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The History of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt 1775-1910
Chapter V.
The Squire of Barnton


HAD Mr W. R. Ramsay, who, as has been shown, succeeded Mr Hay in the mastership in 1830, not been born the sportsman he was, he could hardly have escaped becoming one in the circumstances which attended his upbringing. In the care of a mother for an only son there would naturally be embraced an endeavour to impart a liking for the sport which the father had loved, and in this, doubtless, she would not be unaided by the father's friends. Possibly it was with the view of developing such a liking that Mr Stirling of Keir presented to Mr George Ramsay's soil, whilst the latter was as yet little beyond his cradle-days, the beautiful old hunting-horn, a photograph of which has been reproduced. The possession of large landed estates lying in a hunting country, also, would not be without its influence, and the fortune which Mr Ramsay had inherited from his father, and which must have increased very materially during his long minority, would render the indulgence in any form of sport an easy matter. Thus, within a few months of his having attained manhood, Mr Ramsay came to occupy the position of master of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hounds, and to enter upon that period in the history of the Hunt during which— the country being almost entirely pastoral or agricultural and uninjured by mineral workings— sport was probably at its best. Born on the 29th of May 1809, he succeeded, on the death of his father in the following year, to the estate of Barnton in Mid-Lothian and to the properties of Sauchie and Bannockburn in Stirlingshire. He married on the 4th of August 1828, the Hon. Mary Sandilands, only daughter of James, tenth Lord Torphichen; represented Stirlingshire in Parliament in the years 1831 and 1832; and was subsequently member for Mid-Lothian from 1841 to 1845. On the 9th of January 1832 he was admitted a member of the Caledonian Hunt.

Nimrod entitled his well-known work 'The Chase, the Turf, and the Road,' and although each of these subjects seems to have occupied Mr Ramsay to a considerable extent, it is possible that, possession of large landed estates lying in a hunting country, also, would not be without its influence, and the fortune which Mr Ramsay had inherited from his father, and which must have increased very materially during his long minority, would render the indulgence in any form of sport an easy matter. Thus, within a few months of his having attained manhood, Mr Ramsay came to occupy the position of master of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hounds, and to enter upon that period in the history of the Hunt during which— the country being almost entirely pastoral or agricultural and uninjured by mineral workings— sport was probably at its best. Born on the 29th of May 1809, he succeeded, on the death of his father in the following year, to the estate of Barnton in Mid-Lothian and to the properties of Sauchie and Bannockburn in Stirlingshire. He married on the 4th of August 1828, the Hon. Mary Sandilands, only daughter of James, tenth Lord Torphichen; represented Stirlingshire in Parliament in the years 1831 and 1832; and was subsequently member for Mid-Lothian from 1841 to 1845. On the 9th of January 1832 he was admitted a member of the Caledonian Hunt.

Nimrod entitled his well-known work 'The Chase, the Turf, and the Road,' and although each of these subjects seems to have occupied Mr Ramsay to a considerable extent, it is possible that, had he and not Nimrod been the author, the order of precedence given to them in the title might have been somewhat different. For "his heart was in the Defiance and the Tally-ho,"' and probably he was better known to the racing world of his time than he was in the hunting field. Many of the old Barnton papers were destroyed some years ago, with the view of clearing away what was deemed to be useless matter, and although it is of no avail bemoaning what cannot be undone, it is nevertheless a matter for regret that such an incident should have taken place. Had these papers been preserved, how much information might not they have thrown upon Mr Ramsay's tastes and predilections, how much lighter might not the task have been in respect to this particular period of the Hunt's history?

Captain Barclay of Ury, by whom the Defiance coach was instituted in the summer of 1829, and Mr Ramsay, are said to have been partners as regards its management during at least a portion of its existence; and so anxious was the latter to encourage travelling by it, that he would sometimes take passengers free of charge.

"It is possible that some of my readers may not have heard or read of the renowned Defiance coach from Edinburgh to Aberdeen—the Wonder of Scotland-which rightly indeed may it be called. Any person, however, who may chance to be at Edinburgh, and to step into the coach office of the Waterloo hotel, will see announced, amongst many others, though this stands first on the list,— 'The Defiance Coach to Aberdeen, matchless for speed and safety, at half-past five o'clock every lawful morning.' And 'matchless' no doubt it has been in this part of this world. . . . So complete are its arrangements; so respectable and civil are the servants employed upon it; so well does it keep its time—in addition to the honour of very often being driven by the Captain himself—that the first people in the country are, or were, found in and about it, including even the late Duke of Gordon himself, who would frequently be seen in it on his road south, although some of his own carriages might have been on the road on the same day."'

Mr Ramsay as well as Captain Barclay frequently drove the Defiance, a circumstance which probably tended very much to support and maintain its popularity; and even the gravest Edinburgh professors liked to see the Ramsay coaches with their rich brass-mounted harness, and the scarlets and white hats, when the dashing young owner, who appears to have had a preference for two bays and two greys, cross-fashion, was on the box. Whether "the Barnton hat" was originally used by Mr Ramsay to cover him on the box-seat or in the saddle, is not clear, —probably he wore it on all occasions, - but its outline, tall and straight with an absolutely flat brim, is still familiar to many, and for bug it will he associated with the Squire of Barnton as "the Fife hat" will be with the late Laird of Charleton.

