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The History of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt 1775-1910
Chapter VI.
The Regency and the Young Squire of Barnton


1850-1866.

As a tribute of respect to the memory of Mr Ramsay, the hounds were not taken into the field during the short part of the season which remained after his death, and on the lapse of a fitting interval Mrs Ramsay received an assurance of the sympathy felt with her by those then connected with the Hunt. Subsequent events indicate that she was now the owner of the pack, and consequently was in a position to dispose of it as she chose. But any alteration in the arrangement which had previously existed did not commend itself to her, and most generously she resolved that the establishment should be conducted upon the same footing as it had been during her husband's lifetime. Thus she probably carried out to the full what would doubtless have been his wishes, without in any way lessening the possibility which she may then have had in view, of her son's eventually filling the position which both his father and grandfather had already occupied. In so disposing, Mrs Ramsay, who could not well have undertaken the entire management of the establishment, delegated her authority in the field to her brother Captain Sandilands and, owing to his frequent absence, to Captain Fleeming also.

Captain Sandilands, who was the youngest son of the tenth Lord Torphichen, was born on the 21st of October 1821, and as already shown, had hunted with the pack during Mr Ramsay's mastership. At this time, however, he was with his regiment, the 8th Hussars, which he had joined in the year 1839, and the duties connected with the mastership therefore fell to Captain Fleeming. The latter, who was born on the 11th of December 1819, and had joined the 71st Highland Light Infantry, succeeded to the estate of Cumbernauld in Dumbartonshire on the death of his father, Admiral Charles Elphinstone-Fleeming, in 1840. After his succession he served with the Inniskilling Dragoons, and the 17th Lancers, but leaving the army in the spring of 1850 now began, as his uncle the twelfth Lord Elphinstone had done nearly half a century before, to undertake the active part of the management.

Rintoul continued to occupy the huntsman's place, and, although he was about fifty years of age and had seen no less than twenty-four seasons service with the pack, was still capable of showing sport. On the 19th of November the hounds met at Calder House, and ran for over an hour and forty minutes. This much is recorded on one of the shoes of Jack Sheppard, which forms an ornament in the library at Sauchie, and which besides giving this information, bears that the horse he had probably distinguished himself that day-was foaled in 1840 and died in 1851. On the 16th of the following month of January there occurred a run in Linlithgowshire which, taken as a whole, it would be difficult to find an equal to on that side of the country, for hounds found by the Almond and finished by the Avon, after having traversed nearly the entire breath of the county. Calder House was again the place of meeting, but the day being wild and stormy,-it was blowing a hurricane, with rain and sleet from the south-west—Calder wood and all the high- lying coverts in the adjoining district were drawn blank. In the afternoon Rintoul threw his hounds into the then famous gorse covert of Elliston,' which had already that season afforded two good runs. The wind was still strong, but the weather had improved, and after the pack had been in covert for a short time, first one hound spoke and then another, and in a few minutes every hound was throwing its tongue. The fox had broken to the west, and hounds hunted his line slowly, but with steadiness and perseverance, across the open fields lying between Drumshoreland and the Almond. Nevertheless they checked and checked again, and Rintoul had to cast them more than once before they finally hit off the line across the Uphall and Midealder road, and settled down to run northwards over the grass to Houstoun wood. Thence, with an improving scent, they ran up to the Edinburgh and Glasgow turnpike road, and crossing it near Dechmont, went on over West Binny, pointing for Riccarton. They were now able to press their fox, and the pace, which had been so slow at first, became such that the few who had the good fortune to see this run had to do all in their power to live within sight of the pack, which, swinging left-handed, drove forward across the high grounds of Bangour and, again bearing northwards, sped over the old rough grass by Tartraven and Wairdiaw into B'ormie. The scent had become breast-high, and silently as hounds had probably run in the open for the last mile or two, the crash with which they entered that covert, and the way in which the rocky head of Cockleroi must have seemed to rattle and shake as it re-echoed the crash, can be better imagined than described. But in B'ormie they dwelt not a moment, and taking the line right through it, away they went to Bowdeuhill, the open earths on the northern face of which received the fox, now no doubt arched in back, drooping as to brush, and much bedraggled, just in front of them. The point appears to be eight and a half miles, while the distance covered was probably not less than from twelve to fifteen.

