This Week in...
The Houn’ Ditch Inn
Old-time hunting in rural America. (pg. 2)
What is a July Foxhound? by Norman Fine
How and why it was bred and what was achieved? (pg. )
The Remarkable Life of Major Charles Kindersley, MFH
Review of a riveting new book by his daughter, Lynne Kindersley Dole. (pg. )
...Our Hunting World
Whipper-In: What's In the Name? by Norman Fine
The professional, the amateur, and the potential for conflict. (pg. )
James Barclay, MFH (1959-2021)
Proactive in working to change minds about foxhunting in England. (pg. )
The Houn’ Ditch Inn
By Norman Fine
A July foxhound used for field trials. Note the narrow white blaze, curved stern, and shorter ears than many strains of American foxhound, all characteristic of the July. This fox dog is prized for his hunting ability, not his conformation.
Bob Mitchell, retired editor, and publisher of the Cassville Democrat in Cassville, Missouri, has left his mark. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame. Though retired, Mitchel still keeps his hand in the game with stories about the good ol’ days. His piece in the December 15, 2021 issue caught my eye about the Houn’ Ditch Inn and the man who built and owned it, Gentry German―“famous for his Fox hunting dogs, of the July breed.”
In the years running up to the 1940s, the Houn’ Ditch Inn was the place for young adults to congregate and feed the jukebox facing the dance floor. There, Mitchell’s female cousins, “quite accomplished in the social activities,” did their best to teach him to dance but were “never completely successful.” There was always a “ballgame somewhere in town” where he decided he ought to be. Mitchell admits, however, that despite his dislike for the dance floor, “the Houn’ Ditch Inn remained paramount in Cassville throughout all Gentry German’s successes.
German was “a tobacco-chewing teller of tall tales regarding his sport,” wrote Mitchell. A clipping from another newspaper of the time published the following notice:
Gentry German reports the sale of six young July foxhounds during the past few days.
Three of them were shipped to Pampa, Texas, and the other three were bought by an Oklahoma party.
Mr. German has been raising dogs for a number of years and has been very successful with them. He has shipped dogs to many sections of the United States.
This was old-time American foxhunting practiced by rural families for sport and competition. Such foxhunters far outnumbered those who practice organized mounted foxhunting in the English manner as we do. Some rode farm horses, driving horses, saddle horses, and mules. Many hunted on foot. They hunted at night, sitting ‘round a fire, listening to hounds and rooting for their own dog to be in the lead. And they ran their hounds in field trials.
Much of this foxhunting sadly faltered and closed down for many of the same reasons that we encounter today. Mitchell writes, “Two things closed the German Kennels south of Cassville, Gentry’s age and the demise of Fox Hunting as more and more property changed hands, larger parcels being purchased by people desiring a small acreage. This meant barbed wire would be stretched on the boundary of their property, and more than likely, no trespassing signs posted. The inability to run their animals on a large stretch of land was the downfall of the sport.”
The closing of sport resulted in the demise of local and regional foxhunting associations, many of which had helped support other social service organizations in the communities through fund-raising shows and events.
The Cassville Rotary Club counted on the Barry County Fox Hunters Association hunt and bench show. One of the last such events was held at the Jim Fogg place. Fogg was a foxhunter in his day and was proud to host the association for this important community fundraiser.
The Rotary Club was later helped by the Coon Hunters’ Association hunts, which events, says publisher Mitchell, started him in service as a fry cook. But let’s get back to the July foxhound. It is an American strain of hound, developed mainly in Georgia, and found in virtually all Hardaway Crossbreds (Midland Fox Hounds). Hardaway Crossbreds with Midland bloodlines are prime ingredients in many Crossbred packs across North America today. They are valued ingredients in some British packs as well, treasured for their low-scenting capabilities on the dry days occasionally encountered there.
The following succinct history of the July foxhound by Marty Wood, MFH, Live Oak Hounds (FL), appeared in Foxhunting Life on June 2, 2011.
July was descended from the famous imports, Mountain and Muse, which were brought to Maryland from Ireland in 1814. Mountain and Muse provided pre-potent bloodlines for nearly every strain of American hound that we hunt today, including Penn-Marydel, Walker, Trigg, and others.
In Georgia, July was crossed with the Birdsong hounds and other well-bred Georgia hounds, producing a strain of American foxhound known as July.
Around 1900, the July was described as having short, pointy ears, a broad forehead, and a snipey nose. He had longish, curly hair with a flag to his stern (brushy tail). This description is characteristic of the pure July hound to this day.
It was said that July could outrun any red fox and kill it by himself. This was the chief characteristic of his forebears, Mountain and Muse, and why their bloodlines were prized by so many American hound breeders of the time.
Probably the biggest champion of the July hound is Ben Hardaway, MFH of the Midland Fox Hounds in Georgia. As he says in his autobiography, Never Outfoxed, he would still be hunting pure July hounds to this day if it had not been for the arrival of deer into his country. He crossed his beloved Julys with various other bloodlines over a number of years, searching for the best cross that would hunt aggressively like the July yet be steady on deer. [Hardaway finally found the out-cross he liked in the Fell hounds of the Border country between England and Scotland.]
All the Hardaway Crossbreds hunting today—across North America and abroad—have July bloodlines.
More detail may be found in Alexander Mackay-Smith’s definitive The American Foxhound: 1747–1967, published in 1968 by The American Foxhound Club. The book is long out of print but still highly prized by all serious breeders of American and Crossbred foxhounds.
