Off to Middleton Cheney, where we can say
We kill'd him â and so made an end of the day.
This was a most capital thing of about two hours and
40 minutes, and the distance not less than 17 miles.
Mr. Shirley, Mr. Napier, Mr. John Lockley, and
Mr. H. CocKBiLL, on his little brown mare ; and Mr. Bush
and others from Lord Seagrave's hunt, went well, and
were up at the death.
Jack Wood knew his place, and how to keep it.
The Stratford Hunt Ball, on the 28th of January, was
well attended by the Members of the Hunt and many other
gentlemen, and a splendid company of ladies.
The hounds threw off, for the last time this reason,
at Hook Norton, on the 5th of April, 1824.
160 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
The first fixture of this season, 18'24, was on the 1st of
November, at Wroxton New Inn.
MEET ALVESTON PASTURES, JANUARY 21st, 1824.
The Warwickshire foxhounds had a most briUiant run
on Saturday, the 21st of January. They met at Alveston
Pastures, two miles from Stratford-on-Avon. In a few
minutes a fine dog fox broke cover, and took direct across
the country, through Charlecote Park, leaving the Plesters
fox covers to the right. Swam the canal, crossed the
Warwick road, and through Leamington, where he was
shortly headed. Reynard then sprang forward again at his
best pace, dashed through the Avon, and took for Leek
Wootton, and was finally killed in the turnpike road near to
Never was a chase so hardly contested, lasting two
hours and 1'2 minutes, and the ground gone over could not
be less than from 28 to 30 miles, as he was headed several
times. But very few, ovit of a numerous Field, were in at
the death, and the whole of the horses were more or less
distressed from the severity of the pace, at various times,
during the run.
THE SAME, BY VENATOR.
' Each sounding horn proclaims the felon dead,
And all the assembl'd village shouts for joy.'
The morning dull, dark vapours low'r.
While now and then a chilling show'r.
Blown by a keen south-easter strong,
Patter'd the leafless shrubs among ;
E'en fancy could not, by the way,
To us predict a sporting day.
MR. SHIRLEY.â 1824. I6l
We met â those clouds of murky hue
Had now assum'd a sombre bkie ;
tEoIus, to diffuse the hght.
The mists dispers'd from human sight. .
No longer aw'd by sleet or rain,
Hope cheers the happy Field again.
The busy hounds no sooner spoke.
Than boldly from the covert broke
A fine old fox as ever run.
The sire of many a felon son.
On the qui vive each man and horse.
Quickly the hounds press him across
The country â then thro' Charlecote Park â
Where Poet Will had us'd to lark
By moonlight â and with cronies dight
Catch a fat buck or two at night.
To right the Plesters coverts lay,
As pug, game fellow, led the way
Thro' the canal â where some who chose
Dash'd in, lest they the sport should lose.
Whilst they, the careful of their kind,
Rode here and there a bridge to find !
Darting the Warwick road across.
He took thro' Leamington his course.
When he, unkindly headed back.
Was thrown upon the vig'rous pack.
Reynard, hard press'd, his brush to save.
Swam o'er the Avon's listless wave
To Leek Wootton â there's no respite.
Whether he turn to left or right.
162 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
The pack so close he durst not stay,
Too feeble now to get away ;
Beaten, but still too brave to yield,
He yet led on the anxious Field.
The nags that slacken'd in their pace,
Were urg'd by spurs to keep their place ;
While the tough thong, freely apply'd,
Weal'd, ev'ry stroke, their tender side.
By course direct pug sought to gain
Some covert on the grand demesne
Of Stoneley 1 â in whose stately wood
He'll meet no more his kindred brood.
Near Chesford, where the bridge doth stride
The Avon deep from side to side.
The hounds upon the public road
Threw up their fox â and now the proud
Field give the death-whoop â th' welcome sound
Echo repeats for miles around.
When the hounds crossed the Avon, the only gentlemen
who followed to the bank of the river, were Capt. Russell,
Mr. H. Wyatt, Mr, Napier, Mr. W. Pickering, Mr. F.
Holland, Mr. Smith, surgeon, of Evesham, and Wood
the huntsman. Not fancying a cold bath, they galloped
along the meadows, and crossed the water at Guyscliff Mill
and were in at the death. â act.Â«on, jim.
1 Stoneley Park and Abbey, the noble and magnificent residence
of an ardent foxhunter â Chandos Leigfh, Esq.
MR. SHIRLEY.â l.S^24. 163
MEET ALVESTON PASTURES, 1824.
