The Western Mail
February 14th 1934
Horse and Hounds
Jack Poletty of the Glyn Celyn Beagles
By GARETH JONES
Wiry, old Jack
Poletty, the kennelman of the Glyn Celyn Beagles, came hurrying out of the
stables with the unmistakable gait of a man who has spent his life in the
Shakespearean figure he looked! The
faithful groom and servant type, loving horses and dogs; a type which has not
changed for centuries. He fitted
the scene - the yellow cottages with the date A.D. 1616, the year of
Shakespeare’s death, carved over the door, the barking of the beagles from the
kennels, the cobblestones in the courtyard, and the dark, towering pine trees
out against the hazy blue hills.
In a few
moments the beagles leapt around. There
was “Duster,” going a bit grey now. “That’s
‘Ranger,’ the fighter,” said Major Beor-Roberts, owner of these, the Glyn
Celyn Beagles. “That’s
Artful,’ the first pup we had, and a good hound he’s been, too. That’s ‘Purity’ and that’s ‘Duchess.’”
Such was my introduction to the Glyn Celyn pack, Breconshire, on a day
when the sun shone down on brown ploughed fields around.
They looked a
healthy, useful pack. And hard they
have to be in a county like Brecon, where you have the toughest, brightest hares
in the world. They do not breed the
soft kind there, but hard-going, cunning hares which take more killing than in
any other county. What better
traveller could you find than the black-backed mountaineer, real Welshman,
smaller than the usual hare, with the stocky mountaineer’s grit and strength?
many hares,” said Major Beor-Roberts. “They
run a relay race. As soon as one
gets tired another pops up!” So
strong are the hares that during a day’s coursing the greyhounds raised over
40 hares, but only killed six. But
the Glyn Celyn pack are as determined as their quarry. On one occasion they were two hours 25 minutes hunting one
were started six seasons ago, and the best drafts were obtained from the New
College and Balliol pack and from the Christ Church Beagles. They are, therefore, truly Oxford in sympathy, and combine the brains of
Balliol with the blue blood of Christ Church.
They hunt a
very short season, from the beginning of October to the end of January or early
February. “I stop them then,”
said Major Beor-Roherts, “because I don’t think it is fair to the farmers.
When lambs are about or the ewes are heavy with lamb the beagles move
them too much.”
The Glyn Celyn
Beagles have an occasional joint meet with Mr. de Courcey Parry’s pack from
Clun Forest, Shropshire. They are
fortunate in their master, Major Beor-Roberts, who was in the 24th Regiment
(South Wales Borderers). Everything
about him and about his estate has a healthy, home-spun character-the masks of
foxes in the hall, the old engravings (“The First Steeplechase on Record,”
depicting horsemen in night-shirts flying over hedges, and “Whoop away! The
Major in trouble!“), the pictures by Ivester Lloyd, the mask of a 301b. otter
killed at Buckland Rocks, and souvenirs of the days when Major Beor-Roberts
hunted in Spain with the Royal Calpé Hounds, supposed to be descended from
are fortunate also in their kennelman, Jack Poletty, a great fellow.
I’ve shaken hands with two Kings,” he told me-” King Edward and the King
It was a great
day for him, for it was the day in 1901 when, at Windsor, he beat Sweet
Charlotte, the fastest mare in England or Ireland. Now his racing days are over, and he is the dictator of the
fifteen couples of beagles.
Kennel up!” I heard him shout, and I had my last glimpse of the beagles as
they rushed at his command into the old yellow stable.