Richard Francis Ball.

The Essex foxhounds : with notes upon hunting in Essex online

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successor to Captain Kemble. The former had pre-
viously b(;en Master of the Cambridgeshire and the



284 THE ESSEX FOXHOUNDS.

North Warwickshire. He resigned, however, at the
end of the season, and this brings us to this year of
grace, 1895, when we find Colonel Hornby, who has
previously been Field Master of the Queen's Staghounds,
and subsequently Master of the Devon and Somerset
Staghounds, Master of the Essex Union, keeping on,
as huntsman, Goddard, whom Mr. Ashton brought with
him from Warwickshire.

Havine now eiven an account of the various masters
and servants who have held office, we may pass on to men-
tion a few of the principal landowners in the hunt, the
best coverts, and some of the finest runs that have taken
place during the last seventy years. Lord Petre is by far
the largest landowner in the hunt, an immense tract of
country belonging to him, and, like his predecessors, he
is the staunchest supporter of foxhunting. Sir Thomas
Lennard, of Belhus, is another good supporter and land-
owner. The writer remembers how, during the master-
ship of Mr. Scratton, the latter used invariably to bring
his hounds up to the Belhus Kennels at the commencement
of the cubbing season for a whole week, hunting four con-
secutive mornings. He used to begin as soon as it was
light, and the coverts were full of foxes in those days.
They are admirably suited for cub-hunting — not being



THE RUSSELLS OF STUBBERS. 285

loo large, and giving young hounds a chance of seeing
their fox. We know large woodlands are useful for cub-
hunting, as there is often a good cry in covert which teaches
the juveniles to go to the cry, but at the same time we
think, unless there is a very good scent they sometimes
sicken young hounds, particularly if the weather is hot,
whereas in smaller coverts they get a better chance at their
fox. Adjoining the Belhus Estate is Stubbers, the resi-
dence of Mr. Champion Russell, who often has a fox in his
coverts. We may mention, en passant, that the first master
of the South Essex (the country mentioned in an early part
of this chapter as lying between Dagenham and Norsey
Wood) was Mr. William Russell, an ancestor of Mr.
Champion Russell's. His huntsman was John Stevens,
who afterwards lived at Hornchurch, and dealt a bit in
horses, and died at the great age of ninety-three. His son,
the celebrated Jack Stevens, whipped in to him before he
went to Lord INIiddleton, in Warwickshire, and became so
well known with Mr. Osbaldeston in the Ouorn country.
As we have mentioned in Chapter I. (p. 44), Mr.
Russell's hounds were at (Mie time hunted by the famous
Richard I'^airbrother before he entered the service of
Mr. Harding Newman. Mr. Champion Russell has
kindlv furnished us with the following extracts from



286 THE ESSEX FOXHOUNDS.

old newspapers, relating to Mr. William Russell's
hounds: — "Oct. gth, 1788. — Yesterday, Mr. Russell's
hounds run a fox for an hour and a half ; when finding
himself pressed very hard, he took through Mr. Bonham's
hen-house yard, at Warley Common, run through the
lower part of his dwelling-house, and was killed in a
bedchamber above stairs." "1790. — Among the different
packs of foxhounds which have had remarkably good
sport this season, is to be enumerated Mr. Russell's,
which has killed the last fifteen without missing a single
fox, and most of them after chaces of two or three hours."
(Below this cutting is a note in Mr. Russell's [.'']
writing: — " N.B. — Killed 18 Foxes zuithont iiiissiiig a
fox, and con ded [concluded | the Season." Adjoining
the Stubbers property lies a large extent of land be-
longing to Mr. Benyon, of Berkshire ; his land is joined
by that of Mr. Ind, of Coombe Lodge, now, alas! gone
over to the majority, and Mr. Lescher, of Boyles Court.
Lord Headley, of Warley Lodge (another non-resident
landowner), adjoins. Captain Douglas Whitmore, of
Orsett Hall, is a large landowner, and a good friend to
hunting — his soq having a very merry pack of harriers
with which he shows great sport in the Orsett country.
Lord Rayleigh, of Terling Place, situated in the East



MR. THOMAS KEMl'.LE. 287

Essex country, has a laroe extent of land and some
excellent coverts at Woodham, between Danbury and
Maldon. The chain of woodlands at Danbury, about
five miles from Chelmsford, are the property of the Fitz-
walter family. In the Dengie Hundred country, which
lies between Danburv and Southminster, a crood deal of
the land belongs to some of the London Hospitals. Sir
Henrys Mildmay, Lord Petre, and Mr. Christopher Parker
are also landowners in these parts. Mr. Kemble, of Run-
well Hall, whom we have mentioned above, is another land-
owner. His gorse covert at Runwell planted in May, 1872,
answered to the call when drawn in the following December.
"A seven months' old covert to hold a fox!!" Hounds
drew his coverts twenty-two times in three years and found
in them twenty times. Xo mean record. Mr. Kemble
knows every inch of the country, and though, as he has
often told the writer, he never jumps a fence, he is always
at the end of the fastest and straightest run, and can
generally tell you which hounds have been cutting out the
work, and every field they have gone into. His old friend,
Arthur Cox, of whom we have spoken above, made the
following- riddle of his friend, " W'hv is Mr. Kemble the
most good-natured man in the hunt?" " Because he never
takes offence (a fence)." May he yet see many a good



288 THE ESSEX FOXHOUNDS.

gallop. Major Spitty, of Billericay, is a large landowner.
Perhaps his best covert is Mill Hill Wood, near Billericay.
Captain Digby Neave, of Hutton Hall, is another resident
and huntino- landowner, and has some excellent coverts on
his Hutton property, which are full of foxes, showing that
foxes and pheasants can live together where the owner is
determined to have both. Captain Neave is a son of the
late Mr. Sheffield Neave, who was Master of the Stag-
hounds before the Hon. F. Petre took them, and Captain
Neave's elder brother has been the master now for several
years, and has shown some excellent sport. Mr. Davies,
of Ramsden Hall, near Billericay, is another landowner
who, although a shooting man, is a staunch preserver of
foxes. The best coverts — we mean those which are the
surest finds, and which for years have had a reputation for
affording good runs — are Fambridge Hall Wood, Mundon
Furze, Hazeleigh Hall Wood, situated in the Maldon
district, Askeldam Gorse, Lord's Wood, and Baker's Grove,
in the Dengie Hundred. Then, in the eastern end of the
country, Puddle Dock, near North Ockendon, is a noted
covert, and though, like Fambridge Hall, it stands close to
the road, it nearly always holds a fox, and we have always
considered that the line from Puddle Dock to Laindon
Hills, about five miles, dead flat, without the semblance



SPORT WITH LORD PETRK. 289

ot a covert and boasting'


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Online LibraryRichard Francis BallThe Essex foxhounds : with notes upon hunting in Essex → online text (page 16 of 21)