Southern English Springer Spaniel Society
Mop & Frisk
Ch Beechgrove Will
Ch Pleasant Peter
Boxer of Bramhope
Alexander of Stubham
Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught
Sh Ch Graftonbury Gengis Khan
Ch Mompesson Remember Me
Despite being in existence in one form or another for hundreds of years, the English Springer Spaniel was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 1902. This article takes a brief look at those one hundred years but recognises it is impossible in a few pages to even touch the surface of the history of the English Springer.
The English Springer as we know it today owes its existence, in the main, to the stalwart, working fraternity. Back in the late 17th Century the spaniel family was beginning to split into three groups, identified mainly by size an game they hunted. This trend continued for many years, although in 1800 the Boughey family founded their strain of English Springers and started their own Stud Book in 1813.
Although this article celebrates the 100th anniversary of Kennel Club recognition of the Springer Spaniel, I would like to take you back to 1812. The Southern English Springer Spaniel Society are the proud guardians of the Denne Stud Book featuring pedigrees from 1812 to 1912. Two spaniels, Mop and Frisk, owned by Sir Thomas Fenton Fletcher Boughey Bart could possibly be credited with being the foundation of the modern day springer. An oil painting of Mop I born in 1812 and Fan, 1817 was featured in the Sporting magazine December 1831.
Mop and Frisk. This extract shows the high regard in which these dogs were held
“That faithful attachment which is proverbial with the spaniel “Mop”, the old dog possessed in the highest degree. This was joined to all those essential qualities which make a spaniel valuable; a good nose, under excellent command, versatile in pursuit and equally good at either woodcock, pheasant, hare, rabbit, snipe or
mallard. On land or in water, it was a matter of indifference to Mop which, if it was his masters wish, guided by the hand, checked by the whistle, indefatigable in his labours; his end regretted, being accidentally killed. Frisk, when painted, was young. She possesses a pleasing archness of countenance, which is indicative of bustle and industry, qualities in the spaniel always desirable; both dogs were bred by Sir Thomas.”
From these two dogs, a line was produced which can be traced through to today’s winning springers, but more of that later in the article. A direct line from Mop and Frisk can be traced via dogs in the Denne Stud Book with names such as Fop, Squib, Curley and Fan through to Champion Velox Powder born in 1903, the year after Kennel Club recognition.
In 1859, with the advent of dog shows, the various spaniel breeds began to separate, by size and colour. The Kennel Club was founded in 1873 with its official registrations and Stud Book, which set the seal on breed definition and separation. In 1885 the Spaniel Club was formed together with the publication of breed standards. 1902 saw the full recognition of the English Springer Spaniel as a breed in its own right.
Now you might think that having been recognised as a separate breed, the rest is history. The truth is very different. Show classifications, whilst few and far between for the ESS, showed the classes being split into ‘over 50lb’ or ‘under 50lb and over 25lb’. Other classifications were‘ ESS other than Clumber or Sussex’ or ‘ESS (other than Clumber, Sussex or Field) old-fashioned, medium-legged spaniels, any colour’. WOW!!!
July 1903 saw the arrival of Velox Powder (Copy of the original pedigree can be seen in the SESSS archives) sired by Mr Pratt’s “Randle” and out of Sir T. Boughey’s “Belle”. A direct descendant of Mop and Frisk, after 14 generations, Powder went on to become a Champion winning in the field and the show ring. The first Challenge Certificate awarded was at Crystal Palace in October 1903, judged by Mr W. Arkwright giving the CC to Beechgrove Will, who was in the smaller size category and the son of two unregistered field spaniels. In bitches the CC went to Fansome. Beechgrove Will
was made up at his next two shows and became the first ever English Springer Champion.
Although much of the breeding of ESS was from working and show stock, it wasn’t until 1913 that Rivington Sam became the first Field Trial Champion. Sam’s sire was an over-size cocker spaniel called Rivington Riband. The practice of mating between different spaniel breeds continued for many years and may account for the different colours which were registered at time. Stud Book records show many various colours including blue & black; liver roan; lemon & white; and golden, liver & white (some tri-colour that one!). Another interesting fact is the mating of unregistered dogs with registered dogs, some being quite prolific winners.
By 1914 and the start of the First Word War, only 9 springers had become Champions. The Championship show scene did not start again until late 1920 with the Scottish Kennel Club where Little Brand won the Dog CC whilst Horsford Honeybell won the Bitch ticket. 1921 saw the founding of The English Springer Club, making it the eldest and senior breed club. By 1924 approximately 15 Championship Shows were classifying English Springers. Needless to say, the working fraternity continued as best they could during the war and many of the top winners of these years were the result of matings between the show and working springer. In fact many springers achieved great success in Field Trials and on the bench.