Posted December 30, 2021
What is a July Foxhound?
By Norman Fine
An example of Maryland hounds, commonly called Irish hounds earlier in the last century, were bred at Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds (MD) and entered in 1997. Green Spring Valley Outlaw and Howard County Freckles are descendants of Mountain and Muse, the pair of Irish hounds imported to Maryland in 1814. This strain of Maryland hound occasionally produces a litter with an uncanny resemblance to Mountain and Muse as sketched from life by their owner. Note the short ears, snipey noses, and white pattern on faces. The blood of Mountain and Muse runs in virtually every popular type of American and Crossbred foxhound hunting today. Including the July. / Barry Reightler photo
Before answering the question in our title, let’s start with a few confusing definitions. A puppy resulting from a mating between a male and female both listed in the registry of a particular breed of canine is a purebred of that breed. However, the same puppy might also be a crossbred of individual types or strains within the breed. Or the pup might be a carefully-bred example of one specific type or strain within the breed. Notwithstanding the possible permutations, this same puppy remains a purebred (so-called) of the breed.
For example, let’s consider what we know to be a purebred English foxhound. Actually, it’s hardly pure. There are many types (or strains) of English foxhounds in the English Foxhound Stud Book, yet every hound listed therein can be legitimately called a purebred English foxhound. Examples: traditionally-bred hounds as you would see in the Belvoir kennels; fell hounds looking more like American hounds in the Border country between England and Scotland; hairy, bearded Welsh hounds bred in Wales; modern English foxhounds bred only since the twentieth century.
So now that we agree on the language, what is a July foxhound? For our purposes, it is a purebred American foxhound of the July strain that is registered in the MFHA Foxhound Stud Book as an American hound. There are other types of American foxhounds in that registry: Penn-Marydel, Trigg, Walker, and others.
However, the more interesting questions are why was the July type bred in the first place? By whom? What were the breeders trying to accomplish? And what were the bloodlines that make this purebred American foxhound a July? Let’s talk about that now.
Arrival of the Red Fox
One day in 1730, according to several accounts, a group of tobacco planters on Maryland’s Eastern Shore were reminiscing about the “good old days,” chasing red foxes in their mother country. Hunting the less inspiring native gray foxes in Maryland did not match up, so the men resolved to improve their sport. The captain of the tobacco schooner Monocacy, owned by one of the planters, was instructed to bring back from Liverpool eight brace (16) of red foxes on his next trip. The foxes arrived in due course and were liberated along Maryland’s Eastern Shore with much fanfare, merriment, race meets, and a hunt ball!
However, as the years passed, the population of these imported red foxes grew. Their descendants spread north, south, and westward, expanding their range. Their appearance was thoroughly vexing for American foxhunters who had hardly ever seen a red fox. The America-bred hounds of the time were simply unable to cope with the fleeter quarry.
Mountain and Muse, the "Irish hounds," imported to Maryland in 1814, provided bloodlines for every popular strain of American and Crossbred foxhound hunting today, of which the July hound, an important ingredient to the Hardaway Midland Crossbred, is one. / Courtesy of the Museum of Hounds and Hunting N.A. (See Afterword.)
Mountain and Muse
In September 1814, a merchant ship arrived in the Port of Baltimore and disembarked two foxhounds from Ireland, Mountain and Muse. Unusual in appearance, speed, aggression, hunting style, and prepotency (ability to pass on their genetic characteristics and attributes to succeeding generations of their get), Mountain and Muse turned out to be progenitors of our principal American foxhound strains: July, Birdsong, Trigg, Bywaters, and Walker. The Midland Crossbred developed by Ben Hardaway, MFH, in the latter half of the twentieth century and found today in kennels all over North America as well as England has its roots in Mountain and Muse through the July strain.
The Odyssey of Mountain and Muse
In Britain, the Duke of Leeds, who had married a daughter of Charles Carroll of Baltimore, gave the two Irish foxhounds, Mountain and Muse, to a visiting guest, Bolton Jackson of Baltimore. Jackson, upon his return to Baltimore, presented the Irish hounds to Colonel Sterrett Ridgely of Oakland Manor. One American admirer of Mountain and Muse wrote:
They were remarkable as are their descendants, according to the degree of the original blood, for great speed and perseverance, extreme ardour, and for casting ahead at a loss; and in this, and their shrill chopping unmusical notes, they were distinguished from the old stock of that day; which when they came to a loss, would go back, and dwelling, take it along, inch by inch, until they got fairly off again, whilst these Irish hounds would cast widely, and by making their hit ahead, would keep their game at the top of his speed, and break him down in the first half-hour. (−American Turf Register, February, 1832, p. 287)
Although Mountain and Muse were prized for their ability to cope with the fleet, straight-running red fox which had been increasing in number since their importation and release in Maryland in 1730, Colonel Ridgely found them to be too much of a handful to keep, and the two hounds came into the hands of Benjamin Ogle, Jr. (grandson of Samuel Ogle, Proprietary Governor of Maryland during Colonial days).
Mr. Ogle told me [Mountain] was as famous for running dogs as foxes, and frequently he had so annoyed [Col. Ridgley] he at last directed his neck to be put under the fence--the common mode of executing a condemned dog. Mr. Ogle, seeing he was determined to kill him, asked not only for his life, but for the dog; and, in that way, preserved a most valuable breed. (−American Turf Register, January, 1833, p. 234)
Benjamin Ogle, Jr. bred a pack of foxhounds from Mountain and Muse, including the famous Sophy whose portrait he hung in his library at Belair, the Ogle family Maryland estate. From Belair, Mountain and Muse went to Charles Carroll, Jr.
