MARSKE, br. foaled 1750, by Squirt, a chestnut horse, son of Bartlett's Childers (brother to Flying Childers), by the Darley Arabian; dam, the Ruby Mare, by Hutton's Blacklegs (a son of the Mulso Bay Turk, commonly called Mr. Hutton'sBay Barb)—Fox Club, Coneyskins, Hutton's Gray Barb, Hutton's Royal Colt, Byerley Turk, out of a Bustler mare. The Gray Barb was a present from King William to Mr. Hutton in 1700, and that gentleman alsO purchased the Royal Colt of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, Bart, in the same year: he was got by the Helmsley Turk, out of a Sedbury royal mare. Marske was bred by Mr. Hutton, of Marske, near Richmond, Yorkshire, who, in 1750, exchanged him for a chestnut Arabian with H. R. H. the Duke of Cumberland. When four years old, he won the Jockey Club plate, beating Pytho by Crab, Brilliant by Crab, Ginger by Shock, and Beau by the Ancaster Starling. In October of the same year, he again beat Ginger a match over the B. C. for 500 gs. In 1755, he was beat by Brilliant, and Syphon by Squirt: in 1756, in two matches, by Snap; and he also paid forfeit to Spectator, by Crab. Marske was then taken out of training, and became a private stallion, till the death of his Royal Highness in 1765, when his stud was brought to the hammer, and Marske passed into the hands of a a farmer at a low figure, being deemed at the time of no worth as a stallion; and he actually served mares in Dorsetshire, the season of 1766, at half a guinea each. Mr. Wildman, the purchaser of Eclipse, however, had the good fortune to obtain possession of the sire, at twenty guineas, the seller rejoicing at making so good a bargain. In 1767, he covered at three guineas in Hampshire; in 1769, at five guineas ; and in 1770, at ten guineas ; afterwards the charge advanced to thirty guineas; and from the extraordinary performances of his son Eclipse, he became the leading stallion of the day. In such high repute did he stand, that Mr. Wildman sold him to Lord Abingdon for 1000 gs. For the season of 1776 he was announced to cover at Rycot, near Tetsworth, Oxfordshire, the seat of his Lordship, thirty-two mares, including twelve the property of his noble owner, at one hundred guineas each. Marske was sire of many capital stallions, brood mares, and racers of the first class. In 1775 and 1776, forty-seven of his sons and daughters were the successful competitors of prizes amounting to 37,7361, 8s. in specie —exclusive of thirteen hogsheads of claret, by Shark; fifteen hogsheads of the same exhilarating juice, by Pontac, at Newmarket; and a gold cup at Ipswich, by Hephes and body measure eighteen inches, the tail ten. Martins inhabit Britain, France, Germany, and most parts of the south of Europe, and even the warmer parts of Russia. They live in woods, and go about during the night in quest of prey. Their movements are exceedingly nimble; they rather bound and leap than walk: they climb rough walls with ease and alacrity; enter dovecotes or hen-houses, eat the eggs, fowls, &c. and the females kill great numbers and convey them to their young; they likewise seize mice, rats, moles, squirrels, rabbits, and birds in their nests; indeed there is scarcely an animal in our woods that will venture to oppose the martin; even the wildcat, though much stronger, is not a match for it. The younger females bring three or four at a birth; when older, they produce six or seven. They breed in hollows of trees; and, in winter, are often found in magpies' nests. The skin and excrements have a musky smell.
There is also a variety of this animal called the Yellow-breasted Martin, which differs from the former in the colour of the breast, and the body is darker. Its fur, too, is more valuable, beautiful, and glossy. The yellow-breasted martin is much more common in France than in England ; and even there is much scarcer than that with the white breast.
Beckford says, in his Thoughts on Hunting, " If you have martin-cats within your reach, as all hounds are fond of their scent, you will do well to enter your young hounds in covers which they frequent." It should be borne in mind, however, that the martin seldom dies without giving the dogs a receipt in full upon their noses. Mr. Beckford was aware of this: he adds, " I do not much approve of hunting them with the old hounds, as they scratch and tear hounds considerably."
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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