Although it would be out of place to enter into any description here of Mr Ramsay's many victories on the turf, the names of some of the more or less famous horses which he owned or which carried his colours—the straw jacket, green sleeves and cap - may be mentioned. Perhaps the best known were The Doctor, Inheritor, Despot, and last, but not least, Lanercost, winner, as a four - year - old, of the first Cambridgeshire (1839); while Queen Mary, celebrated later as a brood mare, was his property, and ran in his name when she made her only appearance in public. Thomas Dawson and William I'Anson trained them, and while they underwent their preparation at Gullane or Middle- ham, they were usually wintered at Barnton. When they visited any of the classic race-grounds, they performed the journey in a sort of stall on wheels, drawn by cart - horses. The first vehicle of this kind was made by a firm in London, who patented it as an invention, and on Mr Ramsay getting' the estate carpenter at Barnton, James Bell, to construct for him a carriage on similar lines, the builders of the original brought an action against Bell for infringement of the patent, and many of the estate people employed in its construction gave evidence on his behalf. The case does not seem to be reported, but it is said that the raisers of this action were unsuccessful - the home - made conveyance being held to be of a different mould from the original, and wanting in the essentials necessary to constitute infringement.

Mr Ramsay was a fine judge of a horse, and his stud of hunters was the envy of many equally rich sportsmen who, somehow or other, never seemed to get the right sort. The Squire, a chestnut—the horse which he is depicted as riding in Chalon's picture  - Repeater a dapple grey, Binks the Bagman a chestnut, Rocket a black or brown, Round Robin a bay stallion, Lambton and Jack Sheppard, are handed down as having been famous hunters in their day; and old Inheritor, after winning two Liverpool cups, in the latter part of his career carried his owner well.

As has been mentioned, Mr Ramsay engaged Christopher Scott as his huntsman, the whippers- in being Torn Rintoul and James Robertson; and the late Colonel Anstruther-Thomson could just remember the hounds passing through Edinburgh on their way from Duns Castle to Barnton in the autumn of 1830.

"Mr Ramsay has been lucky in his choice of a huntsman; he is a respectable man, and perfectly master of his business. In the field he says little, but when his hounds are getting near their fox, he cheers them on to the death in first-rate style.

The hounds are in beautiful condition, under the most perfect control, pack well together, try the strongest whin most determinedly, never throw up their heads to catch a view, and while they stick to their game like trumps, are at the huntsman's heels at the least tout of the horn."

Rintoul, whose life with hounds began in 1817, had come to the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire country in 1826 as second whipper-in to Knight. His father was head gamekeeper to the Earl of Elgin, and Torn was born either in Fife or Kinross- shire in the year 1801. "His career began in the racing stable along with Torn Dawson, under Dawson senior, about the time when John Osborne was hunting groom to Mr Taylor of Kirton, Tom was never 'put up' and, therefore, his life was not like that of the well-known Scottish rider about that time, whose difficulties in wasting were so great that he travelled from Ayr to Carlisle, leading a mare, on four halfpenny biscuits and two-penny-worth of Epsom salts."' After acting as second whipper-in for four seasons, he was first whipper - in for nine, and finally, huntsman for twelve,-thus eventually completing a record of twenty-five years' service with the pack.

Where and when Mr Ramsay commenced his first season is not recorded, but the following verses may possibly have been written with the view of commemorating an "opening day" on Linlithgowshire side of the country.

During the first few years of his mastership Mr Rainsay hunted, besides the country proper, part of Dumbartonshire, the western part of Mid-Lothian, and the north-eastern part of Berwickshire, while the Duke of Buccleuch overtook the southwestern part of Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, and the bulk of Mid and East Lothian. In 1833, a portion of the Lanarkshire country having been lent by Lord Kelburne to Mr Ramsay, the latter relinquished Berwickshirel Berwickshire in favour of the late Earl of Wemyss, then Lord Elcho, to whom the Duke, at that time had given up East Lothian.' The home country and the Dumbartonshire and Mid-Lothian districts were worked from the Laurieston and Barnton kennels, the Berwickshire country probably from kennels at Duns Castle, and the Lanarkshire district from kennels at Newmains. The hounds hunted three and sometimes four days a - week, and many long and severe runs are recorded. Early in the season of 1830, when in Berwickshire, they had a hard day from Preston near Duns, and accounted for a brace of foxes. After what is described as having been "a beautiful burst of eight miles without a check across the hill country," at the end of which the fox took refuge in the dairy at Cockburn and was killed, Scott proceeded to draw the covert at Prestonhill. From this a good fox went away, and hounds ran well over the Preston Stanshiel, winding round the base df the hill, and pointing for the low country. When near Cockburn mill, however, they swung left-handed, and continued by Preston towards Lintlaw. There, the fox being headed by some ploughmen, they again swung left-handed, went on over Lintlaw bill, through Buncle wood, crossed the road a little to the east of Marygold, and bending slightly to the right, reached the strong covert at Greenburn. There was now a burning scent, and the pace was consequently tremendous. Leaving

Greenburn on their right, and passing close to Warlawbank, they drove forward towards Swans- field, and thence up the glen of the Eye water nearly to Houndwood inn. Crossing the water a little below Horslie, they attained the Brockholes, and heartened on by Scott's cheer, ran into their fox in the the midst of a flock of sheep. Although the point appears to have been little more than five miles, the distance covered could not have been less than from twelve to fourteen. Iii the home country, also, there was sport. On the 28th of February, after meeting at Riccarton in Mid-Lothian, a good hunt took place from Bonnington plantation, from which hounds went away northwards towards Dundas, but turning reached Norton, and eventually ran to ground near Riccarton. On the 5th of the following month Calder wood provided a fox which stood up before the pack for some ten miles, the line lying over the rough grass country between Midcalder and the Cairn hills, the pace being tremendous, and without a moment's check.