[Mountain] was a very compact dog, of middling size, and what in cattle, in England, is called flecked, not spotted, with large dull blue greyish splotches--such at least was his appearance when I saw him at Homewood, the residence of C. Carroll, Jr. to whom he had been presented by Mr. Ogle. (−American Turf Register, February, 1832, p. 288)
Mountain, Muse, and their progeny were familiarly known as the Irish hounds in Maryland. The pair was finally separated when Mountain came into the possession of Dr. James Buchanan, who lived near Sharpsburg, Maryland. But Mountain and Muse had already produced foundation progenitors of premier American hound types to come, the blood of which is still highly prized and carefully nurtured by today’s preeminent foxhound breeders of both mounted packs and field trial foxhounds.
From Dr. Buchanan, Dr. Thomas J. Henry of Virginia (Patrick Henry’s grandson) obtained Captain, said to be the greatest stallion hound of his day. Captain, by Traveler out of Benjamin Ogle, Jr.’s Sophy, was highly inbred according to both van Urk and Hayden Trigg; both his sire and dam were by Mountain out of Muse. (−The Story of American Foxhunting, Volume I, J. Blan van Urk, Derrydale Press, 1940, 1941, p. 134 and The American Foxhound, Hayden C. Trigg, 1890, fold-out pedigree between pp. 80 and 81)
It is said about [Captain] that he had no equal when it came to speed and endurance. When ordered south for his health, Dr. Henry took his pack from Virginia to Florida. [Threatened by alligators in the bayous and lagoons,] they were taken to Georgia; and Mr. G.L.F. Birdsong of Thomaston, Georgia, who had come into the Doctor’s life, became the proud owner of the, by then, famous Henry pack.
The results of this acquaintanceship and acquisition are the Birdsong or July hounds of Georgia (July having been the name of a hound [tracing back to Captain] belonging to Nimrod Gosnell, a Maryland farmer). The well-known Trigg hounds of Kentucky are also descended from the Henry, Irish hounds. (−The Story of American Foxhunting, Volume I, J. Blan van Urk, Derrydale Press, 1940, 1941, p. 134)
Nimrod Gosnell’s farm, where July was bred, actually comprised a portion of the original “Manor Land” granted to Charles Carroll. George Linthicum lived nearby as did John Hardy. Those three men founded the Howard County Hounds (MD) and created its first pack from their own Maryland (or Irish) foxhounds.
The July Strain
In the mid-1800s, Colonel Miles Harris in Georgia imported a pair of puppies from Maryland. He named the dog puppy July and named the bi*ch Mary. The puppies were direct descendants of Mountain and Muse through the famous sire, Captain―only two generations behind Mountain and Muse himself and highly inbred to both. Captain’s sire and dam were both by Mountain out of Muse.
July earned a superb reputation as a brilliant hunter and is the foundation sire of the strain of foxhound known today as July. Col. Harris bred July to his best bi*ches, and his Georgia foxhunting friend took their best bi*ches to July as well. July later wound up in the hands of Birdsong, who used him. Birdsong was well familiar with the Mountain and Muse bloodlines and had already bred from them. The hunting style of July’s descendants appealed to other foxhunters who carried the breeding on well into the twentieth century and to the present.
The late Ben Hardaway (Never Outfoxed, 1997) from Midland, Georgia, was also besotted with the hunting style of the July type, as was Hardaway’s older friend and mentor in Midland, Georgia, the late George Garrett (Fifty Years with Fox and Hound, 1938). In his book, Garrett gives an account of Col. Miles Harris’s acquisition of his now-famous foxhound, July, now the namesake and foundation sire of a highly admired strain of American foxhound.
According to Garrett, Col. Miles Harris was the most extensive planter in middle Georgia in the mid-1800s. Col. Harris occupied a handsome two-story residence surrounded by equally beautiful grounds and gardens designed by a landscape artist. “He was a large slave owner and built houses for them made of brick, the duplicates of which were not to be found on any plantation in the entire south,” Garret adds.
Up until 1858, Col. Harris maintained a pack of fifteen to twenty hounds under the supervision of a groom whose sole duty was to feed and care for them. Col. Harris was discouraged by the hunting, however. The red foxes, descendants of the English red foxes imported to Maryland by the Colonial planters more than a century earlier, were spreading into Georgia, and his hounds could not cope with the speed, endurance, and range of this new quarry.
During a visit to a farm stock market in Cincinnati, Col. Harris met Ben Robinson of Mount Sterling, Kentucky. After completing their business, it was only natural that the conversation drifted to foxhunting, the result of which was an invitation for Harris to visit Robinson’s home and join him in an impromptu fox chase. Robinson’s hounds struck the line of a buck and in less than an hour had the animal at bay in the river. Harris inquired as to the history of this wonderful strain of hound and was directed to visit Nimrod Gosnell in Howard County, Maryland.
In November 1857, Col. Harris traveled to Maryland, met Gosnell, and explained his predicament. While his hounds were able to hunt and account for the native gray foxes in Georgia, the red foxes that were invading the state were too much for his hounds.
