The People of Gibraltar
1800s - The Royal Calpe Hunt - Que locos los Ingleses!

Miles, Mackereth and Larios - Godley, Fleeming and Darwin 
Strange, Napier and Morritt - Blake, Williamson and Imossi
Russo, Carrara and Gaggero - Cambridge, Francia and Godley
Payne and Holmes - Bae and Gallardo
Sandham and Fenwick - George and Spraque

When Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Miles became Governor of Gibraltar in the early 20th century he soon discovered that it was extremely difficult to get hold of his senior officers whenever he wanted to consult them about anything. They were all out with the Calpe Hunt. It didn’t take long for him to become an enthusiast himself and he was soon spending more time sitting on a horse in La Almoraima than in the comfortable chair of his office in the Convent.

Forever England - Gibraltar in the background 

As somebody wrote in the Gibraltar Directory just before Sir Herbert made his appearance, ‘in the winter the Corkwoods constantly resound with the cherry cry of the Calpe Huntsman, the sound of the horn, and the deep notes of the hounds.’ ‘Nor’ said somebody else, ‘is the Rock of Gibraltar better known to sportsmen than the Calpe Hunt.’

Venta de G - This is probably the oldest available sketch of the Calpe Hunt. The "G" might refer to Venta de Agualcahijo - unpronounceable to most Englishman. The artist was a Royal Engineer officer Henry Sandham who was stationed in Gibraltar at the time 
(Gibraltar - 300 Years of Images ) 

The origins of the Calpe Hunt began in the very early 19th century and the main culprit was the Garrison Chaplain, the Reverend Mackereth. The ‘Hunting Clergy’ were very much in vogue at the time in England. Apparently it fostered the right kind of moral qualities. As an activity it was supposed to require not just courage but also the virtues of manliness, hardiness, temperance, coolness and clearheadedness. 

The Hunt in the 1820s - Another old one - In the picture the following charactyers are identifiable 
 "George" may have been the Kennelman - "Fenwick" is Major William Fenwick who was Master of the Hounds at the time - "Sandham" is probably the sketcher and may also have been Fenwick's predecessor as Master - "Sprague" was Horatio Spraque, (see LINK) American Consol at Gibraltar   ( With thanks to Alex Panayotti) 

Later a senior officer described hunting as a ‘soldier’s amusement, and one which taught young officers to think.’ It was also – apparently – ‘the easiest mode of getting from place to another.’ It was indeed ‘the finest drill in the world.’

The Calpe Hunt Kennels in North Front. They had been rebuilt in 1884

 Whichever way one puts it, hunting was yet another uniquely British pastime which totally ignored the local population, most of whom would have been ignorant of any of its finer points. In fact it would eventually completely pass them by as the actual hunting and its associated activities always took place in Spain.

Mackereth imported two fox-hounds from England. We even know their names - Rockwood and Ranter. It seems that some of his British parishioners had asked him to find a way of dealing with an unusually high number of foxes that were raiding gardens and killing chickens. Rockwood and Ranter proved so successful that other British civilians imported several more dogs and Gibraltar soon found itself with a respectably large pack of hounds.

The owners named themselves the 'Civil Hunt' and sported blue uniforms with silver buttons engraved CH but inevitably the officers of the Garrison soon took over. In 1814 they changed the name to the Calpe Hunt and the uniform to scarlet with a royal blue collar. It soon became what the Directory described as ‘the greatest institution of Gibraltar. The noble sport of fox-hunting, so dear to Englishmen, is here maintained in its fullest integrity. ‘

There was actually another pack of hounds in Southern Spain at the time of the Peninsular War. It was owned by the Duke of Wellington. How he managed to find time to kill foxes while at the same time making a name for himself in Spain is hard to understand.

The pack was amalgamated with the Calpe Hunt a few years later. The first Master of the Hunt was a Scotsman, the Hon. C. Elphinstone Fleeming, although it is also difficult to understand how he found time to take on such a responsible job. He was also a Rear-Admiral and a Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Stirling.  

