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Charles Cecil John, Sixth Duke of Rutland.



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS



OF THE



BELVOIR HUNT.



BY

A SPORTSMAN.



London :

SiMPKiN Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Limited.

Paternoster Row.



Grantham
Lyne & Son,. Printers. 8, Westgate



PREFACE.



It must be borne in mind that this work
lays no claim to an 3^ high standard of literary
merit.

It is simply the outcome of many seasons'
enjoyments — kindled b}^ the generosity of the
noble Masters — with quaint old customs, in-
cidents, and anecdotes chiefl}^ associated with
the celebrated Belvoir Hounds, culled at random ;
including a number of interesting runs, many
of which have either been participated in by
the writer, or communicated upon high
authority, and are founded on fact.

I would crave the indulgence of those who
may do me the honour of skimming over
these pages, and remind them that as the
frail barque sometimes fares better upon the
turbulent billows than the stately vessel, so,
I trust, ni}^ unpretending work may escape
shipwreck on the rugged and inhospitable
coasts of criticism.



An-giisf u^gy.



ILLUSTRATIONS.



No. P^^^

I. Charles Cecil John, Sixth Duke of Rutland

Frontispiece

2.— Kennel Yard, Bel voir - - - —

3. — Run to Ground - - - - 5

^ —Peering through the Darkness - - 30

5.— The Huntsmen's Cracking Whips in Chase 30

6. — A Narrow Escape - - - - 33

y _A Joint from the Butcher at Barrowby - 36

S^ — Grasped Cub by the Neck - - 3^

9.— Took my Vixen to turn down - - 42

10.— Followed Me like a Dog - - - 42

II.— "Crop" - - - 48

12.— Rode a Refuser Blindfold - - - 90

13.— Borrowed a Clergyman's Hat - - 115

14.— Killed with Five-and-a-Half Couples - 119

15.— Its a Certain Cure - - - ^39



INDEX.



CHAPTER,
I.
II.

in.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.



First Impressions about Hunting.
Early Impressions continued.
Breeding of Hunters in the Belvoir

Country-. vSteeple Chasing.

Belvoir Sportsmen. Lord Forester,

Will Goodall,and other Celebrities.
Sport with Goodall.
Latter days of Will Goodall.
Promotion of James Cooper.
Accession of Frank Gillard.
Testimonial to the Duke of Rutland.
Hunting.

Hunting continued.
Habits of Fox^s.
Old Customs versus New.
Conclusion.



CHAPTER I.



First Impressions about Hunting.



ERR ATUM .

P^ge 39. for council, read counsel



and so it turned out, and from my boyish
days the music of hounds has had a fascination
which will only be cancelled when the last
long journey has to be taken.

Receiving my hapteme de chasse at the
hands of old Goosey, I well remember riding
home with my face about the colour of the



CHAPTER I.



First Impressions about Hunting.



" There's only one cure for all maladies sure,
That pierceth the heart to its core,
'Tis the sound of the horn,
On a fine hunting morn,
And what is the heart wishing more ? "



Being descended from a line of ancestors
whose proclivities lay chiefly with the chase,
it is not singular that the venatorial blood
which conrsed through their veins should have
been transmitted to those of my humble self,
and so it turned out, and from my boyish
days the music of hounds has had a fascination
which will only be cancelled when the last
long journey has to be taken.

Receiving my bapteme de chasse at the
hands of old Goosey, I well remember riding
home with my face about the colour of the



2 Random Recollections of the

rising sun owing to the possession of the briish,
war paint, excitement, and perspiration. On
my arrival I was met by a worthy old domestic,
who stood aghast at my gory visage, express-
ing the greatest solicitude, and earnestly
inquiring how the sad accident had happened.
I heaved a long drawn sigh, on which she,
good soul, proposed sending for the doctor,
until I burst into a fit of laughter, when, after
staring with astonishment,she exclaimed : *' Oh,
it^s only your gillery," (which, being interpreted
from the vernacular, means guile), '' 3^ou're
making game of me, go and get your face
washed before the callers come."

