Bold Hall & Kirklees

Mr Robinson’ Bold of Bold Hall  was the first generation stud of the Ormonde ‘ 19 generations pedigree . MB Wynn writes - ‘About 1815 J.W. Thompson of Halifax, the breeder of Cautley’ Quaker, mated ’Rose’ with a yellow fawn named ‘Bold’, an animal procured by his owner, a Mr Robinson , from Bold Hall , being one of the noted strain of English Mastiffs kept up at that fine old residence ~ The breed is distinct from that of Lyme Hall in two respects only . The Bold Mastiff is a light tawny colour, that of Lyme Hall is much darker , almost amounting to red , the former has a light , the latter a black muzzle .The Bold breed has been in the Bold family for several centuries . Colonel John Wilson Patten [1802-1892] kept the breed himself in a measure when residing at Bold Hall ~

Mr Robinson’ Bold was a very savage specimen , at least when on chain ; the story being that Mr Robinson wishing to stop a footpath , and having no power to do so legally , thought to try the effect of a cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark’’’’  … and so procured Bold and a large bulldog , and chained these two dogs with kennels so near the footpath , that they could almost reach people if they made use of the path ...The results was as he anticipated , people were so frightened of the dogs that they discontinued using the path , and in course of time Mr Robinson , was able to close it .’ 


Bold Hall , where the Bold family is recorded from 1201 , was a local manor of a small village called Burtonwood , 4 miles N.W. of Warrington, Lancs , some twenty miles West of Lyme Hall, the seat of the Legh family whom also owned Bradley Hall in Burtonwood . One of Bold Hall’  inhabitants was Colonel John Wilson Patten [Baron Winmarleigh] . The name of Patten dominated the history of Warrington during the 19th century . The Patten' fortunes were largely built on the infamous Slave Trade as their works produced copper bangles traded for slaves in Africa and great coppers used to boil sugar and distil rum in the West Indies.

In 1565 John Armytage , a yeoman-clothier of Farnley Tyas , bought the land of Cistercian Kirklees Priory at Brighouse near Halifax . The present Hall was built by Edward Armytage in 1610 , using stone from Kirklees Priory . Between 1759 and 1770 , 2nd Baronet Sir George Armytage [1734-1783]  made changes to the Hall with John Carr of York [1723-1807] , changing the style from Tudor to Jacobean . The remains of Robin Hood [13th century] are said to be buried within  the grounds of the estate , so the Armytage family have had an important role to play in the futherance of the legend of ‘Robin Hood’.

Sir George Armytage [1761-1836] became 3rth baronet & fourth Viscount [High Sheriff] of the county of York and owner of over 3000 acres . His gamekeeper John Crabtree commenced as a Mastiff breeder after he found a brindle Mastiff bitch called Duchess , presumably belonging to one of the Lancashire cloth mills] in a fox trap . He mated her to Holdsworth’ brindle Lion [Bold Hall’ Bold ex Commissioner Thompson’ Rose resulting in Nero & Bet .

Bet was given to Mrs Brewer who mated her in 1823 to Tiger [owned by Squire Charles Waterton ~ see at left] which gave Venus & Tiny . Venus was crossed with Wynn Priory’ Lion [of the Thompson’ strain] . Their daughter [Venus or Duchess] came back in the ownership of game keeper John Crabtree . Nero was sold to Mr Gibson of Bradley and was mated to his niece Tiny . Their son became Sir George Armitage’ Old Tiger , the sire of  Dorah [born 1826]  who became the foundation brood of the commissioner Thompson’ son , James Wigglesworth Thompson .  One of Dorah’ grandsons was Sir Titus Salt’ Lion [Bill George Tiger’sire] .

Percy Manning (at right) ~ MA , FSA [Kennel Club Encyclopaedia, 1910] mentions ~ ‘In 1825 two smooth Alpine Mastiffs were brought over from the Hospice to Kirklees Hall where they were apparently used in building up Crabtree’ famous strain of Mastiffs‘ whereas John Crabtree himself described them in Wynn’ History of the Mastiff as ‘ big boned , loose jointed , badly made foreigners .’ Manning also writes ~ ‘It has been stated by many English writers that the Hospice dogs were all destroyed, except one bitch either by distemper or by an avalanche , somewhere between 1815 and 1825; that this bitch was crossed with a Newfoundland dog ; and that all our modern dogs come from this cross , which was the beginning of the rough variety .

The latest entry of Sir Armytage was Tiger owned by Bill Drake ; this Tiger was out of Thompson’ Juno  inbred to Arthington Hall’ Lion . Arthington Hall , seven miles north of Leeds , was by then occupied as a farm house , the property of the 2nd Earl of Harewood (see  in the centre) , Henry Lascelles [1767-1841] . It was a large well-built square house on a fine elevation above the river Wharf , which was for many centuries the  seat of a family of that name . His son William Lascelles [1798-'51] married in '23 Lady Caroline Howard [1803-1881] , daughter of the 6nd Duke of Devonshire’ sis Lady Georgiana .  So Arthington Hall’ Lion could be related to the famous Duke of Devonshire’ strain  at Chatsworth [50 miles south of Arthington Hall] , mostly of Alpine origin . ‘Caesar’ is believed to be the standing dog in Landseer’ picture ‘Alpine Mastiffs reanimating a Traveller’ , painted in 1820 , and that he was from a litter bred by Colonel Edward Cust of Leasowe castle [Birkenhead] Caesar’ sire Lion [see above at right] was also painted by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer [1802-1873] and was claimed in 1815 to be the biggest dog in England . Lion and Caesar’ dam were brought direct from the St-Bernard Hospice . ‘ It is important to note that , at any rate up to this period , none of the dogs described show the slightest trace of a bloodhound cross . This must have been made at a later date ... Richard Strebel , German cynologist & animalier painter ,  asserts that ‘it took place in England , but giving any proof of his statement’ .