The following morning, with a gale blowing from the east, Gosnell’s hounds came flying by on the heels of a red fox that had just passed the two men. The wind made it difficult to follow by ear, but two lead hounds were seen disappearing over a distant hill in full flight on the line. Harris asked Gosnell to name his price for the two lead hounds, the dog and bi*ch, Lade and Tickler. Gosnell refused the money but offered the pair of hounds as a gift. Harris gallantly refused the gift, and the two men arrived at a compromise solution. Harris returned home, time passed, and in July of 1858, two tan puppies, a dog and a bi*ch by Lade out of Tickler, arrived at Col. Miles Harriss’s plantation. He named the dog hound July for its month of arrival and the sister Mary presumably after Maryland.
Harris invited his foxhunting friends to visit and see the Maryland pups, but was crestfallen by their reception. No puppy in Georgia was considered promising unless its ears were sufficiently long to lap around the puppy’s nose and be tied into a bow knot. The short ears of the Maryland hounds provoked not admiration but mirth. Chagrined, Colonel Harris moved the pups to another of his farms several miles away and had waited another year for his revenge.
In October 1859, Harris invited his hunting friends once again to come, this time for a fox chase. They arrived with their best hounds. The young Maryland hounds were coupled and ready for their debut. The chase was soon on after a red fox, but too fast for men on foot to follow, so they waited for the fox to circle back. The fox finally reappeared with two hounds in pursuit, pressing hard, while the rest of the finest Georgia hounds were scattered and leg-weary. The second circle was shorter with the fox showing distress and the Irish hounds still pushing with their unmusical short chop and yelping notes. On its final circle, the fox tried evasion tactics, but only succeeded in losing ground to July and Mary, narrowing its lead. When the chase ended, no other hound was within smelling distance.
July’s stock soared. So many bi*ches were brought to him that he would get up and hide whenever a buggy slowed and stopped near the front porch where he slept. Mary, unfortunately, died accidentally, having been tied up to restrain her after coming into season. The Civil War broke out, and by its conclusion, four years later, the red foxes in Georgia were thicker than rabbits.
Col. Harris’s health was failing, but he provided for July’s future. The now-famous dog hound went through the hands of Harris’s friends, who bred to him. July was then acquired around 1868 by Col. Birdsong, also in Georgia. Birdsong, a highly regarded breeder of hounds, was well-acquainted with the Irish hounds of Maryland and had already bred to Dr. Harris’s hounds before the war. Birdsong recognized July’s extraordinary hunting attributes and prepotency, and he bred his best bi*ches to July as an outcross. Birdsong is considered the principal breeder of what we now recognize as the July foxhound.
Around 1900, July was described by one who had seen him as having short, pointy ears, broad forehead, and snipey nose. He had longish, curly hair with a flag to his stern (brushy tail). This description is characteristic of the pure July hound to this day. It was said that July could outrun any red fox and kill it by himself. This was characteristic of his forebears, Mountain and Muse, and the reason their bloodlines were prized by so many American hound breeders of the time.
Posted January 4, 2022
The above sketches of the imported Irish foxhounds, Mountain and Muse, were made from life by Benjamin Ogle, Jr. The sketches became the property of the Tayloe family of Tappahannock County, Virginia through the marriage of Ogle’s sister, Anne, to a Tayloe. Mrs. Henry Gwynne Tayloe graciously loaned and later donated the sketches to the Museum of Hounds and Hunting N.A. in Leesburg, Virginia.
The Remarkable Life of Major Charles Kindersley, MFH
Book Review by Norman Fine
Major Charles Kindersley with hounds and son, Richard, whipping-in. Painting by Jean Bowman. This book is available in the U.S. for $30.00 (USD) and in Canada for $40.00 (Canadian). Shipping is included in the price. Please e-mail your order directly to the author and include your phone number. She will call you for your credit card information.
The Life and Memory of Charles Montague Kindersley by Lynne Kindersley Dole is a story of ingenuity and adventure that takes us well beyond Major Kindersley's distinguished Mastership of which many readers are already familiar.
He was born in 1900 and lived through most of the twentieth century―until 1993. This story deserved to be written because he lived such a remarkable life. Likewise, it well-deserves to be read because it is authentically written by his daughter and is a riveting read.
He grew up in his native England and attended Harrow, as did his father. In 1920, he accepted his first paying job as a cowboy on a cattle ranch in the Canadian west. That led a few years later to his lifelong career in the oil industry, one of the most critical industries of the twentieth century. He learned the refinery business living in company compounds in South America over his next twenty years with his wife beside him.
Major Kindersley served in both World Wars, first with the Royal Air Forces in World War I and then with the Royal Canadian Engineers in World War II. He was seriously wounded by a Nazi shell in the latter conflict.
He was still recovering in a British hospital when the war ended in 1945. Four years later, Major Kindersley was Master and huntsman of the Eglinton Hunt (ON). He served as Master of the Eglinton for nineteen years. In 1968, the Eglinton merged with the Caledon Hunt (ON), and it was decided to employ professional huntsmen for the newly combined hunt. After the merger, the Eglinton Masters continued their leadership of the new Eglinton and Caledon Hunt. Major Kindersley remained as Master until 1991―forty-two years in all.
The Major was a renowned breeder and judge of foxhounds, popular at the hound shows, and a mentor to other competent men whom he groomed to become Joint-Masters in their own time. Throughout his life, he recreated himself according to what was required to complete each chapter successfully and leave it better than it was when he arrived. He earned his place as one of the most highly regarded Masters and houndsmen of his time and was inducted into the Huntsmen’s Room at the Musem of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Virginia.