My father was a lover of horses, and
generally kept a couple of brood mares, the
best he could lay his hands upon, and the
produce of these, after being bitted and
" gentled " at two years old, were broken and
ridden the two following summers. For this
purpose he had the services of a wiry man,
who lived a few miles away, and had been
brought up at Newmarket, but getting too
heavy for riding on the flat took up the
profession of breaking. He was a fine horse-
man, with beautiful hands, and made his



Belvoik Hunt.



charges as perfect as time would permit, and
as he generally had two on the go from our
stables at the same time, I was always anxious
to accompany him on one of the youngsters,
receiving valuable instruction and advice. Of
course I got occasionally " grassed," and his
injunction when a horse commenced plunging
was, " never take your eyes off his head, and
clip well from your knee downwards, but if
you look at where you think he's going he'll
chuck you down." There was another remedy
which often succeeded in stopping the colts
from bucking, which was by putting a narrow
strap round their necks, similar to that of an
ordinary martingale, and catching hold tight
with one hand as soon as they commenced,
which would nearly always have the effect of
cutting off inspiration, making them gurgle
and sob, and glad to give up the job. At four
years old the young ones were turned over to
me to give the best education with hounds of
which I was capable. In most cases I had a
fair amount of success, and, as I had bestowed
pains on their schooling by leading over the
bar and small places on the farm during the
summer, after the youngsters had taken a
few^ turns with hounds, they generally de-



4 Random Recollections of the

veloped an aptitude for fencing, and I nearly
always found young horses jump bigger and
bolder than their aged rivals — the former make
better efforts in case of a scramble, and do
not realise that hard ground shakes them.

Whilst on the subject of 3^oung ones, I well
recollect one morning during cubbing, whilst
exercising a three year old, I thought I heard
the music of hounds, and listened for a moment.
The atmosphere being hazy it was difficult to
discern objects at any distance. A wood lay
on a hill side about two miles on the left, and as
the fog somewhat lifted I descried hounds leav-
ing covert almost mute, as hard as they could
drive, nearly in single file. Losing no time in
galloping to the nearest point to cut in, I
succeeded in getting on terms as they crossed a
turnpike road at a terrific pace to the next wood.
In a few minutes they were streaming away
again in the direction of Belvoir, with most of
the riders tailed off, as reynard in sore straits
wheeled round leftward, with hounds coursing
him to ground in a turnip field, whence
he was without difficulty dislodged and given
to the pack, after affording one of the fastest
runs on record of thirty minutes. I believe



Belvoir Hunt. 5

the fox was found at Jericho. My young
one had acquitted himself pretty well, and,
with the advantage of jumping in when the
run was about half over, pulled up com-
paratively fresh.

We were on land in the occupation of a
country clergyman who prided himself upon
his breed of shorthorns, and, I believe, was a
successful competitor in London as well as
other places. But they were extraordinary^
kittle cattle, and on this occasion the hullabaloo
sent them flying over fences, with heads and
tails erect, careering all over the country.
Their extreme shyness — or being so ^' shan "
as the locals termed it — was said to be caused
by the cows and heifers bringing up their
calves in the fields, and scarcely ever seeing
anybody or being interfered with, as the old
gentleman would not allow even the herdsman
to do more than count their numbers over
the gate.

He had in his herd the very remarkable
production of a jumart, which was taken,
from a cart mare that afterwards died; the
extraordinary and almost isolated specimen,



6 Random Recollections of the

after surviving its birth but a short time,
being sent to the British Museum, where it
is, I believe, to be found at the present time.

The parson was an eccentric character, and
it was related how during the harvest on
a Sunday, whilst his primitive choir were in
full blast over the Old Hundredth, he might
occasionally be seen casting up the measure-
ment of different patches of reaping which
his Irishmen had completed the night before.

After the reverend gentleman's death,
when the sale took place it was a caution
to those who sought to get their purchases
home. When they entered the fields to
claim their own away went the animals, both
ends up, to the four winds, more like the
wild herds of Chillingham than sober minded
milchers, many of them not being secured
for days after, until some quiet old cows had
been taken to look them up, and in a few
cases they had to be shot.

x\mongst other field sports coursing was
much in vogue with the well-to-do farmers,
several of them keeping a brace or two of
greyhounds. They frequently met together,



Bblvoir Hunt. 7

and although some of the elders did not ride
very straight, they taught their cobs to lead
over stiles and rails, so they were seldom far
away at the kill. And it was astonishing how
knowing the animals became ; they would
be on their hind legs in a moment, follow
their masters over, kick up their heels, and
seem to enjoy the fun.

An incident which impressed itself upon
my memory happened when we went to join
a worthy old yeoman who lived in a heath
country a few miles away. His help-meet
was a buxom dame of comely presence turn-
ing the scale at sixteen stones, who generally
accompanied us on foot to witness the sport ;
and on one occasion when we were to beat
some walled enclosures volunteered her ser-
vices at the gateways, whither hares were
wont to make the best of their way to escape.
We soon found, and puss at once made for
the exit in which the old lady had planted
her portly person, with the voluminous folds
of her garments spread out as a screen to
bar the way. The course was short, sharp,
and decisive, for the hare with an eye back
on her pursuers ran bang into the old lady^s



8 Random Recoli^ections of the

skirts, with dogs close after doing the same,
knocking her down in a confused heap of
hare, dogs, and petticoats, with the hare
getting the worst of the melee, and the good
lady joining heartily in the roars of laughter
which followed.

