John Anstruther-Thomson.

Eighty years' reminiscences (Volume v.2) online

. (page 1 of 27)
Online LibraryJohn Anstruther-ThomsonEighty years' reminiscences (Volume v.2) → online text (page 1 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


•>-^t;-^M's^




fel






m



'ft'. ' . -J • T






;'r-'#i-.-'^:i..' - 'K-': ■,■••:. ■;■■■ •. ;-.

• '. ktV: 't^.O ;'?.■%•.♦,■■ *-'V.-^'^. ■■•■■■ ■ - ■■"- '^;









TUFTS UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES



3 9090 014 536 96






■-•j,0 ■•"■■■■■ ',



Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine

Cumrnings School of Veterinary Medicine at

Tufts University

200 Westboro Road

Nprtii Grafton, MA 01536



EIGHTY YEARS' REMINISCENCES



EIGHTY YEARS'
REMINISCENCES



Colonel ANSTRUTHER THOMSON



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS



IN TWO VOLUMES. VOLUME IL




ANSTRUTHER THOMSON,
CHARLETON.CO FIFE



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON

NEW YORK AND BOMBAY

1904



CT



JACK THOMSON.

Who sprang to lift me when I fell,
And heaved my Sheltie up as well ?
That Devon common drain could tell —

Jack Thomson.

Who hunts upon the edge of frost
Rather than let a day be lost ?
Ae man, but in himself a host —

yack Thomson.

Who rides the country up and down.
With smile like morn for peer and clown ?
Most genial lad beneath the crown —

yack Thomson.

Who makes the shire one family —
A freen to all in each degree —
Gars Whig and Tory brithers be ? —

yack Thomson.

" yohn Thomson's bairns " means easy free —
Auld Fife phrase for guid company —
Our common father yet is he —

yohn Thomson.

Anonymous.



CONTENTS



CHAPTER

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.
X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.



XIV.

XV.

XVI.

XVII.

XVIII.

XIX.



The Pytchley Picture and Dinner.

Atherstone: Third time — The Welsh Hounds

Torquay and Jack Russell

Colonel Gardyne and the Fife Hounds

The Run from Forth to Tay : Snow Hunts

Jack Russell

Fife

Fife to Folkestone, and Perth to Langwell
BY Road

First Scottish Tournament

A Hunting Tour .....

Peterborough Hound Show

Bath and Devonshire ....

My Retirement from Command of Fife Light
Horse — The Duke of Cambridge at
Dysart

Farewell Dinner at Cupar

Jubilee 1897 ......

Will Shore and the Duke of Buccleuch's

Hounds

Fife Light Horse Embarked in the Cymric

Fife Yeomanry in South Africa

The King in Scotland ....



page

I

40

64

93

131

157

179

197
208
233
251

265



280
298
308

326
338
347

357



VOL. II.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Charleton. From a Photograph by Raines

Gay, Elie Frontispiece

Arms of Anstruther Thomson, Charle-
ton, Co. Fife .... Vignette on Title-page

J.A.T. ON Iris. Pytchley, 1870. From a

Painting by Sir Francis Grant . . Facing page 13

The Rev. Jack Russell ....„,, 83

Clementina Adam, wife of John An-
struther Thomson of Charleton
(my Mother). From a Miniature at
Charleton ...... >» >i 89

Lord Worcester on '* Beckford," 1871.

From a Painting by Wheeler ..,,,,, 137

With the Duke of Portland — Perth to
Langwell, 1885. Photographed at
Dingwall ...... ,, „ 205

Colonel, Fife and Forfar Light Horse,
1 89 1. From a Photograph by G. B.
Rodger, St. Andrews . . . . ,, ,,266

Honorary Colonel, Fife and Forfar Im-
perial Yeomanry, 1903. From a Photo-
graph by Miss Gwenydd Erskine . . ,, ,, 348

J. Anstruther Thomson, 1902. FroTn a

Photograph by Mrs. C. Babington . „ ,, 360



CHAPTER I.

THE PYTCHLEY PICTURE AND DINNER.

I BOUGHT four black horses — " Sandboy," " Nigger-
boy," " Traveller" and " Piccadilly".

