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THE SHROPSHIRE FOX-HOUNDS, WITH SOME REMARKS
ON SHROPSHIRE AS A HUNTING COUNTRY.
SIR, SHIRO HROPSHIRE is not the most of Acton Burnell, Mr. Smyth
fortunate county in England Owen of Condover, Mr. Lloyd as regards its Nobility, few of the of Aston, and the too-celebrated great landed proprietors of that Jack Mytton.
Whatever may rank_residing in the county. have been the errors and vagaries The Duke of Cleveland and Lord of the latter Gentleman, the Craven, although owning large sportsman will be inclined to tracts of country, have no man- throw a veil over all. In the pursions in Shropshire in which to suits of the field, the turf, and display their hospitality to a nu- various other ways, a splendid merous tenantry; and the seats of fortune was exhausted, à noble Lord Berwick at Atcham, and estate ruined, and a house disSir Ferdinand Acton at Alden- solved. Mr. Mytton's faults may ham and Morville, have been have been numerous; but, like nearly deserted for many years. others, he has figured the hero of Indeed the Earl of Powis may be many feats which never had exalmost said to be the only Noble- istence except in the imagination man constantly resident in the of the creators. county; and his Lordship, beyond As successors to these gentlethe patronage bestowed on the
men a new race has arisen. Mr. races at Ludlow, has never Gibbons of Harley, the Hon. Mr. evinced any predilection for the Forester, some of the Peels, and sports of the field. Nevertheless Mr. Egerton Jeffreys have als the Gentry of this county have ready acquired celebrity. long distinguished themselves in The surface of this county the Sporting World, and the does not offer the same attractions names of Sir Richard Hill of to the sportsman as LeicesterHawkstone, Mr. Corbet of Sund- shire, Warwickshire, or Northhorne, and Mr. Cecil Forester amptonshire: it is in many parts (the late Lord Forester), will ever rugged and heavy, and broken in be familiar to sportsmen as long as every direction by hills and real English feeling exists, and mountains: the soil is also in their names transmitted to pos- many parts of a clayey stiff naterity as the liberal patrons of ture, and in others black, wet, and everything connected with the loamy: the inclosures are in gefield, and true models of the neral small, with thick and strong old English gentleman and land- fences; and that succession of lord—à race now, alas! nearly undulating pastures over which extinct; whilst in the lower the Leicestershire man delights grades of fox-hunters the name to shew his speed is unknown. To of Tom Moody will never be for ride well up to hounds in this gotten.
country requires nerves of adaIn more modern times the mant, and a horse of undaunted county has been gratified by the resolution and power. Mr. Corliberal patronage afforded to fox- bet of Sundhorne used to say, hunting by Sir Edward Smith "that his men, after following Vol. VII.-SECOND SERIES.No. 38.
hounds in Shropshire a couple of perior pretensions. With breedseasons, were pretty sure to prove ers this horse ultimately must clippers in whatever country they prove a great favorite. One of afterwards hunted.”
the first breeders in the county A Shropshire hunter has long (probably the first) of hunters is been celebrated ; and for heavy Mr. Mere of Benington. weights the breed of this county gentleman has at all times a stock may fairly compete with the very of colts that would bear comparibest description of Yorkshire son with any in the kingdom. horse. Elmore of Piccadilly has The first point to which Elmore purchased some of the best horses makes is generally Benington, that ever went into his stables and he rarely pays a visit without out of Shropshire; and the late bringing away something worthy Lord Forester, hy the sale of his of the attention of thc London studs at Belvoir and other places, market. usually obtained enormous prices Foxes are rather plentiful for his Shropshire cattle: this, everywhere. In summer they however, may not be stating harbour about the Stretton hills much for any horse his Lordship and Styper Stone mountains in rode ; his superior skill and judg- great numbers, and towards winment were such in displaying the ter fly to their common haunts. qualifications of a horse as to In consequence of the almost incause him to appear in other accessible nature of the country hands an animal of very inferior about these hills, and the great pretensions.
difficulty in drawing the coverts, The county is much indebted they are seldom visited by foxto Mr. Lechmere Charlton for hounds; hence they are at all the trouble and expense he has times tolerably stocked; and were been at in keeping up a stud at not the foxes occasionally disLudford. It cannot be said that turbed, they probably would reany of his horses have yet been main altogether in the neighboureminently successful in propa- hood. Towards the spring of gating a very superior breed, and the year the country people get none of Master Henry's stock up, therefore, a grand battue. have hitherto answered the high Commonly this pastime is not expectations formed from the very destructive; but reynard is superior blood, bone, and size of forced from his haunts, and the that horse. In Corve Dale, and bitches generally breed in a more indeed throughout the county, open country.