Mr Ramsay's second season was characterised by brilliant sport, and it was generally admitted that the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire had a greater number of fine runs, particularly in the Buns country, than any of the other packs in Scotland and, moreover, scarcely ever failed to kill their fox.4 Although the veins of sport which ran through this season were wanting in the following one, the 20th of April 1833 must have been long remembered by those who took part in the run which then befell. The fixture was Harburn, the seat of Mr Alexander Young, and after several of the coverts belonging to him had been drawn, hounds were taken to to Auchinhard. Near it they found at once, and forcing their fox away, took a fine line of country over grass. On coming to the river Almond, they forded it close to the village of Blackburn, and leaving that on their right, ran on to Sir William Baillie's coverts at the Cappers. Thence they continued to the Bath- gate and Airdrie road, which they crossed a little to the west of Armadale toll-bar, and running three miles farther, still mostly over grass, reached the high ground west of Bridge Castle, where the chase ended in the death of the fox. The distance as the crow flies is stated to have been not less than tell ten miles, and as hounds ran sixteen, with only one check, while the pace, the whole way, was such that none but good horses in the best of condition could live with them. How this performance on the part of his hounds must have delighted Scott can easily be imagined, for in addition to killing their fox at the end of so fine a hunt, were there not up at the finish, fourteen and a half out of the sixteen couples which had left the covert at Auchinhard! But "coining events cast their shadows before," and this day's work was but an omen of the good sport which was to follow.

In the immediately succeeding season, Living- stone wood held a fox which provided two capital runs. The first of these occurred on the 14th of November (1833), when hounds ran straight to Dechmont at racing pace, crossed the Edinburgh and Bathgate road, and bending to the left, pointed for the Bathgate hills,—one of the highest points of which, the Knock, was reached in twenty- five minutes time. There, a slight check occurred owing to the fox having been headed, but the line being recovered, they turned sharp south and, continuing at the same pace, pointed for the low country, recrossed the Edinburgh and Bathgate road about three miles to the west of the place at which they had first crossed it, and ran their fox to ground at the Inch. The distance as the crow flies from Livingstone to Dechmont, thence to the Knock, and thence to the Inch, is six and a half miles—perhaps between seven and eight as hounds ran-while the time, according to two accounts, was forty minutes. Some weeks afterwards the same fox was again found in Livingstone wood. Again hounds went away hard at him, and ran very much the same line of country as they had done on the previous occasion, until the Knock was reached. This time, however, the fox was not headed there, and they drove straight ahead as if tied to the scent, and at a tremendous pace, killing him on the Bathgate hills above Wallhouse in forty-six minutes from the find. Few of the field who saw the fox found were able to last to the finish, - but Mr Ramsay, Major Shairp, and one or two others distinguished themselves highly. The whole of the line lay over grass, and had the fences not been "moderate," the pace was so tremendous that no horse could have got to the end. One other run which took place during this season is deserving of mention. It occurred on the 5th of February, when hounds met at West Binny. There had been a hard frost in the morning, and perhaps, in consequence, some delay in drawing; for it was not till after mid-day that a fox was found in Riccarton (Longmuir) covert. In about five minutes time hounds broke, taking the now old and familiar line over grass, but through deep and, in places, boggy ground to Bangour, from which they ran to Binny plantation, i.e., Binny cottage or Craighinning, and thence, with scent breast high, to Binny craig. From that they continued by the Braes o' Mar to Champfleurie, and after crossing the Union canal went on towards Carriden. When near Walton farm, however, the fox, being headed by a boy with a sheep-dog, turned as if for Kinneil wood, but that he was not destined to reach, and hounds pulled him down near old Bonhard House at a quarter past three, just one hour and three quartet's from the time of finding.

The season of 1834, also, produced some fine runs. On the 22nd of October the hounds met at Stonebyres, in Lanarkshire, when, finding in the glen at Craignethan, they went away at once for the Avon water, turned, crossed the Nethan for Stonebyres bill, and again vent away at a great pace to Dillar hill. From that, although hard pressed, the fox managed to carry on to Dumbreck where, through the strength of the gorse, he was enabled to dwell for a short time. Refinding him, however, they forced him away "at a death pace" across the Carlisle road, beyond which he faced the open country, apparently without any point, for miles, turned to the right across Fauldhouse Flow, and back along the Carlisle road for his own country. But he was unable to regain it, and they ran into him in a cowshed at the end of "a trying run of two hours and fifteen minutes." In the afternoon of the 11th of December, after meeting at Binny craig, a long run took place from a small gorse covert near the Braes o' Mar, from which hounds threaded their way to the Linlithgow road. From that they wheeled, and skirting the covert iii which they had found, pointed for Binny craig, sank the hill, passed the farms of Hangingside and Oatridge, and leaving the village of Ecclesmachan on their right, traversed the Tar hill to Hillend. Thence they ran the banks of the Niddry burn but turning right-handed from Bell's mills went on by Niddry Mains and East Mains, and across the Edinburgh and Bathgate road to Drumshoreland. it was now getting late and scent was failing, but they worked steadily up to their fox in that large covert, and once more compelled him to break, running him by Broxburn village and Kilpunt to the Almond, which they crossed a little above Bird's mill before marking to ground on the banks of the river at Cliftonhall,—" an hour and forty minutes without anything like a check."