At the end of the season Rintoul left. Some years later he became huntsman to the Stirling- shire harriers, a pack which was established at Laurieston about the year 1857, but was afterwards converted into or superseded by the Laurieston fox-hounds. Later still, in the first season of Colonel Gillon's mastership (1866), he was employed as stud-groom in the Hunt stables and when eventually he retired from service he took a house in Linlithgow, which he occupied up to the time of his death. In his prime he showed very considerable talent as a huntsman, and the late Colonel Anstruther Thomson, in speaking of him in that capacity, is reported to have said that there were then very few in England and none in Scotland like him; an encomium which Mr Forbes of Callendar, who early in life hunted with him, thoroughly endorses. For Mr Ramsay, under whom he had served first as whipper-in and afterwards as huntsman, Rintoul, to the last, had the greatest admiration and regard; and after death had separated master and servant, the latter was ever ready to rebuke any one who, in his hearing, might have ventured to say a word disrespectful to Mr Ramsay's memory. Nor did Rintoul's fondness for hounds leave him sooner than his regard for his master, since even after he had given up hunting, whenever Linlithgow chanced to be the fixture, he was sure to be there; and when the pack moved off to draw and he was unable to follow, the tears would run down his his weather-beaten cheek as they would down that of a child deprived of its favourite toy. When the end came,—he died on the 20th of July 1875,'— they buried him close by the old church of Linlithgow, and not very far from the spot where rest the remains of George Knight.

During the two seasons which immediately followed Rintoul's retirement, Captain Fleeming hunted the hounds himself. The entry of 1851 included a hound named Blossom,' which had been walked by Mr James Forrester, one of his tenants at Cumbernauld. One night in the spring of that year, Major Orr of Dullater, a neighbouring proprietor, had eighteen sheep destroyed by dogs, and Blossom, then about seven months old, was, it is stated, identified as one of the offenders. Her accredited part in this occurrence gave rise to a lengthy, and probably not very inexpensive, litigation, for, in the first place, Major Orr brought an action before the Sheriff-substitute of Dumbartonshire against Captain Fleeming and Mr Forrester for the value of the sheep, and this having been decided in his favour, the case was taken to the Court of Session. There the Sheriff- substitute's decision was adhered to, but Captain Fleeming and Mr Forrester did not allow the matter to rest, and they presented an appeal to the House of Lords, which resulted in the original decision being reversed. When Captain Fleeming heard of the final judgment, he is stated to have said with great glee, "Thank God, there's no appeal from the House of Lords." The reports' of the case are not devoid of interest, and contain passages tinged from a hunting point of view, with a certain amount of drollery. "This, the fox-hound, is a description of dog which requires a great deal of training to make it run after foxes alone. In its untrained state no clog of this sort will prefer running after a fox; its natural tendency is rather to run after a sheep, and that for the very good reason that a sheep is not only easier caught, but is better worth catching." And it is remarkable that a creature so simple, and not infrequently so shy, as a fox-hound puppy should have been the means of raising a question in law requiring for its settlement the intervention of no less than three Courts of Justice, including the highest tribunal in the United Kingdom, "the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled."

At this period the subscription was a small one. This is indicated by the following list which, although possibly incomplete, is none the less interesting as giving the names of some, if not all, of those who then supported the Hunt pecuniarily, and as showing that the Hunt Club extended a helping hand:-

In the year 1853, Captain Fleeming, who evidently had begun to find that hunting hounds and acting as master was more than he could accomplish satisfactorily, engaged a professional huntsman, William Potts,3 who had been with the Fife Hounds under Lord Rosslyn during the season of 1850, and afterwards with Lord Elcho. Potts remained with the Linlithgow and Stirling- shire pack for three seasons, and therefore saw a change in the management, for in the autumn of 1855 Captain Fleeming was appointed to the command of the 21ld Regiment of Light Dragoons ill the British German Legion, which had been raised about a year after the Crimean War broke out, and the charge devolved on his fellow-master. Although he did not, so far as is known, formally resign office on receiving this appointment, he does not appear to have taken any part in the management afterwards; and it may be assumed that his mastership, which was characterised by some good sport, but which, like many others, was not altogether free from trouble, ended at this period. About five years later, on the death of his cousin, the thirteenth Lord Elpbinstone, he succeeded to the peerage; but he did not hold it long, for his death occurred on the 13th of the following month of January, when the title passed to his kinsman, Captain William Buller Fullerton Elphinstone, the father of the present and sixteenth Lord Elphinstone. When hunting near West Linton on one occasion, it was suggested to Captain Fleeming that he might say a few polite words to the minister there, who, in those days, had some very good coverts. To this he readily assented, and while hounds were drawing, took the opportunity of making himself agreeable.