The late Mr. there are a number of mares of Samuel Wilding on such occathe old Sultan sort: the produce sions frequently coursed them of these has invariably been the with a strong rough greyhoundfinest colts; and the Lutwyche a race almost peculiar to these and Pavilion mares are still in parts—no other description of dog high repute. Pilgarlick, a York- facing the hills and the fox with shire horse, although little known, equal courage. and whose performances were Several packs of fox-hounds never anything but mediocre, is skirt the county, and occasionally yet the sire of some good costs, and hunt within its limits—Sir Richhis rising stock display very su- ard Puleston's, Captain Hay’s, and
Mr. Dansey's. None of these
Sir Bellingham Graare exclusively Salopian. The ham bestowed unusual pains in glory and pride of the county is selecting the various crosses from centered in the packs denomi- which the packs are formed; and nated par excellence The Shrore to his care, and that of Sir Edward SHIRE Fox-HOUNDS, and unques. Smith, much of their recent celetionably they do honour to the brity may be ascribed. county in all respects. There is The past season has not been no point, however minute, but to particularly brilliant in runs: the which the most rigid attention is scent throughout the season in paid. Probably the expense most parts of the kingdom has of ,
huntsman, dogs, horses, been exceedingly cold. In Shropkennels, &c. &c. may amount an- shire it has been peculiarly so. nually to rather more than three With the exception of a day at thousand pounds; but this in- the Twemlows, and another at cludes every expense, the Shrewsbury White Gates, there whole of which is defrayed by has been nothing worthy of muc subscription of the Members. notice. It has been generally Several of the most celebrated observed that never in any season sportsmen of the day have at va- were both packs in higher condi. rious periods, under the appella- tion, and it has been the subject tion of Presidents of the Hunt, of much regret that occasions of held the management of the display were so very rare. whole of the affairs; and it is but The kennels are about four just to state, that during the ad- miles from Shrewsbury on the ministration of Sir Bellingham Welch Pool road. In their arGraham the Hunt arrived at a rangements nothing is wanting : point of perfection from which it the huntsmen's cottages, stables, has not since retrograded. Of &c. are neat and unpretending, late the affairs of the Hunt have and they are well situated and been under the direction of Mr. central. When it is considered Lloyd of Aston, the President; that frequently during the seaand from this gentleman's uniting son coverts are drawn nearly the suaviter in modo with the form twenty miles from home, the betiter in re, he has contrived to fore-named expenses cannot be give satisfaction to all parties, an:l considered enormous. secured the general esteem. The Members of the Hunt are
The hounds are rather what is all of the best families of the termed fast: although perhaps county: much care is taken in not so high bred as some of the the admission--perhaps there is Leicestershire dogs, there is to a feeling somewhat too exclusive: be found in them a mixture of there is also an aristocratic air all the best blood in the king- thrown over the proceedings of the dom. With a good scent to live Hunt, exciting, however, nothing five and forty minutes before beyond risibility in any one. It these hounds, a fox must get contrives to give a tone to most of away at a very rapid pace, and the fashionable movements in the at the expiration of that period county, and some of the younger the field will be more select than Members also acquire an air of tone from their connexion with merous, and the patronage of the the Hunt. However, everything Hunt is proportionably estimated, is managed in a most gentleman- The grand display of fashionables like spirit; and that hospitality is reserved for 'the Hunt Ball, for which the proud Salopians which at all times is the great have ever been celebrated is still a magnet of attraction for county distinguishing feature.
