Anyone with a love of hunting will find “Bowman”, Ron Black’s fascinating book about Joe Bowman, the legendary Huntsman of the Ullswater Foxhounds, an essential edition to their library. The Ullswater was formed in 1793 from the amalgamation of the Matterdale and Patterdale Hunts and six years later, the then Master, Squire Hasell appointed Joe Bowman as Huntsman and apart from a short break in 1911, he carried the horn for the next forty years.
Illustrated with archive photographs, Ron Black has painstakingly sourced reports in chronological order from the wonderful days when hunting correspondents from the Westmoreland Gazette, Lancashire Evening Post and Yorkshire Daily Post regularly covered meets of Fell Hounds. There are reminiscences of Shepherds Meets, Hunt Balls, Hunting songs, bold foxes, famous hounds, brave terriers and descriptions of days hunting by the likes of “Bay” De Courcy Parry, William Thomas Palmer and W.C.Skelton, who wrote a biography of Bowman in 1921.
The Ullswater have a long association with the Lowther family and when Joe Bowman died in 1940 in his 90thyear, the “Yellow” Earl paid him this fitting tribute: “ There is nobody for whom I have a greater respect than Joe Bowman, and the services he has rendered to the fox-hunting community and the Ullswater Hounds on the Lakeland hills are so well known that it is impossible for me to express any views regarding him that are not entirely shared and appreciated by those living in that country.”
Hunting is fundamental to the lives and cultural heritage of Cumbrian people and in “Bowman”, Ron Black has given us an immensely valuable insight to a period of Lakeland history, when the possibility of hunting becoming a political pawn was not just remote, it was unthinkable.
Sir John Scott, Bt. MFH
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