1 6th July. — Went one day to dine at Richmond —
Star and Garter — with Frank Grant and John
Coupland, M.F.H. Quorn. Mrs. Callender went
on the box of my coach. Lord and Lady Crawford
were in the gardens, before their marriage.

14th August. — Started from London on the coach
to drive home to Fife. First night stopped at the
Peahen Inn at St. Albans ; stopped there Sunday ; on
Monday, lunch at Woburn ; slept at Newport- Pagnel ;
next day arrived at the cottage at Brixworth ; re-
mained there three or four days ; 20th, drove to
Rugby ; slept there ; next day put coach on rail
down to Kendal and Oxenholme, and drove on to
Windermere Hotel, Bowness ; stayed there Sunday ;
next day to Coniston ; went to see Furness Abbey ;
had lunch at Grassmere, and on to Derwent Water ;
to Keswick ; Troutbeck ; Ullswater, lunch ; Penrith.

We had lovely weather all the time and it was
capital fun. but very hard work. We had to pack
the coach ourselves as the men had to look after the
horses, and in the afternoon we rowed on the lakes.

VOL. II. I



sV



2 REMINISCENCES OF

The horses did capitally — never had a scratch or a
sore neck, and got so quiet that they would all drink
out of the same trough on the roadside.

On starting from Penrith knocked over a wheel-
barrow in the street ; drove on to Carlisle ; put coach
on rail to Edinburgh ; put up coach and horses at
Scott & Croal's, and went ourselves to the Windsor
Hotel, Miss Brown's, in Shandwick Place ; over the
ferry to Burntisland, and got home on Saturday,
20th August. Wife improved much in health during
the journey.

25th September. — Started again in coach ; left
Charleton ; had lunch at Dunnikier ; stopped at
Pitfirrane, and remained there Sunday ; took Arthur
and Lady Halkett, Miss Hill, and slept at Bridge-of-
Allan ; next day called at Sir W. Maxwell's at Keir ;
had lunch at Callender ; on to Trossachs ; met coach
on narrow part of road— just tipped hind wheel and
frightened all the passengers. Next day Arthur and
Lady H. went by steamer, and home via Loch
Lomond. We went on to Lochearnhead — a capital
inn. Sir John Macgregor was staying there. Next
day lunch at Lawers with David Williamson, and on
to Perth ; slept there and home next day.

5th October. — Went to Edinburgh for races on
6th, and were trotting gaily down hill past Piershill
barracks, crossing the railway, when a train came
out of the tunnel and gave a scream. " Niggerboy"
stopped suddenly, the pole caught him on the quarters,
and knocked him head over heels. He pulled his
neighbour after him. The pole broke, both the



COL. ANSTRUTHER THOMSON 3

wheelers tumbled down, and all four horses disap-
peared under the coach. One of them screamed
like a dying hare. There was nothing visible but
the point of the pole and our toes at the edge of the
footboard. The 17th Lancers' coach was close be-
hind us. They pulled up, all jumped down, seized
the wheels and pulled the coach back, and nothing
was broke except a tirret trodden off one of the
leaders' collars. " Niggerboy " had a few scratches,
where the others had trodden on him.

Fortunately Henry Montgomery appeared in an
open cab, so he took Mrs. Thomson with him and
went on to the races. A 'bus with three horses over-
took us. The driver pulled up and said, " Hullo,
Captain, what's the matter? " I said, " We've broke
our pole. You have two, you might lend us one."
He said, " What shall I do with one pole and three
horses?" Mr. Croal then arrived in a orio- and said,
" By all means lend the Captain a pole, and you go
on with two horses ". Mr. Croal was standing on the
road by his gig, when a fellow with an American
trotter came down the road about twenty miles an
hour, caught the wheel of the gig, and turned it right
upside down. " Where the h — 11 are you coming to ? "
" Why the devil don't you get out of the way ? " — and
went on without stopping. We got the pole belong-
ing to the 'bus, but it was rather too large, so we
borrowed a kitchen chopper at a public house, and
pared it down to fit, and set sail again, and I got to
the races in good time.

About 20th October, Charles Hewitt, Henry



4 REMINISCENCES OF

Sanders and John Drage came from Northampton-
shire to stay at Charleton. Hounds met at New
Inn. Charlie Gardyne was Master.