Hardly had salutations been exchanged, however, before someone rode up and told him that the hounds had found. After listening for a moment, he said, "So they have—running like hell, too," and then galloped off, leaving the minister, one of the meekest and mildest of old gentlemen, on his doorstep, very much astonished.

Although Captain Sandilands had left his regiment in the end of the year 1851, he had hitherto allowed the greater part if not the whole of the detail connected with the management to rest with Captain Fleeming. Now, however, he began to devote all his energy to the hunting of the country,' and in the ten seasons which followed, proved himself one of the best and most popular of masters. Before the first of these seasons had come to an end he had ample evidence of the high regard in which he was then already held, for on the 11th of April 1856, he was the guest of the gentlemen connected with the district at a dinner given by them in his honour at the Star and Garter hotel, Linlithgow when the party numbered from seventy to eighty. The chairman, Major Shairp of Bustoun, proposed the health of "The Master of the Hounds," which was received with the greatest enthusiasm. "The fond feeling evinced through the whole of the proceedings must have been very gratifying to Captain Sandilands, as affording an earnest of his own popularity, and of a continuance of the support which has always been approved to these hounds."

In the spring of the year 1857 there arose the important question whether the hounds belonged to the country or were the property of the Barn- ton family. The matter, which had the consideration of many of the landed proprietors in the two counties, was brought to a point by the late Colonel Gillon of Wallhouse who, while evidently holding a strong conviction that the pack was not private property, seems to have been influenced only by a desire, in the interests of the Hunt, to have the question amicably settled. The letters which passed between Colonel Gillon, Captain Sandilands, and Mrs Ramsay on the subject, are printed as an Appendix and speak for themselves, but reference may be made to what has already been said in regard to the possibility of Mr Ramsay having purchased the hounds when he accepted the mastership in 1830. If Colonel Gillon carried out his intention of bringing the matter before the proprietors and subscribers, in the manner indicated in the correspondence, it would seem that nothing came of his having done so, and that the position taken up up by Mrs Ramsay was ultimately acquiesced in.

About this time some changes took place in regard to the kennels, in 1855 Captain Saudi- lands had commenced the building of new kennels at Kersewell in the Carnwath country, and in the following year these were occupied by the pack. Beyond lodging and feeding rooms for the hounds, and a house for the huntsrnan, there was little or no accommodation, and the whippers-in and the horses had to be quartered at one of the inns in the village of Carnwath. Iii 1857 the Laurieston kennels were given up, and the present kennels at Golfhall, which had been rebuilt or repaired, came to be used iii their place. Iii the Blunt staff also, there were many and rapid changes.' Potts left in 1856, and was succeeded by Robert Fur- slow, the whippers-in being Henry Nason and Thomas Marlow. In the following year Nason took Purslow's place as huntsman, while C. Roberts and W. Shore turned hounds to him. But Nason, like Purslow, remained in office for one season only, and in 1858 was relieved by J. Jones, to whom James Stracey acted as first whipper-in.

Probably none of the Linlithgow and Stirling- shire Hunt servants has risen to greater distinction in his calling than William Shore. Born at Hamilton in 1832, his father being at that time gamekeeper to the Duke of Hamilton, Shore began his hunting life with the pack under Fur- slow in the summer of 1857, and after filling the post of whipper-in at Golfhall for three seasons, went to Brocklesby where, for other three, he occupied a similar position under the third Tom Smith. In 1863 he returned to Scotland and commenced his long term of service—thirty-nine seasons—as huntsman to the Duke of Buccleuch's Hounds, his retirement only taking place in the spring of the year 1902. During this last period Shore proved himself an able huntsman in field and in kennel, and also showed himself capable of serious responsibility, for besides the charge of the pack, the financial management of the hunting establishment practically rested with him.' His labours, however, were duly recognised, and towards the close of the season of 1897, at a dinner which was given to him at Kelso, when some two hundred noblemen and gentlemen from all parts of the country were present, he received very substantial testimony of the esteem and good-will of his many friends. Much valuable help in connection with these pages has been derived from him, and this has been kindly and most ungrudgingly given. But between the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire country and Shore there exists a double bond of union, for in addition to its having been the scene of his first hunting days, it was the home of his boyhood, his father having become gamekeeper to Mr Ramsay of Barnton in the year 1835. And of his early days at Binny cottage and at Barnton, whither his father moved in 1841, and of the old Hunt and those then connected with it, Shore has many pleasant memories which will not readily be effaced.