1814 - Admiral the Hon. Charles Elphinstone Fleeming 
Commander-in-Chief at Gibraltar (Enoch Seemam)

Interestingly, the majority of travelogues written in the nineteenth century mentioning the hunt invariable attribute its creation to the admiral and fail to mention Mackereth. It is perhaps indicative of an era – at least in Gibraltar – where the military establishment were always seen as far more important than the civilian.

Hunting took place in the nearby Campo area of Andalucía as Britain’s support for Spain during the wars with Napoleon made it easy for the British authorities to obtain permission to do so. Everything was done on a grand scale. And it wasn’t just the Hunt. The social activities associated with it were also soon considered to be of the greatest social importance. Those who for one reason or another did not hunt followed on donkey or on foot. After the Hunt, picnics were often arranged in the Cork Woods of La Almoraima or perhaps one of the homes of the wealthy local Spaniards although their owners rarely took part. 

These types of picnics were invariably organised by members of the Calpe Hunt. The text which is from 1903 reads:
A Smuggler’s dash for liberty. An exciting scene on the frontier at Gibraltar
“The other day when a party of us were at tea with the Captain’s Guard on the North Frontier here, we saw, about one hundred yards from the English Lines, a Spanish smuggler running towards the sea with two carabineers on horseback and after him. It was an exciting scene and I think we were relieved to see the man escape capture”

As the Directory points out, 
The Spanish farmer cannot understand why so much expense is maintained, and why so much fuss of men and horses is made about an animal which he can, and indeed very often does, get rid of by a pot shot; and therefore, the same feeling remains as described by a local poet many years ago - The novel sight the Spanish hind amazes, and still he cries: Que locos los Ingleses!
Nevertheless one can understand the appeal of the Hunt from the point of view of those taking part. ‘It can easily be imagined, the Directory tells us, ‘how great is the relief to those cooped up on the Rock, on a day's ride through beautiful scenery and with usually most lovely weather. The very ride to the meet is most exhilarating, as the highway to the greater part of the meets is the Spanish beach, with its gloriously fresh sea breezes. Everybody knows everybody else, while the presence of many of the fair sex gives grace and animation to the scene.’ 

Hunting in the vicinity of the ‘Moorish Castle’ in the Almoraima in the late 19th century

The original civilians seem to have lost their membership of the Hunt and those few Gibraltarians who eventually made it back were invariable wealthy merchant families of UK origin. As Edward Archer comments in his book on Gibraltar Identity, these people were far more likely to understand the unwritten rules of class, about the status of the various people involved and especially how to behave accordingly. In fact the Hunt was the most status and class-conscious institution that the rock has ever produced. Its patronage linked it to Royalty and the enthusiastic membership of the top military hierarchy of the Rock ensured its enduring exclusivity. 

With the Hounds at Gibraltar - actually in the Campo area

When Prince George, Duke of Cambridge a future Commander-in-Chief of the British army was stationed in Gibraltar in 1838 he seems to have spent most of his time patronising ‘the Sports of Calpe which he always found time to do in spite of being arduously engaged in learning the details of his profession.’

1838 – Calpe Hunt Meet.
Prince George, Duke of Cambridge is in there somewhere. Some of the horses are shown with the ‘Gibraltar dock’ in which their tails are trimmed square just below the stump to give them a rakish appearance. It was a popular conceit at the time.

The Hunt at wait at Piñales, with the far distant sierras of Ronda and Gaucin in the background. The good Prince George on the left is galloping up to join the hunt after having been delayed. His greetings to his fellow huntsmen were immortalised in the Sporting Magazine; ‘I’m devilishly glad I've caught you – so fire away.’

The much “celebrated” meeting of the unpunctual Prince and his extraordinarily witty riposte is depicted once again by yet another obsequious artist - an officer of the 33rd called Mr. Mills. 
The Lady on the right was an unnamed 'Diety of the Hunt' and the fellow to the left of her with the Spanish sombrero is Major Napier. He seems to be talking to Henry Morritt - a leading huntsman of the day riding a notoriously difficult horse called Dick Turpin. He is pointing his whip at Messrs Blake and Williamson. This picture is probably the original version from which the one above was copied 

As for those few Gibraltarians who aspired to join they could only do so on the basis of wealth. Even then it was only well into the twentieth century that people with surnames such as Imossi, Russo, Carrara and Gaggero were allowed to take part in the proceedings: or as Oscar Wilde might have put it, the Gibraltar merchant ‘gentlemen galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in pursuit of the un-eatable’. 

