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The History of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt 1775-1910
Chapter VII.
The Laird of Wallhouse


1866-1869.

THE name of Mr Charles Ramsay's successor in the mastership has already occurred frequently in these pages. Almost ever since he had come into possession of the family estate of Wallhouse, Colonel Gillon had led the life of an active country gentleman, and although hunting regularly with the pack, devoted much of his time and attention to the prosperity of the district in which his property lay. Thus was there represented in the person of the new master the welfare of a considerable part of the country hunted as well as that of the Hunt, a circumstance which could not fail to build up friendly relations between those whose land was ridden over and those who followed hounds; while Colonel Gillon's own kindness of heart and natural charm of manner formed the copestone, so to speak, of this structure of good feeling.

Colonel Gillon was a keen fox-hunter, and being a bold horseman, and having an intimate knowledge of the greater part of the country over which he rode, was generally able to be with hounds when they ran hard. The lea}) which he took when hunting in the Warwickshire country, in the spring of the year 1856, is probably without a parallel in the annals of the chase, and will not be forgotten so long as fox-hunting lasts. Hounds had met at Chariecote, and during a run which ensued, Colonel Gillon, riding his celebrated white horse Potiphar, then fifteen years old, cleared an extraordinarily wide fence, the distance from the taking off of the horse's fore feet to the landing of his hind ones being afterwards measured by the Rev. Mr Drake, an eye-witness, as being not less than thirty-four feet. The fame of this performance soon spread beyond the limits of the district in which it took place, and even beyond the shores of Great Britain, for the following account of the episode appeared in one of the French newspapers of the time. "Dans une reunion de chasse, qui a eu lieu tout réceniment dans le Varwick-Shire, M. Gillon, de Wallhouse, montant son cheval Putiphar, Age de 15 ans, a franchi une palissade formáe d'une haie, d'un foss et d'une barrière; le saut a ét de 34 pieds. Le terrain a ate' mesuré iinrndiatement après ce magnifique saut périlleux." The string which Mr Drake used in making his measurement subsequently came into Colonel Gillon's possession, and is preserved and valued by his soil, Captain Gillon, as a memento of his father's remarkable exploit on the gallant old Potiphar.

It was at a meeting of the Hunt, held on the 14th of February 1806,' about six weeks after Mr Ramsay's death, that Colonel Gillon pledged himself to take the control. Immediately prior to his doing so, the Hunt had stood in a somewhat anomalous position—it had been a Hunt without a master and without a pack of hounds,—and the sixth Earl of Hopetoun and Sir Alexander Maitland having both declined to accept the management, it seemed questionable whether the country, through which the music of hounds had resounded from time immemorial, could be hunted any longer. But when once the sportsmen of that day were brought together, all doubt on the subject was dispelled, for in spite of' the difficulties which existed, they speedily decided in favour of a continuance of the establishment and, acting upon the suggestion of' Major Ferrier Hamilton of Cathlaw, invited Colonel Gillon to hunt the country for them with a subscription of £1000. This Colonel Gillon agreed to do for the following season, and at the same time engaged to bear personally all expenses which the subscription might be insufficient to meet.

With the flight of time the face of the country had undergone some alteration, since during the preceding five-and-twenty years mineral workings had increased, railways had been formed, and wire had begun to show itself in places. Notwithstanding these disadvantages, a great deal of good hunting country remained uninjured, and there was little to prevent hounds running both far and fast with a good scent. For some years prior to Mr Charles Ramsay's death, Stirlingshire had been hunted much less frequently and extensively than in former times, but now that the control came to rest with Colonel Gillon, who had always been averse to any relaxation regarding the hunting of that part of the Hunt's territory, the resumption of it to a great extent was almost assured. Indeed, Colonel Gillon undertook to hunt a tract of country ranging from the borders of Dumbartonshire and Perthshire to Corstorphine in Mid-Lothian, including the Carse of Stirling and Linlithgowshire, and through the expanse of this area it was hoped that there would be both spring and autumn hunting, of which latter there had been but little for some time past. Now [1865] there is no cub-hunting, except they have a turn or two at the Corstorphine hills, which are all rocks and braes and brambles. They generally begin there, and the gardeners and keepers light fires and net the rocks in some places, and even then the foxes will not he forced away, but make wild dashes at the nets." Nor as a matter of fact did Colonel Gillon depart from the spirit of his undertaking, since, during his mastership, the hounds met as far to the northwest as Sauchie and Bannockburn, and as far to the south-east as Barnton and Corstorphine. But, then as now, the best sport was got in Linlithgowshire, for the Stirlingshire side of the country was somewhat short of foxes, and a blank day was not unknown.