During these earlier seasons of Mr Ramsay's mastership, the field, for that of a provincial country, was often a large one, more especially on occasions when the hounds met within easy reach of Edinburgh. Amongst others, the following are mentioned as having been out hunting: - the Earl of Caithness, the Fail of Hopetoun, the Earl of Morton, Lord John Scott, Captain the Hon. James Sandilands, Sir Joseph Ratcliffe, Sir William Scott of Ancrum, Mr Ainsworth, Mr Burrell of Broomhall, Northumberland, Captain Christie, Mr Dundas of Arniston, Mr Earl, Mr Forbes of Callendar, Mr Gatacre, Mr W. Gibson-Craig of Riccarton, Mr, afterwards Sir, Francis Grant, Mr Hare of Calderhall, Mr Hay of Duns Castle, Mr R. Lindsay, Mr Maxwell, Mr Hay Mackenzie, Captain Makepeace, Mr Mayou, Mr Place, Major Rickaby, Captain Richardson, Captain Russell, Mr Shairp of iloustoun, Mr R. Spiers, Mr Stewart, Dr Wardrop, Mr Archibald Wilkie, and Mr G. Williamson; while no less a personage than Nimrod graced the field with his presence in the season last referred to (1834).

Nimrod,' who had hunted from his boyhood, was at this time an accepted authority on all matters connected with the chase. His writings, which possess a considerable charm of style, and are among the best of sporting classics, afford much interesting information concerning many of the more famous hunting establishments of the day. His 'Northern Tour,' written as the tour was made during the hunting season of 1834, contains a description of the different packs of hounds in Scotland at that time, including the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire. But Nimrod's appearance with the pack took place under unfortunate circumstances, for the weather was stormy, and consequently the hounds were not seen to advantage. On December the 6th, the first of the only two days on which he was in the field, the fixture was Ormiston bill. He was then mounted by Mr Ramsay, and from him we have an account of the day's proceedings.

"Our first scent was on a disturbed fox which we could not hunt up to, to do any good with, so went to try for another. We found in Calderwood, the most extraordinary, and the most romantic place, save one, that I ever saw a pack of fox-hounds thrown into. In fact, it was a place that appeared to me like a forlorn hope; but owing to a combination of circumstances, for instance, all in the day, and the exertions of the men, . . added to the steady working of the hounds, our fox quitted this wild ravine, and boldly faced the open country. But I shall not soon forget the crossing of this ravine, or the rocky bottomed brook that was roaring in the hollow, or the narrow path by which we gained the opposite side. The scene was really an imposing one. The clatter of the horses' feet among the stones, as they scrambled, as it were,

'Up the margin of the lake,
Between the precipice and brake,'

with the cry of the hounds, beautifully re-echoed from the deep and winding valley which was below us, gave a wildness to the scene seldom experienced in fox-hunting, and requiring an abler pen than mine to describe. When once clear of this awkward and perplexing defile, a good country presented itself; the pack settled down to their fox, and I thought we were in for a second East Gordon clipper, as these out-of-the-way-looking places generally produce those that can fly for their lives. At the end of a mile and a half, however, the hounds came to a check in a road which would have been a fatal one but for the following circumstance. As Lord Hopetoun and myself were in the act of leaping a low wall into the road, his lordship exclaimed to me,

There is the scent,'—catching with his eye, what escaped mine, namely, two couples of hounds carrying it down a strip of plantations, on the opposite side of the road. Clapping spurs to my horse, I gave Scott the office, and he instantly brought the body of the pack on the line, but they soon threw up again. Having an eye to his point, however, he persisted in pursuing the line, even beyond what appeared to me to be warrantable, as not a hound even feathered on a scent; but he was rewarded for his perseverance. He had the pleasure of seeing his hounds take up the scent all at once through a gate, into a grass field, and never quit it till they ran into their fox at the end of forty minutes, an hour in all, over a fine scenting country."

Nimrod's comments on the hounds and Hunt servants too are interesting, and while he does not seem to have been favourably impressed with the appearance of the former as a pack, he nevertheless casts no aspersions on their working qualities, but rather extols these.

"The general character of the Linlithgow pack may, I think, be summed up in a few words. They are not hounds to strike the eye, or exactly perhaps to please the eye of a nice observer of form and points. It is evident, indeed, that in the breeding and the drafting of them, appearances have not been allowed to preponderate much in the scales. There are some coarse hounds among them; nevertheless they are a very business-like looking pack, taken as a whole, and the character they bear is highly creditable to them. It is indeed from character, from report chiefly, that I am enabled to speak of their performances; for, with the exception of the finish to the first day's run, no circumstances could be more untoward than those under which it was my ill-fortune to see them."

Of Scott, whom he describes as "rather over- topped, but not looking much amiss in his saddle, with a ruddy, but healthy-looking face, and some- what of an intellectual eye," Nimrod says "his condition I thought good; but it is in the kennel that he is considered to shine. As a huntsman he labours under disadvantages—not those of age, for although he has the honourable appellation of 'Old Scott,' there is nothing against him on that score. But no man of his form can ride forward enough to see hounds in all their work, over any country that I have yet seen, much less over his, which is strongly fenced and deep. . . . Scott's long experience and general knowledge of bounds and hunting, make him often quoted in Scotland as authority ; and, moreover, he has been the theme of many a good joke. In short, he is what is called a character, as the following anecdotes will show. Being some distance behind his hounds one day when they were running very hard, Mr Maxwell —the son of his first master, Sir William--passed him, with the hope of being able to catch them. 'It won't do, sir,' holloas Scott to him; ''tis no use your haggrivating your horse in that manner; you was on a Iieagie you would not catch 'em.' On another occasion he missed some hounds after a long run in a wild country, and they were eventually lost. On some one condoling with him upon what most huntsmen would consider rather a serious bereavement, Scott replied with a smile, Oh, it's nought worth thinking about; it is a poor concern that can't afford to lose a hound or two.'"