But I never had much sympathy with
coursing ; it makes such fools of your horses ;
for no sooner have you ridden over a fence than
you may have to pull up and jump back again
in consequence of puss having doubled round.



Belvoir Hunt.



CHAPTER II.



Early Impressions continued.



Belonging to a collateral branch of our
family was a hariini scarum, devil-may-care
sort of individual, in make and shape like a
pair of tongs — with long legs and short
bod}^ — who kept a pack of harriers, which he
used to hunt himself, and had for his whip
a man who was somewhat lame and crippled
b}^ one or two bad falls. The former was a hard
riding fellow, and hunted almost anything
he came across — fox, hare, deer, or what not
that might give him a run — and had the
impudence of a highwayman's horse. Amongst
a variety of escapades he would walk across
the floor of a fairly lofty room, and, spring-
ing from one leg, kick a hole in the ceiling
with the other, to the disgust of his enter-
tainer. He, however, is related to have shown
sport and had many followers, for he made



lo Random Recollections of the

no scruple about drawing anybody's coverts,
or crossing anybody's land, and as he was a
crack sbot witb pistols nobody cared to inter-
fere with him. The tax collector seldom got
his money the first time of asking, or ventured
to appear again, for if he had the temerity
to repeat the visit he would be requested to
stand still with his back to the wall whilst
the debtor showed how near he could send a
bullet past his ear Avithout touching him. (We
can't escape the duns so readily in these days.)
But they once scored the laugh against him
whilst out hunting, when he was riding a
big narrow horse with deep shoulders, short
back rib, and tucked up body. His buckles
being rather loose, and having no breastplate,
the horse in jumping a rough fence sprang
clean out of the girths, leaving the rider
sprawling on his saddle amongst the brambles.

One of his followers, a relative named John
Dorr, bought a fine looking four year old from
a neighbour who could not ride him, and used
to declare he never had such a d ... 1 in his
life, for nobody could either hold or steer
him. But in the hands of John, who was
a fine horseman, he soon became a tractable



BeIvVOir Hunt. ir

and generous animal with a fine turn of speed
and no fence too big for him, and was sold
to Mr. Lane Fox, of Bramham, for a large
sum, his new owner christening him under
the appropriate combination of ^' Jackdaw.'^
How difTerent from such pseudonyms as
'' Here I go with my eye Out," '' Shocking
Mamma," ^' Tommy-up-a-Pear-Tree," "Fiddle
and I," " The Tup," " Lamb's Fry," " Bread and
Butter," "To-morrow," "Tom Cat," "The
Moon," " No Thank You," " Sheep," and a host
of others equally senseless and stupid. Towards
the latter part of his time the then Lord
Huntingtower offended our amateur huntsman
by warning him off, and so the latter, by way
of retaliation, made a practice of paying his
compliments to Buckminster more frequently
than before. But he came to an untimely
end at last through the effects of a fall from
his horse, which broke his neck.



12 Random Rkcoi.i,kctions of the



CHAPTER III.



Breeding of Hunters in the Belvoir
Country. Steeple-chasing.



The breed of litinters was by no means
■neglected in these times, a number of the
large farmers generally having one or two
brood mares, which had frequently been
relegated from the studs of gentlemen on
account of accident, and for which their owners
had in the first instance paid high prices.
These were nearly always good looking, well
proportioned animals, mated with thorough-
bred horses, so that it was not surprising
that the produce should have been sought
after by noblemen, gentlemen, and dealers
both from town and country. There were
periodical shows for hunters held in the
historical paddocks at Croxton Park, liberally



