Friday, 1 July 2011

Ideas about deer

As anyone who has read the book knows, part of my theory concerns deer. One Cliftoner was quick to point out, however, that during his grandfather's day there were no deer on the Kirklees estate - at least no herds. This puzzled me as on old maps the estate is clearly marked as a deer park. A little research in the Armytage's archive seems to clear the matter up. In a game warden's book from 1894 to 1903 deer stock in the park is noted on a weekly basis. And there are a large number of deaths, from attacks by dogs, to green tail, to tuberculosis. Following this in 1904, there is a lot of correspondence regarding the purchase of fallow deer - from France, Wales and Bourne. The final reference is a game book 1925-1946 - and here's the rub - no mention of deer at all. From this my conclusion is that tuberculosis became so endemic, it decimated the herd each time it was restocked until at last the whole idea was abandoned. This would explain why there were deer aplenty up until around 1905, but from then onwards there was no longer a maintained herd.

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