This was a romantic site where the path, scarped out of the side of the mountain, ran along the head of a ravine on the road between San Roque and the Venta del Agualcahijo, known to the hunters as ‘Long Stables.’ The area was called the Pass of Aberfoyle from its fancied resemblance to the spot of that name described in one of the Waverley novels.

The Graphic

To be fair in 1894 a Gibraltarian, Pablo Larios ( see LINK ) actually managed to get himself  elected as Master of the Hunt. As the Marquéz de Marzales he was better known for his Spanish aristocratic connections than for his membership of a local family. 

 Pablo Larios in 1891. Already hunting but still not master (Thanks to Pcclinic, Algeciras)

His father, however, despite being of Spanish descent, had always identified himself with Gibraltar. So much so that he christened his five sons, Carlos, Agusto, Leopoldo, Pablo and Ernesto, their initials forming the name CALPE. Pablo junior inherited his marriage through his marriage to the Marquesa de Marzales, 

Pablo Larios and some of his family and female friends relaxing in their house in Malaga

A hunting party  ( early 19th century )

Larios was also an extraordinarily rich man. When an epidemic of rabies forced the members to have the whole pack destroyed it was Larios who saved the day. He bought a new pack. The fact that he owned most of the land over which the hunt took place may also have had something to do with his subsequent re-elections. He held on to the title for 45 years.

1890 – The Navy Cup – Yet another horrendously destructive event – from the Spanish farmers’ point of view – organised by the Calpe Hunt

By 1901, a casual reading of in house magazines such as The Navy and Army Illustrated suggest that despite the phenomenal exclusivity of the Gibraltar Garrison, Larios had made the hunt his own. 
The most popular form of sport at 'the Rock' is undoubtedly that obtained with the Calpe Hunt and it is seldom that Pablo Larios fails to show a capital day's sport with his excellent pack.

Pablo Larios' hounds    (1901)
As there are three meets a week, of which two are always within reasonable distance of 'the Rock', it is evident that anyone really keen on hunting has plenty of opportunity of doing so, and the size of the fields is the best evidence of the popularity of the Hunt. 
The country affords plenty of variety - cork woods intersected by ravines, and almost every kind of hill from undulating downs to the steepest of rocky slopes. There is a moderate amount of cultivation, which appears to be on the increase. 
Although Jumps are rare, there is usually enough incident to be got out of a good run, and foxes are plentiful and strong. The season closes with the usual point-to-point over about four miles of average local hunting country, and for which fields of from sixty to ninety face the starter.
Before Larios, relations with local famers were often quite tense although the Hunt did make it ‘a rule to propitiate’ them for any injury done to their crops. No amount of money seems to have been sufficient recompense for some of the destruction and farmers often resorted to violence. A favourite ploy was to throw sticks at the hunters as they rode by in the hope of dismounting them.

Two late nineteenth century Guardia Civiles. They must have had a rough time trying to decide what to do: protect their countrymen's crops from vandalising huntsmen or defend those damn foreigners from being lynched by the farmers.

Midway between the village of Campo and San Roque – and well within range of inconsiderate and predating huntsmen - was a garden farm created by Francis Francia, British vice-consul at San Roque and a native of Gibraltar.  At the very least Mr. Francia makes one rethink the idea that all non-British Gibraltarians were philistines but confirms the old stereotype that the Genoese were great gardeners. ‘With a taste rarely found’ in that part of the world’, he had ‘laid out a very large piece of ground where he had successfully introduced all sorts of exotic plants. By all accounts his farm was an absolute delight and one can only hope that the hunt gave it a wide berth. 

Hunting trips to La Almoraima and back to Gibraltar inevitably entailed crossing the river Guadarranque. This was done via a rather dodgy looking ferry-boat which was pulled across manually by rope. As shown on the cartoon mishaps were a frequent occurrence.