Bklvoir Hunt. 13

patronised by the late and present Duke of
Rutland, Lord Forester, Lord Wilton, Mr. Val.
Maher, Mr. Sloane Stanley, Lord Rosslyn,
Col. Forester, Mr. Maxe, Sir James Musgrave,
Mr. Fletcher Norton, Air. Gilmour, Mr. Stirling
Crawfurd, Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Gaskill, Sir Richard
Sutton, and the chief representatives of the
Belvoir and Melton Hunts. The Prizes were
valuable, and, if memory serves, amounted to
something like twenty-five pounds for the
premier four-year-old, fifteen for the best
three-year-old, and liberal recognition of those
in the next grade in each class, with stipula-
tions that the exhibits v/ere bred and owned
by tenant farmers. There were also sub-
stantial prizes for brood mares. As a
natural result the winners were frequently
disposed of to gentlemen of the hunts at
satisfactory prices, and, as these shows were
usually held during the winter, something
was generally found of good account in the
Farmers' Race at Croxton Park in the
following spring. The race v\^as then for
half-bred horses, run in heats, and created no
end of interest amongst the locals, who each
of course swore by, and had a bet on his
neighbour's horse. There was a cunning old



14 Random RkcolIvKCTions of the

fellow however, a small farmer and a bit of a
trainer, living near Oakham, who was too
much for the more unsophisticated tillers of
the soil, and frequently won the race. But
report said that his horses had the advantage
of blue blood, and couldn't claim a hair of
the tail as fulfilling the stipulations of
humbler parentage. They had to jump over
wattled hurdles, and accidents were numerous ;
one horse, I think belonging to Mr. Harrison,
of Garthorpe, when holding a long lead into
the straight, falling and breaking his neck,
the rider escaping with a shaking. Why the
wattle should have been more conducive to
accident than furze or whin of the present
time I am unable to account. There were
two days' racing, and on the second the
farmers' horses, that had been handicapped
by the stewards on the preceding evening,
were ridden by gentlemen members of different
clubs. The result was often repeated by the
same horse winning again, and Lord Wilton,
Mr. Osbaldeston, Mr. Erskine, Capt. White,
Capt. Percy Williams, Mr. H. S. Thompson,
Mr. Scobell, Mr. Sadler, and others would
handle their mounts in more artistic fashion
than their less experienced yeomen jockeys.



BeIvVoir Hunt. 15

In April, 1874, owing to some questionable
proceedings the year before, heats for the
Farmers' Race at Croxton Park were abolished,
and a Hurdle Race of two miles and a half
substituted. This was won by Mr. Allen's
^' Mayflower," a handsome brown mare, notice-
able in the hunting field for her agreeable
manners and good temper.



It was somewhat before this that Steeple-
chases were held on the Lincolnshire side
near Grantham. The first meeting I re-
collect comprised only one race, run parallel
with the old North-road at the foot of Gonerby
Hill. The competitors, about seven in
number, ran four miles, starting below
Foston, and were told to make the best of
their way up to Gonerby. The course was
flagged, a real stiff one, with rough wild
fences and two natural brooks, and demanded
bold and big jumpers. On this occasion
" Peter Simple," a grey gelding by " Arbutus,"
ridden by his owner, Tom Walker, made an
example of the field, winning by a quarter
of a mile. The horse was bred in Lincoln-
shire, but did little good till he came into



i6 Random Recollections of the

Walker^s hands, under whose fine horseman-
ship he placed a number of races to his
master's credit. At a subsequent meeting
there was again only one race, the competitors
starting below Barrowby Toll-bar, and running
on the right of the Nottingham turnpike
nearly to Sedgebrook, where, bearing round
to the left they crossed the road, and returned
in a parallel line of four miles journey, finish-
ing within a couple of fields of Barrowby
Church. This race was won by the well-
known Captain Skipworth, a North Lincoln-
shire man, who had a reputation in the
Spanish wars and died a few years ago. He
rode a grey mare called '' Diana," and
had a strong tussle with something else
up to the last fence. The last of this class
of race was again held below Barrowby, the
horses covering four miles, but running the
reverse way, leaving Casthorpe Covert to the
left on the outward journey, crossing the
turnpike near Sedgebrook, and jumping the
brook twice, finishing on the right as you
looked down from the Toll-bar. This was
carried off by a bay mare called '' Seaweed,"
by '' The Sea," who I think was hunted by
Lord Howth, from Melton. The winner be-



Belvoir Hunt. 17

longed to Mr. Smith, of Walcot, a sporting;
farmer, and was ridden by the late Tom
Garner, who had a hunting establishment
and occupied a farm on Willoughby Heath.
In this race was a random horse belonging
to Old Pattinson, of Grantham, who had been
manager of the stud to Lord Lonsdale, at
Cottesmore, for a number of years. Pattinson^
who was an elderly man, would have won had
his strength held out, for the horse was pulling
hard in front about a quarter of a mile from
home, but jumping big at a bullock fence pitched
his rider, who was quite exhausted, over his
head, breaking his collar bone. The value
of these stakes, as far as I can remember,,
seldom exceeded fifty pounds.

