Holkham Hall Shooting in Victorian Times – The Keen Shot’s Miscellany by Peter Holt

During the 1890’s, Lord Leicester, host at Holkham Hall, Norfolk, arguably Britain’s greatest Victorian shoot (and rumoured to be the home of driven shooting), was in the habit of giving his guests only one drive.

Guns and beaters spend all morning pushing the pheasants into one place without a shot being fired. Then they had a brief spot of lunch before getting into position for the only drive of the day.

The Guns lined up three deep before almost every bird on the estate was driven over them. It took great skill for the keepers to trickle the birds out so that they didn’t flush. The bag could come to over 1,000 head of pheasant and partridge.

Incidentally, lunch at Holkham then was a miserable affair. Leicester expected his guests to swallow a sandwich while standing up in a field. Talking was forbidden in case it disturbed the birds.

Wives were unwelcome!!

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