Simultaneously with Colonel Gillon's acceptance of the mastership, a committee was appointed to buy as many of Mr Ramsay's hounds as would enable hunting to be Prosecuted during the following season; but when the purchase came to be made, it was effected by Colonel Gillon in his own name, and the pack remained his private property throughout his term of office. In acknowledging him to be the proprietor of the hounds, as they did, the Hunt committee proceeded with some care and forethought, and they caused it to be recorded in their minutes that, in doing so, they guarded themselves against giving to him any personal right to the country, "considering that country belongs in equity to whatever pack of hounds may be regularly hunted with the sanction and approval of the proprietors and others to whom the country belongs." But this caution on the part of the committee, although commendable, proved to be unnecessary, and it would have been strange indeed if Colonel Gillon, who had been so devoted a friend, and so staunch a supporter of the pack, had at any time endeavoured to establish a right in his person at variance with the interests of the Hunt.

The hounds purchased—the dog-hounds of Mr Ramsay's pack—were sent to the old kennels at Laurieston, which, in addition to being very considerably nearer Wallhouse than the kennels at Golfhall, occupied a much more central position. Nevertheless, it was a far cry from Laurieston to Corstorphine hill, and when the eastern side of the country was visited, the hounds, through the kindness of Lord Hopetoun, were permitted to lie at iopetoun the night befbre hunting. Similarly, when the southern district was overtaken, the pack was kennelled at Uphall, where Mrs Glen, who at that time kept the inn there, had all in readiness upon receipt of a message from the huntsman. The selection of the Laurie- ston kennels, however, was fraught with trouble, for the hounds were soon attacked by kennel lameness, and in spite of the execution of extensive repairs, they continued to suffer from the malady, more or less, throughout the whole of the three years in which Colonel Gillon was master. When they became distressed and unfit for work, they were frequently removed to Wallhouse, where they soon recovered; and there can be little doubt that the disease was produced either by the state of the kennels, which were then of many years' standing, or by the nature of the soil on which they were built. Probably it was in consequence of this trouble that, during Colonel Gfllon's mastership, very few hounds were bred at home, and that the strength of the pack was maintained principally by the acquisition of drafts, which were got from many different kennels, including the Cheshire, Lord Eglinton's, the Old Burton, the Milton, the Berkeley, Lord Wemyss, and the Pytchley.

With the flight of time also there had been a gradual, if perhaps an almost imperceptible, change in the constitution of the Hunt, and now many of the landowners who had formerly joined in the chase no longer did so, nor were they, although still permitting their property to be ridden over, even resident in the country to the same extent as before ; while the number of sportsmen from the Scottish capital was always steadily increasing.

