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                                    Squire Crozier

                                                                              

John Crozier, of Riddings,
Master of Hounds

By Albert Nicholson

 

Reprinted from "The Manchester Quarterly" January 1906

 

No broadcloth or scarlet adorn’d him,
Or buckskin that rival the snow;
But of plain "Skiddaw gray" was his raiment-
He wore it for work not for show.

Jackson Gillibanks

 

There are few villages in the mountain districts of Cumberland less known to tourists than Threlkeld. The traveller approaching Keswick from Penrith passes by it, but may see no special interest in its grey cottages and farmsteads, for from the railway, with the steep slopes of Blencathra as an immediate background, rising to a height of nearly three thousand feet, it has a black and unattractive appearance, which is not enhanced by a large spoil heap from the now abandoned mines. If, however you take a stroll through the village you will find in it many quaint corners and old-fashioned gardens, and it commands a view over the mountain country that perhaps in some particulars is unrivalled. For generations Cumberland men have regarded this spot with very special interest as associated with the legend of the good Lord Clifford, for it was here in troubled times he was brought up in peace and safety, wandering over these fells as a shepherd lad, in blissful ignorance of his noble birth and vast estates. Should tradition fail, surely as long as the literature of our language shall endure the lines of Wordsworth must keep the memory green of him

 

Who, long compelled in humble walks to go,
Was softened into feeling, soothed, and tamed

Love he had found in huts where poor men lie;
His daily teachers had been woods and rills,
The silence that is in the starry sky,
The sleep that is among the lonely hills.

In him the savage virtue of the Race,
Revenge, and all ferocious thoughts were dead:
Nor did he change, but kept in lofty place
The wisdom which adversity had bred.

Glad were the vales, and every cottage-hearth;
The shepherd lord was honoured more and more:
And ages after he was laid in earth,
"The good Lord Clifford" was the name he bore.

 

In the early years of the nineteenth century, Threlkeld or "Threkit," as it is often called, again became famous among the dales folks as the home of the gallant wrestler, Tom Nicholson, sharing the glory of his name and fame in every countryside from Ulverston to "Merry Carlisle," and from Melmerby-under-Crossfell to the Solway.

A veteran of the wresting ring (its records hold his name.) Who yet in life’s late autumn, was a wiry wight and strong. Though grizzly were his elf-lacks wild, and bow’d his giant frame.

These heroes of the past must now give place to one whose position as their squire and friend has placed John Crozier of Riddings above all in the regard and affection of the countryside. When on the 5th of March, 1903, he passed away full of years, there was probably, no man so well known or so sincerely respected and beloved in the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland as this grand old sportsman. Few men have left behind them a record of quiet usefulness, thoughtful neighbourly kindness, and help to all in trouble, which can equal that of the Old Squire of Threlkeld.

And had he not for some sixty-four years hunted the fells with his hounds, ever ready to come to the help of a shepherd or "auld wife" who had suffered the attention of the little red rover? In his love of sport, as in so many other ways, he was the perfect ideal of a Cumberland "Statesman." He farmed his own land, was born, educated, and lived out a long and active life in the one valley, amongst those who were, some of them, his tenants, and all-rich and poor, young and old a like-his ever welcome friends. His father, Joseph Crozier, settled in the vale about the beginning of the last century, and married Ann Robinson, who came out of an old Threlkeld family. His first home was at Gate Ghyll; but, later on, he bought Riddings, a small farm on the southern slope of Blencathra, from the Greenhow family, and there he went to reside. It was in this house of Riddings that his son John was born, on the 29th of September 1822. As soon as the little fellow was able to walk so far, he went, with the rest of the children of the dale folks, to "Priest" Wilson, who not only taught the school of St. John’s in the Vale, but also was incumbent of its little church. As was the custom in these valleys, where no social distinction was or is recognised, all were brought up together in perfect equality, forming lifelong friendships-squire and peasant, labourer and landlord.

To his last day the old folks would speak to him and he to them by their Christian name, be they rich or poor, without thought of offence on either side. At this school he met John Richardson, a man of true poetic spirit, whose verses and prose writings have earned him an honourable name, and whose friendship, no doubt, did much to cultivate that love of poetry in John Crozier which was one of the most marked characteristics of the old Squire. His education was complete at the Greenrow Grammar School, for his father would never consent to his going to college, having the idea that the university life would inevitably give him "new-fangled notions" of social position utterly at variance with those in which he had been born and bred, and which the old man thought would disqualify the lad from occupying the position he desired his son should take.

