The Hartsbourne Inheritance

In this article we follow the career of Mrs. Eileen Walker and her Hartsbourne Irish Setter kennel from its foundation in 1926 through to 1970.  It would take several volumes to cover every dog and litter which this highly successful kennel owned and bred, indeed the Hartsbourne Irish Setters became a global family as a result of exportation, but we have attempted to highlight the most important dogs especially those that became inextricably linked with South Africa and appear on pedigrees in other parts of the world.


The home of Hartsbourne Irish Setters

“Forester” the name of Eileen K. Walker’s home stood on the edge of Stanmore Common, near Bushey Heath, Middlesex. Its situation could not have been more ideal for Irish Setters with its huge park like grounds which included spacious kennels and access to the countryside.

Living in the same London suburb as Mrs. Ingle Bepler and given her eminence in the breed at the time, it was a logical decision for Eileen to purchase Val, her foundation bitch in 1926 from the Rheola kennels.  Val was litter sister to Ch. Rheola Bryndona, a well-balanced bitch, that became the star of the litter in Ingle Bepler’s hands, while a brother of the same breeding, born in 1927, Show Champion Shaun of Matsonhouse owned by Mrs. Selwyn established his place in the history of the breed though his son Ch. Grellan of Matsonhouse frequently found in extended pedigrees in UK and other countries around the world.


Val born 1926 and bred by Ingle Bepler – Rheola


In 1927 Mrs Walker registered Val’s first litter, sired by Mr. W. O’ Bolger’s Loc Garmain Barney which produced sisters Hartsbourne Jade and Jewel who were destined to leave their mark on the breed.

Jade became Eileen’s first Show Champion and was mated to Barney of Boyne who subsequently became an international English, Irish and American Champion. On 12 May 1929 Jade whelped Hartsbourne Ruadri which eminent judge Mrs. Darley considered to be of ‘perfect type and expression’. He was the first of twelve Hartsbourne Irish Setters Eileen exported to Australia during her career as a breeder.

Hartsbourne Jewel’s progeny sired by Ingle Bepler’s Rheola Benedict born 20 Feb 1930 gave Eileen her first taste of great success in the ring with Ch. Hartsbourne Vanity. An exceptionally beautiful bitch that had an outstanding show career which included three Best in Show All Breeds awards, firstly at Glasgow Championship Show in 1930, then at the Kennel Club in 1932 and again at Cheltenham in 1934

On 16 May 1933 Vanity’s offspring sired by Rheola Palmerin were born. The bitch Hartsbourne Virtue was retained by Mrs. Walker while litter sister Hartsbourne  Vivid was sold to Mrs Selwyn of Matsonhouse Irish Setters.


Vanity’s daughter Hartsbourne Vivid whelped her first litter on 6.01.1935, sired by Pattatoo which produced the bitch Hartsbourne Veracity.  In a 1937 press critique F. Warner Hill described  Veracity as a ‘big raking bitch, long clean head, nice expression; wonderful neck and shoulders and well-turned quarters.  She improved in movement on every chance and her all-round type and quality carried her to the top.’

Hartsbourne Virtue was also the dam of Hartsbourne Maeve born on 24 Mar 1938 and sired by Joe Braddon’s best homebred dog of the time Ch. Marksman of Ide.  Had the outbreak of the World War II in 1939 not brought the major shows to a standstill, Maeve would certainly have made her Breed Championship as she had won her junior warrant very quickly and a reserve Best of Sex (Res CC).before the war.

Meanwhile Mrs. Selwyn had mated Virtue’s sister, Hartsbourne Vivid of Matsonhouse to Ch. Grellan of Matsonhouse which produced Matsonhouse Mist.

As Gilbert Leighton Boyce attested ‘The early Hartsbournes viewed as a group set an incredibly high standard of show quality.’ Competition in the ring was keen pre-war with Mrs. Walkers’ kennel, Joe Braddon’s Ide Irish and Mrs. Ogden’s Barrowdales a formidable force.

Braddon had six different Challenge Certificate winners in the breed in one year and both Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Ogden campaigned their top Irish long after they had gained Championship status, so it was a remarkable achievement for smaller kennels like Mrs. Selwyn’s Matsonhouse,  Mrs. Leighton Boyce, (senior) Norlan and the newer emerging kennels such as those of Mr. & Mrs. James’ Wendovers and Miss Lamb’s (later Mrs. Furness) Raycrofts to gain their dog’s winning tickets.