beauty and elegance. Nothing is more against the
Feminé sono naté well-being of a subscription pack
Per vincere e regnar, than the absence of the influen- may well be applied to the Shroptial men of the county, to whom shire belles on this occasion. Since all affairs of this kind naturally the demise of the Bailiff's Feast look for patronage. When it is at Ludlow, Hunt dinners are not considered that Berwick, Mor- to be despised. ville, Halstone, Lutwyche, Millie- Fashion has of late years exhope, and many other of the old tended its busy influence even to family mansions, have for years the sports of the field. Everybeen unoccupied, it is surprising thing must now be done in bevies. how the hunting establishment The cockney bursts from his has been kept up: yet public dingy abode in the City only to spirit with the county gentlemen meet his assembled compeers at has never for a moment flagged, the bustling Margate: the ennuy'd and Shropshire may reasonably West-ender flies from his Town boast of having the best subscrip- Club to meet fresh faces contion packs in the kingdom. It gregated at Bath or Cheltenham: would almost amount to treason and unless the Sportsman has to compare them with some of the spent or embarrassed a fortune in Leicestershire establishments, yet a crowd at Melton, he can never the Members need not shrink presume to move a distingué. "Let from observation on this account. me be naked and unshorn ; let
Nothing is looked forward to me live on roots and sleep on with more anxiety in Shrewsbury flints, so that I have but consideraand its vicinity than the Hunt tion, distinction,” said the Dervis: week. This usually takes place and it is the same with the Enat the latter end of the season; glish. At whatever sacrifice, disand as most of the Nobility and tinction must be obtained. It is Gentry then make a point of not now enough that a man should assembling at Shrewsbury, the figure where his forefathers did; county town becomes a most he must move in a more fashion. agreeable residence, and that dul- able and a more heterogeneous ness and languor which are its sphere. This mania hitherto has usual characteristics give way to not raged very fiercely in Shropan air of bustle and animation shire: its gentry are still contentonly equalled by the Race or ed with their old halls, and are Assize week. Much of the still anxious to transmit them ungaiety and festivity of this period impoverished to their successors : depend upon the popularity they have yet to learn how to of the President. When such is glimmer ignis-fatuus-like, and the case, strangers are very nua expire.
THE NEW GAME ACT.
AVING considered the effected for game, or for nets or otherin,
of those provisions which struments improperly employed the present act has either intro- in its destruction. When game duced or sanctioned, let us now was made an article of sale, and advert to some of those regula- the object professedly was to put tions which it has destroyed, or, an end to poaching by driving the in other words, has repealed. Í contraband dealer in it out of the fear it will, on an attentive consi- market, the landed qualification deration, be found, that in seve- to kill, and consequently to sell, ral instances the useful plant has game ought never to have been been plucked up, where the object taken away. The respectability was merely to extirpate the of the sellers was a sine qua non : noxious weed. I believe thepurest it was essential to make the law motives to have actuated the person work well. The qualification who brought in this Act, but no afforded some chance that the inart is more difficult than that of dividual was respectable: it gave legislation. The Act of the first some pledge that the power he or second of James the First, which had of selling his game would complains of "the vulgar sort not be abused: it kept the sale and men of small worth making of game in the hands of persons a trade and a living of the spoil. (I am now speaking of the landed ing and destroying of the said qualification, for the other qualigames, who are not of sufficiency fication never ought to have exto pay the said penalties, &c. nor isted) not only having some stake to answer the costs,” treats as in the country, but also a certain an offence (and such every true interest in the game itself, and sportsman will deem it) the its preservation, and a motive tracing or coursing hares in the properly to use the power they snow. As this Act is repealed, possessed, and not recklessly to such is no longer an offence.
abuse it. But when a mere cerThe Act of James introduced tificate could, even in the hands the qualification, or amount of of the most desperate and unproperty or rank, which autho- principled thiet and poacher, rised a person to sport. But this legalise his right to sell by whatqualification, which was increas- ever foul means he obtained the ed by subsequent Acts, is wholly game, what controul could be destroyed by the New Game Bill, obtained over a person of his through the simple operation of description -- a person bound repealing all those Statutes which by no laws, human or divine ! had directed it. With the quali. He has no character to lose, no fication the New Act has swept property to injure, and the away all those provisions, in licence is only a legal permission themselves very useful, and often to sell the produce of rapine and leading to the detection of poach- of plunder. So much for allowers, by which the houses of un- ing game to be sold by persons qualified persons might be search having no qualification to kill: in