A rather more peaceful crossing in the 1930s perhaps

By 1863 they probably did as the Orange Grove, Carteia and Magazine Hills had all been excluded as places where the Hunt could meet. At a farewell dinner for Colonel Somerset, Master of the Hunt at the time he replied to his toast by lambasting ‘the ignorance and obstinate prejudices of Spanish farmers. They couldn't understand ‘how much it was to their advantage’ to allow their land to be galloped over by the Hunt.

Hunting map identifying the various places where  the Hunt took place . They seem to have had most of the Campo area well covered ( Photo - Tito Vallejo)

When General Sir Alexander Godley became Governor in 1928 he took exception to the fact that a civilian had become Master of the Hunt. Over a short peiod of time he made life so difficult for Larios that he was forced to resign. Larios, however, was able to retaliate where it hurt. He owned half of the Campo of Gibraltar and was able to put most of the land over which the hunt took place completely out of bounds. In a blind fury, Godley immediately issued an order that no officer of his was to fraternize with any member of the Larios family.

General Sir Alexander Godley, Governor of Gibraltar

The clash eventually became so serious that it came to the ears of King George V who was joint patron of the Hunt at the time and he asked his private secretary to make a few discrete inquiries as to what on earth was going on in Gibraltar. When he reported back to the King his message was succinct: 
We’ve got a problem. On the one hand we’ve got the Godleys, and, on the other hand we’ve got the Ungodley’s!

The English "Ungodley" on his horse

The feud was eventually settled by the next Governor, Sir Charles Harrington, who took the Solomonic decision of appointing his wife, Lady Harrington and Pablo Larios as joint Masters of the Hunt.

1920s photograph of the Hunt probably on its way to the Almoraima. The gentleman in the middle is the Governor of Gibraltar, General  Sir Alexander John Godley with one of the Larios daughters on his left. The rest reads like a page out of Debrett's. It  includes people like the Duchess of Westminster and her daughter Lady Ursula Mary Olivia Grosvenor as well as Lady Mary Crichton-Stuart, daughter of the Marquess of Bute. On the far left of the picture is the rather  forlorn looking Captain Muslera, the son of the Governor of Algeciras.

Another photograph of the Hunt taken on the same day. The fellow on the left is General S.E.B. Seely , the first Baron Mottistone. He had only recently resigned from his post as Secretary of State for War no less.

Specific events associated with the Hunt such as picnics and balls were grandiose affairs where no expense was spared. According to Alan Andrews the former were organised ‘like expeditionary campaigns’. Soldiers were used to load the silver plate on to mules and the mess waiters would then drive out into Spain early in the morning. The younger members of the Hunt would ride out on horseback soon after while others drove out in carriages at a more sedate pace. 

Huntsmen on their way to Spain from Gibraltar.

The preferred destination was the corkwoods at the Almoraima. Unfortunately the beauty of the place was somewhat ruined by its notoriety as the home of a particularly ruthless group of bandits. In the mid nineteenth century the most well known was a local scoundrel who was known as Jose Maria. On a particularly fine July evening, a group of hunters were taking a short cut across a field of young barley when the owner of ‘the thriving crop’ rushed out and hurling insults at the hunters. ‘Jesus Maria Jose! Fuera de aqui!. 

The hunters recalling the exploits of the infamous bandit translated the owner’s words as ‘By Jesus, here is Jose Maria. Save yourselves.’ This they did post haste and once inside the gates of the Garrison word went round that Jose Maria had captured not just a field but ‘large quantities of hunters, hounds and  whippers’ as well. The news was forwarded to the Spanish Governor of Algeciras who then despatched half an army to waste their time scouring the countryside in all directions for several days.

One officer who was much given to enjoying himself on these occasions described them as ‘Spanish gentlemen’ who ‘disregarding the troubles of housekeeping and spurning the shackles which a more artful state of society imposes on all who commune with the world – have taken up their dwelling within the sylvan fastness of the woods.’ They would then occasionally issue ‘forth from their seclusion and make the most unacceptable mistakes imaginable with regard to the property and persons of others.’