In 1858, Stewart Watson appears to have finished his picture, "A Meet at Barnton," containing the portraits of the master, the Hunt servants, and many of those then hunting with the pack. There is no key to this picture, but the following particulars' may to some extent supply the deficiency. In the centre, approaching the hounds, is Captain Sandilands, and on his right hand, Purslow the huntsman (1856). Facing Captain Sandilands and Purslow are Nason and Marlow the whippers-in (1856), the former being the nearer to the pack. The boy in mufti is Mr Charles Ramsay "the Young Squire" of Barnton. Behind the pack stands Mr Waldron Hill, who for many years kept a pack of otter-hounds at Murray- field near Edinburgh, and who never rode to, but always ran with, hounds. Beyond him, on a grey horse, is Mr John On', Glasgow, one of the many supporters which the Hunt then had in the west of Scotland. Between Mr Hill and the huntsman is Shore's father who, besides being gamekeeper at Barnton, acted as earths-stopper to the Hunt. Immediately behind the huntsman is Mr J. H. Holdsworth. In the background, beyond Captain Sandilands, is Mr C. M. Barstow, and beyond him again Mr T. E. O. Home, afterwards honorary secretary for a number of years. On foot, resting his arm on the withers of his horse, is Mr George Dunlop, Gogar, and beyond him, on a grey horse, Mr Thomas Drybrough. In the fore- ground, turning in his saddle, is Captain Hankey, who lived at Middleton near Uphall, and on his right are Colonel Gillon of Walihouse, mounted on his famous white horse Potiphar, and Mrs Gillon. In the background, beyond Colonel Gillon, is Major Norman Shairp of Houstoun, on a white pony, and in front of him his son, Major Thomas Shairp. On a grey horse beyond Mrs Gillon is Mr Armour, Glasgow, and on the extreme right of the picture, Mr Redfern, who then lived at Polkemmet.

Jones and Stracey who, as already indicated, had come as huntsman and first whipper-in respectively in 1858, had previously served together it the Old Berks country under Mr Morrell; in Warwickshire; and in the Old Burton country under Lord Henry Bentinek. In 1860 Jones re-entered Lord Henry's service,' and Stracey was promoted to the huntsman's place, while Trueman Tuff was engaged as first whipper-in. Although there are almost no records of the sport which took place during the first five seasons of the active part of Captain Sandilands mastership, many good runs are chronicled subsequent to the date of Stracey's promotion. In his second season, on the 5th of December 1861, the small field which met hounds at Kinneil enjoyed a run of one hour and forty minutes, interrupted only by two trifling checks. A quick find formed the prelude to a fast burst from Kinneil wood to Tod's mill, from which, after crossing the Avon, hounds carried the line to the Haining. Leaving that covert behind them, they swam the Union canal, and passing through the grounds of Parkhall, reached Polmont station, where a short check occurred— the time up to this point being thirty-five minutes. When the line was recovered, they swung left- handed, and skirting Maddiston, ran on by Muiravonside to Woodcockdale cottage, close to which they recrossed the Avon. Thence they continued by Belsyde, Williamscraig, and Cockleroi to Hillhouse quarries, from which they turned in the direction first of Beecraigs, and then of Champfleurie. Pressing their fox, however, and forcing him from his point, they ran him almost into the town of Linlithgow, where, "getting no shelter even in the Poorhouse," and failing in his leap at a low wall, he was caught and broken up in the grounds of Mr Adie's house above Linlithgow railway station.' In the following season, on the 2nd of December (1862), hounds met at Drumshoreland. Finding at once on being thrown into covert at Puinpherston, they ran through Houstoun wood and across the railway to the Edinburgh and Glasgow road, where they checked momentarily. But Stracey put them right, and crossing the farm - road south of Easter Bangour farmhouse, they ran hard northwards over the stiff but open country between Riccarton and Binny, eventually, "after traversing much country," marking their fox to ground in a rabbit-burrow at Champfieurie, from which he was taken and killed. A fortnight later, on 16th, the fixture at Carriden, then the residence of Admiral Hope, was largely attended,—the field including the Earl of Morton, Lord Aberdour, Sir Frederick Graham, and "the Young Squire" of Barnton. Hounds found at the east end of the covert on the seashore, and took their fox by the back of the house and the stables down the approach. Crossing the public road, they ran almost mute to Walton farm, turned sharply to the left, and entering the Binns park, streamed over the old grass to the laurels beneath the tower. The thirty minutes up to this point had been very fast, and happy were those who had been able to live with the pack. Thence leading hounds carried the line on into Hopetoun, and when the body of the pack was got forward, the hunt continued to Craigtonhill, where Stracey had the satisfaction of handling his fox. Again on the 20th of the month, with Torphichen bridge as the place of meeting, hounds raced after their fox from a young covert near Craigend in Stirling- shire, to Parkhall, swung right-handed through Vellore, and ran on to Muiravonside. Crossing the Avon at Carribber, they continued through Lochcote, over Simpson's hill, through Cathiaw, and into Cairnpapple, up to which point they were literally unattended, for the Hunt servants and the field had been unable to get away with them when they first broke. Now, however, a few riders who had struggled on, joined in just in time to see them emerge on the south side of the covert, and go away over Johnston's hill to Ballencrieff Mains. Swinging left -handed, and crossing the Bathgate and Torphichen road a little to the north of the Crinkle Brig, they ran the low lands of Hilderston and Broompark to the Noss plantation below Wallhouse, turned through Walihouse park, and traversing Wallhouse craigs, regained Cairnpapple, where the chase was abandoned,—hounds having run continuously for about three hours, and covered a great extent of stiff country.