A fine old Scotch farmer, George Wilkie, lived
at Nottingham farm. I said to Sanders, " If you
want to see a fine old Scotchman, go to that house ".
He rode up and rattled at the door with his whip.
A lass came with no shoes or stockings, and bare
arms. He said, " I say, got a bit of bread and cheese
in the 'ouse?" The girl looked at him and said,
" Nae bread and cheese for the likes of you," and
went into the house again. So he never saw my old
friend.

We went over to Hopetoun one day and hunted
with the Linlithgow and Stirling Hounds. Lord
Hopetoun was always glad to see followers of the
Pytchley Hounds, of which he had been master.

" 1 869- 1 8 70. — -Remained at Charleton that winter
till the 2 1 St January, 1870, when I returned to the
cottage at Brixworth. Got a few days' hunting ;
and the dinner took place at Northampton on the
loth of February. It was pretty hard frost at the
time, and a snowstorm three days afterwards.

" Presentation to J. Anstruther Thomson, Esq.,
Late Master of the Pytchley Hunt.

" On Thursday evening last upwards of 200
gentlemen sat down to dinner at the George Hotel,
the occasion of this large gathering being the presen-
tation of a testimonial to J. Anstruther Thomson,
Esq., late Master of the Pytchley Hounds. A



COL. ANSTRUTHER THOMSON 5

number of pheasants were sent by General Bouverie
for the dinner, as a compliment to the occasion.

" The testimonial consisted of a portrait of Captain
Thomson, by Sir Francis Grant, President of the
Royal Academy. The likeness is a very striking
one. Captain Thomson is represented on his
favourite hunter ' Iris,' and is surrounded by six or
seven of his favourite hounds, one of them being the
well-known ' Governess '. The horse and hounds
are as good likenesses as the portrait, and the
minutest details are carried out with wonderful fidelity
and exactness. In the background is an old tree,
with the branches bare of leaves in the winter season,
the locality being well-known to the members of the
hunt. The picture is said to be Sir Francis Grant's
best work of the kind, and by those who have seen
it this will readily be believed, as it seems to be
almost faultless as a work of art. It is a rare thing
to find an artist who excels both in portrait painting
and in animal painting, but in this picture both are
so good it is difficult to say in which department the
artist has been most successful.

" The chair was occupied by Colonel Loyd-
Lindsay, the vice-chair being filled by Matthew
Oldacre, Esq. Amongst those present were : The
Earl of Rossi yn, the Right Hon. H. G. Liddell,
M.P., the Hon. Fitzpatrick Vernon, Sir Charles
I sham, Bart., Sir Algernon Peyton, Bart., General
Sir Frederick Horn, Bart., the Right Hon. George
Ward Hunt, M.P., Sackville George Stopford, Esq.,
M.P., Major Fairfax Cartwright, M.P., Albert Pell,



6 REMINISCENCES OF

Esq., M.P., Major Why te- Melville, Mr. H. O.
Nethercote, Mr. R. Lee Bevan, Mr. W. Smyth,
Mr. W. Truman Mills, Mr. — Watson, Colonel
Higgins, Colonel Jenyns, Lieut. -Colonel Thomas
Arthur, Colonel Maddocks, Captain Percy Williams,
Captain Douglas, Captain Pearcy, Mr. George
Ashby Ashby, Mr. Allen A. Young, Mr. H. H.
Hungerford, Mr. Lionel Stopford, Mr. W. G.
Duncan, Mr. P. Thursby, the Rev. C. F. Watkins,
Mr. Ewins Bennett, Mr. John Ogilvie, Mr. T.
Bennett, Mr. Lewis Bennett (Reading), Mr. Hugh
Haig, Mr. Gervase Wright, Mr. J. Shield, Mr.
Robert Cartwright, Mr. James Montgomery, Mr. W.
Allan Woodross (Garvald, N.B.), Mr. J. W. Morrice,
Mr. Alderman Gates, and Messrs. A. B. Markham,
John Woods, R. H. Hewitt, Henry Sanders, Alfred
Jeffery, J. Tressler, A. W. Doig, W. Manning, B. F.
Drare, Georofe Turner, Matthew Oldacre, Robert
Battams, William Shaw, John Shaw, Broughton
Shaw, Thomas Smith, Richard RatclifFe, T. B.
Turnell, Lucas Foster, Henry Higgins, H. Atter-
bury, J. K. Elliott, J. T. Smith, T. Wallis, T.
Phillips, T. Drage, W. Drage, sen., John Cooper,
H. J. Little, H. Higgins, jun., W. Goodliffe,
Elworthy, Andrew, G. H. Burnham, N. P. Sharman,
Edward Sharman, W. H. Wykes, W. Smart, W. A.
Judkins, John Judkins, J. W. Whitton, Walter Shaw,
Thomas Shaw, W. West, C. F. Goody, H. Atter-
bury, F. J. Field, T. Ratliffe, Wm. Jeffrey. M. A.
Boeme, H, Cooper, W. Porter, Edwin Tresham, R.
C. Andrews, John Parsons, P. Allen, John Dyke,