In the Foreword to Lynne’s book, Bill Bermingham, founder and longtime Master of the Hamilton Hunt (ON) and also revered for his knowledge of hounds, puts it this way:
Charles was a kind and witty man with a grand sense of humour, who took life as it came. There is an old hunting adage that one should never look back, just kick on. This is what Charles did all his life. When he was eighty, he bought himself a new saddle....
Lynne Kindersley Dole―writes:
He was born into a comfortable life with a family who valued Victorian principles of honour, gentleman’s word, high moral standards, respect for elders, and a life geared to country living. During his lifetime [through a century of incredible change] Charles managed to adjust to changes as they occurred while still maintaining the decorum of his upbringing.”
Born in Dorset, England, young Charles was the third of six children. There was a family pony shared by all. He was only twelve when his mother died, but after a few years his father remarried. The new Mrs. Bermingham, called Madre by the children, came with a wonderful sense of humor and made the household complete and happy.
When World War I struck, Charles mentally added a year to his age and joined the Royal Flying Corps, later renamed the Royal Air Force. After training in aeronautics, bombing, and gunnery he earned his wings. Before he ever had to face the enemy in combat, peace was declared. He wasn’t that lucky in the next war.
Charles’s interest in hunting hounds flowered after returning home from service. The local veterinarian hunted a beagle pack which Charles enjoyed following. The vet soon became too busy to take his pack out, however. He handed his horn over to Charles, thus igniting a lifelong fascination with hunting hounds in the field, the vagaries of scent, and hound management and care.
Meanwhile, Charles needed a paying job after being mustered out of service. Jobs at that time in England were difficult to find, however, so Charles’s father suggested that both his sons’ prospects might thrive better in Canada.
Arrival in Canada, 1920
Charles’s mother had been Canadian. Charles’s father―Captain Charles Kindersley-Porcher of the Coldstream Guards―had met her when he was Aid-de-Camp to Lord Aberdeen, Governor-General of Canada. Charles, Sr. wrote ahead to friends in Canada, and Charles and his elder brother embarked westward to “prospect the future.”
One of his father’s friends had become a millionaire in the meatpacking business. He owned ranches in Alberta, running 38,000 cattle, 20,000 sheep, and 1,500 horses. He was also one of the three men who established the Calgary Stampede and later became a Senator. It was 1920, and Charles accepted a job at the Bow River Valley Ranch for $25 per month. He started by helping to unload two hundred cattle and driving them three miles to the stockyard. With his riding experience, Charles cared for horses, plowed with a three-horse team, and drove large herds of cattle. On evenings and Sundays, he joined the other ranch hands playing polo, golf, and tennis. And he attended dances and parties in Calgary. He enjoyed his life there but decided he would never make much of a living if he stayed.
He worked at open-pit coal mining, then heard of a job opening in British Columbia training polo ponies. A team was in the formative stages, and Charles was hired to train the ponies. The year the new Grand Prairie Polo Club won the Cup in Vancouver, Charles was on the move again.
On his way back to England for a visit, he arranged with one of his Canadian relatives to stop in Montreal for a job interview with the Imperial Oil Company. The interviewer admitted to Charles sometime later that he agreed to the interview only as a favor to a friend. During the interview, having learned from Charles all he had been doing out west, the interviewer became more interested in assessing him as a potential employee. The interviewer asked to look at Charles’s hands. The callouses convinced him of the hard work Charles had done and offered him a job as a trainee to be ultimately sent to the Colombia refinery of The Tropical Oil Company in South America, a subsidiary of Imperial Oil.
While in England, Charles attended a hunt ball at Stinsford House, the home of A. Henry Higginson. One of the founding fathers of organized foxhunting early in twentieth-century North America, the American-born Higginson, scion of an accomplished Boston family, was at the time Joint-Master of the Cattistock foxhounds in England.
Chrissie and Charles hunting with the Cattistock
At the ball, Charles met, danced, and fell in love with Chrissie Crawford. With time running out on Charles’ commitment to return to Canada and begin a new career path, he used every available moment to be with Chriss―on the tennis courts, in the hunting field, and at dinner. On one lovely day as hounds were drawing a covert, Charles proposed marriage. Chriss’s parents, hoping for a proven match for their daughter, resorted to an old parental tactic―delay by travel. An extended visit was arranged for Chriss to travel to India, where her mother’s family owned a tea plantation.
South America, 1927−1938
In 1923, Charles returned to Montreal to begin his training program at the Imperial Oil Refinery. Upon completion, he moved on to the Tropical Oil Company in Columbia, South America.
In 1926, Chriss Crawford’s parents motored to Southampton to meet their daughter’s ship returning her from India. As the liner docked, they looked up to see Chriss waving from the upper deck. Next to her, also waving, they were astonished to see Charles Kindersley. Charles had returned to England on leave and had persuaded the pilot to allow him on board to meet the ship before it docked. Charles and Chriss had accounted for a great deal of letter mail over the prior three years.
Chriss’ parents were clearly beaten. They wanted the “Hunting Parson”―Reverend E.A. Milne, Joint-MFH with Higginson of the Cattistock―to officiate at the marriage of their daughter. Reverend Milne often hunted six days a week during that time of year. Upon hearing the request by Chriss’s parents―landowners and members of his field―he was heard to mutter his hopes for frost on the wedding day. There was a frost that day, and hunting was canceled!