These few instances may suffice to show that the sport enjoyed at this time was good, and while no doubt a share of the credit was due to the huntsman, the greater part of it must be accorded to the master. For Captain Sandilands had not spared himself in his endeavours to improve the condition of the pack under his charge, and having turned to Brocklesby, to Berkeley, and also to Belvoir for this purpose, could now boast of having in kennel an efficient pack of hounds possessing much of the best blood in England.

"The strength of the kennel comes from the Yarborough and Fitzhardinge drafts, of which some ten couple have been sent from England for four seasons past. The Yarborough dogs and the Fitzhardinge bitches have done them most service; and Bedford' and Auditor among the fbrmer, and Bertha' and Songstress among the latter have been the mainstay. The Fitzhardinge (late Mr Morrell's) Bajazets have proved themselves good workers with fine constitutions; and the old dog was put away in his eleventh season at the kennels, which are at Golfhall, five miles from Edinburgh. The Cromwell nose, which helped Harry Ayris over many a dry fallow, also bids fair to be perpetuated in his son Waterloo. In his very first season he was the oniy one that would speak to it through a dry fir planting, in a capital thing of fifteen miles straight from Macbie, in fact 'such a nipper that it could never have been one fox!"'

No account of the run from Macbie is forthcoming, and it is only through the kindness of Colonel Babington, formerly master of the Fife Hounds, that any description of another famous run which took place about this time can be given. The following is Colonel Babington's account,' written from memory about forty years afterwards :-

"We met at or near Currie station, and found at Malleny. Fife was represented by myself, Captain Moubray, and Mr Cunningham of Dalachy, from whom I had purchased the horse I was riding that day. After running for a mile or so in the direction of Edinburgh with a capital scent, the hounds turned direct for the Pentlands. Here trouble began for the riders, for the higher we got the worse became the ground—full of swamps and bogs. Cunningham lost three shoes. Fortunately there were no fences except a few ragged walls, for it was all we could do to keep the hounds in sight. After crossing the summit of the hill they bent somewhat to the right, but turning again ill a kind of half circle, raced down to the low ground, and caught their fox in the water of the Esk at Dalkeith, in the Duke of Buccleuch's grounds. Captain Sandilands, who had no money in his pocket, borrowed a sovereign from me for the Duke's keeper. I think every hound ran up, for I rode home with the pack and did not hear any were missing. This is a very imperfect account of one of the finest runs I ever saw."

While some idea of the area hunted about this time may have been formed from the foregoing descriptions of runs, a more comprehensive one will he derived from the account of the country given by "The Druid," whose faculty of collecting and recounting information is well known, and whose works are a never-failing source of interest and pleasure.