Nor does Nimrod forget to bestow a word of praise on R.intoul. "The activity and science displayed by the first whipper-in delighted me; he was a perfect Mungo, here, there, and everywhere, telegraphing with his hand and whip when he could not be heard, and giving the office with his voice when he could"; while he proceeds to relate that Mr Ramsay rode a very clever hunter—a chestnut, with a blaze of white down his face,— that Lord Hopetoun was also splendidly mounted and rode well to the hounds, that Captain Peter Hay of Mugdrum House, in Fife, went "as usual" on his celebrated old horse Coroner, and that "that noted old sportsman, Major Shairp of Houstoun," also went well on a weedy thorough-bred mare, jumping a very wide place from a stand.

If, as has been suggested, hunting did not occupy the foremost place as regards sport with Mr Ramsay, he was nevertheless fond of hounds and a hard rider, for The Druid mentions that Lonsdale blood was Mr Ramsay's delight," and that " when he did get a lead over a strong country, he was very bad to beat."' But Beaufort as well as Lonsdale blood had a charm for him, and his list for 1834 includes Bedford, 5 years, by the Duke of Beau- fort's Brusher —Dairymaid. Bedford, who in colour was red or red-pied, seems to have been an excellent hound, thoroughly to be trusted in chase or in a difficulty, and the progenitor of some good and hard workers. His son Bracer' was remarkable for his power and symmetry, and when H. B. Chalon painted the picture of Mr Ramsay and the pack, Bracer was made one of the chief hound studies. The painting of this picture occupied nearly a year, during which time Chalon stayed at Barnton, but the canvas is a large one, and the work embraces, besides the portrait of Mr Ramsay, portraits of Scott and the whippers-in, Rintoul and Jim Harrison, and also those of many of the hounds, among which are Bedford, Monitor,' and Bracer—the hound next but one behind the terrier.

And now joy and gladness reigned throughout the length and breadth of the land on the occasion of the ascension to the throne of Queen Victoria. Possibly Mr Ramsay may have bent before his youthful sovereign whilst in London on his parliamentary duties, but it is probable that Court functions were not much to his liking, and that as soon as it was possible for him to leave town, he might be seen hastening northwards to his quiet home in Mid-Lothian, surrounded by its beautiful park and tall trees, where the rooks circled and cawed and the wood-pigeons softly repeated "tak' two coos Davy." For at Barnton there was almost everything that the heart of a sportsman could desire—a pack of foxhounds whose kennel, with huntsman's house adjoining, lay within a stone's throw of the mansion-house; a riding-school which hounds and horses could be exercised in the severest of weather; race-horses with suitable accommodation, for them, hunters, hacks, coach-horses and coaches, with stabling and coach-houses which would almost have met the requirements of a prince. Thus could Mr Ramsay with ease, as the spirit moved him, hear the rattle of the splinter-bars, the thunder of his thorough-breds' feet upon the turf, or the cry of his own hounds. Naturally, in the hunting season, the hounds would receive most attention, and that they could then delight the ear may be accepted as certain, for as already indicated, many of them were either of Beaufort or Lonsdale blood, each of which was noted for tongue. Indeed, from the nature of the country, abounding as it does in strips and woodlands, it is more than probable that the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire pack has never been altogether an unmusical one, although the quality may have varied in degree From time to time. There could, however, owing to the pace, be but little music from the pack in It run such as that from "Drumshorlan to Mar" described ill verse, and handed down under the title of "A West-Lothian Song."

the line of this run, it would seem that the distance covered might quite easily have been fifteen or sixteen miles.

Shortly after the close of the season of 1838, Scott retired. He had talked of doing so for some little time previously, for his weight had been increasing, and he was no longer able to ride up to his hounds as he had done. This much may be gathered from the West-Lothian song alone, for while it was he who, "with his heart in his eye" put hounds into covert and cheered them when drawing, it was Rintoul who at the end of the run held the fox "aloft in air." The time had come, according to his own statement, when Rintoul, whom he knew was well worthy of the huntsman's place, should have it all to himself. Some three. years before, he had been entertained to dinner at Falkirk, by a number of those then hunting with the pack, and presented with a piece of plate in testimony of their respect for him as a man and their admiration of his talents as a huntsman. After his retirement he took a small farm called The Camphort on the Monreith estate in Wigtownshire; but as a farmer he does not appear to have been more more successful than his his predecessor in office, George Knight, and he finally moved into the Burnside cottage at Monreith, where he died of paralysis on the 5th of February 1865. On his death-bed he left to the present Sir Herbert Maxwell a silver hunting-horn, which he apologised to the late Sir William for not leaving to him, saying, by way of excuse, that the horn would be of more use to his son, who was "beginning a sporting career!"

What happy days those immediately following the 28th of October (1839) must have been at Barnton, for was not Lanercost's victory at Newmarket an accomplished fact! "His four-year-old labours that September and October were equal to those of a Hercules . . [but] as his five races had been mere exercise gallops, and he seemed to get tone every day, I'Anson determined to put his head Heath - wards for the Cambridgeshire on the 28th. Between Dumfries and Annan his troubles began, by the breaking clown of one of the horses of his three - wheel van, which was hardly big enough for him when he was travelling night and day. For the last seventy miles he grew so weary that he stood on his toes with his heels up against the door, and propping his loin as he could. Hence when he reached Newmarket he was so paralysed that be 'could hardly be abused into a trot,' and to coax him out of a trot into a canter was quite out of Noble's power. There was nothing for it but to cover him up from nose to tail in his box, till the sweat fairly poured off him, and he was so fresh two or three clays afterwards that he positively 'wanted to go shopping on his road to the course, and not through the shop-door either. Still he settled down at the post, and if Mickleton Maid had not mettled him up so tremendously by the pace she made for Hetman Platoft to whom he gave 11 lbs., Noble could never have driven him in a sharp finish with such a speedy customer as 'Bowes's Bay.' This was the maiden year of the two great stakes, and although some high weights and those three-year-olds have run close up for them since, neither of them has been won, [except by Lanercost], at 8 st. 9 lbs. Lord George might well say, 'What a wonderful animal he is! he neither sweats nor blows!'