One day thi.s season, but I cannot recollect the date,
the Master met a most capital Field at the Pastures. The
hounds were no sooner put into the cover, than a fine old
wild fox went away at a -rattling pace, taking his course
towards Fir Grove. He then sunk the uplands, and pushed
for the Stour ; having swam that ri\ er in style, he boldly
passed on to Preston Bushes, and then through Admington
and Quinton, and away up to the top of Meon Hill. When
horses go at half pace up this hill, they appear to go quick,
if not well. The fences here are thick and strong, and the
country was so heavy that the best nags had no chance to
make play. When the summit of the hill was attained, the
pack for a short time lost scent, and came to a check. They
soon hit him off again, but the hunting was cold, while
reynard made head at a gallant pace. We followed him to
Pebworth, when our nags were beat, and our fox was lost. I
1 Nothing, observed a A'eteran Sportsman, ran distress half-bred
horses more than the being eontinued a great length of time at the top
of their speed ; and even tlie best hunters should not, after veiy severe
aliases, be too soon brought into similar exertions ; numbers are
crippled, and irrecoverably ruined, for want of a little pnidence and
precautionary patience ; for, being brought into the field too early,
with a stiff rigidity in the limbs, and without the usual elastic pliability
in the joints, tlie spirits as well as tlie frame naturally become equally
affected by a consciousness of the deficiency, and the rider, upon making
the discovery, moves in little less misery than the horse, who, feeling
his temporary debility, is evidently in fear of falling at every stroke.
Any horse, having been greatly fatigued by a rapidly severe, or tedious
and long chase, is best recovered from the effect by a great deal of
gentle walking exercise upon the turf, and equally patient friction in
the stable ; for no horse, perceptibly affected in this way, and by these
means, should be brought again even into exercise gallops, until every
degree of stiffness is gradually worn away, and obliterated in gentle
motion, of which they are themselves the first to make a discover)-, by
their palpable renovation of spirits, strength, and action.
164 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
THE SAME, BY VKNATOK.
' Huntsman prepare, ere yet the morning peeps,
Then to the copse,
With silence lead th}- many-colour'd hounds,
In all their beauty's pride !' 1
Thy fields, lovelj' Alv'ston, no longer are seen
Cloth'd rich with a carpet of velvet and green ;
Thy fine stately elms by their fol'age afford
Kind shelter no more to the flock and the herd.
Bereft of its leaves the grey aspen forlorn
No longer salutes the bright goddess of morn.
Yet Spring, lovely Alv'ston, will shortly restore
Those sweet matchless charms which thou boasted of yore ;
The wild bee in clusters thy oaks will surround.
Whene'er on their leaves is the honey- dew found ;
The asp leaf will tremble once more on the spray.
When Spring, blooming Spring, doth her beauties display.
We cannot opine what's become of the dame,
Diana, that lady of stag-hunting fame ;
Did she once hear the sweet-noted voice of the hound.
She'd no more with her dog, a mere lurcher, be found ;
The bow unregarded for ever would lie.
If a red coat could give her one kiss on the sly ;
If she once saw our sport, and tasted our wine,
She'd no more return with their godships to dine.
If to courtship inclin'd, she might here find a man.
As Endymion handsome â or ugly as Pan !
1 An old Sportsman, amongst other judicious observations which
he made upon the practices of others when the hounds were drawing a
cover, frequently used to say â When in the field, I never desire to hear
any other tongue than the tongue of the hound.
MR. SHIRLEY.â 18^24. 165
One day in the season, we cannot say when,
A capital Field met the Master again. 1
Our fox from the covert in minntes a few
Broke forth, and wild over the country he flew
At a fine rattling pace, by way of Fir Grove,
Then push'd for the Stour from the uplands above.
Swam the river in style, and boldly pass'd on
By that cover known as the Bushes of Preston.
When nags from these Bushes are led up Meon Hill,
At half pace, they appear to go quick, if not well ;
Thro' Quinton and Admington kept on the chase,
To th' top of Meon Hill, at the best of his pace.
The fences are here all so thick and so strong.
The nags, unless prime ones, can't bundle along â¢
The country up hill the best part of the way.
And so heavy they have not a chance to make play.
1 The perfect Sportsman, it has been remarked by the intellig^ent
author of the Sportsman's Cabinet, whether the hounds are drawing
or running, is never seen in a place to incur disgrace by heading the
game, or obstructing the hounds ; the chase is a business in which he
is a proficient, and lie is never at a loss in the execution. From an
innate and invincible attachment to the sport, and implicit observance
of its strictest rules, he becomes constitutionally insensible to the less
attentive part of the company ; but is, nevertheless, incessantly alive
to every tongue of a hound. Not a promising whimper, an exhilarating
challenge, or a palpable hit, but vibrates sympathetically upon his
anxious ear, and his whole soul seems absorbed in the earnest and
eager hope of transmitting the enlivening signal of a view to his
distant friends who surround the covert in equal expectation. The
chase once conmienced, his utmost judgment is exerted to lay as well
to the hounds as the speed of his horse and the state of the country will
permit ; at which time he stands upon no specioTis ceremony with, or
servile subservience to, local superiors ; this alone is the happy spot, as
well as the critical and exulting moment, where all are equal, where
personal pride can assume no consequence, dignity can claim no prece-
dence, and where even an immensity of wealth is of no avail, but
superlatively happy he who can excel his peers, and take the lead.
166 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
The summit was scarcely attain'd, when the pack
Lost scent, and the horses were sav'd by the check ; 1
Soon hit off again, but the hunting was cold.
While reynard made head at a rate he could hold.
To Peb worth we follow "d â and there to our cost
Our horses were beat â and our fox he was lost.
Mr. J. Lucy, on Merry-go-round, a famous horse he had
just bought, led the Field to Mcon Hill. Mr. Whitwick,
Mr. R. Greaves, and Mr. Patrick, rode well ; the latter
got a slight fall at the top of the hill, from his horse slipping
at the take-up. Many of the horses were rode to a stand-
still, and the stoutest of them got quite enough of it. â The
fox was killed at Pebworth by a shepherd's dog.
Mr. J. Lucy first mounted his horse Merry-go-round,
on this day, and he proved to be one of the right sort. He
gave a large sum for him, but laming him by some means
in the course of this run, and thinking he could not recover,
he sold him to Mr. Russell for Â£50, who rode him for
eight or nine seasons afterwards, and he always went well
on a fast and long day. â a subscriber to the hunt.
1 A Veteran Sportsman remarks, â The zealous Sportsman will
never condescend to be left a great way behind. He knows his place,
and he keeps it ; he is never seen in the body and bustle of a crowd,
riding' in a direct line with, and pressing upon the heels of the hounds,
but in a tnie sporting style parallel with the three or four last couple
of the pack. Keeping his ground in this situation, he rapturously
enjoys every alternate change and variety of the scene ; by lying close
to the hounds, and making the necessary observations, he is sure of
seeing where and when they throw up, and of course knows to a
certainty how far they have carried the scent ; consequently those only
who are forward, and know the state of the chase, are the best qualified
to give the signal of ' Hold hard !' to those behind, and not, as is too
frequently the case, for those behind to transmit, inconsistently, the
petulant ex<'lamatio)i to those before.
MR. SHIRLEY.â 1825. I67
The last meet this season, 1825, was on the 30th of
March, at Wroxton Abbey.
The Warwickshire hounds have had an unusually fine
season, and Jack Wood, the huntsman, gives universal
satisfaction. Lord Middleton having no farther occasion
for his services, they have got Zac for their first whip. Mr.
Shirley, who has the management of the pack, does ample
justice to this beautiful country.
On the 1st of January, 1825, public notice was given,
that Mr. Shirley had signified his intention to resign the
management of the Warwickshire hounds. This notice
excited the attention of the friends of the chase, who waited
with anxiety the appointment of a successor.
At a meeting of the Proprietors of coverts, and the
Subscribers to the Hunt, held at the Warwick Arms, on
Wednesday, March Qth, Mr. F. Canning in the chair,
it was arranged that Mr. Hay should hunt the Warwickshire
country for the two next seasons ; to hunt four days in the
week, from the 1st of November to the 1st of April. Both
those days included.
It was also resolved, at the same meeting, on the
motion of Mr, Holbech, seconded by Mr. J. Lucy, that a
handsome Piece of Plate be presented to Mr. Shirley, for
his management of the Hunting Establishment in this
A subscription was entered into, on the proposition of
Mr. T. Cattell, seconded by Mr. J. Lucy, and in the
following week amounted to nearly Â£100, and considerably
168 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
We should not forget the late Master of the hounds,
E. J. Shirley, Esq. of Eatington, whose family possessed
that lordship before the Norman Conquest. Dugdale says
â ' The only place in this country that glories in an unin-
terrupted succession of its owners, for so long a tract of
time.' â Mr. Shirley does credit to his ancestry. He has
given the most universal satisfaction, and his motive for
leaving them, which I had from his lips, is creditable to his
feelings as a man. ' We cannot do every thing, (said he,)
I am building a house on my property in Ireland, where I
mean to reside part of the year, and the hounds would be
much in my way.' Were some other Irish proprietors to
follow Mr. Shirley's example, Ireland would have reason
to rejoice, and two hundred Mr. Shirleys, scattered up
and down that ill-fated country, would do more for the
souls and bodies of its inhabitants than their religious
freedom â great as the boon may be â and three parts of
their priests into the bargain. â nimrod.
.. Â»Â» ^^<4Â«..
W. HaYj Esq. then of Wcllesboiirne, in this county,
succeeded Mr. Shirley in the management of the War-
wickshire hovmds, with a subscription of Â£1,500 per annum.
He hunted them himself, but kept Jack Wood as kennel
huntsman. Bill Boxall was first whip.
This gentleman resides at Dunse Castle, near Berwick.
At the commencement of the hunting season, 1822, Mr.
Hay took possession of Almington Hall, near Market
Drayton, in Shropshire, and, with a superior pack, hunted
that district, which inchtded a large trract of country in the
county of Stafford.
The first meet was on Monday, the 31st of October,
1825, at Chesterton Wood.
170 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
In making some observations on the Warwickshire
Hunt, while the hounds were under the management of Mr.
Hay, Nimrod says â Leamington is within reach of four
hunts. The Warwickshire ; Lord Anson, when at his
Dunchurch kennel ; and also by being occasionally within
the Duke of Beaufort, Sir T. Mostyn, and Mr. Musters.
Amongst the sporting characters, are Lord Avonmore,
Hon. Mr. Yelverton, Sir Loftus Otway, Col. Robbins,
Col, Davenport, Major Moray Stirling, and Messrs.
Shakerley, Wightwick, Meyrick, Buck, Williams,
Gee, Leader, &c. &c. 1
A RUN WHILE CUB-HUNTING AT PRINCETHOUPE.
The hounds, when taken out one morning cub-hunting,
found an old fox in the above wood. He went away at a
good pace for Stretton ; when he got near to the Black Dog,
he turned short to the right for Frankton Wood, and went
to ground at Bourton earths, after a run of 40 minutes.
1 Those constitutional admirers of the chase, w ho for time imme-
morial have been better known by the appellation of Sportsmen, (says
a spirited writer of great experience in the field,) are almost proverbial
for their mutual offices of civility and friendship ; no class enter more
into the openness and glowing warmth of unsuspecting society, the
genial inspiration of philanthropy, and the infinite inexpressible extent
of unsullied hospitality.
A Sportsman, who was a regular attendant in the field for more
than thirty years, makes the following remarks upon the conduct of
some young newly-initiated Sportsmen, who frequently visit and annoy
the field : â WTien the hounds are thrown into covert, and every old
and experienced Sportsman is in silent but eager expectation for the
first challenge, it is generally their peculiar care to become the only
subject of vociferation, by noisy and extraneous remarks, or weak or
puerile observations. It is no uncommon thing for them to gallop
from one extremity of the covert to the other, when the hounds are
harking to each other, and eveiy moment expected to find; by which
indiscretion they not only prevent the game from breaking away, but
frequently occasion its death without a view.
MR. HAY.â 18*25. 171
Found again at the Bull and Butcher Wood, when our
fox took straight away to Debdale, pointing for Stockton
earths ; he afterwards t'lrned to the left, and went over the
hill at Leamington Hastings, and right through Thurlaston
village. Leaving Dunchurch on the left, he crossed the
Londoii road, and ran through Barby Wood. He then left
Brauuston Cleeves on the right, and was at length run into
and killed between Ashby Salloway and Crick.
MEET ALVESTON PASTURES.
The first time I saw Mr. Hay in the field, at the
head of these hoimds, the meet was at Alveston Pastures,
where a great number of Sportsmen had assembled.
The hounds were put in at the top of the cover, as
usual, and after trying nearly the whole of it, at the very
last part, we had the unexpected but welcome notice by the
Tallyho given, that a fox was away. The wind was tremen-
duously high the whole of the morning, and those gentlemen
who remained in the field at the top of the covert could not
hear the glad summons, and were unluckily thrown out
Away went reynard at a slashing pace ; the hounds
ran him in view across the first field or two, and those
gentlemen who started with the pack were obliged to go
their best pace to live with them at all. He made his first
point for the oziers, at Alveston, but on being headed he
took a southernly direction, crossed Mr. Gibbs's Hill Farm,
and then took off in a straight line for the top of Clifford,
where he crossed the Stnur. Mr. Hay, being unacquainted
with the country, followed ; his stirrup-leather came off.
172 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
and both the horse and his rider got a good ducking in the
river, bnt they were soon got ovxt. A few gentlemen, with
the huntsman and whips, who knew the line of country,
went over the wooden bridge at the mill.
Then away went our fox for Gaily Oak, but not daring
to stop there, he still led them along at a tremendous pace,
and without a check, across for Quinton windmill ; here he
appeared to make a slight turn, as if going for Ilmington ;
he continued in that direction until he got near to Adming-^
ton, when he was headed by some men at work in a field in
the occupation of Mr. Smith. He then crossed Meon Hill
to Clopton, and over the Cambden turnpike road, where
they came to a check. This pause was heartily welcomed
by the Field, as many of the nags had long stood in need
of a chance of recovering their wind. In a few minutes,
however, the hoimds again hit off the scent, and the cry of
Harkforward ! Tallyho ! called them once more into action.
Away they went, still going well, considering the killing
pace they had been led along in the former part of the run.
Reynard, determined if possible to shake off his pursuers,
took across the grass fields from Clopton to Broad Marston,
and at length, being closely pressed, he took into a fold-
yard at Pebworth, when the hounds could not drag on him
again, and he was lost.
The hounds, horses, and men, it was clear, were all
willing to say â Enough â as they had spanked along at a
slapping pace, through a run of about 14 miles.
I noticed some gentlemen, who were lucky enough to
get a start with the hounds, who went well to the end of
the rim. Amongst those select few, were Mr. Charlton,
on his favourite chesnut horse Holiday ; Mr. R. Greaves,
MR. HAY.â 1825. 173
on his black mare ; Mr. C. Davenport, on his grey mare ;
Mr. W. Smith, of Stratford, on his little Fyldener mare,
and on this occasion I never saw a little one go better to
FROM NIMROD, BY VENATOR.
MEET COMPTON VERNEY, IOtH OF DECEMBER, 1825.
' 'Twas an old fox, 1 said, and he knew ev'ry trick
That ever was practis'd, I tliink, by old nick.'
The morning may smile, the proud hunter look gay,
Yet who can foretel the events of a day ?
Compton Verney the Master had fix'd as the meet.
Of noble De Broke the fam'd mansion and seat. 1
This fixture, whatever be said of the rest,
Has long been acknowledg'd as one of the best.
Found a fox â Hark away ! and the blithe Tallyho !
Inspire the gay Field, from the swift to the slow ;
O'er hedge, gate, and stile, they bound helter-skelter,
At a rate one would swear they were match'd for The Welter.
Our game brush'd along at a bold rapid pace.
With only one check during half an hour's space ; 2
By turning and curling, his course all the while
Resembl'd the run of a hare on her foil.
1 The paternal residence of Lord Willoughby de Broke.
2 Take tlie words of Nimrod ; tliat interesting writer says â Two
peculiarities attended this burst. The pace tlie hounds went at was
tremendous ; but from the short and curling manner in which the fox
ran â almost equal to tliat of a liare on her foil â it was most difficult to
keep up with them.
174 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
Hardest riders Mere baffl'd â at times in the burst,
The first became last;, and the last became first ;
So speedy afoot was our fox, and so sly.
The best of our nags of the pace appear'd sh^^
Enough of what Patlanders call ' wicked riding,'
A bore to John Bull when he can't well confide in
His horse â timber fences at least ev'ry other,
A wide yawning ' squire-trap,' on one side or t'other. 1
The hats of some gentlemen, spite of their tying.
Ballooning were seen, in the air rudely flying ;
Gallant Mevrick, who always goes well, 'tis agreed.
And some others lost hats in the height of their speed. ^
To stop in the chase for a hat there's no merit,
A thing never dreamt of by riders of spirit.
That reynard escap'd from the Field it is plain.
Then rouse him once more, boys, and at him again.
The hatless, instaiiter, sans picking and choosing,
The choice, like old Hobson's, left no time for musing,
Quickly drew from their pockets a kerchief and bound.
To keep off the weather, their temples around ;
And look'd at a distance, 'twas waggishly said.
Like a group of old market-wi\ es cloak'd up in red ! 3
1 There were two bad accidents. Mr. Holden, of Barford, injured
liis horse in the shoulder, but did not know how nor when lie did it ;
and Mr. Williams, (son of the General,) staked his horse.
2 Mr. Mevrick, and an Irish gentleman staying at Leamington,
3 This run, as given by Ximrod, would have been inserted, had not
the copy either been mislaid or not preserved. A similar excuse must
plead in another run or two, for any omissions of the same desciiptioa.
MR. HAY.â 1825. 175
MEET UFTON WOOD, DECEMBER 14tH, 1825.
Di'ew the wood with the Field still and anxious around.
Pug was not at home so he coxild not be found.