Thursday, 21 November 2013




William Henry Erskine, 18th Laird of Dun, thought a lot about his horse.   Captain Erskine served with the 17th Lancers and was a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade.   His horse, Timekeeper, is buried in the grounds of the Erskine ancestral home, Dun House, near Montrose in Scotland, where a stone marks the grave.   One of the horse’s hooves is preserved and can be seen in the library at Dun House – now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.


Timekeeper's stone

Equestrian   statue


What is said to be the only equestrian statue  in an English church can be seen in St Luke’s church at Gaddesby in Leicestershire.   The 1848 statue, by Joseph Gott, of Colonel Edward Hawkins Cheney and his horse, is a life size sculptured monument depicting Col. Cheney of the Royal Scots Greys, who fought in the battle of Waterloo on June 18th 1815.   He had four horses killed under him and rode off on a fifth horse when command of the regiment devolved upon him.   At the base a panel shows Col. Cheney in hand to hand combat with a French officer who was trying to recapture a lost Napoleonic eagle.    The story goes that Gott, on completing the statue, realized that he had left out the tongue of the ‘in extremis’ horse and in despair he committed suicide.
Equestrian statute 


John Wesley’s horse

It is said that on one of his visits to Otley, his horse died and was buried in the churchyard.   In his journal for Sunday 5th May 1782, Wesley wrote:
‘One of my horses having been so thoroughly lamed at Otley that he died in three or four days. They buried him in the Churchyard there being no other place. So Robert rests.  Purchased another, but, it was his way to stand still when he pleased, and set out as soon as possible.’

Wesley visited  Otley on  about 20 occasions.    First on 17th July 1759.
Otley churchyard

The Baron of Bucklyvie
The Baron of Buchlyvie was a stallion which sired many Clydesdale horses and was highly prized in America.
He was born at Buchlyvie in Stirlingshire in 1900 and was sold to William Dunlop and James Kilpatrick but because of some confusion regarding the ownership a lawsuit was heard in the House of Lords. The result was that in 1911 the men were forced to sell the horse at auction. Dunlop paid £9,000, a record for any horse at that time, and became sold owner. Sadly in 1914 an irate mare kicked The Baron and broke his leg. He had to be destroyed and Dunlop buried him in his garden. The skeleton of the horse was later recovered and put on display at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. The broken leg is clearly seen.

Horse  Doctor
Back in 1606, Robert Willance was out riding his horse high on Whitcliffe Crag at Marske near Richmond in North Yorkshire, when the horse fell some 200feet down the crag. Although the horse was kiilled, Willance only suffered a brokens leg.   He managed to survive by cutting open the belly of the dead horse and putting his leg inside,before being rescued.  His leg had to be amputated and he had the leg buried in Richmond churchyard, where his body joined it 10 years later. 
Willance put a memorial stone at the place of his accident. His stone was renewed in 1815 and again in 1863.
A pillar monument also marks the spot.
Willance's Leap
© Copyright Joe Regan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I am grateful to Joe Regan for the use of his three Geograph photographs.

The White Horse


When approaching the Hambleton Hills from the west through the Vale of York in North Yorkshire, the outline of a huge white horse appears on the hillside near to the beauty spot of Sutton Bank.   The White Horse, which overlooks the tiny village of Kilburn, was the idea of local business man Thomas Taylor and was cut in 1857.   The plans were drawn up by the village schoolmaster, John Hodgson, using a racehorse as a model, and the shape was cut out of the turf by Hodgson and his pupils.   Tons of lime were dragged up the hillside on a sledge to complete the ‘horse’ which is 228ft high and 314ft from nose to tail.   Every so often the ‘horse’ is given a spring clean to keep it in pristine condition.
 The White Horse of Kilburn


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