A taste for good literature seems to come naturally to most of these dalesmen, and John Crozier had a small but well selected library at Riddings, which was ever at the disposal of those about him. If anyone was laid up at home, housebound from age or illness, the Squire was certain to pop in and bring a book, a magazine or a paper to help the invalid to pass the time away, and often from his capacious pockets he would produce some parcel, which Mrs. Crozier had commissioned him to deliver for her. It has been truly said that the books a man has on his shelf are the best guide to his character.

A writer in The Field recently mentioned the instance of the sale of the effects of an old fashioned west-country parson. "Now," said the auctioneer, " we come to the library; there are seventy volumes all told. Sixty-nine of them are sporting books, which look as if they have been very much read, and the seventieth is a volume of "Blair’s Sermons," as good as new. How much for the seventy volumes in one lot?" This man’s character needs no definition. Half an hour in the little library at Riddings gave you a very different idea of its owner. The well-used volumes on the shelves or lying about were Cowper, Crabbe, Somerville, Scott, Wordsworth, or Tennyson; and often, as we talked on various subjects, an apt quotation from one of these, his favourite poets, would find its way into his homely speech. And, again, he loved Burns, and the writings of those who in prose and verse told the tale in its graphic folk speech of "Canny auld Cummerlan." Amongst the goodly number of books on sports and the varied interests of country life, perhaps he had no greater favourites than those by his friend who wrote under the name of "The Druid."

In the pleasant pages of "Saddle and Sirloin", "Silk and Scarlet", and the rest, H. H. Dixon gives you, with imitable grace and humour, and with the perfect knowledge of the man who has been there amongst it all, a true picture of the sports, the pleasures, and the hobbies of gentle and simple in his day, in many a part of merry England. As a Cumbrian man he knew John Crozier well, and when old Nimrod had about accomplished the first half of his long span of life, as a master of hounds, the Druid wrote a wonderfully graphic account of him, his pack, and the wild mountain country he hunted over.

Like many other people in the border country he was married by the blacksmith at Gretna, but unlike many of the matches consummated there, his proved a very happy one. Mary Gill, his bonnie bride, " was" as there is written of another heroine of Cumberland:-

….. fresh, fewsome and free,
Wid a lilt iv her step an’ a glint iv her e’e;

 

But good looks were not her only heritage. She had the keenest sympathy with her husband’s many interests. She was proud of her house, proud of her garden, of the horses, cattle and sheep, but proudest of her "good man." As to the hounds, as she had no family, I always thought she treated them with the care and kindness she would have lavished upon her children. Well I remember one occasion when I went over to the Riddings to see the squire, who was unwell. I arrived to find him almost alone, thought it was early in the morning. The reason was soon told. On the previous day, though it was well on in the springtime, a hunt had been held to put down some foxes that had been making havoc amongst the lambs some miles away in the high fells. Near the close of day the hounds had run the old varmint into a bield or hole amongst the loose rocks, and the terriers had been put in, a fierce fight had ensued, and the shepherd’s enemy had been vanquished, but when the little victors tried to crawl out to the light of day they found the way impassable. Their plaintive cry from within their prison made the stout hearted dalesmen, work with a terrible will to force a way to them, but though every available means was tried night closed in, and the gallant little terriers were, as was well known, in a maimed condition, fast in the rock. A lad started off at once to carry the news to the Squire, leaving the huntsman, John Porter, and all the followers of the chase waiting for daylight to climb up to the crag again and renew their efforts. In the meantime the messenger had arrived about 4 o’clock, as the dawn was coming over Helvellyn, at Riddings. The news was at once conveyed to the Master and mistress, and it was not many minuites before Mrs. Crozier was busy giving her orders. The Squire was too ill to leave home, but the four-wheeled dogcart was quickly loaded with crowbars, spades etc, and a plentiful supply of food and requisite flasks of spirits, bandages, and the things that might be needful, for it is a risky business. Then, taking the hind, who was a strong and useful man at such work with her, she drove off. In the afternoon she returned, the rescue having been accomplished without further mishap. The poor little terriers were a sorry sight, and had scarcely any hair on their heads, but they were nursed with every care, and when I next was at Riddings they trotted out to welcome me, two weary looking objects, but seemingly perfectly happy and ready to tackle again the old enemy of their race. Two or three hounds, even in the summer season, were always about the yard or garden and a visitor had generally to inspect at least one litter of puppies, and often at such times to take a tour round the neighbouring farms and to give an opinion on other small families.