Two years later Lanercost was sold by Mr Ramsay to Mr Kirby, and while the evening of his days was passed at Chantilly, it is said that his bones lie at Barnton. A most devoted friendship existed between the horse and a dog, which kept him company in his stall at I'Anson's. Before the Doncaster meeting of 1841, the pair got separated, and although he had never been there before, the dog found out Lanercost's box from among all the others in the different yards at Pighurmi, and an affecting meeting took place. The fox which a too confident hostler would pitch against him, and the gentleman who would have another peep at Lanercost in the van as the horse was crossing the Mersey to Chester, did not forget this sentinel very easily, and his dog opponents seldom survived their engagements."

Lord George Bentinck, the "Lord George" referred to in connection with Lanercost's victory, well known as a sportsman and statesman, seems to have been a friend of Mr Ramsay, and about this time to have been hunting with the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hounds. He forms one of the group painted, probably about the year 1840, by Mr Benjamin Crombie, whose 'Modern Athenians' are so well known in book form. The scene of this picture is the inn at Broxburn, at which the members of the Hunt used to put in after hunting, and which was then kept by one Fraser, who had been butler to the Lord Torphichen of the time. The figures, taking them from left to right, are, Professor Lizars, surgeon, brother of the engraver, Sir Alexander Gibson-Maitland of Cliftonhall, Mr John Wood, a Leith merchant, Lord George Bentinck - on near side of table, Mr Ramsay, Mr 'John Tod, nick-named " Toddy Boy," Mr Walter M'Culloch of Ardwall, Mr William Sharpe, Hocldam, Mr inglis of Torsonce, the poet, Mr George Dunlop, nick-named "Gogar," and Captain the Hon. James Sandilands—in doorway. On the wall hangs a card intimating that Mr Ramsay's Hounds will meet on Monday, at Drumshorelan Moor; on Tuesday, at Torphichen Bridge; on Thursday, at Riccarton Wood; and on Saturday, at Broxburn.

Although Mr Ramsay may be looked upon as having been a resident proprietor, spending his money in the country hunted, it would seem that he was not, at this period, afforded the support which might naturally have been considered due to him. One proprietor appears to have objected to have his lands ridden over; another to have destroyed foxes and taken every means to spoil sport; while the farmers were not over warm in the good cause, and satisfactory walks for puppies were somewhat scarce. The season of 1837 was the last in which the Fife Hounds hunted Forfarshire, and Mr Ramsay, influenced no doubt by the state of matters then existing in his own country, in the following season, Scott's last, took the hounds into that county for a time, hunting most probably from the kennels near the loch at Forfar, which the Fife Hounds had previously occupied.' It was then that old Bedford, who was wont to contend with Rivers for the honour of carrying home the fox's head, had a great day on his own account, account, notwithstanding the fact that his hunting career was drawing to an end. One day, at Kincaidruin, a covert of Heaven knows how many hundred acres, they found a fox; but, as of course he did not break too soon, Scott's ear discovered that old Bedford was well tied to another; so leaving his brother veteran to his own devices, he pressed the pack's fox out, and got away. At night, old Bedford was missing, and no tidings, until going into the same country a few days after, a farmer came up and said 'You have a red and white hound worth his weight in gold; he forced that fox out of Kincaidrurn after you left; was seen by many running him ten miles over the country, and killed him just by my place. I did all I could to get him but he went off. Scott went away sorrowing. Old Bedford got on the road home, and made it out as far as Perth, when he was picked up and sent to the Kilgrastori kennels, where Scott, visiting Hall, found him to his no small delight. Bedford is nine years old and almost blind; were he mine - I speak it under favour-lie should not only live all his days until the stern huntsman Time gave his who-whoop, but . . . should have a monument and an epitaph, and a better one than this, which must serve in the meantime—

'Who single-handed
Killed his fox,
Though blind and old
Right orthodox.' "

After the close of the season of 1840, during which, as well as the immediately preceding one, the hounds had again visited Forfarshire, Mr Ramsay gave up the home country entirely, and in the following winter hunted Forfarshire only; while the Fife Hounds, under an arrangement come to through Major Shairp, visited Linlithgowshire for about five weeks in the spring, when they were kennelled at Uphall. The Forfarshire country, which at this time was considered one of' the best of those in the north, was an extensive one, and embraced much of Lord Panmure's property, upon which were situated most of the favourite coverts. "From one end of the country to the other was fully eighty miles, and it is a precious memory with the [Rintoul] that one week they 'hunted it down,' and killed four brace."' But before another summer had passed, the troubles at home had either ceased altogether or diminished very considerably, for in 1843 the hounds were again hunting the home country, and also the Carnwath country in Lanarkshire and Peeblesshire. Sport,

