Tak­ing the rough with the smooth

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

Al­though Holkham in north Nor­folk is be­lieved to be the birth­place of driven game shoot­ing, the Earls of Le­ices­ter were fond of go­ing out on reg­u­lar sor­ties with their keep­ers in pur­suit of all sorts of quarry, from pi­geon to wild duck, as the es­tate’s game books (dat­ing back to 1793) at­test.

But one aris­to­crat you might not have wanted to shoot with in Ed­war­dian times was that fabled shot the Mar­quess of Ripon. One of his favourite pas­times was to shoot round his es­tate bound­aries ac­com­pa­nied by a young game­keeper. Be­ing a com­pet­i­tive soul, Ripon in­sisted each man carry what the other had shot.

One day, ir­ri­tated that a young keeper, a crack shot, was shoot­ing so well that his own game bag was fill­ing quicker than the keeper’s, Ripon lost his tem­per, shot a nearby graz­ing sheep and shouted: ‘All right you bug­ger—now, you carry that!’

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