If the beauty of nature has a beneficial effect on the human mind and character, surely no man was more indebted to his surrounding than John Crozier. His life had been spent in a home that in many ways was ideally perfect. The house is situated high on the southern slope of the mountain, but has ample protection from the storm and its surrounding shrubberies of holy, fir and forest trees. As you look in from the window or the terraced garden of the Riddings you have before you

The narrow Valley of St. John
Down sloping to the western sky
Where lingering sunbeams love to lie.

 

This is flanked on its eastern side by the precipitous crags of Wanthwaite, the extreme northern buttress of the "mighty Helvellyn." And at the far end of the vale, seen against the higher part of that noble mountain, is the huge mass of rock, which it is almost impossible at this distance to believe is not the ruin of a medieval fortress, so clearly can we see its massive towers and the arched entrance through which King Arthur rode, recalling for us all the romantic interest of the Bridal of Triermain.

Immediately below the house the river Greta, formed here by the junction of the St. John’s Beck with the Glenderamackin, enters the wooded gorge that ends in the Vale of Keswick with a background of the western mountains of the Lake District, extending from Grizedale Park to Scafell. It is curious that if not from the garden certainly from a point some fifty yards away the summits of the four highest mountains in the Lake Country can be seen.

In my time, at any rate, Crozier did not shoot much, but no one took a keener delight in seeing others enjoy a day amongst the partridges, and many a time he has tramped round the estate with me that I might have every advantage from his knowledge of the ground and good judgement in approaching the coveys-for the birds are generally walked up on those fell farms and hillside commons.

As a fisherman few were his equal. No doubt he would handle a rod at a very early age, and as the pool below his house was certain to hold a salmon at any time in the short season of that river, and trout are always fairly abundant, he had plenty of practice near home. But there was not a lake or river for miles round that he had not fished, and up to the last he seemed capable of any amount of fatigue to have "a day amang’t trout" at such distant places as Buttermere, or Loweswater. If he heard of any sick person, young or old, who he thought would fancy a fish, he would take down his rod, and if he had luck he would soon be at the cottage, empty his pannier, and with a joke and a laugh, bring a ray of sunshine to all around.

As behoved one who was born and bred in "Threkit," the home of so many heroes of the wrestling ring, the squire loved this north country sport. In his younger days he had taken his turn with the rest, and during his long life had seen most of the cracks of his time "try a fall," and was an excellent judge of this manly pastime. He was a patron of the Grasmere Sports from the first, and I believe never missed a meeting til 1902. At the previous meeting he was present and took the keenest interest in both he wrestling and the hound trail. The squire’s literary proclivities, as far as I am ware, never went much beyond the description of a good hunt, but he could give them with a graphic humour all his own If he did not himself fall into verse            he certainly inspired the muse I others, and to introduce you to Nimrod, the mighty hunter, here are the lines written many a year ago, by his old playfellow John Richardson.

John Crozier’s "Tally Ho"

The hunt is up the hunt is up;
Auld Tolly’s on the drag;
Hark to him, beauties, git away; He’s gone for Skiddaw crag.
Rise fra we’r beds, ye sleepy-heads,
If ye wad plesser know;
Ye’r hearts ‘t will cheer, if ye bit hear,
John Crozier’s "Tally ho!"

Hurrah! Hurrah! He’s stown away’
Through t’ forest wild he’s gean:
Sweet Music tells ‘mang t’ heather bells,
What track sly reynard’s tean.
Rise fra ye’r beds, etc.

To Carrick Fell, to Carrick Fell,
His covert theer ‘ill fail;
Unlucky day, he cannot stay, Blencathra’s heights to scale.
Rise fra ye’r beds, etc

Ower Lonscale Fell, by Skiddaw Man,
An’ doon by Millbeck ghyll;
To t’ Dod he’s gone, his reace is run,
Hark! Tally ho! A kill!
Rise fra ye’r beds, ye sleepy head,
If ye wad plesser know;
Yer hearts ‘t will cheer, if you bit hear,
John Crozier’s "Tally ho!"