"East to west, from Corstorphine hill to Lee Castle, the country runs about forty miles. The Carnwath covers are all fir plantations on the hills, and the best of them belong to the Earl of Home at Stonehill, near the Tinto boundary. The covers are very middling, the fir plantations are scarce and grown out, and there are very few gorses. The best are round Wallhouse, nice and dry fir plantings on the side of a hill, with heather and rock. Near Wallhouse the country is generally old grass, and mostly plough near home. The home country is not spoilt by wire, which is a perfect pest in Carnwath without the alleviation of telegraph-posts to the hunting-gates, as in the Buccleuch country. In the Dechmont country, about nine miles from the kennels, the ground is sound and good, and all on old grass. The crack gorse of the country is Riccarton hill, and Champfleurie laurels have had a great repute. . . . Macbie bill is a great rendezvous for old Peeblesshire foxes, which go back at the lambing time, and generally faster than they come. Morton covert is a capital cover, about three miles from Midcalder, and gives many a fine run over the Cairn hill. It is almost always a sure find, and the fox is as surely a stout one. There is another famous whin half- way between IJphall and Midcalder, whose owner, Mr Peter M'Lagan, is a most staunch game - preserver. Houstoun gorse was also a favourite find in the late Mr Ramsay's time, but now, alas! it is almost a desert. There are miles of moss both about Cairn hill and in the Carnwath country, and a huntsman has to 'pick and creep and screw' to keep near his hounds at all, and even when Stracey is on North Briton, he is often in sad tribulation. In fact it is a regular choker over such a country, and the hounds do it pretty much by themselves. As Stracey graphically puts it, 'They have a turn at the Pentland hills from Malleny, and face the hills up wind a mile as hard as they can rattle; then they sink the wind; they never care which way the wind blows, and I'm blowed if you can tell what to do with them, it would puzzle mortal man, up hills four or five miles from the bottom, and you tearing after them—that's the way they work you, and so they nail us.'"

As season succeeded season, Captain Sandilands' popularity increased. His courtesy and straightforward bearing had secured for him the support of the landowners, and the goodwill, and even the affection, of the farmers; and his gentle and kindly conduct towards his field, coupled with a determination to show sport, under all circumstances, called forth the esteem of every one who hunted with him. Oil 26th of April 1861, he was the guest of the proprietors, tenantry, and supporters of the Hunt, at a public dinner in the Star and Garter hotel, Linlithgow, given with the view of expressing their sense of "the able and efficient manner in which he has discharged his duties as master of the hounds." Colonel Gillon acted as chairman, and among those present were Colonel Aitchison, Mr C. M. Barstow, Dr Chirnside, Blackburn House, Mr Dudgeon, Almond- hill, Captain Hankey, Mr Waldron Hill, Sir Alexander Gibson - Maitland, Mr James Marr of Alderstone, Major Shairp, Mr Wallace of Auchinvole, and Mr W. M. Waldrop. About four years later, on the 21st of April 1865, he was similarly honoured, being entertained to dinner in the Lockhart Arms inn, Carnwath, and there presented with tokens of the kindly feeling which the sportsmen in the Carnwath district, and others in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood, bore towards him. This dinner and presentation formed one of the last events connected with his mastership, for his retirement in favour of his nephew, Mr Charles Ramsay, took place at the close of the season of 1864. Now that he had kept his last fixture in the hunting field, and had seen his hounds in kennel for the last time, perhaps he may have experienced a feeling of regret that the days of his regency, with their triumphs and disappointments, troubles and joys, were at an end. But however this may have been, it is certain that he must then have possessed the gratifying knowledge that he had conscientiously discharged the duties entrusted to him, that his reign had been a good one, and that the affairs of the Hunt would be handed over by him to his successor in a satisfactory state. After the close of the next season, during which Mr Charles Ramsay was master, he gave up hunting entirely, but when he died on the 29th of April 1902, in his eighty- first year, the Hunt did not omit to pay a last mark of respect to the memory of its former master —the huntsman and whippers-in attending his funeral service at Midcalder in hunting costume.

