Irish Wolfhound History

The Bournstream Kennels

Mrs. Beynon mentions having had her first Irish wolfhound in 1897 when she was in India. The hound was given to her by Col. Ley and it was Col. Ley, following his death in 1913, from whom Mrs. Beynon took another hound, Mistress Biddy; the transfer being registered to her in February 1915. In February, 1916 she registered two hounds - Bournstream Freda (by Mr. T. Hamilton Adams's Ivo Dennis - his Ivo Feldath, and whelped June 17, 1914) and Bournstream Tiger (by Major P. Shewell's Lindley Hector - Mr. Booty's Ardeley Elizabeth, and whelped June 30, 1915).

Mary Beynon and a wolfhound 
 Mary Beynon with one of her hounds

In December, 1917 Mrs. Beynon registered Bournstream Faugh-a-Ballagh (by Mr. I.W. Everett's Felixstowe Navan - Mr. H. Smith's Cheevra, and whelped June 5, 1916). Bournstream Biddy (by H.C. Lea's Lindley Major - Dr. Fisher's Arbury, and whelped October 5, 1917) was registered in May, 1919. These two produced a litter on December 2nd, 1921, from which Mrs. Beynon registered - in 1924 - Bournstream Buller and Bournstream Limba, both dogs.

In 1923 (September 26th) The Tatler carried the following:- "I have received a letter from our member, Mrs. Beynon, in faraway Nigeria, which interested me so much with its accompanying photograph, that I am publishing it, feeling that members will also like to read it, especially those who are lovers of the Irish wolfhound. Mrs. Beynon writes from Laburra, Nyeri, Kenia, in July last, as follows: "In The Tatler of April 18, 1923, I saw you were needing photos of dogs of members of the L.K.A. I am enclosing one which may interest the readers of The Tatler. Your 'Notes' always interest us so much, and are one of the chief reasons we have been subscribers to The Tatler for many years. Three and a half years ago we came out to Kenia with two of my Irish wolfhounds, and they have done so well, also their puppies, two of which I am sending in the snapshot done of them by Sir Northrup MacMillan. One, Bournstream Buller of Kenia, is the most wonderful hound of his age I have seen anywhere, and I hope to take him and some of his brothers to England next year, when I hope he will do well at the shows. At present he enjoys life here, hunting buck and eating several pounds of fresh meat daily. It's been very interesting being out here, but I am looking forward to returning to England again. Wishing your kennel every success, and hoping you will forgive me for bothering you. - Yours faithfully (signed) Mary J. Benyon." It will indeed be delightful and most interesting to welcome Mrs. Beynon and her hounds back to our English shows, and to compare them with the home-bred dogs.

Mrs. Beynon in Kenya
This was the picture that appeared in The Tatler,
taken when Mrs. Beynon was in Kenya in 1923

V. Bradshaw wrote an article entitled "Irish Wolfhounds in Kenya" for the Irish Wolfhound Association Yearbook, published in 1925, which read as follows:-
"As far as I know, Irish wolfhounds were first imported to Kenya Colony in 1919, by Mrs. Beynon, the well-known English breeder, before the war. She brought out two hounds, Bournstream Faugh-a-Ballagh and Bournstream Biddy, from which she bred one litter. Of these I bought one bitch puppy, which I believe was the only one of the litter sold. This I believe was due partly to the unsettled state of the country at the time, and partly to the hounds not being sufficiently well-known in the country. Unfortunately for the breed in Kenya, Mrs. Beynon has returned to England, and taken her hounds with her. The hounds do very well in the Colony, as they can have plenty of freedom, and big dogs undoubtedly are more suited to the country than small ones. The feeding question should not be difficult, as zebra is plentiful in most parts of the country, and, mixed with mealie-meal porridge, makes quite a good feed.
As to sport there are hares in most parts of the country for coursing, and I think they should be able to hunt the smaller buck, such as dik-dik, and duika, which are common all over the Highlands. They should also prove useful shooting, for pulling down wounded buck. I am taking out a hound by Torna of Ifold, and hope to breed and show in the Colony. I'm sure the breed will sell well as soon as they become better known, and as the Colony improves financially, which it is doing rapidly now, but I don't think fancy prices will ever be obtainable, as people are unwilling to risk taking high-priced dogs up country, where veterinary assistance is very difficult to get, and where there is always a certain risk from wild animals." In the same Association Year Book, Mrs. Beynon wrote an article on the Irish Wolfhound in Africa, which can be read here.

