Biography & roots of Colonel John Garnier - breeder of Governor' sire Lion

John Garnier ,  b 24 Aug 1838 Lewknor Rectory , Oxfordshire , d 29 Apr 1929 , eldest son of the Very Reverend Dean of Lincoln Thomas Garnier [1809-1863] and Lady Caroline Elizabeth Keppel , daughter of William Charles Keppel , 4th Earl of Albermarle (see illustration here below) .

‘ He eventually entered the Royal Engineers , retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1887 . He has served with credit at Plymouth , Canada , the Cape , Chatham , Malta , Isle of Wight , and Guernsey , in the strengthening and construction of Fortifications . He married  June 26th 1869 at Trinity Church Marylebone , Mary Caroline, second daughter of Christopher William Giles-Puller, Esq., MP of Youngsbury Ware , Herts . He was a breeder of the British Mastiff for many years , commencing when quite a boy , and his knowledge of the subject has caused him to become one , if not the greatest , of living authorities and judges of this noble breed of dogs . His famous dog Lion which he himself bred , was the sire of that great dog  Governor , reckoned to be the finest and most perfect specimen of the old British Mastiff of the present century , vide ‘ The Dogs of the British Islands ,’ edited by Stonehenge . He is now a diligent writer on theological subjects , and is the author of more than one excellent work: his chief effort being ‘ Sin and Redemption ‘ published by Elliot Stock in 1893 ; but several other exhaustive theological treatises are at the time of writing in the press , the principal of which are ‘ The Nephilim ,’ ‘ The True Christ and the False Christ ,’ and in 1900 he was the author of ‘ England’s Enemies , a Warning ‘ published by W. H. Russell & Co .’ Source – ‘ The Chronicles of the Garniers of Hampshire During Four Centuries, 1530-1900 .’ published by Jarrold , London 1900.

‘ John Garnier’ father, Thomas Garnier the younger was second son of the Rev. Thomas Gamier the elder , dean of Winchester and Mary, sister of Sir Edward Parry , Arctic navigator , rear-admiral & governor of Greenwich Hospital . Thomas Garnier Jr was born at his father' living of Bishopstoke , Hampshire , 15 April 1809 . He was educated at Winchester School,  whence he proceeded to Worcester College , Oxford , where he graduated B A in 1830 , in which year he was elected , like his father before him , to a fellowship at All Souls . At Oxford he was distinguished for excellence in all athletic sports , and he was one of the crew in the first university boat-race . He took the degree of BCL in 1833 , and in the same year was ordained deacon .

After having served the curacy of Old Alresford , Hampshire , he was appointed to the college living of Lewknor, Oxfordshire, and was in 1840 presented by the Earl of Leicester to the rectory of Longford , Derbyshire . Here he resided till 1849 , when he was made chaplain of the House of Commons , holding with it the preachership of the Lock Hospital . In 1850 Lord John Russell , then prime minister , nominated him to the important crown living of Holy Trinity , Marylebone , where he worked hard . Gamier belonged to the so-called ' evangelical school , but his freedom from its narrowness is evidenced by his establishing daily services & weekly communions in his church .

On the death of Dean Erskine , he was nominated by Lord Palmerston to the deanery of Ripon , from which he was transferred in 1860 to that of Lincoln . Shortly after his appointment to Lincoln he met with an accidental fall , from the effects of which he never recovered . He was the author of a pamphlet on the ' New Poor-law Amendment Act ,' addressed to the labouring classes to disprove the supposed injurious effects of the proposed changes . ‘

‘ John Garnier grandfather Thomas Garnier Sr [1776-1873] was Dean of Winchester between 1840-‘72 and a botanist being a founding member of the Hampshire Horticultural Society in 1818 . Dean Garnier' Garden in Winchester' cathedral close is named after him .

He was a friend of Palmerston and a staunch whig . The second son of George Gamier, Esq , of Rookesbury , Hampshire , and Margaret , daughter of Sir John Miller . Members of his Garnier’ family , which was of Huguenot origin , long held the office of apothecary to Chelsea Hospital .

The Dean' grandfather , addressed by Lord Chesterfield as ‘ Gamier my friend ' in a poem published in Dodsley' collection, was appointed to the lucrative sinecure of ' apothecary-general to the army ' by William , Duke of Cumberland , the patent , ‘ a most unjustifiable one ,' the Dean used to say , being continued , in spite of hostile attacks , to his son , the Dean' father , till his death .

His father served as high sheriff of Hampshire in 1766 . His London house was regarded as one of the best for meeting celebrities .

