19C Reminiscences

19th Century Reminiscences

In the 1970s the Newsletter printed an account from Major Probert’s family records of a ‘Wye Tour’ undertaken by Col Morgan Clifford, his nephew and George Clive (one-time Lord of the Manor). They set out in a rowing boat from Whitchurch and after one total immersion and sundry near escapes, arrived by dark at Tintern only to find to their surprise that the river was tidal and, moreover, the tide had turned ..’ so we had to trudge off to Chepstow carrying our baggage.’

In the Colonel’s reminiscences , Major Probert says ‘he talks of meeting people such as Charles Darwin, Josiah Wedgewood, The Ladies of Llangollen, Cobbett etc, but like Jane Austen, he hardly mentions the major world events.

However, in January 1860 a famous run with the Chepstow hounds is recorded: ‘A fox was found in the first cover drawn and off we went at a fearful pace, Butler (his son-in-law) leading. For my own part I was unable to keep a front place over such a country, but as the fox went in the direction of Monmouth it ran across some of my own land and I was able to drop into lanes and cut corners, and found myself, thanks to a convenient lane, the only man with the hounds for some time until joined by Butler and John Herbert. The Wye was about a mile below us and the fox seen swimming the river. We were at the moment at the top of my Argoed estate and I knew a narrow lane that led direct to the river. I told Butler and Herbert to follow me as we should find a ferry boat (which is exactly what we did not find!). There was only a fishing punt used to take foot passengers across and too small for horses with safety. They were bent on trying, though the river was wide and deep. Our horses were very nervous. However we got them into the boat and I prepared myself for a swim. As we got near the other side my horse fairly jumped overboard, nearly capsizing the boat. However we got safely mounted and took different lines, agreeing to ‘holla’ to each other. I finished up near the Buckstone where I found a few hounds and the fox gone to ground. So ended this great run.

[from: Penallt – A Village Miscellany]