In the early part of the 20th Century, owners and breeders regarded their dogs as dual purpose, putting them in the show ring and regularly shooting over them. The breed produced three Dual Champions; Horsford Hetman, Flint of Avendale and Thoughtful of Harting. Famous affixes and influences in the early years were Avendale; Beechgrove; Tissington; Horsford; Velox; Denne; Laverstoke and Rivington.
Registrations, understandably fluctuated a great deal during the two wars but prominent prefixes in the 1920’s were Beauchief (Mr. F. Warner Hill), a direct line from Champion Little Brand; Marmion (Hon. George Scott); Solway (Mr. Grierson); of Ware (Mr H.S. Lloyd) and Shotton (Mr M. Withers). Top winners were Ch Winning Number of Solway, Ch Dry Toast and Int. Ch Showman of Shotton who had considerable influence both here and later in America. Ch Jess of Shelcot and Ch Beauchief Barham were also in Mr Withers kennel, which were managed by the famous Mrs Gwen Broadley.
Miss C.M. Francis and her Higham prefix will be remembered for her efforts to bring the working and show lines together, her best known dogs being Champions Higham Teal, Topsy and Tom Tit. Just after the outbreak of the Second World War, two dogs were the top winners and had considerable influence on the breed. These were Ch Pleasant Peter and his son Peter’s Benefactor. No championship shows were held during the war period and so Peter’s Benefactor, whilst winning many awards, never gained his title. The ESS Club held its first post war show in 1946. It was at this time that Joe Braddon began a winning streak with Starshine of Ide and ChInvader of Ide. Mrs Gwen Broadley was also prominent at this time with her Sandylands prefix as was Mr Hepplewhite with the Happeedaze suffix. By the end of the 1940’s a young stud dog called Boxer of Bramhope was having an outstanding influence on the breed and many cite him as the greatest springer of all time. The Bramhope kennel, owned by Mrs Mary Scott, produced many winners but it could be said that the main influence was through the sons of Boxer. These were Champions
Clintonhouse George; Peter of Lorfell; Studley Major and Alexander of Stubham. Having said this, Boxer is directly responsible on both sire and dam’s side, for Show Champion Hawkhill Connaught and Champion
Mompesson Remember Me. Mrs Scott saw the need for an outcross and imported two dogs from America – Am Ch Melilotus Shooting Star and Dr. Primrose but they did not prove to be popular stud dogs in this country.
The early 50’s continued successfully for the above mentioned kennels but others began to appear, most notably that of Mr Ernest Froggatt (Moorcliff). Alexander of Stubham (son of Boxer) won his first CC in 1951 and became a leading stud dog. Many more notable breeders came onto the scene at this time including Mr Sandy Davis (Colmaris); Mrs M. Smithson (Studley);
Mrs F. Sherwood (Woodbay); Mrs Ellen Dobson (Teesview) and Mrs Judith Hancock with the famous Hawkhill kennels. Here we reach the era in the late 60’s and 70’s of the great Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught and a time when a significant number of readers can remember or if they can’t remember, many will trace their own dogs back to Connaught. The Breed Record holder for many years, he was only surpassed in recent years by Ch Mompesson Remember Me.
Hawkhill Connaught was born on 11 July 1969 and was by Ch Moorcliff Dougal of Trulindale x Sh Ch Slayleigh Paulina, both big winners in their time. Con won his first CC at the tender age of 13 months. He proceeded to carve a name for himself by winning 14 more, 13 with BOB out of the 25 sets of CC’s on offer in 1971. He also won the Group on 3 occasions (Paigton, Cardiff and Southern
In 1973 Con won a further 13 CC’s all with BOB and as his owner, Jimmy Cudworth judged Crufts that year, Con couldn’t go. However, he won BIS at Bath, Chester, Darlington and National Gundog with Group wins at Birmingham National and Reserves at Windsor, Paignton, Bournemouth Counties) with 2 reserve groups at Leicester and Richmond.
1972 saw him gain a further 14 CC’s all with BOB including Crufts. There were 25 sets of CC’s on offer that year. Con also won 7 BIS at General Champ Shows, the Gundog Group at Leicester, Reserve Group at Birmingham National and Southern Counties. Not surprisingly he became Dog of the Year all breeds and Belfast and once again he was Dog of the Year all breeds. Con went to Crufts in 1974 and won the group. He also picked up another CC at Leeds. By now Con was running out of judges to go under (as Jimmy and Judith had made the decision not to show Con under the same judges at breed level) and therefore was only lightly shown. Whilst this decision was respected, it probably denied Con the opportunity to continue winning in both group and BIS rings. Counties) with 2 reserve groups at Leicester and Richmond. 1972 saw him gain a further 14CC’s all with BOB including Crufts. There were 25 sets of CC’s on offer that year. Con also won 7 BIS at General Champ Shows, the Gundog Group at Leicester, Reserve Group at Birmingham National and Southern Counties. Not surprisingly he became Dog of the Year all breeds. Show Champion Hawkhill Connaught left his mark in the ring where his record of 7 B.I.S. wins at general Championship shows along with 17 Gundog Groups is a record which remains unbeaten. He will also be remembered as a great sire. Consired 25 Champions, a record which still stands today. These 25 and five other CC winners won 54 Challenge Certificates between them.