Sir Francis Sacheverell Darwin who wrote a rather inane journal on his ‘Travels in Spain and the East’ was nevertheless rather less circumspect in recounting his experiences while travelling through the area on his way to Gibraltar from the small Spanish town of Veger. As he and his companions travelled through the ‘woods and wilds’ of the area ‘expecting to be robbed by the numerous banditti’ that infested the mountains, they came across ‘the quarters of some dead men hung from trees.’ It was with considerable relief that they were finally able to make it safely to Gibraltar.

‘A Hairbreath Escape in Gibraltar” ( 1904 - Lieutenant H.D. Collison-Morley)

There Darwin spent an agreeable three days in the company of two gentlemen of the Garrison  Captain Pickering and Sir William Ingilby. He can’t have seen much else as he had absolutely nothing to say about the town or its inhabitants other than that his two friends had also arrived recently from Spain and both had both narrowly escaped being murdered in the Cork Woods.

According to another visitor, the American Charles W. March, woodcock made for very good shooting in the cork woods. Unfortunately it was often the case that when the hunters’ guns had just been discharged or when the ammunition had given out, the party would be held up by these roving bandits and cleaned out of all their money.

When the mess waiters had finished preparing the food a bugle called the picnickers to dinner. The ladies were offered upturned saddles to sit on while the gentlemen sprawled on carefully laid out blankets. While they ate, Spanish beggars often materialised out of the trees. It became something of a joke to make a show of eating cubes of ice and then throwing some of these at them. The beggars never having seen ice before were unpleasantly surprised at the sensation of coldness in their mouths. It was, the officers said, ‘a laughable diversion.’ They were, after all ‘ignorant and dull as the pigs and sheep they were supposed to be tending.’

Picnicking in the Almoraima corkwoods

While they dined the regimental band played on and those so inclined were encouraged to dance. When the day was done, they galloped along the sandy beaches of Campamento making sure they were back before the firing of the evening gun. They were met at the gate by the Garrison Key Sergeant who likely as not would lock up the Fortress for the night after them. Those lucky enough to be have been riding with the Hunt Secretary could afford to dally as he would be carrying a special pass that would let him and his companions in however late they might be.

When picnics were not the order of the day, it was customary to visit Mr. McCrae, landlord of the British hotel in San Roque. There they would ’partake of the good fare’ he provided ‘for appetites made keen by a delightful ride, or after a long day’s tally-ho.’

A member of the Hunt takes a stroll close to the border in the presence of both British and Spanish guards. The tail of the horse the gentleman is riding has been trimmed square just below the stump to give it a rakish appearance. This style was known as the 'Gibraltar dock'. It was a popular conceit at the time.

A rather less romantic version of events was offered in 1852 by Major-General Thomas Bland Strange in his book Gunner Jingo’s Jubilee. The title of the book and the fact that it is dedicated ‘without permission to the President of the Disunited States of Greatest Britain’ suggests that Strange was no run of the mill Major-General.  He was commissioned in the Artillery in 1851 and arrived in Gibraltar the following year. It was as good a place as any to learn the trade in time of peace. The equipment was modern and there was always the occasional Spanish smuggler to practice on.

Unfortunately he mastered his junior officer’s duties in a few months and soon found himself with little to do. The normal response was to turn to alcohol and Strange watched aghast as many of his fellow officers drank themselves to death before they were thirty. In fact, a contemporary study on mental illness in British prisons found that there was a higher incidence of insanity in the Garrison than in British goals. Refusing to take the easy way out he plunged into an uncompromising program of self-improvement and fox-hunting.

The chapter in his book on a day out with the Calpe Hunt is probably as good a description of what it was like to hunt in Spain as one is likely to get. For a start things were done quite differently to what they were in England. The loose stone walls and hedges of the Home Counties were replaced by serried ranks of prickly pear and aloe – and these were ‘not to be negotiated.’