COL. ANSTRUTHER THOMSON 7

John Walker, T. Davis, J. T. Green, M. P. Manfield,
Watts, J. G. Topham, H. Maskelyne, J. Blake, A. C.
Phillips, W. Daniels, Bedford, J. Pawlett, F. Beers,
T. Phillips, W. G. Phillips, B. Phillips, J. Bennett,
John Hargrave, N. Lang, V. T. Barford, John
Simpson, James Fitt, G. Lewis, John Merry, George
Wilkinson, J. Newton, G, J. Grimsdick, Edward
Scales, W. Whitehead, Dryland, W. Willows,
Everett, L. Bagshaw, John Bagshaw, Wm. Bell,
Jeyes, A. S, Smyth, John Pye, Gage, G. T. West,
B. West, John Newton, Thos. Pell, J. Biggs, John
Wood, John Elkins, F. Atterbury, John Hinckley,
jun., John Manning, W. Smart, C. Goodie, W.
George, jun., T. Payne, W. Cowley, T. Norton,
Joseph Hanson, Wilkinson, J. Cooper, G. N, Wetton,
E. Craddock, Howes, George Everett, Charles
Smith, W. Colledge, Richard Stuchbury, W. Dix,
J. E. Boehm, A. E. Boehm, Harper, Alkin Watson
(Weedon), George Ambidge, John Perkins, jun.,
John Mason, W. Oswin, John Roddis, George
Howe, Robert Derby, W. Earl, H. Hensman, J. E.
Richardson, W. Saull, John Eunson, F. Marshall,
W. Finney, J. H. Douglas, T. R. Wood, W. Barber,
Firr, Bulling, John Green, Bell, Howes, etc., etc.
Mr. Newdegate, M.P. for North Warwickshire, and
Mr. W. P. Adam, M.P., each intended to be present,
but were unavoidably prevented. The usual loyal
toasts were given by the Chairman and duly
honoured.

" The Right Hon. George Ward Hunt gave the
' Army, the Navy, the Militia, and Volunteers,' and



8 REMINISCENCES OF

said it miorht be said that the toasts was not a
necessity at a fox-hunting dinner, but if they would
look at it a moment they would see that such was
not the case. The late Duke of Wellington attri-
buted the prowess of his officers in the Peninsular
War to their education in the hunting field, where
they had gained that decision, judgment and self-
reliance which was always of great use in a campaign.
Long might our army be officered with fox-hunters.
Their sailors were not inferior to their soldiers, but
he did not know whether the day was not coming
when that toast would have to undergo some modi-
fication, for under the present Government the army
and navy seemed to be getting gradually smaller
and beautifully less. They were told, however, that
the more they were reduced the more efficient
they became, and in a short time they might expect
them to arrive at the highest point of efficiency,
namely, nil. If that was the case the country might
trust to the efficiency of the volunteer forces, repre-
sented in this county by the militia, the yeomanry,
and the volunteers, of whom the county was justly
proud. He would couple the toast with the name
of Sir Henry Home for the army. Colonel Maddox
for the militia, and Colonel Loyd- Lindsay for the
volunteers.