too, must have been as good as ever it had been, for Rintoul received from various hunting friends quite a succession of little gifts, presented, for the most part, as mementos of particularly good runs, or of days upon which he and his hounds had distinguished themselves. From Captain Peter Hay of Mugdrum there came a silver snuffbox (1843), and a silver cigar-case (1844); from Sir Alexander Maitland, a silver-mounted hunting- crop (1844) ; from Lord Valentia, a silver cup (1845); from Mr Ramsay, a silver hunting-horn (1846); and from the members of the Hunt, "as a mark of the sense they have long entertained of his merits as a huntsman," a silver tea-service (1846). The most noteworthy of the runs recorded about this time are two which took place in the Carnwath country. The first of these occurred on 17th of April 1843, when, meeting at Huntfield, about two miles to the north-west of Biggar, hounds immediately found a fox which, though twice headed, persevered in making his point. Away went the pack, racing ahead in a north-easterly direction as if for the distant covert of Penicuik, until at the end of an almost absolutely straight fourteen miles, accomplished in one hour and twenty minutes, with only one very trifling check, the fox could no longer stand up before them, and the pack, "led by the gallant Brusher," running from scent to view, killed him in the open.' Captain Hay describes this as a brilliant and first-rate run, ultra pace all the way," while the 'Sporting Magazine' bears that considering the extreme severity of this extraordinary run," Rintoul was well with his hounds, that Messrs Finlay and Bowman were also fairly placed, and that one other horse of Mr Ramsay's stud enabled his rider to see the finish. The second of these runs, which, as to distance and time, is somewhat similar to the first, came just about a year later, on the 20th of April 1844. Newholm, near Dunsyre, on the borders of the counties of Lanark and Peebles, was the place of meeting, and hounds found directly on being thrown into covert, the fox breaking all but in view. Unfortunately, no details as to the line taken are forthcoming, but it would seem that owing to the severity of the pace, the fox was forced from one point after another, and that several parishes were run through; while the distance as the crow flies is stated to have been twelve miles at least, and as hounds ran, sixteen.

The pace was tremendous, the country undeniable, the fences large, and this gallant pack, headed by old Brusher, ran into their fox from scent to view, in the open, after going without a check—excepting a little cold-hunting over the ploughs at the end of the run—in one hor and twenty-five minutes: not a hound missing at the death. Of the select few who saw this most brilliant day's sport, I must mention Captain Hay upon his well-known horse Selim, who with Rintoul, the huntsman, on Rocket, were never headed; Messrs G. Dunlop, Annesley, Maitland, &c., all went well, not forgetting the sporting Professor, whose delight was unbounded."

The brushes of the foxes which provided these two capital runs are now at Calder House, and although nearly seventy years have elapsed since the day on which Rintoul handled them, their state of preservation is perfect. The brush of the Newholm fox was given by Mr Maitland, above mentioned, to Mr Ramsay's son, who at the time was only two months old, much in the same way as the old hunting-horn referred to at the beginning of this chapter, was presented to Mr Ramsay.

Notwithstanding the fact of his having bought a considerable number of hounds at the Cottesmore sale in 1842, Mr Ramsay purchased Lord Kintore's pack, which was advertised to be sold shortly after Lord Inverurie's death from an accident when hunting with the Pytchley in December 1843. It would seem, therefore, that Mr Ramsay was at this time increasing the number of hounds in the kennel, and the reason for his doing so probably lay in this, that he was now hunting, or about to hunt, a new tract of country, without relinquishing any part of that which he had previously overtaken. Lord Elcho having in 1843 agreed to hunt the Northumberland and Duns countries, the East Lothian district became vacant, and was, with the approval of the Duke of Buccleuch, taken up by Mr Ramsay, who in the same year obtained the Duke's permission, as far as his Grace was concerned, to draw all the coverts lying to the west of the road from Edinburgh to Linton, passing by Morningside between Comiston and Morton Hall, by Lothian Hall, Bogliall and Woodhouselee, as far as the Logan House water. Four years later (1847), also, Mr Ramsay got leave from his Grace to draw the Penicuik coverts, and when the Fife Hounds were sold to Sir Richard Sutton and went to the Quorn kennels, in 1848, he arranged to hunt the west of Fife district in place of the East Lothian country, which was then resigned.

It was probably about this time that the hounds had the fine run in Stirlingshire mentioned by The Duid, "from West Craigs beyond Bathgate, eighteen miles straight, and killed in a wash- house near Denny." Mr Forbes of Callendar, the present master of the Hurvorth Hounds, says that, as far as he can remember, the fixture on this occasion was Armadale toll-bar, that hounds found at West Craigs, ran towards Armadale and back to West Craigs. Then they went away across the moors to Elirig, ran on as if for the woods at Bonnymuir, and thence towards Larbert, eventually killing in a building rather nearer Castle Cary than Denny. Mr Forbes asked Rintoul if it was the finest run he had ever seen. Rintoul said "No"; he recollected two better— one over Tinto, when he rode the Rocket horse,' and another from Hallyards, near Kirkliston. Mi' W. D. Gillon having died in 1846, Wall- house passed to his eldest son, the late Colonel Gillon, who was then about twenty-three years of age. In the following. year Colonel Gillon began to hunt with considerable regularity, and from his diary 1 some interesting details may he gleaned. It alludes to the inconvenience in getting away from Calder wood caused by the Caledonian line to Carstairs, then newly formed, "21st October [1847]—The Caledonian railway much sworn at and abused"; to Mr Ramsay's being in the field, 30th October, - Mr Ramsay out and rode fir- ward"; to the hunting of the East Lothian country, " 8th November,—The hounds go to East Lothian till Tuesday 23rd"; and to the practice of "capping," "20th December,—No kill today and no capping." The diary also records some good sport. It shows that on the 23rd of December, from a fixture at Polmont, hounds found in Callendar wood, ran west to Bonnymuir, and thence across a very heavy country, till they were whipped of at half'-past two, after having traversed about eighteen miles, the pace being slow at first, but faster iii the afternoon, when, with a threatening of frost, scent probably improved. And a short spell of hard weather appears to have followed, for the next entry records a good day with "a burning scent after the frost."