Without endeavouring to enumerate all the followers of the pack or supporters which the Hunt had at this time, the names of a few of such as appear to have been the most prominent may be given. Of those connected with the county of Linlithgow there were—in addition to Colonel Gillon—the sixth Earl of Hopetoun, whose mastership of the Pytchley Hounds had ended a few years earlier, and who, although not hunting regularly, was still very fond of the sport; Sir William Baillie of Polkemmet and Major Ferrier Hamilton of Cathlaw, both staunch fox preservers, notwithstanding the fact that the former was almost never, and the latter but seldom, in the field Mr George Mitchell - Tunes of Bangour, a light- weight, possessed of excellent hands, and probably the best man to hounds and one of the best sportsmen in the Hunt at this period; his cousin, Major, afterwards Colonel, Thomas Shairp of Houstouii, a heavy-weight, almost equally meritorious, and the owner, some years later, of an exceptionally good brown mare; Captain Robert Steuart of Carphin, now of Westwood, to whom no form of sport ever came amiss; Mr J. G. Dawson, who, with the exception perhaps of Mr T. W. Tod, Clerwood, Corstorphimie, has probably hunted with the pack for a greater number of years than any other member of the field at the present clay; and Dr Chirnside, Blackburn House, a heavy - weight, a good sportsman, a first-rate man to hounds, and one of the few who followed them over the Easter Cairn hill into Peeblesshire in the run from Dalmahoy afterwards alluded to. Stirlingshire held its own with such men as Mr Forbes of Callendar, who had first hunted with the pack as early as the year 1840, who rode straight, and than whom none knew better what hounds were doing; Sir W. Cumming-Bruce of Stenhouse, a good sportsman, and "a bad 'un to beat" across country; Mr Campbell of Millfield, a hard rider, and Mr G. Chalmer-Stirling of Larbert, who gave his support to the establishment as his forebears had done, and whose brother-in-law, Major Ponsonby-Cox, the author of some clever and amusing verses entitled "The Opening of the Line," began to hunt a year or two later. For Mid-Lothian, among others, there stood forth Sir Alexander Maitland of Cliftonhall, who, although hunting less frequently than formerly, still went well, and was at this time the largest subscriber; Mr Peter M'Lagan of Pumpherston, M. P. for Lilllithgowshire, whose coverts seldom filled to hold a fox; and Mr James Cochrane, younger of Bradshaw, who early in life had the misfortune to lose one of his arms, but who nevertheless broke hunters for his father as well as for himself. From Edinburgh there came many good sportsmen who worked hard, one way or another, in the interests of the Hunt, who loosened the strings of their purses in the good cause, and who, since their headquarters were in town, frequently travelled considerable distances by road both before and after hunting. Among such were Mr T. E. O. Home, afterwards honorary secretary and treasurer, devoted to many kinds of sport, but above all to fox-hunting; Mr William Blackwood, a hard man to hounds, and, in spite of falls and accidents, always undaunted, whose hunters were well turned out for him by his old groom, Tom Tait; Mr Thomas Dryborough, whose hands were of the best, and to whose zeal and energy the hunt owed much, both at this time and in later years; Mr James Turn bull, - father of the present Lady Usher, - a good sportsman and horseman, also gifted as to hands; Mr Charles Murray Barstow, the owner of some nice horses, which he did not spare when hounds ran; Mr J. A. Ker, a well-known figure in the field, and Mr, afterwards Sir, John Usher-father of the present master, Sir Robert,-who rode straight and hard almost up to the end of his life. To this last category there might perhaps be added the name of a well - known character, Mr A. E. Macknight, nick-named "Paganini" in consequence of his skill in playing the violin, who, although noted for his parsimony, was undoubtedly a lover of the chase. The farmers—last but not least, and always deserving of honourable mention - were loyal supporters whether they hunted or not. Those who did were frequently in the front rank, even when indifferently mounted, while those who did not took a keen interest in, and were therefore almost always glad to see, the hounds. Of those who came into the field about this time probably the best known were Mr Allan, Knightsbridge; Mr Burnet, Dolphinton; Mr James I. Davidson, Town- head, Balerno; Mr John H. Dickson, Saughton Mains, afterwards factor in Dumfriesshire to the Duke of Buccleuch; Mr Alexander Dudgeon, Easter Dalineny; and his brother, Mr George Dudgeon, Almondhill; Mr G. H. Glendinning, Hatton Mains, afterwards factor to the Earl of Morton; Mr James Gray, Braehead; and his brother, Mr Patrick Gray, Freelands; Mr Kerr, The Bloom; Mr Lesslie, Boghall; Mr Ralph, The Park; Mr Reid, The Haining; Mr John Stodart, Bangour; Mr Wilson, Gateside; Mr Thomas Young, Oatridge; and Mr James Young, B'ormie.

