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A Long Chase

Page Editor: Norman Jackson

Page last Reviewed: 14 Jul 2014

The following is the story of a dog and fox in the year 1779. The account has been taken from 'The Records of Patterdale' written by the Rev. William Prosser Morris in 1903 


A farmer of the Duke of Norfolk's in Patterdale went out one Saturday afternoon a-shepherding. His dog followed him, and unkenneled a fox. This was about 2 p.m., and the farmer being busy did not join in the sport. The dog did not return home that evening, nor was he heard of until next day when, as the people were coming out of Patterdale Church, the dog was just passing it with the fox about forty yards in front of him. The fox got half a mile further when he ran into a garden, and laid himself down under a gooseberry tree. The dog was so fatigued that he lay down beside him without venturing to snatch him, but the owner of the garden with a pitchfolk killed poor reynard. The farmer afterwards heard that the dog and the fox had been at Rydal, on the Saturday evening at Wythburn, and Legberthwaite on the Sunday morning. The run must have lasted twenty hours, which, at ten miles an hour, would be two hundred miles. But they must have covered many more miles, for when seen at different places the dog was never far behind. When they passed St. Patrick's Church it is said that the whole congregation the parson, men, women, and children joined in the sport. 

When the dog grew old he never ran with the other hounds after a fox was unkenneled but took a road of his own, was generally in at the death and had often killed the fox before the other dogs came up. The owner of the dog was one Anthony Thompson.

Anthony Thompson was living at Noran Bank prior to his death in March 1800. He is buried, with his wife Anne, in St Patrick's Churchyard.