Given wartime bombing, the threat of invasion by the Germans and the constraints of wartime rationing, minimal breeding was undertaken during the war years and then only to preserve the important and precious pre-war lines. In the Hartsbourne kennel Eileen decided to breed Hartsbourne Maeve to her own dog Ch. Padriac of Matsonhouse which she had purchased from Mrs. Selwyn.  Born in 1934 he was described by the renowned judge J.W. Heaslip in 1937 as a striking dog who ‘stood right out; perhaps our best dog at present being shown.’


Sh Ch Hartsbourne Matchless DOB 2 Oct 1942

The resulting litter born on 2.10.1942 produced Eileen’s first post-war Show Champion Hartsbourne Matchless who won a total of seven Challenge Certificates and three Reserves in 1948. Also of importance was his brother Hartsbourne Masterpiece who was grandfather of the great Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Tobias born in 1947.


In his book, Gilbert Leighton Boyce remembered conversations which had taken place with Eileen Walker in the mid ‘thirties concerning early onset night blindness (Progressive Retinal Atrophy rcd1) indicating that. ‘she attributed it to some sort of bug and stated that her veterinary surgeon was baffled.  Apart from later altering ‘bug’ to ‘virus’ she maintained this view for a considerable time, though by 1940 she was inclined to accept as an alternative explanation – vitamin deficiency, having heard of experiments with increased carrot consumption to improve night vision in human beings. She took at times a gloomily romantic view that this was part of the price one had to pay for such supremely beautiful animals.’

Eileen had bred on a fairly narrow base with Rheola stock pre-war which were heavy implicated as affected and potential carriers of PRA rcd 1 by 1945. Breeding had been limited and on a very localized basis during the war years and at its end the spread of PRA rcd 1 in the South Eastern areas of England had reached crisis point and there were depressing developments elsewhere.

While Mrs. Walker was sceptical of Rasbridge’s scheme to test mate her stock as a method of assessing their PRA rcd 1 status, she must have had some realization of the underlying hereditary factors, since she astutely either imported what she believed to be clear stock from dual show and field lines or used stock that had been tested clear by others, this including the use of Mrs. J. Clarke’s Brynmount Redgaynes Mars the only successfully tested clear son of Rheola Bendickon who had strong links with her original Rheola stock, such a mating was undertaken between Brymount Redgaynes Mars and Hartsbourne Flame which she imported from Ireland with Hartsbourne Flush born on 08 Nov 1949 in progeny from the litter.


Importation from Ireland

In 1947 Eileen imported Hartsbourne Flame from Maureen McKeever’s (nee Kiernan) Derrycarne kennel in Ireland.  Flame was a rare “shower of hail” bitch, her red coat splashed with white dots and as Eileen commented to Gilbert Leighton Boyce ‘ they will all laugh at the coat, but she is very sound’.  She was born on 25 Mar 1944 and sister to Maureen’s Irish Champion Derrycarne Martini.


Hartsbourne Flame DOB 25 Mar 1944

Shandy of Maydorwill bred by Maureen and born in 1944 was imported by Mrs. Dorothy Cucksey a staunch supporter of Rasbridge’s Scheme.  As a result Shandy was test mated and proven clear of the inherited condition Progressive Retinal Atrophy rcd 1.  Additionally Shandy’s, sire Irish Champion Simon of Seaforde was a litter brother to  Mrs. Walker’s Ch. Padriac of Matsonhouse which she had used successfully at stud. So it was reasonable for Eileen to deduce from her research and knowledge of Flame’s pedigree that she would not carry or be affected with PRA rcd 1.

According to Gilbert Leighton Boyce ‘the Derrycarne breeding brought back into England a useful link with the better stock of the ‘thirties in England as well as, on other lines with some excellent Irish blood.


Hartsbourne Masterstroke – 2CC’s & 1 Irish Green Star

While Flame did not find favour with judges in the ring she was worth “her weight in gold” as a brood bitch. She was dam to Show Champion Hartsbourne Tobias  born on 06 Feb 1947, sired by Hartsbourne Masterstroke.