1904 Miss Phoebe’s Hunting Experiences in Gibraltar 
(by Lieutenant Collison-Morley)

All good clean fun ( 1906 - An amateur postcard perhaps )

The meet was usually at the famous, half-ruined convent of San Roque celebrated for its patron saint and now inhabited by an aged priest and a ‘few half-starved attendants’. The place was supported more by the generosity of the huntsmen than by any pious offering by pilgrims. Another favourite starting place was a dilapidated hacienda baptised by the British with the name of ‘Long Stables’. What followed was a long meandering ride over hot dry uncultivated countryside where the scent evaporated almost instantly under the sun. The strong smell of myrtle and thyme stirred up by the horses’ hoofs were also inconvenient and would have ‘demoralised any right-nosed English foxhound.’

1850 – Spanish Ladies at the Almoraima Convent

When the scent was finally picked up the Spanish earth-stoppers made an appearance looking for all the world ‘like bandits hurriedly burying a corpse.’ For those unfortunate readers who have never taken part in a hunt, earth-stoppers are individuals who are paid by the hunt to block up the entrances to fox holes which are also known as earths. According to Savage most foxes in Spain died of old age because ‘the earths are many and the earth-stoppers are Spanish.’ 

As the 1879 Gibraltar Directory confirmed it would take more a lttle local problem to put paid to the activities of the hunt:
In December, 1853 . . . . "the hard-hearted quarantine having set in like a black frost, and still continuing without much appearance of a thaw," the pack was taken across the Straits for a visit to Barbary, and for the first time the soul-inspiriting notes of hounds and horn were heard in the land of the Moor. 
The visitors met with, every kindness and attention from our present Minister, Sir John, then Mr. Hay, who made all suitable arrangements for their comfort. The Moorish farmers took the greatest interest in the doings of the Hunt, and showed themselves fine sporting fellows. They had good sport, foxes being very plentiful, and on one occasion had a splendid run with a wolf, - forty-seven minutes, with only one check, - the distance traversed being nine miles over a very rough country. The hounds were whipped off in the wooded crags of Cape Spartel.'
Usually thirty douple in kennel. and from the terribly rough nature of the country, constant yearly additions have to be made to the pack, which entail a large drain on the Hunt resources. The present huntsman is Charles Payne, a thoroughly good sportsman, a dashing rider, and always cheery under the worst weather, and the most untoward circumstances of scent and cultivation. He gives great satisfaction and is highly appreciated, his kennel management being very judicious.
Any notice of the Calpe Hunt would be incomplete without coupling with it the name of Mr. Richard Holmes, for many years a resident in Gibraltar, and who has devoted the whole of his energy and spare time to the hounds, the coverts, the country, and everything connected with the Hunt. Himself a most ardent sportsman, he is never wearied in supervising everything in any way, however small, connected with the management; and the only regret ever felt, when his manifold qualifications are considered, is, that should duty or inclination ever call him away from the Rock, it would be next to impossible to replace him for his great services to the Calpe Hunt.

1870 – The Calpe Steeplechase (Illustrated London News)

In 1853 Gibraltar was under quarantine - yet again - and the pack was taken over to Morocco. There was nothing for it. Hunt members followed them over. In 1861 the Duke of Beaufort - no less - brought over his famous pack to Gibraltar and the Calpe Hunt was able to ride with two packs at the same time.

By the end of the 19th century Mr. M Bae, a long time resident of San Roque, was given the unenviable task of judging whether the damages claimed by the local farmers were legitimate or not. He was succeeded in 1888 by Juan Gallardo who must have been particularly successful at keeping claims to a minimum - when he retired the members saw fit to present him with an expensive silver set.

Also in 1888 the irreplaceable Mr Richard Holmes drowned in a small burn when returning from the hunt. The Hunt members paid for a small memorial to be placed near the scene of the accident. But the sport continued without interruption. Hunting days were set to different days for each alternative week - Tuesday and Fridays on one, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on the other.