                                                                        Portraits of Mr & Mrs Crozier, 1869

 

The squire’s father kept a few "Huntin Dogs" as old-fashioned dales folks used to call them, during his residence at Gate Ghyll, and the pack known as the Threlkeld hounds he continued to hunt after his removal to Riddings. Before his father’s death about 1839, young Crozier had taken over the management of the pack and to him, Old Joshua Fearon, the huntsman, who had been his instructor in the Royal Sport, now surrendered the horn. When Mr. Crozier ceased to carry it himself, he entrusted it to Isaac Todhunter, "Lal Isaac," who hunted the pack for just a quarter of a century, in fact til death closed the record. A green coat, scarlet waistcoat, cord breeches, and a pair of boots that would have anchored many a townsman to the sod, and you have Lal Isaac. For an old man as I remember him he was a wonderful "traveller" but they said he liked to breed hounds as light coloured as possible in his later years, that he might see them better in working the fells. It was just at the end of his time that I first followed the hounds, and I must say I agreed with the administration in a change they made in the time after they had appointed John Porter as his successor, and gradually got some dark black-and-tan, as we often have to hunt fox over the snow, and to mark your hounds as they cross distant mountain sides under these conditions some should be dark. "Johnny" was a capital huntsman; remarkable for the way he would stick to his hounds, and he could go at a pace up the roughest mountainside that would astonish most men on good road. He passed away after twenty-five years active service, to be succeeded by Jim Dalton, a young, active, and very capable man, who has shown excellent sport, and who knows how, with the help of the dalesman, to hunt his pack over this exceedingly difficult country, which requires a special knowledge of hounds and fox’s ways, and every part of the ground you may by any chance have to pass over. Mr. Crozier informed me that when he first took the management of the pack he had several hounds from Will Pearson of Brannoc Dean, near Cockermouth, a very noted huntsman, and also some four couples of white hounds later on from Jos Hudson of Ullock. The white ones old Jos Fearon said had small eyelashes and strained back to Pearson’s dogs. So the squire considered that in it’s early days the pack owed much to this blood.

My old friend Mr. Thomas Mayson, of Keswick, whose keenness and judgment in this mountain spot have in my time never been excelled, has been a life long follower of the Blencathra, knowing every dog that has run with them since he was a lad. He tells me that his uncle John Mayson, kept a pack at Keswick about a century ago, which were hunted by Fleming, who is described as a remarkably fine-looking tall man with a voice like thunder. Undoubtedly, he says some of Crozier’s hounds would strain back to this Keswick pack and to one afterwards kept by Mr. Slack, at Derwent Hill.

About thirty years ago, if my memory serves me, Mr. Crozier had a rather dark coloured dog lent him, which came from South America, and was said to be pure bloodhound, yet it was in appearance in many points like a small-sized ordinary fox hound, but with large ears. He was sire to a black and tan bitch Luna, and to other hounds of dark colour and deep note that proved very useful in speaking to a cold scent. Luna was the model of a mountain hound, perhaps small as compared with the drafts we got from Lowland masters-Lord Leconfield and others, but neatly built, light, active, and with perfect muscular development, as good at a view, and race over the grass, as she was in letting you know that the "sly one" had been about.

The group of mountains lying to the north of the Vale of Threlkeld and separated from the highland of the Lake District by this valley, have at their western extremity Skiddaw rising to a height of 3,000 feet. Blencathra towering over the master’s home at the south, with it’s precipitous face and rapid slope to the river below the Riddings, and as an eastern flank the rough fell of Carrock looking across a broad valley to the distant heights of Crossfell and the Pennine Range. To the north this isolated, high, and uninhabited tract of wild moorlands, generally called Skiddaw Forest, ends in the Caldbeck Fells, where nature assumes a more genial aspect. Low green hills and grassy holmes, lead on to the Solway. This high, wild plateau was a part, and perhaps the favourite one, of the squire's country. From the mountain above Caldbeck, looking north and east, on a clear day, you may see the happy hunting ground “From Low Denton Holme up to Scratchmere Scar," where that great hero of the chase John Peel, and his followers, “strove for the brush in a morning." In his younger days John Crozier had been out with Peel, who nearly always, it must be remembered, rode to hounds, and also occasionally their packs ran together when the Blencathra was hunting this part of their domain.