Sh Ch Hartsbourne Tobias DOB 6 Feb 1947

Eileen exhibited Hartsbourne Tobias for the first time in December 1949 under judge Lt. Col F.E.C. Lewis (Hundridge) at Kensington who awarded him 1st in the Novice Class and 2nd in the Graduate and Open which secured Reserve Best of Sex (RCC) for Tobias.  He completed his Championship in 1950 being awarded Challenge Certificates by Mr. W. East at SKC Glasgow, Mrs. J. Clarke at the Croydon show and lastly at the Richmond show under judge Lt. Cl. J. Downes Powell.  Tobias became the most important stud-dog of the period, siring seven Show Champions Show and three show and field qualified Champions winning the Mars Stud dog Trophy for three consecutive years from 1953 to 1955.

In 1949 Hartsbourne Flame was mated to Brynmount Redgaynes Mars as he had links to her foundation Rheola stock though his sire Rheola Bendickon. In this litter Flame produced Hartsbourne Flush born on 08 Nov 1949.

Importation From America


Hartsbourne Senor Of Shadowood DOB 13 Mar 1946

In a leap of faith Mrs. Walker imported Hartsbourne Senor of Shadowood in 1948 from America.  She considered him an elegant dog ‘ with a splendid neck and a great forehead’.  Born on 13 Mar 1946 he was sired by Coppercoat of Crosshaven who later became a New Zealand Champion. The Crosshaven kennel had been established in the 1930’s by Mr. & Mrs. Ward Gardner who concentrated on breeding dual purpose Irish Setters for show and field.  Senor’s dam was Queen of Ardkeen’s Molly ‘O and as a whole his pedigree indicated the influence of the Redwood, Ruxton and Higgins American kennels.

Hartsbourne Senor of Shadowood only won one Challenge Certificate in England.  Gilbert Leigton-Boyce commented that he was ‘of rather uncertain temperament and an irregular performer at stud’.  His best son was Miss Hobson’s Show Champion Malcoombe Shandon of Aviemore, but it was his daughter for which he will always be remembered, Champion Hartsbourne Popsy out of Hartsbourne Poppet, born on 24 Jun 1948 who won a staggering 22 Challenge Certificates under 21 different judges and between litters gained her Field Qualification.

However Eileen’s later importation of American Ch. Erinhaven Dennis Muldoon born on 21 Jul 1954 brought trouble.  Although Dennis was swiftly awarded six Challenge Certificates and five Res.CC’s during 1958/59 to gain his UK Show Championship title and sired his first litter in 1959 to Miss Lennox’s Ch. Brackenfield Poppy followed by another that year and a third in 1962, it became apparent that he was a PRA rcd 1 carrier.  Sybil Lennox test mated his son, Brackenfield Dandelion and he was cleared of being a carrier, which was a tremendous relief to the owners of his numerous descendants.

The Great Bitch Ch. Hartsbourne Popsy

Although most of Eileen Walker’s Irish were accommodated in large kennels  Popsy was an exception and throughout much of her life was a house pet as well a dearly loved companion. Sybil Lennox describing her ‘as a calm, sensible dog, affectionate, but not fussy.  One who could be relied upon to rise to the occasion when required and to put that little bit more into showing at the right moment.  She seemed to love the shows and giving of her best at all times.’


A Young Hartsbourne Popsy DOB 24 Jun 1948

By 1949 Eileen had apparently come to appreciate the merits of test mating stock for Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Sybil affirmed that on 24 Oct 1949 Hartsbourne Popsy whelped a test litter sired by a blind dog which cleared her of the scourge of PRA rcd 1.

In May 1950 Popsy won her first Challenge Certificate at the Scottish KC show in Glasgow and followed this with six more before whelping her second litter on 17th May 1951 sired by Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Tobias.  A match “made in heaven” which was repeated in 1952 with a successful outcome. Being a very devoted mother Popsy happily reared all her puppies.


Ch Hartsbourne Popsy       


In the Hartsbourne Tobias x Popsy litter born 17.05.1951 were the following important siblings:

Hartsbourne Bedelia

Mrs. E. Walker’s bitch, Champion Hartsbourne Bedelia winner of 14 Challenge Certificates from the showbench one of which she won at the age of 11 months She gained her Field Trail Qualification in September 1955 at the Yorkshire Gundog Club Trial.

