Ladies of the Lake

The Ladies of the Lake


Windermere, at 12 miles long and 220 feet deep , is England’ largest natural lake , situated in Cumbria which is bounded by the Scottish border . Windermere is one of the sixteen lakes of the National Park of the Lake District . Before the construction of the railways towards Windermere , wealthy businessmen from Lancashire built fashionable residences overlooking the lake . In 1847 the railways reached Windermere and it became a very popular holiday resort for the working class . Miss Elisabeth Ann Aglionby & Mrs Rawlinson lived in the neighbourhood of Windermere lake . Both were prominent Mastiffs fanciers in the 1860/1870ties .

Staffield Hall [Kirkoswald~Cumbria] nearby ‘The Nunnery’ was built for Lady Jane in 1715 by her husband Henry Aglionby, Esq , descent from Walter Aguillon who is said to have come to England with William ‘the Conqueror’ in 1066 ; in 1851 Mary A. [74y old] resided at the Nunnery, in 1882 Elisabeth A. died at Staffield Hall . Presumably Miss E. Ann Aglionby [1815-1878] was related to this family ; in 1873 she resided at Esthwaite Lodge (see pic below) ~Hawkshead , some 40 miles south-west of Kirkoswald .


Miss Aglionby’s foundation bitch , Hilda , was a sister to champion Hales’ Lion . Both were bred by Mr Edwin Nichols of London . She mated Hilda to champion Field’ King which resulted in the illustrious champion Turk b 1867 . Another important brood was Una sired by Lindoe’ Druid , brother to Peveril (see below at right) . She mated Una to Turk’ brother , her own Wolf , giving new champion offspring , Briton & Hector b 1869 , the latter (see below at left) was owned by Mrs Rawlinson , wife of JJ Rawlinson , Esq.

From Martorell of Lancashire she procured in 1867 Empress KCSB 2368 who was by his Lyme Hall dog Sultan out of Mr Nichols’ Duchess . Champion Empress got first prizes at Crystal Palace 1872 , Nottingham 1873 & Crystal Palace champion class 1874 . She bred two litters out of Empress both sired by her Wolf ; one of the offspring was Champion who sired her litter out of Turk’ grand-daughter Hanna by Paris .In 1873 , she acquired Lottie , bred by Mr Edwin Nichols , of London , out a half sis of Una (both sired by Lindoe’s Druid) and sired by Turk’s son , Mr Nichols’ home stud Big Ben who also sired champion Taunton’s Cardinal . The following year Miss Aglionby moved four miles north to Belmont Ambleside while her Lottie got 1st prizes at Darlington & Manchester Belle Vue ; already in 1875 she was made up . She also produced ‘ Ida ‘ sired by champion Wolsey’ brother , Mr Nichols ‘ Prince , bred by Mr Edgar Hanbury of Eastrop Grange Hightworth , Wiltshire .

Miss Anne Aglionby bred her last litter , whelped 22 02 1878 , out of ‘Ida‘ sired by champion Colonel . Their daughter Negress was acquired by Mr H. Darlington of Elm Bank~Wigan , West of Manchester . He bred Dr Turner’ foundation bitch The Lady Rowena out of Negress by champion Rajah ; later on Negress was sold to Dr Forbes Winslow who mated her to his Crown Prince which resulted in Dr Winslow’ only home bred champion , Crown Princess .


From Mannex' directory of Furness and Cartmel, 1882 ~ ‘ The church of Coniston , which is calculated to hold 200 souls , is much indebted to the munificence of the late Miss Anne Aglionby, of Wigton Hall , a lady much respected in the district, and celebrated throughout England for her breed of English Mastiffs . Her body is interred at the entrance of the church , which is under the pastoral care of the Reverend Henry Gibson ‘. From Bulmer's History & Directory Of Cumberland, 1901 ~ ‘The convent and schools of Wigton , led by the ‘Nuns of Mercy’ , are largely indebted for their foundation to the late Miss Anne Aglionby, of Wigton Hall ‘ [note ~ earlier on she resided at Esthwaite Lodge ~Hawkshead & Belmont ~ Ambleside] .

Mrs Rawlinson of Lower Graythwaite Old Hall , Ulverston owned champion Hector , bred by Miss Aglionby . It was however her champion Countess [b. 1872 bred by James Morris of Oswestry some 150 miles southwards] who left her mark on the breed development .


James Morris purchased Countess’ dam , Old Flora , from a Mr Williams of Stroud [Gloucestershire , some hundred miles southwards from Oswestry] . MB Wynn recalls ~ ‘At the Birmingham show in 1872 appeared two very marked Mastiff bitches named Flora and her daughter Countess , exhibited by J Morris . What made these animals so marked were certain features viz. their heads were shorter, blunter and heavier than the generality of bitches of that date ; both had a profusion of loose skin about the head and throat , forming heavy wrinkles ; their ears were large and heavy , those of Countess still larger than her dam’s . Both Old Flora and Countess were extremely alike in all but colouring , for while the latter inherited the jet black ears and muzzle from her sire , Sultan , Old Flora was spoilt by light brown markings .'


Mrs Rawlinson mated her Countess to Turk’ son champion Granby which resulted in the grand headed Stanley . Vaughn Davis made a small oil painting of this dog’s head , bearing a striking likeness to Crown Prince . Three years later she combined Countess with the stud of the day , champion The Shah and this union produced champion The Emperor .


The least one can say is those ‘ Ladies of the Lake ‘ , Miss Aglionby & Mrs Rawlinson , had a vast influence in the most successful combination of the Victorian age, namely The Lady Rowena ex Crown Prince , which resulted in the never equalled record of six champions . Not only along ch The Emperor and Negress but also via champion Turk who’s behind three great grandparents of the ‘six champions ’ of Dr Turner of Upper Norwood .


Below - Two pieces of art by George Earl , figuring Miss Aglionby’ Wolf [engraving] & an unknown specimen in almost the same position , although the muzzle at the painting seems to be rather somewhat shorter , more blunt and showing heavier flews ; at right Wigton Hall , once Miss Aglionby' residence at Wigton ~ a small but neat and well-built market town , occupying a pleasant situation on the right bank of the Wiza , 40 miles north of Hawkshead and only 10 miles from Carlisle .

Champion Turk , as already noticed , was once owned by Edwin Brough [since 1874] . Turk was a big winner and sired three champions ~ Nichols’ Juno & Punch and Pemberton’ Granby ~ and grandsired ch Morris’ Countess , Nichols’ Lottie , Becker’ Ben and Banbury’ Cardinal . His brother Wolf won only 1st prize at Manchester Belle Vue ’69 and 2nd prize at Glasgow ’72 beaten by ch Turk . Wolf sired two champion brothers Briton & Hector bred by Miss Aglionby out of Una, Lindoe’ Druid’ daughter .


Ch Turk and his brother Wolf are both of the rather houndy breed type , great height but rather leggy weak boned animals with relatively long heads ditto muzzles . Ch Turk shows a long strong back & comparatively deep chest and loins while Wolf seems to have displayed a rather short weak back with loins somewhat tucked up ; they have both long tails , Turk having the advantage of a carriage straight downwards opposite his brother who shows a curl at the end . Turk seems to have possessed better bend of shoulder and hindlegs while Wolf shows a tad shorter muzzle and deeper flews but his ears ears are overlarge and badly carried opposite to Turk who displays a nice ear of good size , set on high upon the skull . Turk shows full determination in his expression while Wolf gives a more softly image , not quite typical for a guard breed [Reverend Malcolm Bush Wynn mentions in his ‘History of the Mastiff’ ~ expression ‘lowering’ ] .