The newlyweds were soon aboard a ship bound for New York. After the five-day trip, they boarded another ship for Cartagena, Columbia, and the mouth of the Cartagena River. After another week’s journey upriver by steamship to a small town in a deep valley between two ranges of the Andes Mountains, they disembarked at their new home in Columbia.
Charles had a natural seat on a horse.
For Chrissie especially, it was an entirely new way of life: afternoon siestas to escape the heat and humidity in what was known as the hottest city in Columbia. The houses were constructed wide open to the air...and to lizards, spiders, and mosquitos as well. On the plus side, there was a stable of saddle horses for staff. There was also a company train that would take the Kindersleys and friends to a beautiful glade where they could picnic and swim in a pool above the waterfall that kept the alligators at bay.
Charles often brought his ukulele upon which he could play the well-known tunes of the time. He also played the banjo or ukulele at the company clubhouse with other musicians in a band they formed. On other evenings elsewhere, if there was a piano, Charles could pick out the chords by ear. While Charles worked, Chriss taught school.
Charles’ next assignment was a refinery in Talara, Peru. After his two-month leave, during which their first child, Lynne, was born, Charles traveled to Talara and made preparations for the later arrival of Chriss and Lynne.
The International Petroleum Company in Talara, Peru, was a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey. Talara was on the westernmost part of northern Peru, a desert landscape on the Pacific coast. The company compound provided living quarters, a doctor, a school, a clubhouse, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. (Swimming in the ocean was out because of sharks.)
Though the author doesn’t speak of her father’s advancements in the Company, calling them transfers instead, Charles clearly exhibits ingenuity and creativity at all his postings. After arriving, it didn’t take Charles long to persuade his fellow workers to build a stable for saddle horses and learn to play polo.
Talara polo. Charles is 3rd from left.
With Charles giving riding lessons one evening a week, the team members improved their game and their riding. Real polo ponies were imported from Chile and Argentina. It soon became possible, when ships of the Royal Navy docked at Talara, for Charles to invite naval crew members on ships with a polo team to play matches against the oil company team. These invitations were greatly appreciated as welcomed diversions in their cruises. One result was the gift of a ship’s bell formally presented to Charles by Commodore Harwood, captain of the destroyer H.M.S. Exeter docked at Talara at the time. The bell was a gift of the Royal Navy Polo Association, arranged by Lord Montbatten and was put to use to mark the chukkers.
Commodore Harwood, later Rear Admiral Sir Henry Harwood, is remembered in World War II history when H.M.S. Exeter, along with H.M.S. Achilles and H.M.S. Ajax, attacked the fast German battleship, Graf Spee, causing it to be scuttled.
About a year after Chriss’s arrival in Talara with Lynne, their son Richard was born. The parents very much wanted him to be christened on British “soil,” so on the occasion of the HMS York’s arrival and docking at Talara during a cruise, it was arranged that young Richard Kindersley was christened on board with the ship’s officers in their white uniforms and the crew lining the rails.
Chriss in the new ring
With polo ponies and horses available, it was natural for other riding activities to develop at the company compound, such as steeplechases, paper chases, and jumping events. All were taken advantage of by the Kindersley family. Lynne went on the long Sunday rides, and Richard, nearly four by the end of their stay in Talara, was paddling in the pool and happily sitting on the back of a polo pony.
If this isn’t the stuff of novels, I don’t know what is. I won’t divulge Charles’entire life story and adventures in this article, but I urge you to read the book while it is available. It spans a century of life in a fast-changing world: the company compound in Peru where a company train would take the Kindersleys and friends to a beautiful glade where they could picnic and swim in a pool above the waterfall that kept the alligators at bay; World War II during which Charles was severely wounded; six years of war while the Atlantic Ocean separated the author, then in her teens, and her young brother from both parents; finally, the family reunited in Canada but with Charles still hospitalized; Master and huntsman of the Eglinton Hunt; merging with the Caledon and moving to new hunting country; assisting Bill Bermingham, MFH, in establishing the Hamilton Hounds (ON); gaining recognition as a superb breeder and hound judge; and still hunting at age ninety as Master. A life well-lived.
Family reunited after World War II: (l-r) Chriss, Richard, Lynne, Charles
Andy Bite, MFH, Toronto and North York Hunt (ON), adds:
Major Charles Kindersley was passionate about foxhunting. He was an outstanding hound breeder, hound judge, and a wonderful horseman. When I first started hunting with the Eglinton and Caledon Hunt some ten years after his passing, I would hear stories and anecdotes about ‘the Major.’ He was known as a true gentleman, always generous, with a great sense of humour.
His daughter, Lynne Kindersley Dole, has captured the essence of the man. She has eloquently described his life from his early years in Dorset, his time in the Royal Air Force, his arrival in Canada and his subsequent postings in Columbia and Peru, the World War II years, and the family reuniting in Canada after the war, where he and his family avidly pursued the sport of foxhunting. After two years hunting hounds for the Eglinton Hunt, he also became Master, a position he held for forty-three years. Many of those years he served as both Master and huntsman. He was instrumental in improving the conformation of hounds, and he founded the Canadian Annual English Foxhound Show.
After hearing small pieces of Major Kindersley’s foxhunting life, it was wonderful to read more about the man, his family, his numerous friends, and his many accomplishments. Truly beautiful writing with many photographs from the family archives makes this a memorable read for anyone, especially foxhunting enthusiasts.
This book is available in the U.S. for $30.00 (USD) and in Canada for $40.00 (Canadian). Shipping is included in the price. Please *e-mail* your order directly to the author and include your phone number; she will call you for your credit card information.