Mrs. E.  Walker’s dog Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Brilliant who won 3 Challenge certificates and sired five litters before being exported to America .

Ch. Hartsbourne Buster of Acres


Miss B. Pruddah’ Ch. Hartsbourne Buster of Acres, winner of 5 Challenge Certificates and qualified at the Ulster IRSC Field Trial in 1955 for his full Championship title.

Mrs. E. Walker’s bitch Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Bloom winner of 3 Challenge Certificates while in the ownership of the late Mr. Wallace of Scotland.

Another litter brother was exported  and became Australian Champion  Hartsbourne Brutus.

Despite her maternal duties Popsy was back on form to win the Challenge Certificate at the Scottish KC Show in 1951 and won a total of 5 Challenge Certificates that year.

1952 heralded an incredibly successful year for Hartsbourne Popsy which commenced with Best of Breed at Crufts and winning a further 7 Challenge Certificates during the course of the year together with Best Gundog at Blackpool and Ayr Championship Show where she was also awarded Best in Show by Mr. Warner Hill.  In April of the same year she field qualified at the Setter & Pointer Club trials giving a really good account of her abilities as a hunting dog.

On Boxing Day 26th December 1952 Popsy gave Eileen a belated Christmas present as she whelped her final litter, in which brothers Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne O’Hara , Hartsbourne Rufus and Hartsbourne Hallmark were born.

The three important male siblings in the Tobias x Popsy’s litter born 26 Dec 1951


Mrs. Walker’s Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne O’Hara who won 6 Challenge Certificates and was considered by many as the best male Eileen ever showed.

Hartsbourne Rufus who won 1 Challenge Certificate before export to Australia.

The male Hartsbourne Hallmark was exported to Jan Hesterman’s O’Cuchulain kennel in the Netherlands.

In 1954, Ch. Hartsbourne Popsy was awarded her 22nd Challenge Certificate by Mrs. M. Darling at Windsor,  matching the 1933 record of Mrs. M. Ogden’s male Ch. Menaifron Pat O’Moy (b.1927) but it was to be her last outing. 

It is said that “only the good die young” and this was the case with Popsy as on 25th November 1954 she died of cancer.  In her six short years of life she fulfilled every dream any breeder could wish for and her loss was greatly mourned by her owner and the breed as a whole.

As Gilbert Leighton Boyce commented the Tobias x Popsy dogs ‘were a wonderful lot and the bitches were at least as good though none to my mind had quite the breath-taking perfection of Popsy’.

 ‘ Popsy’s mother (H. Poppet) traced back to the early Raycrofts (Ray Furness nee Lamb who had entered the breed in 1936) and thus to Champion Son of a Gun of Gadeland and other big pre-war winners, but had only one line to the great early Hartsbournes.  For a time the Raycrofts and the two rising kennels of Miss Pruddah (Acres) and Miss Lennox (Brackenfield) favored the new-style Hartsbourne approach and either bought stock from Mrs. Walker or used her various dogs with impressive results.  It was clear that Mrs. Walker was achieving a status in the breed comparable to that of Mrs. Ingle-Bepler in bygone days’


Eileen’s judging career at Championship level began at Bath Kennel Club in 1948 where she awarded a Challenge Certificate (his first) and Best of Breed to Conrad of Lyndale later to earn his Show Championship.  Thirteen Championship Show appointments followed in the UK, the last in 1969 at the Ladies Kennel Association.  During this period she had judged at Crufts, London in 1951 and again in 1967.

There were also many appointments to judge overseas, some in America where, despite her own kennel’s connections with their local bloodlines, she was critical  of what she perceived as their ‘Afghanish’ looks which opinion she expressed in the British dog press.



Popsy’s son, Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Brilliant, was mated to Hartsbourne Purros Petula. The progeny, born on 03 May 1954 included the great showdog and field qualified Ch. Brackenfield Hartsbourne Bronze owned by Sybil Lennox and the bitch Champion Hartsbourne Penny which Eileen Walker retained.