A grandson of Con, Sh Ch Graftonbury Genghis Khan was a top winner and popular stud dog in the 1970/80’s. He won a total of 25CCs, 4 of which were at Crufts. He won 1 RBIS at a General Championship show and 3 Groups. In 1985 he won the Group at Crufts. Seventeen years later, the bitch who eventually took Con’s record from him was born.
Mompesson Remember Me by Sh.Ch Hawkhill Starsky x Mompesson Country Girl was born on 13 November 1986. In 1988 Jill won her first CC at the age of 19 months from the Novice class at Border Union. Jill made 1989 a year to remember by winning 17 CC’s, 14 with BOB out of the 38 on offer that year. She also won the Group at Windsor and the Reserve Group at both WELKS and Gundog Society of Wales. Jill finished Top Gundog that year. Jill had another good year in 1990 winning another CC’s, 6 with BOB. She was then withdrawn from the show ring towards the end of the year for her impending litter to kennel mate Sh Ch Mompesson Dream Chaser. Seven puppies resulted from this mating and on her return to the ring in 1991, Jill picked up another 5 CC’s, 4 with BOB. She also went BIS at the English Springer Spaniel Club 1992 saw Jill take another 9CC’s, 6 of which were accompanied by BOB. This year saw Jill win her 36th CC at SKC so becoming the bitch CC Record Holder. In 1993 Jill took some time out to have her second litter of 8 puppies, one of which went to Mrs Ann Corbett and gained her title – Sh Ch Mompesson Memory Lane. Memory Lane in turn produced another top winner in Sh Ch Trimere Time to Remember from Mompesson. Jill won another 5CC’s that year, 4 with BOB. Another momentous occasion took place for Jill this year when she gained her working certificate and became a full Champion at the age of seven.1994 and now a veteran, Jill went on to win 8 more CC’s, 7 with BOB. Jill then broke the CC record held until then by Connaught, by winning her 51st CC at the East of England. Jill’s last litter was born on 30th December that year and she had 9 lovely puppies. After maternal duties kept her out of the ring in early 1995, Jill came back and won another 2CC’s both with BOB.
More recent influences on the breed was made by Sh Ch Wadeson Inspector. Sinbad, was not only a prolific winner, but also a popular stud. He eventually won 62 CCs, 2 BIS, 2 RBIS and 6 Group wins at General Championship Shows. Sinbad now proudly stands as the breed's leading record holder. To date he has sired 3 Show Champions.
Sh Ch Elimvek Earthbound had also made his mark in the ring and on the breed. His son Sh Ch Eastriding Kouros already
has a BOB at Crufts and 17 CCs and 14 BOBs to his credit. Future history books will show how strong their influences become.
Well we have almost come full circle, the article started in 1812 with Mop and Frisk and has finished on the high note of two outstanding breed record holders. Both Con and Jill’s pedigrees can directly be traced back to Mop and Frisk and in the intervening 182 years, there has been many a great dog and many a great breeder - too many dogs and significant breeders to mention. Some of the leading names (but by no means all of them) during this time include Moorcliff, Stubham, Teesview, Tyneview and more recently Ardencote, Calvdale, Eastriding, Feorlig, Lyndora, Mompesson, Roandew, Trimere and Wadeson. Also over the years the black and white springer has gained in popularity.
The Cleavehill kennel has been very influential on the breed, and on black and whites in particular, especially during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. There have been at least 22 English show champions bred by Mrs Jean Taylor (there may be more and if so the author apologises) and Cleavehill Champions are to be found in Europe and Australia. Probably the most important Cleavehill litter was in 1972 by Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught x Cleavehill Skye Maid - this produced 3 show champion littermates: Tartan Arrow, Tartan Banner and Tartan Special.
Other kennels who have had influence on the black and white springer include Higham, Whaddon Chase, Larkstoke, Shipden and Wenark.
Kennel Club Stud Books
The Popular Springer Spaniel - Dorothy Moorland Hooper
The English Springer - Mary Scott
Our Dogs article by Ian Hampton
Alec Geddes - Debanza ESS
Bob Nicholson - Lochindorb ESS
E & O E Every effort has been made to ensure that
information in this article is correct.