Mr James Young, better known by the name of his Farm, was quite a celebrity in the Hunt, and at this time had been a follower of the pack for nearly forty years. Being now (1867) seventy- four years of age, his hunting days may be said to have been numbered, and his friends in the field realising this, seized an opportunity and had the photograph here reproduced taken before it was too late to do so. In this picture old B'ormie appears mounted on his wonderful pony Donald, which he had purchased from Mr Paris at Cockleroi as a three - year - old, just twenty years before. Donald was almost as well known and as great a character as his master, and there are many anecdotes told of him. One day when hunting, the hounds ran straight through one of those old overgrown thorn hedges which are still to be found in the country. This was at least seven or eight feet iii height, and the field were compelled to ride round, but B'ormie, dismounting, crept through a hole in it near the roots, and Donald, laying himself down like a dog, followed suit, whereby he and his owner saved a considerable detour and had hounds all to themselves for a time. When Mrs Young died and the friends of the family were assembled iii the farmhouse for the funeral service, the hounds, as it unfortunately happened, ran past in full cry. Donald, greatly excited, broke loose, galloped round to the house, and banged on the door with his feet in order to attract his master's attention, being quite unable to understand what prevented him from turning out and joining the chase. Three years after the taking of the photograph, and some three before the time when his master, full of years, departed this life, Donald breathed his last and was buried in the field immediately to the south of the mill-dam on B'ormie farm. The verses written on his death by Mr James Ruthven, Beecraigs, are well worthy of preservation, and could not have failed to comfort Mr Young in the loss of his favourite; while the delightful reference to the sluggish temperament of the pony's successor, may even have evoked a smile from the old man.

In addition to the regular members of the field, there were many others who occasionally hunted with the pack, and in the very neatly, carefully, and regularly kept hunting diary which Colonel Gillon has left, the names of several visitors are recorded. Among them are those of Colonel Sir David Carrick Buchanan, for many years master of the Lanarkshire and Renfrewsliire Hounds; Lord Eglinton, who in 1862 had begun to hunt the Ayrshire country; Colonel Greenhill Gardyne, who then hunted Forfarshire and was afterwards master of the Fife Hounds; Mr Fenwick, afterwards master of the Tynedale Hounds; Mr Oswald of Dunnikier; Mr Oswald of Auchencruive; Lord Sommerville; Mr Sothern, who at this time was probably making his appearance on the Edinburgh stage as "Lord Dundreary"; and last but not least, Mr George Whyte - Melville. Colonel Gardyne, without being a regular attendant, hunted a good deal with the pack during Colonel Gillon's first season, and on one occasion, towards the end of the run from Dalmahoy before alluded to, generously lent his hunter to Horton, the huntsman, whose own horse was too much distressed to go farther. Colonel Gardyne, a propos of this incident, says "Horton was a very little chap, and on my great big roan, looked like a pea on a girdle."

Horton had previously been with the Eamont Harriers, and although report differs as to his ability in the field, it would seem that Colonel Gillon at least was sufficiently satisfied with his performance, for he not only retained his services throughout his mastership, but more than once alludes in his diary to a clever cast on the part of his huntsman as well as to the perfect appearance which the hounds presented; while from a perusal of Horton's letters, it may be gathered that he was hard - working, honest, and pains-taking. The same cannot be said of Hoggan, the first whipper-in, who seems to have been anything but a good servant, and whose unsatisfactory conduct, generally, necessitated his departure in the middle of Colonel Gillon's first season. In the following one, Fred Smith and George Cox, until lately huntsman to the Glamorgansliire Hounds, came as whippers-in, the former staying for one year, at the end of which he was succeeded by Joseph Outhwaite, and the latter for two. One Saturday evening, in his last season, Colonel Gillon told Cox to stop some hounds on the far side of a brook not far from Wallhouse. Cox, who was riding a mare named Miss Cox, set her going at the water, which she cleared, covering, according to a measurement made by Colonel Gillon the following morning, eighteen and a half feet from rise to landing.

Turning to the sport which was had in these years, Colonel Gillon's diary' shows how he described those hunting days which appear to have been the best or most eventful ones during his mastership.

SEASON 1866-67.

1866. Dec. 6. Dalrnahoy. 15- couple of hounds. Rode Norman. Fine. Scent good. Went from Hanley to meet. Large and good field. Found a brace and ran all about for an hour and three-quarters. At last a fox broke away south crossed railway and into hill plantation, and on over hill and across Lanark road. Here a nice burst over a good country took place to Buteland farm where a check occurred, which was soon rectified, and away with a good scent towards Malleny. Then south-west on to the heather to a quarry on bill, and in to Thrashie Dean. Here Horton dismounted and hit off his fox and hunted him clean over Easter Cairn-hill to Caulci-stane-slap where the hounds were eventually stopped. Time from Dalmahoy to Easter Cairn one hour and three quarters. Sleet and rain and snow brought in a dirty night. Having refreshed at Bradshaw, I rode to Midcalder for hack, and after a cold dark ride arrived at home at 7 p.m. very fresh indeed.

