sary to say what Warwickshire once was. In Mr. Corbet's
time there was a club of gentlemen at Stratford-on-Avon,
remarkable for conviviality and concord. During the many
years it existed, a quarrel was unheard of amongst its
Members ; and every other Thursday it was cheered by the
presence of Mr. Corbet.
The Hunt was also then in possession of its Woodlands,
since divided among others ; neither must the gay doings at
1 The view-halloo of Bill Barrow was musical and cheering to a
degree never surpassed, neither will it ever be forgotten in Warwick-
shire. Lamentable, then, is it to relate, that after hunting a pack of
foxhounds for upwards of 20 years, and never many hundred yards
from their sterns, in chase, this gallant horseman and trusty servant
broke his neck in the service of the present Mr. Corbet, whilst
hunting his pack of harriers, having been handsomely provided for by
his late worthy master, in his will.
364 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
Meriden be passed over^ during the residence of the houiads
in that kennel, for the purpose of hunting those Woodlands.
This took place twice a year, and brilliant sport was the
Many who read this will remember the Long-meadow,
Princethorpe, the Tile-hill, the Combe, and the Bratmston
foxes, and the fine wild sporting countries they so often led
them over ! Nor can the music of Will Barrow, with his
cap in his hand, which rang through those noble w'oods,
whilst his pack were bristling to their game, be ever forgotten
by those who were so fortunate as to hear it. 1
Modern Warwickshire, however, as we may term it,
is not destitute of Woodlands, so essential to all hunting
countries. Independently of Weston Park, Snitterfield
Bushes, the immense woods of the Marquis of Hertford,
and Austey Wood, the property of that firm friend to fox-
hunting. Sir E. Smythe, of Shropshire, Spernal Park and
Alveston Pastures are always well.- stocked with foxes, and
afford excellent cub-hunting. The Marquis of Hertford
is no fox-hunter, but his good taste has induced him not to
be inimical to the sport, and his woods atRagley, the most
extensive in the county, are good nurseries for foxes. â€”
Neither should the kindness of his neighbour. Sir Charles
Throckmorton, be forgotten.
We hear and read of runs twenty miles from point to
point, but they are of rare occurrence. In Mr. Corbet's
time a fox broke from Wolford- wood, and taking a line never
1 All noAV called the Dancliiircli country tlien belonged to the
Warwickshire Hunt, including among many others, the woods of
Lords Craven and Denbigh, and that fine furze-cover called Debdale,
the property of that stanch old Sportsman, Sir Theophilus Biddulph ,
of Birdingbury, the whole of which was given up to Lord Anson, on
Lord Middleton succeeding to Mr, Corbet.
WARWICKSHIRE HUNT. 365
before taken by Warwickshire foxes, was killed near the
town of Cheltenham, a distance of full twenty-five miles.
Of a very large field of well-mounted sportsmen^ only seven
were at the death. 1
The prime part of Warwickshire lies eastward of the
Avon, bordering on the county of Northampton.
Foxes found in Long Itchington, Kineton, Chesterton,
Ufton, Lighthorne, Ladbroke, or Watergall parishes, have
as fine a country before them, as any man would wish to
ride over, being for the most part grass, and the enclosures
sufficiently extensive. Wolford Wood, Preston Bushes,
Idlicote, Alveston Pastures, Farnborough, and indeed all
gorse covers in their neighbourhood, are capable of shewing
splendid runs, â€” foxes sometimes taking up the hills into
Oxfordshire ; often to Edge-hill or Epwell, and now and
then into the Duke of Beaufort's country.
In Lord Middleton's time a remarkable instance of
this occurred. A fox in the Warwickshire vale ascended
the Oxfordshire hills at an almost unprecedented rate, and
was run to earth at Ditchley Park, not more than twelve
miles from Oxford. Of a field of more than a hundred and
fifty horsemen, only two, Mr. John Lucy and Lord
MoLiNEAUX, were able to get to the end of the run, and
several good horses fell a sacrifice to the distance and the
pace. ( See p. 120. )
To praise a man for conduct really deserving of praise,
is but a tribute due to him. I must not, however, dwell on
the merits of this renowned Sportsman, or, as Cicero
expressed himself when alluding to the virtues of Pompey^
1 So brilliant was the perfoi'niance of the pack considered in tliose
days, that the head of tlie victim was preserved in a glass case, and
ornamented the room at Stratford-on-Avon, which the Wanvickshire
Club occupied, accompanied by a description of the run. â€” (See p. 3.)
