About William Phillips Walters
Birth 1761 24 Mar Risca, Monmouthshire, Wales
Marriage to MARTHA Smith 1783 4 Dec — Age: 22 St. Johns Church, Bristol.Somerset
Death 28 Dec 1835 in Risca, Monmouthshire, Wales Hunting Pioneer in South Wales Western Mail & South Wales News: Hunting Pioneer in South Wales Squire Phillips of Risca: Famous M.F.H. & Breeder by John Kyrkle Fletcher. (1930's) The story of hunting in South wales centres in one man who was not only a great master of hounds but was a keen breeder of the right type of hound. Besides this he encouraged the younger generation of hunting men of his time, so that to-day more than one hunt owes its success to the old Risca strain in the pack. It is nearly a hundred years since this old pioneer died. Regular packs of hounds with new names have been established since his day, and the rough-and-ready methods by which he trained his hounds would now be looked upon as primitive and put of date. Yet the name and the fame of William Phillips, the Hunting Squire of Risca still lingers. In the Vale of Henllys or on the Myndd Maen you may meet old men who heard stories of Squire Phillips icons such famous old sportsmen as John Lawrence and Hopton Addams Williams. William Phillips was the first man in Monmouthshire who trained hounds to hunt foxes, and only foxes. His home still stands on the side of the canal above Pontymister, a gret stone Tudor mansion with the stable yard over the way. A Link With Breconshire He was descended from an old Breconshire family, and his grandfather came into Monmouthshire as receiver and manager of the Tredegar Estates after the death of Sir William Morgan in 1730. The squire and his hounds were at their prime about 1800, so that he belongs to the classic period of hunting. His country was around the Mynydd Maen, and included some fine hill country which those days was famous for its strong foxes. The pack was trencher-fed, and hounds were kept in many of the cottages of the district, to be called together by the horn of the huntsman from the mountan ridge above. The tradition of their frequent meets is summed up in the old saying "that in the season the squire sometimes hunted every day of the week, and also took the hounds out for a run on Sunday mornings to keep them fit." This, of course is not strictly true, but it gives some idea of the keenness of the squire and his pack. Starting New Packs When Dr. Davies, of Bedwas, talked of starting a pack the squire sent him a couple of hounds, and did the same for John Lawrence, telling each of them, "If you want a good pack you must breed them. It is only fools who buy other people's hounds, because no man sells his best." These hounds he spared to form the nucleus of the Ty Isha, and Llangibby packs. The Risca strain in these packs of hounds is said to mean keen scent and a fuller note, as no hound of the old Risca pack was ever known to hunt mute. The old squire died in 1835 in his seventy-fourth year, and he hunted till the end of his life. The portrait of him illustrating this article is taken from the original oil painting, which represents the squire holding in his hand his favourite book, "Beckford on Hunting." This was painted not many years before his death and was considered an excellent likeness. It certainly gives us a good idea of what a real sportsman of those days looked like.