Once she returned to England Mrs. Beynon lived first at Bournstream, Bilbrook, Washford, Somerset and then some time in the late 1920s moved to Broadoak, Sutton-at-Hone, Kent, although she then went out to Tangiers for some years.

It was in 1924 that Isaac Everett (Felixstowe) wrote the following in his Wolfhound Whines column in Our Dogs:-
"A little while since I was at Southampton, and had the pleasure of looking over the Irish wolfhounds belonging to Mrs. Benyon, who brought them over last May from South Africa. It will be remembered that two of these hounds were the means of saving this lady's life on two occasions. The last time was last Christmas morning, about 8 o'clock. Mrs. Benyon was out walking with her hounds in the jungle, when very suddenly she came face to face with a lion, lioness, and cubs. The hounds went for the lion, who bolted; the lioness seemed so frightened that she stuck very closely to the cubs, and so gave Mrs. Benyon the opportunity to retrace her steps. These hounds are in quarantine, and due out at the end of October, when I learn they are to be benched as opportunity occurs. Three of these hounds were born within thirty miles of the Equator, and are sound, well-grown, and typical."

Mrs. Beynon with a group of hounds 
 Mrs. Beynon with a group of her hounds

Later that same year, he wrote:- "I had the very great pleasure of meeting Mrs. Benyon (actually Beynon) (late of Wootton-under-Edge, and just back from Kenya Colony) at the LKA show. In the course of a very delightful chat on Irish Wolfhound matters, I learned that some of the five hounds which accompanied this lady to England were whelped within thirty miles of the Equator, and that they stand the climate quite well. Amongst these five are hounds of great courage, and on more than one occasion they were the means of saving Mrs. Benyon from being attacked by lions, for just at the critical time the hounds came to her rescue and drove off the "kings of the forest". These hounds are now in quarantine in the South of England, and I hope, through Mrs. Benyon's invitation, very shortly to see them. Unfortunately, since going into quarantine one of them has died. This was one which Mrs. Benyon took out with her when she went to Africa. When these hounds are released and fit again, Mrs. Benyon intends taking up the breed with her early zest, and the Irish Wolfhound Club is to be congratulated on having so keen a fancier of this grand hound back amongst them, whose influence will assuredly be felt when the time comes."

Mary Beynon with two hounds 
 Mary Beynon

And later still, on the subject of the coursing meeting being set up by James Nagle:- "Mr. J. Nagle writes that he has some very interesting entries for the coursing meeting, and that several very well-known winners on the bench are to take part. Mrs. Southey is running Crewkerne Georgie (winner bitch challenge certificate at L.K.A.) and another. Mrs. Beynon is running three or perhaps four. This is an interesting entry, as all her hounds have hunted big game in Kenya, and that good sportswoman is anxious to see how her hounds perform against the English-bred hounds." However, none of the reports of the coursing meeting mention Mrs. Beynon's hounds.

Mrs. Beynon arriving with hounds 
 Mrs. Beynon arriving with her hounds in a horsebox

In 1925, Isaac Everett wrote:- "I have received a letter from Mrs. Beynon, of Washford, Somerset, containing very shocking news. Two of her wonderful Irish Wolfhounds, Buller and Grim, which on more than one occasion defended her against attacks by lions in Kenya, have been poisoned. It is not yet definitely known by whom. A reward of £50 is offered by Mr. Beynon for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrator of this terrible action. It is, of course, an unusually severe blow to Mrs. Beynon, for these hounds are much more to her than just ordinary companions, for while in Africa they accompanied their mistress wherever she went, far or near, night or day. Fortunately a brother of Buller is left, and with this hound Mrs. Beynon pluckily intends starting again breeding operations, so as to continue this wonderful strain of guards and companions. All fellow fanciers, I am sure, will join with me in offering sincerest sympathies in this almost irreparable loss."

It was in May, 1925 that Lt.-Col. Durand (to be in partnership with Mrs. Beynon) appeared on the scene (at least, as far as the KC records were concerned) with the transfers of the following hounds to him being listed:
Cragwood Darragh, from Mr. R.M. Scott
Iduna of Hindhead, from Mr. R.M. Scott
Doreena of Ifold, from Mr. R.M. Scott
Kathleen of Ifold, from Mr. R.M. Scott
King Bruidh of Ifold, from Mr. R.M. Scott
Patrick of Ifold, from Mr. R.M. Scott
Tess of Ifold, from Mr. R.M. Scott
Lady Clodagh, from Mr. R.M. Scott

Colonel Durand and some hounds 
 Colonel Durand and some of the hounds

Cragwood Darragh was the dog imported from Mrs. Jessie K. Smith of the Cragwood Kennels in America by Ralph Montagu Scott of the Ifold Kennel in March, 1924 (He was registered with the KC in September, 1924). He was an exchange for Shaun of Ifold, and was thought to be the first wolfhound to have been imported from the U.S.A. In July, 1926 Darragh was transferred from Col. Durand to Lady Sholto Douglas.