Briton was a favourite hound with John Peel, and when the old man died and his pack was broken up, young John sent the little black-and-tan to Mr Crozier, who was very proud to have it for the old Nimrod's sake. Trail hunting has always been a very popular sport in the north of England, and though the squire did not allow hounds running with his pack to be used in this way there is no doubt that dogs carefully bred and trained to win at that game have afterwards come to his hands and proved most valuable additions to the Blencathra.

It is very difficult to exactly define what ought to be the ideal of a mountain foxhound. The Blencathra Pack has had animals running in it of considerable variety in size and quality. At one period a type such as we can best describe, as that of the old Lancashire Harrier was the fashion. Some would call it a light built foxhound, but distinctly smaller than those used in the shires. These hounds are swift, good stayers, and nimble, and small enough to follow the fox through almost any crag or on to any "bink" where he may seek safety. Some large-limbed heavier hounds, I must own, have done remarkably well, but I think we may safely say we find in man or beast, weight tells in travelling these steep fell sides. Years ago there were some most perfect small sized foxhounds to be seen amongst the winners at trail hunts. Several that came out of Langdale, for instance, would, from their shapely beauty, have been a prize for any mountain pack, and they were as clever as they looked. Since then, in every trail hunt I have seen, there were foxhounds running of some variety in size, but all showing evidence of careful breeding and of that skill and attention in their training which marks well the value their owners put upon them. I am sorry to say that in some recent contests dogs of a very crossbred appearance were entered. Out of the 29 that ran in the trail at Grasmere Sports in August 1905, there were comparatively few a master of hounds would have cared to take over. Several, and amongst them some that proved good at the trail were more like lurchers than fox- hounds. They might please a poacher but no self- respecting huntsman would have them at his heel.

In hunting the fox in this sort of country it is necessary to have a few terriers always at hand, or the enemy would often get into " bealds " amongst the rocks from which no hound could oust him. They are a hardy, rough-haired, tough sort, and often succeed in killing a fox twice their size if he will not bolt. The mountain district above mentioned, the Vale of St. John, with the Helvellyn range to the Raise, Thirlmere, the Vales of Keswick, Borrowdale, Newlands and Wythop, form the Blencathra country over such ground it requires a stout heart, and a good pluck, in hounds, terriers, and followers of the chase or few foxes would be accounted for. It must be remembered, too, that the hunting is done entirely on foot, often in hard frost, or when rain, snow, or bitterly cold winds sweep over these wild fells, and I have been out when, owing to the intense cold, the dogs were practically unable to work as they could not take up the drag owing as the men said to their noses being frozen. I can only say that I felt that with my whiskers and hair frozen hard in one mass of ice to my velvet coat, and an idea that my ears had both dropped off frozen, a change of climate would not be amiss. To get temporary relief we often lay flat down on the lee side of a big stone or in the heather, and soon one was aglow with the returning circulation.

Mr. Crozier told me that when he first hunted the pack, foxes were not so plentiful as now, twelve couple being a good record for a season, but he wrote to me on January 2l, 1889: "The Blencathra Hounds have had a capital season so far. Foxes turned out the most numerous that I can remember, they have already accounted for twelve brace," and in recent years 25 to 30 brace, or even more, besides a large number of cubs, have been killed and gathered in one season. It was his opinion that the preservation of foxes in the lower country, hunted by the Cumberland Hounds had caused the great increase in numbers. I well remember the killing behind Lonscale Crag, after a fine run over Skiddaw, of a small fox with a red coat and very black points, that he said came from an Irish strain, imported and let loose in Wythop Woods by a gentleman he knew in the low country. On the same day and near the same spot the pack made an end of a fine fellow, one of the old type of greyhound foxes, long limbed, grey coated, and with a grand bush. It was, I believe, a Skiddaw racer of this kind that Mr Jackson Gillbanks, of Whitefield, described as "fierce as a tiger, and long as a hay band, and with an amiable cast of features very like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is very bad to kill 'top o't' ground,' and still worse when he gets into a burn.