At his Hampshire residence he also used to entertain a distinguished literary society , including Garrick , Churchill , Foote , and Sotheby . During the short peace of 1802-‘03 Gamier went abroad with Dr Halifax , physician to the Prince of Wales . He attended a levee of Napoleon , then first consul , to whom he was presented , Napoleon ' smiling and looking very gracious .' He heard Napoleon tell CJ Fox that he was the ' greatest man of the greatest country in the world .'

He was fortunately summoned to Oxford in 1802 , and thus escaped a long detention in France . He became rector of Bishopstoke in 1807 and resigned the charge in 1868 . In 1830 he was appointed a prebendary of Winchester Cathedral and in 1840 he was nominated by Lord Melbourne as successor to Dean Rennell , to the deanery which he held for thirty-two years . He resigned his office about a year before his death  which took place at his official residence on 29 June 1873 .

An ardent whig in politics , he was the friend and near neighbour of Lord Palmerston , and was believed to have influenced his ecclesiastical appointments . The garden of his rectory at Bishopstoke was very celebrated , especially for rare shrubs . For some time before his death he was the father of the Linnean Society, of which he became fellow in 1798 on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks .’  Source – Dictionary of National Biography Vol XXI , Garnett - Gloucester , London 1890 .

Colonel John Garnier , R E [ Royal Engineer ] of Taunton - Somerset~ the breeder of Lukeys Governor ’ sire Lion ~ consulted as thé Mastiff breed authority of the day , wrote an extensive article about the roots of the Mastiff in Dr John Henry Walsh’ [ Stonehenge ] ‘ Dogs of the British Isles ‘ , published in 1874 .

About this time [ 1857 ] I bought of Bill George a pair of Mastiffs , whose produce , by good luck , afterwards turned out some of the finest specimens of the breed I ever saw . The dog Adam was one of a pair of Lyme Hall Mastiffs , bought by Bill George at Tattersall’s . He was a different stamp of dog to the present Lyme breed . He stood 30 ½ in. at the shoulder , with length of body and good muscular shoulders and loins , but was just slightly deficient in depth of body and breadth of forehead ; and , from the peculiar forward lay of his small ears , and from his produce , I have since suspected a remote dash of boarhound in him . The bitch was obtained from a dealer at Leadenhall Market . Nothing was known of her pedigree , but I am as convinced of its purity as I am doubtful of that of the dog . There was nothing striking about her . She was old, her shoulders a trifle flat , and she had a grey muzzle , but withal stood 29 in. at the shoulder , had a broad round head , good loin , and deep lengthy frame . From crossing these dogs with various strains I was easily able to analyse their produce , and I found in them two distinct types – one due to the dog , very tall , but a little short in the body and high on the leg , while their heads were slightly deficient in breadth ; the other due to the bitch , equally tall , but deep , lengthy , and muscular , with broad massive heads and muzzles . Some of these latter stood 33 in. at the shoulder , and by the time they were two years old weighed upwards of 190 lb . They had invariably a fifth toe on each hind leg , which toe was quite distinct from a dew-claw , and formed an integral portion of the feet .

Cuts by Harrison W. Weir  from G.F. Pardon’s  ‘Dogs , Their Sagacity , Instinct and Uses ‘ published in 1857 . The Mastiff drawing is , according to M.B. Wynn ,  very interesting as Weir had then seen and studied Mr Lukey’ Mastiffs , taking them for his models , and this specimen is remarkably like the type of Mr Lukey’ Bruce 1st , also his descendant Peveril , and it may be accepted as a good example of Lukey’ type of that date , although I’m unaware if it was merely an ideal or a portrait . The Bloodhound drawing shows a heavy boned specimen , short in couplings , deep pendulous lips and a well developed stop [ Dr John Henry Walsh , Stonehenge , mentioned in his ‘Dogs of the British Isles’ , published in 1867,  that Bloodhounds were also used in order to ‘improve’ or alter the Mastiff breed ] .

By bad management , I was only able to bring a somewhat indifferent specimen with me on my return to England from America , a badly reared animal , who nevertheless stood 32 in. at the shoulder , and weighed 170 lb . This dog Lion was the sire of Governor and Harold , by Mr Lukey’ bitch  Countess , and so certain was I of the vast size of the breed in him that I stated beforehand , much to the incredulity of Mr Lukey , that the produce would be dogs standing 33 in. at the shoulder ~ the result being that both Governor & Harold were fully that height .

In choosing the whelps , Mr Lukey retained for himself the best marked one , an animal that took after the lighter of the two strains that existed in the sire ; for Governor , grand dog and perfect Mastiff as he was , compared to the most others of his breed, was nevertheless shorter in the body , higher on the leg , and with less muscular development than Harold ; while his head, large as it was , barely measured as much round as did his brother’s .