Cragwood Darragh 
 Cragwood Darragh
 Cragwood Darragh
Cragwood Darragh with Lady Sholto Douglas

In the Membership List in the Irish Wolfhound Club Year Book for 1926 Mrs. Beynon and Col. Durand are listed at Bournstream, Bilbrook, Washford, Somerset and, in the Bournstream advertisement in that yearbook, Col. Durand is the only name mentioned. He also wrote an article for the book, which can be seen here.

In November, 1926 were listed the following transfers to Col. H.M. Durand -
Drum Darkan, from Mr. R. Montagu Scott (who had had her in May the previous year). She was bred by Dr. Robin Hall, was born 23 April 1925; s. Ch. Patrick of Ifold, d. Nendrum
Lergan of the Uplands, from Mr. R. Montagu Scott, bred by Mr. & Mrs. B. Wild; s Eogan, d Felixstowe Alana, born Sept. 3, 1925).

Perhaps oddly, having bought in all these hounds, quite a number of them were then offered for sale. In 1926 an advertisement for the Bournstream hounds appeared in Dog World Annual. They were listed as the property of Colonel Durand and Mrs. Beynon at Bournstream, Bilbrook, Washford, Somerset. The advert read: "The kennel of Irish Wolfhounds owned by the lady and gentleman whose names head this review, although started only a short time, is making a name for itself for quality. Unfortunately, after its commencement distemper stepped in and almost wiped out the lot, but Colonel Durand, nothing daunted, persevered and the dogs housed there at present are of excellent quality.
"The bitch, Drum Darken, the challenge certificate winner at the S.K.C. show, naturally finds pride of place. She is a daughter of Ch. Patrick of Ifold ex Nendrum, born April 25, and bred by Dr. Robin Hall, of Belfast. She is a very handsome bitch, perfectly straight on limbs, very good head, sound as a bell, and should breed a flier. Her price is £100.
"Dorothy, a light-coloured one, very straight, a charming pet, house-trained, is a daughter of Ch. Patrick. Safe with children, a nice companion. Price £30. Kathleen is a nice bitch, by Ch. Patrick ex Angelina of Ifold. Born June 25. Should win in good company. Price £100. Runa, by same sire ex Lady Clodagh. Born April 26. Very promising bitch. Price £40. Stella, her litter sister, is equally nice. Both should make good show specimens. Price £35.
"Doreen of Ifold, by Comberford Mick ex Lady Crochen, born March 23, is a ginger-coloured bitch. A noted prize-winner and a great brood bitch. Price £100.
"Daniel is by Ch. Patrick ex Felixstowe Ballyneety. Born July 25. Is a light-wheaten dog, with dark eyes, grand head, is of charming character, good bone, is house-trained, safe with animals. Price £65.
"Lergan of Uplands (Logan - Ch. Felixstowe Alana). Born September 25. Will be a great dog, I predict. Price £150.
Rufus, 4 months old, is a ginger puppy (Bournstream Simba - Doreena of Ifold). Had distemper. A handsome. Granddam was Lady Crochen. His sire was bred in Kenya Colony, and is a wonderful stockgetter. Then there is Kathleen's Ina, winner of two 1sts, Crystal Palace (Ch. Patrick - Angelea), and Iduna, by Darragh - Lady Clodagh. Nice bitch, prize-winner. Brenda is another, not yet ready for show.
"Those in need of young stock will find their requirements at this kennel, and all are house-trained. Colonel Durand has had the breed for thirty years, and knows a good one. J.A. CARBERY."

Drum Darken, Lurgan of the Uplands, Patrick of Ifold 
 Drum Darken, Lergan of the Uplands, with Ch. Patrick
of Ifold

Col. Durand, who was in the 9th Lancers, was a cousin of Mrs. Beynon and ran a Polo School at Chislehurst in Kent. I have not been able to find out why he was the only one mentioned with regard to the Bournstream kennels in the mid-1920s.

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Updated August 23rd, 2008