" Sir Frederick Home responded for the army,
and said his own experience of forty-two years in the
army confirmed the truth of the Duke of Wellington's
opinion as to the value of the hunting field as a
training for the army. During the thirteen years



COL. ANSTRUTHER THOMSON 9

he himself commanded a regiment his rule was
general leave to all officers who wanted to go fox-
hunting, for he always found that they returned to
their military duties with more zeal and more cheer-
fulness. The effect of hunting was to raise the
spirits and increase the courage of those who engaged
in it.

" The Chairman now rose to give the toast of
the evening, and, in doing so, he said : * I have now
to propose the most important toast of the evening.
But before paying this tribute of respect from the
chair, and before presenting the testimonial, which
it is my duty to present, I wish to mention some
friends of our own, and some friends of our guest,
who are unavoidably absent, but who wish to express
their satisfaction at the compliment now being paid
to Mr. Anstruther Thomson. The first letter which
I will read is one from Lord Spencer. It is written
to Mr. Liddell, whom all will gratefully remember in
connection with this dinner, for its success is princi-
pally owing to his exertions. Lord Spencer says :
" My dear Liddell, — Nothing would have given me
greater pleasure than to have been able to accept the
invitation which the committee of the ' Pytchley
Testimonial Fund ' so kindly made to me through
you. You know how fond I am of our Pytchley
hunting, and to be among the various members of
the county at a dinner given to Thomson would be
a great pleasure to me. I always admired his ex-
cellence as a sportsman, and, as a personal friend,
should much like to be present on an occasion so



t6 REMINISCENCES OK

interesting to him. I cannot, however, leave my
duties here, and I must, with regret, decline the
proposal — Very truly yours, Spencer." My next
letter is from a gentleman very well known in these
parts. I allude to Mr, Owen Wallis, who belongs
to a class, and is, indeed, an ornament to a class,
with whom our guest is most deservedly and most
highly popular, I mean the farmers of Northampton-
shire. Mr. Wallis says: "There are not, I think,
more than two or three others better qualified than
myself to offer an opinion as to the hunting of the
Pytchley Hounds, for it was my good fortune to
commence my small hunting career under the cele-
brated John Musters, of whom I have a vivid recol-
lection ; and I consider myself equally fortunate in
having finished it under the no less celebrated
John Anstruther Thomson. In my judgment, the
first was, and the latter is, the most perfect master
of his craft I have ever met with. Marvellous
horsemen both, they nevertheless rode to hunt, and
did not hunt to ride, as is too often the case with
professing sportsmen. Masters of Hounds sometimes
included." I have other letters of friends which I
might read, but I won't further call your attention
to those who are absent, when I can so much more
agreeably point to those who are present. And
when I look round upon the company assembled in
this room, I am struck with the singular happy
concurrence of men of all classes and vocations, all
of them useful and honourable in life. We are
assembled this evening in company with some of



COL. ANSTRUTHER THOMSON ii

the best farmers, in one of the best-farmed counties
of England. What body of men could be more
fit to pronounce an opinion on the merits of fox-
hunting, or better fitted to speak of the qualities of
our guest ? We are in company with legislators from
both Houses of Parliament. Who is there more
competent to speak of the well-known advantages of
cordiality and good feeling which spring up in the
hunting field than those who have to govern the
country? Authors and writers are not so plentiful
that we can speak of them in the plural, yet we have
one here, the most popular of our popular favourites.
The author of Holmby House, a tale of old
Northamptonshire, can throw a halo of chivalry and
poetry round the noble sport. We are amongst
soldiers. I should like to know what soldier there
is who can't be enthusiastic, if not eloquent, in praise
of fox-hunting? Who are the men who have led
our companies and headed our squadrons in presence
of the enemy ? Who are the men who have fought
in India and in the Crimea? Are they not men
trained in the games of this country, of which fox-
hunting is the highest and noblest of all ? And
lastly, gentlemen, we are in a company who are all
of them fox-hunters, be they soldiers, sailors, farmers,
or authors, and who can be more fit than such a
company to drink the health of J. Anstruther Thom-
son, who has just now been well described as a
master of the craft? Gendemen, this gathering,
besides being in honour of Captain Thomson, is a
demonstration in favour of the noblest of man's