Birmingham Championship Show 1959

    Centre: Judge Miss Sybil Lennox

                  CC &  BOB  Mrs. J.M. Hicks’ Ch. & Ir. Ch.Cuanhills Calling

                               (Glassfern Barney x Hartsbourne Brunette) shown here by Mr.J. Whittaker

            CC Mrs. Walker with Ch. Hartsbourne Penny

                 (Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Brilliant x Hartsbourne Purros Petula)

Mr. ‘Littleleaze’ Errington’s owned Penny’s sister, Hartsbourne Pansy who won well in obedience classes in 1957 and in September 1958 earned her Companion Dog Ex in the Senior B Stakes of the Associated Sheep, Police and Army Dog Society’s working trials at Falmer and Woodingdean, Sussex.

Ch. Brackenfield Hartsbourne Bronze covered sixteen bitches in his career as a stud dog siring three Show Champions and one full Show and Field qualified Champion plus other ticket winners and was awarded the Mars Stud dog Trophy for winning progeny in the showring for five consecutive years between 1959 and 1963.


Ch Brackenfield Hartsbourne Bronze owned by Sybil Lennox


In South Africa

Eileen used Ch. Brackenfield Hartsbourne Bronze as sire to Hartsbourne Flush in which litter Hartsbourne Falcon was born on 03 May 1957.  His grandmother was Mrs. Walker’s Hartsbourne Flame bred by Maureen McKeever in Ireland. Falcon  was exported to Mrs. E. Kottler in Muldersdrift South Africa.

                         Pedigree of Hartsbourne Falcon   b.03 May 1957


Falcon gained his SA Championship title and sired a litter out of Mrs. E. McBride’s beautiful bitch SA. Ch. Redsun Honey.  One of the progeny, SA Ch. Redsun Roland of the Rand, born on 16.08.59 was purchased by Father J.B. Doran.

Roland accompanied his owner on his return to Ireland and subsequently Maureen McKeever used him at stud to her homebred Irish Champion Derrycarne Tia Maria. This highly successful mating resulted in a litter born 19 Mar 1963 which included the bitch Derrycarne Harp exported to Jan Hesterman’s O’Cuchulain Irish Setter kennel in  the Netherlands. Also in the litter were siblings, Derrycarne Time, Idea, Amber Ale and Derrycarne Carlsberg owned by Maureen’s daughter Mrs. Caroline Molloy.


             ‘The Champion heads of Derrycarne’ wrote Maureen McKeever

                                  ‘ Redsun’s daughters left and right of photo’  

Hartsbourne, Redsun and Derrycarne lines appear in the ancestry of Miss Colette and Mrs. Mary Tuite’s Ch. Astley’s Portia of Rua’s pedigree who was judged Best-in-Show at Crufts UK in 1981.

SA Champion Hartsbourne Falcon was also bred to one of Olwen Hunt’s early breeding Sowerhill Flame, born 18 Dec 1957 which was exported to South Africa.  This mating resulted in the arrival of Mrs. Kottler’s Shaun O’Mortachre who sired Mrs. Flora. Hill’s litter out of SA Ch. Golden Dawn of Donegal to produce the splendid S.A. Ch. Terence of Donegal considered by many the best dog Flora ever bred and owned.


S.A. Ch. Terence of Donegal born 26 Nov 1961 

The line is still represented today on the extended pedigrees of the South African  Oakdale Irish Setters owned by Bridget & Mark Simpson and those of newer South African breeders kennels as a result.

Hartsbourne Kerry was exported to South Africa by Eileen in 1965 by which time he had already sired two litters in UK, the first born on 27 Nov 1963 from Ray Furness’ Raycroft Bramble which produced Sh. Ch.Raycroft Callboy who amassed 17 Challenge Certificate between 1965 and 1968 and was Best Gundog on show at Welks in 1966 and at SKC Glasgow and Leicester in 1967 where he was also judged Res. Best in Show. In the same period he sired four litters and was subsequently exported to Japan.  Meanwhile Hartsbourne Kerry achieved his South African Championship title and sired a litter from Mrs. Kottler’s Hartsbourne Sulvina which included Timothy O’Mortache.




Sh. Ch. Raycroft Callboy

                    (SA Ch. Hartsbourne Kerry x Raycroft Bramble)

Hartsbourne Fans in Europe

There were many fans of the Hartsbourne type in Europe amongst them Herr Wegner,  I. Eggenkamp, D & M. Westera, H & G. Germeraad, D & G. Detwiler, J. Hesterman , Capt. G.J. Verweij (author of the book Setters & Pointers published in Amsterdam in 1949) , H. ten Klooster, W. Zweverink and Miss N van der Sijde.