1867. Feb. 9. Champfleurie. 17 couple of hounds. Rode Beauty and Norman. Fine. Scent good. Found immediately in laurels near house, crossed road at schoolhouse and skirting Kingscavil quarry, went over Nancy's bill at a great pace and into low lands south of badger earths. Here, being headed, lie made a very slight detour westwards round a smooth grassy bill, but eventually faced the hill southwards and made straight for Ric- carton. Passing over the summit, lie descended south side and across the deep loamy lands of North Mains and right on to Bangour. Entering on north side, after a brief check, he had to leave covert on south side and away west along the march between Uphall parish lands and Drumcross, boldly facing Knock bill, and passing over it to north-west by Johnston's lime quarries, he went to ground in a drain on Ballencrieff Mains. Tune 50 minutes, distance 9 miles, and considering the deep state of the country the pace was great. Few saw the run from end to end. Jas. Turnbull, Dr Chuinside, and Mr Barstow went very well. The little inure did wonders and never quitted the hounds during this severe and trying run. While a strong digging - out party commenced operations, the hounds ran a fox into Cairnpapple, but scent being bad, they were trotted off to try Hart's coverts, but no fox being found, the Knock whin was being drawn, when a view holloa from the opposite hill proclaimed the fox had been unearthed and captured. Being enlarged on top of Lord Hopetoun's bill, a regular steeplechase run took place by Jenny Threpney's, round bill by T. Russell's house, on to silver mine, Craigrnaliiig, Tartraveii, and into Ban-our where lie obtained shelter in breeding earth. - A brilliant day's sport.

SEASON 1867-68

1868. Feb. 15. Declimont Toll. 17 couple of hounds. Rode Torn Thumb. Snow-showers. Scent good. A small field out. Found a fox in small gorse at Bangour, and ran a splendid line through Ballytap, Tartraven, B'orrnie, Cockleroi to William Craig's where first very slight check occurred. hit it off at once and ran due north as if for canal, but being pressed the fox was forced to wheel left about, and made due south through Beilsyde, Bowden, Lochcote, and G ormyre to Oath law, where skirting Witchcraig, he entered Cairnpapple on north side, and passed without hesitation out on south side over Lord Hopetoun's hill to Clinkingstone. Before reaching the latter covert, a blinding shower of snow for ten minutes completely obscured all view of the pack which, nevertheless, were working their fox steadily, as on the storm subsiding, they were found running into Hart's quarries above Kirkton. At this point it looked certain a kill would end this glorious run, but a fresh fox being tallied away by a crowd of foot people on Knock bill blasted all our hopes, and the result was a run to earth with a fresh fox in Hilderstone old lime quaries. Time to first check 25 minutes. Time to Knock hill, 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Mar. 10. Morton Covert. 17 couples of hounds. Rode Torn Thumb. Fine. Scent very good. Drew Morton covert blank. Tried along river-banks towards Rhiius, and hounds seemed to acknowledge a very faint drag, but after crossing Cal. railway, a fox was viewed going straight away over the open. The pack [was] speedily laid on, and went at it as if something serious was to be the result. His line appeared at first to be Calder whin, and he crossed the new railway at Williamston, but suddenly turned due west through Muirieston and crossing the road he was brillantly hit off, and for'ard on [was] the cry through Westfield, Litnefield, and Brotherton, and recrossing new railway line from south to north crossed Lanark road and on due north to Gavieside where some roughish country had to be accommodated and rivers crossed. On, on went the pack through Gavieside and across Midcalder road near Guns Green toll, and over Breich river near Over Grange farm and straight for west corner of Cousland coverts, then due west over Blackburn moss and to ground in a drain below The Inch farm-house. This was a fine run indeed! Time 70 minutes, pace good throughout, no checks. Distance as the crow flies, 9 miles; distance traversed at least 12 or 13 miles. Few up.

1868. April 3. Bangour. 17 couple of hounds. Rode Hardware. Balmy. Scent very good. A fine morning, mild as summer, with a balmy west wind blowing.