Posted January 15, 2022
Whipper-In: What's In the Name?
By Norman Fine
Our Hunting World
This article was first published in 2013. With an archive of thousands of articles available on our website, we hope you will agree that at least a few are worth republishing!
Booli Selmayr, professional whipper-in, Millbrook Hunt (NY): “A good day whipping-in is not having to be told, but instead, allowing natural instinct to guide me: listening to the horn and hounds, reading the terrain, and quickly distinguishing whether fox or coyote.” / Kirsten Edlund-Tunkel photoTo the uninitiated, the term whipper-in might conjure images of a callous fellow laying his whip across the backs of hounds for every infraction. In fact, the whip is used primarily for its loud crack as an attention-getter. The explosive noise breaks the concentration of hounds from whatever they are doing that the whipper-in wants to stop.
Hounds might have split from the main pack following the line of another fox, and the whipper-in wants to stop them and bring them back to the main pack. They may be young, inexperienced hounds hunting the line of a deer or rabbit. Or they may be hounds approaching a road with heavy traffic and need to be stopped for their own safety.
Hounds with their noses to the ground, doing what they were bred to do, can be pretty single-minded, but like all dogs, they are sensitive to a sudden loud noise. If the whipper-in’s voice won’t stop them, the crack of the popper at the lash's end is the best use of the whip.
Professional or Honorary
The world of whipping-in is split into two camps—professional and honorary. The professional whipper-in often fills the position to gain experience and recognition on his or her quest to become a huntsman. As the title suggests, it is a paid position.
The honorary whipper-in is not paid, is generally recruited from the ranks of the hunt membership, and generally does not aspire to become a huntsman. He or she may be a riding member or one of the Masters.
Professional hunt staff in England go through a structured period of apprenticeship. Years are spent just doing kennel work before even being allowed to walk hounds out on exercise and before even being allowed on a horse. If all goes well, they will finally be taken on as second whipper-in to that or another hunt. After a few moves, they may be recommended to fill an opening for a first whipper-in somewhere else. Under the system, they purposely move every few years from one hunt to another, gaining experience and exposure to different huntsmen and different methods before finally being offered a huntsman’s post. Clearly, a strong foundation is laid through such a rigorous system.
Dr. Scott Dove, MFH and honorary whipper-in, Old Dominion Hounds (VA): “The huntsman is my employee, but while we’re hunting he’s my boss. I support him in the field, and any differences of opinion are discussed later.” / Karen L. Myers photo
Most huntsmen expect their honorary whippers-in to perform the same duties as their professionals. Indeed, huntsman John Gilbert of the Essex Foxhounds (NJ) claims to have seen some amateurs do a better job than some professionals. Whether member or Master, the honorary whipper-in introduces a complication into the dynamics of any hunt that employs a professional huntsman. One would be hard-pressed to think of another employment situation in which the employee (the professional huntsman) is in charge of and gives orders to the employer (honorary whipper-in). It can be a recipe for institutional disaster unless and until all parties accept and understand their respective places during the hunt. Each must exercise restraint of a different nature. The honorary whipper-in, though he may be Master and employer, must submit to the role of assistant to the huntsman during the hunt. And the huntsman must have the self-confidence to tell the honorary whipper-in what he needs to be done, as well as the restraint to keep emotions at bay in the heat of the moment.
At the Casanova Hunt (VA), if a strong rider in the field shows interest in whipping-in, professional huntsman Tommy Lee Jones will have him/her ride up with another whipper-in for a day. There’s no commitment on either side, and the candidate goes back to the field the next time out. But after further discussion, that rider may be invited to ride up again and, if all parties agree, the new honorary whipper-in will ride first with one then other whippers-in during that first season before going solo. A level of dedication is required on the part of the whipper-in. Jones expects all his whippers-in to spend time at the kennel, help with exercising, and learn the names of hounds.
Posted January 17, 2022
James Barclay, MFH (1959−2021)
James Barclay, MFH, hunting the Fitzwilliam hounds, 1993
We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Maurice James Barclay, ex-MFH, at age sixty-two. His death is attributed to heart failure.
After serving as Master of five British foxhound packs, his response to Britain’s Hunting Act of 2004 was to devote himself to educating and persuading everyone he could reach―whether pro-hunting or anti-hunting, adult or child, wealthy countryman or underprivileged child of the city―of foxhunting’s intrinsic value to England’s story-book countryside. To James, nothing was more important than saving the countryside.
Generations of his family were steeped in foxhunting and, more specifically, the Puckeridge Foxhounds in Hertfordshire, a hunt dating back to 1725. The Barclay Family was active in the Puckeridge Masterships starting in 1896. His sister served as Master, two brothers, his mother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His father, Captain Charles Barclay, hunted the Puckeridge foxhounds from 1947 until 1970.
James’s first day of hunting was with the Puckeridge in the early 1960s. He was astride a donkey, and, by tradition, he wore a small version of the family scarlet coat which each family member going back at least three generations had worn on their first hunt!
In his teens, he kept a scratch pack, the Brent Pelham and Rickling Rabbits Hounds, with his neighbor Michael Payne as Joint- Master.
"We regularly had four and a half couple of dogs out from lurchers to terriers and would account for twelve brace of rabbits on a good day," Payne recalled.
Barclay would think nothing of disappearing into a bramble patch to assist his hounds, once coming out covered in mud. On another occasion, he was spotted disappearing into an enormous fox's earth until only his legs were sticking out.