Members of the hun posing in Gibraltar before setting off   (Early 20th century - Unknown) 

If they were to be judged today most members of the Calpe Hunt were an unpleasant bunch of racists without a trace of sensitivity towards those less fortunate than themselves. But by the standards of the day they were just having the time of their lives. Although it had little to do with the ordinary local man in the street it did serve the purpose of keeping many of the upper echelons of the Garrison on fairly friendly terms with their Spanish equivalents. Humiliating the Spanish poor may have been an unfortunate part of it but as Garratt suggests, it helped to break down ‘the rigid system of isolation which had been in force throughout most of the eighteenth century.’ 

Very early twentieth century postcard of a group of Gibraltarians on their way to the Almoraima. I doubt whether any one of these people had a surname that wasn't English

Also, even though the Hunt was of course restricted to 'officers and gentlemen', the other ranks also benefited from their superiors' contacts with Spain. They were not allowed to hunt of course, but they were periodically sent on picnics and day trips to various places in the hinterland, including the Almoraima.

1905 - 'A Military Picnic from Gibraltar'
The caption reads : Throughout the summer these picnic take place in the cork woods, up country from Algeciras, each party numbering from 60 to 100 men and they are looked on as a very welcome change by the men whose only chance it is during the year, of getting off the Rock. Lunch and tea are taken out as well as all that is required for cricket, football, rounders etc. The peasants get to hear of these parties and come down with their donkeys, which they hire out by the hour to the men whose chief amusement during the day is to ride about the Picturesque woods or up and down the open space alongside the single-track railway where the picnics are usually held away from any village. The donkey-rides afford the drummers and band-boys especially good fun (C. Morley.)

An unknown huntress

On the left Major Townsend RAVC, Centre: Pablo Larios and on the right Mr A.B. Hankey (1928 )

The Calpe Hunt   (1929 - Lionel Edwards) 

The Calpe Hunt - Point to Point (1929 - Lionel Edwards)  (See LINK)

By the 1920s and 1930s the Hunt continued as usual and it became almost de rigueur for well known visitors to be invited to an appropriate meet. 

Louis “Dickie” Mountbatten on the left during a visit to Gibraltar in 1924     (With thanks to Andrew Smith)

(1928 - With thanks to Andrew Smith)

But maintaining the Hunt proved an expensive business. When it threatened to disappear in the early twentieth century an appeal in the London Times by one of its patrons saved the day. Ironically the man who instigated the appeal was the King of Spain, Alphonso XIII, who went on to became an important patron until he also ran out of money when he was kicked out of his country and his job by Franco. 

The Spanish Civil War itself, of course,  put a stop to all joint activities across the border and the Hunt suffered accordingly, but when the conflict finally came to an end it was back to business - if not as usual at least with a semblance of it. 

The Hunt’s servants and committee members - Lady Harrington, the Governor’s wife and joint-master is third from right.    (1938 - With thanks to Andrew Smith)

The hounds with the huntsman Mr. J.E.S Lacey in the lead moving off for another meet   (1938 - With thanks to Andrew Smith)

Captain Fellowes RN on the left    (1938 - With thanks to Andrew Smith)

Two unknown ladies probably waiting to set off for yet another meet just outside the kennels in front of the racecourse    (1938 - With thanks to Andrew Smith)

Ladies point-to-point at Guadacorte  (1938 - With thanks to Andrew Smith)

But it was the upheavals of World War II that finally ensured that one of Gibraltar’s socially least attractive but perhaps one of its most memorable institutions would finally come to an end.

And yet according to some all is not yet lost. The Spectator Magazine of the 13th of July 1991 contained an article entitled Brighter Rock by the author Simon Courtauld. He ended it as follows:
. . . as an earnest of Britain's and Spain's intentions, there would be no harm in making a symbolic gesture, which even some Gibraltarians might find appealing. What better than to revive the Royal Calpe Hunt under the joint patronage, which it used to enjoy, of the monarchs of both countries? For more than a century, until the Civil War, the Calpe used to hunt over Andalusian country near La Linea, and hounds were kennelled on the Rock. Here would be a fine example of the advantage of mixing sport and politics.
Unfortunately I doubt very much whether that will ever happen given the history of Gibraltar’s more recent political relationship with its neighbour. 

“The Whistling Coon Race - A Novel Event in a Gymkhana in Gibraltar “- undoubtedly organised by the Royal Calpe Hunt