Coming to later times brings us to meet-
ings held over the course east of Grantham.
It was here that '^ Berserker " began to
develop his qualities as a steeple-chaser. He
had been bought at Epsom, when three years
old, by Mr. Hardy, the banker of Grantham,
who sold him to Mr. Dawson, the dealer.
" Berserker " was a backward and dif&cult
colt to train, but won over this course, and
his career, as time went on, in the hands of



1 8 Random Recollections of the

Mr. W. R. Brockton was very successful, as
lie won sometHng like eighteen or twenty-
cross country races before going to the stud.
There was also Captain Handley, who had been
in the Scots Greys and served in the Crimea,
helping liberally at these meetings ; and he
had a smart wiry mare called '' Nigger Lass,"
who after winning here did him good service
on other occasions. Mr. Hardy won over this
course with a grand looking hunter called
'^ vSportsman," who had been purchased from a
farmer in the Cottesmore country, and was
ridden by Mr. Brockton. Mr. Frank Gordon
also was highly distinguished between the
flags about this time, and was one of the best
men of his day with the Belvoir and
Fitzwilliam packs.

Through apathy and want of support these
races were allowed to collapse for some years,
until revived as the Belvoir Hunt Steeple-
chases by that excellent sportsman and liberal
gentleman, Mr. Burdett Coutts, chiefly in the
interests of tenant farmers, and first held at
Ingoldsby about the year 1884. Since then
the Hunt Meetings have continued to flourish,
and are looked forward to with considerable



Bp:i.voir Hunt. 19

interest by the farmers and country folk, who
enjoy the outing immensely ; and although
pressing and liberal efforts have been made
towards restoring the races to Grantham, the
Ingoldsby course maintains its popularity
amongst hunting men, under the indefatigable
supervision of Mr. T. A. R. Heathcote, and
is as attractive and pleasant to ride over as
any in England, the only drawback being the
difficulty of access and want of accommodation
for horses in the vicinity. Whilst writing
of this neighbourhood I may mention the
name of an old gentleman who held the living
of Ingoldsby in by-gone times, the Rev. N.
C. Lane. He was a devoted admirer of the
thorough-bred, and report had it that whilst
an undergraduate at Cambridge of slender
means, he was the owner of thirteen brood mares,
without having a single acre of land, and
consequently obliged to joist them out with
farmers at the most convenient places he could
find. They were expensive luxuries, and left
him often short of coin, but his love for them
never abated, and he could not bear the idea
of parting. Mr. Lane was delighted to show
his youngsters to anyone who could appreciate
them, and I remember an ancestor of mine



20 Random Recoi^lections of the

whilst on a visit making him an offer for a
three year old filly by '^ Rector," which
was indignantly refused at the time, but
afterwards accepted. The mare was in due
time turned over to me for a hunter, and
proved a fine fencer, but met with an accident,
from the effects of which she never thoroughly
recovered, and was sold, for stud purposes,
into the hands of Mr. Tom Dawson, of
Middleham, for whom she did good service in
producing '^ Red Lion," '^ Lioness," and
" Wallace," all race horses of high class.



BeivVOir Hunt. 21



CHAPTER IV.



Bel VOIR Sportsmen.

Lord Forester, Will Goodall, and

OTHER Celebrities.



Amongst the welter weights who rode hard
to hounds were the late Duke of Rutland,
Lord Forester, General Hare Clarges,
Mr. Anthony Peacock, Mr. Gilmour,
Mr. Blackwood, Mr. Stirling Crawford, and
half-a-score others. The light brigade com-
prised Sir Thomas Whichcote, the Rev. H.
Housin, the Rev. Banks Wright, Mr. John
Earle Welby, the Rev. Thomas Heathcote,
Mr. Hardy, the Rev. C. D. Crofts, the Rev.
T. Bullen, all men who won for themselves
honour and glory in the hunting field.

There were some farmers early in the
century who held their own well and were



22 Random RecoIvI^ections of the

good sportsmen — JoHn Wing and Joe Ward,
of Sedgebrook, were both light men, the former
a neat, corky rider, took all the beating
the best conld give him, and was brother to
Doctor Wing, of Melton, whose game cocks
were known far and wide when cock fighting
was in its zenith. Mr. Hutchinson, of Foston,
Mr. Bland, of Flawboro', and the Bemroses, of
Caythorpe, were all good men to hounds.
Mr. Edward Burbidge, of Thorpe Arnold, and
his brother were both devoted to hunting,
the former being one of the best men on


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