366 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
I shall find it more difficult to know when to stop, than how
to begin. I shall only repeat, that he left behind him a
title to the gratitude of the sporting world, and an example
most worthy of imitation by all Masters of hounds. In
short, we may exclaim with the poet, â€”
' Semjier honos, nomenqiie tuum, laudesque manebunt.'
The enclosures of Warwickshire are, for the most part,
of a fair size ; particularly in the grazing districts, which I
should estimate at one-third of the whole extent of country.
Taking it as a whole, I consider the soil very favorable to
scent, as the staple is generally good. A great portion of
the ploughed lands, however, are very tender after hard
frosts, succeeded by rains ; and Warwickshire may be
termed a deep country ro ride over, and one which requires
strong and well-bred horses. A great many such are
annually bred in the county, and it always has been the
pride of Warwickshire yeomen to have a good huaiter or
two in their stables, a species of stock that has, on the whole,
paid them well for rearing.
The fences of Warwickshire are, of course, of various
descriptions ; but, with the exception of the Meriden Wood-
lands, now partly dissevered from the country, they are
seldom placed on banks. Quickset hedges, with a ditch
only on one side, are the general obstacles to be encoimtered ;
and in the grazing districts, from the richness of the soil,
they equal, in thickness and strength, the often described
' buU-finchcs ' of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. â€”
What are called bullock-fences are also not uncommon in
Warwickshire ; that is to say, a good stiff rail accompany-
ing a hedge and ditch. Timber fences perpetually occur,
either in the shape of stiles, or rails affixed in weak parts of
the quickset fences, to which a ditch is always added, as a
further security against trespass. Brooks also abound, as
they do in all rich vales, but the greater part of them come
under the denomination of brooklings, and few of either
are sufficient to stop a well-mounted Sportsman, striving to
get to hounds.
In 1810 Mr. Corbet's health rather gave way, â€” the
constant attendance on his hounds was considered too severe
for his constitution, and at the earnest entreaties of his
family, he consented to give xip his hunting establishment.
In 1811, he sold his hounds to Lord Middleton, of
Wollaton Hall, near Nottingham, who gave him 1,^00 gs.
for them, consisting of more than 70 couples. His Lord-
ship accompanied his cheqiie for the money, by a note
expressive of his obligation for the offer Mr. Corbet had
made him of his jjack, giving him to understand he con-
sidered the transaction more in the light of a gift, than a
In one very essential respect Lord Middleton was the
reverse of his predecessor; he was somewhat haughty in
his demeanour, and consec[uently unpopular with many
of the farmers, who had been accustomed to the mild and
gentleman-like carriage of Mr. Corbet. He also broke up
the club at Stratford, divided the country with others, and
gave up the second best woodlands in England. On the
other hand his Lordship did the thing in good style, and
his hounds afforded sport ; perhaps a season or two during
his reign may be produced as shewing a brilliant succession
of runs, unequalled by any hounds of the time.
His Lordship hunted Warwickshire eleven years, and
it is but just to say, he is a Sportsman. The cause of Lord
Middleton giving up the Warwickshire, Mas a fall from
his favorite horse, Billy Buttou.
Lord Middleton purchased a house in the suburbs of
Stratford-on-Avon, where he built a large range of stables
and kennels. Nothing could exceed the convenience of
these premises as related to hounds and horses, nor the
368 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
comfortable arrangement of the house. Perhaps the dining
room was, for its size, one of the most complete rooms in
England, and its furniture of the richest description. 1
Lord MiDDLETON made a fresh start the season before
last, in Nottinghamshii'e, on Mr. Musters resigning that
country ; and with his accustomed munificence, was very-
soon in possession of one hundred couple of hounds, â€”
having given Mr. Osbaldeston 1000 gs. for ten couple j
but his Lordship's health not permitting him to partake
largely of his favorite diversion, which out of respect to
him as a Sportsman every brother- sportsman must regret,
he resigned at the commencement of the present season, and
was succeeded by Mr. Dansey, late Master of the Here-
Mr. E. J.Shirley, of Eatington Hall, near Shipston-
on-Stour, succeeded Lord Middleton, in the Mastership
of the Warwickshire hounds. His highly accomplished
manners, added to the great worth of his character, rendered
it a highly popular measure in Warwickshire, and, assisted
by the celebrated Jack Wood, as his huntsman, the reputa-
tion of the pack rather increased, than suffered in his hands.
He mounted his men in capital style, and during his time
the attendance on his hounds was even larger than that of
his predecessor. 2
1 Now, alas! what a change! It is now the school room of what
is called a young ladies' seminaiy ; the paddocks, in which the hounds
Avere exercised in the winter and his Lordship's hunters soiled in the
summer, are now covered with cottages, presenting a dismal appear-
ance to those who remembered this place in its glory. But, â€” ' Sic
transit gloria niundi ! '
2 Lord Middleton had a temporajy kennel in the beautiful village
of Kenilworth, lying between Warwick and Coventiy. In Mr. Shirley's
time, a new one was erected at Butler's Marston, between Welles-
bourne and Kineton, a situation which commanded all the covers in
the country, excepting some distant woodlands, when the hounds
slept at Kenilworth.
WARWICKSHIRE HUNT. 369
In 1824, Mr. Shirley was succeeded by Mr. Hay, of
Dunse Castle, Scotland, who, making Wood his kennel
huntsman, hunted the hounds himself. Mr. Hay did the
thing with great spirit, for a more zealous Sportsman never
yet drew breath. His stud was excellent, and he rode admi-
rably to hounds. He gave abundant satisfaction, and his
relinquishment of the comitry was regretted.
Warwickshire was now doomed to undergo another
change. In 1827, Mr. Fellowes followed Mr. Hay in the
management of those hounds, having long been resident in
Warwickshire, where he had proved himself a Sportsman,
in the widest acceptation of that word. He continued Wood
as his huntsman, but in 1830 he resigned.
Mr. Russell, nephew to the Duke of Bedford, then
became Master of the hounds. Hew'as allowed to be emi-
nently qualified for the task he had undertaken, being a good
judge of hunting, and particularly gentleman-like in his
In Mr. Corbet's time, the commencement of the
season was ushered in after a manner not unworthy of notice,
and still less unworthy of example. By the first Monday
in November, the gentlemen composing the Club, assembled
at Stratford-on-Avon ; and on that day, the late Lord
Willoughby-de-broke, of Compton Verney, gave a
dinner to the Master of the hounds, and a numerous party
of sportsmen then resident in the neighbourhood, in com-
memoration of the opening of the season. This highly
respected Nobleman, of the old school, is dead ; but the
present Lord, although no fox-hunter, is an excellent friend
to fox-hunting. His Lordship, however, was not without
a little music in his kennel, having been Master of a clever
pack of harriers, now given up.
The late Earl of Aylesford, of Packington Hall, near
Meriden, was also a stanch ally of Mr. Corbet. The
370 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
present Earl is a good preserver of foxes, and although his
taste does not often lead him into the field, he now and then
takes a look at hounds, and has the character of heing a
bold and determined horseman.
The Earl of Clonmel was, for many years, one of
the firmest supporters of the Warwickshire hunt. During
Mr. Corbet's time he resided at Allesley, near Coventry,
from which place, although great w'as the distance he had
generally to ride, he was scarcely ever absent from a cover
that was likely to shew sport. His Lordship, during Lord
Middleton's occu])ation of the country, resided at Wes-
ton Flouse, near Shipston-on-Stour, once the property of
the nuich honoured Colonel Sheldon, where his hospitality
towards his brother Sportsmen was proverbial.
The Earl of Warwick must not be omitted. When
Lord Brooke, he was a regular attendant on the Warwick-
shire hounds, and rode in the first ranks j and his Lordship
still continues a stanch friend of the sport.
Mr. West, of Alscot Park, near Stratford-on-Avon,
of racing celebrity, has a strong claim on the gratitude of
this hunt. His estate has long been a nursery for foxes, as
well as game ; and from Preston Bushes how many good
runs have been seen ! The cover is excellently situated, no
other being very near it, and is in a fine country for
To Mr. HoLBECH, of Farnborough, also, are the
gentlemen of Warwickshire not a little indebted ; as well as
to Mr. Tomes, of Southam, â€” the owner of the Itchington-
The late Sir Charles Mordaunt was conspicuous as
a rider as well as a Sportsman ; his property at Walton lies
in the very centre of the hunt.
Mr. Serjeant Goulburn, of the Midland Circuit,
( brother to the Ex-minister of that name, ) was a very
WARWICKSHIRE HUNT. 371
conspicuous man in Warwickshire, in Mr. Corbet's time.
He was a valuable acquisition to the Stratford-on-Avon hunt.
They were the days of his youth ; and nothing loth, he yield-
ed to the allurements which England holds out to that
delight-giving period. Like the great Lord Erskine, he
had been a soldier and a sailor. He had racehorses and
hunters, and so had others. But he had â€” what but few
possess â€” the talent to amuse beyond his fellows. In short,
he was the charm of society, wheresoever he entered into it ;
for, although by nature a satirist, he sought but to amuse,
and if pain was given, the remedy was at hand by the same
means by which the wound was inflicted.
For bold and good riders has Warwickshire been also
pre-eminent. In the time of Mr. Corbet and Lord Mid-
DLETON, those nonpareils, the Messrs. Canning, were in
their prime. Their name and fame have been handed down
to posterity by the pen of Nimrod, in an account he gave
of Mr. Corbet's hounds, but the subject will admit of
repetition. The weight of each of these brothers was,
saddle included, nearly eighteen stone, and each was a six-
foot man and more. But perhaps the most extraordinary
1 Warwickshire lias alw'ays been in good repute as a sporting-
country ; and remarkable for producing what may be termed a breed
of Sportsmen, not confined to hunting, but possessing a taste for every
variety of field sports. To this circumstance may be attributed the
very excellent understanding that has existed between the gentlemen
and the yeomanry, and it also accounts for the strict preservation of
foxes for whicli it has been so long conspicuous. The yeomaniy of
Warwickshire, howcA'er, are for the most part an enlightened race of
men, and therefore superior to the selfish consideration that induces
some persons to destroy an animal that may afford amusement to hun-
dreds residing in the same county with themselves, because the possi-
bility exists of a lamb or chicken being their loss. But from the pen
of a Sportsman, too much praise cannot be bestowed on English yeo-
men in general, to whom hunting is so mainly indebted..
372 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
feature in their character, was the circumstance of their
having' received their eckication in foreign countries, and
not entering the field till some years after the period of
manhood. Tlie elder brother was an extraordinary man
across a country for his weight ; but the younger, Mr. R.
Canning, six feet four inches in height, was described by
NiMRODas a prodigy. No light weight in the country ever
saw more of a run than he could, and he kept this foremost
place for a period of near twenty years. He was also dis-
tinguished by another enviable qualification for a hard-riding
Sportsman ; he was totally free from jealousy, and never
claimed the palm which was so generally awarded to him by
Warwickshire could also boast of producing one other
native horseman, such as has been rarely excelled in the art
of riding to hounds. This gentleman's name is Wyatt, and
another son of Hercules, â€” six feet three inches would not
take the measure of him from top to toe. He was, for many
years after the Cannings began to decline, quite the leading
man in Warwickshire, and those who have witnessed his
performance, can never forget the brilliant and straight-
forward style in which he rode to hounds.
WARWICKSHIRE HUNT. 373
A FINE RUN WITH MR. DRAKE S HOUNDS.
BY A DRAKESMAN.
On Saturday last, we had nearly all the Warwickshire
men out with us at Priors Hardwick, when we drew Shuck-
burgh, and after hanging about the hill for some time, went
away with a gallant fox in glorious style, and at the best
pace, as if for Priors Marston, which however he left on
the right, turning round Catesby, through the park â€” then
being headed as he was attempting to take a line to the
right, he pointed back as if for Shuckburgh. But the
hounds would not have it, and he then made a bend to the
right, crossing the Southam road below Staverton Hill,
away with his head for Flecknoe, which he passed on his
left, twice (alas ! for some,) across the brook to Braunston
village, where he fell, nobly for his fame, after an excellent
run of 55 minutes. The accidents, * by flood and field,' on
this day were numerous, and not much to be wondered at,
for in the experience of the oldest sportsmen, there has
seldom been stiiFer fencing, and seldom men more athirst
for glory. Of seven that took one part of the brook, near to
Flecknoe, I saw six floundei'ing in the water at once. Sir
Henry only clearing it, the bank giving way to every horse
that jumped at all short. In Shuckburgh Park, I saw Mr.
Thornhill do what I confess perfectly astonished me â€”
' Catch my horse,' said he, as if certain of a fall â€” then
dash he went at a very high paling, about the height of the
room I am writing in, and to my astonishment got over it
without being imhorsed, though with a marvellous crash of
374 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
timber. A lower place, about six feet high, was cleared by-
Mr. Williams, from Leamington, son of Gen. Williams,
This gentleman, I am sorry to say, afterwards sustained a
very severe and alarming accident near Catesby, where
his horse, in attempting some rails after a sharp bank
descent, went over with a most complete somerset, and gave
him one of the most tremendous falls 1 ever witnessed. The
horse made a kind of tottering pause in the middle of it,
and then fell with a weight as dead as possible on the body
of Mr. Williams, with a sort of squelching sound, that
might have been heard I should think more than a hundred
yards off. Among other sportsmen that pulled up to give
assistance, Captain Magennis with his one arm, and Mr.
Tatters ALL with his black cap, remained, and helped Mr.
Williams to Catesby House, near to which the accident
happened. The scene was a most interesting one, and from
the appearance caused by the scarlet dresses, the led horses,
the one arm of Captain M. the head of Mr. Williams
bound round with a handkerchief, his cravat untied and
dress dishevelled â€” from all this, added to the antiquity of
the mansion, the dilapidated buildings around it, the ruined
fishponds, and the old park wall â€” the mind could scarcely
help imagining it a military scene in the civil wars, and a
soldier wounded. Fortunately for Mr. Williams, young
Mr. Brickwell, a medical gentleman, son of Mr. Brick-
well, of Banbury, happened to be passing by Catesby at
the time of the accident. He rendered his immediate assist-
ance in a kind and ready manner that, with the knowledge
he displayed, will not soon be forgotten. Nor ought I to
omit the attentions of the worthy occupant of Catesby
House, who, with his amiable family, evinced a degree of
tenderness and hospitality deserving the highest praise. In
the course of three hours, Mr. Williams was removed in a
chaise to Leamington, where, I am happy to hear, he has
WARWICKSHIRE HUNT. 375
since done well, thus proving that the injury was less severe
than had heen apprehended, and those injuries judiciously
remedied. All sportsmen will be well pleased to see such
noble instances of kindness and attention displayed by the
Field, recorded. â€” March 1st, 1S34.
MR. OSBALBESTOKS STUD AND KENNEL.
The hounds and hunters of this Sportsman were sold
by Mr. Tattersall, at Brixworth, in August, 1833. â€”
There were 28 couples of well-bred fox-hounds, with 13^
couples of young dogs. With the exception of five couples
which were purchased by Mr. Foljambe, for 105 guineas,
the whole were knocked down in five lots, to the Hon, Mr.
MoRETON, for 280 guineas. The following well-known
hunters fetched the below inentioned prices : â€”
The Cocktail Bilberry
A bay Mare
A black Gelding . .
A bay Gelding
Sir Hariy James Goodricke, Bart, of Ribstone Hall, Yorkshire,
died at Ravensdale Park, Ireland, on the 21st of August, 1833, in the
36th year of his age. He was passionately fond of the sports of the
field, and his stud at Melton Mowbray, iisually aA'eraged between 50
and 60 of the finest hunters ; and his hunting-box, at Melton, was
the constant scene of profuse hospitality during the season. He was
one of the most spirited foxhunters of the day, and the Master of the
Quorn Hounds for the last three or four seasons. He was a thorough
Sportsman, in the fullest sense of the word, and literally fell a sacri-
fice to a favorite amusement, otter-hunting, in the indulgence of xvhich
he caught a severe cold, and was carried off in 48 hours. Sir Harry
died unmarried ; he was immensely rich, and will be greatly missed at
Melton Mowbray. The subscription to the Quorn Hounds has varied
from two to .Â£4000 per annum, but Sir Harry Goodricke, when pro-
prietor, bore the M'hole expense of them himself.
B B 2
376 WARWICKSHIRE HUNT.
WARWICKSHIRE AND LEAMINGTON GRAND
STEEPLE RACE, 1836.
For this Stake, of 25 Sovereigns each, with 200 added,
twenty horses were entered. The race came oif on Monday,
the 21st of March. The Umpires chosen, were Sir E.
MosTYN, and the Hon. W. Vaughan ; bnt as the former
gentleman had named a horse, J. Sanderson, Esq. officia-
ted in his stead. Mr. W. Brown, C. C. at Warwick, had
the management of the race.
The ground fixed upon for starting, was a large meadow
in the occupation of Mr. Walker, about a mile and a half
from Southam, the line pointing towards Leamington, and
the winning post was placed in a field a short distance from
the one in which the horses started. The distance rather
exceeded four miles. The country was in good condition,
and the fences, though practicable, were generally strong
At two o'clock the horses went off, at a rattling pace.
Manfred took the lead, followed by Vivian, Upas, Beatrice,
and many others in the same line. Red Rose and some few
with him diverged slightly to the left. The first trying leap
was a high gate, at which Manfred was first sent, but in
taking it he broke the top bar, and let his followers over
easily. Up to the brook, about a mile and a half from
home, Manfred still kept the lead, and Vivian was second,
Beatrice third. Upas fourth, Flacrow fifth, and Yellow
This order, with a few changes, was kept until the last