Grouse shooting at Hogg Hall was an unconventional and singular pursuit. Every August, on the “Glorious Twelfth”, Hardy would take his son down to Hogg Hall’s famous grouse moors, and Mr O’Donnell, Mrs Frapp and a footman called Mr Cedwyn would act as “beaters”, driving the grouse towards the Hogg-Marchmonts by waving flags, thrashing the undergrowth with sticks and singing “Jerusalem” in resounding three part harmony.
For Health and Safety reasons, and for the purpose of etiquette, there was a strict code of conduct governing behavior on the grouse moors. This code of conduct was of course comprehensively ignored by Hardy Hogg-Marchmont and as a result the sport was considerably more exhilarating.
In most shooting parties, the hunters use 12-bore, lightweight shotguns and stand in a “hide”, which is screened by a turf wall and sunk into the ground to minimise their profile. The problem with this method is that a flock of scattering grouse fly at over 80 mph and can be inordinately tricky to hit.
At Hogg Hall the shooting party would assemble in the 4th Earl’s World War II concrete bunker and they would dispatch the grouse using Russian automatic assault rifles. Set on fully automatic, these weapons could fire around 600 rounds per minute and not a single grouse had ever been known to survive the exercise.
It was on one occasion like this that a 9 year old Viscount Hatcher, unbeknown to either himself or his father, accidently shot Mr Cedwyn in the knee. Not wishing to alert either the family or the authorities O’Donnell humanely finished the Welshman off with a single shot to the head, and asked the gamekeeper to dispose of his body during the next round of heather burning on the moorland.
Sad to report, the Red Grouse is now entirely extinct within a two hundred mile radius of Hogg Hall.