Globetrotters in the Netherlands

In the 1930’s Capt G.J. Verweij (Sutherland) imported Hartsbourne Josephine (Hartsbourne Hector x Tess of Glen) and Jan Hesterman his O’Cuchulain foundation bitch, Hartsbourne Lucy  (Rheola Benedict x Hartsbourne Jewel) full sister to Mrs. Walker’s beautiful Ch. Hartsbourne Vanity .

In early correspondence Eileen wrote to Jan  ‘I think Lucy can beat them all ’ As Henk ten Klooster affirms ‘she was right and most Dutch champions had this direct female lineage which dominated the Dutch scene until the late seventies.’

Ch. Hartsbourne Lucy produced Ch. Fial O’Cuchulain who won CAC at the Amsterdam Winners show in 1937 and 1940. His litter sister Grania O’Cuchulain appearing in the ancestry of Miss N. van der Sijde’s famous Goldwyn strain from which a great line of Irish descended. The successful ChestnutGarden kennel was also linked to Hartsbourne Lucy, via Lilian of Sutherland.

Further Hartsbourne Irish Setters were exported to the Netherlands in the post World War II period. Henk ten Klooster’s second Irish, Astrid, whom he purchased as a boy, was bred by Jan Hesterman and was full of the old Dutch O’Cuchulains and with Hartsbourne Hallmark (H. Tobias x H. Popsy) in her pedigree.

During the early 1960’s, Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Kieron, was exported and there was a splendid match between him and Hartsbourne Hallmark’s daughter Sh. Ch. Yoube O’Cuchulain which produced Int. Ch. FT Shandon O’Cuchulain.


 European Int Ch. & FT Shandon O’Cuchulain

      28 CACIB (FCI European equivalent to UK CC). W 64,65,66

     BDSG 61,63,65  Champ of Luxembourg 62,63,65

     CSSR 1965 Weltsieger Brunn & Innsbruck 1965


European Int Ch & FT Shandon O’Cuchulain

In due course Shandon sired a litter from another Hartsbourne import, Joanna which produced Cadet Van de Dommelzicht.  He was subsequently mated to  Henk ten Klooster’s favourite bitch Ailean O’Cuchulain by Wim Zweverink, the second owner of the O’Cuchulain kennel.  One of  the progeny, born 07 Apr 1974 was Brian Boru O’Cuchulain owned by Joop Buiten. Unfortunately Wim Zweverink lost his life in a glider accident and sadly the line faded from the showring but remained active in the field for sometime with Henk ten Klooster’s  support.


Pedigree of Brian Boru O’Cuchulain Born 7 April 1974

Note the International connections in the pedigree of Brian Boru O’Cuchulain between those Irish Setters bred in Ireland, England, Netherlands, South Africa and America and the common thread of Mrs. Walker’s Hartsbourne Irish Setters.

Henk ten Klooster (O’Conloch Irish Setters) imported the last of the Hartsbourne line into the Netherlands bred by Sybil Lennox who inherited the kennel name. Hartsbourne Ashley was sired by Brackenfield Rob Roy out of Hartsbourne Willow and born in 1986. Plans for Ashley’s sea transportation on the Herald of Free Enterprise were made for 06 Mar 1987, but fate decreed that he made the trip a week earlier and so escaped a watery grave as The Herald of Free Enterprise capsized on its voyage to Belgium on 06 Mar 1987


On 18 Jan 1966 Sh. Ch. Hartsbourne Starlight was born, a very beautiful bitch which Eileen rated as one of her best.  She won 5 Challenge Certificates, 4 Res. Best of Sex (RCCs) and  2 Best of Breeds.  In 1970 she was pregnant by Sh. Ch. Carnbargus Hartsbourne O’Brady and due to whelp when Mrs. Walker suddenly died during a visit to America.


Sh Ch Hartsbourne Starlight

That litter contained the bitch  Sh. Ch. Carnbargus Hartsbourne Mattie who was the pick of litter choice by Mrs. Eve Gardner, owner of the sire.  Mrs. