richardson, b Arkwrigt 4 

Hon. S. G. Lyttelton... st Stow, b Arkwright 8 

Hon. N. G. Lyttelton c Arkwright, b Amherst 2 

E. Lubbock, Esq c Buller, b Amherst 28 

A. F. Walter, Esq b Amherst 3 

H. M Thompson, Esq b Arkwright 

W. W. Phipps, Esq ... b Amherst 2 

H. D. Forsyth. Esq ... runout 14 

R. A. Tabor, Esq c & b Arkwright 

W. Barrington, Esq.. not out 2 

b , 1-b , w , n-b ... 
Umpires. .. Nixon & Fennell Total 63 

7, & 8, 1864. 

Second Innings 

The Scores of Public School 
Matches, from 1805 to 1864, 
including the last Match, 
may be had at Fred. Lilly- 
white's Printing Tent. 


w , n -b 
Total ... 

Second Inninga 

notout 10 

c Montgom. b Arkwright 12 

c Moatgom. b Arkwright 60 

b Amherst 3 

c Buller, b Arkwright .... 12 

lbw.b Amherst 12 

c Hornby, b Amherst 

b Amherst 

h Arkwright 6 

c&b Arkwright 3 

c Phipps, b Arkwright ... 2 

b , 1-b , w 1 . n-b 2. ... 3 

Total 112 

Still on hand, at Is. the "ENGLISH CRICKETERS' TRIP TO CANADA," 
AND THE UNITED STATES, with Twenty-four Engravings, and maybe bad at the 

Monday, July 11th. at Lord's, Thirteen of Kent v. England. 
Thursday ,!July 14th, atLprd'6, M.C.C. and Ground v. County cl Norfolk. 

Harrow victorious in one innings. 

Harrow and Cambridge 

of that match — for the general public, I mean — was the handsome 
young captain of the Harrow Eleven, "Charlie" Buller, who 
made the top score of the day, 56, M. H. Stowe coming next 
with 54, and my brother third best batsman, with 34 runs. 
When the match was over it was grand to hear the Harrow 
boys cheer their captain again and again, the Etonians joining 
in the demonstration ; after which victors and vanquished 
carried him shoulder-high round the wickets and back to the 

I can see Buller's merry and happy blue eyes now as he 
made a gallant attempt to laugh off the honour accorded him as 
a good joke, and I hear again the ringing cheers straight from 
the hearts of his proud and happy schoolfellows, and his 
admiring antagonists. Surely, it was a great day for Harrow. 

But what Maunsell appreciated most in the game, and he 
had learned it from his stepfather, Mr. Southwell, who had 
also been coached by the same adept at Harrow, was that 
"Bob" Grimston, the Hon. Robert Grimston that was, had 
looked upon him as one of the most dependable " men " in the 
Harrow Eleven. Nor did he receive this knowledge second- 
hand only, for though the Hon. " Bob " was a man who hardly 
ever praised a pupil, except by inference, he told him so him- 
self, and much to my brother's delight. 

Maunsell's ability as a cricketer was by no means the full 
sum of his athletic triumphs in his stay at the school on the 
Hill. As a runner he distinguished himself by winning the 
School Hurdle Race, which, as every one knows, is by no means 
an easy task. In addition to this, he proved himself a first- 
class jumper, winning the long jump of 18 feet 6 inches, 
which can be described to-day as an extraordinary feat for a 
boy of fifteen, and in the sixties, too, when athletic grounds were 
by no means perfect. He was also a good man with the foils, 

65 f 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

and became so proficient in the art of fencing that he was able 
to win the prize given by Mr. Angelo, the famous " Maitre 
d'armes" who was instructor in the pastime at Harrow, and 
who predicted for my brother (who had done him so much 
credit) a wonderful career as an expert with the foils had he 
been so minded. 

And I should add that Maunsell, like his brother before 
him, was also a member of the Harrow Football Eleven for the 
two years 1864 and 1865. At that time football had not 
become the absorbing game of the day as it is now, but to be 
good enough to be selected for the Eleven, out of the hundreds 
of other boys, speaks well for his combined sportsmanlike 
qualities. My eldest brother to the last day of his life was 
immensely proud of a 3-inch scar on his right shin that he bore 
from a hard-won "footer" match at Harrow, when he played 
for the First Eleven,'and the securing of which obliged him 
to take to his bed for three weeks. 

Hanging up in the billiard room at Edmundthorpe Hall are 
two very handsome old trophies, two racquets with dark -blue 
velvet handles and massive silver ends. These represent one 
of the proudest moments of my brother Maunsell's life, when 
at Harrow he captured the Challenge Racquet Cup from the 
celebrated Cecil Clay, who afterwards became the Oxford 
Racquet Champion. 

It was after the historic cricket match at Lord's, already 
mentioned in this chapter, during the Christmas holidays, when 
we three children were at home together, that as I was riding 
one hunting day beside the then Lady Yarborough, in the 
Brocklesby M Foxdales " Woods, one of its most lovely rides, 
she said to me, " Oh, who is that pretty boy ? " Looking to 
where she had indicated, I saw my brother Maunsell cantering 
along the left of us In the valley. The woods in this part slope 



Harrow and Cambridge 

down on each side. She and I were riding together on the 
right-hand slope. Maunsell was mounted on a handsome, 
bright bay cob, and certainly he and his mount looked an 
exceedingly handsome pair, even to the critical eye of a sister. 
It was with a pardonable feeling of pride that I answered, 
11 That is my brother Maunsell." As a very small boy she had 
often seen and spoken to him, but after leaving Elstree for 
Harrow, he had grown up very rapidly, and changed much in 
appearance. The tales of his sporting powers at the latter 
school had evidently reached her ears, for she said, " Oh, then, 
that is your brother who is such a fine cricketer ? ' She, as I 
have explained, had now become the reigning Countess of 
Yarborough, and although not so very much older than 
Maunsell, then a boy of seventeen, and she a woman of 
twenty-two, the difference in age to me that day seemed 'so 
much more marked than it did, or would, in later years. 

But, whether or not before that eventful day when hunting 
in the woods Lady Yarborough had ever noticed him at all very 
specially, it is certain that, on his part, and long before that time, 
he had formed such an opinion of her in his own mind that she 
so completely came up to his notion of what the most perfect 
woman in the world should be, that I feel sure he never thought 
of any other woman as his mate from that time forward. This 
may sound odd, of course, but there is no doubt that this 
single-hearted affection of his for the lady destined one day to 
become his wife, and which she so early inspired in his heart, 
remained with him all through his life. "If I cannot marry 
her, then no one,'^ was his unexpressed boyish determination, 
and no knight of olden time ever kept troth to his own promise 
more faithfully, or was better rewarded in the end, for his 

From Harrow in 1866, when just on twenty years old, my 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

brother Maunsell elected to go to Magdalen College, Cam- 
bridge, then the sporting college par excellence at the 'Varsity, 
and I am told by those "in the know" that its reputation for 
sport still stands as high as ever. I have already recalled that 
Maunsell, on being given his choice as to whether or not he 
should go to the University, elected to go to Cambridge. My 
eldest brother refused to go to either of these seats of learning 
and elected, on the contrary, to stay at Limber, at any rate 
until the time came when I was twenty-one, three years later, 
and our inheritance could be divided, when we could each 
determine what was to be our future course as to the old home 
and the bent of our own lives. Again there can be little doubt 
that Mr. Southwell's advice was in the right direction. 

With his Harrow reputation as commendation my brother 
Maunsell was at once put into the cricket Eleven, and played for 
his University in their matches against Oxford in 1866 and 
1867. That he made no conspicuous success at Cambridge as 
a cricketer is not surprising, for here he could indulge in the 
sports he loved the best, such as hunting and racing, whilst at 
Harrow he was not able to get any hunting, excepting during the 
holidays at Limber, and could only race by proxy, so to speak. 

It is small wonder, therefore, that, once settled down, we 
find him well to the fore in all matters appertaining to sport, 
especially to horsemanship, with the result that in 1867 he was 
unanimously elected to that most coveted position the Master- 
ship of the Cambridge Drag Hounds, a post regarded at the 
'Varsity as an honour only paralleled by the coveted position of 
M.F.H. to a popular Hunt. Mr. Finch Mason will tell of 
the " Cat's " racing achievements at the time of his sojourn at 
" Alma Mater," which no doubt formed the prelude of what he 
was to become in later years. 

Two very characteristic anecdotes of him during his stay at 


(J. M. Richardson's brother-) 

Harrow and Cambridge 

Cambridge were related to me by my brother William and the 
late Lord Minto respectively. 

The former informed me that when one day he paid a visit 
to Maunsell at Cambridge he was shown into his sitting-room 
at French's historic lodgings at 6i, Park Street, Jesus Lane, 
Cambridge ; a bare table (with a cutting whip lying on it), a 
horsehair sofa, and a single chair, were the only articles of 
furniture the room possessed. His visitor was asked to "sit 
down and wait," the servant telling him that, though Mr. 
Richardson might possibly not be long, he could by no means 
predict how long, for he had gone out in riding apparel, and 
very often did not return until nightfall. 

My eldest brother, who was a voracious reader, then asked 
the man if he could have a book to pass the time away, for he 
had come a considerable distance to have a look at Maunsell 
and his rooms. Any book, he added, would be acceptable, but 
a novel for choice. The astounding reply he received at that 
abode of learning was, " I am very sorry, sir, but Mr. Richard- 
son has not got a book of any sort." 

Lord Minto told me many years ago, when he stayed at 
Limber with us, of his extraordinary first meeting with my 
brother Maunsell. It was during a run with the " Drag " that, 
in a ploughed field, he saw a rider, evidently a member of the 
hunt, vainly endeavouring to induce a refusing horse to take a 
fence. He passed him, and went on with the hunt, thinking 
nothing more of the matter. After the gallop was over, ho w- 
ever, as he was returning via the road, he saw the same man 
and horse still battling at the fence, and then and there made 
up his mind that a man possessed of such patience as this must 
be something quite out of the common way, and determined if 
possible to make his acquaintance at once. I regret to record 
that the language my brother was using was of an exceedingly 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

sultry nature, and as he was never addicted to strong language 
at any time of his life, it was clear that on this occasion his 
temper must have been tried beyond endurance. It was from 
this meeting that a friendship sprang up between Lord Melgund, 
as Lord Minto then was, and my brother, which was destined to 
last until the end of their lives. It goes without saying that 
his horse had to negotiate that fence before he was allowed to 
return to his stable that night. 

But in spite of having no books at all in his rooms at the 
time his brother William visited him at Cambridge, my brother 
was evidently determined to show that, although he loved 
horses, hunting, and racing above all things, he could devote 
himself to reading when so inclined, and that when he chose 
he could work as resolutely as any man at Cambridge who 
"sported his oak." For one whole year, in fact, he devoted 
himself so assiduously to reading, that he passed the examina- 
tion he was going in for, with flying colours, and I verily believe 
was more proud of the achievement than of any of his later 
turf victories. 

How well I remember the telegram arriving at Limber ! — 
they were rare in those days, and we had to pay five shillings 
for delivery of a message — and our delight at the glorious news 
that told us of his success. His friend and biographer, Mr. 
Finch Mason (" Uncle Toby "), in the course of an article in 
the Sporting Times of January 27, 191 2, written after my 
brother's death, thus alludes to the incident : 

" I venture to think that nine undergraduates out of ten 
with similar tastes to his, and facilities for indulging in them, 
would to a certainty have devoted such energy as they possessed 
to their development, to the entire exclusion of study. Not so 
Maunsell Richardson, who to his credit be it said, resisted with 
Spartan courage all the allurements of the saddle — in his case 









*— < 

, — . 







r ) 










i ' 





Harrow and Cambridge 

a hard struggle you may depend — and resolutely 'sporting ^his 
oak,' devoted the whole of the following year, 1867, to reading 

Surely this speaks volumes for my brother's power of con- 
centration on any subject, congenial or uncongenial to his 
nature, that he was determined to conquer. 




Fox-hunting at Limber meant conjugating the verb " to hunt " 
in all its tenses in the present, whenever possible, if not in the 
immediate future. Racing followed, preferably on non-hunting 
clays, which meant riding one of the Limber stable chasers or 
getting a mount wherever one was available, no matter bad or 
good, for in these days it was "the sport" that was the thing, 
and not the possibility of broken bones, that counted. Horses 
to us signified not merely taking all the best out of them, but 
meant putting into them the best possible knowledge and 
ability, by sound horsemanship and good schooling over fences 
or otherwise. Then, when the active work, either of the chase 
or the racecourse, was over for the day, we talked " horse " for 
the rest of the happy evenings with congenial companions. 
This made up the sum, at least in winter, of the " Cat's " joyous 
days at Limber. Joyous they were, indeed, for him, and happy 
for those who enjoyed his good fellowship and leadership in all 
equine as well as in other matters. 

Then, too, when Jack Frost maliciously stepped in and 
stopped hunting and racing, there was skating on the fine 
stretches of water in Brocklesby Park, in which art Maunsell 
was a past master. Hockey on the ice was also indulged in, 
for our party always mingled with the "house party" at the 
Hall, and we invariably had fine fun. Lady Yarborough and 



































































Life at Limber 

her sisters and brothers, who often stayed with her, were as 
proficient at skating and hockey as they were at nearly all 
other games of skill. Sleighing, in sleighs specially constructed 
and very primitive, and which turned over on the slightest 
provocation, was another source of fun, and the spills amused 
us as much as the exhilaration of the runs. When I look 
back I cannot help but think what a splendid time it was 
for those in the swim of it all, with Maunsell as our ring- 

Healthy young life it was, with all its pleasures ahead, and 
the world opening out, and apparently holding in the future 
still greater possibilities of more splendid achievements. Truly, 
the world of sport is great and glorious when men and women 
" play the game." Surely, it brings out the finest qualities that 
we poor human beings possess. From many instances that 
could be brought forward, it proves that the true sportsman, 
when called upon to contribute to his country's welfare, can be 
trusted to show, by his singleness of aim, sterling honesty and 
courage, that although, hitherto, a devotee of sport for his own 
enjoyment, he will certainly hold his own in a very different 
sphere of life, and prove as enthusiastic for his nation's well- 
being as he was for honest sport followed for pure sport's 

And so it is a happy remembrance for all who knew 
Maunsell personally, and especially for those related to him by 
the nearest ties, that it was in his joyous young manhood he 
laid the foundations of his extraordinary success as a sportsman 
in the hunting field, on the racecourse, and in later years as a 
judge of horses. Further, all who knew him agree that he 
would have made his mark in Parliament had he liked, for 
there in a brief membership he showed the same straight- 
forwardness of purpose, power of personal application to detail, 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

and that keen enthusiasm which he displayed in every other 
walk of life. 

Not only to Maunsell is this applicable, but by far the most 
striking instance of a great sportsman proving himself really 
"great" in the severer tests of life, was that of his lifelong 
friend, the famous u Mr. Roily," as he was known to the sport- 
ing world, or " Roily " Melgund to his intimates, and in his later 
years as the Earl of Minto. Amongst other honoured posts 
he held were those of Governor-General of Canada and Viceroy 
of India. 

As Lord Melgund in 1870, when twenty-five years old, 
" Roily" came to stay with us at Limber, where, under my 
brother's experienced wing, he perfected himself in the art of 
riding over a country. To quote from Gentlemen Riders, when 
referring to " Mr. Roily," the name Lord Melgund used for 
racing purposes, it is stated that when he lived at Limber with 
us, " if he failed it certainly was not for want of practice, for 
what with riding gallops over a country in the early morning 
and hunting all day, he may be said to have lived in the 
saddle." Mr. John Corlett might very well remark, as he did 
in the racy columns of his popular pink paper, " Mr. Roily 
has taken to riding like the devil." " Roily " had been Maun- 
sell's greatest chum at Cambridge, where the two formed a 
friendship destined to endure with unbroken fervour on both 
sides until they were parted by my brother's death in 

Lord Melgund lived with us for over four years at Limber, 
becoming as one of us, entering into all our sports, sharing our 
likes and dislikes, our joys and our sorrows — making, in fact, 
a most delightful fourth to my two brothers and myself, and to 
me a third brother, and perhaps not the least agreeable of the 
trio. What splendid horses we had in the stables in those 




























Life at Limber 

halcyon days ! Both the capacious old stables at Limber House 
and Maunsell's newly erected racing stables in the village were 
filled to overflowing. Our friends' horses, too, we often stabled, 
for we should have considered it as inhospitable not to have 
provided the best of everything for their hunters. 

At that time we had Disturbance, Reugny, Furley, Rhys- 
worth, and many other celebrated animals, which with Maun- 
sell's own steeplechasers, and those he had in training for his 
friends filled our stables in the village. 

Open stable — open house — was the order of the day with 
us at Limber ; our greatest pleasure from the eagerly awaited 
cub- hunting to the last day of the hunting season — all the year 
round, in fact. What a specially happy time it was for us all 
when cub-hunting began in September, and it was a case of 
early tea or milk at 4.30 a.m. Then away to the stables to 
mount and off to join the hounds as the day was breaking — 
generally to the grand old Brocklesby woods, abounding with 
cubs, and where we could gallop along for miles on the broad 
grassy rides, watching hounds as they routed out the cubs and 
chased them this way and that, our horses crushing the early 
morning dew off the long grass, leaving dark tracks in their wake 
as we galloped along. There is, moreover, always a good off- 
chance during cub-hunting — which distinctly increases its excite- 
ment — of hounds lighting upon a fine old dog fox or a vixen, 
who will give them and their followers as fine a run as any in 
the real hunting season, while even a prodigiously robust and 
valiant cub may, taking time by the forelock, yield up his 
young life after a noble struggle in the open. 

In cub-hunting, too, there is great pleasure to true lovers 
of sport, like Maunsell, in watching the puppies beginning their 
training by a judicious mingling with their elders. Full of 
joyous young ardour and excitement, they lend themselves to 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

their initiation with the blood instinct of fine breeding, and 
bowl over many a lusty cub, thereby, if they are lucky, earning 
a succulent morsel of a tender young Reynard, and show- 
ing the huntsman who has watched over them from their birth 
that they may become not only worthy successors of their 
noted Brocklesby ancestors, but may even aspire to a glorious 
rivalry in vulpine successes. 

Then, when cub-hunting merges into the real thing, after 
long days out with the hounds — and they were long days indeed 
at that time, for we always rode to the meets, however wide — 
and as it was a point of honour with us never to come home 
before hounds knocked off, it was often nightfall before we 
came back, having started at 9.30 a.m. And then what quiet 
happy evenings we had in the old home ! 

When our little house-party met at dinner, the run of the 
day was lived over again ; the fences negotiated in spirit ; the 
whoo-a-whoop, that told of a gallant fox being bowled over, 
would ring again in our ears, and the sport, so well described by 
Mr. Jorrocks as carrying with it all the excitement of war with 
only a certain percentage of its dangers, would seem to us for 
the hundredth time, at least, the one thing to be lived for and 

No dinners ever passed off more pleasantly, as none knew 
better than myself, I being the purveyor of the feast. For 
although I had no grand chef, nor were our dinners dis- 
tinguished by any special dishes of superior flavour, the homely 
mutton (we killed our own sheep) and the well-roasted joints of 
beef, to appetites sharpened by healthy exercise, never put me 
off my feed, as the saying is, through natural anxiety as the 
hostess. But one can scarcely take credit for good cooking 
when a hunting man's appetite is to be satisfied, for, in the well- 
considered opinion of a devotee of the sport, we know that 




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Enlarged section from oil painting, showing Air. John Richardson, J. M. 
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Life at Limber 

" a goose is an uneasy kind of bird, too much for one and not 
enough for two." 

The conversation did not flag at our dinners, but the palm 
was held by Maunsell, who was well able to talk us all down. 
And looking back now I cannot wonder, for he talked intelli- 
gently, and even if he shouted at times, he shouted either home 
truths or, better still, tried to improve us all in our knowledge 
of the hunting country — its obstacles and difficulties — the 
working of hounds, and generally to instruct us in the way we 
should go for our own good in every particular. 

Not one of us round our dinner-table dare have funked a 
negotiable fence ; in fact, it would have taken far more moral 
courage to do this than to jump the obstacle, however formid- 
able. But we were a hard-riding lot, and in those days fear 
and ourselves were strangers. For we had our plucky little 
Countess of Yarborough with us most days, and although she 
could show nearly the whole field her heels across country, at 
any rate we tried to follow her intrepid lead. After dinner, 
when we foregathered in the drawing-room, peace reigned. 
There was no card-playing, for none cared to gamble, and few 
even to play at all. Drinks would come in, but they would go 
out again untasted night after night, for there were no drinkers. 
Only my eldest brother smoked, neither Maunsell nor "Mr. 
Roily " ever indulging in the weed. And so in three respective 
chairs they would sleep " all peaceful," and I, rejoicing to see 
them quiet and contented, would either work or read until the 
sleepers awakened, and went off to their respective beds, to 
dream of the past day's sport and look forward to the 

One day Lord Minto reminded me that I used sometimes 
to sing to them. Well, perhaps I helped to soothe them to 
sleep ; if so, my voice of byegone years has not been wasted 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

altogether. And this happy-go-lucky life continued until, in 
1874, my eldest brother, to whom practically Great Limber 
House belonged, married the eldest daughter of the Vicar of 
Limber, Canon Chamberlain, and so this merry bachelor estab- 
lishment — this open-house rendezvous for the sporting elect — 
closed automatically. 




One of my brother's favourite racing maxims was: "Put yourself 
in the best company and your horses in the worst." And certainly, 
to judge from the friends he invited to stay at our home at 
Limber — especially Lord Minto, who was as Jonathan to his 
David — he carried out to the full the first part of this trite 
saying. It can be gathered, too, from the number of his 
" wins," totalling up in one year to fifty-six, the particulars of 
which appear later on in this book, that he carried out the 
second part of this maxim in a highly satisfactory manner. 

One of the most celebrated of our visitors was the late 
Captain Machell, at that period the doyen of the racing 
world, who came several times to stay with us at Limber. 
An old steeplechase rider of great ability himself when 
quartered with his regiment in Ireland, there was probably no 
better judge of the sport, and everything in connection with it, 
than the Captain. He certainly showed his good judgment 
when, having marked my brother down, while at Cambridge, as 
an amateur of unusual promise, he took care not to lose sight 
of him when he left, that abode of learning. For it was the 
Captain's motto through life never to miss a chance ; and he 
had no doubt felt certain that in my brother he had discovered 
not only a rider who would carry his colours to the front when- 
ever possible, but also one whom he could mould to his will in 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

all things. How right he was in his estimate of the " Cat's " 
ability in the saddle we all know, but there the Captain's 
perspicuity ended, as will be made clear later on when the 
story of Reugny's Grand National comes to be told. 

Captain Machell soon became aware of the fact that my 
brother was not only something quite out of the common as a 
cross-country jockey, but that his genuine love for the horse 
extended to its education and subsequent training, and so he 
decided that he could not do better than entrust his most 
valuable steeplechasers to my brother's care. 

When I state that Maunsell would only consent to receive 
payment for the bare upkeep of the horses under his charge, 
their jumping education, training, and general care and super- 
intendence being inclusive, for pure love of the thing, it will be 
pretty generally conceded, I fancy, that Captain Machell had 
good reason to congratulate himself on his amateur trainer. 

Notwithstanding these sacrifices on his part, my brother 
always regarded himself as Captain Machell's debtor, inasmuch 
as only through the agency of a man of his means could he 
get into his possession and ride horses of the very first class ; 
for though possessing a fair fortune of his own it did not run 
into giving the price for horses which the Captain could afford, 
expecting, no doubt, to be recouped by methods which my 
brother could not and would not employ. 

I wish here to record that as a guest in our house nothing 
could exceed Captain Machell's kindliness and charm in every 
way, and to every one. This was especially so in his invari- 
able courtesy to our grandmother, Mrs. Maunsell, who lived 
with us at Limber, ostensibly as my chaperone (I was then 
only twenty-three), but in reality loving to be with us, and 
though upwards of seventy-six years old, taking as much interest 
in our horses — their exploits — our friends and their doings, as 




a urn 


(A sketch at Newmarket in the early seventies.) 

Visitors at Limber 

we did ourselves. And we treated her as she was, a sympa- 
thetic companion, in no way inflicting upon us the ordinary 
grandmotherly interference. 

To her Captain Machell would talk by the hour — of his 
horses — his hopes and fears for them — of herself, and inciden- 
tally, what she thought more of than anything, his admiration 
for the character and the riding powers of her beloved grand- 
son, Maunsell Richardson. And all this in the simplest manner 
imaginable, as though he had no other thought or purpose at 
the back of his mind than that of entertaining a very dear and 
interesting old lady, and a disinterested desire for my brother's 
success on the turf. 

And if the impression he had intended to create in the old 
lady's mind was of his artlessness and general love of sport for 
sport's sake, he certainly succeeded, for to the very last day of her 
life Mrs. Maunsell remained quite convinced that the notorious 
Captain Machell was the most sincere and guileless of men. To 
me also he was the soul of courtesy and kindliness, and at our 
meals (luckily I did not then know he was a noted "gourmet") 
ate with sufficient appetite to satisfy me that at any rate the 
fare we provided was to his liking. 

In many other ways, too, Captain Machell showed his 
kindliness of disposition and courtesy. I well remember one 
lovely morning in the early spring, during one of his flying 
visits to us at Limber, when an important trial was on of the 
horses then in training for the coming Grand National, and 
Disturbance, Reugny, Furley, and another horse were to be 
"ridden out" at certain weights, and the result to those in the 
know would be satisfactory or otherwise. 

The trial, at which I was to be present, had been fixed for 
the early morning before breakfast, and having kept my appoint- 
ment made overnight with Captain Machell in the Hall, we 

81 G 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

went to the stables together to mount our respective steeds. I 
could not help noticing how the Captain's hands shook even 
then, and it was a case of a glass of cognac administered by his 
valet before he could even mount and away with any degree of 
calmness or comfort. On our ride to the course over which 
the trial was to be ridden nothing could exceed the Captain's 
urbanity, opening gates, and had I been a queen riding beside 
him he could not have been more chivalrous. 

Then came the great trial, and although I was by no means 
"in the know," it evidently passed off to the satisfaction of 
those who were, for we all returned together to the house, and 
a merrier breakfast party never gathered round a table for that 
delectable meal. 

Even the proverbially shy and silent Mr. Robert Walker 
was guilty on this occasion of perpetrating a joke which caused 
much laughter. Our party being considerably larger than 
usual, the egg-stand had overflowed and some eggs were 
propped against the others lucky enough to be accommodated 
in the egg-cups. One of these itinerant eggs fell down, upon 
which the usually reserved " Bob " exclaimed, amidst dead 
silence, " There's one of 'em down, anyhow ! " 

Another frequent visitor to us at Limber was the Freiherr 
Jacques von Shavel, a Viennese gentleman with most charming 
manners and great kindliness of heart, who in his own country 
was quite as well known a personage as Captain Machell in 
ours — perhaps even better. He was a friend of both my 
brothers, more particularly, however, of the eldest, Willie, who 
was a good German scholar ; whereas Maunsell had no language 
but his own, and thought that no country could hold a candle 
to England. But to both my brothers Herr von Shavel 
remained a staunch and true friend, never failing to come and 
see them if possible whenever he came to England ; and in the 






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Visitors at Limber 

case of my eldest brother, making a point of hunting him up 
in whatever place he had made his home in after years. 

Although by no means a horse-dealer, excepting in the 
most aristocratic meaning of the word, Herr von Shavel was 
commissioned to purchase mounts for two succeeding Emperors 
of Austria, both of whom were ardent lovers of fox-hunting, 
whilst the late Empress, as many will remember, proved herself 
well able to hold her own with the best English and Irish 
sportswomen, and with the fastest packs of hounds in England 
and Ireland. 

It is true she was piloted by one of the "boldest and 
hardest riders that ever crossed the border " * in the shape of 
the late Captain " Bay " Middleton, but it is none the less true 
that to follow such a pilot faithfully and unflinchingly showed a 
daring and enthusiastic spirit inspired only by the truest love 
of sport. 

" Bay " Middleton was one of Maunsell's most intimate 
friends, especially in their cricketing days when both played 
for " I Zingari." I am not sure if he ever stayed with us at 
Limber, if so it was not during my reign ; but he was a promi- 
nent guest at my brother's wedding in 1881, and it was on 
that occasion that we were first introduced to each other. I 
remember thinking it a trifle difficult to reconcile myself to the 
belief that this perfectly groomed and even slightly nervous 
gentleman was the practical joker and the wild bear-fighter of 
whom I had so often heard my brother speak. 

No end of good stories are forthcoming, and still live 
vividly in men's minds, as to his extraordinary love for prac- 
tical joking and his wonderful capacity for inventing fresh 
methods of bear-fighting. It is told how, when once upon a visit 

* See " Gentlemen Riders Past and Present," by J. M. Richardson and Finch 
Mason, pp. 378 and following. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

to Lord Fitzwilliam at Wentworth, the late Lord Strathnairn, 
with commendable prudence, took the precaution to barricade 
his door with a heavy chest of drawers before retiring to bed 
for the night. Upon another celebrated occasion, being no 
respecter of persons, it is related how Sir Chandos Leigh, 
when he captained an eleven of the " I Zingari " in Ireland, 
was nearly driven into a real bear-fight by some monkey trick 
played upon him at the Viceregal Lodge, Dublin, by this Imp 
of Mischief in the presence of the then Lord Lieutenant of 
Ireland and his Duchess. It was certainly only due to the 
power of self-restraint the great Counsel possessed that blood 
was not shed, for the irrepressible " Bay " stepped slightly over 
the bounds of fair play in the favourite amusement on this 
memorable occasion. 

In spite of his tendency occasionally to carry a joke a little 
too far, " Bay " Middleton, as many of his friends can testify, 
possessed a very kind heart, and genuine feeling for those in 
trouble. Some years ago a friend of mine told me that she 
was staying with her mother, who was extremely ill, at the same 
hotel as the redoubtable " Bay," their rooms being adjoining. 
She knew him well by reputation, but never having met him, 
she hesitated naturally in asking him to moderate his bear- 
fighting horrors for the sake of her mother. Not only, how- 
ever, were he and his friends silent as mice during their stay, 
but he never passed her mother's door without making a point 
of removing his boots, and, what is more, insisted on his friends 
doing likewise. 

Naturally Herr von Shavel came into North Lincolnshire 
in his quest for the best horses for so fine a rider as his 
Emperor. And nothing but the most perfect horse in every 
respect that money could buy was good enough for him. 
Each hunter was required to have the best manners of an 








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Visitors at Limber 

experienced hack, and a hack to be good enough to take a 
hunter's place on occasion. 

A fine horseman himself, with hands as delicate as a 
woman's, he knew immediately he was on a horse's back, and 
had handled him for a few minutes, whether or not he was the 
suitable article. And for the suitable article, no price stood 
in his way. For the unsuitable he had no second place. 
Many a horse he purchased out of our stables, and I am 
proud to recollect that he once bought a grey cob of mine, 
solely for his perfect manners, for the colour was an abomination 
to him. 

Although the last time I had the pleasure of meeting Herr 
von Shavel at my eldest brother's house in London, his hair, 
once dark as the raven's wing, was white as snow, I am glad 
to say he is still in the land of the living,* and I sincerely trust 
we may meet again, also that he will read this slight tribute 
to his faithfulness as a friend, and genial companion. 

Another frequent visitor to our house at Limber was the 
late Hon. Sir Chandos Leigh, who became as well known 
in the Law Courts as he was formerly in the cricketing world. 
His book of Recollections, recently published, entitled "Bar, Bat 
and Bit," gives, with many other delightful details and anecdotes 
appertaining to its title, a very charming impression of his old 
friend Maunsell Richardson and his wife, at Healing Manor. 
Although considerably older than either of my brothers — as a 
matter of fact, he had been a contemporary at Harrow with 
our stepfather, the Rev. H. G. Southwell — he was so young in 
mind and thought, that he never seemed aggressively our 
senior in any manner. He shared our amusements, hunts and 
rides when possible. Although the graver matters of the Law 
— for he generally stayed with us when on Circuit — claimed his 
* He has, I regret to say, passed over since this was written. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

attention, he never allowed them and their attendant worries to 
detract from his interested good fellowship with us, and our far 
less important doings. 

Another interesting personality who visited us at Limber 
was Maunsell's old college chum, the late Cecil Legard, who 
afterwards became the Rev. Cecil Legard, that wonderful sur- 
vival of the genuine sporting parson, who with the surplice, 
metaphorically speaking, over his hunting kit, makes the best 
of both worlds. An extraordinary good judge of a horse and 
an enthusiastic lover of them as well, I believe he has never 
been known to be taken in over a deal. He certainly never was 
when I knew him in the old days, and I expect advancing years 
had, if anything, made him a still more competent judge of 
both horse and hound. What a wonderful clerical hunting 
" get-up " was his ! A dark-grey coat and breeches of the 
latest and most perfect cut, with black boots which left nothing 
to be desired in shape, fit or style, was surmounted by a low- 
crowned hard felt hat, which, while corresponding to the 
correct clerical hunting attire, was to all appearance as com- 
fortable to its wearer as the old-fashioned hunting-cap had the 
reputation of being. 

Young Lord Aberdour and Lord Wodehouse, now re- 
spectively Earls of Morton and Kimberley, both Cambridge 
chums of Maunsell's, also visited us and came several times to 
Limber, making themselves quite at home with us, exempli- 
fying their aristocratic descent by their extra charm of good 
fellowship, which surely is the only true hallmark, the gold of 
good breeding. 

Two well-remembered friends, also, are the two Goldneys — 
" Prior and Jack," as they were in those days — now respec- 
tively Sir Prior and Sir John Goldney. They came more 
especially to visit my eldest brother, Prior Goldney having 


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Visitors at Limber 

been his greatest friend at Harrow, whilst his younger brother, 
Jack, made our acquaintance at his brother's desire, and arrived 
at the Open House at Limber as a matter of course. The two 
Goldneys, if not such enthusiastic sportsmen as my brothers, 
or as the majority of Maunsell's particular friends, proved 
themselves delightful additions to our family party. I am 
glad to say they are both living, and if, as I hope, they will 
read this book, I salute them in these pages, and claim them 
as friends of past years. 

Perhaps " Sir Jack " will recall to mind a lovely summer's 
day when the riding party from Limber were winding their 
way through the Brocklesby Woods, two of them, Sir Jack 
and I, with shining faces. We certainly did not possess much 
personal vanity in those days — neither he nor I. There had 
been a plague of flies, especially tormenting when, as was 
frequently the case in the summer, we rode in the Brocklesby 
Woods, for their beauty and shade. So "Sir Jack" had a 
certain fly lotion sent down from London, with which if you 
anointed your face no flies approached within biting range. 
Before starting, he and I duly anointed ourselves. I did not 
look at myself in the glass before going out, neither, I fancy, 
did he. But when I came in and beheld the greasy apparition 
that met me in the mirror, I did not wonder that certain 
acquaintances we had met, and the shopkeepers in Caistor, had 
smiled in a manner quite unusual. I had certainly noticed that 
Sir Jack looked rather disreputable, but his appearance was 
positively beautiful compared to mine ! 

To this delightful " Life at Limber," its enjoyments and 
its excitements, many friends who lived around us contributed 
largely. They would drop in at all times of the morning and 
evening, particularly those who lived near us in the village, to 
see what we were doing or going to do, whether riding or 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

driving. This would be chiefly in the summer, when hunting 
and racing were off. Then they would ride or drive with us, 
or on rainy days play billiards. At any rate, we were never at 
a loss for companions of different ages or sex. All were 
welcome, and made no difference in our daily life, except that 
" a pleasure shared was a pleasure doubled." 

Foremost amongst them was one very special friend and 
cousin, George Marris* — "Little Man," as we all called him. 
He was, in fact, our real stand-by. Wet or fine he was sure 
to turn up, and would on occasion ride anything Maunsell 
asked him to try — would, in fact, rough-ride the youngest or 
the most vicious old horse that might happen to have found 
his way into our stables. Nothing came amiss to the " Little 
Man." Some years older than our three selves, we had been 
accustomed from childhood to regard him as our own property 
to play with us when we wanted ; in fact, to be at our beck 
and call, and incidentally to get us out of any scrape we might 
have managed to get into. Nor did he ever fail us. Maunsell 
once had a remarkably vicious horse, though perfect in all 
other respects, which he had bought from a friend who literally 
could do nothing with him. When he would go he was bad 
to beat in the hunting field, and Maunsell, who had never yet 
been conquered by a horse, determined to try his hand at 
" Dutch Sam," f as he was very appropriately named. After 
a few weeks, the horse proved so tractable under my brother's 
handling, that it was decided I was to have a ride on him, and 
to call at the neighbouring village, and relate how a conquest 
had been achieved. 

Naturally I was highly flattered, and considered I was 

* Eldest son of Mr. William Marris, of Limber, and nephew of our grandmother, 
Mrs. Maunsell. 

t " Dutch Sam " was the name of a once celebrated prizefighter. 



Visitors at Limber 

receiving a high and mighty honour. The horse was saddled 
for me, and with a merry party of lookers-on standing round, 
was brought out to the steps near the stables for me to mount. 
I just managed to get on to the saddle, but before I could 
annex stirrup or reins, off plunged " Dutch Sam," dragging 
the man who was holding his head, and who, luckily for me, 
clung manfully to the reins for some yards. The brute then 
got him down, and the next thing I saw on finding my stirrup, 
and getting a slight hold on the reins, was " Dutch Sam " 
literally pounding the unfortunate man with his fore feet as he 
lay on the ground. The " Little Man " flew to the rescue, 
and seizing the reins that had fallen from the groom's grasp, 
held on to them like grim death, although he too was dragged 
some distance by the now infuriated horse. 

It was, no doubt, the unaccustomed swish of my habit that 
had done the mischief, for after this escapade, and " Little 
Man " had succeeded in pacifying him, " Dutch Sam " soon 
recovered his temper, and was as quiet as the proverbial lamb. 
So much so, indeed, that I rode him as hard as he could go to 
the nearest doctor. 

On examination his unfortunate victim proved to have had 
seven ribs smashed to pieces, and for days his life was despaired 
of. I am glad, however, to say that he eventually made a 
complete recovery, and worked for us many years afterwards. 
The whole affair had been so sudden and unexpected that 
when it was over I only realized from Maunsell's livid face 
what a severe ordeal I had gone through. He was in the 
stable at the moment it happened, and only rushed out just in 
time to seize the reins on the other side. By which time the 
horse had worked off his temper, and now, thoroughly subdued, 
was trembling in every limb, in the consciousness, no doubt, of 
what he had done. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

It was an extraordinary instance of how a horse of moods 
could be a complete savage one moment and a perfect gentle- 
man the next. For all that, my brother was determined to 
take no more risks, and though, personally, I rather liked the 
horse, it came somewhat as a relief when, not long afterwards, 
Maunsell announced that he had found a purchaser for 
" Dutch Sam." 




racing career 

By Finch Mason 

It will be generally admitted, I am sure, by all those who have 
any knowledge on the subject, that there are two qualifica- 
tions which are absolutely essential to the steeplechase rider, no 
matter whether he be a professional or an amateur. One is, 
unlimited pluck — or, as many would prefer to call it, nerve — 
and the other skill. That there are a great many young 
horsemen who possess the first-named goes without saying, 
but unfortunately one is not much good without the other, and 
there can be no question that the possession of both to an 
eminent degree was the real secret of Maunsell Richardson's 
extraordinary success in the career he had mapped out for 
himself in early life. In his own introduction to the book 
which he collaborated so successfully with myself a few years 
ago, and, as in this case, published by Messrs. Vinton and Co., 
entitled " Gentlemen Riders Past and Present," whilst saying 
nothing about skill, he alludes to the question of nerve in 
language there can be no mistaking. 

" One thing is, certain," he says, " which is, that unless an 
aspirant to steeplechase honours thoroughly makes up his mind 
beforehand to put his whole heart and soul into his work, with 
his neck a secondary consideration, he may just as well leave 
the game alone altogether for all the satisfaction he is likely to 
get out of it." 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Whilst, as I have already mentioned, there are thousands of 
young horsemen who set not the slightest value upon their 
necks — men who would ride at a house if it came in their way 
— yet owing to this very recklessness will never make good 
horsemen in the strict sense of the word. And that is where 
the "Cat" — to give him the name Mr. Richardson was 
popularly known by — " came in," as the saying is ; for not only 
did he possess the heart of a lion, but also every other quality 
which goes to make the perfect horseman. A proof of which 
— if any were wanting — being his artistic riding on the flat ; the 
few races he won under these conditions being generally voted, 
even by the professional (flat race) jockeys he competed 
against, perfect masterpieces of race riding, which they them- 
selves could not have bettered. 

His superiority in this respect is not hard to explain. 
11 Thorough " in everything he undertook, directly the steeple- 
chase season was at an end he would repair to his favourite 
Newmarket, and there, under the friendly guidance of Joe 
Cannon and other famous trainers, would spend his mornings 
taking part in five or six furlong gallops, riding the older horse 
against the two-year olds, and assiduously practising the art of 
getting quickly off. 

I have frequently heard him say that had he not ridden 
over short courses every day during the recess, he never would 
have won the two welter races at Epsom, one at the spring- 
meeting on Lincoln, belonging to a worthy bookmaker, 
familiarly known as " Nosey " Taylor, and the other at the 
summer meeting, on the day after the Derby, when on Bicker- 
staffe, the property of the then Lord Lonsdale, he beat 
seventeen others in the " Six Furlong Welter," in a style which 
provoked general admiration. What made the task more 
difficult for an amateur was that in those days there were no 


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Racing Career 

straight six furlongs as now, consequently the horses had to 
come round Tattenham Corner soon after the start. 

As an example of the wonderful condition he always kept 
himself in, Mr. Richardson, early in the same afternoon on 
which he won the Grand National for Captain Machell on 
Disturbance, rode and won a seven-furlong race on the flat, 
on Lincoln, a feat described to me by one of the most celebrated 
amateur horsemen of his day as the finest exhibition of stamina 
and confidence he had ever witnessed or was ever likely to 
again, involving as it did a strain on the constitution that not 
one jockey out of a hundred, either amateur or professional, 
would have had the hardihood to risk. 

On the contrary, one has only to take up a sporting paper a 
week before the Grand National to read that such and such a 
jockey — professional most likely — engaged to ride a prominent 
candidate in the race, undesirous of taking any risks in the 
interim, will not appear again in the saddle until he fulfils his 
engagement at Aintree. 

Mr. Richardson's immunity from accidents in the field was 
wonderful, the only falls he received of any importance during 
his steeplechasing career being got when schooling the chasers 
at home sometimes. He attributed this in no small measure to 
two causes — one in never riding into the heels of horses in 
front of him during a race ; and also should the horse he was 
riding come down on his knees, he often kept on his back 
instead of cutting a voluntary over his head. The most 
modest of men, when the subject was under discussion once, 
he added, " I suppose, as Sir John Astley remarked in his book, 
'hands' had something to do with it, but it seems rather 
conceited to say so." 

And there is not much doubt that this was the true explana- 
tion, both the hands and feet of the " Cat " being just about as 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

near perfection as could be, whilst, as I have previously stated, 
his nerve was undeniable. 

Another habit of his, which certainly did not find favour 
with the majority of steeplechase jockeys, was always to select 
the biggest place in the fence to ride at ; whilst another 
golden rule he adhered to religiously, especially at Aintree, was 
to carefully go over the ground before the race. I don't believe 
that there was an inch of the Grand National course that he 
didn't know by heart, and I believe it was a fact that Colonel 
Campbell, now commanding the 9th Lancers, who won the 
race on The Soarer in 1896, attributed his success in no 
small measure to a letter written some years previously by 
Mr. Richardson to a mutual friend, giving the latter much sound 
advice how to ride at the different fences — exactly where to take 
off, and so on. 

Though I believe he won a small local steeplechase, if not 
two, when at home in Lincolnshire for the holidays, when 
actually a boy at Harrow, it was not until November, 1865, 
being at the time an undergraduate at Cambridge and not yet 
out of his teens, that Mr. Richardson's steeplechase-riding 
career may be said to have commenced in earnest. 

Though entered on the books of Magdalen College, he was 
never actually in residence there, taking up his abode in 
preference at French's well-known lodging house by Park 
Street, Jesus Lane, which was literally a hotbed of young 
sportsmen, amongst those living there at the same time as 
himself being the Honourable Harry Fitzwilliam, the late 
Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, and the late Rev. Cecil Legard, 
all three of whom, like himself, have since made their mark in 
the world of sport. 

Mr. Harry Fitzwilliam, for instance, distinguished himself 
in early life, by being one of the very few horsemen — they were 


Racing Career 

only two in number, I fancy, himself and an officer in the nth 
Hussars — who ever succeeded in taking the big " Double " at 
Punchestown — then twice as formidable an obstacle as that now 
in existence — in a fly. 

The late Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, as we all know, 
eventually blossomed forth into one of the most influential 
owners of racehorses in the kingdom ; whilst as to his popularity 
it is no exaggeration to assert that, with the exception of the 
purple and scarlet livery of His Majesty, there were no racing 
colours in existence which met with such a spontaneous 
welcome from the crowd when they were seen in the van as the 
"dark blue and yellow " of popular " Mr. Leo." 

Again, where is the visitor to any of the principal Hare and 
Hound shows held in different parts of the country, during the 
last forty years or so, who is not familiar with the striking 
personality of the Rev. Cecil Legard, who in the capacity of 
judge — and a good judge too, as the song says — was always 
much " in evidence " in the show ring on these occasions ? 

French's, which was the recognized headquarters of the 
creme de la creme y so to speak, of the sporting set at Cambridge, 
was a most exclusive establishment and exceedingly difficult to 
get into, every one desirous of becoming a member having to 
be proposed and seconded just the same as at a club. What- 
ever his intentions in the future, there can be no question but 
that the young freshman's first thoughts on commencing his 
university career ran entirely to Horse and nothing else, it 
being significant that on a near relative of his own, on a visit to 
Cambridge, calling on him at his lodgings one day in his 
absence, was highly amused on casting an eye round the sitting- 
room to note that its chief furniture apparently consisted of a 
chair and a riding-whip. 

In November, 1865, we find him sporting silk for the first 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

time in public in a steeplechase at Huntingdon, which he won 
on Vienna, a mare of his own, who must have been a goodish 
animal, as he won the Fitzwilliam Hunt Cup at Peterborough, 
and the Kimbolton Four-mile Handicap Steeplechase at Bed- 
ford — which last was over a very stiff country — on her the 
following year. (Note by M. E. R. : " Vienna was a brown 
mare, perfect in her paces, sweet-tempered. I have often 
ridden her/') 

After this successful beginning, the subject of our memoir, 
greatly to his credit, made up his mind to devote attention 
entirely for a time to reading, and that he carried out his plan 
with the same energy and determination which were his leading 
characteristics in everything he undertook, either then or in 
after life, is clear, seeing that in the end he succeeded in passing 
his " Little Go " with flying colours. After this he no doubt 
thought himself fairly entitled to resume his favourite pursuit. 

Accordingly, in 1868, we find him once more making a start 
— and a good one — by winning the Open Handicap Steeple- 
chase at Lincoln on a mare belonging to himself named Proser- 
pine, which victory he followed up by winning the Yarborough 
Cup at the same meeting on The Pet, belonging to Mr. Nelson. 
Whilst at Cambridge he won the Open Hunters Steeplechase 
for Mr. Abington on Warden, and the Aylesbury Open Handi- 
cap for Mr. Bentley on Novice. 

At Aylesbury the following year he won a match, which 
created a good deal of interest at the time in undergraduate 
circles, on Cora Pearl, belonging to the late Sir William Milner, 
beating his friend Mr. "Charlie" Newton on The Fawn, the 
property of Lord Rosebery, after a good race, by a neck. In 
1869, riding Watteau, belonging to himself, the "Cat" won 
the One Mile Hunt flat race at Redbourne, this being the 
first race on the flat he ever took part in. 


Racing Career 

The season of 1870 was destined to play an important 
part in his riding career, seeing that, in addition to many other 
races, Mr. Richardson won the most important event he had 
yet ridden in, namely, the Grand National Hunt Steeplechase, 
run on this occasion at Cottenham, near Cambridge, on 
Schiedam, belonging to the still living Lord Chaplin, then 
Mr. Henry Chaplin, like himself a Lincolnshire man — a fact 
which made the victory all the more appropriate. 

Now it was — or very soon after — that Mr. Richardson 
formed the connection with the late Captain Machell — perhaps 
the best judge of steeplechasing in England — which was 
destined to have such successful results, and which ended in 
that gentleman not only sending his protige a lot of his horses 
to his place at Limber to be trained for their engagements, 
but giving him a roving commission to buy any more he thought 
likely to win races whenever he had a chance. 

One of the three first investments in this line was Keystone, 
which good horse he purchased from that well-known Lincoln- 
shire yeoman and sportsman, Mr. Robert S. Walker, after 
winning the Sefton Steeplechase at Liverpool on him, and that 
the deal was a successful one was proved by his new purchase 
winning the Cambridge Handicap Steeplechase and the West 
of Scotland Steeplechase at Eglinton in the same year. Mr. 
Richardson then took Keystone to Baden-Baden, where, with 
himself in the saddle, he was only beaten by a neck for the 
Grand Prize. 

Mr. Richardson was unlucky in this particular race, for he 
had ridden in it, as it happened, the previous year, his mount 
on that occasion being Juryman, the property of Count Nicholas 
Esterhazy. He, the late George Ede (Mr. " Edwards "), and 
the still living Major Arthur Tempest were the only English- 
men riding in the race, and all went well until they came to 

97 h 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

the brook, when Juryman and his rider collided with Major 
Tempest's mount, and were knocked bodily into the water, 
the " Cat," whose ankle was damaged, being picked out by 
an English groom looking on, just in time to avoid being 
jumped upon by the remainder of the field, consisting of a lot 
of foreign officers of different nationalities, every one of whom 
fell into the brook. 

The only rider, in fact, who managed to get over in safety 
was George Ede on Benazet, belonging to the late Lord Powlett, 
who went on and won pretty much as he liked. 

Benazet, I may mention — again ridden by Mr. " Edwards" 
— was made an odds-on favourite for the same race the follow- 
ing year, which he would inevitably have won but for coming 
down at the brook and breaking his back, to the great grief of 
his rider, who, as one of the papers afterwards remarked, was 
as fond of poor Benazet as, the song tells us, was the proverbial 
Arab of his steed. 

Other events won by Mr. Richardson that same year for 
Captain Machell were the Brocklesby Open, the Warwick 
Hunt, and the Nottinghamshire Steeplechases, all three on 
Defence, trained by himself. 

At Rothbury, Northumberland, again, riding on a very 
light saddle and over severe country, he won the Open Handi- 
cap Steeplechase on Lady Day, notwithstanding the fact that 
he broke a stirrup leather at the very first fence. 

Besides the Grand Annual at Warwick on Schiedam for 
Mr. Chaplin, other races he won that year were the Coplow 
Stakes and Granby Handicap at Croxton Park, on Felix and 
Bickerstaffe, the property respectively of Lords Calthorpe and 
Lonsdale, whilst on Tuberville he won the Warwick Welter 
for the late Lord Aylesford. At Ayr he won the Corinthian 
Handicap for Mr. James Barber on Disturbance, and later on 

9 8 

Racing Career 

the Worcestershire Welter for Mr. Ray on Scylla by a short 
head, after a great finish, Jem Adams and John Osborne being 
second and third, with a head between each. 

In 1872 Mr. Richardson eclipsed all his previous perform- 
ances in point of number, winning no fewer than fifty-six 
events, four of which were races on the flat, including the two 
at the Epsom Spring and Summer meetings on Lincoln and 
Bickerstaffe respectively, of which I have already made men- 
tion, and which he himself was so proud of. It was a singular 
incident that of the four races under Jockey Club Rules he 
rode in that year at Epsom and Liverpool he should win 
them all. 

The following year, in addition to numerous other races of 
more or less importance, the "Cat" set the seal on his fame 
by winning the Grand National on Disturbance, purchased by 
him from Mr. James Barber on behalf of Captain Machell for 
a very small sum at the Ayr meeting. Disturbance was a 
very little horse, and despite the fact that in Mr. Richardson's 
hands he had already beaten a field of first-rate horses in the 
Croydon Steeplechase, this probably accounted in no small 
measure for his being allowed to start at an outside point, the 
majority of backers being no doubt of opinion that 1 1 st. 1 1 lb. 
Was far too heavy an impost for so small a horse to carry 
successfully over so long and tiring a course as that at Aintree. 

Captain Machell and Mr. Richardson, however, knew better, 
and never lost confidence in their champion, with the result 
that Captain Machell was credited with having won the largest 
sum in bets that had ever been his lot since he went on the 
turf, not even excepting that memorable occasion when Hermit 
won the Derby ; whilst Mr. Richardson, whose first bet it was 
of any importance, landed the thousand to ten the Captain had 
taken on his behalf soon after the acceptances were declared. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

I may mention that the " Cat " had a similar piece of good luck 
when King Lud, belonging to the then Lord Lonsdale, won 
the Cesarewitch in 1873, Captain Machell on his own initiative 
having good-naturedly insisted on investing a tenner for him at 
the longest odds then obtainable, which in this instance meant 
40 to 1. 

Beyond an occasional sovereign on his fancy for the Derby 
or other of the Classic races, I believe these were the only two 
bets worthy of the name ever made by the subject of this 
memoir, and he was certainly to be congratulated on the result. 

Perhaps the most heavily backed candidate than any in the 
Grand National of 1873 won by Disturbance was Rhysworth, 
a gigantic animal who, when the property of the late Mr. 
Henry Saville, had run third for the Derby, and was supported 
by his owner at the last moment, as though the race was all 
over but shouting, as indeed it looked when he was seen lead- 
ing what was left of the field on approaching the final hurdle 
with only the undersized Disturbance threatening danger, and 
going so strong that Mr. Richardson might well be excused 
for regarding his thousand to ten as being good as lost. 

In a moment, however, the situation underwent a complete 
change. Rhysworth, though a good horse in a way, was a 
rogue of the first water, and as the game little Disturbance 
closed with him at the last hurdle — the two horses rising in 
the air together and almost touching each other, back went 
his ears, flat to his poll, and declining to respond to the vigorous 
call of young Boxall — a son of Mr. Chaplin's stud-groom, who 
rode him — Disturbance, jumping like a cat, drew gradually 
away to win comfortably, amidst vociferous cheering from all- 
parts of the course. 

Boxall was very much blamed on this occasion for making 
too much of his horse, and it was openly stated that had the 



Mh '? 

Racing Career 

jockeys been reversed the result would have been very dif- 
ferent. Maunsell Richardson, however, who was surely better 
entitled to know than any one, declined to allow this at any 
price, giving it as his opinion that no one could have ridden 
better than Boxall, whose rough and ready style of riding 
exactly suited a wayward brute like Rhysworth, who had tried 
all he knew to " cut it " on two other occasions during the race, 
notably when coming to the water in the first round, when, but 
for the determined handling of his jockey, he would inevitably 
have refused. 

To show what a good performance it was on the part of 
Disturbance, it may be mentioned that Rhysworth, either the 
very next day or the day after, ran clean away from a large 
field in the Sefton Steeplechase, with the substantial burden 
of 12 st. 7 lb. on his back. Had the horse won the Grand 
National it would indeed have been hard lines for Maunsell 
Richardson, at whose place he had been located for some time 
until removed in consequence of a rupture between his owner 
and Captain Machell, and who had taught him all the jumping 
he ever knew. 

To celebrate the event many Lincolnshire friends shortly 
afterwards gave a banquet to Mr. Richardson at Brigg. When 
it is added that the motto on the top of the menu card was 
" Disturbance but no Row," and that the " Mate " (the late 
Sir John Astley), in his most genial mood, presided at the 
feast, it may well be imagined that the gathering was of a most 
festive character, it being not too much to say that the cheering 
which went up when the guest of the evening got on his legs 
to return thanks for the toast of his health might easily have 
been heard in the next parish. 

Curiously enough, Mr. James Barber, from whom Dis- 
turbance was originally purchased, though begged by Mr. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Richardson to back the horse for the Liverpool, quite con- 
trary to his usual custom — for no one liked a gamble better 
or could scent a "good thing" more readily than Jimmy 
Barber — steadily declined to take the hint, so if he was left 
out in the cold, no one was to blame but himself. 

In after years he had a mare named Fan, and on one 
occasion, when well fancied for the Grand National, for which 
in a previous year she had been placed, with a view to making 
the race a greater certainty for her than it already looked, 
her eccentric owner sallied forth in the dead of night on 
the eve of the event, accompanied by one or two other con- 
spirators all armed with hatchets, with the object of cutting 
down the obstacles on the course. Just as they were busily 
engaged in this nefarious scheme, what was their astonish- 
ment, when the sound of " chop, chop, chop " in the distance 
suddenly made them aware that another party of sportsmen (?), 
presumably connected with another promising candidate, were 
hard at work with the same object in view, as in Fan's 

Whether the two forces foregathered and acted in concert 
I am not aware, but it is satisfactory to know that the scheme, 
so far from attaining its object, in all probability played into 
the hands of the winner, Fan, as she had done in previous 
years, refusing at the first or second fence with more obstinacy 
than ever. 

Jimmy Barber was a most eccentric character, and long 
after he had ceased to own racehorses was a regular attendant 
at the principal race meetings, especially at Newmarket, where 
his quaint* figure, garbed in a swallow-tailed coat of antique 
pattern, shepherd's plaid combinations, and wearing a very 
tall and ill-brushed hat, and with a thick stick in his ungloved 
hands, was always a familiar feature of the place. On a wet 



(Formerly owner of Disturbance.) 

Racing Career 

or cold day a short blue cloak, fastened at the throat by a 
clasp, hung gracefully from his shoulders. 

The racing over for the day, Jimmy Barber, as he was 
familiarly called, would repair to his inn, and there after 
dinner, seated at the head of a long table, he would be found 
roaring out song after song, in a voice which for volume I never 
yet heard its equal, until closing time. 

Another of his weaknesses, too, was quoting the Bard of 
Avon on all occasions whenever he had a chance. "As 
Shakespeare was once good enough to remark," he would 
commence, and then out would come a quotation from his 
repertoire, delivered with a solemnity which would have been 
laughable had it not been rather a trial to listen to. 

On one occasion, in his palmy days, a match between a 
two-year-old of his own and another, who started favourite, 
ended in a dead heat. The decider was run off later on, 
George Fordham being engaged to ride by the other side in 
place of the jockey who had previously tried to ride, his 
mount, this time, being a hot odds-on favourite. 

Jimmy Barber, accompanied by two members of the fourth 
estate, were driving along in the former's fly to watch the race, 
when one of the party remarked, " I suppose it's a good thing 
for the favourite, isn't it, Mr. Barber ?" "Well, a' don't know 
so much about that," was the reply, "ma' boy tells me that 
he lost quite three or four lengths at the start just now owing 
to the colt turning tail when the flag dropped, and — — " But 
before he could finish the sentence his two companions had 
opened the door, and were now running as fast as their legs could 
carry them back to the Stand, there to invest a quarter's salary 
— or possibly more — on the non-favourite, who, it may be 
mentioned, this time got off all right, and won in a canter, 
and it is to be hoped landed its eccentric owner a good stake, 

1 03 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

as it certainly did for the far-seeing gentlemen of the Press, 
to whom unwittingly he had given what in the phraseology of 
the Turf is termed the " Office." 

When, the following March, Maunsell Richardson appeared 
on the course at Aintree in the familiar white jacket and dark- 
blue cap, mounted on Reugny, who left off one of the hottest 
favourites for the Grand National ever known in the history 
of the race, little did those who looked on and admired, and 
later on cheered him to the echo as he galloped home on 
the favourite, imagine that they had seen the last of this 
brilliant horseman on a racecourse. Such, however, unfor- 
tunately proved to be the case. Unjustly blamed by the 
owner of the favourite for his failure at the very last moment 
to obtain what he considered a fair price about his horse, and 
offended beyond measure — and justly so — at the proposal 
made to himself with a view to sending Reugny back on the 
quotations, which, had it been carried out, must inevitably have 
damaged his reputation, he made up his mind at once that, 
win or lose, his ride on Reugny in the Grand National should 
be his last. 

In vain did Captain Machell, now desperately angry at his 
wishes not being complied with, threaten to scratch Reugny 
and rely on Defence. " I don't keep my horses to run for a 
lot of Lincolnshire farmers to bet on ! " added he. " I have 
lived amongst and hunted with them all my life," retorted the 
"Cat," "and having let you know the result of the trial in 
ample time, thought myself justified |in giving them the 'tip.' 
As for your threat," he added, "if you carry it out I'll ride 
Furley and beat you ! " 

The Captain's next move was to offer all his principal horses 
en bloc to Mr. Arthur Yates, acting .on behalf of that well- 
known sportsman the late Mr. Gerard Leigh, for the sum of 


Racing Career 

.£12,000, and had that gentleman been on the spot there is 
little doubt that the offer would have been accepted. As it 
was, Mr. Yates, being unable to communicate with Mr. Leigh 
at the moment, and not caring to take so heavy a responsibility 
on his own shoulders without first consulting his principal, the 
offer fell through, with the result that Captain Machell had to 
make the best of a bad bargain, as the saying is, and put up 
for once with what he could get, which in this instance was a 
solitary bet of five thousand to a thousand. 

" And not bad business either," as Mr. Richardson once 
remarked to the writer, "seeing that Disturbance, Reugny, and 
Defence only cost him ^1200, when I bought these for him 
originally at the Ayr meeting a little over a year previously." 

How religiously he kept his word as regards his vow not 
to ride in public again can be well understood by any one at 
all acquainted with John Maunsell Richardson, the only time 
he ever appeared again in the once favourite white jacket and 
dark-blue cap being when he took part in a private sweep- 
stake in Croxton Park, on which occasion he rode a hunter of his 
own, which he had hunted down, the race eventually falling to 
his friend, the late Mr. Hugh Owen, whose mount, belonging 
to himself, started favourite in a large field and won easily. 

Soon after Reugny's victory in the Grand National, Captain 
Machell sold the pick of his steeplechasers, including Dis- 
turbance, Reugny, and Defence, for a large sum, to the late Mr. 
Gerard Leigh, by whom they were sent down to Luton Hoo, 
his place in Bedfordshire. It will hardly be believed that one 
fine day, in order to provide amusement for the home party, 
the whole fleet were brought out, and, with hanging reins 
attached, were jumped'-over leaping bars erected for the occasion, 
with the result that Disturbance, at all events, was irretrievably 
ruined, and never ran again, whilst the others suffered more 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

or less injury from their exertions in a performance which can 
only be likened to that one would expect to meet with at a 
horse show or a circus. 

An Amusing Experience 

In the early spring of 1872 Mr. Richardson received a 
letter from his old friend Mr. Ned Maxwell — afterwards Sir 
Edward Heron-Maxwell — stating that he had entered a big — 
very big — and long chestnut horse, named Reviriscat, of whom 
he had formed great expectations, in the Hunt Steeplechase 
at Lincoln, and would take it as a great favour if he would 
ride him, a request which the " Cat " readily complied with. 

Having duly weighed out for the race above-mentioned, 
Mr. Richardson made for the saddling paddock, and there 
found — to quote his own words — <( the biggest horse I ever 
set eyes on, with the smallest bridle, a tiny snaffle, with the 
thinnest rein possible to conceive, purchased in the town — at 
a toyshop I should imagine — that very morning by Ned Max- 
well's old Scotch groom, because, so he informed me, he 
' thought it looked like racing! " 

"Just imagine my feelings," went on Mr. Richardson, "on 
beholding this enormous horse, quite seventeen hands high, with 
a one-rein pony snaffle on him and nothing else, to ride over a 
course made up of ridge and furrow, small fields and trappy 
fences, with ditches on the take-off side destitute of guard rails, 
with a narrow road to cross — altogether a very difficult country 
to negotiate, in fact. A goodish-looking mare named Susan, 
who had previously won several races, with Tom Spence in the 
saddle, was made favourite, the race, according to all accounts, 
being reckoned a good thing for her. 

" At all events, she compared very favourably with my own 
mount, whose underbred and elephantine appearance so struck 






































Racing Career 

my friends looking on, that on mounting I was the recipient of 
many inquiries as to whether my life was insured. 

"Well, off we started" (I am still quoting his rider), "and, 
to my surprise and delight, instead of Reviriscat, as I made 
sure would be the case, going badly over the ridge and furrow, 
or taking a lot of riding in the fearful and wonderful bridle 
already described, no horse could possibly have gone better, 
with the result that when we got amongst the trappy fences 
the others were quickly left behind, and never being caught, 
we eventually won with the greatest ease, to the extreme 
delight of his sporting owner, who, though the winner had 
frequently carried him hunting, the latter had never previously 
run in a steeplechase. To show his appreciation of the per- 
formance, dear old Ned Maxwell presented me soon afterwards 
with a souvenir in the shape of a large silver flask, on one side 
of which was inscribed ' Reviriscat,' and on the other the 
following lines composed by himself: — 


" Semper Fidelis — proud Motto — none less 
1 Cat' Richardson's Image could truly portray . 
Still in faith and in love let me add ' Reviriscat ' 
In those happy hunting fields far, far away." 

In March, 1873, Reviriscat, ridden by that popular gentle- 
man rider and fine horseman, the late Captain " Wenty " Hope 
Johnstone, whose first ride it was in the race, ran in the Grand 
National, for which, though heavily backed by his owners and 
friends, he made no show against Disturbance, the mount of 
Mr. Richardson. 

Mr. Ned Maxwell was never happier than when writing 
poetry of his own composing, and so sanguine was he of 
success on this particular occasion, that he actually took this 

* The Richardson family motto. 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

in hand two days before the race, and wrote some verses 
descriptive of Reviriscat's victory in the Grand National and 
how it was won, intending to post it off the same night to one 
of the sporting papers for insertion the following morning. No 
words can adequately describe the disappointment felt by his 
sporting owner at his favourite's defeat, and a great friend of 
his told me that he shall never forget how, at the end of the 
day, with tears in his eyes, the other pulled the verses out of 
his pocket to show him, previously to consigning them to the 

After this Mr. Richardson suggested to Mr. Ned Maxwell 
that he should make a present of Reviriscat to his son Johnnie, 
then a lieutenant in the 14th Hussars, so as to qualify the horse 
for the Grand Military, for which, in his opinion, he had a 
decided chance. This piece of advice was promptly acted upon 
with the best results, Reviriscat, with the popular " Wenty " in 
the saddle, winning the much-coveted Gold Cup in the easiest 
possible manner. I may mention that Reviriscat's poor display 
in the Grand National of 1873 is accounted for by the fact that 
he was suffering from a very severe cold at the time and had 
no business really to have run. That it was unfortunate that 
he did so there was only too good proof, as he never recovered, 
and died not a great while after, to the great grief of his owner 
and all his family, who were devoted to the good old horse. 

Before he took to steeplechasing he was hunted regularly 
with the Buccleuch hounds, being frequently ridden on these 
occasions by Miss Heron-Maxwell (the only lady who was 
ever on his back), then quite a young girl in the schoolroom. 
On one of these occasions the two negotiated a big gate in 
such good style as to cause an old follower of the Duke's 
hounds, George Dove by name, to remark, " Ah, Miss Heron- 
Maxwell, you have the golden key which unlocks all the gates ! ' 



Presented to J. M. Richardson by the late Sir Heron Maxwell, with a 
verse composed by himself. 

Racing Career 

Beyond a visit each year to the Derby and Ascot and the 
Leger, and perhaps Newmarket in the autumn, in company with 
the Countess of Yarborough, when he made one of a house- 
party to witness the two last great handicaps of the year and 
foregather with his old friends, Mr. Richardson only took a 
passing interest in the Turf, the Grand National, which he 
generally attended if not hunting or otherwise engaged, as 
might be expected, being more to his liking than all the rest 
put together. 

On arrival on the course at Epsom on the Derby Day, he 
would make straight for the Paddock, and in that hallowed 
spot he would remain until he had carefully inspected and 
criticized all the horses engaged in the big race. Needless to 
say, his opinion on these occasions was eagerly sought after 
by his friends, who, it almost goes without saying, if they took 
his advice, as was generally the case, could hardly fail to profit 
by what they heard. Not a thing seemed to escape his notice, 
and if there was a weak spot to be found in any of the favourites, 
his practised eye would detect it in a moment. 

I remember a few years ago asking him his opinion of a 
red-hot favourite for the Oaks, who had just passed him in 
review. He shook his head ominously. "A nice mare 
enough," was his reply, " and may do well later on when she 
has grown and filled out a bit, but in my humble opinion she 
won't do for to-day's race at all. As she passed me just now," 
he added, " I could hear her joints crack as she walked along." 
How right he was there was ample proof later on, the mare 
in question being hopelessly out of it long before the finish. 

Another instance of Maunsell Richardson's sound judgment 
was on that memorable afternoon in 1908, when Signorinetta 
won the Derby so unexpectedly for the Chevalier Ginistrelli. 
He had just finished his inspection of the Derby horses, and 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

was leaving the Paddock for the Grand Stand, when he ran 
up against one of our most noted trainers, with whom he at 
once entered into an animated conversation regarding the big 
race, and the respective chances of the animals engaged therein. 

" Why shouldn't the mare win ? " inquired Mr. Richardson. 

"The mare!" echoed the trainer in astonishment. "What 
mare ? I didn't even know there was one in the race." 

"Why, Signorinetta, to be sure," replied the other. " I've 
seen every horse in the race," he added, " and looked 'em care- 
fully over, and to my thinking she is the only really fit animal 
in the race, and consequently extremely likely to win the 
Derby, especially with her sex allowance." 

" Well, Mr. Richardson," said the trainer, " there's no man 
in England whose opinion I have more respect for than yours, 
so I'll be off and have a look at Signorinetta before it is too 

And so saying they went their different ways ; the one to 
inspect the Chevalier's mare ; the other to invest his usual 
sovereign on her. Never was there a much straighter " tip " in 
racing parlance than this, for, as is well known, it was her 
superiority in condition and nothing else which gave the 
Chevalier Ginistrelli's filly the Blue Ribbon of the Turf. 

The late George Ede (" Mr. Edwards ") enjoyed the repu- 
tation of being the best gentleman rider of his day, an opinion 
in which Mr. Richardson heartily concurred. But there are 
many who still hold to the belief that when they were both 
riding at the same time there was little to choose between them, 
and that if anything the " Cat " was the superior of the two, 
and if the writer's opinion is worth anything, it is that the latter 
were right. 



as an owner 

By Finch Mason 

Soon after the numbers had gone up for the Grand National of 
1876, a little group, in which a horse took pride of place, made 
its appearance on the course and at once attracted a good 
deal of attention. 

No need for one to consult the card to know the name of 
the candidate ; the fact that it was ridden by the late Earl of 
Minto, then Lord Melgund, better known to the racing world 
as Mr. " Roily " (his old Eton name), the recognized jockey of 
the famous Limber stable ; that Maunsell Richardson — a little 
stouter, perhaps, than in the Disturbance and Reugny days — to 
whom it belonged, was at his head, and that the veteran jockey* 
Tom Chal loner, who bred the horse, was trotting by his side, 
at once proclaimed the fact that it was Zero, who for some time 
past had been one of the most fancied candidates in the race. 

A bright bay, Zero, with his docked tail and hogged mane, 
was an old-fashioned looking customer, and although his 
splendid shoulders drew attention to his rather light appearance 
behind the saddle, there was a business look about him, combined 
with the knowledge that he hailed from the popular Limber 
stable, just then in great form, which doubtless secured him 
many additional backers. 

Mr. "Roily," too, who, since his friend the "Cat" had 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

relinquished the pigskin, was now the recognized jockey of the 
stable, was also riding in tip-top form, so no wonder Zero left 
off a great public fancy. Unfortunately the luck which had 
been his now for some time past deserted Mr. " Roily " on this 
occasion. Zero, who was going as strong as a lion at the time, 
just behind Shifnal and Jackal, and jumping splendidly, came a 
tremendous cropper at Valentine's Brook the second time round, 
with serious results to his plucky rider. With the assistance 
of the late Tom Cannon (senior), who happened to be on the 
spot, he was brought back to the Grand Stand, where, on 
arrival in the weighing room, his injuries, after examination, 
were discovered to be so serious that Sir James Paget was at 
once telegraphed for. On arrival at Liverpool he confirmed 
the opinion of the other medical men in attendance, that their 
noble patient had dislocated his neck. Now this was "a fact " 
which the amateur jockey declined to believe until four years 
later when, calling on Sir James about another matter, the 
great surgeon, referring to the accident, remarked, " Well, all I 
can say is, you are one of those extraordinary people who has 
broken his neck and are none the worse. Your skeleton," he 
added, " should be one of the most valuable in existence." 

On Lord Minto remarking that he would gladly bequeath 
his skeleton to him in his will, Sir James laughingly replied, 
" Oh, I shall be gone long before you, but I can answer for 
them that the College of Surgeons will be very glad of it if you 
like to leave it to them." 

Lord Minto certainly had an extraordinary escape. The 
muscles of his neck shrank, with the effect of pulling his head 
down on one side, and for months he was practically a cripple 
and suffering great pain in his shoulder and arm, which remained 
with him for years afterwards — to the end indeed. Notwith- 
standing which, though still very weak and ill from the fall in 





4? S 




As an Owner 

the " Liverpool," at the end of March he insisted on riding 
Weathercock at Sandown Park the following November, with 
the result that he got another bad fall at the fence going down 
the hill ; Zero, strange to say, who had been bought in the 
interim by Lord Charles Beresford, and ridden on this occasion 
by his brother, Lord Marcus, falling by his side. 

Years afterwards Mr. " Roily " was at Catterick Bridge 
races, and in the course of a chat with John Osborne, for whom 
he had won several races on the flat on a horse named Vintner, 
the latter remarked, " You remember getting that bad fall on 
Zero in the Grand National of 1876, when Regal won, but did 
you know the cause ? Because, if not, I can tell you." He 
then added : " I was walking round the course in the morning, 
and so were you, and you had got nearly as far as Becher's 
Brook, when, catching sight of Mr. Richardson and one or two 
other friends on ahead, you ran on and joined them looking 
at Valentine's. I walked on, and on coming to Valentine's 
Brook discovered an under drain close to the left-hand side, just 
where you jumped it, and it was that into which Zero put his 
feet on landing, and turned over." 

As Lord Minto remarked afterwards, " Fancy such a state 
of things being allowed to pass unnoticed by the authorities on 
a severe course like that of Liverpool ! " 

The accident, which in this case so nearly proved fatal, only 
goes to show, as Maunsell Richardson never ceased to point 
out, how necessary it is for the jockeys to go carefully over the 
course — not only at Aintree, but anywhere else — before riding 
over it. He invariably made a practice of doing so himself, 
and no doubt saved himself many a " toss " in consequence. 
So far as I am aware, though he occasionally ran a hunter in 
the private sweepstakes at Croxton Park, Zero was the last race- 
horse Maunsell Richardson ever owned. 

113 1 



After leaving Cambridge, where he played in the University 
Eleven in 1 866-1 867, and 1868, and distinguished himself by 
his sound all-round play both in the field and at the wicket, my 
brother still devoted a good deal of his spare time to cricket, 
and playing for the Jockeys against the Press at Brighton 
he carried out his bat for 138. In those days such scoring 
was considered a far more extraordinary feat than now, when 
centuries seem rather the rule than the exception. At the 
same watering-place he scored 134 for the Quidnuncs, against 

As a member of the I Zingari, he went over several years 
running to Ireland with an eleven captained by his old friend 
Sir Chandos Leigh, when they played against the Na-Shula 
Club — the Irish Zingari — and every other club of note in 
Ireland. On these occasions " Bay " Middleton generally 
made one of the party. 

It is recorded that one year he made over a century for 
I Zingari when they played twenty-two of South Ireland at 
the Curragh. Then for the same Club, playing the Viceregal 
Lodge in Phcenix Park, Dublin, he scored 109 ; and over a 
century when the eleven played against Newbridge. 

These are a few records of the many cricket matches in 
which my brother not only made big scores, but showed his 


J. M. RICHARDSON (1881). 

Marriage to Lady Yarborough 

"Cat "-like (according to Lilly white) qualities when fielding, 
and as is well known without good fielding, in spite of the 
finest batting, a side is almost bound to lose. Maunsell was 
never a good bowler, not taking kindly to this branch of the 
game, and perhaps it was just as well that the two brothers 
did not take up the same line at cricket, for William devoted 
himself to bowling, and was a very fair medium-paced bowler. 
These particular matches I mention served to show that what- 
ever my brother Maunsell put his mind to, whether hunting, 
racing, cricket, rackets, golf, and even the alleged greater 
game of politics, he was equally at home. 

Before and during his married life, it used to be a standing 
joke at all parties that on whatever side Maunsell was, that 
side was bound to win. In fact, his opponents used to say 
to him in a bantering way, " We give up all hope of winning 
a game when you are against us ! " At lawn-tennis his great 
agility naturally stood him in good stead, and his racket 
practice at Harrow and Cambridge made outdoor tennis, in 
later years, a comparatively easy pastime for him to play. At 
billiards, too, it took a very good amateur indeed to take his 
number down, and he has even held his own on occasion with 
professional players. 

Even at golf, which he took up quite late in life, a game 
which many people declare one can do no good at, unless you 
are to the manner born, he played a remarkably strong, sound 
game, so much so that shortly before his death he was made 
President of the Cromer Golf Club. 

Mr. Finch Mason tells a good story of a visit to the 
Ranelagh Club whither my brother repaired once before 
Ascot to have a round of golf. A member, who evidently 
was accustomed to be taken at his own valuation in all 
matters including sport, especially golf, at which ancient and 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

honourable game he fancied himself very considerably, at 
once arranged to take him on. 

"How many would you like me to give you?" inquired 
the gentleman in question, described by Maunsell as a ladylike 
person, with longish hair and a pince-nez, when they had 
arranged preliminaries. " I'm — er — at my top form just now, 
don'tcher know ! " " Thanks," said my brother, " I would 
rather play even, if you don't mind." They did, to the other's 
great discomfiture, and the " Cat" won anyhow. 

I remember well one day a few years after my brother 
Maunsell had taken to golf, indeed the very last time he, my 
eldest brother and I were ever together in this world, he said, 
" If it were put to me now which of the two I would rather give 
up, were I obliged to do so, I must honestly say I would rather 
give up hunting than golf." Would that he had done so, for 
that he overworked his constitution there can be no question. 
But the old love was very strong in him, and as long as his 
health stood, and he could enjoy both, he gave up neither, and 
so died Joint Master of the Cottesmore Hounds, literally 
"with harness on his back." 

From 1870 to 1880 Mr. Finch Mason takes up the story of 
Maunsell's racing life, during which time he devoted himself 
chiefly to his triumphs of the Turf, although by no means 
neglecting his old love — Fox-Hunting. My brother was, 
however, not destined to devote his whole time and energy 
either to the Turf or to his own special line in any other form 
of sport, for by the death of the third Earl of Yarborough, in 
1875, ne found he had other and more important calls upon 
his time and energy, to which he was only too delighted to 
respond. For were they not to assist one who had been 
his friend and comrade for many years, and whom he had 
worshipped from afar with a chivalrous, single-hearted devotion 







* A 


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' Sir— 

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Presented to J. M. Richardson on the occasion of his marriage to Victoria, 
Countess of Yarborough, by 700 of his friends and admirers, on 15th July, 1881. 

Marriage to Lady Yarborough 

which few men can give, and very few women receive ? And 
truly, at that period, the Countess of Yarborough needed all 
the assistance she could get, for at the death of his father the 
present Earl of Yarborough was only a boy of sixteen, and 
consequently a very heavy burden fell upon the shoulders of 
his mother in the management — not only of her family, con- 
sisting of four boys and one girl, and of those household details 
that are supposed to be the one and only thing a woman can 
undertake, but the entire control of the Brocklesby Estate, 
which now devolved upon her. Such confidence had her first 
husband, the Earl of Yarborough, in her capacity for carrying 
through any task to which she set herself, that he had left 
everything in her charge as executrix, and had appointed her 
joint trustee for her children and the estate. Nor was the 
Earl's confidence in his capable wife misplaced, for during the 
present Earl's minority she not only paid off mortgages on 
the estate to the amount of over ^100,000, but enhanced, if it 
were possible, the reputation of the Yarboroughs as the most 
equitable of landlords in the United Kingdom. 

Even the hounds fell to her management, and until the 
present Earl of Yarborough came of age she carried the horn, 
and was virtually M.F.H. of the celebrated Brocklesby Pack. 
Of the 1st Lincolnshire Light Horse, too (Lord Yarboroughs 
Own), she was honorary Colonel. It was in these two special 
directions that my brother was able to help the Countess of 
Yarborough, even before his marriage to her Ladyship, with 
his masterly knowledge of hounds, and their working. 

After his marriage with her, in 1881, my brother took up 
his residence at Brocklesby Hall, where the Countess's duties, 
until the marriage of her eldest son, constrained her, though 
pleasantly enough, to live, letting his bachelor house of Little 
Brocklesby to respective tenants of sporting proclivities. He 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

hunted the Brocklesby dog pack during the last two years of 
George Ash's term of office as huntsman to the Brocklesby, and 
the first two years of Will Dale's. Twice every week saw my 
brother during the years 1882 and 1886 in the correct huntsman 
get-up, and I am told that he was quite extraordinary as a 
practical huntsman. Once only I was privileged to be out 
when he hunted hounds, and I remember well what a fine day's 
sport we had, and how fit and happy he looked. What struck 
me rather particularly was that he was wearing extraordinary 
thick-soled top-boots. Remembering how in other days the 
thinness and elegance of the hunting boot was a point my 
brothers were very particular about, I inquired the reason. He 
replied : " If you had to go through and over such rough 
places as I have, you would know well why a huntsman 
wears thick-soled top-boots." 

I have mentioned elsewhere that when my eldest brother 
married, he continued to live on at the old home at Limber ; 
and as young married people naturally prefer a house to them- 
selves, the knotty point had to be solved as to what Maunsell 
would do, and where he would reside. There was practically 
no house in Limber that would have been at all suitable for 
him. In fact, at that time there was not an available house of 
any kind in the village. Where was he to live, then, was the 
question. It was for his staunch friend the late Earl of 
Yarborough to solve the problem. Determined that Limber 
village should not lose from its precincts a man who had so 
distinguished himself, and whom he trusted and loved above 
all men, consulting him as he did in many matters other than 
those connected with the turf, the chase and the stables, he 
at once built him a house as near the old home at Limber as 
possible, and quite close to my brother's racing stables already 
erected in the village, which had shown such wonderful results. 


Marriage to Lady Yarborough 

Thus it was that " Little Brocklesby " came into being, and 
only the untimely death of the third Earl prevented the title- 
deeds from being handed over as a free and most generous 
gift to my brother Maunsell. 

In the management of hounds, Maunsell was not only of 
much practical use to Lady Yarborough but to the whole 
country-side, not forgetting the pack itself, for he studied their 
breeding, feeding, and general health in a most thorough and 
complete manner. We used to laugh at him when we went 
to see him in his house, " Little Brocklesby," as we nearly 
always found him studying the Brocklesby Hounds' Stud Book, 
called by us "his prayer-book." Amongst his papers looked 
over since his death I have found many of these books, the 
copious notes on the margins being ample proof of how 
thoroughly they were studied. 

The following are supposed to be old wives' tales : one, that 
you must " tell " the bees if death occurs in the family, and put 
crape on their hives, or they will desert their homes ; another, 
that if all the scions of a family that has lived, say, a hundred 
years or so in one place, go away, the rooks desert the rookery 
they have made in the woods near the house, and form another 
home of their own at the nearest point to where any members 
of the old family they have lived near so long still have their 
dwelling. I cannot from my own knowledge answer for the bees, 
though I have been told by apiarists that what I have related 
is undoubted fact ; but for the rooks and their vagaries I can 
speak with assurance that the following is a true tale. When 
my eldest brother gave up his old home at Limber, the inhabi- 
tants of the Rookery, in a small wood, some three hundred 
yards from the house, deserted en masse, and fixed their 
new habitation in a clump of trees as near to the home of 
my brother Maunsell at " Little Brocklesby " as possible. And 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

there they are to this day, having, I suppose, become recon- 
ciled to the fact that no Richardson being in or near the village, 
they may as well stay in their new home until some of the 
Richardson family, faithful as the rooks, return to the old 
home. When I was at Limber a few years ago, I found them 
still inhabiting the wood, and listened with great delight to the 
old familiar cawing. Alas ! would I could have been privileged 
to stay in that dear old village, and never leave it again. 

Superintending horses and hounds for Lady Yarborough 
was, however, by no means the whole of my brother's gladly 
given assistance to the hard-working and practical little Countess, 
for he also took actual command of the ist Lincolnshire Light 
Horse, and from an extract which appeared in the Grimsby 
News of August 9, 1878, it is very certain he not only took 
command for the honour and glory of the thing, but saw to all 
matters of detail, and did his duty as became the head of so 
notable a regiment. 

Here is the extract from the Grimsby News: — 

11 Encampment of the Earl of Yarborough's Light Horse 

"The Troop has been again under canvas in Brocklesby 
Park for an eight days' training. On Tuesday the Countess 
of Yarborough, for the first time, was in camp, dressed in the 
tunic, crossbelt, and sword, and wearing the colours of the 
troop. Lieut. J. M. Richardson was the officer in command. 
Amongst others being Trumpet- Major William Richardson 
(Lieut. J. M. Richardson's brother), and the Hon. Victor and 
H. Pelham as side-drummers, the role of which they played 
uncommonly well. On Saturday the troop made a recon- 
naissance of the surrounding country, inclusive of a visit to 
Grimsby, under the command of Lieut. J. M. Richardson. 
Their appearance in the street was a source of general 


(J. M. Richardson's brother.) 

Marriage to Lady Yarborough 

attraction, especially as the Countess of Yarborough, in the 
uniform of the troop, occupied a leading place in the march. 
The appearance of the horsemen and their splendid mounts 
were much admired. The Inspection took place on Tuesday 
last. The Band was mounted for the first time, and had a 
most imposing appearance." 

Apropos of this mounting of the band, my musical brother 
William, Trumpet-Major to the Regiment, had heard Lady 
Yarborough express a wish that the band should be mounted 
at the review. Needless to say, for her ladyship to express a 
wish, was for all good Lincolnshire folk — men and women 
alike — to obey, if it were in their power, and in a fortnight's 
time my eldest brother had managed to mount the band, even 
to providing a white horse for the drummer. To accomplish 
this, he had lent his horses, his servants, and anything he had 
which was wanted, and given his whole time during the two 
weeks at his disposal to their necessary practice and equipment. 
In the end, however, he was well repaid for his trouble, by 
what the local paper termed, " the gallant spectacle of their 
most imposing appearance." 

"At ii a.m. there was a foot parade for Inspection by 
Lieut. -Colonel Garnett, commanding the nth (Prince Albert's 
Own) Hussars," and adds the Grimsby News man : — 

" The order in which everything appeared gave entire 
satisfaction to the gallant officer." 

" At 3 o'clock the Troop formed in squadron under Lieut. 
J. M. Richardson commanding, and at the end of the inspec- 
tion the reviewing officer addressed the troops, and con- 
gratulated Lieut. J. M. Richardson, the officer commanding, 
on the order in which he found the property of the troop, the 
tents, the boots, and the accoutrements. The horses were an 
exceptionally grand lot, and under no circumstances could a 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

better sample be found. The drill of the troop was steady ; 
men and horses were equally well drilled ; and the style in 
which the troop appeared could not be excelled, except in 
crack cavalry regiments in the Regular Service, and he (Col. 
Garnett) should have great pleasure in reporting favourably to 
the Horse Guards of the splendid troop he had that day 

It will be seen by the foregoing that in this part of the work 
allotted to my brother Maunsell, he acquitted himself in a 
satisfactory manner. Love, they say, makes a pleasure of all 
toil for the beloved, and my brother Maunsell's reward came 
when in 1881 the present Lord Yarborough came of age, and 
Lady Yarborough felt free to marry the man of her choice. 
For seven years he had waited patiently, and I am very sure 
that had his divinity elected to marry some one else, he would 
have remained a bachelor to the end of his days. 

It is well said, " Our trials often end in becoming our 
blessings," for there is no doubt that those seven years of 
waiting developed and softened my brother Maunsell's perhaps 
almost too strong character in a remarkable degree. Accus- 
tomed as a child to have his own way in everything ; admired 
for his good looks ; loved and made much of by his mother 
and grandmother, his school and college friends, and in fact 
by nearly all with whom he came in contact, his naturally fine 
character might in some degree easily have been spoilt, but 
this wonderful lesson of patience that he learnt almost un- 
consciously, and certainly on Lady Yarborough's part was 
taught quite without premeditation, was a godsend in the 
perfecting of his character, showing him that it is at times but 
the necessary law of human nature, that our wills, however 
strong, may be thwarted by circumstances over which we 
have no control ; and then we learn patience. 



In the Engadine on their wedding tour, 1SS1. 

Marriage to Lady Yarborough 

There is no doubt, however, that this long time of pro- 
bation, salutary as it was for his character, was at times 
very hard to bear, and was borne very bravely. Many and 
many a time, although he never complained by words, or 
blamed his adored Lady, I have known him to be unhappy, 
and above all, miserably uncertain, as indeed all true lovers 
ought to be, as to what will be their ultimate fate. 

When on that lovely July afternoon, of 1881, he stood at 
the altar of St. George's, Hanover Square, and was made 
one with the love of his life, he had his reward. It was " the 
sporting wedding of the year," as one of the papers termed it. 
None of his rivals for the hand of one of the most fascinating 
women of her time grudged him that well-won victory. 

For them both, these seven years of probation were, no 
doubt, a time of trial, but for both they ended in one of the 
happiest marriages that fall to the lot of men and women in 
this world. They were hardly ever separated, with tastes in 
common, all their thoughts, hopes, joys and sorrows were shared. 
If you wanted my brother's study, you found it at a writing- 
table in his wife's boudoir, which was no happy resting or 
working place for her unless he were there to share it. 

If you entered Lady Yarborough's drawing-room you found 
her, it is true, but her husband was never very far off, should 
he be at home, or if not he would appear on the scene in a 
very brief space of time. Wherever one was, the other was 
nearly certain to be found, and so year in, and year out, it 
was the same story. No wonder that she misses him every- 
where — sees him in spirit wherever she may be — and her 
extraordinary courage and natural determination not to give 
in has alone enabled her to live her life, that life so precious to 
the relations she loves and by whom she is loved in turn, and 
to her multitude of friends. 




When, after his marriage with Lady Yarborough in 1881, my 
brother hunted the dog pack of the Brocklesby Hounds, it was 
in no amateurish spirit that he entered upon and carried out 
these duties. Hunting men will readily understand by the 
following leaves which I quote from the Sporting Diaries he 
kept during the four years he hunted the Brocklesby dog 
pack, and will see from them, that although he was a man who 
detested writing down any of his experiences, he gave his mind 
thoroughly to the work in hand. I am told he showed 
some of the finest sport that has ever been chronicled by this 
celebrated old pack of hounds. A man of few words as far as 
writing was concerned, the entries he has made show the care 
with which he watched the working of hounds, and the interest 
he took in all the details of their work. As to the care and 
trouble he took over the breeding and rearing of the Hounds, 
one has only to go through his papers, as I have been privi- 
leged to do, and read his copious notes on the subject, to see 
what minute thought he bestowed on the business. Scores of 
kennel books with his notes and comments show how he had 
mastered this problem so dear to him for many years. In 
fact, from the time he was twenty-eight years of age to the 
time of his death at sixty-five, he must have studied con- 
tinuously the thousand and one apparently small matters which 






h— -t 






t • 



L ' 



















t— ( 




1 — > 
















i— i 




As Huntsman — Leaves from his Hunting Diaries 

go to form and keep together such a fine pack as the 
Brocklesby, and prepare himself for what he finally became, 
joint M.F.H. of the Cottesmore. 

Leaves taken from his Diary read: "Meet: — Hendale 
Lodge. Horses out Victoria (Lady Yarborough), Dumpling ; 
Maunsell Champagne. Weather fair wind, S.W. Foxes 
killed i. Dog Hounds. First rate morning. Tremendous 
cry and we ran hard for nearly four hours. Great many foxes. 
Many cubs on foot and at last ran into a cub ; capital day for 
hounds and they richly deserved their fox. Dryden seemed 
to tire. Voucher, Slack, Wonder and Rarecat did a lot of 

11 Meet : — Caistor Gate. Horses out Victoria Trumps ; 
Maunsell Sandboy. Found several old foxes and ran very 
hard by Swiss Cottage and Foxdales to Brampton over W. 
Frankish's farm through Newsham Wood out by Limber 
School and through Cunnygreens (the wood the rooks deserted) 
to Swallow cross-roads and into the woods at Swallow Wold, 
ending over Caucas bottom and lost him near Pelham's Pillar. 
Hard morning for hounds and unsatisfactory not getting any 
cubs. All the young ones (hounds) did well except Ariel." 

" Meet : — Brompton. Horses out Victoria Dumpling ; 
Maunsell Sandboy. Found directly and ran very hard for an 
hour in the woods. We got a cub away across the Searby 
corner, and ran him very nicely to Grassby Top, turned to the 
left and killed him in Clixby — thirty-five minutes. The young 
hound entered well. Weathergage made a good hit just before 
killing the fox." 

"Meet: — Swallow Vale. Horses out Victoria Trumps; 
Maunsell Champagne. Soon found plenty of cubs and stalked 
them round the Vale. Into Henholes and back to the Vale, 
and killed in three-quarters of an hour. We found again in 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Dawber Wood and ran into the Vale and through Henholes 
and across the fields into Dawbers back into the Vale, and I 
think he got to ground. We trotted to the woods and soon 
found and ran for two hours from fox to fox. Sun came out 
and no scent, gave it up. Hard morning. Dryden did a lot 
of work in the morning, bit tired later on. Haggard short of 
work — others did well." 

" Meet : — Roxton Wood. Horses out Victoria Trumps J 
Maunsell Hero. Rather stormy at first. Found at 7.15 a.m., 
and ran round the wood for two hours and killed a fine cub ; 
we then came across a fox as we were leaving the wood, and 
hunted from fox to fox all over the wood for four hours more, 
and at last bowled him over — the best and hardest day I ever 
ran. All hounds there (27 couples out), two couple short of 
work, we sent home after killing first fox, and all the young 
ones except Alaric pleased me. Furley, Bowler and Beeswing 
(young bitch) did a tremendous lot of work. Nothing tired. 
First-rate morning for hounds." 

Of the real Hunting season he writes : — " First day of 
advertising. Meet : — Laceby Cross Roads. Horses out 
Maunsell Orange Peel and Simmington ; Victoria Hero. 
Found at the small spinnies near Laceby and ran to Grimsby 
Osier beds, and on to Bradley Wood, and ran sometime in the 
wood. Several foxes on foot, one went away to Irby and lost 
him in Beelsby Valley. Found in Irby Holme and ran several 
rings for an hour and killed him. Satisfactory finish. Moderate 
scent all day. Algy Legard, late Master of the Rufford, was 
out. Alaric the only dog that did not do well." 

11 Meet : — Brocklesby Park. Horses out Maunsell Birth- 
day ; and Victoria Hero. Found a brace of foxes at Kealby 
Southwells, and ran very fast to Riby Bratlands and to Heal- 
ing Ground Wells. A good show of foxes and at last got 














As Huntsman — Leaves from his Hunting Diaries 

away with one to Healing Gorse and to ground. Drew Roxton 
Wood ; several foxes on foot and ran ringing about till dark. 
Bad day's sport. Must have an earth stopper. Duchess of 
Hamilton, Lady Olive Montague, Lord Calthorpe, Sir G. 
Wombwell, Lord Burghersh, Sir B. Cunard, Tom and Mrs. 
Tom Fitzwilliam and Miss Hall were out. We sent word 
the night before to the Riby keepers to stop the earth. I 
was very disappointed with the day." 

11 Dec. 5th. (Dogs.) Horses out Maunsell Quebec ; 
Waterford Murderer ; Victoria Birthday. Found in a turnip 
field at Topham's Farm at Tows and ran very hard past 
Wykham to Girsby and through the village pointing for 
Hainton, turned short to the left and ran, leaving Girsby 
Manor on the left, and through Wykham fish-pond over Tows 
to Binbrook top covert, then through the covert straight to the 
Scallows at Wold Newton pointing for Cadeby Hall, turned to 
the right and ran through Wykham to Fotherby, turned to 
the right again through Grimble Wood, sharp to the left for 
Utterby across the railway between Ludborough station and 
Louth, raced up to Ludborough village and pulled him down 
in the clergyman's garden at Ludborough 3 hours and 15 
minutes. A very good hunting run and no large check until 
we came to Grimble wood. Wonder, Weathergage, Roman, 
Bonny Lass, Harbinger, Acton, Ajax did a great deal of work. 
Bought a three years that went splendidly all through the run. 
Birthday carried Victoria splendidly." (Note by M. E. R. : 
This beautiful thoroughbred bay gelding Birthday was a 
present from my brother Maunsell to Lady Yarborough a year 
or so before they married. A very fine jumper and an all- 
round perfect lady's horse, he gave ,£400 for him, and at that 
price considered him cheap. He carried his mistress many 
seasons and never gave her a fall.) 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Here I came upon an interesting note as to my brother's 
ideas on stag-hunting, showing not that he crabbed the twin 
sport, but how he loved the actual work of the hounds, and 
what to many seems the dreary part of the performance was 
to him the greatest pleasure. The italics are his. No date 
is given. 

" I was hunting with Rothschild's Staghounds. No real 
lover of fox-hunting can care about stag-hunting. No find, no 
kill. Hounds carry no head. Two good runs of 35 minutes. 
Cyril Flower, Leo Rothschild, and Douglas Gordon, were out.' 

"Jan. 20th. Meet: — East Halton. Horses out Maunsell 
Hero ; Victoria Birthday. Found directly in Bradley wood, 
run to Scartha and back to Tennyson's Holt and through the 
Holt to back of Walthan, then through Holton-le-clay to the 
Gears. (Here a sheep-dog ran the fox.) We had four foxes 
in the gears, and we ran round for twenty minutes, and then 
out near Barnoldby to Beelsby, and the scent became so cold 
we could do no more good, 2 hours 50 minutes, ran fast the 
first half-hour. We were close to Irby Holm, and directly we 
put the hounds in, a fox that had done a lot of work crossed 
the ride, and we ran him hard in a ring to Irby dales, and 
killed him — 55 minutes. Very hard day and satisfactory 
killing him. Weathergage, Wonder, Ajax, Acton, Harbinger, 
Bonny Lass, Leveller did a lot of work." 

From a note of my brother's I find the following : — 

" Meet at Saxby. I was not out. I heard they found 
some outlying foxes, and as I was not out to look after them, 
they chopped one and another they murdered in a pit." 

At the end of the year 1881 I find this note : — 

" Very satisfactory season all through. We killed 100 
foxes in 109 days' hunting. The hounds did well. The 
youngsters generally entered well." 











_,_ ,^ 










£— 1 


•— < 















* — ' 




As Huntsman — Leaves from his Hunting Diaries 

This probably begins another year's cub-hunting : 

"The Woldsmen's (puppies walked by them) rather dis- 
appointed me. Wanting condition, work light. Waterford 
sent four couples to be worked and Rattler did well." 

" Only fair sport during September. Scent moderate in 
early October. Later in the month the scent improved, we 
had some satisfactory runs in the open, and killed nearly all 
our foxes. We were out 35 days and killed 38 foxes." 

11 Nov. 1 st, 1882. Regular hunting begins. Meet: — Little 
Brocklesby. Waterford having provided a big breakfast* 
quite 100 people were out. We drew Rcxton Wood, ran over 
the grass toward Brocklesby into the grounds and hunted him 
beautifully down the walks back to Little Brocklesby, past the 
Mausoleum and sharp back over the grass nearly to Roxton 
Wood again. Then over the Brocklesby Steeplechase course 
into Milliner's Wood and killed him, 1 hour 10 minutes. Good 
hunting. Went to Riby Hermitage, found a leash of foxes on 
foot, very bad scent and earths badly stopped. Forester, Arlen. 
Bowler showed good nose and tongue all down the road to 
Little Brocklesby. Gave Tyrone (the late Lord Waterford) f 
the brush ; very little left of it as Vanquisher had nearly 
eaten it ! " 

" Meet : — Pelham's Pillar. Good day in the wood, chopped 
a fox (bobtailed) at Pelham Pillar. Good hunting run 1 hour 
5 minutes. Roman — Wellington did well." 

On Feb. 28th, 1882, I find under the heading "Good 
Days" : 

* This remark distinctly savours of sarcasm. Not directed at the generous donor 
of the breakfast, but at the thought that men who attended a meet of foxhounds 
because a good hunting breakfast was provided were not the type of men my brother 

f Then a plucky boy who rode to hounds well and showed what he was destined 
to become, a real lover of sport. Alas ! for his untimely end. 

129 K 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

" Meet : — Thornton College. Good day's sport ; Rawnsley 
(Master of the Southwold Hounds), C. Wright (M. J. Bads- 
worth), A. Legard (late M.F.H. of the Rufford), Lord Water- 
ford (late M.F.H. of the Curraghmore), Col. Fairfax (late 
M.F.H. York and Ainsty), and several from the Holderness 
were out. Hounds ran with great head the first run and 
killed their fox handsomely. Moderate scent with the second 
run. With the third they gave Roxton Wood a good rattling. 
Rompish, Wildfire, Sabine, Barmaid, Beatrice (Speedy Water- 
ford's) did well. Ruin (Waterford's) made a good hit down 
a road." 

The last two entries in my brother Maunsell's Hunting 
Diary are well worth recording. I give them just as they 
stand, and they speak for themselves, and any one who under- 
stands hunting and cares for the working of hounds, and not 
simply for galloping over fences, will understand and appreciate 
his real love of the sport for sport's sake. 

" Very hard day : — Mixed Packs, Dogs and Ladies." 

"A Bye-day. Meet Swallow Wold. Found in a pit on 
Sharpley's Farm and ran hard into the Swallow end of the 
woods, down the woods to Grasby bottom over Raven's farm 
through Cottager dales to ground at John-o'-Groats, 2 hours 
30 minutes. Went to Pond close woods and ran round 
the wood for ten minutes, then away past the Rectory at 
Kermington on to Brocklesby Station when they marked him 
to ground in a large drain — bolted him and ran fast to Parr's 
Newsham chase, and he went into a small drain near the Gate 
House. We bolted two foxes and unfortunately hounds ran 
the vixen, but luckily she got to ground directly, and I took 
the hounds and put them on the other fox and hunted by the 
drain side past Parr's lamb pens into Pond close Wood point- 
ing to Wootton, then back to Pond close and out towards the 


K- 1 












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1 — 1 

















^ H 




















i — i 





















As Huntsman — Leaves from his Hunting Diaries 

chase ; here they ran hard over the Park nearly to the water 
tower, where unfortunately a terrier foiled the ground, having 
followed the fox, and brought the hounds to a check when 
close at their fox. I held them forward but they did not seem 
to like it, so I thought it was wrong and went back to the 
chase, when Vic (Lady Yarborough) came up to me and told 
me our fox was walking dead beat by the water tower within 
fifty yards of where we had run him. I went back, but he had 
a long start, and hunted him slowly through the Mausoleum 
Woods, away past Little Limber Lodge ; here Lucky Lass made 
a good hit on the road, back to Pond close wood, through the 
wood over the railway, then over a new-sown barley field where 
hounds could hardly run him, and I had to give it up at 7.45 
p.m., having run over four hours. 

"Terribly hard day. Hounds very stout and hunted 
beautifully ; all the field except Cecil Legard had gone home. 
(If the terrier had not foiled the ground at the Water tower 
we must have killed him.) Wellington, Weathergage, Acton, 
Wildfire, Tapster, Lucky Lass (Waterford's), Major Warbler, 
all made good hits and very stout. Fifteen couples out. All 
there at the finish except Rompish, who got away early in the 
morning on a fox from the woods. Two hours and 30 minutes 
with the first fox. Four hours and 15 minutes with the second 
fox. Stopped them at 7.25 p.m. If we had killed our last fox 
I consider it would have been one of the best day's sport I ever 
saw : I feel convinced he had worked his way back to Pond 
close wood, but it was too late to go as I did not cast them 
after the last check. 

"April 23rd. Vic s birthday : Took the hounds to Roxton 
Wood and ran for 15 minutes in the wood, then away over 
H. Brook's farm pointing for Riby. Storm came on, we could 
do nothing more. Found in Mausoleum Woods and ran with 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

best cry I ever heard for nearly an hour. Fox dead beat and 
to ground near View Gate. 

" May 5th. Meet : The Kennels. The last day. Charlie 
(Lord Yarborough) came back from India on the ist. As rain 
came and the weather very cold we went out to kill a May fox. 
Unfortunately there was bad scent in Roxton Wood. Hounds 
rather short of work. Ground foiled in the wood and did not 
like to go to Mausoleum Woods as there were two litters of 

This leaf ends that part of my brother's Hunting Diaries, 
but I have quoted enough to show what he held to be the 
duties of a Huntsman Amateur or Professional. I think even 
to those who do not understand the inner practical working of 
fox hunting it will be clear that what is worth doing at all is 
worth doing well, and whether or not they sympathize with my 
brother's work in this direction they must admit his was at least 
work well done. 

J3 2 



At the earnest entreaty of his friends, but more especially at 
the desire of his wife, Lady Yarborough, whose advice, as he 
well knew, was always given to further his best interests in 
life, and whose political views were in accordance with his 
own, my brother consented to contest the Brigg Division of 
Lincolnshire, in the Conservative interest, at the General 
Election of 1886. 

The constituency was then, as it is now, a very stronghold 
of advanced Liberalism, and was represented in Parliament by 
a most able man, the late Mr. Samuel Dancks Waddy, Q.C., 
an old hand at any kind of legitimate wire-pulling, and a 
magnificent speaker. Amongst other clever electioneering 
tactics, he came forward as a Gladstone Liberal, a name to 
conjure with in those days for the most illiterate voter, who, as 
ignorant as a mule, and without the smallest idea as to his own 
best interests in the political struggle, had heard of Gladstone's 
name, and had his ticket as to the flag under which colour he 
was to vote — the Gladstonian — and so voted. His majority, 
too, at the last election had been a very ample one, totalling up 
to over 2600. 

Perhaps it was as well that my brother and a great many of 
his supporters, who were new at the political game, had not 
any idea that they were practically leading a " forlorn hope," 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

and that to fight so radical a borough with such a strong 
opponent, as well as being the sitting member, was almost 
foredoomed to failure. 

But at any rate Maunsell and his supporters, although they 
were not rewarded by a victory, which would, under the cir- 
cumstances, have been almost a miracle, succeeded in pulling 
down Mr. Waddy's majority by over 2400, and only lost the 
election by 165 votes. 

This, as all his supporters declared, was a moral victory, 
and naturally at the next General Election of 1892 my 
brother was encouraged to try his luck again in the same 
division, in which, though still as Liberal as ever, his 
triumphant return was confidently predicted by his friends. 

All is fair in love and war, and we must call a Parlia- 
mentary contest, worked as it unfortunately is on such strong 
party lines, the nearest approach to Civil War that this 
enlightened twentieth century achieves, unless by the time 
this book is published we shall have experienced that horror 
in Ireland. A most unfortunate private circumstance, attend- 
ing Mr. Waddy's personality as a Queen's Counsel, consisted 
in the fact that, but for a love affair in which he had played a 
prominent legal part some years previously, the 165 votes 
which he scored to win would certainly have been given to my 

At the General Election in 1886 there was a second cousin 
of ours living at Caistor, Lincolnshire, a certain Miss Mary 
Anne Marris. Her father, the late Mr. George M arris, our 
grandmothers brother, had been Caistor's leading townsman 
and richest inhabitant, and in his capacity of an old-fashioned 
county solicitor numbered amongst his clients all the members 
of the Richardson family. He was also the coroner of the 
district, the Mary Anne just mentioned being his only child. 


When he represented the Brigg Division of Lincolnshire in Parliament, 1S94. 

Political Campaigns 

She had been brought up in the Miss Edgeworth style, 
and was so precious to her parents that she was hardly ever 
allowed out of their sight. The natural consequence was, that, 
no doubt with the connivance of servants who took pity on so 
solitary a damsel, she contrived to make assignations with an 
usher in the Caistor Grammar School called Heap. I need 
hardly say, that, although his Christian name was otherwise, it 
became and remained Uriah, and at the time when the case 
with all its vagaries appeared in the London daily papers was 
given as such. 

The end of the story is, that when old Uncle George and 
his good wife departed this life and were safely laid away in 
the family vault, Mary Anne found herself in absolute posses- 
sion of something like ^80,000, nearly all of which was invested 
in houses, land, etc., in Caistor, and carried parliamentary votes 
influenced by her, enough to turn an election either way, in the 
Brigg division of Lincolnshire. By this time, however, she had 
learned to appraise Mr. Heap at his proper valuation, and had 
arrived at the conclusion that he was not so much in love with 
her as with her fortune. She therefore sent him to the right- 

But she had unfortunately reckoned without insight into 
the Heap character, which must have been somewhat of the 
11 Uriah " of Dickens' type, for her discarded lover at once 
brought an action against her for breach of promise of 
marriage. The late Mr. S. D. Waddy, Q.C., was her counsel, 
and although the papers made immense fun out of the case, 
Mary Anne got off with a comparatively trivial payment of 
damages for her foolishness, and Mr. Waddy thereafter repre- 
sented to her all that was valiant and chivalrous in mankind. 
Moreover, my brother and his wife, not being adepts at wire- 
pulling, omitted to call on their relation, to solicit her influence, 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

which would have been quite sufficient for the purpose, and, 
which abundant evidence proved, actually did turn the election 
in Mr. Waddy's favour. 

That my poor old Uncle George, who was a staunch 
Conservative, would have turned in his grave at the thought 
of his money being used in the Radical interest did not 
evidently weigh in the balance with his daughter against the 
saving to her pocket in damages, for the valiant Uriah opened 
his mouth wide and claimed ,£25,000 for his broken heart and 
for the loss of his Mary Anne, plus her fortune. There can be 
no doubt this was a great factor against Maunsell's success all 
through his Parliamentary campaigns. 

Very shortly before the 1886 election, at a meeting of the 
Primrose League, held in the Corn Exchange, Mr. W. Piggott, 
one of Brigg's most prominent townsmen, said, " We have a 
very able candidate in Mr. John Maunsell Richardson, who 
has always so far succeeded in everything he has undertaken. 
You will, I am sure, give a helping hand to return him as your 
Member to Parliament when the next General Election takes 
place. I feel quite sure he will use every means in his power 
to further the splendid aims that have always been the lodestar 
of Leaguers such as the Primrose Dames. " 

On August 13, 1886, at a meeting of the Primrose League, 
when a great demonstration was held in Brocklesby Park, Lady 
Yarborough being the ruling councillor, the Hon. W. T. 
Marriott, Q.C, M.P., spoke with no uncertainty as to his 
opinion of the recent election mistake. 

He said, " I am bound to say I am utterly unable to under- 
stand how at the recent Parliamentary Election for the Brigg 
division of Lincolnshire, the electors could reject so good a 
candidate as Mr. John Maunsell Richardson, and elect such a 
man as Mr. Waddy. I wonder, by the way, to how many of 



By his political opponents, after his first election, lost in 1886, who stated, 
" though they could not help him to a seat in Parliament, gave him 
a sure seat in that saddle. . ." 

Political Campaigns 

you Mr. Waddy is known? It seems to me he was elected 
because nobody knew him." 

At the same meeting my brother, disdaining to say one 
word against his successful rival, struck the right note of 
statesmanship, when he said, " I stand before you as the 
rejected candidate, but I have one very great consolation, 
which is, that the views I expressed and the policy I tried to 
advocate when I had the honour of addressing you as a 
candidate for Parliament, have been so cordially approved of 
by all classes of voters that they have returned an overwhelm- 
ing Unionist majority to Parliament. 

That all his friends worked for my brother with great 
heartiness there is no doubt, and yet in spite of the wave 
of Conservatism that was then sweeping over the country, 
Radicalism, in combination with Mr. Waddy 's qualities and 
the name of Gladstone, had too firm a hold at the election of 
1886, in the Brigg Division, for any change to be effected in 
the political representation. 

It was, however, very gratifying for my brother to find out 
how much he was personally trusted and esteemed among the 
electors. One of the most Radical villages in North Lincoln- 
shire is that of Frodingham, where a large number of miners 
are employed to work the ironstone for the several companies. 
When canvassing these constituents Maunsell was often told 
how much they would like to vote for him. But, " Sir," they 
would say, " we maun vote for our ticket." Indeed so strong 
was the personal feeling in his favour, that after the election 
was over his principal opponents in that district invited him to 
a dinner, at which the chairman presented him with a saddle 
and bridle. The latter ended up a laudatory and half-apologetic 
speech, by saying, " We could not vote you a seat in Parlia- 
ment, sir, but we have voted you a saddle on which we know 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

you will have a safe seat as long as it hangs together, and a 
bridle you will know how to use." 

I know personally of one incident in which an enthusiastic, 
even rabid, Gladstonian Liberal, a splendid speaker, and one 
whose presence on the platform would have carried weight and 
influenced many votes, refused to come down and address a 
meeting in the Liberal interest in my brother's division. " I 
cannot speak for him, and I will not speak against him," was 
the reply returned. 

From 1886 to the next General Election for Parliament, 
1892, my brother had "nursed" his constituency and had 
during that time certainly lost no hold on the electors, for he 
polled 300 more votes than in 1886; but the same difficulty 
that he had to contend with then, both in the strength of his 
opponent and the ultra-liberalism of the Borough, met him, 
and he was again defeated. For although 300 more voters 
polled for Richardson, Waddy brought out 561 more, and the 
whole Poll was increased by 866. 

Then, to make the return of a Tory the more difficult, as 
in 1886 a wave of Conservatism had swept over the country, 
now, just six years later, the tide had set in the opposite 
direction, and the Liberals were returned with a majority 
for Parliament under the Leadership of the greatest Parlia- 
mentarian of the Victorian era, William Ewart Gladstone, for 
the last time. 

It is always a pleasant thing to turn from a political defeat, 
especially if the principal is intimately connected with yourself, 
and chronicle a victory. And this happened at the bye-election 
in the Brigg Division of Lincolnshire, when, in 1894, my 
brother was returned in triumph for the constituency he had 
twice before contested unsuccessfully. That wonderful bye- 
election still lingers in the minds of my brother's constituency 


Political Campaigns 

of North Lincolnshire, not only of those who voted for him, 
but the canvassers and the voteless ones who worked so hard 
to secure his return. What a time of excitement it was 1 To 
quote from a local paper of December 15, 1894 : " Reckitt looks 
blue, and Lord Rosebery has come to grief in a Lincolnshire 
drain. Mr. J. M. Richardson has steered another Disturbance 
to victory in the Grand National contest." 

Then the account goes on, " The counting of votes took 
place in the Corn Exchange, and although conducted in private, 
the result that Mr. Richardson had won, by some mysterious 
means leaked out before the official announcement was made, 
and at once the newly elected member was received with an 
outburst of cheering which lasted for some minutes. When the 
figures were announced the outburst was renewed, and the cheers 
were kept up for a considerable time. Speaking after repeated 
calls, the new member said : — ' I congratulate youupon having 
won a great victory, but the victory is due to your exertions, 
and not to the man who is now addressing you. Now that 
the battle is over I hope all the voters, whether they supported 
me or not, will look upon me as their Member, a Member who 
will endeavour to serve their interests to the best of his ability 
and in no party spirit.' " The account then tells how Mr. 
Richardson and the Countess of Yarborough and Master Jack 
Richardson entered an open carriage, out of which the horses 
had been taken, and were drawn round the town by enthusiastic 
supporters, being splendidly received everywhere. 

I was in the good old town of Brigg one summer, collecting 
at first hand material and local colour for this life of my brother, 
and was astonished at the vivid manner in which all the details 
of that one election, when Maunsell's political colours were to 
the fore, had captured the minds and the hearts of the North 
Lincolnshire people. I shrewdly suspect that very many of 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

his political opponents were opponents in name only, because 
as honest men having promised their votes to their party they 
would not draw back from their word, yet in their hearts were 
genuinely delighted when my brother won. 

From a political opponent, but evidently a personal friend, 
I find the following : — 

" Hoburne, 

" Christchurch, Hants. 

" My dear Richardson, 

" Although I say with the National Anthem 'Con- 
found your politics ' I cannot but write congratulations on your 
victory. I shall be delighted to see you in the House. 

" Herbert Gardner." 

It was certainly but by a narrow majority of jj votes that 
my brother was returned to Parliament in 1894, Dut a larger 
number of voters polled at that bye-election than in the previous 
two elections, and my brother received 655 more votes than at 
his first attempt. A total of 8,677 votes were cast as against 
7,609 in 1886 and 8,469 in 1892. Considering that the whole 
electorate in that division of Lincolnshire consists of just 
over 10,000 voters, it was an astonishing result, secured by a 
thoroughly well-worked and conscientiously canvassed con- 

In connection with this narrow majority of 77 ; at a dinner 
given shortly after his election at Scunthorpe, near Brigg, and 
referring to a rumour that a petition was to be presented 
against his return to Parliament, the new member remarked, " I 
have heard this cry of an objection being lodged years ago, 
when a horse I rode ran a bit faster than another, and came in 
first, but I've always 'weighed in' all right, and I have no 


(Who introduced J. M. Richardson to the House of Commons.) 

Political Campaigns 

doubt I shall be able to stand the test of the Parliamentary 
equivalent to ' weighing in ' on this occasion." 

11 The victory of Brigg," as it was called everywhere, caused 
a very great sensation in the country generally, coming as it 
did immediately following the loss of Forfar to the Liberals. 
" Punch" had some excellent cartoons on the subject, and there 
is no doubt that the Brigg victory hastened the downfall of the 
Rosebery Cabinet. Here again we can see the note of friend- 
ship to the individual, for Lord Rosebery, himself a friend of 
my brother, though a political opponent, and one who must 
have been smarting at this second blow to his Ministry, in a 
speech he made on 12th December, 1894, shortly after the 
Forfar and Brigg elections, showed himself as magnanimous to 
Maunsell as an opponent to his policy as he was faithful to 
their old friendship. He said, "It seems hard in this great 
meeting " (the hall in which he spoke, accommodating 8000 
people, being filled to overflowing) " to feel any sense of dis- 
couragement" (a Voice, "Brigg" ). " It is quite true we have 
lost two bye-elections, but I think the losses both in Forfarshire 
and at Brigg can be explained entirely by local circumstances." 

Of the Forfar election he added, "The death of my dear 
friend the late Lord Dalhousie lost that election." Of the 
Brigg victory he remarked, "In the case of Brigg we had to 
deal with an excellent local candidate — a good sportsman, — ah ! 
gentlemen, the election agents are not wise who despise good 
sportsmen, and one who had the inestimable advantage of 
having fought the seat twice already, and, gentlemen, is there 
not something in these attempts, though hitherto unsuccessful, 
that appeals to the sense of fair play in Englishmen ? And I 
don't think we need particularly complain. To hear the hulla- 
baloo that is kicked up, one would think that we were the only 
Government that had lost a bye-election." 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

On May 16th, 1895, at 1.30 p.m. Mr. J. M. Richardson 
made his first, and I regret to say, his last speech in the House 
of Commons. He seconded an amendment moved by Captain 
Bethell to a Land Tenure Bill, the Second Reading of which 
had been moved by Mr. Lambert. From the Times I quote 
the following account : — 

"Mr. J. M. Richardson, who on rising was received with 

cheers, said, that as representing one of the largest agricultural 

constituencies in the Kingdom, I can claim some acquaintance 

with the views of tenant farmers in connection with this Bill. 

I wish to draw the attention of the House particularly to that 

portion of the Bill which proposed to abolish the law of distress." 

"In Lincolnshire generations of farmers had succeeded to 

farms under what was known as the Lincolnshire tenant right 

system, under which the most cordial relations had subsisted 

between landlords and their tenants. This is in my opinion a 

most inopportune time for introducing this Bill, inasmuch that 

the report of the Agricultural Commission would shortly be 

made, when the House would be in a better position to judge 

of the merits of the proposals which were contained in the Bill 

than they were at present. The Hon. Member for South 

Molton would therefore have been better advised if he had 

waited for the publication of the report before he had introduced 

the measure. I emphatically deny that the smaller tenants 

would derive any advantage from the abolition of the law of 

distress, which enables the landlords to give credit to their 

tenants at certain times of the year, when if the tenant did not 

obtain that credit they would be compelled to sell their corn at 

a disadvantage. Under the Lincolnshire custom the landlords 

usually give four months' and in many cases 1 2 months' credit 

to their tenants, but if this Bill passed they would be obliged 

to demand payment of their rents immediately it became due. 





« <U 


< o" 
^ o 


















Political Campaigns 

" The Report of the Assistant Commissioner in Agriculture 
goes to show that the Lincolnshire custom is most b eneficial to 
the agricultural tenant. The Bill ought to have been submitted 
to the various chambers of Agriculture before it was introduced 
— I beg to second the amendment." 

I had been invited by my sister-in-law, who was in town 
for the season, to go with her to the House of Commons to 
hear my brother speak, he having secured us seats in the 
Ladies' Gallery. Imagine our disappointment when he came 
up to the gallery, excited and radiant, having said his say. He 
thought we had been there, and in fact had only just finished 
his speech when we arrived. We were told, however, by 
several members that he had made a very telling speech, and 
created an excellent impression in the House, and that great 
things were expected of a man who could hold the attention 
of members with no perceptible effort, and would evidently 
only speak on matters that had been well considered by him 
in detail, and of which he had personal and special knowledge. 

It is really astonishing what testimony I have found amongst 
his private papers of his value as a loyal member of the Party 
to which he belonged, and the conscientious manner in which he 
discharged such duties as fell to his lot during the few months 
that he was a Member of Parliament and entitled to write M.P. 
after his name. One letter from an exceptionally well-informed 
and influential member of the Conservative Party gives us a 
partial clue to my brother's non-success in the election in 1895. 
It is written from Downing Street, and after expressing infinite 
regret over the other's defeat, goes on to say, " I am afraid, 
while you were attending to your duties in the House of 
Commons, your opponent in Brigg was making the running. 
I have to thank you for your kind attention in the House. No 
party could have had a more loyal and constant supporter. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

"If every one had been like you a Whip's Office would 
be an easy one. (W. H. Walrond.") 

And from another very influential man, written from the 
House of Commons, came this note : — " I am sorry from the 
bottom of my heart for the loss of such a good man, and just 
the man we now wanted to do something for Agriculture. He 
would have been such a support to Walter Long and Chaplin." 

From Mr. Walter Long himself came the following : — 

11 My dear Maunsell, — I can't think how the people of 
Brigg have been induced to stultify themselves. We shall all 
miss you immensely, and nobody more than I. It is disgusting 
to think we shall not see you on Monday. (Signed) Walter 

From Mr. Richard Middleton, who wrote from the Con- 
servative Central Office, Westminster : — " I can't tell you how 
grieved I was at your not carrying the seat, especially after 
the splendid fight you have made for our cause in that con- 
stituency. (Signed) Richard W. Middleton." 

And these are but a few of the many tributes I have found 
in his papers as to my brother's estimated political value in 
the minds of men who not only knew what they were talking 
about, but were the practical leaders and mainstays of the 
Conservative party. 

As, however, will have been gathered from the foregoing 
letters, my brother's victory at Brigg was but a short-lived 
triumph, for although he certainly contributed by that well-fought 
fight to bring the Liberal Government, which was under Lord 
Rosebery's guidance at that time on Mr. Gladstone's retire- 
ment in 1894, to an end, he was defeated in July, 1895 ; his 


Political Campaigns 

active political career only lasting from December, 1894, when 
he took his seat amid cheers in the House of Commons, to 
July, 1895, when, as Mr. Walter Long remarks in his letter, 
the people of Brigg stultified themselves. 

My brother was offered seats in other counties, and safe 
ones, too, so that he would have had no difficulty in re-entering 
Parliament, but remaining true to his beloved Lincolnshire, he 
firmly refused, saying, " If I am not good enough to represent 
the county in which I was born and bred, I will represent no 
other." To that principle he adhered ; although often urged 
to return in easy fashion to the House of Commons, where 
he would have undoubtedly done good work for his country, 
he held to his determination. 

That many of his constituents were not only grateful for 
his services, but grieved beyond measure at the loss of his 
seat, the presentation portrait of himself that figures as an 
illustration in this book speaks more eloquently than any 

This valuable oil-painting by Mr. Ouless, R.A., and 
justly considered one of his best examples, was exhibited 
at the Royal Academy of 1897, an< ^ lis presentation to my 
brother took place at the Angel Hotel, Brigg, in August, 

Mr. Carey- El wes, the Chairman of the Presentation Com- 
mittee, at a very large and representative meeting, including 
many ladies, amongst whom were Victoria, Countess of Yar- 
borough, Lady Eleanor Heneage, Lady Adela Larking, Lady 
Winifred Carey- El wes, Miss Amelia M. Barker, and others, 
said : "Not only had they sympathized with Mr. Richardson 
when the fates had been against him, but on one memorable 
occasion they had rejoiced with him over a triumph, which in 
that part of the world had no parallel. It was his duty and 

145 L 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

pleasure to present to Mr. Richardson his portrait, painted by 
Mr. Ouless, R.A., as a tribute of their appreciation of his 
sterling qualities, and a mark of their admiration, esteem and 
affection." The Chairman also presented an illuminated 
address in a book containing his name and those of over 
iooo subscribers. 

After expressing his profound thanks for the honour 
accorded to him, my brother, in reply, said, "This picture is 
painted by one of the greatest artists in the kingdom. But 
it is not as a work of art I value it the most, but rather as 
a token of the kindly feeling and friendship that has existed 
for so many years between myself and my neighbours, and 
I am proud to think that in these years of political strife I 
have not made any enemies, but instead have gained an in- 
creased number of friends. 

" We all look back with pleasure to the bye-election of 
1894. I received a telegram from Lord Salisbury a few hours 
after the poll was declared containing these words : ' Con- 
gratulate you, most important victory.' But I well know I 
could not have won that bye-election without good workers, 
and although it would be invidious to name any single one, I 
may be excused for saying, that my wife Victoria, Countess of 
Yarborough, gave me every assistance and encouragement to 

" I am indeed lucky in having a wife who possesses the 
virtues of patriotism, with the private and more homely ones 
which constitute the charm and comfort of a home. I may say 
in conclusion this portrait will be handed down as a valuable 
heirloom to my family." 

The Earl of Yarborough, Maunsell's eldest stepson, then 
said, " This occasion is especially pleasing to me, firstly, from 
family connections, and secondly from political ties." 



Political Campaigns 

I well remember, as I was going one day to my brother 
and sister-in-law's house in London (they generally took a 
house in town for the season) when this portrait was in progress, 
I met the former walking down the street. He looked a 
shade extra smart and very pleased with himself, and I said, 
" Where are you off to ? " 

" To Mr. Ouless's studio," he said. " Fancy ! he has given 
two days to the painting of my hands alone ! " 

Certainly his hands were very characteristic, and if any 
one wants to see what they are like, I refer them to Madame 
Tussaud's to look at the hands in wax of Richard Cceur de 
Lion, for they are the exact counterpart. 

It is very difficult to account for my brother's loss of the 
seat in 1895. But looking at the matter quite dispassionately 
at this distance of time, it seems to me, as I know it does to 
many others in the Brigg division, that the Conservative Party 
made too sure of a victory — that they underrated their oppo- 
nent. An absolutely fatal error in war — politics — or love. It 
has since also been proved that many villages never received 
my brother's election cards or posters. But whatever the 
reason for Maunsell's failure in 1895, after his triumphant 
success in 1894, this ending to his parliamentary career was, 
in the opinion of many, a distinct loss to the country, and more 
particularly to the agricultural and landed interests, of which 
he had a unique knowledge. 

My brother was a very good speaker, and his voice carried 
well. The first time I ever heard him speak was under the 
most depressing circumstances. The meeting was held in an 
immense rain-sodden marquee, in which the words of such a 
practised speaker as Mr. Chaplin were almost inaudible. Yet, 
though seated at the far end of the tent, I could hear every 
word my brother said, without the slightest difficulty. That 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

he prepared his political and other speeches with the greatest 
care is abundantly proved by his notes of the same I have 
since found amongst his papers, not only showing an immense 
range of subject matter, but also proving that with a few 
concise notes he was able to deliver a long and important 




" In him," to quote from the Daily Telegraph of Monday, 
March 2, 1914, "the Nation loses a capable, high-minded and 
patriotic servant of the Empire." 

And it may truthfully be added that in private life his 
bereaved wife, his family relations and friends lose as 
generous, kindly and true a man as ever existed, and one, 
moreover, who in spite of achieving so much was the most 
modest of men. 

I had just finished a preceding chapter on Life at Limber, 
in which, as he had so full and I am sure happy a share, the 
late Lord Minto, then Lord Melgund, figures largely, when I 
heard the sad news of his death. He has not long survived 
my brother Maunsell, his life-long friend. I knew how very ill 
Lord Minto had been, but it was hoped that the severe opera- 
tion which he underwent in the summer of 19 13 would bring 
him back to health. Unfortunately, however, frequently re- 
curring attacks of malarial fever, that curse of a lengthened 
sojourn in India, finally laid him low, to the intense grief of all 
who were honoured by his acquaintance, and mourned by the 
Empire he had served so faithfully and long. 

After holding minor but most important Government 
appointments, he was appointed Governor- General of Canada 
in 1898, holding that position until 1905, when he became 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Viceroy of India, holding office from 1905 to 1910; filling 
in these two appointments the highest posts it is possible for 
a subject to occupy, and in each acquitting himself brilliantly. 
He left both countries in a far sounder condition than he found 
them. In Canada, as perhaps was natural, where he cemented 
the tie to the Mother country so much more closely, the effect 
of his good government was swiftly traced, as the minds of our 
brethren across the water move in a line with ours and re- 
present recent growth. In India, that most wonderful and 
interesting of our possessions and the most difficult to bring 
into line with our modern ideas, the effect of his rule has been 
slower, but he undoubtedly proved that an Englishman, 
although ruling an alien nation, alien in religion, thought and 
long eras of mystic civilization, could sympathize with them in 
their essentially different attributes of mind and feeling. Also 
he convinced them, that although we could be true to our 
ideals we could respect theirs, and honestly endeavour to do 
justice to their old-world beliefs ; above all he did all in his 
power by personal action to break down the terrible colour 
prejudice. Then, too, he displayed a personal courage, whether 
in sport, or in the performance of his Viceregal duties ; and 
there is no doubt that courage such as Lord Minto displayed 
captures the heart of any people, and is recognized and re- 

When I look back upon those days at Limber it seems 
almost impossible to think that our dear friend, and familiar 
companion, realized these triumphs of statecraft, but on the 
other hand it is very easy to believe that in so doing he 
remained as ever just the simple-hearted, kindly gentleman, 
loving power not for the sake of his own aggrandisement, but 
for the good he could do for mankind. And as the child is 
father to the man, so was the then Lord Melgund, as I knew 


("Mr. Roily.") 

A Life-long Friend : Lord Minto 

him in these early days of his budding manhood, father to the 
man who in his maturer years took up so unostentatiously and 
carried through so honourably the great work of the British 
Empire with which he was entrusted. 

During the four years he stayed with us in Limber, I 
cannot recall one mean or inconsiderate action on his part, and 
in such a length of time one gets to know a fellow-being very 
thoroughly ; in fact, a pleasanter and I am glad to think a 
happier quartette than Lord Melgund, Maunsell, my eldest 
brother and myself never existed. 

Naturally my brother Maunsell and he did a large amount 
of bear-fighting, and there were occasions when these fights 
became historic — as when rolling over and over together on 
the floor in the Limber dining-room, having disagreed about 
some horsey question or other, they broke five panes of glass 
in our big bookcase — that bookcase is in our family, an 
honoured possession yet. Another time they scrapped so 
heartily that both coats were very nearly torn off their 

But what mattered a good dress-coat in those halcyon days 
— the "Cat," who was a tease of the first water, certainly con- 
stantly sharpened his claws upon his friend, although he would 
metaphorically have hit out hard if any one else had attempted 
the same kind of worrying, as indeed once happened. 

During a pause at dinner, when several others, whom we 
might call outsiders, were dining with us at Limber, Cecil 
Legard said in his very clear voice, so soon to be heard in the 
pulpit, " How well you went, Roily, last Wednesday with the 
hounds ! in at the kill, and altogether a fine performance ! " I 
can see Lord Melgund's face now, as he looked up. Natur- 
ally we were listening with all our ears round the table, for 
although we never talked of our own doings in the hunting 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

field we liked to know we had gone well in the opinion of 
others, and he was evidently pleased and expectant as to who 
had remarked upon his prowess. " Who told you that ? " he 

" I saw it in a book," returned his tormentor. 

Then we, in the know that such a journal existed, knew 
that he had looked in Lord Melgund's hunting journal, no 
doubt left carelessly about. Poor Lord Melgund got very red 
and looked confused, and Maunsell's face was not pleasant to 
behold, but luckily the presence of strangers prevented any 
serious row. It was a very near thing, however, and matters 
were for a time thundery and we of the outside were glad when 
conversation flowed along as before. 

There was, however, one kind of chaff Lord Melgund could 
never stand, even from Maunsell, and that was being accused 
of telling a fib. Then the vials of his wrath were poured 
forth and the bear-fighting was tremendous, and righteously so, 
but I must say I seldom knew my brother to venture on such 
thin ice, unless he happened to be in a very bad temper indeed, 
which was not often the case. 

When I was in Limber last summer I heard a good story 
of how Lord Minto and Maunsell strolled down to the village 
one day, when they had nothing better to do save to seek 
amusement, which they were always certain to find at the 
Marris's of the bottom house. " Little Man," as the owner was 
always called, conducted them to his Piggery and offered my 
brother Maunsell a sturdy young pig of an exceptionally large 
litter, of an age vigorous enough to prove most difficult for 
any one to handle, provided he would carry it up the village 
to our house, three-quarters of a mile away. 

Relying on his friend Mr. " Roily " to help him, or on his 
own power to induce him to do so, Maunsell accepted this 


J. M. Richardson's maternal grandmother. 

A Life-long Friend : Lord Minto 

porcine gift on condition that he could have it in a sack, and so 
the party set forth, the "Cat" carrying the kicking young porker. 
When, however, about halfway, he insisted upon the future 
Viceroy of India shouldering his sprotling, squeaking burden 
and carrying it the rest of the distance. And so it happened 
that for the remainder of the journey to our house Lord 
Melgund walked with the pig on his back, and the village 
people holding their sides with laughter as he passed their 
cottages, the pig shrieking above all other sounds and kicking 
ad lib. I can imagine this possibly as being the most ad- 
venturous and uncomfortable journey on foot Lord Minto ever 
performed, and before, perhaps, the most appreciative audience. 

One characteristic of Lord Melgund as a young man, and 
one that, reading between the lines of his public career, I feel 
sure he retained as an administrator — he was always on the 
side of the weak. It seems curious now to recall the many 
times he stood between me and the natural teasings of my two 
brothers. I knew well he would always be on my side in the 
smallest detail of our daily life, and stand between me and any 
unnecessary brotherly administrations, whatever the result in 
" scrapping " he might have to undergo afterwards. It is very 
pleasant to me to testify from my own personal knowledge to 
the soundness and sterling worth of Lord Minto's character 
when he was at an age few young men ever think of any one 
but themselves, or concern themselves with anything but their 
own amusement. My grandmother simply adored him, and 
he in his turn showed her the greatest kindness and courtesy, 
never tiring of talking with the old lady on sport, politics, or 
whatever came uppermost. 

Very often I have heard my grandmother, Mrs. Maunsell, 
say, " I pity the girls when he looks at them with those 
beautiful eyes of his, for how can any one help falling in love 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

with him ? " No one seemed to think of me or fear what my 
sad fate might have been — had I fallen a victim to those " eyes 
of blue." Yet grateful as I was to Lord Melgund for standing 
up for me upon every possible dispute with my brothers, I 
must have looked upon him more as a relation than anything 
else, for I may honestly say at this time of my life — when my 
dear old friend is in his grave, and I in the ordinary course of 
life am not so very far from mine — that the thought of his 
being in love with me or I with him never entered into my head. 
I count myself fortunate in having known so fascinating and 
great a man intimately, and being able now to pay this tribute 
to his memory without the fear that any sentimental regard for 
him then should lead me now to exaggerate his fine qualities. 

Two photographs, which were taken just before he resigned 
the Scots Guards in 1870, and came to live with us at Limber, 
I have luckily preserved. Little did I know when he gave 
them to me so many years ago they would illustrate this book. 

And now very reluctantly I must leave the subject and 
come to my last meeting with my old friend Lord Minto. As 
he had been so very ill, too ill in fact to be fit for any 
exertion that could possibly be avoided, he asked me to go and 
see him in connection with an " Impression " of my brother 
which he had promised me for this book, instead of coming to 
my hotel. 

I had not seen Lord Minto for some years, excepting a 
glimpse I had of him at my brother's funeral in 191 2 ; we had, 
however, kept up a correspondence much in the same way that 
men do, writing congratulations for any pleasant landmarks of 
life, condolences for the sad, and no Christmas had passed 
but we exchanged cards of good wishes, so it seemed we met 
as if we had parted yesterday. 

In person he seemed only changed by his grey hair and 



Erected in Great Limber Church, to the memory of his Grandmother, 
Mrs. Catharine Maunsell, by J. M. Richardson in 1887. 

A Life-long Friend : Lord Minto 

sadly frail appearance, but his manner, expression, and bearing 
were the same, and his cordiality was just what I expected. 
We talked of old times, and it was extraordinary the minute 
details of the old Limber life he remembered. I went wrong, 
or he thought I had, in the colour of Maunsell's tassel to his 
racing cap ; he immediately put me right, and on two or three 
other quite minor points. 

" How glad we were to get you safely back from India! 
Did you like the life there ? " I asked him. 

" I loved it," he replied ; and with very pardonable pride 
he added, " my family are the third generation who have lived 
at the Residency." Then with his old sweet smile, "And my 
wife never had a day's illness the whole time we were in 
India." He told me then, but even quite casually, that he had 
had a very serious operation, how serious I did not understand. 
" My inside," he said, " was crushed, owing to the many falls I 
had in the old days." I said, " Was it from the old falls in 
Lincolnshire or the historic time when you broke your 
neck ? " " No," he laughed, " I have had many falls since 

We naturally talked of my brother Maunsell, and I told him 
some details he wanted to know for his " Impression." Being 
the only friend who had seen Maunsell at the end, in fact a 
few hours before his death, I asked him what he had thought 
when he saw him. 

" Thought," he said, " he was just like himself, cheery, and 
I am sure had no thought of dying. I never was more 
astonished or horrified in my life than when I heard on the 
Monday morning he had passed away — you know I saw him 
the Sunday afternoon before, and he seemed so bright and 
hopeful for himself." Then I asked a personal question. 
" Should you have recognized me ? " I said. He shaded his 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

eyes with an all too delicate hand and said, " I should have 
recognized you anywhere." 

He had allotted me a full hour, and after that was to 
interview an Indian Potentate, some very big man indeed, he 
said. He told me that, and it was easy to judge from his 
manner that colour at least with him made no difference to his 
feeling of respect for genuine worth. 

Sorry as I was not to chat with him longer, and bitterly 
disappointed as I am never to have seen him again, I am glad 
I did not take up my full hour of his precious time nor add my 
selfish share to his weariness. Although he asked me to stay, 
and seemed very sorry, I insisted on going before my time 
was up. 

And now I come to a very sad part of my story, and one 
that has caused me great disappointment. In that not only 
have I lost in Lord Minto a reader who would have been as 
interested in my book as I am myself, and would have been 
kindly critical into the bargain, but he was unable through his 
illness to finish the all but completed "Impression" he had 
contemplated, indeed made notes of, for my book. 

As lately as January ist, 19 14, I had this letter from him : 

"Dec. 31st, 1913. 
11 Minto House, 
" N.B. 

" My dear Miss Richardson, 

"In case you may think I have forgotten my 
promise about a few notes * to you about dear old Maunsell, I 
write to say that I have scribbled down a few things, but my 
typist is away for a holiday, and I suppose will be back in 
about a week, when I will send them to you. 

* Since this was written Lady Minto has kindly sent me the extract from her late 
husband's diary and what he had written to the time of his death of his " Impression." 
—See Chapter XIX., " Reminiscent." 


A Life-long Friend : Lord Minto 

" Without embarking on racing or training, it is difficult to 
say all one would like, but as Finch Mason is doing that part, 
I think it is much better to keep clear of it and to be general, 
and I shall be quite short. 

" Ever so many happy years to you from 

" Yours very sincerely, 

(Signed) " Minto." 

Naturally after this letter I expected the eagerly awaited 
"Impression" every day, and even wrote to Messrs. Vinton 
and Co., who were just as anxious as I was to have such 
important matter for the book, and told them I had as good as 
got it. 

Then to my great disappointment on January 18th I had a 
letter from Lady Minto to say her husband was in bed, and 
had been for over two weeks, with malarial fever, and it would 
be impossible for him to do any writing for some time. 

I possessed my soul in patience, always hoping for the 
best, and that he would pull round as he had done many times 
before. But he never rallied, and I have but the sad con- 
solation left to me that most probably his last literary effort 
in life was to give to the world something of the joy the long 
friendship of my brother had been to him, and to add his 
testimony to the character of the man he had so loved and 




In the winter of 1900, for private reasons, which my brother 
and his wife considered only too sufficient, they decided to 
leave Healing Manor, where they had lived since the present 
Lord Yarborough's marriage in 1887, and at that time a willing 
purchaser, Captain the Hon. Gerald Portman, appearing, they 
sold the house which they had made beautiful and comfortable, 
and which had been their home for so many years. 

It was with infinite regret that my brother and his wife 
turned their backs upon their beloved Lincolnshire, and the 
" Brocklesby." No wonder, for every hound in those celebrated 
packs, their pedigrees, points and prowess, was personally 
known to my brother by his intimate and long years' study of 
their Stud-book's history. 

The question, however, as to in which county of Great 
Britain they should make their future home was no easy one 
to settle, for directly it was known that J. M. Richardson and 
Lady Yarborough had determined to leave Lincolnshire, letters 
poured in on all sides from their friends, urging the advantages 
of their several districts. They were thus assured of the 
heartiest welcome wherever they chose to go, and friends in 
various ultra-sporting counties assured them that their own 
particular part of England could best appreciate my brother's 
special sporting knowledge, show the finest sport over the 







[-1 w 

Q v 




Life at Edmondthorpe 

grandest country, and so could best console him for his removal 
from Lincolnshire. 

Finally, it was decided to make the new home in the central 
and compact little county of Rutland; partly, I cannot help 
thinking, because it bordered on Lincolnshire, but chiefly no 
doubt because with four celebrated packs available : the Cottes- 
more, Belvoir, Quorn, and Mr. Fernie's, it afforded a certainty 
of the best possible sport. The Masters of these packs were 
also well known to my brother — Lord Lonsdale, Sir Gilbert 
Greenall, Colonel Forrester, and Mr. Fernie — and their prowess 
in the hunting field appreciated by him. A very pleasant 
reminiscence, too, both had of Leicestershire hunting and the 
" Cottesmore," for a year previously when they were staying 
with Lady Downshire (Lady Yarborough's niece), who, by the 
way, is a great follower of the hounds herself, they enjoyed a 
grand day with this pack. On this occasion Lady Yarborough 
rode her wonderful old grey mare and followed my brother 
over every obstacle. Those who know the Leicestershire 
country will understand what this means, especially negotiating 
the celebrated Wissendine Brook. 

[Note by M. E. R., 19 19. — Last January, when staying 
with my sister-in-law at her present residence, Wing 
Lodge, Leigh ton Buzzard, and we were having a tete-b-tete 
dinner, I recalled this historic first day's hunting in Leicester- 
shire to her remembrance. She laughingly said, "Why I 
jumped it twice that day; the hounds checked and turned 

" Was it difficult to negotiate ? " said I. 

" Not a bit," she answered, " I just cantered up to it, 
following Maunsell's lead, and popped over."] 

Eventually, Edmondthorpe Hall, four miles from Oakham, 
once the seat of the Smith-Barrys (now the Lords Barrymore), 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

then belonging to Mr. Pochin of Leicester, was decided upon 
as the new home. 

This world-famous Elizabethan house, comfortably 
modernized internally, without being spoiled externally, was 
a fitting setting and harmonized well with the lives of my 
brother and his wife, which it was destined for so many years 
to brighten. 

It had been a very sad epoch in Maunsell's life, to break up 
his Lincolnshire home, and leave the county in which he had 
hunted almost before he could remember, nor was it less sad 
for his wife, for, first as Lady Worsley, and later as the reigning 
Countess of Yarborough, she had created a fine example of 
feminine prowess in the hunting field, going straight, riding 
unselfishly, never making herself a nuisance. Naturally, after 
her marriage to my brother he became her pilot across country, 
and hard rider as he was, no fence negotiated by him, unless 
he put up his hand to stop her, which happened seldom, was 
ever considered unjumpable by his plucky wife. 

It was therefore no little compensation to be received with 
such delight in their new sporting quarters. 

With the Rector of the picturesque village of Edmond- 
thorpe, the Rev. Lindsay Knox, brother of the Bishop of 
Manchester, and his three sisters, they were soon on the 
friendliest terms, making church life pleasant and interesting, 
and as was the case at every place in which they had 
lived, so here the villagers speedily recognized that the new 
tenants of the Hall were friendly, generous, and, above all, 

Amongst the many good friends my brother and Lady 
Yarborough made, cementing also some old friendships, during 
their Edmondthorpe sojourn, it may seem invidious to mention 
names, but from what I could judge myself on my visits to 

1 60 










Life at Edmondthorpe 

Edmondthorpe a few come prominently to my mind as their 
especial cronies. 

That ever-genial and fine sportsman Lord Lonsdale and his 
Lady; Elizabeth Lady Wilton and her husband Mr. Arthur 
Pryor, both enthusiastic followers of hounds; Mr. and Mrs. 
Blair ; Mr. and Mrs. Baird ; Mr. and Mrs. Gretton ; Mr. and 
Mrs. Cecil Chaplin and their sons; the ever-cheery Uncle 
Clayton and his son Greville ; Mr. and Mrs. Dick Fenwick ; 
Mr. and Mrs. Max Angus — Mr. Angus being especially helpful 
in the friendliest manner to my brother in the selection of 
horses for the Cottesmore Hunt — then their nearest neigh- 
bours; Mr. and Mrs. John Grenfell of Wymondham, than 
whom none felt my brother's death more keenly. Mr. John 
Grenfell is now fighting for his country, his twin brothers, 
grand all-round sportsmen both, having made the great sacrifice 
in the early days of the war. 

[Note by M. E. R., 19 19. — Since writing this, I am happy 
to say, now the war is over, Mr. John Grenfell is safely restored 
to his family.] 

Comfort in the house only would not have contented my 
brother and his wife ; the four-footed ministers to their one 
great pleasure must have fitting quarters, and in every respect 
the Edmondthorpe stables answered to these requirements. 
After the Elizabethan days, the present Edmondthorpe Hall 
Stables had been a brewery, at a more recent date con- 
verted into spacious, lofty, well-drained stabling, with a 
grass-centred yard large enough to contain, as no doubt it 
had done in the days of old, 200 to 300 men at arms, and 
in later humdrum times, any amount of lumbering brewery 

It was ideal stabling for owners as well as for their four- 
footed dependants, a convenient side door in the encircling 

l6l M 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

stable yard, only some paces from the front door, making a 
short cut for horsemen, especially welcome in wet weather. 

Some very fair shooting also went with the house, for 
although my brother never carried a gun himself, he and his 
wife were far too unselfish to take any place at which they 
could not welcome their shooting as well as their hunting 

O fc> 


My brother felt the differences, and I may also say the 
difficulties, of the new country, from his well-known Lincoln- 
shire. The enormous meets, the " fields " almost dangerously 
large, difficult fences, wide brooks, and riding eagerly as a 
boy ; never turning his back upon a fence at all negotiable, 
it is no wonder that in Leicestershire he had the worst tosses 
of his life. 

After one very severe fall, the dramatically amusing 
particulars of which are told and illustrated in this work by 
Mr. Finch Mason, he was laid up for a long time. Tosses, 
however, never daunted my brother, and to the last day he was 
out with hounds ; he never faltered, never funked a fence, and 
above all, never overrode a horse, knowing what they could 
do and asking for no more. 

It was not, however, as a horseman only, that my brother 
became in an incredibly short time, almost as well known 
and appreciated in Leicestershire and the surrounding counties, 
as he had been in the county of his birth. 

A striking proof of this was manifested when his friend 
Lord Lonsdale resigned the Mastership of the Cottesmore 
in 1 910. At an important meeting held at Oakham by the 
members of the Cottesmore Hunt, Major-General J. F. 
Brocklehurst, now Lord Ranksborough, a man immensely 
popular in the neighbourhood, and one of the ?finest types of 
English gentlemen and sportsmen, was asked to take the vacant 



Life at Edmondthorpe 

Mastership, but he absolutely declined the honour, unless he 
could be associated with Mr. J. M. Richardson as joint Master. 

Surely this appreciation of my brother's organizing and 
businesslike qualities, as well as his ardour as a sportsman, 
was a fitting crown to his hunting career. 

He accepted the joint Mastership, and at once set himself, 
in conjunction with Major-General Brocklehurst, to make as 
searching a study of the Cottesmore pack of hounds, their 
pedigrees, capacity and reputation, as he had done in past 
years of the Brocklesby pack. 

11 The best huntsman, the best whips, the best hounds and 
the best horses are only good enough for this big county," he 
said, and these, to fill gaps in the Cottesmore stables and 
kennels, in conjunction with Major-General Brocklehurst, he 
set himself resolutely to obtain. The joint Masters appointed 
T. J. Isaac, Junr., late Huntsman of the Blankney, to the same 
position with the Cottesmore, and he proved himself, as they 
anticipated, one of the best men they could have found for the 
post, as good in regard to the training and management of the 
hounds as he was across country as a horseman. It is sad to 
record that his death occurred not long after my brother's. 

It is a well-known fact that the appointment of the new 
Master of Foxhounds, especially as in this case when the pack 
is popular and fashionable, often causes jealousy among other 
aspirants to the position, but in this case the appointment was 
unanimously approved, no doubt due to Maunsell's profound 
knowledge of hunting in all its branches. Then, too, his 
genial temper, courtesy, inability to believe in the petty 
jealousies of others, and his pleasure in honest outspoken 
criticism, were rare assets, disarming the captious, and winning 
over those who might be tempted to be troublesome. 

Not long ago a mutual friend, whom my brother and I had 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

known practically all our lives, said to me, " I never knew 
Maunsell buy a bad horse himself, or recommend one to a 
friend, or fail to detect the slightest blemish in a hound." 

A wealthy buyer of fat stock told me that the secret of his 
success lay in being able to appraise a live ox at its dead value 
to a pound, and that he was born with this faculty ; and I 
believe my brother was born with the power to tell what horse 
or hound was worth to a fraction, whether to follow the pack 
across country or hunt his fox. 

In 1909, just after the festive season of Christmas had come 
and gone, I accepted a long-standing and cordially-renewed 
invitation from Maunsell and my sister-in-law, and journeyed 
from South Cornwall to Edmondthorpe. I had a desperate 
longing to enjoy a day's hunting again, even on wheels, and 
felt sure I should have the chance, as the hunting season with 
the Cottesmore was in full swing. Maunsell and his wife 
seldom missed a day, and I knew they would be sure to give 
me the fondly anticipated treat if possible. 

I wanted also to see them both in the saddle again, enjoy- 
ing the fine old sport, and to live, if only for one day, in the 
delightful past, when in their company I had enjoyed many 
a good day's hunting with the Brocklesby. 

Not having seen Maunsell for some years, it was rather 
a shock to me to find that his hair had turned snow white, 
but as it was always very fair, and was as thick as ever, his 
appearance was not altered in any appreciable degree by 
this fact. 

His face, although rather weather-beaten by his outdoor life, 
looked remarkably young, and absolutely uncareworn. 

I had not seen my nephew Jack, their only child, since he 
was a boy just leaving Harrow, and well do I remember the 
intense pride with which my brother brought him up to me 



Life at Edmondthorpe 

when we were all waiting in the drawing-room before dinner 
was announced on the evening of my arrival at Edmondthorpe. 
Certainly it was not to be wondered at that he felt proud of 
his son to whom I was re-introduced that evening, Maunsell 
himself looking his very best in his scarlet evening coat with 
the Cottesmore Hunt facings. 

It is delightful to recall what a happy evening we all spent 
together; the Hon. Hugo Hare and his wife were there 
amongst others. All of us were attuned to gaiety, and each 
vied with the other in making the time pass pleasantly. We 
played several good old-fashioned round games at cards. 
Maunsell and I sat side by side, pooled our counters, and won 
everything before us at vingt-un. How the others laughed 
and teased us. "They are invincible," they said, "brother 
and sister sitting together and winning all before them." 

Alas! how little did I guess this would be the last time 
we should ever sit side by side; that I should never again 
hear his happy laughter ; that we should never see each other 
again in this world. It is a glad remembrance this visit of 
brightness and happiness, for it plainly showed how heartily 
my brother was enjoying life, healthy amusements, and above 
all, as keen as ever for the sport he loved best of all. 

The next day was a hunting day, and the fixture was one of 
the best of the Cottesmore. It was arranged that I should 
drive thither with my sister-in-law ; Maunsell, according to his 
usual custom, preferring to ride to the meet. 

The morning broke gloriously fine, but there was a slight 
nip of frost in the air, and a dainty sprinkling of snow ; not 
sufficient, however, to stop hunting, and there were indications 
that by eleven o'clock, the time fixed for the meet, every vestige 
of snow and frost would have disappeared. This proved to 
be the case. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Before driving off, I caught sight of Maunsell in full hunting 
togs as he came downstairs, stepping lightly as of old ; then, 
taking his hat and gloves from the hall table, and his hunting- 
crop from the rack, he was off to mount at the stable. To his 
cheery " Come with me," I was glad to respond, and watched 
him mount ; not a sign of stiffness there, I thought ; then, the 
dog-cart being in waiting, Lady Yarborough got in, I mounted 
beside her, off we drove and joined my brother on his way to 
the meet. 

For some time he rode beside us, as our way lay through 
fields with roads across them — short cuts to many places which 
obtains in the county of Rutland — so I had the pleasure of 
seeing my brother canter along beside us on his dainty 
thoroughbred chestnut mare Isabel. Just the same perfect 
seat ; the same understanding between his mount and himself ; 
the same boyish laugh as he greeted one friend after another in 
rapid succession. Then he disappeared, taking a shorter bridle 
cut, and we drove on by the road. 

To drive with my sister-in-law has always been a great joy 
to me, and I soon found out that she was as perfect a whip 
as ever. The same light hand on the reins, which, combined 
with firmness, gave such confidence not only to the horse or 
horses she drove, but to the passenger seated beside her. 

It has been my lot not infrequently to sit beside women 
who labour under the impression that they can drive, but 
who have no more idea of handling the reins than a baby, 
and a more uncomfortable position for their passenger can 
hardly be imagined. Needless to say, this was far from being 
the case with my sporting sister-in-law. No matter how difficult 
the animals she sat behind, Lady Yarborough could always be 
relied upon to handle them to perfection, and though it is 
rather a rare thing for a man or woman to be equally qualified 

1 66 

(Enlarged from a snapshot taken in 191 1 .) 

Life at Edmondthorpe 

in the sister arts of riding and driving, I have never yet seen 
her equal in either. So I thoroughly enjoyed my drive, and as 
we got nearer the appointed place for the meet, horsemen and 
horsewomen sprang up in every direction, with their horses' 
heads all turned toward the same goal as ourselves. 

A slight stoppage was caused at a house close to the road, 
outside which a good-looking chestnut horse, with a side-saddle 
on his back, was jumping out of his skin with high spirits. 
My charioteer, with her usual thoughtfulness, pulled up to 
enable his mistress, patiently waiting at the door, to mount. 
Unfortunately, we were somewhat late at the meet and the 
hounds had moved~off, but I had the pleasure of seeing Lady 
Yarborough mount her horse in the old agile manner and 
canter off after the hounds. 

For some time, under the groom's guidance, I dawdled 
about in the trap after hounds, but the day turned foggy, and 
giving up the hope of seeing some sport, I displaced the groom 
and drove myself back to Edmondthorpe. At teatime, my 
brother and his wife appeared ; hounds had gone home early, 
and it had been a very moderate day. The other guests had 
gone, and we three spent a happy evening together. The next 
morning saw the end of my visit, and I said good-bye to my 
brother, just as he was going off to the meet again. It always 
pleases me to recollect that my final impression of Maunsell 
was such a happy one, and that my last sight of him should 
have been in the time-honoured scarlet he loved so well. 

The beginning of my brother's last illness appeared when, 
after two well-contested rounds of golf with Sir Francis Astley 
Corbett on the Cromer Links, he developed a serious attack 
of influenza, and although he recovered sufficiently on his 
retfcrn to Edmondthorpe to ride again, and even to hunt 
occasionally, it was apparent that his health had been seriously 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

impaired by this attack. After a day's hunting, when no doubt 
he had overtaxed his failing strength, feeling it his duty as it 
was his pleasure, as joint Master of the Cottesmore, to go out, 
he returned home seriously ill. 

The various local doctors consulted differed considerably 
in their opinion, and a celebrated London specialist, Dr. 
Rowlands, was summoned to Edmondthorpe. 

He at once diagnosed Maunsell's case as septic neuritis, 
but unfortunately his system had been too much lowered to 
enable him to overcome the attack, and in spite of all that 
doctors, nurses, and tender care could do, he died in Dr. 
Rowland's nursing home in London on the 22nd January, 191 2. 

To the last moment, brave as ever, he fought for life, 
hoping against hope, wishing to live. Even his greatest friend, 
the late Lord Minto, said to me, " When I saw dear Maunsell 
the day before he died he was so cheery and brave, I could 
not believe it was the last time I should see him and that he 
could be dying." 

In conclusion, I have no hesitation in saying, and I am sure 
I am right, that although my brother loved his life at Edmond- 
thorpe, he would at any time have given it up gladly to return 
to the old life in Lincolnshire. 




My brother died on Monday, the 22nd of January, 191 2, and 
his funeral was fixed to take place at Edmondthorpe on the 
Friday following. I had come up from Cornwall the day 
before to pay my tribute of respect to the brother I had loved 
so long and so well. 

Owing no doubt to my being in deep mourning, the people 
in the carriage from Euston seemed to have an intuition that I 
was closely connected with the sad event which had shocked 
the whole sporting community in the Midlands for the time 
being. I had come some 500 miles, and their silent sympathy 
was very welcome. Indeed one lady insisted on my sharing 
her tea-basket, and would neither allow me to pay my share, 
nor hardly to thank her. Almost at every station down the 
line, boxes were handed to the guard, evidently containing 
those last tokens of affection and respect offered by the living 
to the dead. 

My nephew Richard Maunsell Richardson, one of my eldest 
brother's sons, whom I found at Ashwell station, and who is 
a fine musician, told me he was to play the organ at his 
Uncle Maunsell's funeral the next day in Edmondthorpe 

His renderings of the music included in the service were 
commended on all sides, and undoubtedly helped to make the 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

scene the impressive one it was. The aspect of Edmondthorpe 
Hall, with its closely drawn blinds, emblematic of woe, pre- 
sented a terrible contrast to the last time I was there in the 
middle of the hunting season, when everything was cheerful 
and full of life, and my brother in the full enjoyment of health 
and strength. 

Jack, Maunsell's only son, welcomed my nephew and myself 
to the house. 

The house-party included Lady Yarborough's daughter, 
Lady Gertrude Astley Corbet, and her husband, son of the 
late Sir John Astley, and a great friend of my brother's. 
When children we all knew the dear old " Mate " and loved 
him for his geniality and kindness ; he it was who presided 
over the banquet given to Maunsell at Brigg, after winning 
the Liverpool on Disturbance, in 1873. Lady Yarborough's 
youngest son by her first marriage, the Hon. Dudley Pelham, 
and his wife ; Mr. George Heneage, eldest son and heir of 
Lord Heneage of Hainton, myself and my nephew Dick 
completed the party. 

We all met at dinner, and each tried in our several ways, 
with more or less success, to keep up our spirits for each 
other's sake. Our sad hostess kept to her own sitting-room, 
an apartment sacred to her, for although supposed to be her 
boudoir, it was also her husband's writing-room, and held his 
table and his papers, so that even in his and her private work 
they were never separated. After dinner was finished, which, 
despite our united efforts, proved but a dismal affair, Jack told 
me his mother wished to see me in her room. 

It is said, " God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb," and 
in this case, the full tide of lonely misery and desolation, the 
waves of which had broken over her, was borne with a 
wonderful courage. She had determined also that, no matter 











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The Close of the Day 

how much it tore at her heartstrings, she would herself lead 
the way on the morrow in that solemn rite when the last 
offices would be carried out for her beloved dead. 

After the sad interview, my nephew Jack asked me to go 
with him to the death chamber. Here there was no grimness ; 
the coffin itself, of bright polished elm, stood under a red 
shaded lamp which cast a cheerful glow over everything, 
whilst the floral tributes formed in wreaths, horseshoes, 
shields, etc., placed all round the room, had transformed it 
into a veritable bower of sweetness and beauty. 

They had laid him in the smoking room, on the walls 
of which all his favourite pictures of horses, etc., were hung, 
his hunting horns on the chimney-piece. 

A more fitting setting for his last resting-place in the home 
he loved could not have been chosen. 

The two lovely wreaths from his wife and son respectively 
were the only ones on the coffin, and as I put my hand on the 
beautiful casket, that contained the earthly part of my dear 
brother, Jack told me that when he brought the coffin down 
from London, and before it was lifted off the hearse, one of 
Maunsell's servants, Willingham, who had lived in his service 
since a boy, had rushed out, stroking it tenderly, as if in so 
doing he had been brought once more in touch with his well- 
loved master. 

Until then, I had not realized how expressive the language 
of flowers is at a funeral, or how these sweet products of 
the earth could so remind us that the most beautiful things 
of the world are necessarily the most perishable — I did then to 
the full. 

The day of the funeral broke with solemn stillness, not 
a leaf stirred on the fine old trees that stood like sentinels 
on either side of the entrance to the hall. As I drew up my 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

blind and admitted the late-coming daylight, a few flakes 
of snow were falling slowly and gently, seeming like kindly 
spirits from heaven, bearing sympathetic messages to the 
bereaved on earth. The frost and the stillness made the air 
deliciously crisp, and it was evident from the thin snowflakes 
which fell intermittently, and the shining sun through the 
breaking clouds, that the day just dawning, when the saddest 
of all ceremonies was to be carried out, would not be burdened 
with the added misery of wet weather. 

Magnificent as were the floral tributes I had already seen, 
two more arrived, one from Maunsell's eldest stepson, the Earl 
of Yarborough, who wintering abroad, had sent a splendid 
trophy of large Neapolitan violets ; the other was a wreath with 
a card inscribed, " From his life-long friend ' Roily ' " (the late 
Lord Minto), composed entirely of white flowers, and so large, 
that it covered a good quarter of the billiard table in the front 
hall, the largest floral tribute I have ever seen, every flower 
perfect, and it seemed as if its sender, the dearest and closest 
friend of my brothers youth and manhood, had determined to 
prove at the last by these flowers how great and beautiful their 
love for each other had been through life, continuing until 
death separated them. 

A little later I was glad to find that my niece Eva (now 
Mrs. Jack Richardson) had arrived. She said no one had 
asked her to come down, but she felt she could not stay away 
from her Uncle Maunsell's funeral. It appeared that very 
many other people were filled with the same longing to be 
present at my brother's funeral, for from the large number that 
attended, most of his friends and acquaintances, who could 
possibly manage to come, must have been there. My nephew 
Jack, who had been with his father to the very end, had been 
iven charge of all the arrangements and they were carried 




The Close of the Day 

out in the most perfect manner. As being simpler, though, 
alas ! much more affecting, the coffin, instead of being carried 
in a hearse to its last resting-place, was placed on a bier, and 
the men-servants on the place drew it to the churchyard. 
From the butler and stud groom, to the youngest house and 
stable hand, all shared in this last sad journey. 

As a personal request Mr. Lester, who had been my 
brother's butler for many years previous, had begged to come 
and take his place beside the bier, and through the kindness of 
his present employer, Lady Battersea (the late Lord Battersea 
and Lady Battersea, both dear friends of my brother and his 
wife), he was able to be present. My sister-in-law bore herself 
with her usual courage, but a sadder or more pathetic sight 
it was never my lot to witness. 

Most of the floral tributes, which had been sent on before, 
were grouped on a space at the back of the grave, and piled up 
against the grey stones of the old church, forming a back- 
ground of flowers, and carpeting the space around the grave. 
All had been so carefully thought out and planned beforehand, 
that there was no fuss or bustle, not the slightest hitch of any 
kind in any of the sad proceedings, not a person had been 
forgotten, not a detail ever so slight overlooked, not even a 
flower crushed or out of its place. 

Luckily the day had fulfilled its early promise of " passing 
fair," and although the gentle snowflakes fell intermittently, it 
was in the same tender and kindly fashion that they had 
displayed in the early morning. 

To say that the large Edmondthorpe church was filled is 
inadequate to express the company present. Still this might 
have been anticipated, seeing that on each side of the road to 
the church, and for many yards beyond, innumerable motor 
cars and vehicles of every description were crowded together. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

The kindly vicar, Mr. Knox, to whom, knowing and loving 
my brother as he did, the ceremony must have proved a severe 
strain, had to wait many minutes before the huge congregation 
had settled down, many being unable to find seats. Then, 
when all was still, and without any hymn being given out, the 
first note of " Abide with me " (Maunsell's favourite hymn) 
was heard from the organ, and never, to my dying day, shall I 
forget the impressive effect of those sweet, soft strains, not 
only upon myself, but upon the whole congregation. For the 
moment I had forgotten who was the organist ; then I realized 
that whatever nervousness my musician nephew may have felt 
beforehand, it was now forgotten in the one idea of carrying 
out the task he had undertaken. His masterly interpretation 
of this simple hymn carried with it not only art but also the 
heart-notes of sorrow and of hope. The soft opening note 
swelled on, until the whole congregation, taking up the words 
of the hymn, sang each verse with an underlying softness 
and tenderness of expression, harmonizing admirably with the 
delicacy of the surroundings and of the music. 

All through the service it seemed as if one great sob went 
out from each heart, not only for her who had sustained the 
greatest loss of all, but for themselves ; and that each in- 
dividual member of that congregation mourned the loss of a 
personal friend. At the conclusion of the service Chopin's 
Funeral March was played amid an intense silence, as 
painful as it was wonderful. Then as the bier was con- 
veyed to the graveside, as if by one impulse, the whole 
congregation turned towards it, and so they took farewell of 
their friend. 

Nobly self-possessed, his widow stood close to the open 
grave, her son Jack by her side. Her grief was too deep for 
outward expression, her training of self-repression from child- 



J. M. Richardson's only child, aged 4 years. 

(Reproduced from' a pastel.) 

The Close of the Day 

hood too strong to be broken through, even at this hour of 
heavy trial. 

A few gentle snowflakes fell lightly on the coffin, and on 
the small bunches of violets which lay upon the casket as it 
was lowered into its resting-place ; and now all being over, we 
passed out of the churchyard, and through the throng of 
mourners who stood in silent reverence, expressive of their 
grief and sympathy, and so back to Edmondthorpe Hall, now so 
redolent of sorrow ; empty in hearth and heart because of him 
who was not, yet crowded with many tender and fragrant 
memories, which, in increasing measure, would bring comfort 
and consolation in the days to come. 




Amongst the hundreds of letters Lady Yarborough received 
after my brother's death, I have chosen extracts from some — 
letters from men and women of all classes. One and all in 
different fashion express how they regarded his loss to them- 
selves, not only from the point of view of sportsmen and sports- 
women, but as a dear personal friend. 

The letters are so unlike the usual letters of condolence, 
that I have thought they would show to those who did not 
know my brother personally, better than any words of mine 
can express, the kind of feeling he inspired in the minds of 

There are no doubt some who in reading these extracts 
will say : What are these ? Just written off when the mind of 
that man or woman felt he or she must write as a matter of 
ordinary courtesy, and yet I cannot but think many will see 
eye to eye with me, and find in them a spontaneous and 
genuine expression of grief. 

This after all is the best requiem of man or woman. What 
they have built by their lives in the hearts of others, is their 
truest epitaph, and for this reason I have thought it well to 
publish some of these independent sidelights on my brother's 

These requiem letters convey the sentiments of many of the 


A Fitting Requiem 

best known names in the land, but the outstanding feature is 
the extent and variety of the classes represented in this 
remarkable testimony. I have indicated in only two cases the 
authors* names — one from a distinguished dignitary of the 
Church for whom my brother entertained a profound respect ; 
the other from a dear young connection and friend who has 
since laid down his life for his country. For his future my 
brother foretold all good both as landlord and sportsman, and 
it may be truly said of his death, almost in the same words he 
himself used regarding my brother's, " England has lost one of 
her most gallant sons." 

" Bishopscourt, 

" Manchester. 

" Dear Lady Yarborough, 

" The unfailing and most helpful kindness which you 
and your dear husband have shown to my brother and sisters 
moves me to make some poor effort to express my deep and 
sincere sympathy with you in your bereavement. 

11 The whole country is poorer to-day by the loss of one 
of the very finest and most polished of country gentlemen. 

" But your loss is such as you alone can measure or 

"It is only right that you should know how truly you 
have endeared yourselves to all who had the privilege of 
knowing you. 

" My brother and sisters have enjoyed conditions of 
country parish life happier than I have ever seen. I have 
admired the considerations which you have showed and the 
loyalty with which my brother has been supported. Forgive 
me for this very poor attempt to express my gratitude. 

"It would be possible to add some words of my admiration 
for the character of your dear husband, but at this moment 

177 N 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

they might only pain you. There would be necessarily so 
much left unsaid, nor is there anything from which his modesty 
would have shrunk so much as from words of praise. 

" Beloved and honoured as few have been and still fewer 
so justly as he deserved to be loved and honoured, he has 
left the record of a noble life and an untarnished name, a 
memory inexpressibly precious. 

" It is impossible to think of such a life as closed by death. 

" His true life is begun in the presence of Him whom with 
such unaffected humility and sincerity he served during his 
earthly stay. 

" May He who has taken him from you for a while be near 
to help and comfort you. 

" Pray don't think of answering or even of acknowledging 
this letter, but believe me to remain, 

" Yours in truest sympathy and respect, 

(Signed) " E. A. Manchester." 

(Bishop of Manchester.) 

From the late Lord Worsley, heir to the Earldom of 
Yarborough, killed at Mons : " I am so grieved to hear of your 
dreadful sorrow. England has lost her greatest Sportsman." 

" How grieved we were at the irreparable loss you have 
sustained in the death of one so much beloved by all. . . . 
Seldom is it the fortune of a man to have such hosts of friends 
and admirers, and seldom indeed is it that a man leaves behind 
him so many who will look in vain and in sorrow at the blank 
that is left in the world by his untimely removal from our 

" It was always a delight to be in his company, and I know 
well there are numberless friends who will for ever mourn the 

i 7 8 

(Killed at Mons.) 

A Fitting Requiem 

loss of one of the truest and kindest of men, and cherish his 
memory with the deepest affection." 

" He will be mourned and missed by every one. It is such 
an absolute calamity to us all in this county and to the Hunt, 
- . . he was the one man we could least of all spare, . . 
Every one loved him." 

" No one has had more genuine sympathy from all classes 
than you will have. Mr. Richardson made every one feel he 
was their friend, and every one will grieve personally for 
him. . . . Many, many friends will mourn with you the loss 
of so splendid, lovable, and manly a man, and the world is 
poorer by his death." 

" So wonderful a horseman, so wise a man, can never be 
replaced in Leicestershire. . . . You have the sympathy of 
every living person that knew you both." 

"We consider it a privilege to have known him ... it is 
a real loss to us all. . . . We all grieve for the loss of a good 
friend. ... A grand fellow-sportsman whom we have all 
lost. ... I voice the words of all the county. No words 
of mine can tell you how grieved we all are at the loss of a 
fellow-sportsman and friend." 

" I never knew any one who without knowing it himself 
drew every one to him as he did. Every one really loved him. 
It is a wonderful gift, but he was one of the few who are 
blessed with it. No one will feel his loss more than myself." 

"My life-long and best of friends whom I loved. . . . 
How I shall miss him, best of sportsmen and friend ! " 

" It has come as a great blow to his county. He is 
regretted by every one, both rich and poor, and his loss is one 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

that cannot be replaced. He was the kindest, and best of men, 
and like no one else." 

"It must be some help to you to see how he is appreciated 
and mourned, and it must help one to feel that everybody is 
mourning for one, and with one. . . . Yours has been such 
a perfect companionship." 

11 1 have known him so well since his boyhood. I shall 
never look upon his like again. The world can ill afford to 
lose such a man." 

" Please remember your sorrow is our sorrow too. He 
leaves a great blank in the lives of all his friends, and we shall 
not look upon his like again. One always quoted him as the 
example of a perfect English gentleman, and a magnificent 
sportsman. I am proud and grateful to have known him. We 
shall mourn him long." 

"Your sorrow will be shared by many who will mourn for 
him as one of her very best Englishmen." 

" We shall all mourn for Maunsell, but none more deeply 
than his nearest neighbour." 

" A loss that will be felt by hundreds of Maunsell's friends 
and admirers — I am proud to have been both." 

" Mr. Maunsell Richardson had been known to us for so 
many years, that we became accustomed to regard him as a 
personal friend. His portrait hangs in a prominent place here, 
and will be doubly dear to us now that he is gone, and amongst 
the number of those who will most keenly miss his genial 
presence, I venture to say none can be more sincerely sorry 
than I who have the honour to subscribe myself." 

The next extracts from letters express the deep sympathy 

1 80 




fc — 1 


^ , 

























































A Fitting Requiem 

felt for Lady Yarborough by personal friends and acquaintances. 
They show the intense affection and comradeship that existed 
between my brother and his wife. His near relations of course 
know well that Lady Yarborough had always been the one love 
of his life, but that affection must indeed have been of no 
ordinary kind to have so impressed outsiders, as well even as 
my brother's own personal friends, with its depth and happy 
constancy. My words convey nothing compared with this 
outside testimony to the beauty of their lives. It was an ideal 
married life, where interests were in common, and duties were 
undertaken hand in hand. Pleasures were enjoyed together, 
each participating in the same kinds of sports and pastimes, and 
each happy chiefly in realizing the other's enjoyment of all they 
embarked on. 

" I think I can hardly realize what this must mean to you 
when one thinks how much he and you were to each other and 
how you have been always together for so long." 

" It is with the greatest sorrow I heard this morning of the 
death of dear Mr. Richardson ... I know very well how 
devoted you were to each other." 

" The kindest, the best, the most devoted of husbands ... I 
cannot bear to think that he is gone. Every one respected him, 
every one believed in him. His was such a fine and loyal 
nature. No one can ever take his place. There will be 
unanimous regret." 

" It must be a great comfort to you to look back on your 
happy life with Mr. Richardson." 

" I can so feel for you in the loss of your dear companion. 
You were always so devoted to each other, and did everything 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

together. The| blank to you must be inexpressibly sad — and 

" It seems so hard that hearts so united as yours were should 
be suddenly torn apart. My heart bleeds for you." 

" You always seemed to be the happiest of couples and life 
without him will be empty and sad for you. He enjoyed every 
day so much,? and I hope you may find some comfort in the 
certainty that his life could not have been more happy." 

° My heart just aches for you, words are futile in such a 
bereavement. ... I know what he was to you and what a 
loss he will be after your long and happy wedded life." 

"The loss to you must be overwhelming, as you were so 
much to each other and did everything together." 

" I can imagine how lonely you will be, and what a blank 
there will be in your life — it seems so hard that he, who every- 
body was so fond of, should be taken. It is loneliness now, 
but the memory of the past is left, and gratitude for that past. " 

" How hard it will be to go on with your life without his 
constant unselfishness and kindliness about you." 

" I do feel for you so. You loved each other so, and 30 
years of such love is so rare — I cannot bear to think of your 
life without him." 

" I understand and feel so well what you must have been 
suffering since the loss of your beloved husband — any one who 
had the pleasure of knowing him must know what his death 
must mean to you, when it makes so much difference even to 
his friends and acquaintances." 

Those who have read so far will, I am sure, follow me to 

















A Fitting Requiem 

the end of this Requiem, for in the following extracts I show the 
reason why my brother's death was felt so deeply, and was 
such a loss not only to his widow but to the community in 

" Maunsell was always so kind to me, and I was so very 
fond of him, that his death is a terrible blow. I see more than 
even now what an attraction his charming nature was, I feel as 
if I shall never get over it, it haunts me. " 

" I have only just seen the death of Mr. Richardson. My 
father, who knew him well, and worked with him in the last 
Brigg election, and who looked up to him as an ideal sports- 
man and politician, wishes to join his regret with ours. Al- 
though very humble people, we feel as though we had lost a 
personal friend." 

"Mr. Richardson had always such a kind and cheerful 
word for every one, that even with a small acquaintance it was 
easy to appreciate his very amiable qualities." 

" You will doubtless have had the sympathy of the whole 
country-side, but I should like to add my humble testimony to 
the merits of a man who was nothing short of a hero to me, as 
he must have been to many admirers of skill, gallantry, and 
good fellowship. His figure and appearance on a horse were 
those of a man of thirty." 

" I have no words, for such a sorrow is beyond speaking of. 
Every one who knew him loved him, and to think that I shall 
never see him again, or hear his cheery voice again, cub hunting, 
makes me miserable. How he worshipped you." 

" We shall never see his like again. His cheery face and 
smile — and the way he could show all the young ones the way 
across country." 

is 3 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

" It seems impossible to realize that we shall never see him 
riding over the fences as we used to. My husband always had 
the greatest admiration for Mr. Richardson all his life and has 
felt his death very, very much." 

" I was so pleased to meet Mr. Richardson again, not 
having seen him since we were at school together. I found 
then the truth of the saying that the child is father to the man. 
At school we looked up to him as a leader among other boys. 
He was a straight-goer, energetic and popular — in fact a boy's 
boy. Last August I recognized the same good qualities in the 


" It has made me very, very sad. He was straight in 
character as he was to hounds. He will have his last resting- 
place in the best hunting county in England, where nothing 
but the sound of his hounds and the horn will disturb his 

" I don't suppose there was any one, from the oldest person 
to the smallest child, to whom he had not shown some 

" I, like every one else, thought him the most charming man 
I had ever met, and I am certain his presence always influenced 
people for good." 

" Every one who knew your husband seems to have been 
so much attracted to him and he will be very much missed 
everywhere. Every one who knew Mr. Richardson loved him. 
My husband feels he has lost his best friend." 

" To think that I shall never see such a dear old friend as 
Mr. Richardson was again. I think of him now as I write to 
you with his cheery face and 'joie de vivre.' How he rode 
and how he loved all sports and how well he did everything, 



A Fitting Requiem 

including his literary work. Alas ! that he should not be here 


" I can't take it in, or believe it's dear, dear Mr. Maunsell, 
who is so inextricably one with the old days, when you both 
came down and we all looked forward to seeing you above all 
things — I loved you both then, and to this hour." 

" My profound sorrow — at the loss of the comrade of my 
early days, the staunchest of friends, the most genial companion 
that ever trod this earth." 

" Words cannot express my regret. I mourn the sad 
death of the finest sportsman, most genial gentleman, and 
kindest friend that ever stepped." 

" He was such a very dear friend. I can remember him 
since I was 14 and we all of us have been so fond of him." 

" Mr. Richardson was one of my husband's oldest friends 
and he was always devoted to him. In later days, it was such 
a pleasure to my husband if they were judging together." 

" We both have a very lively recollection of innumerable 
acts of kindness we have received from Mr. Richardson, that 
we feel we have lost a friend by his death." 

" Maunsell was so much to us all, both as a boy and after 
he was grown up. We loved him dearly. His personality 
was unique. Nothing was too small for him if he could do a 
kindness. . . . Man, woman, and child loved him at Limber." 

" I can never forget your Ladyship's and Mr. Richardson's 
great kindness. I am glad the Bank Manager gave my son 
permission to attend Mr. Richardson's funeral. I know it 
would have been his father's wish." 

" You know how devoted we were one and all to dear Mr. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Richardson. The boys have both written to me quite upset by 
the sad news. His kindness to our boys will never be for- 
gotten ; he was the very pattern of a fine English gentleman 
which appeals to young people, and gives them the ideal at the 
moment they most want it." 

11 1 have just seen in the papers that your dear husband has 
passed away. He and I were great friends ever since 1867. 
He was one of the best, truest friends that I had, and indeed I 
mourn his loss." 

" Please let an old friend of Oxford and Cambridge and 
Eton and Harrow days send a line of (very true and sincere) 

" It is difficult to realize that any one so full of life and 
activity, and always so young as Mr. Richardson was, has been 
taken away." 

" He seemed so full of health and spirits that we cannot 
realize it at all. My husband and I have been so devoted to 
him, and so of course was everybody who knew him." 

" I need not tell you with what regret I read of the death 
of my dear old friend. He was a type of sportsman and gentle- 
man that is rare to-day, and I know not where to find his 

" It falls to the lot of very few to be so universally beloved 
as Mr. Richardson was." 

i( Impossible to believe. Only a few months ago Mr. 
Maunsell Richardson seemed so well and bright at Llandrindod. 
I shall always remember how good and kind you both were 
to me there." 



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A Fitting Requiem 

"If sympathy can allay your trouble and comfort you, all 
your friends late of Limber are with you." 

" We have lost a friend who was trusted and loved wher- 
ever he went. I never thought to get so fond of any man who 
was fifty before I knew him, and it was of course due to the 
fine simplicity and deep kindliness of his character. It was a 
pleasure to hear the employees on the Cromer Links talk of 
him. It was something far more than the ordinary liking for a 
good sportsman, but they knew as we all did that warmth of 
his heart. The place will never be the same without him." 

" You will find it sad, but it will be a comfort to read all 
the nice references to Mr. Richardson in the different papers. 
I liked to see them, for I felt they were so true. We are very 
old friends and you know how I grieve for you." 

"It is too sad for you and every one that knew Mr. 
Richardson. You would be touched were you here. The 
men at the kennels and the various grooms and the others all 
regretting him so sincerely. I suppose no man had more 
friends of every kind, or has been more mourned." 

" I shall never forget all Maunsell's kindness to me, and I 
valued his friendship greatly. No one was ever better liked 
for himself or had a more lovable nature." 

" Many will write to you who knew Mr. Richardson chiefly 
as a great sportsman, but I can testify to the patriotic sense of 
duty which made him take up work at first uncongenial to him, 
the thoroughness with which that work was done, and the 
spirit in which he met either victory or defeat. My associa- 
tion with him in those old electioneering days will remain 
always a happy memory." 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

" He will be terribly missed. It only seems a few weeks 
ago that we were looking forward to his joint-mastership (of 
the Cottesmore Hounds) which was to bring us such sport." 

" He was always such a good fellow in every way and one 
that will be greatly missed. How nice and kind he was to 
me when I came quite a stranger to Cromer. I shall greatly 
miss him. His nice cheery way. Better sportsman there 
could not be." 

"He was so bright and cheery and so gallant. It was 
always such a pleasure to meet him out hunting, and he always 
had a kind word for every one. That made us all love him. In 
fact without him it will never be the same in our county again." 

11 The county has lost a great sportsman, the like of whom 
we shall not see again." 




The following reminiscences I have been privileged to receive 
from some of my brother's more intimate friends, for inclusion 
in this Memoir. A pathetic interest attaches to the notes, so 
kindly sent to me by the Countess of Minto, and which were 
found among her husband's papers after his death ; notes, alas ! 
which were never completed. 

From Lord Minto. 

("I found several sheets of paper in which the following was 
written in pencil. I think it must have been almost the last 
thing he did before he was laid up January 5, 1914." Note 
by the Countess of Minto, June 17, 191 4.) 

Maunsell Richardson was a year junior to me at Cambridge. 
The first time we ever met was, I believe, at a " drag luncheon " 
at French's. I can see him now, leaning up against the window- 
sill, a lithe, active young figure, very fair, with fair, slightly 
curling hair, in a braided velvet coat, such as some of us wore 
in those days. I did not know who he was, but in the after- 
noon we met in "the drag." It was the Stowe Fox Drag. I 
don't know if that line still exists, but it was my favourite line, 
and we rode the two best hirelings in Cambridge — Harlequin 
and The General. He rode Harlequin, a chestnut full of 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

quality, but perhaps not quite such a stayer as The General, 
and towards the end of the gallop there was the young fresh- 
man alongside of me with perhaps a little bit the best of it, and 
I recognized the horsemanship I had never seen before, the 
graceful young figure so well down on the saddle, the lengthy 
stirrup, and the long free rein to which old Harlequin seemed 
so gladly to reply. That gallop was the commencement of our 
friendship. We both lived together at French's, a lodging 
house in Park Street, really a club, for no one was accepted 
there without the approval of its inmates, and the chief quality 
for their acceptance was riding. In my time, as far as I 
recollect, it was tenanted by Sholty Aberdour, now Lord 
Morton, Tom Fitzwilliam, Leo Rothschild, Richardson and 
myself. Maunsell had come up to Cambridge from Harrow 
with a great reputation as a cricketer. He had been in the 
Harrow Eleven. He played, I think, three years for Cam- 
bridge. He was universally known there as " The Cat " or 
" Pussy Richardson," a name which clung to him through life, 
the origin of which I never heard, but at his own home and 
amongst country neighbours and close friends he was nearly 
always Maunsell, his own Christian name. We were not very long 
together at Cambridge, as being a Fellow Commoner I escaped 
Little Go, took my degree and went into the army, but we did 
not lose sight of each other. My leave was spent largely at 
Maunsell's home in Lincolnshire, and when his steeplechase 
stable became famous I lived a great part of the year with him 
until other interests took me much abroad, and our paths of life 
diverged, though the old friendship always flourished. He 
must have won many steeplechases whilst still at Cambridge, 
at the University " Grinds " or at local Hunt Meetings, but his 
most notable performance, I recollect, at that time was his 
winning a Steeplechase at Huntingdon, when he broke a 




stirrup leather and won with one stirrup on a very hard-pulling 
mare of his own. If she had been easy to ride it might have 
been no great feat, but she was almost impossible to hold at 
any time, and he suffered badly from a strained thigh after the 
race. She was a bay mare by Leotard, a very good one. He 
never named her, and sold her to Sholty Aberdour. To 
attempt to tell the story of " The Cat's " subsequent Steeple- 
chase career would entail a book ; but I cannot help glancing 
back at our happy days at Limber. The house at Limber was 
a strange old-fashioned building with no architectural beauty, 
but with an attraction of its own, a long-shaped house with a 
front door into the garden which no one ever used, the 
accustomed entrance being entirely through a little side door. 
I have heard that it was originally built by some former Lord 
Yarborough as a hunting box for friends hunting with his 
hounds. When I knew it it was tenanted by Willie Richardson, 
Maunsell's elder brother. 

Extract from Lord Mintds Journal, February, 191 2. 

On the 20th I had a letter from Heneage telling me that 
" The Cat " was very ill, and had been taken to Dr. Rowland's 
Home at 245, Knightsbridge. I went there, but did not see 
him that day. Next day, Sunday, I went again in the after- 
noon and sat with him. The nurse would only allow me to 
stay a few minutes. He was perfectly sensible, and in manner 
just like himself, but I am sure he knew it was all up with him. 
He said, "You know I wrote to you and told you I should 
never get over it." That was some time ago, and since then I 
had imagined he was getting better. When I left him the 
nurse doubted if he would live through the night, and when I 
went next morning it was all over. He died at quarter to 
eight. Got back to Minto on Tuesday morning 23rd. On 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Thursday night, 25th, went back to London again, dressed at 
the St. Pancras Railway Hotel, and went down to the funeral 
at Edmondthorpe Friday 26th. Went to Freddy Blair's at 
Ashwell, and with him to the funeral. My old friend gone. I 
cannot say what a wrench it is the link with so many recollec- 
tions, and another life which seems now to have belonged to 
another world. A change seems to have come over my 
world, and it is not the same now he is gone out of it. He 
was a splendid fellow, by far the best and most polished rider 
I ever saw, and not only excellent at all games, but possessed 
of brilliant natural ability. He sat in Parliament for some 
months for the Brigg Division of Lincolnshire, and after losing 
his seat did not return to politics ; but in any line of life he 
might have taken up he would have held a foremost place 
amongst his fellow-men. 

From Lord George Hamilton, 

My first recollection of J. M. Richardson was his arriving 
at Harrow a short time — some two years — after I had myself 
joined the School. He was a very quiet, cheery little fellow, 
with a pink and white complexion and a very round face. 
This secured for him the sobriquet of " Puss" or "The Cat," 
by which up to the end of his life he was always known. He 
was a boy who slowly but surely made his way in popularity 
and the esteem of those with whom he came in contact. He 
was a very quiet, plucky little fellow, and played all games 
well. He was very strong for his make, and was an extra- 
ordinarily fair and just-minded boy. 

After a little while he signalized himself by becoming a 
very accurate field, and during the time he was in the Harrow 
School and Cambridge University Elevens it was no exaggera- 
tion to say that he was the best amateur cover-point in England. 




Very quick on his legs, he watched the ball very closely and 
was a deadly catch, covering an enormous amount of ground. 
He had very strong, capable hands, which were useful to him 
both in riding and in fielding, and they were so shaped that if 
a ball got into them it was difficult for it to get out. In speak- 
ing of his fielding, I may say that the only time he missed 
catches was at a match in 1863, at Beaudesert Park, of which 
place my father was in temporary occupation. We had a 
match there of Harrow Eleven versus the County of Stafford- 
shire, and like boys we played the fool and sat up all night 
amusing ourselves by pulling out of bed every boy who tried to 
go to sleep. The result was that Richardson, who was as a 
rule in bed by ten o'clock, did not get any sleep till nearly six 
in the morning, and next day out in the field he missed the 
ball three times running, the last ball going through his hands 
and just touching his chin and hurting him very much. 

There was a charming simplicity of character and right- 
mindedness about Richardson that endeared him to everybody 
who knew him. At the University he was even more popular 
than he was at public school, and his extraordinary horseman- 
ship and riding prowess brought him very prominently before 
the Undergraduate public. 

I got early into Parliament and lost sight of him for a good 
many years, as our paths did not converge, but I always heard 
of him as an extraordinary gentleman-jockey, and a man whose 
opinion was highly valued and who carried with him the good- 
will of all who knew him. His remarkable fairness and clarity 
of judgment made him the invaluable adjudicator upon any 
sports' dispute. He loved sport for its sake alone, and as far 
as I know he never gambled and never bet, and he was, 
moreover, extremely kind in his treatment of all horses. 

He was in the House for a short time, and he enjoyed 

193 o 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

himself very much there, throwing the whole of his enthusiasm 
into the politics of the moment. The tenure of his seat was 
insecure, as he had a very strong Wesleyan Nonconformist 
element against him which deprived him of his seat at the next 

His sudden death was a great shock to all his friends, and 
the idea of putting up some memorial to him at Harrow met 
with universal response. It was, however, difficult to exactly 
hit on the shape or form that the memorial should assume, and 
the rule as regards a memorial in the Chapel is that the person 
to whom it is dedicated should have performed some public 
service ; and although we may say that the influence which 
your brother had on sport and athletics generally was wide and 
so good as to come under the head of national service, still to 
put up a tablet in the Chapel because he was the best gentleman- 
rider of the day was rather an innovation upon existing tradition 
and rule. We had, therefore, to think of something which 
would commemorate his name and would bring his life and 
character prominently before successive generations of young 
Harrovians. The idea was suggested of putting up a new 
Pavilion dedicated to his name, with a portrait of him inside, 
as more likely to fix the attention of old and young Harrovians 
than any other form of memorial which could be suggested. 
This, as you know, has been admirably carried out, and I think 
all of his friends may be sure that what has recently been done 
will perpetuate in the best possible way his memory to suc- 
cessive generations of Harrovians. 

As regards myself, I can truly say that there is hardly 
anybody I have ever met in my life for whom I had a more 
sincere regard and affection. He was unique in his generation. 
Though the best horseman of the day, there was not a particle 
of what is known as " horsiness " about him. It was only 




when he got on a horse that you then realized the old classical 
conception of a Centaur — a man and horse being one animal. 

It was a very pleasing duty, as Chairman of the Harrow 
Governors, to be able to receive this Memorial on behalf of the 
School, and there is no transaction in connection with the 
discharge of my duties as Chairman of the Governors to which 
I shall look back with greater satisfaction than the completion 
of this Memorial. 

From the Earl of Clarendon. 

There are some mortals who diffuse around them an atmo- 
sphere of geniality towards all those with whom they come in 
contact, whose words and deeds are redolent of " good will 
towards men," who in one word are possessed of a charm which 
is as rare as it is inexplicable, and which is born of a warm 
heart and a kindly disposition. Of such was John Maunsell 

From his earliest days, both at school and at college, he 
formed friendships which endured throughout his life, founded 
as they were on the rock of respect. He never made an enemy 
or forgot a friend. Many were the generous actions he per- 
formed, but he would have "blushed to find them fame." The 
intimate relations which existed between him and many of his 
contemporaries were stable and enduring, and those who had 
the privilege of his friendship were sure of a hearty reception 
and a warm welcome, however lengthened the separation, how- 
ever different the career from his own. 

" No flannelled fool nor muddied oaf" was he, yet in almost 
all the sports and pastimes which form a large part of British 
life he was a protagonist. On the cricket ground, in the 
hunting field, on the racecourse, many were the triumphs he 
achieved, conspicuous was the success of which he could boast, 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

but his innate modesty was responsible for the absence of any 
vainglorious vauntings of performances of which any athlete 
might well be proud. 

The writer was many years since conversing with a cele- 
brated horseman who asserted that at that time there were 
only three expert gentlemen riders in Great Britain : himself 
and two others. He forgot John Maunsell Richardson. Not 
to many gentlemen riders is it granted twice to win the Grand 
National Steeplechase, and the successful negotiation of formid- 
able obstacles over a course more than 4^ miles in length 
means pluck, endurance, nerve and skill, and who shall say 
that attributes such as these if applied to other and more 
serious phases and conditions of life do not constitute an im- 
portant factor and give an incentive to success ? 

And thus with that keen sense of duty which ever prompts 
a healthy mind, though somewhat late in life, he stepped into 
the political arena with no other end in view save that of 
serving his country, with no hope of reward but the approval 
of his fellows and the knowledge that the stress and strain 
of a Parliamentary career have but one object, and that the 
greatest good of the greatest number. It is of such material 
that Great Britain's sons are made. The healthy breezy tone 
which pervades the bodies of our athletes often finds its way 
into their minds and forms an obstacle to the over-indulgence 
in the sports of the field of which they are past-masters, and 
thus generates a stimulus to the performance of duties which 
call forth the best, because the most unselfish, elements of 

For the author of this brief memoir it is difficult after the 
lapse of more than half a century accurately to recall or record 
the incidents of interest which occurred in " the Cat's " school- 
life, but there were two salient points during his career at 




Harrow which stand forth — his conspicuous skill in all the 
games and pastimes which a public school can furnish, and 
the cheery, kindly and withal soft and gentle disposition of 
the boy which earned him the sobriquet which clung to him 
throughout life. Of his domestic life and the "sweet com- 
munion " which existed between him and her who has to bear 
the heavy burden of bereavement one can only write or speak 
with bated breath — " Sorrow's crown of sorrow is the remem- 
brance of happier days," but for her there may be this slight 
solace — the "monumentum aere perennius" — a memorial 
more enduring than mere brass — the regard and affection of 
the host of his friends and admirers who will never cease to 
deplore his untimely decease. 

"Time like an everlasting flood bears all its sons away," 
but unlike "the dream that flies at the opening day," they 
do not all pass forgotten, and the name of John Maunsell 
Richardson is indelibly engraved on the memory of those who 
participated in "the moving incidents by flood and field" of 
which he was the hero, but also in that of those who recog- 
nized in him the most gallant of sportsmen, the staunchest of 

From Lady Batter sea. 

Maunsell Richardson was an old and dear friend of my 
husband's since his Cambridge days, and this must be my 
excuse for adding these few lines of affectionate remembrance 
to the Memoir of his life. 

I can recollect the first time that I met Mr. Richardson 
and the impression then made upon me, which never varied 
in after years. It was at Brocklesby, when Cyril (her husband) 
and I were visiting Lady Yarborough, then a widow living with 
her children in the charming home of her married life. It 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

must have been in the month of April, in the year 1878. It 
happened to be a very cold, tardy spring, and Lincolnshire is 
certainly not at its best in such weather, but the warmth of the 
greeting that awaited us compensated in a great measure for 
the inclemency of the season. On arrival at Brocklesby Hall, 
after our first meeting with our hostess, we were ushered into 
one of the fine lofty drawing-rooms, a great feature of the house, 
and then I heard my husband exclaim : " Oh ! ' Cat,' how are 
you ? Come and be introduced to my wife." (" Cat " being, as 
I soon learned, a pet name for Mr. Richardson, familiar to all 
who knew him.) Upon which, a young man, about Cyril's 
own age, came forward and shook me genially by the hand. 
I remarked then and there, that he had very kindly blue 
eyes, a fresh, healthy complexion, and a pleasing personality. 
He had also that unmistakable out-of-door stamp of face and 
figure, inseparably connected with those who love sport and 
athletic games. 

Later, during that same evening, Mr. Richardson told me 
how he had known Cyril for many years, how they had always 
been the best of friends, and also, how glad he therefore was 
to make my acquaintance. I can remember that before dinner 
we all trooped into the stables — which really were a wing of 
the house — at what is called " Stabling hour." This was quite 
a novelty for me. Mr. Richardson went from stall to stall, 
patting the glossy coats of the hunters, expatiating upon their 
good points and relating some of their exploits in the hunting 
field. One of the best was reserved to carry my husband 
on the morrow. 

Lady Yarborough (always a wonderful horsewoman) showed 
us her own special favourite, and I believe that his name was 
" Birthday." 

I have some recollection of driving about on the next day 



in a phaeton with a somewhat loquacious groom, of an imagina- 
tive turn of mind, for he gave me a description of what he 
declared was going on in the hunting field, whilst I confess to 
have seen nothing but the ploughed land of Lincolnshire with 
the low well-trimmed hedges and the woods of Brocklesby 
sacred to the fox. The occasional sound of the horn and the 
cries "View Halloo!" from the huntsmen, and "He's off I " 
from the Whip, were my only indications that England's 
greatest sport was being carried on in close proximity to 
the roads where our phaeton was leisurely moving about. 
In the late afternoon, when the riders had all happily returned 
sound and whole, my husband dilated upon the fine horseman- 
ship of Mr. Richardson, the perfect command he had of his 
horse, and yet on what friendly terms they stood to one 

But I am not going to descant upon Mr. Richardson's fine 
horsemanship, and upon the skill he displayed in steeplechasing 
as well as in the hunting field, where he and his friend, the 
late Lord Minto, proved such generous rivals — these matters 
will all have been dealt with by far abler pens than mine. I 
reserve to myself, however, the pleasant task of dwelling upon 
the rare qualities of unselfishness, true kindness and modesty 
that made Mr. Richardson deservedly popular with old or 

On many occasions he and his wife, Lady Yarborough, 
were our guests in our Norfolk home, and as our North-east 
Coast appealed more and more to them both, they finally 
became the owners of a charming small seaside residence, 
where, with their son, Jack Richardson, they spent many happy 
summer days; the golf course on the Links, with its breezy 
surroundings and its glorious sea-view, the tennis court in the 
Pleasaunce gardens, proved great attractions to our friends, 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

and none made themselves" more deservedly beloved than the 
subject of this memoir. Everywhere he was a favourite both 
with young and old, with men of culture, men of business, 
agriculturists, the Norfolk fishermen and those of sporting 
tastes. He had the qualities of a true English gentleman, and 
very lovable ones they are, and he carried on the best 
traditions of the old sporting world, such as have been known 
for many a day in this our country of England. He was 
typically English in his great loveof nature added to a keen 
spirit of enjoyment, and in being devoid of all conceit and self- 
sufficiency whilst very generous in his estimation of others. I 
think we all of us felt what my husband meant when he said 
that Mr. Richardson "rang true throughout." I should like 
to add that no one, to my knowledge, ever heard one repre- 
hensible word from his lips. His respect for women and 
children was most beautiful, and as his trim and compact figure 
might have been seen Sunday after Sunday wending its way 
churchwards, always accompanied by that ever-constant and 
inimitable companion, his wife, I felt that amongst the con- 
gregation there could not have been a heart more faithful to its 
early teaching, humbler in self-appreciation or more grateful 
for a life rich in friendship and in home affections. 

From the Rev. Hon. Edward Lyttelton> M.A., D.D., 

Headmaster of Eton. 

"Cat" Richardson was a name familiar to me from early 
days at home, when my elder brothers, especially Spencer, 
used to speak of him as a fine Cambridge cricketer. But I 
never came across him personally till we met on the Cromer 
golf-links. He was then fifty years of age, and though only 
a beginner he became quite a sound player in a wonderfully 
short time. I never shall forget his boyish glee when he 



found himself in his second day's play driving magnificently 
and beating an unhappy visitor, who had played for some 
time, by "seventeen up." This was an astonishing perform- 
ance. Many a game after that we had together, and I was 
always proud if I made a good match though I began the 
game ten years younger than he was. He set a notable 
example to all cricketer-golfers of real keenness and perfect 
temper — the sign-manual of the genuine sportsman. Moreover, 
he was wholly free from the unamiabilities which in those 
days clung to most middle-aged players like a limpet. To 
us in the " nineties " the game was a revelation of surprising 
incompetence, especially to those who, like him, had been 
proficients in cricket. We addressed ourselves to the apparently 
childish problem of hitting a stationary ball, while our memories 
recalled the mastery of the lightning deliveries of formidable 
bowlers in days gone by. Imagine the humiliation of years 
of bootless effort on the Links ! What a stern corrective of 
human vanity was there! and how the initial effect was to 
work havoc on the tempers, first and foremost of old cricketers 
who never before had found themselves compelled to con- 
centrate mind and will along with the eye on the ball ; and 
few there were who did not succumb : but Richardson was 
certainly one of them. To go round with him was to feel 
your better self invigorated and braced up : the silliest egotist 
— and we golfers are surpassingly silly sometimes — would feel 
ashamed to maunder over the transparent fiction of the 
excellence of his previous week's play, or to rave feebly at 
the fiftieth repetition of his own pet blunder, or to button-hole 
any one within reach to listen to the unending drivel of his 
self pity. All this anaemia of golf was banished by his 
manliness, his utter want of assumption or "swank," the 
healing of his smile, the courtesy of his speech, and his eager 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

desire that all alike should do well what they had set them- 
selves to do. For everything about him was sane and sanative 
as well as lovable, and yet he was wholly unaware of the good 
he did. 

Similarly among men who are called — somewhat heed- 
lessly at times — saints, I have never come across one who 
more entirely fulfilled the precept, " When thou doest alms let 
not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth " ; in fact 
he was a real interpreter of those difficult words. Most 
strikingly cordial has been the gratitude expressed by under- 
lings of every description who ever came across him, for many 
a deed of loving-kindness and generosity, noticed only by the 
recipient but forgotten instantaneously by the doer, till the 
day when he, along with all the multitude of the merciful in 
Heaven, shall be received by those whom they cheered on 
earth into the "everlasting habitations." 

It is a pleasure to me to send you this little tribute to a dear 

[By the kind permission of the author, the Honourable Sir 
Chandos Leigh, I am allowed to quote the following " Impres- 
sion " of my brother, from his interesting book of reminiscences, 
so full of bright anecdotes, " Bar," Bat andBit," published last 

From the Honourable Sir Chandos Leigh. 

I was revising barrister for North Mid- Lincolnshire for 
thirteen years. . . . 

I was rather pleased because I had many friends in 
Lincolnshire, including Harry Chaplin and Bankes Stanhope 
of Beverley, and the well-known John Maunseil Richardson, 
with whom I invariably lived for over twelve years, and who 
has lately died, to the grief of all his friends. During my 




stay there Lord Melgund (then Earl of Minto, ex-Viceroy of 
India) was generally staying with him, and a very pleasant 
time we had. Richardson was, perhaps, the finest horseman 
of his time, not excepting Jim Mason. . . . He married 
Victoria, Countess of Yarborough, herself a devoted follower 
of hounds, and one whose character and virtues I have always 
intensely appreciated. 

She was simply adored in Lincolnshire, and my wife and 
I were present when they celebrated their silver wedding in 
July, 1 910, and Lord Coventry made a charming speech pro- 
posing their health. The last man who saw him alive was 
his great friend, Lord Minto, who told me not long ago that 
he went to see him the night before his death, and as he was 
leaving, said : " Oh, by the way, Chandos sent you his love." 
In answer to which the Cat murmured, " Dear old Chandos." 
Lord Minto, in telling me this, added, " Yes ! the Cat was 
indeed a remarkable man." 

I must add, by the way, that Lord Coventry has now 
started a Memorial Fund,* and Lincolnshire has already paid 
a tribute to his great popularity by erecting a memorial to him 
outside Limber Church, in which parish he resided for so 
many years. 

From Thomas Hare y Esq. 

Curiously enough, though I knew poor Maunsell for nearly 
forty years I never saw him ride a steeplechase, and only a 
race of private sweepstakes at Croxton Park a few years 
before his death. This was the first appearance of the white 
and blue cap since his win the second year in succession on 
Reugny at Liverpool in 1874. It was two or three years after 

* By the time this book appears in print that Memorial Fund will have merged 
into the Richardson Cricket Pavilion at Harrow. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

that that I made his acquaintance. I used to go in the 
autumn to Brocklesby, about September time, and we had 
many pleasant mornings with the cubs together. To talk 
about his horsemanship is a thrice-told tale, but I well remember 
old Jack Skipwith saying that he remembered " all the old 
lot," Tom Oliver, Captain Beecher, Jim Mason, etc., and none 
of them could "hold a candle to Maunsell." He was, I think, 
physically the most gifted man I have ever known. For his 
size and weight one of the strongest, with wrists like steel, and 
every one knows his nickname of the "Cat" was earned from 
his marvellous activity. It is not very long ago since his old 
Harrow and Cambridge friend A. J. McNeil and myself, when 
talking about him, both remembered an incident one morning 
cub-hunting at Brocklesby. Maunsell rode a black horse 
Sultan at a small wold fence out of a road with a ditch to him 
and a slope down to the ditch. The horse instead of popping 
over popped in and back into the road like an eel. Any poor 
rider would almost certainly have shot off, a moderate one 
might have stuck on with an effort, but Maunsell simply came 
round with the horse as a matter of course. It was curious 
that it should have stuck in both our memories for nearly forty 
years. There are numbers of fine horsemen, but there was 
a style about Maunsell that no one else had. He looked better 
on a horse than any one else, rode very long and sat down and 
back in his saddle. Though I think I was at least an inch 
taller, I remember getting on this very horse Sultan and finding 
his leathers five or six holes too long for me. Later in life, 
like many others, he rode rather shorter. How the Lincoln- 
shire people adored him. Old Jack Skipwith was never tired 
of talking about him ! He was not only first- rate company, 
but what is perhaps rarer, a first-rate companion — a fine sense 
of humour and a rare fund of anecdote. When I say a 




first-rate companion I mean that whatever you were doing in his 
company you were never bored, and he apparently was greatly 
amused. Nothing came amiss to him in the way of subjects ; 
although he was neither a shooting nor a fishing man or ever 
went yachting or travelling, he could always join in your talk 
or reminiscences. He never forgot a friend, and though by no 
means a rich man was always ready to assist any case of hard- 
ship or distress. I well remember not many years ago his saying 
" Of course I will give a pony " the moment he heard of the 
subject. Of late years he played a great deal of golf, and 
though he never became so good at it as he was at cricket in 
his younger days, he was a very fair player and used to say 
it kept him so fit. " What would life in the summer-time be 
without golf!" Fencing, rackets, billiards, all in their turn 
came more naturally to him than to most men, though all these 
were, so to speak, very minor accomplishments compared with 
his horsemanship, but as I have said elsewhere this is a thrice- 
told tale. 

Only a few years ago a noted Irish horse-dealer asked me 
in the Paddock at Ascot, " Who is that gentleman ? " I 
answered, " Mr. Richardson." "What, the celebrated Mr. 
Richardson ? Pray introduce me," which of course I did, to 
my Irish friend's great delight. At the Dublin Horse Show, 
if he was judging, one used to hear him pointed out as the 
Mr. Richardson who won two Nationals. They thought the 
world of him in Ireland as well as in Lincolnshire. I have 
mentioned his physical gifts. Though naturally no bookworm, 
he was well read and a capital speaker. I often thought his 
speeches at Horse-show lunches, etc., were as good as they 
could be, and every one knows he sat for Brigg in Parliament. 
Since 1906, when I came to live in England, he was a neighbour, 
though not a very near one, of mine, and I saw a great deal of 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

him at his new home at Edmondthorpe. On October 16, 
191 1, I rode to Greetham in the Cottesmore country to see a 
horse ; as I was riding home I saw a man on a grey horse 
in front of me. As I got nearer I said to myself, " What a 
smart-looking young fellow, what a good seat ! " Coming up 
I saw it was my old friend Maunsell. We rode for a while 
until our ways parted, and I saw him no more in the saddle, 
and the world has not been quite the same since. 

From the late Leopold de Rothschild, Esq. 

J. M. Richardson came to Cambridge from Harrow with a 
well-deserved reputation. He had been popular at school as 
a good cricketer, a keen sportsman, and a faithful friend. This 
character he fully maintained, not only at the University but 
also in after life. His open disposition, his straightforwardness 
towards his friends, and his real love of sport were great 
qualities that endeared him to one and all who knew him. 
The nickname of " Pussy," or " Cat," which he enjoyed as a 
boy, stuck to him through life. Why it was given to him no 
one exactly knew — certainly it was not that he had any of the 
qualities generally attributed to a cat, but some said that in 
early life his face resembled that of this animal. 

During the whole time that he was at Cambridge, Richard- 
son lived at French's, a lodging house in Park Street, Jesus 
Lane, kept by a widow, Mrs. French ; she was always in- 
visible, but her sister, Harriet Binstead, commonly called 
Harty, was the soul and spirit of the house. She wore a wig 
and had rosy cheeks, was never tired, knew the characteristics 
of all who came into the house, and was invaluable in every 
way. There were five rooms, and it was the custom of the 
house that these should be occupied by friends. In Richard- 
son's time, and indeed for many years, there was always one 




of Lord Fitz william's sons in the house. Besides these, A. J. 
McNeil, Lord Melgund (later the Earl of Minto), Leopold de 
Rothschild and Edward Buchanan (afterwards Ambassador of 
St. Petersburg) were the occupants of this cheery little house. 
Breakfast and luncheon were always ready and shared by one 
and all. The inmates were always members of the Athenaeum 
Club, then, as now, composed of from twenty to thirty members, 
all more or less fond of sport. In those days it was the fashion 
for each member of the Club to give what was called an 
Athenaeum tea — in other words, a supper. All the members 
of the Club came by right, and the owner of the rooms invited 
a few friends. After supper, some played cards and others 
amused themselves by various games. Richardson never 
played cards, in fact he and Melgund and one or two others 
thought it was a mistake that the whole evening should be 
devoted to Loo, or other equally enticing games of chance. 
On one occasion they put their wise heads together and 
managed to break up the card party by a practical joke, which 
at that time created a certain amount of sensation. However, 
it was a lesson, and the card-players took the hint and joined 
often in the other amusements of the evening. There were 
races in the summer in the Fulbourne Valley, a continuation 
of the famed ditch which divides Newmarket Heath from the 
July course. These races no longer take place, as the Valley 
has been ploughed up, but both at Fulbourne, near Huntingdon, 
and at Cottenham, where there were steeplechases, Richardson 
rode and won many races. Captain Machell, who was always 
fond of seeing the boys ride, used to come over to all the 
meetings, and he was at once much struck by the perfect 
manner in which our hero managed the horses, both on the 
flat and across country — so much so that when the first 
National Hunters' Race was run on March 15, 1872, he 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

entrusted Schiedam to his care. Richardson rode him and 
won easily. His friend Lord Melgund rode in the same race 
(under the assumed name of " Mr. Roily ") a horse belonging 
to Baron Rothschild called Ledburn. This victory enhanced 
Captain Machell's appreciation of Richardson's brilliant horse- 
manship, and in '73 he won the Grand National on Disturb- 
ance, and in '74 on Reugny. It was said then that no one 
ever had a better seat or hands, and to the end of his days 
every one recognized these qualities. 

Richardson hunted a little in the Vale of Aylesbury, and 
to this day Mr. Castle of Thame talks of a great run with 
the Rothschild Staghounds, in which he and Richardson 
were the only two who saw the end. He boasts, however, 
that at one of the last fences Richardson's horse fell, 
and that he caught it and they rode side by side to the 
finish. Castle, who delights in speaking French, says that 
they made a joke about him and said he was " chateau en 
l'air," because they had jumped so many fences. The good 
horse that Castle rode was sold to Lord Rothschild (then 
Sir Nathaniel). 

The friendships commenced at Cambridge by Richardson 
lasted through his life, and many of his friends always asked 
his advice as to how they could get good horses, and he was 
always ready to help them. In fact, every year since we left 
the University he always sent me a trusty hunter, and in the 
well-known sporting sketch by Finch Mason, in which Whyte 
Melville, turning round to a few riders, says, " Now then, 
gentlemen, you're coming over the most beautiful part of the 
Vale " (" Old Days in the Vale of Aylesbury "), I am depicted 
riding a chestnut called Cornet, by Codrington, the first horse 
Richardson sent me. This was followed by many others, all 
good jumpers, and all selected with the greatest care. I am 




now riding one he calls Whittington, a charming horse that 
carries me perfectly. 

These few words fail to express all the good qualities of a 
really good-hearted sportsman, who never said an unkind word 
of any one, who thoroughly enjoyed his success, and yet was 
never jealous or anxious of any one competing with him, and 
to the few of his Cambridge friends who survive him his 
memory will always be very dear. 

From the late Finch Mason, Esq. 

" I liked him so much that, paradoxical though it may 
appear to say so, a feeling of regret sometimes comes over one 
that I ever knew him." 

Such were the words made use of one night in the long 
ago in my presence at a well-known Club devoted to the 
Fine Arts, by one of our most distinguished Painters — then 
a very young man — apropos of the late Charles Dickens, 
whose ever-to-be-lamented death had occurred not long before, 
and with whom he had recently been associated when illus- 
trating one of his books for the great novelist. 

Though few in number, they struck me at the time, and do 
still whenever I recall them to memory, as containing so much 
eloquence crowded into a small space, that in the knowledge 
how Maunsell Richardson detested veneer and ostentation in 
any shape or form, my first impulse was to repeat them here on 
my own account. 

On second thoughts, however, whilst making full allowance 
for their evident sincerity, I came to the conclusion that they 
did not quite represent my own sentiments towards the good 
fellow who has gone. On the contrary, with his portrait in 
the once familiar white jacket and dark-blue cap — the colours 

209 p 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

he registered as his own after the death of Captain Machell — 
mounting guard over a favourite hunting-whip formerly belong- 
ing to him, staring me in the face every day to remind me 
of his genial personality, and nothing but the pleasantest 
recollections of the original, small wonder that the predominant 
feeling within me is that it would have been a matter of great 
regret had we never met. Cheeriest and brightest of com- 
panions, as all agree who ever had the honour of his acquaint- 
ance, nothing seemed capable of damping his habitual good 

Well do I remember only two days after a bad fall he 
received when hunting with the Cottesmore — the worst that 
ever befell him — three years before his death, his coming to 
see me in London. Bruised from head to foot, so stiff was he 
that it was with the greatest difficulty he could mount the 
stairs, yet though compelled to sit with his legs stretched 
straight out before him and in evident pain all the while, he 
treated the whole affair as a joke, giving me such a laughable 
description of his toss, which it is no exaggeration to say would 
have killed nine men out of ten, that one quite forgot for the 
moment its serious nature. 

He was in the act of riding at a big jump with a drop the 
other side, when some young sportsman, a stranger to himself, 
charged the obstacle express pace, at such close quarters as to 
momentarily take the attention of the good hunter ridden by 
Maunsell Richardson from the business in hand — at least that 
is the only construction the latter could put upon it — with 
the result that the pair came a fearful cropper the other side, 
the horse rolling over and over his rider — who as usual stuck to 
his saddle — as he lay on the ground. 

Some of his friends at once dismounted and went to the 
rescue, and "as he lay there apparently lifeless, he recovered 



sufficiently to overhear their remarks, at which, despite his 
injuries, he could hardly help laughing. 

" This arm's broke ! " remarked one friend as he took up 
the limb in question. " So is this," said another, as he handled 
its fellow tenderly. " His back's broke, I'm certain," chimed in 
a third. Whilst another sympathizer, determined not to be 
outdone, exclaimed, " I believe he's DEAD ! " After this 
startling announcement the surprise of those surrounding the 
sufferer may be imagined when the supposed corpse, suddenly 
opening his eyes, inquired faintly, "Where's my horse?" In 
so doing imparting such a shock to the kindly sportsman on 
whose knee his head was supported, that he promptly let it 
drop to the ground with a thud. The corpse had by this time 
quite recovered himself, so much so that, rejecting the offer of 
a friend's motor car to take him home, the corpse insisted on 
remounting his horse and riding back to Edmondthorpe, where 
on arrival he went straight to bed. Luckily no bones were 
broken, but that he was bruised from head to foot goes 
without saying, and from what I have heard since, fancy 
there is little doubt that the pressure of a coat-button 
when the horse rolled over him had something to do with 
his fatal illness. 

The following day he went into Leicester to consult a 
famous surgeon there, and the day after, as I have stated, 
like the good-plucked one he was, came to see the writer in 

Another narrow escape he had, either just previous or after 
the fall now described, was when riding to covert one morning 
all by himself, a small bricked-in bridge over a culvert at the 
side of the road gave way, letting his horse in up to his head. 
Mr. Richardson either fell or threw himself off — probably the 
latter, and as he lay on the ground was all but run into by a motor 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

car belonging to his friend Mr. Gretton, who was following 
close behind en route to the meet. 

Conservative in all his notions, it was a long while before 
he could be persuaded to invest in an automobile on his own 
account, and when he did only made use of it for travelling 
purposes, and never as an adjunct to the hunting field ; both 
he and his Countess invariably making a practice of riding home 
after hunting, no matter how far the distance might be. 

Always considerate where his own horses — not to mention 
servants — were concerned, nothing pained him more than to 
see a so-called sportsman at the end of the day riding his tired 
horse some miles out of his way, perhaps to pick up his motor 
car, arranged to meet him at a certain spot, in order that its 
selfish owner might reach home in time for a game of Bridge 
before dinner. Though in great request at all the principal 
horse shows in the kingdom, he was appointed as one of the 
judges at Olympia on the first two occasions, but the judging 
by night was not at all to his taste, and moreover the trick 
jumping indulged in there did not appeal to him, as savouring 
too much of a circus, therefore it came about that in future, 
though I believe requested to act once more, his well-known 
figure was conspicuous by its absence in the arena. Another 
drawback was that in view of the many foreign competitors 
present his ignorance of any language but his own naturally put 
him at a great disadvantage. 

I remember his giving me a most amusing description once 
of how, somewhere in the seventies, he and the late George 
Ede, returning together from Baden-Baden, where they had 
been riding in the Grand Prix, won by the latter on Benazet, 
a brilliant two-miler belonging to the late Lord Poulett, and 
having to get back to England immediately after the race in 
order to ride at Warwick, owing to their ignorance of the 































H -a 

W % 



O co 







German language, all but missed their train, with the result 
that but for an intelligent foreigner, who spoke English and 
came to the rescue just in time, they would probably have been 
a week doing the journey. Neither shooting nor fishing ap- 
pealed to him in the slightest degree — the former he said made 
his head ache — our friend of late years when hunting was over 
devoted the whole of his time to golf, at which he quickly 
attained great proficiency, so much so that the year before his 
death he was unanimously elected president of the golf club at 
Overstrand, near Cromer, where at a charming residence, called 
the "Corner House," he and Lady Yarborough had made 
their home for some little while past during the summer 

To say that he was delighted when, at the instance of his 
friend General Brocklehurst, he was appointed Field Master of 
the Cottesmore Hounds is hardly the word. Of this I was a 
witness, as he had paid me a flying visit in town that very day, 
and it was on meeting the General quite by chance the same 
night, on alighting from the train, that the latter told him that 
he had just been appointed Master of the Cottesmore, and 
counted on his (Maunsell's) support as Field Master. The 
latter wrote straight off to me the same night to impart the 
good news. With what zeal he entered into his new duties 
goes without saying. Suffice it to say that never was the term 
"a labour of love" more applicable than in this instance. 

How, when after by sheer hard work he had managed to 
get everything in shipshape order in readiness for the coming 
season, he was seized with the illness which, in spite of the 
good fight he made, was to lay him low at last, we know only 
too well, 

In a letter written to myself very soon after the commence- 
ment of the hunting season by one of the best-known ladies 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

hunting with the Cottesmore, in concluding a graphic descrip- 
tion of the day's sport on the opening day, she wound up 
with — "and you can't think how we all missed the dear old 
1 Cat ' ! " Who is there, I would ask, amongst those that knew 
him — whether Peer or Peasant — who doesn't echo her words ? 

[It is said, and in ordinary cases doubtless very truly said, 
that no man is a "hero to his valet," but in the following 
impression of my brother very kindly written for me by Mr. 
J. Fulford, who lived in his service first as valet, then butler, 
from 1892 to the time of his death, 191 2 — 20 years — it will 
be seen that my brother was an exception to the rule. 

Once before, during my life, I had the honour many years 
ago of meeting one other such exception in the person of the 
late George MacDonald. 

At that time I knew Miss Bishop rather intimately, a lady 
who was admitted behind the scenes and thoroughly con- 
versant with the details of the daily life of the wonderful 
MacDonald family, a privileged and trusted member of his 
household. I remember well that I asked her to tell me 
whether Mr. MacDonald was really the hero in private life 
that so many people believed him to be who only knew him 
in his more public capacity. Her answer was quick and un- 
faltering, " Far, far more so, if possible."] 

From J. Fulford, his Valet. 

My first recollection of Mr. J. M. Richardson is when I 
was a boy at Limber when my father was farm bailiff to his 
brother, Mr. William Richardson, and we schoolboys used to 
watch Mr. Maunsell Richardson's horses being trained over 
the fences, training them for the big races he used to ride, 
and generally win. He always had a cheery word for us 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's valet. 


youths and he always encouraged sport of every kind among 
us, such as cricket, etc. I well remember having a race with 
another boy — he was watching us, and although I did not win 
he gave me a shilling, as he said I got such a bad start and 
did not have a fair chance ; also it used to be a grand day 
for us when Victoria, Countess of Yarborough, used to visit 
the school at Limber and give us our prizes, also Lady 
Gertrude. I little thought in those days I should ever live 
with them as their servant. I still have some of the prize 
books in which Lady Victoria and Lady Gertrude kindly wrote 
my name. 

My father always used to say he had a very great opinion 
of both Mr. William and Mr. Maunsell Richardson and what 
good people they were to live with. 

I shall never forget the coming of age festivities of the 
present Earl of Yarborough; Mr. J. M. R. giving we school- 
boys shillings for running races ; and the camp of the Lincoln 
Light Horse in Brocklesby Park, with Lady Victoria riding at 
the head of the troop. 

I first came to Lady Victoria and Mr. Richardson as foot- 
man in August, 1892, and butler in 1896, when they lived at 
Healing Manor — my father had a farm at Great Coates, the 
next village, and I remember him telling me to stick to 
Mr. Maunsell and Lady Victoria as they were the two best 
in Lincolnshire or any other county, and I never met anybody 
in Lincolnshire but they had a good word for them, All the 
years I lived with him I never remember an unkind word, and 
if any mistake was made he always spoke in such a way as 
to make you think he was doing you a kindness, and not 
finding fault. I always admired him in every way as a sports- 
man in racing and hunting ; there are many better judges than 
I am who did the same, but what I admired most was that 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

he was such a manly gentleman. Although he was particular 
as to his clothes being well cut and being smartly turned out, 
he could not bear foppishness or effeminacy in any way, and 
disliked wearing jewellery which would be in any way unduly 
noticeable. But I thought his great kind-heartedness was his 
chief charm. He never could refuse anybody if they asked 
him for help. I knew of scores of cases where he was always 
helping people, runners with hounds and such-like folk. And 
many are the postal orders I have sent off to people when they 
have written to him for help ; truly there are many who will 
miss him now he is gone. I do not think it possible for any 
one to be missed more than he was in the Cottesmore Hunt. 

In fact, when I was in Oakham or Melton I was surprised 
at the number of people of all classes whom he had been a 
friend to, and all said how much they missed him, he was so 

One gentleman in particular of the Cottesmore Hunt, Mr. 
Greville Clayton, told me that no matter how black things 
were looking, his troubles always seemed lighter and less 
gloomy after an hour's ride and talk with Mr. R. He seemed 
to have the happy knack of communicating his cheery spirits 
to others, and to me in my own troubles he was such a friend, 
and always gave me such sound advice and help. When he 
returned from a day's hunting, no matter how tired he might 
be, he always had something pleasant to say, which made it 
such a pleasure to serve him, and during his illness he was 
so unselfish, considering others even then. I did not think he 
was so ill as he must have been, as he was so cheery up to 
the time he went to London. I miss him more than I can 
say and feel sure I shall never see his like again ; in fact, he 
was my ideal of an English country gentleman. 



mr. j. m. Richardson's writings collated 

i. Introduction to " Gentlemen Riders Past and Present." — 2. Eaton and Harrow. — 
3. The Derby. — 4. Royal Ascot. — 5. Fox-hunting. — 6. Steeplechasing. — 7. The 
Grand National. — 8. Show Jumping. 

In the later years of his life my brother had, at the suggestion 
of his friends, begun to write on some of the sports of which 
he had such an intimate knowledge. The handsome volume 
on " Gentlemen Riders Past and Present," which he wrote in 
collaboration with Mr. Finch Mason, is generally recognized 
as the best work on its subject. It was very cordially received 
by the Press and by the public, and is practically sold out, as 
only a very few copies now remain in the publishers' hands. 
My brother's introduction to the volume is reproduced in this 
section, while the articles on Eton and Harrow, the Derby, 
Royal Ascot, Fox-hunting, Steeplechasing, and the Grand 
National, which originally appeared in The Daily Telegraphy 
are included by the courtesy of the proprietors of that journal, 
to whom the copyright belongs, which permission is hereby 
gratefully acknowledged. The remaining article on Show 
Jumping was found among my brother's papers, and so far as 
I am aware has never been published. 



I wonder how many readers are aware that the first person 
to give a fillip to amateur jockeyship was that merriest of 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

monarchs, King Charles the Second, who, not content with 
merely looking on, frequently rode himself in races of his own 
promotion. He it was who founded a race meeting at Burford, 
in Oxfordshire, in reality the origin of the Bibury Club, which, 
afterwards transferred to Stockbridge, became the favourite 
battle ground of all the best gentlemen riders in the kingdom, 
and though still in existence, is, alas ! but a shadow of its 
former self; thanks to the disappearance of the old-time 
meeting at Stockbridge, for which Salisbury is but a sorry 

Another favourite meeting, too, long since done away with, 
was that of the Liverpool Hunt Club at Hoylake, in Cheshire, 
at which all our best amateurs over a country invariably 
sported silk. 

Then, again, there was Lord Wilton's own meeting at 
Hooton Park, where he himself, one of the finest horsemen of 
his or any other time, riding as " Mr. Clarke," was always very 
much en evidence. 

The Hoo and Gorhambury Races, too, in Bedfordshire and 
Hertfordshire respectively, the latter being held in Lord 
Verulam's Park, at which Mr. Delme Radcliffe, a splendid 
horseman on the flat, and a great personal friend of George 
the Fourth, for whom he frequently rode, was the ruling spirit, 
must not be forgotten. 

Meanwhile Croxton Park still flourishes like a green bay- 
tree, and the Southdown Club goes on its way rejoicing, if not 
quite so strong as formerly. 

Given opportunity and encouragement, I believe gentlemen 
riders would be quite as prolific as ever they were, and it was 
the knowledge of the great interest taken in amateur horse- 
manship, not only in the past, but the present time, that was 
our principal inducement for producing this book. 











Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

Though, like everything else, cross-country riding has 
undergone considerable changes since it first came into fashion, 
just over seventy years ago, it has never lost its popularity 
either with those taking an active part in it, or the general 
public ; the element of danger, which is present perhaps to a 
greater extent than in any other sport to be mentioned, being, 
as is invariably the case, an irresistible attraction to both. 
One thing is certain, which is that unless an aspirant to steeple- 
chase honours thoroughly makes up his mind beforehand to 
put his whole heart and soul into his work, with his neck a 
secondary consideration, he may just as well leave the game 
alone altogether for all the satisfaction he is likely to get 
out of it. 

That the example of some of those who rode over the 
severe country courses in the long ago has done much to 
improve the breed of horses there can be no question, and for 
their pluck, and energy in showing us what a well-bred horse 
with a good rider on his back can accomplish, we owe them a 
debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. 

It is, no doubt, difficult to treat contemporary characters 
and events, and it may be doubted if the difficulty is dimin- 
ished, when we commemorate the men who have preceded us. 
The writer who is personally acquainted with his theme holds 
unquestionably a great advantage, and it will be found that 
the most interesting reminiscences in this volume are those 
which have been contributed by actors in the scenes they have 

Pascal says that, in composing a book, the last thing that 
one learns is how to begin. 

I hope, therefore, that in commencing with Lord Clanri- 
carde my readers will agree with me that he is entitled to the 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

At the present time the opinion is general amongst prac- 
tical men with the welfare of their country at heart that, with 
the supply of horses for our cavalry being totally inadequate, 
some scheme should be set on foot in order to give an impetus 
to their production. 

Here is another instance of history repeating itself, for it 
is on record that when, something like eight hundred years B.C., 
the Greeks found themselves at the Battle of Marathon utterly 
destitute of cavalry, the tardy recognition of horse-racing was 
assigned as the reason, with the result that in future the sport 
formed a prominent feature at the great National Festival at 
Elis. There were " Gentlemen Riders " even in those days, 
amongst whom Philip of Macedon and Hiero of Syracuse 
seem to have occupied pretty much the same position that 
Messrs. Lushington and George Thursby do in our own time, 
and they all rode bareback, with no other assistance than a 

It was at the Olympic Games, too, when the first specimen 
of a war-horse was exhibited, that Art received its earliest 
stimulus to improve what has been rightly termed the " noblest 
animal in creation." 

With these examples before us, why should not John Bull 
take the hint by giving a little more encouragement to home 
breeders, especially among the smaller class, than he is now 
doing, and so make it worth their while to replenish his empty 
cavalry stables with better, and probably cheaper, material 
than is the case at the present time ? 

It is hardly necessary to point out that to attain to any 
success in race-riding it is absolutely necessary to keep fit, and 
here, perhaps, I may be able to give some advice which will be 
useful to the novice. 

Many young men labour under the impression that by 


(J. M. Richardson's grandmother at 20 years of age.) 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

hunting regularly three or four times a week they are, there- 
fore, perfectly trained for riding a race. 

In addition, they will probably take no end of trouble in 
going for long walks, indulging in Turkish baths, and so on. 
All this is of very little use as compared with riding gallops, 
both on the flat and over a country, several days in the 

Going fast through the air on a pulling horse tries the wind 
of a rider, as well as the muscles of his arms and legs, far 
more than any hunting can, no matter how fast or how long 
it may be. There is no necessity for any great training of 
the body. Only ride gallops steadily every morning, and you 
will find yourself in perfect wind, and not tire after the 
severest race. 

The usual day's work, when I had steeplechase horses at 
Limber, was to go out every morning before breakfast and ride 
two or three different horses in three-miles over fences, and 
after the matutinal meal go out for a day's hunting. Of 
course you want to be young and full of energy for this kind 
of work, as one often jumped more fences during the morning 
than in the day's hunting, especially if it were a moderate 
scenting day. 

Nothing did one more good than to repair to Newmarket 
after the steeplechasing was over, and ride gallops on the flat 
and in trials of perhaps six or five furlongs, riding the older 
horse against the two-year-olds. 

Practice of this sort taught you to jump off and get your 
horse into his stride quickly without hustling him, and was of 
the greatest assistance in making you a good judge of pace. 
It also kept one in perfect wind. 

Had I not ridden gallops over short courses every day, I 
do not think I could have won short races like the two welters 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

at Epsom — one at the Spring Meeting, and the other the day 
after the Derby — when there was no straight six furlongs, and 
Tattenham Corner to come round soon after the start. 

No matter how good a man may be in the hunting field, he 
will find race meetings a very difficult matter when he comes to 
try his 'prentice hand, and may take it from me, that before he 
can hope to compete with the best professional riders, whether 
over a country or on the flat, nothing will avail him but 
constant practice in the manner I have just described. 

Another matter of great importance is to have your horse 
bitted with a bridle that suits his mouth. 

On the flat, this is not of so much consequence ; but it 
makes all the difference in a steeplechase to have your horse 
well balanced when jumping, and having perfect control over 
him all through the race. Should he — as is not unfrequently 
the case — get the upper hand and break away with his rider 
when the starter drops his flag, not only does he tire his jockey, 
but he soon runs himself out and fails to stay home. 

Nothing is more trying than to ride a hard-pulling horse in 
a long race like the Grand National, and in such a case it is 
long odds against the horse staying the distance. 

On the other hand, with your horse under proper control, 
you can always keep him going within himself, with the result 
that he will stay on to the end. 

A bridle I was always very fond of was two snaffles, and if 
on an extra puller, such as Reugny, whom I rode in one of that 
description, a chain snaffle and a gag. 

How often one hears of a stirrup-leather breaking — as 
likely as not at the initiative fence ! No one who has not gone 
through this experience has any idea how tiring it is to the 
thigh having to ride through a race with only one stirrup. I 
have a very vivid remembrance of a ride I once had in the Open 



A well-known cricketer, father of Mr. E. M. Dowson, and 
great friend of J. M. Richardson. 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

Handicap, at Hexham, on a mare called Lady Day, when my 
stirrup-leather broke at the very first fence. To make it worse, 
most of the jumps had biggish drops attached to them. But 
" All's well that ends well," and I won by a neck, in the end. 
You cannot be too particular in carefully examining your 
stirrups' leathers'before getting into the saddle. I say " leathers" 
advisedly, as being far better than webbings for steeplechases, 
for the reason that, should your foot slip out of the iron, you 
can more easily recover it than the other, which twists and turns 
about so as to make it very difficult to get your foot back into 
the iron. 

I would also here never advise any one to ride on a smaller 
saddle than one of six or seven pounds, as the tree of a very 
light saddle is always liable to break, and really three or four 
pounds does not make the same amount of difference in a 
steeplechase that it would on the flat. 

As to falls, I have been so exceptionally lucky that there is 
really very little to say on the subject, so far as concerns 
myself, except to remark that the majority of them, in my 
humble opinion, are caused by riding too close in the tracks of 
the horse in front of you, the natural consequence being that 
your mount has no time to see the obstacle before him until he 
is right on to it. 

As a matter of fact, I hardly ever got a fall when riding the 
horses in a steeplechase schooled by myself at home, and the 
only one I really ever received all through my career in the 
saddle, and that not worth speaking about, was when riding 
Juryman in the big steeplechase at Baden-Baden I fell and 
hurt my ankle to some slight extent. Major Tempest, George 
Ede and myself were the only Englishmen taking part in the 
race, and were in front of the others, riding side by side, when 
the horse of the first-named swerving against mine just as we 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

took off at the brook, we both fell in, at the imminent risk of 
being jumped upon by the other riders, mostly Prussian officers, 
every one of whom came to grief. George Ede, on Lord 
Poulett's Benazet, who eventually won, was the only rider, in 
fact, to get over in safety. 

I have been equally lucky hunting, and until two years ago 
never broke a bone, and that was when riding a hack over 
some timber. 

Some horses are apt to take off too far away from their 
fences, and the best way I know of to cure them of this 
dangerous fault is to jump them constantly over rather a low 
fence with a wide ditch on the landing side. After a few 
lessons they will soon learn to go well up to their fence before 

Others, again, have just the opposite habit o f getting too 
near their fences before jumping, and for these the best and 
safest remedy is the guard rail, as it makes the horse stand away. 

The rider can often help his horse to get a fence in his 
stride by pointing him the least bit either to the right or left, 
as your own eye tells you when you are two or three lengths 
away whether your horse is likely to get his stride wrong. 

Some horses hardly ever get a fence out of their stride, and 
when they do, put a short one in with such rapidity as to at 
once equalize matters. To ride such perfect chasers as these is 
indeed to be in luck's way. I cannot impress too forcibly upon 
those of my readers who are fresh to cross-country work the 
great necessity of sitting well back to help your mount at his 
fences when he is getting tired, and holding him together in 
the last mile of a long race. 

A fresh horse can jump without assistance from its rider, 
but when blown and leg weary, then is the time he wants help 
from his jockey in the manner I have suggested. 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

I have heard steeplechasing described before now by its 
detractors as a hybrid sort of sport, neither flesh, fowl, nor 
good red herring ; but, call it what they may, there is no 
getting away from the fact that, as a means of bringing out 
those qualities our countrymen are supposed to possess in an 
eminent degree and which have so often excited the admira- 
tion — not to say envy — of the civilized world, it would be hard 
to find its equal. 

If a perusal of the brave deeds in the saddle recorded here 
should have the effect of giving an impetus to a sport in which 
formerly all the flower of our chivalry — from the Merry 
Monarch downwards — thought it an honour to engage, then 
this book will not have been written in vain. 

Speaking for self and partner, I cannot conclude without 
expressing our sincere thanks to H.S.H. Prince Charles 
Kinsky, the Earl of Minto, Colonel H. Browns, and Messrs. 
Reginald Herbert, Harry Rouse, Willoughby Maycock, and 
many other relatives and friends of the riders, for their 
invaluable assistance rendered from time to time, without which 
ours would have been a much more arduous task than has 
proved to be the case. 

(Signed) J. Maunsell Richardson. 




{Reproduced by -permission of the proprietors of" The Daily Telegraph ") 

In the early 'sixties, from which period dates my acquaint- 
ance with the great public school match, first of all in the 
capacity of a passive resister in the Dark Blue interests, and 
subsequently as a member of the Harrow Eleven, Lord's 

225 Q 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Cricket Ground invariably appeared to the naked eye to be 
entertaining as large a company within its gates as could be 
accommodated with any degree of comfort ; but for all that 
there always seemed abundance of room to move about. 
Youthful swells about town not only could, but did, ride 
their hacks on to the ground, where they were quickly 
surrounded by little knots of admiring friends still in bondage, 
and longing for the good time coming, when " absence " would 
be a thing of the past, and they would act as their own 

There was plenty of hospitality going in those days, on the 
drags and in the carriages which lined the ground in great 
profusion, but it was nothing like the huge picnic it has 
developed into of recent years, since it became a Society 
function and a popular attraction. 

At the time I am speaking about, the visitors to Lord's on 
the Eton and Harrow match days were entirely composed of 
those directly interested in one or other of the rival schools, 
and who, but for that fact, would probably never have taken the 
trouble to travel to St. John's Wood for the purpose of looking 
on at a parcel of boys playing cricket. Nowadays it is alto- 
gether different, and the chances are that if it came to a count, 
it would be found that those spectators amongst the sterner sex 
who, while applauding their loudest for Eton or Harrow, as 
the case might be, were probably unconnected with either 
school by any tie, however remote, far outnumbered those who 
had a legitimate claim. The youthful card-merchants, with 
their shrill cry of " Card o* the metch, gentlemen ! " are still 
€n evidence during the play ; but, alas ! the white-aproned pot- 
boy, the sight of whose pewter pots, glistening like silver in the 
sun and cooling to the eye, rendered his appeal to " Give yer 
order, gents," as he picked his way amongst the thirsty souls 


(President Harrow School Memorial Committee.) 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

seated on the grass below the ropes almost unnecessary, has, 
like a good many other cherished institutions in the past, 
disappeared long ago. 

" Hi, bring me a pot of shandygaff! " cheerily exclaimed a 
noble lord at my elbow one broiling hot afternoon many years 
ago, adding, as he turned round to his laughing companion, 
" Dashed if I can resist the pewter pots of these fellows ; they 
remind me of the dear old Christopher ! " 

What with legislation, the doctors, and the faddists generally, 
our old friend John Barleycorn seems to be having an extremely 
bad time of it just now ; Lord's Cricket Ground being by no 
means the only place where his presence is considered " out of 
date." For instance, whereas formerly, when out shooting, a 
horn of nut-brown ale was good enough for our fathers to wash 
down their luncheon with, whether on a grouse moor in August, 
under a leafy hedge in September, or in a covert in December, 
our modern sportsman, especially if at all " neurotic," can't get 
on at all unless cheered up by the exhilarating " pop " of the 
champagne corks. 

The first Eton and Harrow match I witnessed, soon after 
going to the last-named school, was in 1861, and I well 
remember the row and chaff that went on all the time, and 
again the following year. Dr. Butler, then headmaster of the 
school on the hill, had just previously issued a mandate that our 
trouser-pockets should be sewn up, with an idea of preventing 
the slouching habit acquired by their wearers keeping hands 
perpetually in them. The Eton boys got hold of this, and they 
never let us alone on the subject all through the match, any 
chaff on our side being immediately the signal for a yell of 
" Pockets ! " 

As the day went on the fun waxed fast and furious, with the 
natural result that sundry fistic encounters took place during 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

the afternoon between excited members of the rival schools. 
One in particular, which was productive of roars of laughter 
from the bystanders, who, of course, did their best to encourage 
the combatants, took place between " Bottle" Hambridge, the 
celebrated Harrow " Cad," and " Joby," who occupied a similar 
position at Eton, both elderly men, and both equally drunk. 

It was said afterwards that the whole affair was got up 
expressly for the occasion by the old rascals — what the police, 
I believe, term a " put-up job." 

This may or may not have been true, but, whether or no, 
it is certain that the entertainment provided for their patrons 
was productive of a very rich harvest. The partisans of each 
subscribed in the most liberal manner when the hat went round, 
as you may be sure it did, when an obdurate man in blue, in 
spite of remonstrance, not unaccompanied by attempt at bribery, 
stalked solemnly up and spoilt the fun. 

I think it was in '63 also that additional excitement was 
caused on its becoming known that Maitland, one of our best 
men, had backed his bat for a " tenner " against Johnnie 
Frederick, playing for Eton, the latter, who was a very bold and 
free hitter, winning, if I remember rightly. 

In 1864 I played for Harrow for the first time, Charlie 
Buller (who died a year or so ago) being captain. A. N. 
Hornby — familiarly known in the cricketing world as "Monkey" 
Hornby; the two Phipps ; H. M. Stow; Amherst, brother to 
the present Earl Amherst, and Arkwright, were also in the 
team. The two last-named were slow bowlers — a rather un- 
common circumstance, two slow bowlers being seldom seen in 
a side at the same time. 

I played for my school again the following year, and, thanks 
in a great measure to ours being an exceptionally good fielding 
eleven, we won in one innings on each occasion. 
























( ) 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

In those days the Hon. Robert Grimston and the Hon. 
Fred Ponsonby, afterwards Lord Bessborough — brother of the 
present Sir Spencer Ponsonby Fane — were always at Harrow 
during the summer, coaching the boys at cricket. Old Bob 
Grimston had a catapult, with which he used to bowl at us 
when practising, and as he could always bowl a ball exactly 
where he liked, if a boy had a weak spot in his batting he would 
bowl ball after ball at that particular spot. 

Dear old Bob was wonderfully keen at cricket, as indeed he 
was about all kinds of sport, especially hunting. 

Curiously enough, in spite of his devotion to Harrow and 
his love for the game itself, Bob Grimston steadily avoided 
being present at Lord's on the occasion of the Eton and 
Harrow match, the reason being that he felt himself unable to 
stand the excitement. Whether this was always so I am not 
in a position to state, but it certainly was the case during the 
latter period of his life. 

The wags would have it that by way of an alternative Bob 
used to while away the time when the match was in progress 
in deep meditation, seated on Ben Caunt's tombstone — Ben 
being the prizefighter who fought the bold Bendigo for the belt 
many years ago. This little fairy-tale may, of course, be taken 
for what it is worth. 

There is one part of the programme in connection with the 
Eton and Harrow match which, I am bound to say, I never 
think quite fair — that the captains of the teams should toss for 
innings. It is such a manifest advantage to boys to bat when 
fresh, over their opponents, who, in addition to the journey up 
to London, have had a long and tiring day in the field, that to 
my mind it would be much fairer to both if, instead of leaving 
it to chance, they took it in turn each year. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 




{Reproduced by permission of the proprietors of "The Daily Telegraph ") 

To old stagers like myself — and I fancy there are a goodish 
number left — who, with pleasurable recollections of its past 
glories, would feel it weigh heavily on our conscience did we 
fail to put in an appearance at Epsom on the Derby Day, it is 
positively sad to note the apathy with what was wont to be 
looked upon as the greatest event of the year in the Sporting 
Calendar is now regarded — not so much by the lower, as the 
upper, classes of society. Whereas formerly, not only London, 
but the whole country, was agog with excitement as the day 
for the great event drew nigh, and which was likely to be Sir 
Joseph's best, and how the favourite was getting on, were the 
popular subjects of conversation, to the exclusion of all other 
topics, the Derby now excites little but passing interest. It is, 
indeed, not too much to say that on the present occasion, were 
it not for the welcome presence of Minoru amongst the field, 
the famous race — which the great Sir Tatton Sykes, then 
studying law in a solicitor's office in Bloomsbury, and not over- 
burdened with money, thought it worth while to tramp down 
from London in the early morning to witness — would command 
even less attention than usual. 

Five and thirty years ago, and even later, when hotels were 
much scarcer than is the case now, any one coming to town 
during the Derby Week without having secured rooms in 
advance would have found it exceedingly hard to obtain even 
a bedroom in the West End, especially in Clubland ; whilst, 
from an early hour on both Derby and Oak Days, the streets 
of London, both east and west, alive with vehicles of every 







O ° 
< £- 



Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

sort and description, from the four-horse coach to the coster's 
" barrer," with their occupants dressed in gala attire, in which 
the dust-coat and the white hat and blue veil, inseparable from 
the Derby Day of that period, bore a conspicuous part, pre- 
sented as animated a scene on a fine day as could well be 
imagined. As the morning advanced equipages of a superior 
kind would make their appearance, and well-turned-out coaches 
— many of them driven by swell dragsmen, attired in the brown 
coat and brass buttons of the Four-in-Hand Club — were to be 
met with at every turn in the St. James's district, one and all 
to be encountered later on dispensing hospitality on a lavish 
scale to all-comers on the Hill. 

How things have altered since then ! Take a stroll along 
Piccadilly nowadays on the morning of the Derby Day, and 
it would be hard to tell the difference betwen that and any 
other. The only people, in fact, at the present time who are 
at all keen about the Derby are the holiday-makers pure and 
simple. What better fun than to take the " Missis and the 
kids " for a picnic on the downs, with the Derby thrown in, 
and a shilling or two on his Majesty's horse to add to the 
excitement ? Granted fine weather, the little party will enjoy 
themselves to the top of their bent — especially if they win 
their money — and their day's amusement will certainly compare 
favourably with that of my young friend Dawdle, who, voting 
the Derby a played-out amusement, only fit for the patronage 
of antediluvian old fossils like myself, spends the day at his 
club betting on the tape. 

Faded Glories. 

The decline of the Derby in public favour is probably due 
in no small measure to the large amount of racing which now 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

goes on, as compared with formerly ; whilst the mammoth 
stakes which were introduced in 1886 certainly did it no good, 
nor the Turf either, so far as I can gather. If, as it was stated 
at the time, the principal reason for their being started was to 
give small breeders a chance, they certainly cannot be said 
to have answered their purpose, seeing that in every single 
instance, so far as I know, these big prizes have been carried 
off by owners to whom the winning of a large sum of money 
is of no moment whatever. That there are a great many good 
sportsmen on the Turf at the present time we are all aware, 
but somehow there is not one to be mentioned in recent years 
who has ever succeeded in obtaining the large public following 
which always fell to the lot of Lord Falmouth, Sir Joseph 
Hawley, and Jamie Merry, as his countrymen called the great 
Scotch ironmaster. Without detracting in any way from their 
skill, it would be equally hard, especially now Morny Cannon 
has retired from the profession, to name the jockey riding at 
the present who can lay claim to the same amount of hero- 
worship as that accorded in the long ago by their admirers 
to such past-masters of their art as George Fordham, Tom 
Cannon, John Osborne, Tom Challoner, and Fred Archer. 

There was a good deal of romance, too, attached to the 
Derby in former years, which somehow seems to have deserted 
it lately. Take the story of Wild Dayrell, for instance, whose 
birth was announced to Mr. Popham at midnight by his excited 
butler, who went straight out in the snow to the box occupied 
by his dam, armed with a bottle of port wine and a piece of 
blue riband, the former to drink to the health of the new 
arrival, and the latter " to tie round the neck of the winner of 
the Derby, for the first time in my life." Why, I never heard, 
but it was said at the time that every footman in London was 
on Wild Dayrell when he won the Derby. Without doubt the 


(From a painting by H. St. P. Bunbury, 191 1.) 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

most sensational Derby of our generation was that of Hermit. 
When the horse burst a blood-vessel some time before the race 
Mr. Chaplin would have scratched him there and then, but for 
the persuasion of Captain Machell, who insisted that he would 
win. It was then that the late Duke of Hamilton, meeting 
Machell one night, and the Derby being under discussion, 
thoroughly roused the Captain by saying, " Hermit's a dead'un, 
and you know it," the result of which speech was that the 
Duke laid Captain Machell the big bet of ,£180,000 to ^3000 
against the colt. This was a strongish order, and so thought 
the Duke on reflection, and it was only after pressure, backed 
by the most influential people, had been brought to bear on 
Captain Machell, that the latter consented to cancel the bet, 
or, at all events, to modify it to more slender dimensions. 
After Hermit's victory, this concession on his part no doubt 
rankled in the Captain's bosom, for he never ceased harping 
on the subject for years afterwards. The cold day and snow- 
storm combined were no doubt in Hermit's favour, as, had it 
been the other extreme, the chances are he would have broken 
another blood-vessel. 

Reforms needed. 

The paddock has lost nothing of its charm in all these 
years, and still wears its same animated appearance before 
the big race. The only marvel is that, considering the large 
number of the fair sex who patronize it, the executive, who 
could so well afford to bear the expense, do not make a 
covered road from the grand stand, instead of compelling the 
ladies to thread their way through the unsavoury crowd which 
is always collected there. It would also be a boon to the 
jockeys and trainers, hurrying to get to their horses after the 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

weighing-out process. At no other meeting in the world 
would such a state of things be tolerated for a moment, and 
why the powers that be should allow it in this case, especially 
after the number of complaints that have been made year after 
year, beats the writer's comprehension entirely. 

Another drawback which I have always wondered has 
never given rise to a formal complaint from owners of race- 
horses is the exit from the paddock through which the horses 
make their way to the start. The horses have to pick their 
way down a slope, along broken, chalky ground, which, in hard 
or wet weather, is bound to be more or less greasy, and, con- 
sequently, exceedingly dangerous for a high-spirited or nervous 
horse, who might very easily slip, with disastrous consequences 
to itself, to say nothing of its backers. Somehow one does not 
see so many characteristic figures in the paddock as of old, 
and one misses the stalwart figure of Mr. George Lane-Fox — 
always a sure find on the Derby Day ; " Ginger " Stubbs, too, 
looking exactly as if he had just been turned out of a bandbox, 
with his elaborately folded, snowy-white cambric neckcloth, at 
the smoothness of which we should have marvelled, had we 
not happened to know that he used to make his son iron it for 
him every morning after it was on. " Ginger " was one of the 
best judges of a horse in England, and his criticism of the 
favourites as they passed in review before him was always 
worth listening to. For many years he would take a dislike 
to one of the Derby favourites, and this he would pepper to 
win him a thousand or so, and very well it answered, until in 
an evil moment he conceived a wrong impression of Thor- 
manby, when Tattersall's knew him no more. Old D'Orsay 
Clarke, too, with his blue umbrella, who, originally a waiter at 
a fashionable Bond Street hotel, acted for a time as jackal to 
Crockford, and eventually blossomed forth into an owner of 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

racehorses of some importance, was another familiar landmark. 
Perhaps the most striking figure of all, however, in the paddock 
was that of David Hope Johnstone, whose stalwart form, clad 
in the eccentric " get-up " he affected on these occasions, was 
calculated to excite a feeling of wonderment, not unmixed with 
awe, in those who beheld him for the first time. 

Paddock criticism — if one knows anything at all about a 
horse — is occasionally not without its advantages. For instance, 
last year I spent, according to custom, a good long time in the 
paddock on the Derby Day, with the result that, at the end of 
my inspection, I came to the conclusion that of all the candi- 
dates for the Blue Riband which had come under my obser- 
vation — and I believe I saw the lot — by far the fittest was 
Signorinetta. A little later I met one of the most successful 
of our trainers, and, discussing the race, I put the question to 
him, " Why shouldn't the mare win ? " " The mare ? " he 
repeated, "what mare?" On my naming Signorinetta, he 
replied, to my astonishment, "Why, I didn't know there was 
such an animal in the race." And it certainly was wonderful 
that, though she had been on view every morning at New- 
market for some time, going great guns with the string which, 
by the courtesy of the trainer, she was allowed to join, and 
who could hardly get out of her way, yet not a tout at head- 
quarters was alive to the merits of the Chevalier Ginistrelli's 
good little mare. That it was her fitness, and not her supe- 
riority, which won Signorinetta the race I think there can be 
no reasonable doubt. - 

A Good Tip. 

I do not think I ever witnessed a more exciting race for 
the Derby than that of 1872, when Cremorne just got home 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

from Pell Mell, on whom dear old G.P. stood to win the biggest 
stake he had ever had a try for, which is saying a good deal. 
After Cremorne had won the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom the 
previous year — a race, by the way, which, though supposed to 
be a good criterion, has only twice since been won by a future 
Derby winner, and each time by Lord Rosebery, with Ladas and 
Cicero, in 1893 and 1904 respectively — it was quite recognized 
by his owner and trainer that with ordinary luck the colt had a 
chance second to none for the Blue Riband the following year, 
and that the trainer was especially confident the following 
anecdote will show. The previous year, when the late Baron 
Meyer de Rothschild had a prominent favourite for the Derby 
in Favenius, that fine old sportsman invited a party of friends 
to come and see the favourite in his box on the opening day 
of the meeting. Amongst those present was Gilbert, Mr. 
Saville's trainer, and, the inspection over, he addressed the 
company thus: "Now, gentlemen," said he, "you've seen the 
winner of this year's Derby, and if you'll do me the honour to 
step across the yard to where my horses are, I'll show you the 
winner of next." With that he led them to an adjacent box, 
where stood Cremorne, who that same afternoon was to make 
a successful debut in the Woodcote Stakes. Not a bad tip, on 
the whole, as I think my readers will agree. 

Except that there are not so many coaches and carriages 
as of old, the Hill presents much the same animated spectacle 
it always did. One misses the eccentric figure of Sir John 
Bennett, the clockmaker, with his white, curly hair and black 
velvet suit, who for many years made a practice of riding down 
to Epsom, and was always to be seen riding about amongst 
the carriages on the Hill during the day. That arch-jester, 
the late Hughie Drummond, considerably astonished the 
worthy knight on one of these occasions by suddenly dropping 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

down on to the back of his horse from the top of a coach. 
How he explained away the circumstances I forget, but I 
believe it was considered satisfactory by his victim. 

Many years ago it was quite the fashion to ride down to 
Epsom on horseback, and a story is told of a party of four 
elderly City sportsmen, who made a practice every year of 
riding down the day before the Derby to the Bear, at Esher, 
where they would put up, and ride on to the Downs the next 
morning. On one of these occasions, as they were en route to 
the course, a large tilted waggon was rather in their way in 
one of the Surrey lanes of no great width, so one of the party 
riding forward, bid a man, who was sitting at the back of 
the cart smoking his pipe and swinging his legs, somewhat 
peremptorily to make room for them to pass. " Hi, Bill ! " 
bawled the person addressed to his friend in front, "jest move 
on one side for old ' wunce a year,' will yer ? " The story was 
all over the City the next day, with the effect that ever after- 
wards the too peremptory sportsman was known " on 'Change " 
as " Wunce a Year." 




{Reproduced by permission of the proprietors of " The Daily Telegraph ") 

Granted fine weather, there is nothing to prevent Ascot this 
year from proving as brilliant a function as any which have 
gone before. 

Always interesting, the Royal procession on this occasion 
should be more so than usual, the one thing wanting to com- 
plete the picture as the cortege wends its way slowly up the 
course from the Castle, in the opinion of many an old habitue 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

of the meeting, being the presence of the noble Master of the 
Buckhounds, attended by the Royal Huntsman and Whippers- 
in, wearing their scarlet and gold liveries, followed by the 
Yeomen Prickers in green plush with gold-laced hats, which 
during the Victorian era constituted such a popular feature on 
the Tuesday and Thursday. 

The veteran, Charles Davis, with his spare figure and 
perfect seat on a horse, who for so long a period was associated 
with Ascot, made a figure which will long dwell in the memory ; 
whilst of the noble wearers of the gold couples in the writer's 
time, perhaps none presented a braver appearance than the 
then Earl of Hardwicke, familiarly known as the " Glossy 
Peer," who, "got up" to perfection, according to custom, and 
splendidly mounted, provoked nothing but favourable criticism 
as he rode by in advance of the cavalcade. 

Though there is no denying its convenience, the motor- 
car, looking at it from an ornamental point of view, is but a 
sorry substitute for the lordly drag with its load of fair 
occupants, which in former days was so much en evidence at 
Ascot, and whose numbers have steadily diminished of late, 
none the less so since the regimental coach is no longer coun- 
tenanced by the military authorities. 

What splendid private equipages, too, of other sorts we 
used to see on the famous heath ! One in particular the writer 
has in his mind's eye, a light carriage belonging to a Princess 
of France, which, with its four magnificent horses, their 
harness one mass of silver, with coachmen, footmen, and out- 
riders in liveries of sky blue and silver, and wearing well- 
curled flaxen wings under their velvet jockey caps, was the 
centre of an admiring crowd, both on arrival and departure. 






































— i 

























Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

Bygone Veterans. 

A familiar figure in the Royal enclosure was that of the 
late Duke of Cambridge, and it was a pleasant sight at the 
end of the day to see him mount his horse, in waiting for him 
at the back of the Grand Stand, and, followed by a groom, 
ride away across the Great Park to Windsor Castle. Towards 
the close of his long life the Duke seemed to take an 
increasing interest in horse-racing, and was hardly ever absent 
from the Newmarket meetings, where he would frequently be 
seen in the judge's box when a race was in progress. For 
some years, right up to the late 'seventies, a noticeable per- 
sonality at Ascot was that of an elderly man of stoutish build 
and rubicund complexion, wearing a white hat, with black band, 
and dust-coloured clothes, with a large pair of blue spectacles 
over his nearly sightless eyes, and in his mouth a large and 
inviting-looking cigar, who, seated in a chair in the corner by 
the enclosure near the judge's box, was the recipient of many 
a cordial greeting during the day from aristocratic visitors of 
either sex, to the majority of whom he was evidently well and 
favourably known. The late Marchioness of Hastings, in 
particular, was often to be seen during the day, seated on a 
chair at his side, enjoying a chat with the veteran. Nor was 
this surprising, under the circumstances, seeing that but a few 
years back, during what has since been known as the 
" Hastings era," John Day's lot, and what they were doing, 
formed the sole subject of conversation, in the sporting world 
at all events, to the exclusion of all other topics. 

As the veteran trainer sat placidly smoking his cigar, 
whilst those around loudly proclaimed the victory of Cre- 
morne, or some other equine hero in the Gold Cup — perhaps, 
next to the Derby, the most coveted prize we have — his 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

thoughts, no doubt, often went back to that auspicious day for 
Danebury, when the diminutive Lecturer, who probably did 
more to replenish the coffers of his extravagant owner than 
any racehorse he ever owned, lame though he appeared 
beforehand to those unfamiliar with his ways, cantered away 
with the Cup from nine others, with that peerless horseman, 
George Fordham, in the saddle. In so doing he staved off — 
alas! only for a time — the crash which was bound to come 
sooner or later. The one consolation was that it was a good 
time while it lasted. 

Sporting Eton Masters. 

In the 'sixties Eton could boast of two sporting masters, 
the Rev. " Johnny " Yonge and the Rev. Russell Day, the 
latter, who, on account of his short stature, was familiarly 
known as " Parva Dies," being a relative of the Danebury 
trainer just mentioned, and these invariably made a practice 
of riding over to Ascot on the Cup day. On these occasions 
nothing pleased the last-named gentleman better than to catch 
any Eton boys who happened to have found their way there. 
For this purpose, he used to give his horse to some one to 
hold, whilst he himself poked about on foot amongst the 
carriages, and it was odd if, in the course of his rambles, he 
did not effect a capture. One of a select covey of juvenile 
sportsmen, perhaps, on the top of a coach, in full enjoyment 
of lobster mayonnaise and champagne cup, would suddenly be 
startled by feeling a pull at his leg, to find, on looking down, 
that it emanated from " Parva Dies," who had adopted that 
means of making his presence known. A cheery soul was 
the Rev. Russell Day, and if he came across any of his 
victims the next day, I am told, would chaff them about their 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

Ascot adventure and its sequel, in a good-natured way which 
effectually dispelled any ill-feeling which might otherwise have 

Unlike " Parva Dies," Johnny Yonge, on his visits to 
Ascot, concentrated his attention entirely on the sport, and 
would ride about to different points of the course. On one 
of these occasions, when there was a large field of horses, 
the good man was very much shocked at the language used 
by the jockeys when rounding the bend where he was 

One Cup day — to be precise, that on which occurred the 
memorable dead-heat between Buckstone and Tim Whiffler — 
the Rev. Johnny, by himself this time, whilst riding through 
the forest on the weedy thoroughbred chestnut he affected, 
suddenly caught sight of three small Eton boys, who, mounted 
on hacks supplied by Tom Cannon, the horse-dealer, of 
Windsor, were cantering gaily along some distance ahead, 
evidently bound for the same destination as himself; and, no 
notice being taken of his shout to them to stop, at once started 
in pursuit. 

The late Bill Beresford, who, as it happened, made one of 
the party, and may be said to have been in command of the 
squadron, with the master mind which stood him in such good 
stead in later years, at once gave orders for each to ride off in 
a different direction — advice which, on being carried out, at 
once bore fruit, for the master, unable to make up his mind 
which particular culprit to follow, and possibly not being par- 
ticularly anxious either, finally gave up the chase as hopeless, 
and pursued the even tenor of his way. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

The Cup and the Hardwicke Stakes. 

The Gold Cup was originally established in 1807, and was 
won by Master Jackey (3 yrs. 6st.-2), beating three others. 
After that it went steadily on until 1845, in which year, by way 
of a delicate compliment to the Emperor Nicholas of Russia, 
who was over here on a visit, its name was altered to that 
of " The Emperor's Plate," to revert again to its old title 
in 1854. 

In all there have been five dead-heats for the Gold Cup 
since the first race in 1807. The most recent was that between 
The White Knight and Eider in 1907, the French horse being 
subsequently disqualified for boring. 

The rich Hardwicke Stakes, established in 1879, is another 
race which has brought out many famous animals to compete, 
perhaps the most memorable struggle in its history being that 
between Ormonde and Minting in 1887, ridden respectively 
by Tom Cannon and John Osborne, when the former just won, 
amidst a scene of excitement seldom witnessed at Ascot. 
Bendigo, who was a good third, though he did not get any- 
thing like the credit due to him for it, put in a really won- 
derful performance in the circumstances. Being stabled close 
to the course, his rest had been so interfered with of nights by 
the incessant noise that went on in the various booths and 
shows that the good old horse was thoroughly upset and off 
his feed, so much so that it was only at the very last moment 
that his owner decided to run him. If there was one thing 
that annoyed Mr. Barclay more than another it was to see his 
favourite, as was frequently the case, described in the sporting 
papers as a mere " handicap horse," and I fancy there are few 
who know anything at all about form who won't sympathize 
with him. 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

A Memorable " Black Week." 

There has been at Ascot many a " Black Week," to use 
the punters' term, and perhaps there never was a worse 
example than the year when poor Fred Archer was in the 
zenith of his fame — I fancy, but am not quite sure, that it was 
1875 — when those who systematically backed the "Tinman," 
burnt their fingers for once to a terrible extent. - 

One sportsman in particular, Colonel Burnaby by name, 
a near relative, I believe, of the author of "A Ride to Khiva," 
had a most heartbreaking experience. Though not given to 
betting as a rule, he decided to back Fred Archer's mounts 
steadily all through the meeting, and a shocking bad specu- 
lation it proved, for the usually invincible jockey could not win 
a race to save his life. Suffice it to say, that the end of the 
week saw the gallant Colonel on the wrong side of the hedge 
to the tune of upwards of .£30,000. 

In vain the bookmakers, in their admiration of his pluck, 
begged and entreated the Colonel to take his own time about 
settling. Every shilling was forthcoming on the Monday, and 
the Ring then knew they had seen the last of Colonel 



{Reproduced by permission oj the proprietors oj ""The Daily Telegraph") 

" Hounds stout, horses healthy, 
Earths well stopped, and foxes plenty." 

I have always held the opinion that better or sounder 
advice for a master of foxhounds to take to heart and do his 
best to act up to has never been given, or in so few words, as 
that contained in the old-time toast quoted above. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Only three addenda are wanting for a day's hunting to 
arrive at that state of perfection described by the light-hearted 
" Dazzle " in London Assurance as the " consummation of 
all earthly bliss," and these are a good fox, a good scent, and 
a good country. Unfortunately it is not a very frequent 
occurrence for a treble event of this description to be brought 
off in one day. A good scent makes the foxes fly from a 
covert, and on these occasions it is most important that the 
huntsman should get away close to his fox, in which case the 
scent may be good enough to hunt him on almost any day. 
If, on the contrary, the fox is allowed to get a few minutes' 
start, the scent, as often as not, is too bad to press him. So, 
as Mr. Jorrocks impressed upon his "beloved 'earers," in one 
of his famous lectures on "'unting," "Get close away to the 
varmint ! " If a huntsman cannot get his hounds quickly out 
of covert, it is a sure sign that they neither care about him nor 
trust him. 

The Hounds. 

A foxhound must be stout in the first place, or he is not 
worth keeping, no matter how good-looking he may be, or 
how well he will work for half the day. A good foxhound 
in condition never tires, and can outstay any other animal in 
the world, the nearest approach to him as regards power of 
endurance, so far as I know, being the wolf. 

The greatest benefactors to foxhunting are those masters 
and huntsmen who breed hounds only from none other but 
those strains that are noted for their stoutness. In no animal 
that can be named do the vices and virtues of their ancestors 
so surely repeat themselves in their offspring as in a foxhound. 
Even small traits of character will be handed down from father 
to son in a manner that to any one unacquainted with these 






K £ 




































Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

high-bred members of the canine species would appear well- 
nigh incredible. For example, a hound often inherits the 
habit of trotting to covert always in front of the pack. A still 
more extraordinary instance of heredity came to my knowledge 
only the other day. The Bel voir Ragman walked by Mr. 
Cooper, of Waltham, used to have the knack of lifting up the 
catch of the kitchen door, and this year one of his sons does 
precisely the same thing. The value of a hound is not to be 
judged by his looks, but by his work, and to combine the two 
should be the aim and pride of every master of hounds. How 
any one going into a kennel can possibly put a value on hounds 
without having first seen them in the field quite passes my 
comprehension. You might just as well try and value a hunter 
without having seen him go. 


What a comfort it is to a hunting man to have a healthy 
stable, and a good stud groom — himself a good horseman, with 
hands of the best — to look after them ! How essential, too, it 
must be to ride well-bred horses ! When hunting with a pack 
of hounds that are carefully bred in the kennel, and skilfully 
managed in the field, not only must our horses be of good 
quality, but in perfect condition as well. Needless to say, this 
is where the good stud groom comes in. More frequently than 
not, in spite of many opinions to the contrary, steeplechase 
horses have proved most excellent hunters. Gay Lad, Peter 
Simple, and Half-Caste — the first and last of whom were 
Liverpool winners — were all three bred in my old village of 
Limber, and regularly ridden with Lord Yarborough's hounds, 
whilst in later days, Reugny, whom I bought for Captain 
Machell from the late Lord Aylesford, was frequently ridden 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

hunting by me in December and January, before winning the 
Grand National. Rhysworth, again, who had run second the 
previous year in the same event, had been well hunted previously 
by one of the Blankney whippers-in. Another example was 
Snowstorm, also bred at Limber by Mr. William Marris, and 
whom I rode as a four-year-old with hounds, and made a 
perfect fencer of before he ever saw a racecourse. After win- 
ning many steeplechases, including the Sefton at Liverpool, he 
was bought by Mr. Henry Chaplin, described by Custance in 
his " Book of Recollections" as " the best heavyweight over a 
country I ever saw," who frequently rode him hunting with the 
Blankney, of which pack he was then the Master. Last, but 
not least on the list, comes Titterstone, on whose back I won 
several open handicap steeplechases for Captain Machell, and 
who will always hold a treasured place in my memory as the 
most perfect hunter I ever rode. 


On how many occasions has what in all probability would 
otherwise have been a good day's sport been spoiled by the 
earths not having been properly stopped ! Years ago it used 
to be the rule to stop the earths at night between the hours of 
nine and ten. (There is an illustration of this in that most 
admirable of hunting books, "The Noble Science," by Mr. 
Delme Radcliffe.) Nowadays they are " put to " in the morn- 
ing, after daylight, and the foxes are not infrequently stopped 
underground in consequence. In many cases drains and earths 
are not stopped at all, with the result that when everybody is 
in full enjoyment of a run and hounds have settled to their fox, 
the latter goes to ground, not only to the great disappointment 
(freely expressed as a rule) of the whole field of sportsmen, but 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

of the hounds as well. If you cannot depend on earths being 
stopped at the proper time, perhaps the surest way to keep 
foxes above ground is permanently to close the earths with a 
large faggot, removing the same at the end of February. Foxes 
do not want preserving ; " you preserve jam," as the late Mr. 
George Lane- Fox used to say. All they want is to be left 
alone and the coverts kept quiet and they will look after them- 
selves, and a huntsman will soon know where to find his fox. 


Just as Newmarket is recognized all the world over as the 
headquarters of the Turf, and, according to its thick-and-thin 
admirers, "the only place to train a donkey in," so in like 
manner does Leicestershire still stand out by itself amongst 
what Sam Weller of immortal memory was pleased to term 
the " Fashionables," as the only country fit for any one worthy 
of the name of sportsman to hunt in. And not bad judges 
either, for there can be no question but that a horseman with 
any pretensions to ride up to the motto, " Be with them I will," 
having, like Mr. Sawyer, hardened his heart and betaken him- 
self for a season to the shires, is completely spoilt for hunting 
elsewhere, and would probably, at the finish, share to a great 
extent the feelings of the swell Meltonian of old who, when 
asked if he had read a certain novel just then all the rage, 
replied, " Read a book ! Why, my dear fellow, I would as 
soon hunt in Yorkshire ! " 

Since the ox-rail has been replaced by that detestable 
invention, so dangerous to life and limb of both horse and 
rider, known as barbed wire, which, when put up in the summer 
and supposed to be removed during the hunting season, is still 
— worse luck! — occasionally to be met with, the fences are 
much easier to negotiate than formerly, there being now no 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

great width for a horse to clear. All he has to do is to jump 
well up and not hit the binder with his knees, the prizes that 
are given in so many counties for hedge-plashing having, as a 
result, made the newly-laid fences very strong. 

In former days the Meltonian was wont to gallop to covert 
on a hack, and would ride his hunter home at the end of the 
day. But all that is now changed, and in the luxurious age 
we live in the motor takes us to the meet, and, no matter in 
what part of the country hounds leave off, the telephone is 
requisitioned, and the same vehicle takes us home again. 
Distance is, of course, of no consequence to the motor, but 
it does seem rather hard on the horse, who has carried you 
well all through the day, to be ridden some few miles out of 
his way home to where the car is stationed. Long distances 
do not affect hounds half so much as horses, and jogging twelve 
or fifteen miles to covert does the former, if fit, far more good 
than taking them to the meet in a van. A hound, in fact, that 
cannot tire out three horses isn't worth keeping. 

It is not, of course, given to mortals to command success, 
but there can be no question that the first essential to the 
ensurement of good sport in the hunting field is for the master 
and his huntsmen to be thoroughly keen. No detail, however 
small, must be left to chance, for a good run may easily be 
made or marred by the merest trifle. No stone must be left 
unturned to secure the services of a good huntsman, and the 
choice of the whippers-in is almost of equal importance. Though 
all this means a good deal of trouble, the reward will be com- 
mensurate, you may depend, in the long run. Hunt servants — 
or any other, for that matter — well up in the duties of their 
calling soon find out when they have a good Master, and will 
not only respect him, but, in addition, put their whole heart 
into their work. 

























































t ) 

























Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

The Foxes. 

One often hears people say that the presence of too many- 
foxes spoils sport. In my humble opinion, it is a fault in the 
right direction. If hunted often enough, they will soon learn 
to know the country, with the result that their followers will 
often have the luck to make acquaintance with 

" a fox stout, gallant, and shy, 
With his earth ten miles off, and that earth in his eye." 

Coverts too close together are not conducive to foxes making 
good points. The most useful covert is one of about ten acres 
or so, consisting of either really thick blackthorn or gorse, and 
if the huntsman wants a ride cut in it it should not only be 
narrow, but crooked enough to prevent a shooter seeing a 
rabbit running across, and thus disturbing the covert. A thin 
covert as a rule is a very uncertain " find," it being so easily 
hunted by any chance dog who comes that way. When the 
owner of a wood is going to shoot it on a given day, naturally 
the M.F.H. is only too pleased to comply with the request not 
to come there and draw in the interim. On the other hand, 
when hounds are running, and well settled to a fox with every 
prospect of a fine run, I say, without hesitation, that no really 
good sportsman would take offence if the hounds were allowed 
to hunt their fox without hindrance, whilst a courteously-worded 
letter afterwards, explaining matters, would surely prevent any 
ill-feeling that might otherwise arise. The keepers, of course, 
blame the hounds if when the wood is shot the bag is not up 
to the mark, but to my mind the excuse is a very poor one, for 
we all know that pheasants if driven out of covert are soon back 
there, and, what is more, move all the better afterwards when, 
literally, flying for their lives. When it is remembered that 
stopping hounds under conditions such as I have described, in 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

addition to completely spoiling the day's sport, means disap- 
pointment to a great many brave men and fair women, including 
strangers from afar, the selfishness of such a proceeding is 

The Noble Science. 

Lord Henry Bentinck always would have it that when 
hounds run riot when foxes are plentiful, it was the fault of 
the handling. It is the drive and fling of the foxhound that 
distinguishes him from all other hounds, and which those well 
versed in the niceties of the Noble Science admire so much. 
In making their cast hounds should always try forward. 
Suppose in a run you come to a bit of bad scenting ground, 
possibly from manure recently carted on the land, or from 
sheep or beasts having foiled the line of the fox, now is the 
time for hounds to try forward. If encouraged to try back, 
not only do they get into a bad style of hunting, but are soon 
so behind their fox that they cannot press him, with the result 
that eventually he runs them out of scent. When hounds are 
in the open, a huntsman should blow his horn as seldom as 
possible. If near enough to hear his voice let him speak to 
them, and they will come quicker than to his horn. He should 
bear in mind that if he only hears the music of the hounds the 
fox often stops to listen, whereas the twang of the horn has 
a very different effect, and it is not his fault, you may depend, 
if you get any nearer to him. 

A good huntsman is the most observant of men. Nothing 
escapes him, and he has his eyes continuously " forrard," in the 
anticipation of a check. He knows to a nicety when his 
hounds are on a false scent, and stops them directly, strong in 
the knowledge that if encouraged to hunt what is wrong, not 
only the young hounds, but even those with two seasons' 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

experience, will soon become inveterate hare hunters. The 
natural instinct of the run of a fox is a gift given to few, and to 
grasp a difficult situation at the moment is where a huntsman 
should excel. Not a moment must be lost, and above all his 
motto must be " Rebus in arduis cequam servare mentem" for 
directly he loses his temper it is ten to one on his losing his 
fox. A huntsman is placed in a very responsible public 
position, and the members of the hunt, especially of a sub- 
scription pack, feel it their duty to criticise him, though the 
chances are that those who are loudest in their opinion know 
rather less about hunting a pack of hounds than the man in the 
moon. Frequently the best of masters and first-rate whippers- 
in signally fail in ever attaining the gift and aptitude required 
to take the supreme command. In no profession that I know 
of is the old Latin quotation, "Nascitur non jit" more applicable 
than that of a huntsman. In fact, the M.F.H. who, when a 
clerical visitor, in his astonishment at the large salary the other 
paid his huntsman, exclaimed, " Why it's nearly double what 
my living is worth," replied, " That may be true enough, but 
you must recollect that a good huntsman is not to be met with 
every day in the week," was not very far out, though doubtless 
his way of putting it grated somewhat on the other's ear. 
Huntsmen, not unnaturally perhaps, think that a gentleman, 
not having gone through the same apprenticeship as themselves, 
cannot possibly know much about hunting hounds. I had an 
example of this only, last year, when a man who had been 
whipper-in for ten years to quite the best gentleman huntsman 
I ever saw, was appointed in that capacity to a well-known 
pack in the Midlands. On my asking a well-known huntsman 
if he thought the other would be a success, his reply was : 
" What could he learn under a hamateur ? " 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

"Hold hard!" 

With the large number of people who comprise the big 
fields of horsemen who come out in the fashionable part of 
Leicestershire it would be odd if amongst them there was 
absent a certain amount of friendly rivalry. Should, however, 
a Master ride bang in front of the field when hounds are 
running, and, holding up his hand as he turns round in the 
saddle, cry " Hold hard ! " it is a bold man who would dare to 
pass him. If, on the other hand,he is two hundred yards or so 
behind, but little attention is paid to his shouts by the leading 
division, their idea being that, jealous of their position, he is 
merely " trying it on," with a view to getting on level terms 
with them. 

Youth at the Helm. 

Making every allowance for the temerity of youth, and with 
a strong fellow-feeling for keenness, if I might be allowed to 
make a suggestion, it would be that before a young man com- 
mences to hunt in Leicestershire, he would do well to disport 
himself for a season or two in a more provincial county, under 
a 'good huntsman, with the object of learning some of the 
rudiments of fox-hunting and riding to hounds. " Experientia 
docet" as they taught us at Harrow, and I feel sure that a 
candidate for honours over the broad pastures and big fences 
of High Leicestershire, fresh from a "tour in the provinces," 
such as I have ventured to prescribe, will be the first to admit 
its efficacy when he faces the music in earnest. 

The Hunting Parson. 

Human nature is human nature all the world over, so why, 
therefore, should it be considered ififra dig. — nay, in many 






— I 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

cases, downright wicked — for the gentleman who looks after 
our spiritual welfare, and was probably entered to sport of all 
kinds from his earliest childhood, to employ some of his spare 
time in the invigorating and innocent pastime of galloping over 
a country in the wake of a pack of foxhounds is altogether 
beyond me. It is my firm belief that top boots are the cause 
of it in a great measure. I remember once, many years ago, 
when on a visit to a strange country, and in a quick thing over 
the grass the first day I was out hunting, I could not but 
notice that none went better throughout the gallop than a man 
sporting a black overcoat and " antigropelos " — a fearful and 
wonderful species of gaiter in use at that period — and who had, 
apparently, dropped from the clouds. Judge my astonishment, 
at the end of the run, when the stranger in black, riding up to 
me with radiant face and outstretched hand, revealed the 
identity of a friend of my boyhood who, when up at Oxford 
later, was quite one of its representative horsemen, and of 
whom my last recollection was seeing him win a steeplechase 
at Aylesbury in dashing style on a horse belonging to Charlie 
Symonds, which, like most of the animals emanating from the 
stables of that great and good man, possessed a knack of 
" going," however unprepossessing its looks might be. 

" Shocking get-up about the legs, ain't it ? " remarked my 
friend, as he saw me taking in the " antigropelos." " Fact is," he 
went on, " I'm curate-in-charge of a parish near here, and with 
such a nice, narrow-minded flock as mil. % what would happen 
if they ever caught sight of their beloved shepherd in breeches 
and boots goodness only knows ! They'd ' Baa ' their heads 
off and mine too. How do I manage to hunt ? Well, should 
I happen to be riding along the road (I am ordered horse 
exercise, don't you know), and come up with the hounds by 
accident, as was the case to-day, and my horse should happen 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

to bolt in the direction they are running (I bought him from 
the village baker for a ' pony,' and wouldn't take a couple of 
hundred for him to-morrow), it's not my fault, is it ?" 

How many brilliant horsemen can I number amongst my 
clerical friends ? To begin with, there was Parson Howsin, of 
Brant Broughton, in the Blankney country, who rode straight 
to hounds up to eighty, and actually cleared the Whissendine 
at that age. A rural dean once asked him whether he pro- 
nounced the brook of that name " Kedron or Kidron ? " To 
which he replied, " I only know two brooks, the Whissendine 
and Brant, and I can spell both, and, thank God ! jump 'em 
both." One of his fads was never to let any one but himself 
preach in his own church, for, said he, "If the other man 
preaches worse than I do, he won't be worth hearing ; whereas, 
if, on the other hand, he preaches better than I do, you won't 
come to hear me again." Then there was the late Rev. Edward 
Drake, who was frequently my guest at Limber for a few days' 
hunting with the Brocklesby, and was, without doubt, one of 
the finest horsemen of his time over a country. As Mr. 
" Ekard," he frequently rode in steeplechases before he took 
holy orders, and was on the back of that good horse Bride- 
groom in the Liverpool of i860, won by Anatis, on which 
occasion he came in sixth. Dick Fitzherbert, who came into 
the baronetcy shortly before his death two years ago, was 
another fine horseman. His son, Sir Hugo, is Master of the 
Rufford at the present time, in succession to Lord Manvers. 
Again, I would ask, what man from Melton at the present time 
sees more of a run than the Rev. J. P. Seabrook, rector of 
Waltham, whose nerve is every bit as good as when he and I 
rode together at Cambridge, nearly half a century ago ? When, 
the other day, at the request of a hunting friend, Mr. Wil- 
loughby Maycock wrote the following extra verse to his well- 

2 54 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

known song, he certainly had not Parson Seabrook in his 
mind's eye : 

" When we go a-hunting nowadays, we potter at the gaps, 

'Cos we're all getting older every day ; 
It's no earthly use competing with the young, hard-riding chaps, 

'Cos we're all getting older every day. 
We can't face the oxer or the bullfinch any more, 
We cast our eye around the field in hopes to find a " door " — 
Yes, hang it all ! We're not the men we used to be of yore, 

'Cos we're all getting older every day." 

Modern Horsemanship. 

I don't think I am alone in the opinion that never in the 
history of fox-hunting were there so many or better riders of 
either sex than those hunting at the present time with the 
Quorn, Belvoir, Pytchley, Cottesmore, and Mr. Fernie's hounds. 
Never, either, were there more beautifully bred horses than are 
to be seen out nowadays with the packs just mentioned. Of their 
riders amongst the old stagers, where would you better than 
Lords Lonsdale, Annaly, and Cowley, General Codrington, 
General Burn Murdoch, Colonel " Willy " Lawson, Colonel 
Brocklehurst (Queen's Equerry), Majors Ricardo, McKie, 
Hughes Onslow, and Laycock, Captains Forester, Douglas 
Pennant, and Hubbersty, Parson Seabrook, Messrs. Cecil 
Grenfell, H. T. Barclay, H. Sheriffe, Hollway Steeds, Foxhall 
Keene, Algy Burnaby, and R. and Guy Fenwick ? Whilst 
names to conjure with amongst later arrivals in the country are 
those of Lord Dalmeny, Sir John Milbanke, Sir Frederick 
Foulkes, Sir Charles Lowther, Captain Paynter (winner of 
last year's Grand Military), Captain Long (son of the Right Hon. 
Walter Long), and Messrs. Chandos de Paravicini, T. C. Chiches- 
ter, Greville Clayton, and George Drummond. 

As usual, there was plenty of fun the day after the Cottes- 
more Hunt Ball, some of the young brigade riding one against 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

the other in a way quite refreshing to behold. "'Ware wire ! " 
shouted Gillson, as his quick eye spotted the enemy running 
along the top of the biggish fence he was making for, branching 
off as he spoke for a place lower down. Not so Lord Dalmeny, 
galloping along in his wake, and apparently in the same heroic 
frame of mind as General Bombastes when he sang : — 

" I go, I go— 
All dangers scorning, 
Some death I'll di-i-ie 
Before the morning ! " 

for, neither swerving to right nor left, he took the fence, wire 
and all, just as it came, without touching a twig. Nor was 
this his lordship's only adventure. In the course of the gallop 
the Manton brook came in his way, and his horse, a big grey, 
refusing, shot Lord Dalmeny clean over his head on to the 
opposite bank, with the result that the latter had to wade 
through the brook to rejoin the enterpriseless animal in 
question. Strange to say, when remounted and sent at the 
water by his plucky rider a second time, the grey cleared 
without a mistake. . . . 

The Ladies. 

One of the most striking features in connection with fox- 
hunting at the present time, especially in the Shires, is the 
number of ladies who come out as compared with former days. 
In no outdoor sport one could name do women excel more than 
in the hunting-field, and each succeeding year sees a larger 
muster at the covert side. How well and straight they ride 
to hounds, too ! The comparatively few falls that come their 
way are conclusive proof of the nerve, judgment, and good 
hands that seem part and parcel of themselves. In the past, 
Lady Wilton, Lady Yarborough, and Lady Alexander Paget 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

were quite capable of holding their own with any of the men, 
whilst at the present time it would be hard to name the superior 
of the Duchess of Newcastle, the Duchess of Hamilton, the 
Duchess of Sutherland, Lady Lonsdale, Lady Gerard, Lady 
Cowley, Lady Greenall, Mrs. Willy Lawson, Mrs. Burn, Mrs. 
Guy Fenwick, Mrs. Eaton, Mrs. Sheriffe, Mrs. Laycock, and 
Mrs. Angus, Miss Chichester, Miss Hanbury, Mrs. Ellison, 
Miss Naylor, Miss Duncan, and many more besides. 

The enormous crowds that come out with the Ouorn and 
neighbouring packs are very often the means of keeping the fox 
from turning back, and the late Colonel Anstruther Thomson 
often told me how, when Master of the Pytchley, he would 
with confidence cast " forrard " and hit off the line of his fox. 
The latter is a toddling animal, and to give him credit for being 
a good one, and to get " forrard " accordingly, is good advice 
to a huntsman. Amongst the farmers hunting with the packs 
here mentioned none go better than William Gale, from the 
Belvoir country, a really fine horseman, who formerly rode with 
conspicuous success between the flags, and Messrs. Barnett, 
Atter, and Northern, with the Cottesmore. 

The Farmers. 

The large number of horsemen who turn out in Leicester- 
shire are, without doubt, responsible in no small measure for 
the destruction of fences, and it is only fair that their owners 
should be generously treated in return. If riders, when they 
come to a new-sown field, would only exercise a little thought 
and make a " detour," as they often do when confronted with a 
big fence, there would be less grumbling from the tillers of the 
soil, you may depend. Farmers, in spite of bad times, in- 
variably come up smiling, and it is certain that none take a 

257 s 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

keener interest in all outdoor sport than themselves, regarding 
it, indeed, as essential to their very existence. On what sort of 
footing, I wonder, would fox-hunting be if this were not so ? 
11 Gentlemen : Our friends the farmers ! " 




(Reproduced by permission of the proprietors of "The Daily Telegraph") 

A flatter or more unsatisfactory steeplechase season than 
that now rapidly drawing to a conclusion has probably never 
been known since first the sport became a recognized institu- 
tion. To such an extent, indeed, has steeplechasing deteriorated 
that were it not that the Grand National still retains its popu- 
larity, the public would soon cease to take any further interest 
in the game. 

Whenever the fences are trimmed up a bit nowadays, so 
that they cannot be brushed through, down come all the horses, 
and the executive are roundly abused by the jockeys for 
endangering their lives ; the fact being that nearly all of them 
using the forward seat — the professionals, that is — they come 
shooting over their horses' heads on the very slightest 

In these cases, when the trainers are taken to task for not 
schooling their charges properly, they retaliate by saying, " Ours 
have no pretensions to being Grand National horses, and are 
really not capable of doing better. If they were we should not 
be running them for such insignificant stakes as those to be 
met with at the various meetings about London." When, in 
addition, one hears, as I did the other day, that a well-known 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

patron of the Turf, a personal friend of my own, and formerly 
one of the best of our gentlemen riders, was selling his steeple- 
chase horses and hurdle-racers, purely and entirely because he 
was thoroughly dissatisfied with the present condition of things, 
it must, I think, be acknowledged that cross-country sport is in 
a very parlous state, and sadly in need of a specialist to advise 
upon the case. Anything more absurd than the excuse just 
mentioned, that to jump the fences properly at the various 
suburban meetings the horse should be up to the Grand 
National standard, I never yet heard. 

There were plenty of animals running at the time I was 
riding who certainly could not be described as first-class or 
anything like it, but who were quite capable of jumping any- 
thing in reason, such as the Croydon country, for instance, 
where the fences were mostly natural, and — for a time, at all 
events — the " Sensation Water Jump," as it was advertised on 
the posters, of a really formidable character, being, indeed, 
wider than that at Liverpool. This attraction, however, if my 
memory serves me, was not of long duration, for a horse 
belonging to the late Duke of Hamilton, when running in the 
big steeplechase, fell and broke his back, with the result that 
Mr. Crawshaw, who was in the saddle on the occasion, was 
prosecuted shortly after by Mr. Colam, on behalf of the Society 
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The case came on 
at Croydon, and, I fancy, ended in an acquittal, the evidence 
showing that the horse, a notorious rogue, was doing his best 
to refuse, but his jockey, not to be denied, sent his mount at 
the obstacle in such determined fashion that the brute was 
obliged to have it, whether he would or no, and curling up in 
so doing, jumped short, with the result stated. 

After this the water jump was modified considerably to suit 
humanitarian ideas. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

There was many a gibe and sneer the other week in the 
sporting papers at the expense of Mr. Harry Beasley for daring 
to adopt a hunting seat when riding Cackler for Mr. Assheton- 
Smith at Sandown on the first day of the Grand Military 
Meeting, but that other people take a different view may be 
gathered from the following extract from a letter written by a 
well-known owner of steeplechasers, and one of the very best 
all-round sportsmen of my acquaintance. 

M It was a bit of a lesson," writes my friend, " seeing Harry 
Beasley on Cackler at Sandown the other day, and some of the 
present school of cross-country riders and frequenters of 
steeplechase meetings could hardly help thinking, I should 
imagine, when they saw the combination of man and horse, 
that the sport must have sadly degenerated since the period 
when the Beasleys were in their prime and a power in the 

And my friend's remark, it is pretty certain, will be echoed 
by many who, as in my own case, view with disgust the 
crouching seat and short stirrup of the " up-to-date " steeple- 
chase rider, and which, for cross-country work, is, in my humble 
opinion, as senseless as it is unsightly, which is saying a 
good deal. 

Riders of the Past. 

When I recall to memory the many cross-country riders of 
my own time who a witched the world with noble horseman- 
ship," such as Lord Tredegar and his brother, the Honourable 
Fred Morgan, " Bee " and Arthur Coventry, " Curly " Knox, 
"Lummy" Harford, Arthur Tempest, "Doggie" Smith, "Mr. P. 
Merton" (Jinks), Robert Walker, George Ede (Mr. Edwards), 
Tom Pickernell (Mr. Thomas), " Sugar " Candy, Reggie and 








Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

" Tip " Herbert, Alec Goodman, Arthur Yates, Lord Melgund 
(Mr. "Roily"), Lord Marcus Beresford, " Wenty " Hope 
Johnstone, " Driver " Browne, the Beasleys, Greville Nugent 
(the " Limb "), Lee Barber (the " Shaver "), " Garry " Moore, 
Jerry Dalglish, Billy Baldwin (the Lion), Colonel Rivers- 
Bulkeley, Peter Crawshaw, Lord Willoughby de Broke, Tommy 
Lushington, E. P. Wilson, Lord Oueensberry, Bay Middleton, 
Count Kinsky, "Buck" Barclay, and later "Roddy" Owen, 
Charlie Cunningham, George Lambton, Johnnie Dormer, 
Saunders Davies, Sir Cuthbert Slade, Bobby Fisher (Colonel 
Fisher-Childe), Reggie Ward, Colonel Yardley, General Burn 
Murdoch, Wilfred Ricardo, Captain Bewicke, Colonel Willie 
Lawson, Major Hughes Onslow, Captain Paynter, and George 
Thursby ; and among the professionals : George Holman, Joe 
Cannon, John Page (the best and fairest I ever rode against), 
James Jewitt, Robert I' Anson, Jack Goodwin, George William- 
son ; and when you come to compare their mode with that of 
the present so-called "up-to-date" style, which, in my opinion, 
is more suitable for a circus than a steeplechase course, it 
hardly bears thinking about. 

The question has frequently been put to me who I consider 
the best amateur horseman of those riding at the same time as 
myself, and my reply, given without hesitation, has invariably 
been " George Ede," who, to my mind, had no superior in the 

Nerve, knowledge of pace, and perfection of seat and hands 
— all were his to an eminent degree. He was as good, too, on 
the flat as over a country, which is not always the case, and 
there is no doubt that he would have ridden a great many more 
races of the last-named description than he did but for his 
great love of cricket, to which he devoted himself exclusively 

during: the summer months. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

His great skill in the saddle was all the more extraordinary, 
as I always understood that, so far from being cradled to sport 
from his early childhood, as is more frequently than not the 
case, he had hardly been on a horse's back until, arrived at 
man's estate, he settled down in the country in the capacity of 
what is elegantly termed a " Mud Prop," in other words, to 
study farming ; and it was whilst thus occupied that he rode his 
first steeplechase, a match between horses belonging to two 
local sportsmen, his opponent, strangely enough, being none 
other than the still living Mr. William Bevill, who was pursuing 
the same kind of occupation as himself at another farm in the 
neighbourhood. It was a great race, and George Ede would 
certainly have won but for going out of his way to jump a weak 
place in the last fence of all, in so doing losing a lot of ground 
that he could never make up, with the result that his rival, who 
had gone straight ahead and taken his chance of a fall, just got 
the best of the finish. 

Continental Reminiscences. 

Though I managed to learn a good many things of one sort 
and another during the time I was at Harrow, there was one 
part of my education, considered very essential nowadays, 
which had certainly been neglected, and that was the study of 
modern languages. Never did this omission on the part of the 
directorate at the ancient seat of learning referred to strike 
home with greater force than when, on a certain memorable 
occasion in the summer of 1872, I travelled in company with 
poor George Ede to Germany, in order to take part in the 
Baden Grand Prix (Steeplechase), in which he was engaged to 
ride Benazet — (a charming little horse belonging to Lord 
Poulett), and myself Juryman, for Captain Machell. 









To the memory of William Richardson, Esq., J. M. Richardson's Great Great Uncle. 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

Thanks to sundry friends bound for the same destination as 
ourselves, who kindly acted as interpreters, the journey to 
Baden-Baden was accomplished in great ease and comfort, and 
it was not until we started to return that our troubles began, 
but of that anon. 

Besides George Ede and myself there was only one other 
Englishman riding in the big race, viz. my old friend, Arthur 
Tempest — still going strong and well, I am pleased to say, and 
the same keen sportsman as ever — all the rest, about a dozen, 
being French and Germans, mostly military men, I fancy. We 
three made the running, and all went well until reaching the 
water-jump, when Arthur Tempest's mount swerving against 
mine whilst in the air we both fell into the brook, followed 
immediately afterwards by the rest of the field, every one of 
whom came down. The scene that ensued baffles description, 
and " the vulgar 'busman's cry, ' Full inside ! ' " was surely never 
more appropriate than then, the brook being crammed to its 
utmost capacity with a seething mass of struggling men and 
horses, from whence issued a babel of strange oaths in different 

The brook was in the first mile, and not another horse got 
over but Benazet, or even out of it in time to try and get to 
him, so there was nothing for it but for all of us, numbering 
about a dozen or more, to return to the enclosure. 

Now came the trouble I referred to just now. 

George Ede and I being due to ride at Warwick, had to 
leave directly after the steeplechase, and our only chance of 
being in time was to charter a special to catch a certain train 
at Darmstadt. This was all very well, but to make our wants 
known to the railway officials was another matter. Our 
German was bad, and I am afraid our tempers were worse, 
with the result that we missed the express we hoped to catch, 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

and experienced what seemed to us an endless journey in 

Grand National Prospects. 

With Jerry M. and Cackler scratched, and, to judge from 
the betting, the race apparently regarded as practically a " walk- 
over" for Lutteur III., the Grand National of this year is, 
indeed, a shadow of its former self. 

This lamentable state of things is not likely to affect the 
general public to any great extent, and should the weather 
prove fine there will probably be quite as large an assemblage 
as ever on Friday next at Aintree, but to the thousands of 
sportsmen from all parts of the kingdom, of whom a large 
majority are \ hunting men, whose annual visit to Liverpool is 
their red-letter day in the year, the disappointment is bound to 
be very great. 

If only Jerry M. had stood up, the meeting between our 
champion 'chaser and Lutteur III. would have been quite 
sufficient attraction in itself without a thought of the other 
horses. As it is, should, as is reported to be the case, 
M. Hennessy's horse have come back to his very best form, it 
looks uncommonly as though the market is right for once, 
and that the Grand National is again destined to go to 

If, however, the race, which has for so long been regarded 
as perhaps the most sporting event of the year, and second 
only to the Derby in importance, is a bit unlucky on this 
occasion, the same cannot be said of the National Hunt Steeple- 
chase, which was brought off with such tclat the other day in 
the neighbourhood of Cheltenham. 

Though the heavy going frightened some of the owners 
into withdrawing their horses, no fewer than thirty-eight went 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

to the post for the big event, being the largest number since 
the race originated just half a century ago, when Bridegroom, 
ridden by " Doughey " Burton, won for " Cherry " Angell over 
a course near Market Harboro' ; and I think that, considering 
the state of the ground, which, owing to the clayey nature of 
the soil, was extremely holding, the fact that up to a mile from 
home upwards of twenty-five of the runners were going strong, 
speaks well for both horses and riders. 

There was a genuine sporting ring, in fact, throughout the 
meeting, from start to finish, and that Messrs. Pratt and their 
energetic secretary, Mr. F. H. Carthcart, who, with Colonel 
Yardley as guide, philosopher, and friend, worked so hard for 
a successful issue, deserved the greatest credit for their manage- 
ment of what, considering the limited time at their disposal, 
and the huge crowd present, must have been a very arduous 
task, was the opinion of every one there, including the Stewards 
of the National Hunt Committee, who were unanimous in their 




{Reproduced by permission of the proprietors of" The Daily Telegraph ") 

" Ye lads who love a steeplechase and danger freely court, sirs, 
Hark forward all to Liverpool to join the gallant sport, sirs ! 
The English and the Irish nags are ready for the fray, sirs ; 
And which may lose, and which may win, 'tis very hard to say, sirs. 
Chorus : Bow, wow, wow, odds against the favourite, bow, wow, wow ! " 

(Old Song.) 

When exactly seventy years ago a syndicate of sportsmen, 
who had lately acquired the lease of the Grand Stand and 
racecourse at Aintree, where from time immemorial the Liver- 
pool races had been held, desirous of starting their new 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

venture in an auspicious manner, decided on a steeplechase on 
a grander scale than had hitherto been attempted, as the best 
means of accomplishing their object, they little thought that 
the result of their enterprise would be to lay the foundation- 
stone, so to speak, of an event which had not only " come to 
stay," as the saying is, but was actually destined in after 
years to become a dangerous rival to the Derby in public 

The conditions of " The Grand Liverpool Steeplechase," 
as the new venture was styled, were as follows : — 

A SWEEPSTAKES of 20 sovs. each, 5 forfeit, with 100 added ; 12 st. each, 
gentlemen riders ; four miles across the country ; the second to save his 
stake, and the winner to pay 10 sovs. towards expenses ; no rider to open 
a gate or ride through a gateway, or more than 100 yards along any road, 
footpath, or driftway. 

There were twenty-nine jumps in all, of which the 
majority seem to have been easy enough to negotiate ; the 
exception being what is now known as Becher's Brook, from the 
fact that the renowned rider of that name was thrown bodily 
into it over his horse's head, which, had it been left as Nature 
made it, would have been simply a ditch five or six feet in 
width, with a slight drop and very little water, but as improved 
by "art" became a very formidable affair; a strong timber 
fence, 3 ft. high, being placed about a yard from the bank on 
the taking-off side, so that a horse to get fairly over would 
have to jump at least 24 ft., the difficulty being aggravated 
by the ground from which it was approached being ploughed 
land, which on this occasion was in a very heavy condition. 
Another brook, described by the reporter of the period as "a 
very decent jump," measured 8 ft., with timber in front; 
whilst what is now known as Valentine's Brook, and which was 
also approached from a ploughed field, consisted of a low bank, 
with a deep ditch, and timber 3 ft. high, on further side, the 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

space between brook and timber being 10 ft. at least. Then, 
in front of the Grand Stand, where the water is now, was 
erected expressly for the occasion, but not, as a reporter 
facetiously observed, " by particular desire," a wall 4 ft. 8| in. 
in height, whilst in the second round a stiff post or rail topped 
with gorse was put up, as the same humorist remarks, "to 
conciliate those who were longing for another touch at the 

A Handicap Event. 

The stipulation for "gentlemen riders" in the conditions 
does not seem to have had any serious meaning on this 
occasion, seeing that of the seventeen horses left in only nine 
were ridden by jockeys having any legitimate claim to the 
title. The next year and the two following the weights 
remained the same (12 st. each), except in the case of Lottery, 
who, in 1840, was penalized 7 lbs. for his previous victory, and 
might have won but for falling at the wall; and in 1841 and 
1842 carried no less than 18 lbs. extra for winning the Chelten- 
ham Steeplechase, bringing his weight up to 13 st. 4, which, 
of course, had the effect, as was intended, of putting him out 
of court. In fact, Jim Mason pulled him up on both occasions 
before the end of the race. In 1843 the race was re-christened 
" The Liverpool and National Steeplechase," and, in addition, 
became the handicap it has remained ever since ; the wall, too, 
which had been [removed the previous year, was again revived 
on a smaller scale, being 4 ft. high, built masonically, with a 
layer of turf on the top. 

Lottery, whose fifth and last appearance it was in the race, 
was again amongst the starters, being let off this time with 
12 st. 6, and a good wind-up he made of it, for, starting 
second favourite at 4 to 1, he finished seventh to Vanguard. 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

Since this 'period the race has gone on increasing in public 
favour steadily every year, and it is certain that, the deteriora- 
tion in steeplechasing generally notwithstanding, never within its 
history was it more popular than at the present time, as witness 
the enormous crowds which assemble on every occasion, no 
matter what the class of competitor. Many a hunting-man I 
could mention who, in the words of Horace, "gaudet equis, 
canibusque, et aprici gramine campi," would not go out of his 
way to attend an ordinary race-meeting, never dreams of 
missing a Grand National, looking at it, indeed, as a fitting 
wind-up to the hunting season. 

Nor is this feeling confined to the sterner sex, our hunting 
ladies being just as keen on the subject as their lords and 
masters, many of them not content merely to look on, but 
taking the trouble to walk round the course beforehand, and 
inspect the jumps. 

I have frequently heard the remark that these are bigger 
than we are accustomed to meet with whilst hunting, but it 
should be remembered that when you are on foot obstacles 
look very much larger than when seen from the top of a big 
horse. As might be expected in these enlightened times, 
there have been many alterations and improvements of recent 
years, not only in the course itself, but in the stand and 
arrangements generally, conducive to the comfort of not only 
trainers and their charges, but the general public, with the 
result that at the present moment there is not a race-meeting 
to be named whose patrons are better looked after than by 
Messrs. Topham at Liverpool. 

My First Mount. 

When I first made acquaintance with the Grand National, 
exactly thirty-eight years ago, on which memorable occasion 

' 268 

Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

(to myself) the late Captain Machell gave me the mount on 

Magnum Bonum in the race won by The Lamb for the second 

time, it required a horse that could jump without tiring himself, 

and really stay, rather more than is necessary at the present 

time, for this reason — that, not only was the distance longer 

(they did not take a short cut from the canal turn the last time 

round, as now), but there was always a certain amount of 

plough, and the take-off at the fences was nothing like so level 

and sound as is the case nowadays, the track having been laid 

down with grass and properly levelled. Every horseman of 

experience must be aware what a difference it makes to the 

ease with which the horse jumps if the " take-off" is firm, 

level, and sound ground. At the period I mention there was 

no attempt to protect the course from the public, who just 

walked about where they liked. The first three fences were 

lined with men and women, who never attempted to get out 

of the way until the horses were within thirty or forty yards 

of the fence ; and this state of things frequently led to horses 

refusing and tumbling at the first fence. 

The second fence from the start in those days was a natural 
bank, fairly high, that portion of it on the right-hand side 
being much lower than the other, and this, although it was not 
the nearest line to take, the majority of the jockeys were very 
fond of making for, with frequently fatal results to themselves, 
as there being not much room, a good deal of jostling neces- 
sarily took place, with its attendant falls. Having myself 
always been of opinion that the nearest way was the best, I 
invariably made a point of jumping where the bank was 
highest, thereby avoiding any interference from a crowd of 
horses. That I was wise in my generation is, I think, proved 
from the fact that, out of the eight races ridden by me at 
various times over the steeplechase course at Aintree, I won 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

four, and only fell once in all of them, ,and that was at the 
bank when riding Disturbance in the Sefton Steeplechase, at 
which time he had had very little practice. 

After getting up I rode him round the course by himself — 
a very high trial for a young horse, and one that had its 
reward, for the next day I won the Craven Steeplechase on 
his back in a canter. Another instance was when riding 
Burglar in a hunters' steeplechase. Jumping the bank, accord- 
ing to custom, at its highest point, I obtained such a lead that 
it was a case of hare and hounds for the rest of the journey — 
and the hare won. In my opinion, the fences nowadays are 
just as formidable as ever they were, the reason for the horse 
apparently making smaller bones of them than formerly being 
that the "take-off" is so much better. In former days, the 
rail in front of the fences had quite the appearance of a 
Leicestershire ox-rail, and though looking a bit more for- 
midable than those in present use, were, in reality, quite safe 
to ride fast over. 

The last fence but one before coming to the racecourse 
used formerly to have quite a dip on the take-off side, and in 
the second round, when horses were tired and possibly some 
of their riders as well, was responsible for many a " toss." I 
well remember in 1873, when Disturbance won, Rhysworth 
hitting this fence very hard, and Boxall, son of Mr. Chaplin's 
stud groom, who rode him, did well to keep in the saddle as 
he did. As it was, he had fairly to bustle his horse to regain 
his lost ground, and this could not fail to have taken a lot of 
the steel out of him. To my thinking, it is doubtful policy for 
owners of candidates for Grand National honours to run them 
previously in races where the fences are not stiff enough to 
throw them down, if, as is frequently the case, they try to 
brush through them. Give them plenty of jumping at home 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

over fences they can't take liberties with, and when I say 
plenty, I would suggest that most of the work should be done 
over obstacles which should be strong without being too high, 
so that the muscles will not tire, and the horse stays home. 
The present idea, however, is rather in the opposite direction, 
long gallops on the flat and only occasionally jumping exercise, 
if the animals are already good fencers and thoroughly know 
their business, being deemed quite sufficient without risking 
them so often over obstacles. Disturbance, Defence, Reugny, 
Rhysworth, and Burglar knew absolutely nothing when I first 
took them in hand at Limber Magna, so I think my method 
may fairly be said to have come out of the ordeal with credit to 
itself and all concerned. 

Preparing Jumpers. 

Another item in connection with the preparation of an 
aspirant for Liverpool honours to which I attach no little 
importance is to have three different gallops, as horses, who, 
after all said and done, are very like human beings in their 
likes and dislikes, are apt to get tired of always doing their 
work on the same ground day after day. Whether there has 
been any improvement in our steeplechase horses during the 
last thirty years is a question which I find somewhat difficult 
to answer. I suppose Cackler is about as good a specimen of 
his class as could be found at the present time, but can he 
show more quality or substance than such as The Colonel, 
Congress, Heraut d'Armes, Rhysworth, Columbine, Cortolvin, 
Snowstorm, Reugny, or Come Away — and in more recent years 
Manifesto — who a great many good judges, including his 
trainer, Mr. Willy Moore, declare to be the best-looking horse 
that ever made one of a Grand National field — and the unlucky 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

John, M.P. ? — which last, unless I am greatly mistaken, was a 
real good animal. 

The form on the flat, before they were initiated into the 
jumping business, of Disturbance, Reugny, Regal, and Chandos, 
was certainly some degrees removed from moderate. I well 
remember Rose of Athol, who ran third in the St. Leger, 
trying to give Reugny 7 lbs. in a six-furlong race at Kelso, and 
failing signally in the attempt. Chandos, again, ran promi- 
nently in the Derby ; whilst great things were expected of 
Regal when a two-year-old in the French stable. 

It was after winning a six-furlong welter race on his back 
at Ayr in very easy fashion that I bought Disturbance from 
his owner, Mr. James Barber, and as at the same meeting I 
also secured Reugny and Defence, giving ^1200 for the three, 
all on behalf of Captain Machell, I may be fairly said to have 
made a record bargain. Jimmy Barber, as he was familiarly 
termed, was quite a character, and his eccentric "get up," so 
familiar to race-goers of that period, consisting of a tightly- 
buttoned swallow-tailed coat, shepherd's plaid trousers, and a 
very tall and indifferently brushed hat stuck well on the back 
of his head, was quite in harmony with the wearer ; whilst, 
in cold or wet weather, by way of protection from the 
elements, a blue cloth cape of antiquated pattern would adorn 
his shoulders. Add a thick stick in his gloveless hands, and 
you have a pretty accurate portrait of Mr. James Barber. 

I need scarcely remark that the whilom owner of Disturb- 
ance was " not born yesterday," as the saying is, and I 
remember his once telling me that if a man did him once he 
cried shame on him, but if the same man did him twice, he 
cried shame on James Barber. In spite, however, of his 
boasted worldly wisdom, I am afraid Mr. Barber did not woo 
Dame Fortune on the Turf with much success, and to one 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

big coup in particular he laid himself out, for there is an 
amusing- story attached. There being, in his opinion, only 
one bar to the success of his mare Fan in the Grand National 
of 1867, viz. the size of the fences, Mr. Barber determined to 
" mak sikker," as the Red Comyn remarked on a memorable 
occasion, by trimming them a bit on his own account. Accord- 
ingly, with this object in view, accompanied by a friend, he set 
out, chopper in hand, in the dead of the night on his errand 
of mercy. His surprise may be imagined when, arrived on 
the ground, he heard chop, chop, chop, in the neighbourhood 
of Becher's Brook, and, going to ascertain the cause, found 
another party busily engaged in making things a bit easier for 
another candidate. 

Whether these rival philanthropists joined forces or not 
history does not state, but it is certain that so far as Fan was 
concerned her astute owner might as well have remained 
between the blankets, as, though backed at the finish as 
though the race were over, she could get no nearer than 
second to Cortolvin, who won in a canter by five lengths. 

Another instance of oversight on his part I might mention 
was leaving Disturbance out in the cold when he won the 
Grand National. The day's racing at an end, Mr. Barber 
would repair to his inn, and there, seated at the head of a long 
table, he would roar out song after song in a sonorous voice 
which made the rafters ring again, and was only hushed when, 
at the call of " Time, Gentlemen, Time ! " the company broke 
up for the night. 

Good Military Riders. 

Our gentlemen riders have always held their own with the 
professionals over an Aintree country, the reason for which, in 
all probability, is that being hunting-men they find themselves 

273 T 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

more at home there, and the jockeys less so, than with the 
smaller and shorter steeplechase courses, such as Sandown and 
Kempton, etc., where not only is there less room, but jockey- 
ship, pure and simple, has a better chance of asserting itself 
than in the more open country. 

Never in my opinion was our Army so well represented in 
the steeplechase field as at the present time, either in number 
or in proficiency. Thirty or forty years ago you could count 
its recognized champions on one hand, consisting as they did of 
Colonels Knox and Harford, and Captains Smith, Coventry, 
and Riddell ; whereas nowadays, at the Household Brigade 
Meeting at Hawthorn-hill, it is nothing uncommon to see 
twenty or thirty horses going to the post for a steeplechase. 

There were, of course, plenty of other good men in the 
service besides the quintette I have mentioned, quite capable of 
holding their own over a country in any company ; but, so far 
as I remember, these were the only officers who made a regular 
practice of riding in handicap steeplechases at all the principal 

From my point of view I feel convinced that taking the 
Army as a whole, never in its existence did it contain so many 
really first-class horsemen as is the case at the present moment, 
and nothing would please me better than to see the Grand 
Military run over the Grand National course. This may seem 
a bold suggestion to make, but it is one which I feel pretty sure 
will find favour in the eyes of a large number of our military 
riders, both past and present. 

It is now thirteen years since a soldier won the Grand 
National, but, judging from the number of good riders who 
compete in military races and the long prices some of them give 
for their horses, it is pretty safe to predict that before long 
their pluck will be rewarded by one of their number again 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

annexing the much-coveted Blue Riband. If ever there was 
a horseman — certainly one of the most brilliant of our time — 
not only to hounds but over a flagged country, of whom one 
would have thought it safe to prophesy that at one time or 
other during his career in the saddle he would have steered the 
winner of the National, it was my old friend " Doggie " Smith, 
but in this particular race, which had been the dream of his life 
to win, his habitual good luck invariably deserted him. How 
well I remember, in 1874, when he and I were riding to 
the starting-post together, his saying, with a look of con- 
fidence there was no mistaking, "I've got you this time, old 
chap ! " 

Heraut d'Armes, his mount in the race, a grand-looking 
horse, up to 15 st. with hounds, and full of quality, had 
previously won the Conyngham Cup at Punchestown in a 
canter, and, with only 10 st. 8 lbs. in the saddle on this occasion, 
was bound to be dangerous. Anyhow, I know I breathed a 
sigh of relief when I saw him come down at the fence after 
Becher's Brook. " Doggie's " bad luck still clung to him in 
1883, when, but for the merest fluke, he would certainly have 
been on the back of Zoedone when she won the National. He 
had promised to ride the mare in the great Sandown Steeple- 
chase, run a short time previous to the Liverpool meeting. 
" Doggie " was away shooting at a friend's place in the country 
at the time, and so severe was the frost in that part of the 
world that he gave up all idea of travelling to Sandown. A 
most unfortunate decision as it turned out, for not only was the 
programme at Sandown duly gone through, but Count — now 
Prince Charles Kinsky — finding himself without a jockey for 
Zoedone in the big event of the day, elected to ride her him- 
self. The mare won in fine style, and so delighted was his 
sporting owner at the performance that he at once made up his 

275 T 2 

The Life of a Great Sportsman 

mind to steer her in the Grand National, with the result we all 

Owing to a recent heavy rainfall, the going was excep- 
tionally heavy that year, and there being more plough, and the 
fences stiffer than usual, combined to make the victory all the 
more meritorious ; and as, in addition, the winner had been 
well backed by the general public, Zoedone and her rider met 
with a great reception on their return to the weighing-room. 
Prince Charles Kinsky comes of a Hungarian family of ancient 
lineage, who from time immemorial have been noted for their 
horsemanship and passion for sport, and have long been 
known over here. Prince Charles's father, indeed, figures in 
that well-known picture by Barraud of the Meet at Badminton, 
the engraving of which is so familiar to most of us ; whilst he 
himself, since his first arrival over here many years ago, in 
attendance on the late Emperor of Austria, has entered so 
heartily into all our outdoor sports, and — if I may be allowed to 
say so — made himself so generally popular that it seems almost 
an insult to refer to him as a foreigner. That he was as 
pleased to win the Grand National as we all were to see him 
do so may be gathered from the fact that on receiving the con- 
gratulations of a brother sportsman, who had called at his 
hotel for the purpose the morning after the race, the Prince, 
after thanking him, exclaimed, in the fullness of his heart, 
" What have I now to live for ? " 

That Prince Kinsky would have won the Liverpool for the 
second time of asking with Zoedone in 1885, but f° r tne mar e 
being "got at" on the course, only a few minutes before her 
rider got into the saddle, is more than probable. The incident 
naturally created a great stir at the time, and the details in 
connection with it read more like a chapter of a sensational 
novel than a happening in real life. The story, however, has 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

been so graphically described by Finch Mason in his well-known 
book, " Heroes and Heroines of the Grand National," that it 
is unnecessary to go over the ground again. 

Sound Advice. 

Prince Kinsky's victory was another instance of a hunting 
man being thoroughly at home over a big country, and it is 
interesting to hear that he followed to the letter the advice 
given to him just before the race by a sage of great experience, 
which was : " Ride just as if you were out hunting the first 
time round. After that, and not before, you can begin to look 
about you and see what the others are doing." 

Perhaps the most remarkable instance on record of an 
inexperienced rider as regards steeplechase-riding proving 
successful at Aintree was the victory of Lord Manners on 
Seaman the previous year, when on a broken-down horse, with 
the elements against him in the shape of a blinding snowstorm, 
he found himself fighting out the finish with Tom Beasley, 
perhaps the best horseman of his day over the Aintree or any 
other course. 

Frank Gordon, again, who with his life-long friend, Alec 
Goodman, for many years divided honours as the best horse- 
men who came out with the Fitzwilliam and Belvoir packs, and 
who, unlike the latter, did not lay himself out for steeplechase 
riding, finished second on Miss Mowbray in the Grand National 
of 1853, the only occasion on which he had a mount in the 
race ; Alec Goodman, who had won on Miss Mowbray the 
previous year, curiously enough being third this time on Oscar, 
in the same stable. 

In 1848, when the "Little Captain," as the popular Josey 
Little was sometimes termed, won on Chandler, a rider 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

appeared amongst the field whose knowledge of horsemanship, 
let alone race- riding, I should imagine must have been of a 
very limited description. It was none other, indeed, than 
Johnny Browne, the well-known prize-fighter, who had the 
mount on Eagle, the story being that he had betted Captain 
Alleyne a " monkey" that he would be in the fourth field from 
home when the winner passed the post. Johnny, as might 
have been expected, rode with plenty of pluck, if not with 
much judgment, and kept with his horses all through the first 
round until Becher's Brook was reached the second time, when 
his horse, who was palpably unfit, coming to dire grief, gave 
the venturesome pugilist such a "toss" as lost him his senses 
for the time being, as well as his wager. 

To go still further back, it may be interesting to members 
of the theatrical profession to hear that Mr. Newcombe, one 
of the best-known provincial managers in the kingdom, and a 
staunch follower of the different packs in the West of England, 
where his home lay, who died quite recently, at a great age, 
was the same Mr. Newcombe who rode his own horse, Cannon 
Ball, in the initiative Grand National in 1839. 

Public School Successes. 

It would be odd indeed if the great public schools had not 
been well represented on the classic plains of Aintree from 
time to time, and accordingly Eton is responsible for Capt. 
Townley (second, on The Huntsman, to Anatis in i860) ; 
Capt. Coventry, who won on Alcibiade in 1865 ; George Ede, 
rider of The Lamb in 1868, and in the opinion of many 
(including myself) the best cross-country horseman of his day ; 
Mr. Digby Collins, owner of and rider of the celebrated mare 
Express, knocked over by Arbury in 1865; Freddy Hobson, 


Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

rider of Austerlitz in 1877; the Earl of Minto ("Mr. Roily") ; 
" Roddy" Owen, who won on Father O'Flynn in 1892 ; Reggie 
Ward, who tried so hard to win with Cathal; and Mr. F. 
Withington, who rode Ford of Fyne into third place in 1897, 
and sixth the following year. Jerry Dalglish, Capt. Percy 
Bewicke, and my humble self are all indebted to Harrow for 
that knowledge of the dead languages which has since proved 
so useful on occasion for admonitory purposes in a big field of 
horses; whilst to Rugby is accorded the honour of having 
endowed " Doggie " Smith with the nickname by which he has 
been familiarly known to his friends. I am not quite sure, but 
I fancy Mr. W. H. P. Jenkins (Mr. P. Merton), the rider of 
The Robber in 1869, was also at Rugby, and Mr. J. C. Dormer 
(now John Upton), who was second on Cloister to Father 
O'Flynn, in 1892, certainly was. 

A time-honoured institution in connection with the Grand 
National was the betting in the laree billiard-room at the 
Washington Hotel on the night before the race, but this has 
been put a stop to of recent years by the powers that be, and 
the card read over instead, as it is after the Waterloo Cup 
dinner. It answers the same purpose, I suppose, but it is 
hardly the same thing. How well I remember their forming 
a ring round Lord Marcus Beresford and Capt. Machell the 
night before Regal's victory in 1876, when the pair backed 
their respective champions, Chimney Sweep and Chandos, 
against each other in most spirited fashion, in a series of fancy 
bets, as a result of which the captain, I fancy, came off second 
best ! 

The great beauty of the Grand National is that no matter 
what the quality of the competitors, the attraction is just as 
great, and though no doubt on this present occasion the 
elimination of Cackler and his stable companions deprives the 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

race of a certain amount of interest, I don't suppose it will 
make much difference at the pay-boxes when their contents 
are counted over. The principal question now seems to be : 
Will the French horse, ridden by a French jockey, with an 
American seat, prove capable of winning ? Personally, I am 
dead against this style of riding, the advantage of which I 
quite fail to see in such a contest as the Grand National. Let 
us hope, if only for the sake of " L'Entente Cordiale," that I 
am wrong. 


It is quite right in my opinion that jumping competitions, 
such as those at Olympia, should meet with every encourage- 
ment, as apart from their great popularity with the British 
public, who always appreciate good horsemanship, the prizes 
are well worth having, and there is, in addition, a ready sale for 
those horses who acquit themselves with credit in the arena. 

The first most important point in making a horse a good 
jumper is to give him confidence, especially where an extra 
high jump is concerned ; the pupil being very apt to refuse 
after the obstacle is raised above a certain height from pure 
want of belief in his own powers to negotiate it, and that is 
why the increase should be made as gradual as possible. 

An open ditch on the take-off side of a fence is the surest 
test I know of whether a horse is a natural jumper, as he must 
spring from his hind legs in order to clear the obstacle pro- 
perly. He must also know, when the ditch is full of thorns, 
not to take off too near, but, on the contrary, to stand well 
away ; and a fence of this description might be introduced with 
advantage at our Horse Shows. 

It is, of course, impossible in such a place as Olympia to 



Mr. J. M. Richardson's Writings Collated 

have fences exactly like those that we are accustomed to meet 
with out hunting - , but I think the executive could certainly 
improve on the obstacles I saw there last year, which were 
artificial in the extreme, and not a bit like the real thing. The 
drop fence, which teaches the rider to sit back and the horse to 
land on his hind legs, cannot be made easily ; but there is no 
earthly reason that I can see why a narrow bank with a ditch 
each side, almost identical with the average fence in a bank 
country, should not take its place. In any case, I advocate 
the ditch on the " take-off " side, which was conspicuous by its 
absence last year. 

The " double " is a useful sort of jump and should be twelve 
feet in between. 

The jump of six or seven feet in height is merely a trick, 
and to my mind savours rather of a circus. Any horse with 
patience and practice can be schooled to accomplish this, but 
except to win money at the different shows it is of little practical 
value. The winners of the high jump at Olympia would, in 
all probability, cut a sorry figure in a run over a blind country 
in October. 

The fact that the fences at Olympia give way at the least 
touch is sure to make horses careless. On the other hand, 
were they made really strong, like those you meet with out 
hunting, there would be bad accidents for certain, so that the 
executive in not taking any risk are wise in their generation. 
In my opinion artificial jumps are of very little use in making 
a hunter. Drive your equine pupil in long reins over a natural 
country and he will soon learn his business. 

It should also be borne in mind that for a horse to jump 
a big fence when fresh, and when blown and leg-weary, are 
two very different things. 

The bank last year at Olympia was a great deal too broad 


The Life of a Great Sportsman 

on the top. What is wanted for a horse to do properly is a 
low bank, very narrow on the top, with a big deep ditch on the 
far side, and when I say "do properly," I mean by changing 
on the top of this " razor "-topped bank — not simply kicking 
back with his hind legs, but with all four legs a top and then 
launching over. 

The skilled rider in the show ring can undoubtedly be of 
great assistance to his horse by getting him nicely balanced, 
and making him take off at the proper distance from the fence, 
as his practised eye will tell him lengths before he gets to the 
obstacle, whatever it is, if he is getting too near, and he will 
make his mount shorten his stride accordingly, to the great 
improvement of his performance. 

Though there can be no possible harm in teaching a horse 
to jump these artificial fences, it must not be assumed for a 
moment that his becoming a proficient, entitles him to be called 
a hunter, because it certainly does not. 

A horse with a good rider of either sex on his back, jumping 
fence after fence in the arena as if to the manner born, is a 
sight worth seeing at any time. But the show hunter must 
be looked at as you would a replica of a picture, and perhaps 
not a very good one at that. 

For the original you must go to the hunting field and 
nowhere else. 



u J"*iy [h&bcme at 
h °™ Grafton, MA 0J5 36