When first I remember the Cumberland Hunt it was under the guidance of an Honourable Baronet, who showed some capital sport. They were a keen lot of fearless riders, and many of their best gallops ended at            the foot of the mountains.

Like thunderbolts, across the plain
They furious swept away;
One horseman many lengths ahead:
Sir Wilfred leads the way.

 

At the present time two packs of foxhounds hunt North Cumberland, and by various packs from every side foxes are driven to the mountains. Had it not been for the increasing energy and skill with which Mr. Crozier            and his stalwart dalesmen and many others met this invasion, the shepherds' enemy would have made fearful mischief amongst the flocks. It is often necessary for the huntsman to get a few hounds together in the late spring or even early summer and go to the aid of the of the farmer. The extermination is in these instances the only remedy for one of these cunning old scoundrels that has taken to lamb worrying.

The squire has never had any difficulty in getting hounds walked by the farmers and others. So kind were their wives and daughters to their charges, vieing with each other as to who should send them to Riddings in the autumn in the best condition, that when the first hunt took place they were, as the squire said, far too fat to get near a fox's brush. Till recent years we may say of John Crozier as Mr. Jackson Gillbanks wrote of John Peel, that "except on great days he followed the old style of hunting—that is, turning out before daylight, often at 5 or 6 o'clock, and hunting his fox by the drag . . ." Years ago there were fewer foxes, and there was not the necessity there now is to keep them down, and it was the squire's practice when first the pack began to run in autumn, to hunt hare and get the dogs into condition, and as the squire put it to me, " It gives the old fellows a chance, for they're terrible keen hunters." It was the rule in my time in hunting hare to never give the hounds any help, they had to learn to find and follow, we simply looked on. This made them rely on themselves when they were after the great enemy on the mountain. If the hounds happened to come on the drag of a fox away they went, and we had a hunt, but it was usually about Christmas time before they reckoned to try for the big game, and then the first meet was Barf, which in those days Mr. Crozier considered the "smittle spot" for foxes. In later years Skiddaw was a surer find' and now you may come across two or three in a day in any part of the country. Now and then deer get out on the fells, and as they soon become very wild, and do considerable mischief, word is sent to the Riddings and a hunt is arranged. About twenty-five years ago the squire wrote me that they were going to try for one that was on Helvellyn, but I was not able to be present. It was a day or two before they found the stag, but at last they came upon it at the top of Walla Crag above Derwentwater, and after a long and exciting chase, he was killed by a curious chance in a small field directly in front of Riddings. The foot was presented to me when I went down at Christmas, and is the stock of the whip which I have carried over many a mile of mountain, and by many a river side hunting fox or otter, and with it I have whipped in for several of the most notable masters of otter hounds of my time.

The sweetmart is also occasionally met with, but it is a very difficult animal to kill with hounds, as it is able to get up the face of high rocks and crags to places where neither hound nor terrier can follow. In the days when Todhunter carried the horn there was a good hound he had great reliance on in quest for fox, but if it got on the trail of a mart it would turn tail, and have nothing to do with it, and old Isaac would say quietly: "It's a mart," and often whipped off. I have been out only once when we were at all certain we had a mart before us, and that we lost in Falcon Crag, near Thirlmere, but often when following the hounds over Skiddaw in winter time, I have seen the print of the animal in the snow. The old squire was always anxious the mart should not be exterminated, and that same sympathy you will find amongst the hunters to day for this interesting creature. Occasionally one gets into the keeper's trap set for the mart's relative the stoat, hut in the large woodlands that now abound in the Lake District, he has a safe home well suited to his shy habits.

Some recent writers about these hounds have instanced a long run they had in 1858, finding on Skiddaw, about mid-day, a grand fox that took them eventually such a chase that all trace of the pack was lost in darkness, and the hounds were found next morning at Coniston—the fox dead, the pack resting quietly round him.

They seem to think that hounds could not do this in our day. This is an entire mistake. In my opinion hounds and hunters are as keen and fit as ever, and the foxes are as good a sort. Many of these fine grey-coated animals have been viewed, and some killed in the past seasons, and if I may relate a personal experience, it happens to have been my most recent one of mountain fox hunting. I may state that I started from a friend's house with the Eskdale hounds about 7-30 soon after dawn (a degenerate sort of time; I am perhaps old-fashioned, but like to be off before daylight), and we were out till dark, having travelled over the Calder and Ennerdale fells. Eventually the hounds ran their fox to the crags over Wasdale, where they were heard on the mountain above the Inn, in full cry, and probably killed the fox between eight and nine o'clock in the evening. It took three days to collect the scattered remnant of the pack. Old Tommy Dobson, aged 83 years, started with us and went a long way over the mountains, and only returned as the day closed in.