James went on to serve as Master of the Essex and Suffolk (1983–1987), Fitzwilliam (1987–1999), Cottesmore (1999–2002), South Wold (2002–2003), and Grove and Rufford (2010–2012). At one time or another he has been personally involved with hunts situated in sixteen British hunting counties: Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and South Yorkshire.
Scion of a privileged family associated with the multinational London bank of the same name, one might assume that James leapt easily into his positions of sporting leadership. Not so. He started on the bottom rung―in the kennels―toiling alongside the other lads. What follows is from his 2015 memoir, My Hunting England, reviewed in Foxhunting Life:
I was soon on my way to Ireland and the North Tipperary in a battered old farm van which, if I hadn’t snaffled it up from my father, would shortly have ended up on the scrap heap. It nearly did so anyway as not long into our journey to the boat at Fishguard the gearbox fell through the floor, conveniently in the middle of the Heythrop country so help was not too far away. Nevertheless, we eventually arrived at Dromineer on the banks of Loch Derg and the River Shannon and set up base in a rather damp flat above the stables at Kiltelagh, home of the Joint-Masters of the North Tipps, Colonel and Mrs. Dean. The next few months were certainly different and a considerable amount of knowledge was added to my Warwickshire experience. The country that surrounded us was some of the most beautiful anywhere in the world. It was all grass with wonderful patches of gorse on the hillsides that were full of foxes. The kennels, however, were another matter. I had been used to five yards, concrete beds, and, yes, running water. The North Tipps kennels were not quite on this scale—one muddy old yard and a Nissen hut for a lodge with an old wooden bed. Running water was easily available although sadly not from a tap, but from the River Shannon which flowed a hundred yards away from the kennels....Keeping fit was not a problem though, as hauling water two buckets at a time from the river up the hill to fill the kennel troughs ensured a degree of strength in my upper arms that I never knew I had....Twenty couple of hounds were resident and seemed remarkably happy. I had no choice but to get on with the job and make the most of it, no time for grumbling. Life here was unique and the few months I spent with the North Tipps were ones I shall never forget. They taught me just how spoilt I had been. Hunting is not all about large establishments with kennels full of staff undertaking every duty, it is the small two-day-a-week packs who make up the majority both in Britain and Ireland and at times struggle to survive.
He assumed his first mastership as huntsman of the Essex and Suffolk (1983-87). It was there, in 1984, that he met his future wife Lucy Taylor at the local point-to-point.
His then hunt chairman, George Paul, recalled him being sent on farm visits to clear the country. "We would give him six farms to visit in a day but, such was his enjoyment of their company and hospitality, he never managed more than two."
On the invitation of Elizabeth-Anne, Lady Hastings, Barclay joined her in the Mastership of the Fitzwilliam foxhounds in Cambridgeshire, which he did for twelve happy and harmonious seasons.
He opened up new country in the Fens and hunted hounds one day a week, a duty he shared with the highly regarded and long-serving professional huntsman, George Adams. He also shared Field Mastering duties with Lady Hastings's son, Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland, currently senior Fitzwilliam Joint-Master since 1987.
"He was steadfast in pursuit of a fox and, if hounds marked, would follow his quarry into the bushes," Naylor-Leyland recalled of Barclay. "His favourite reading was the novels of Surtees and he could quote Mr. Jorrocks at length." Highly organized, Barclay was immensely popular with hunting farmers and a not infrequent guest in their kitchens.
"I well remember one morning after an early cub-hunting start having breakfast in a farmer's kitchen, and he was given a whole goose to go at on his own."
Once in hospital, a friend visiting him was asked to bring food and arrived with an orange and a banana. "That's not food!" Barclay firmly told him.
While at the Fitzwilliam, Barclay formed one of his many hunting friendships with Major Jonathon Seed, then Master and huntsman of the Royal Artillery in Wiltshire.
"We did week-long hunting exchanges, with all the soldiers joining in, often cub-hunting in the morning and afternoon each day. With the evening parties as well, it required a strong constitution, and James led from the front."
But beyond such friendship and conviviality lay a deep love and understanding of the English countryside. In 2015 Barclay published his memoir, My Hunting England, writing about "Unsung Heroes" of the chase, and how hunting has influenced the English countryside for the good.
"He cared more deeply for the countryside and hunting than anyone I know," said Jonathon Seed. "Although he was from the Establishment he was also never afraid to take on the Establishment."
Feeling that not enough voice was being given to ordinary hunt followers, Barclay set up a website, This is Hunting UK, which is followed by thousands on the internet. It allows foot-followers to share their stories and passion for hunting and recount what they are doing in their local communities by way of charity and educational events. It is also used to encourage schools visits to the countryside, something in which Barclay took a particular interest and was heavily involved.
James was a man of warmth, quick to make and keep a friend, despite the passage of time and distance. He was a periodic contributor to Foxhunting Life, and, after voters passed the despised Hunting Act of 2004 in England―rather than gnash his teeth in frustration, accomplishing little of value―he tried his best to counter it with reason and education.
Through his book and website, he wanted to make foxhunting more available and approachable to readers in Britain. No one can predict the future of foxhunting there with certainty. At the moment it doesn’t appear bright. But James Barclay tried his best to play a responsible part in saving his sport and the countryside―not with lies or deceit, but honestly, passionately, and respectfully because that’s the sort of man he was.
Posted December 28, 2021