Blaker Family of Sussex - Reminiscences


Harriers, etc.

THERE were always two packs of good Harriers in this neighbourhood, the Brighton and the Brookside, and by some these were preferred to the foxhounds. A green coat was the proper dress. The steep Downs require almost as much good horsemanship as the large fences under the hill, but of a different kind. I was told this anecdote of the late Earl of Chichester by the late Mr. R. R. Verrall. The Earl was riding with the Queen's Staghounds, and they came to a rather steep hill down which the Earl quietly cantered, though it caused the rest to pause. A gentleman asked the old huntsman who the Earl was. The huntsman replied "I don't know who he is, but I can tell you where he comes from. He comes from the South Downs." There was, perhaps, as much real sport and enjoyment when a few farmers, one of whom acted as huntsman, kept five or six couples of large strong beagles. There was at one time such a "cry" at Ditchling, with which I had many happy days. One of the most favourite sports on the South Downs was shooting rabbits to small beagles in furze. To shoot a rabbit driven by beagles when crossing a somewhat narrow drive, requires a quick eye, and some dexterity and practice, but on a fine day with the air of the Downs, the view, the smell of the furze and the music of the hounds, there are few forms of sport more enjoyable.

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