Perhaps one of the secrets of John Crozier's popularity was his sympathy with those around him, his real interest in their toils and pleasures. That he was an excellent judge of sheep and cattle was a great bond of union with the older folk of both sexes, and over the young can you have any doubt as to his influence when I state that he would never miss a chance of giving them a pleasant time. If there were to be a circus at Keswick he would stroll quietly down to the schoolmaster's house during the week and arrange that he and his wife should take all the lads and lasses under their care to see the fun. Then the squire and his buxom wife would be there also, sitting in the midst of this enthusiastic crowd, and I thoroughly believe they were the happiest of the jovial crew. There is just one thing about his character that no doubt did much also to earn a thorough respect from all who knew him. He had a most cordial disapproval of anything being said of an ill-natured sort about absent ones, and when this was persisted in, he would say in a short testy way: "There, there, enough, let that hare sit," and it was enough, for all knew the squire could let them have the rough side of his tongue if they crossed him where he ruled.

On two occasions handsome presentations of plate have been made to him, recording in their inscriptions the appreciation of his many friends. How sincere and universal was the love of him was shown by the great sorrow that found expression when on the 5th of March, 1903, the sad news came that the old statesman squire had passed away.

When the morning of the funeral broke with a terribly wild storm of drenching rain, I really think these dear, old-world, superstitious, good folks thought in their hearts it was all in the fitness of things: "happy is the corpse the rain falls on."

It had been intended to "bear him" from Riddings to the church, and the stalwart dalesmen who were to have the honour were even selected, but those who had the arrangements in hand determined that a hearse should be sent for from Keswick, as there might be no abatement in the storm. Then came a difficulty. Every horse was engaged to drive people to the funeral, and it was only after great trouble that matters were arranged. Every road to the village was thronged with people—men and women,—many of whom had walked for miles along exposed roads and over the bleak moorlands in this awful weather. The idea of "bearing" him was abandoned, and the sad procession proceeded from the quiet old home he loved so well down to the village, through lines of sorrow-ing people standing there heedless of the drenching rain. On the coffin were placed his hunting cap, the horn I gave the hunt many a year ago, and his good oak staff. The impressive scene inside the little church is difficult to describe. Every seat was occupied, and the tall yeomen stood shoulder to shoulder down either side of every aisle, yet many had to remain outside in the storm. The service and address were in perfect accord with the solemnity of the occasion. No words of mine can adequately convey the effect of the singing. One sweet voice was heard leading, but it seemed as if everyone there had been trained to give a perfect effect to this power of music, and its fascination, which found a response in the hearts of all. This culminated in the final scene when we stood round the grave, and amidst the roar of the storm in the mighty hills as its accompaniment, there rose up the grand old hymn "Oh God our help in ages past," and in that peaceful spot where ten years before, almost to a day, they had laid his dear wife, he now rested.

The name and fame of the squire will live in the words of the poet he loved to quote: —

 

Still in story and in song,
For many an age remembered long
.

 

But no tribute will do more to keep his memory green than the fine lines of my friend Canon Rawnsley: —

We shall never hear again,
On the fell or in the plain,
John Crozier's " Tally ho! "
Never see him through the rain
And the sun, with might and main,
Follow on from crag to crag, -while the hound’s give
tongue below.

Dark the valley east and west,
Clouds are on Blencathra's crest,
The hunter home has gone:
And the Squire they loved the best
Now is carried to his rest—
Eighty years has Death the huntsman followed hard
—the chase is done.

But I think I see him stand—
Bough mountain-staff in hand,
Fur cap and coat of grey—
With a smile for all the band
Of the sportsmen in the land,
And a word for all the merry men who loved his
"Hark-away!"

Last hunter of your race!
As we bear you to your place
We forget the hounds, and horn;
But the tears are on our face,
For -we mind your deeds of grace
Loving kindness, late and early, shown to all the
Village-born.