"Monday, 3rd January [1848].—Met at Champfleurie gate —a very small field out. Drew all the coverts there blank. We then went on to Riccarton— also blank. Found a strong fox at Cockleroi, ran him to Lochcote, then over the hill towards Riccarton. Hounds then took a southerly direction to the Byres, and from that right west to the covert above Bathgate. Skirting this, they went down to the east of Kirkton, crossed the Edinburgh road, and then niade right south to Livingstone, where we lost him. This run, the best certainly this season, was the fastest thing I have ever seen, as we never but once drew bridle all through—horses and men knocked up. The distance run over must have been fourteen miles, fortunately over grass. The fencing all through was severe. 'A burning scent after the frost.'"

Some description of the great run to Slipper- field, which took place in or about the year 1849, must not be omitted. It fell upon a Saturday —the 24th of the month -when the hounds met at Shieldhill, in Lanarkshire. Hitting the line of a travelling fox, they ran a ring round the young plantations on Quothquhan Law and swung south. Then, skirting Huiitfield coverts, they went on to Edmonston, and through that to a covert at the (bot of the Black Mount, up to which point, although the pace had been tremendous, hounds had run together in the closest order. Now they turned sharply to the left, and carried the line up the steep slope of the Black Mount, and right over its highest point; Mr Ramsay on Lambton lying nearest the pack, and lie, Captain Balfour Ogilvie and Rintoul being the first over the hill by a long way. But the Black Mount was too much for many. Sir Alexander Maitland's horse burst a blood- vessel -lie had been going brilliantly up to this time-and Mr Hay, Letham, got into grief and saw no more of the run. Once over the summit, hounds drove forward with renewed vigour to Garvald, where the field were stopped by the march fence—the horses being too much distressed to get over it without a considerable delay—and Major Woddrop, riding a young black mare named the Kitten, joined in, and went on alone with hounds to near Mendick. There Major Douglas, who had ridden through the whole of the run, overtook him, and hounds ran on over the moor opposite West Linton, turned to the left towards Slipperfield, and ran into their fox at the top of Slipperfield moor. The distance from point to point is stated to have been fourteen miles, and as hounds ran, twenty; the time, two hours and ten minutes; every hound up at the finish. Sir William Maxwell was well-carried by a very promising young chestnut horse; Major Douglas was well placed in the latter part of the run, and so was Captain Falconar.

In a former chapter, allusion has been made to the fact that during the period in which the Hunt has been in existence, the hounds have hunted no fewer than twelve counties, but it is even more remarkable that as many as ten of these were hunted during Mr Ramsay's mastership alone, and that in the five seasons immediately preceding the relinquishment of East Lothian in 1848, the country overtaken was infinitely greater in extent than at any other time, either before or since. Although some idea of its dimensions may be gathered from the statement that in these few seasons it embraced, besides the shires of Linlithgow and Stirling, parts of Perthshire, Dumbartonshire, Mid - Lothian, East Lothian, Lanark, and Peebles, it is difficult at once to form an accurate conception of the magnitude of the area hunted over, without reference to a map of these counties. At this time, as in the days of Lord Elphinstone and Mr George Ramsay, the country was triangular in shape, although nearly four times as large, for it now stretched from Dunblane in Perthshire on the north, almost to Cockburnspath in Berwickshire on the south-east, and to Lead- hills in the most southerly corner of Lanarkshire on the south, and must have consisted of an area of many hundred square miles. This much has been said concerning the extent of the country hunted by Mr Ramsay, with the view of bringing out more clearly than at first sight appears, the labour and responsibilities then connected with the mastership; for the greater the country, the greater the toil and expenditure involved. And while, no doubt, much of the detail of the arrangements connected with the hunting of the country at this period devolved upon others, the responsibility and the burden of the cost rested mainly with the master.

And now the curtain must fall on this long act in which Mr Ramsay has played the principal part. "The bright name which his sire as a sportsman has gained," had become his by succession, and in his keeping had remained an inheritance untarnished, since for twenty years Mr Ramsay ruled the Linlithgow and Stirling- shire as a sportsman, maintaining the proudest traditions of the old Hunt, faithfully, liberally, and manfully. But a lifetime, scarcely greater than that allotted to Mr George Ramsay, was to be accorded to his soii, and before the latter had completed his forty-first year, the country had lost its master, and Barnton its "Squire." Mr Ramsay's death took place at Barnton on the 15th of March 1850. "The sphere of his influence and position brought him into close contact with many and various classes of men, and his amiable disposition, gentle and courteous bearing, his cheerful manners, his kind and affectionate heart and liberal hand, endeared him to all. ...

He was beloved by every tenant on his own estates, . . . and in the counties of Mid-Lothian, West Lothian, Stirling and Lanark—the districts which were hunted by his pack of hounds—he was universally respected and esteemed by the farmers. . . . His numerous dependants regarded him more as a kind protector than as a master; he was a devoted husband, a fond father, and a fast friend; . . . and there are few private individuals indeed who will be more widely, deeply, and justly lamented."'

"'The Turf, the Chase, and the Road' all drooped in Scotland when 'Mr Ramsay and the Hounds' ceased to be a toast in Mid-Lothian, when his Lanercost or Inheritor were not under cup orders for Ayr, and when his mail-coach team, with himself or his good friend from Ury in command, no longer stepped gaily down Leith Leith Street towards cannie Aberdeen. He had his summons when he had barely lived out half his time, and only last autumn [1850] the crape on the Caledonian Hunt scarlet, and the words of sorrow to his memory, told that one still more radiant element was wanting in the great gathering of Scottish sportsmen."'

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