After a conversation with Mr Stodart as to the depredation amongst his lambs by our old friend, who had on two former occasions given us excellent runs, but beat us, it was resolved at once to draw for him in the old covert. He was found at once, and the hounds getting away within 150 yards of him, forced him at top speed due west through the Quarter - lands and bending northwest, by silver mine, into Cairnpapple. Driving him before them, they made him quit this usual resting-place, and seek other shelter which didn't seem easily found on this occasion, as, passing through Cathlaw, he made straight through Gormyre for Lochcote, where trying the block quarries unsuccessfully, he was overtaken and and all but caught behind Woodcockdale cottage but dodging his pursuers most cleverly, he crossed the Avon and ran oil Stirlingshire bank till opposite Muiravonside House, where he was compelled to recross and seek shelter in Andrew Taylor's cottage at Carubber lime works. This, however, the wife denied him, and he was driven on to roof, from which he was dislodged and killed. Time 50 minutes, pace very fast; and scent, to surprise of all, first rate. This being the last day of the season, another draw was decided on, and after trying Torphichen whin and a portion of Cairnpapple that had been undisturbed, a fox stole away in the open, and hounds being close to him, raced him through Cathiaw, due north over Kipps march and over kipps lulls to B'ormie muir, leaving which he was viewed and the pack sticking close to him he went to ground in Bowden, was dug out and killed. rllirne 30 minutes; all grass.

SEASON 1868-69.

1869. Feb. 2. Larbert Station. 22 couple of hounds. Rode Whipcord. Cold north-east wind. Scent good. A brilliant day. Four young Hope-Johnstones, Sir W. Bruce and sons, Mr Duncan, formed the field. Hunter's Folly produced a good travelling fox that broke due west but was headed [in attempt- in to cross the Denny road]. This compelled him to take first a southerly direction [by Muirhead and Hillend] and then eventually to cross the Denny road at Jennie's or Bankhead and right into the garden surrounded by a very high wall. The delay occasioned in getting the hounds out, gave the fox 7 or 8 minutes good start. Away the pack went [with a blazing scent] over a very fine open country towards Whitehill farm [and Bottonihead] but as Castle Rankine glen was his point, he now bent due north and [skirting Drumbowie] into it. Here he found no shelter as the holes, having been smoked the day previous, were riot tempting, and the hounds were pressing. So he faced the open country to Tappitknowe and then up the Birn hill and on to Denny moor. Time to this point 1 hour. Wire now gave trouble and let the pack run out of view. Those up agreed to divide in search, and the huntsman and those who remained with him found the hounds at Garrel hill earths [two miles north of Kilsyth]-8 miles as crow flies, 13 miles as hounds ran. [Only one couple of hounds missing at the finish.]

1869. Feb. 13. Westwood. 19 couple of hounds. Rode Whipcord. Cold west wind. Scent good. No fox at Westwood. Drew Charlesfield, Wilderness, Belisquarry, blank. Found at 2.30 in Morton covert a wild hill fox. Was headed breaking down wind and eventually broke west as if for Harburn, but suddenly ere he reached the stripes, wheeled due south and away o'er the moors and clean over Wester Cairn. Mr Kerr (Bloom) and I alone gained the summit, and although we searched for one hour and a half, saw no sign of them. On returning alone to Easter Collium where my horse had been taken to by young Mr Cairnie, I met the huntsman and 1st whip with 6 couples. Half the pack were out during a fearful night of wind and rain. Most reached home on Sunday. May we never see the like again.

The Charnpfleurie day above described did not quite end in the fox getting to ground at Bangour, and the sequel to the sport formed the subject of a story which Colonel Gillon was fond of telling. That evening a number of those who had taken part in the chase dined at Waflhouse, and as the wine passed round the table after dinner, conversation naturally turned on hunting and the events of the day. Suddenly the butler entered and said, "He's here, sir." "Who's here? " " he fox, sir, he's at the front door." In an instant every man was on his legs and at the front door also, where, in a sack, having been unearthed for the second time, was the good fox which had afforded so much sport. At a word from Colonel Gillon he was released, and amid a regular chorus of view holloas, crossed the lawn. Then in a "silence deep as death," contrasting forcibly with the previous uproar, the hero of the day was watched as far as the eye could reach in the faint light of a new February moon, stealing noiselessly away over the soft dewy grass.