On the 22nd of the month of February immediately preceding Captain Sandilands' retirement, Mr Charles Ramsay attained majority, and Barnton was the scene of much rejoicing and festivity. In celebration of the event, a ball, to which the friends of the family were invited, was given on the evening of the 21st,—a ballroom being specially built for the occasion on the lawn to the east of the house. On the following day there was a dinner to the tenants on the properties of Barnton, Sauchie, and Bannockburn, succeeded in the evening by another ball; while the whole festivities, which were spread over several days, terminated with the entertainment of the Hunt servants and the people employed on the estate.' Although it had been understood generally that Mr Ramsay would assume the mastership on coming of age, no definite arrangement in regard to the matter was made until the 31st of March (1865), when at a meeting held at Linlithgow, he intimated that he was willing to hunt the country, and that, while he expected a subscription of 1000, be would trust. as far as the next season was concerned, to get the best support he could. At this meeting a committee was formed for the purpose of raising subscriptions. It consisted of seven members,—two for Linlithgowshire, Major Thomas Shairp and Colonel Gillon; three for Stirlingshire, Sir W. Bruce, Sir Molyneux Nepean, and Mr Walker; and two for Mid-Lothian, Sir Alexander Gibson-Maitland and Mr Drybrough. Mr Ramsay continued Stracey as huntsman and Trueman Tuff as first whipper-in, while John Scott, who had previously acted as second-horseman to Captain Sandilands, was promoted to the second whipper-in's place vacated by Thomas Cranston., The season commenced in the Carnwath country about the end of October, but in the middle of the following month, the hounds were brought to the Golfhall kennels in order to overtake the home country. Although the current of events had run smoothly up to this time, there now began to gather over Barnton the gloom which deepened around it and spread itself throughout the entire hunting country during the last days of the year. The story of Mr Ramsay's untimely death is still well known to many. In the end of November he had gone to Lee Castle, where he was present at the celebration of the coming of age of Sir Norman Macdonald Lockhart. When returning to Lanark after a ball given in connection with the event by Mr Monteith of Carstairs, the driver of the omnibus which conveyed him and several other guests, mistook a turn in the road, and drove under some trees, Mr Ramsay being dragged from his seat by a branch and receiving a wound on his leg just below the knee. The following day he returned to Barnton and, feeling little the worse of his accident, afterwards went out hunting as usual. On the 11th of December he dined and slept at ilopetoun House, where the hounds were to meet next morning. After hunting on the 12th, he felt unwell and returned home. Subsequently the wound on his leg became inflamed, fever and erysipelas followed, and his death took place on the morning of the 30th of the month.

Thus ended the last of the three masterships held by members of the Barnton family in successive generations. But the connexion between the family and the Hunt was not yet at an end, for, although the male line became extinct in the person of Mr Charles Ramsay, the female line was not exhausted, and the succession to the estates of Barnton, Sauchie, and Bannockburn, which had been entailed by Mr George Ramsay in the year 1807, now devolved upon his eldest daughter's eldest son, Sir Alexander Gibson -Maitland, who for a number of years past had been a zealous supporter of the Hunt, and was at this period still hunting with the pack.

When, after Mr Ramsay's funeral, hunting was resumed on the 11th of January, Captain Sandi- lands again acted as master, and continued to do so from that time until the end of the season. But the gloom of the preceding month lifted but little, for the spring of the year 1866 was a cold and stormy one, and hunting was much interfered with by frost and snow. For this reason perhaps, an early finish was decided upon, and the last advertised fixture was Binny cottage on the 17th of March. When the pack came to be sold a little later, Colonel Gillon, who had by that time agreed to undertake the mastership, purchased the dog-hounds, while the late Lord Eglinton became the owner of the bitches. The sale of the hounds was accompanied by the departure of the Hunt servants. Scott went as second whipper-in to the Fife Hounds; Truernan Tuff was engaged by Lord Eglinton, and accompanied the hounds which his lordship had purchased, to Ayrshire; while Stracey, who had earned the good opinion of the followers of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire pack through the excellent sport he had shown, became huutsman first to the Cambridgeshire and then to the Vine Hounds. When he retired from active service in 1876, the members of the Vine Hunt presented him with a cup and two hundred sovereigns "In recognition of the able manner in which he discharged his duty for nine seasons as huntsman."

Some years afterwards, he returned to Scotland and took up his abode with his friend Johii Atkinson, who in 1887 had resigned the post of huntsman to the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hounds. And it was in Atkinson's house, which he named "Fox-yule," on the slope of Corstorphine bill, one winter afternoon, that the author's first and only meeting with Stracey took place. So frail did he then seem as he sat in his arm-chair by the fireside, with a plaid wrapt about his knees, that it was difficult to realise that he had ever possessed sufficient vigour to hunt a pack of fox-hounds. It was always said that a grave awaited him in the Vine country beside that of his wife; but when he departed this life on the 19th of May 1895, at the age of eighty-one, Atkinson buried his old friend in the Grange cemetery in Edinburgh, in accordance with the oft-repeated injunction, "Where the tree falls, there let it lie."


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