12 REMINISCENCES OF

amusements, but it is one which few become masters
of, and only one in a hundred is able to conduct
to the satisfaction of those who join in it. Mr. Bright
once said he would stand at Temple Bar, and that
the first 300 men who passed would be better
Members of Parliament than those who then sat in
Westminster. But, good or bad, they would be
a troublesome lot to manage, but not more so
perhaps than the assembly which the Master of the
Pytchley has to control many times in a season. In
the rifle -shootino- world we know the term "all
comers," and the character is not unknown at the
covert side. Let him be rich or poor, on foot or on
horse, he is welcome to all that the best of us can
get, and if he should happen to get a good start, and
can keep it, he is as happy as any man need be
in this world. Such is the unselfish sport of fox-
hunting. Gentlemen, I will no longer detain you
from the toast which you are ready to receive and
and anxious to welcome, " The health of Captain
Anstruther Thomson ". I must, however, present to
our guest the picture which we all look at with so
much pleasure as being a true and faithful portrait
of our esteemed friend. It is a tribute of respect
carrying with it the best wishes of no fewer than
375 gentlemen who have subscribed for it. It is a
testimonial from neighbours and friends in return
for the unceasing efforts which he made to promote
the sport of fox-hunting, and it must be gratifying to
him to know that the compliment originated with
the larore class of farmers whom he has done so much




J.A.T. ON IRIS.
PYTCHLEY, 1870.



COL. ANSTRUTHER THOMSON 13

to make his friends. Please to accept this picture
as a mark of the esteem of your many warm friends
and well-wishers in Northamptonshire. And now,
gentlemen, when I ask you to drink the toast, I
congratulate you upon the admirable likeness which
has been painted by Sir Francis Grant of one of the
best sportsmen in England.'

" When the chairman requested Captain Thom-
son's acceptance of the testimonial, the curtain was
withdrawn from before the picture, which was placed
at the west end of the room, and the exposure of it
was received with prolonged and deafening cheers.

" Captain Thomson said: 'Colonel Loyd- Lindsay,
I thank you most truly and most sincerely. Any
words which I may find to express my feelings, I
assure you, appear to me to be very cold and very
feeble. At the same time I assure you that, although
the expression of my thanks may be imperfect, my
gratitude is very great. I can only repeat to you
my thanks again and again. I see around me a vast
and influential assembly of all ranks, and of all pro-
fessions and opinions, and I am, indeed, surprised
and astonished that you should have done me the
honour to have assembled in such numbers on this
occasion. I also see around me many old friends
and many old comrades, who, for the sake of days
long gone by, have come here to rejoice with me
this evening. Your presence here this evening has,
however, another significance, and a very important
one, for, as our worthy chairman has said, you have
come here to make a demonstration in favour of



14 REMINISCENCES OF

fox-hunting, and by your presence here this evening
you give your countenance and support to the great
national sport of fox-hunting, I need not put you
in mind of the joys of the chase, or recount to you
the advantages of fox-hunting, either commercially
or socially, but, as far as I am individually con-
cerned, had it not been for fox-huntings I should
probably have been unknown to most of you, and
certainly I should never have had the honour of
standing in this position. A few years since, when
Lord Spencer resigned the mastership of the Pytchley
Hounds, our old friend. Major Whyte- Melville, wrote
to me, saying he thought I should like to gallop over
the grass grounds of Northamptonshire, and hunt
the fox in Rockingham Forest. I had no doubt that
I should like it, but I reflected that if the pleasures
were great, so were the responsibilities, and I hesi-
tated before I durst venture to accept so large an
establishment. My wife, however, had the casting
vote, and she gave it in favour of Pytchley. Of
course I knocked under, and became Master of the
Pytchley, and when I got there I found that the
difficulties and responsibilities had not been a bit
over-rated, for I am sure the Master of the Pytchley
Hounds will always find plenty of occupation both for
body and mind. When I first began to hunt hounds,
twenty-two years since, my old friend, Percy Williams,
my brother soldier and brother huntsman, gave me a
bit of excellent advice. He said, " Keep your temper,
and stick to the line ". I never forofot that, but have
always tried to act up to it. I always tried not to be



Online LibraryJohn Anstruther-ThomsonEighty years' reminiscences (Volume v.2) → online text (page 1 of 27)