Between his second and third seasons—or, to be strictly accurate, on the 10th of February 1868 —Colonel Gillon resigned the mastership, and it would seem that Mr Waldron Hill, who at this time was living at Murrayfield House near Edinburgh, and from it hunting the otter on the Avon and the Almond as well as on many of the other rivers in the south of Scotland, would have been accepted as his successor had he chosen to come forward. This, however, Mr Rill, after apparently giving the matter serious consideration, decided not to do, for the reason that, being unable to ride, he felt he could not satisfactorily undertake the duties of master in the field. No other suitable candidate for the mastership presenting himself, the prospects of the Hunt were for a time far from bright, but after the lapse of a few weeks, Colonel Gillon, to the relief of all concerned, intimated his willingness to continue for another season, and thus trouble was once more averted. The terms upon which Colonel Gillon resumed the control differed slightly from those previously agreed to, inasmuch as the subscription was increased to £1200, and it was understood that the country should be hunted two days a-week, with a bye-day at the master's discretion—one day a fortnight at least to be devoted to the Stirling- shire district. Under this arrangement - the kennel lameness still existing-Colonel. Gillon acquiesced in a proposal that the Golfhall kennels should again be adopted as headquarters, and he seems also to have generously offered to build a kennel at Wallhouse, from which the north-western part of the country could be conveniently overtaken; but difficulties intervened which prevented this proposal being carried into effect, and the hounds remained at Laurieston.

Thus for the second time Colonel Gillon had stepped gallantly into the breach, and carried on the hunting of the country at a critical period. But there being an end of all things, his retirement sooner or later was a certainty, and after one more season had passed, he finally intimated his resignation. The letter which he then addressed to the Hunt committee—a letter full of characteristically kind and sportsmanlike feeling—was read at a meeting of the Hunt, held on the 17th of March 1869, shortly before the season ended.

WALLHOUSE, March 17th, 1860.

GENTLEMEN, - I had hoped to be able to attend the meeting to-day, but regret that, owing to my present state, I am unable to do so.

I now beg to thank you most heartily for all your great kindness and consideration during the time I have had the hounds, and for all the trouble you have taken on my account. May I ask your chairman to return for me my best thanks to the subscribers, absent as well as present, who have liberally and warmly supported me during my term of office.

At the same time I would tender my grateful thanks to the landed proprietors, owners of coverts, farmers and tenant farmers, for the countenance and support they have so generously shown me.

I have striven to show sport and keep up the credit of the old establishment, but I am quite aware of my many failings and shortcomings, for which I crave indulgence.

I am glad to learn there is every prospect of hounds being kept up in this country. Whoever may be the future master, I promise him a hearty welcome, and my coverts and country are at his service. Should I remain to hunt in the country, I promise him further support by subscribing. - I am, Gentlemen, your most obedient Servant, A. GILLON.

The Hunt Committee,
L. & S. Hunt.

And here this chapter might end, were it not that there must yet be placed on record an acknowledgment of the services rendered to the Hunt at this time by other good friends. The Hunt committee—consisting of Major Ferrier Hamilton, Colonel Shairp, Sir Alexander Maitland, Mr Lear- month McKenzie, Mr T. E. 0. Home, and Mr T. Drybrough,—to whom, as a body, the above letter is addressed, and whom the master thanks so cordially, had doubtless borne their appropriate share of the labour. In the beginning, Major Hamilton had acted as honorary secretary ad interim., but Mr Drybrough seems eventually to have undertaken his duties to a certain extent, and to have been chiefly instrumental in maintaining the subscription. The late Mr W. H. Henderson, besides being honorary treasurer, assisted greatly in the carrying out of many of the details connected with the management, and for a short space one cub-hunting season, even took charge in the field during the temporary absence of the master. In Mr Waldron lull, Colonel Gillon seems to have had a friend ready to sympathise regarding the troubles in kennel, and it is probable that the opinion of the former, which was cordially given when asked, was worth having, for he had done what but few others have—viz., served an amateur apprenticeship in a fox-hound kennel. From James Treadwell, huntsman to Mr Horlock, prior to his Brambam days under Mr Lane Fox, Mr Hill first learned the kennel management of a pack of fox-hounds, and the knowledge which he then acquired no doubt afterwards stood him in good stead in the case of his own hounds. But while any help which the Hunt committee and others could give, might have tended to increase the popularity and prestige of the master, it was his own hearty and genial manner, and kind and considerate disposition which gained for Colonel Gillon the affection of all classes during his mastership of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hounds.


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