I , who went by the development of the fifth toe ( in this case only a dew-claw ) , chose Harold , a dog which combined all the best points , except colour , of both strains , and was a very perfect reproduction on a larger scale of his dam Countess .

This dog –Harold- was the finest male specimen of the breed I have met with . His breast at ten months old , standing up , measured 13 in. across with a girth of 41 in. and he weighed in moderate condition 140 lb . , and at twelve months old 160 lb. , while at 13 ½ months old Governor only weighed in excellent condition 150 lb. with a girth of 40 in. ; and inasmuch as Governor eventually weighed 180 lb. or even more, the size to which Harold probably attained must have been very great . His head also in size and shape promised to be perfect . I will mention three other dogs .

The first , Lord Waldegrave’s Turk , better known as ‘Couchez’ was the foundation of Mr Lukey’s breed . This dog has frequently been described to me by Bill George and Mr Lukey  and I have a painting of his head at the present moment . He stood about 29 ½  or 30 in. at the shoulder , with great length and muscular development , and although he was never anything but thin , weighed about 130 lb . Muzzle broad and heavy, with deep flews; skin over the eyes and about the neck very loose ; colour red , with very black muzzle. He was a most savage animal ; was fought several times with other animals , and was invariably victorious .

The second was a tailless brindled bitch , bought by Mr Lukey from George White of Knightbridge . She was a very large massively built animal , standing 30 in. at the shoulder . Her produce with Couchez were remarkably fine . “Long bodied , big limbed , heavy headed bitches . They were Mastiff Mr Lukey had in those days ! “ is Bill George’s eulogium of them . The bitch was bred by the Duke of Devonshire , and must therefore have been one of the Chatsworth breed .

The third animal , l’Ami , was a brindled dog of such vast size and weight that he was taken out and shown in England , in the year 1829 , the price of admission being one shilling . Of the head of this dog also I have a drawing , and it shows him to be very full and round above the eyes , with a broad heavy muzzle and remarkably deep flews , the ears being cropped close . This dog , with the exception of rather heavy flews , answered exactly to the type of Vandyke’s Mastiff .

Now , the point to which I wish to draw attention is , that both Couchez and l’Ami came direct from the Mount of St.Bernard. The mighty dogs which used to be kept at Chatsworth ( and one of which stood 34 in. at the shoulder ) were pure Alpine Mastiffs , as also were the two magnificient animals I have mentioned as having seen at Bill George’s kennels some sixteen years ago ; while others that I frequently used to meet with at that time were of the same character . These , one and all, presented the same type ~ a strong proof of their purity ~ and that type in all respects the same as the old English Mastiff portrayed by Vandyke .

The same way may be said of the dogs in Landseer’s picture of Alpine Mastiffs , which have all the points of the true Mastiff , although their tails , as might be expected from the cold climate , are harier than they should be .

At that time one used to meet with good English mastiffs also , but they were few compared to the number of half-bred animals that went by that name ; and , with the exception of Mr Lukey’s breed , the good ones have nearly all come from Lancashire , Cheshire and the North of England generally , where some years ago they were still in considerable request for guarding the large bleaching grounds . Between these and the Alpine dogs I never could dicover the slightest difference except in size  ~ the best English Mastiffs varying from 29 to 33 in. at the shoulder , while the Alpine specimens were seldom under 32 inches .

Now , it is ridiculous to suppose that the dogs that used to be found at the Convent , and in a few of the Swiss valleys , were a breed indigenous to that small part of the continent of Europe ; and yet it was there only that the breed existed .

When , therefore , we find the same animal common in England two hundred years ago , and still to be met with in considerable numbers , it is only reasonable to conclude that the English and Mount St Bernard Mastiffs are identical breeds , and that the monks , requiring large , powerful , generous , and high couraged animals for their benevolent purposes , selected the English dog in preference to all other breeds .

It is very easy to understand that , with the disuse of the breed for combating wild animals , they should have been allowed to die out and degenerate in England : and it is equelly easy to understand that the Mastiffs kept at the Convent of St Bernard for a particular purpose , requiring strength and courage , should have been kept up, and thus that the best specimens of the breed in modern times have come from there .

Colonel John E Garnier was the author of several books , published by R Banks & Son , London , at the turn of the XIX century a/o ‘ The worship of the Dead ‘ , ‘ The Origin and Nature of Pagan Idolatry’  and foremost ‘ The Great Pyramid : Its Builder and its Prophecy ‘ wherein he reviews the Corresponding Prophecies of Scripture Relating to coming events & the Approaching End of the Age .

Here below Garnier' view on Mastiffs  annex extensive judge report about the Crystal Palace show 1885 .