3 DECEMBER 1904, Page 27

specimens, in indifferent health, the herd having been bred hi

and in till its members fell victims to tuberculosis. His letter should be read carefully; but the practical outcome is, first, that the survivors are to be sold on December 8th ; and secondly, that if any of them pass into the hands of sensible persons, there is a good chance of the herd being built up again by crossing with one or two modern breeds, and the use, perhapg. of Chillingham blood. By far the best plan would be to sell the cattle, not in one lot, but to different purchasers. They would then be available for more than one series of experiments. The most hopeful feature in Professor Wallace's point of view is that he, like others who have studied the facts, knows that these are not, and never were, "wild" in the sense of being the direct descendants of the wild "urns" of these islands. But that they "ran wild" for a time in many English forests seems certain, while their antiquity is un- doubted. The existence of a highly prized white breed of tame cattle is recorded from a very early date among presents made to kings and chieftains.

A parallel survival, of almost equal interest, and found in much the same districts in which most of the white park herds flourished as late as the early nineteenth century, has not attracted the attention that it deserves, especially in connection with the continuance of these feral forest cattle. We refer to the beautiful breed of ancient " Southern " hounds, which doubtless were used from remote times to hunt the wild animals in those very forests in which the half-wild cattle roamed. These hounds are in most cases only found on the moors, fells, or mosses, whichever be the local name (and where Cheshire, Lancashire, and Yorkshire meet all three terms are in use), of the three Northern counties in which the greater number of parks anciently containing the white cattle lie. They are owned communally, as a rule, by hunts, the members of which are moormen, quarrymen, or sometimes weavers or mechanics. But frequently the Huntsman or Master has been a man of family in the 'neighbourhood. In every case the hounds are of extra- ordinary merit, and of a breed absolutely apart. One of the oldest of these hunts, the Penistone, which has its head- quarters on the high moors between Sheffield and the Lancashire border, has flourished since the thirteenth century, and has a very fairly complete history. Judging from ,this survival, in very fine condition and with no deterioration of power, of these ancient forest hounds, which were certainly mot wild animals, there seems no reason to doubt that a valued domestic breed of cattle should have been able to retain its characteristics through seven centuries. At the same time, the long tradition that these were "wild " can never quite be explained away, though much is known to account for a genuine belief in their having been so.

The condition of the Northern and Midland shires of England from the early Middle Ages till quite recent days is recalled only with an effort; but if the landscape can be re- constructed it will not be difficult to put in the figures of the white cattle, running almost wild. Even in the South there were, as a rule, no hedges or fences. The cattle were all sent out to graze on the open "cow commons" under the charge of a neatherd, equipped with a goad, a horn, and probably a javelin to throw at wolves. Bat there was at least plenty of cleared land. In the North and the North Midlands, and even lower still, the main covering of the country was immense trackless forests. When the cattle got into these it was doubt- less most difficult to "take them up" again. You could not ride and "round them up" with stock-whips, the thickets were too dense. If you did "round them up," there was nowhere to put them, no big pastures with hedges, no stone-walled " intakes " below the hills, unless a park were enclosed. In the forests they were exposed to the attacks of wolves, which killed off their calves, and left that ineradicable habit of concealing the young noted in the cows at Chillingham. Evidence has been previously quoted in the Spectator to show that the really old parks were not created either as pleasure grounds or as conferring added dignity on a great house. That came much later. A noble of the fourteenth or fifteenth century was eager to obtain leave to enclose a park from much the same motives as the Norfolk squires of the seventeenth century liked to make a decoy. Its purpose was to hold a stock of venison, or even of hares, in a handy place where they could be netted or shot for the house. Hunting in parks was a poor business reserved for Tudor and Stuart

days. The park was, as a rule, made on good grazing ground to fatten the venison, but, if possible, abutting on a forest. It was frequently stocked from the forest, and whenever the owner could get leave from the King he had a few "deer leaps" in his park paling, which were traps admitting the wild deer but preventing their exit. What was more natural than that an owner who had now got a big enclosure, with a fence high enough to keep in red deer, should make it also strong enough to keep in heavy cattle, and then organise what was called (and is still so called in the New Forest and Sherwood) a " drift " or drive of a large slice, and chase the cream of the practically "wild" white cattle into his park. We know that this was done at Chartley, where the cattle were driven in in this way from Needwood Forest six hundred and fifty years ago. To come to quite modern times, we find that in the rich and domestic county of Northamptonshire there is, besides Whittlebury Forest, the remains of Salcey Forest, only a few miles from the metropolis of boots, up to which forest runs the very extensive park of the Marquis of Northampton, dominated by the great Tudor mass of Castle Ashby. Deer still ran wild in this forest and in the adjacent chase as late as the middle of the eighteenth century, and only then did the lords of Castle Ashby make a "drift" of the chase and enclose these deer in a park, as the lords of Chartley did the white cattle more than five centuries before.

Once in a park, it seems obvious that in most cases the lord would desire to tame these cattle, while the monks would be certain to do so if on their estates. Their intrinsic fine breeding, which survives still, would enhance their value immensely, for cattle-breeding went from bad to worse for centuries until quite modern days. It is quite probable that parks were the only places where really good herds could be kept pure. Their taming, or re-domesticating, took place pretty generally, to judge by records and survivals, except at Chartley and Chillingliam, where it was always considered a sporting and social distinction to keep them as wild as possible, and at Cadzow, which lay on the borders of the Caledonian Forest. The Celtic feeling for romance naturally connected them with the uri once found there, and the tradition was carefully fostered. As a fact, these cattle are obviously of the same general breed as the other white park herds. The history of these, down to our own day, shows how greatly they were esteemed even after parks ceased to be almost the only places where fine breeds were kept pure. They remained at Lyme Park, in Cheshire, till the last quarter of the last century. A " composite " breed at Kilmory Castle, formed within the last seventy years, represented the "wild" herds kept by the Duke of Atholl at Blair Atholl, the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith, and the Marquis of Breadalbane at Taymouth. Sir John Orde took the trouble to do what Professor Wallace proposes should be done with the survivors at Chartley. He crossed them with a modern domesticated race, and secured the perpetua- tion of a white breed indistinguishable in general character from those at Chillingham or Cadzow.

The following illustrates what was probably the general treatment of the white cattle in mediaeval times, and carries it down to the present. In Lancashire they existed in ancient days at Whalley Abbey. In 1805 they are found at Gisburn Park, in Craven,Yorkshire. Bewick and Whitaker both say that they were brought there from Whalley Abbey, and that the monks took them in from Howland Forest, just as the Earls Ferrers took them in from Needwood Forest. The Gisburn herd had no "wild" character about them. But at Middleton Hall, also in Lancashire, were white cattle, said to be crossed with those at Whalley Abbey. Note what happens. From Middleton Hall some of the herd were taken, as late as 1765, to Gunton Park, in Norfolk, Sir Ralph Assheton of Middle- ton's elder daughter and co-heiress having married Sir Harbord Harbord. From Gunton drafts were taken to Woodbastwick Hall, and to Troston Hall, in the same county. This shows how lasting is the prestige of such a pure and ancient race, even now. Its value before the days of enclosures, and when cattle generally could not fail to deteriorate by promiscuous cross-breeding in the common fields and woods, is obvious, and accounts for the care taken to preserve them in very many parks, of which the names will be found in any good work on British cattle.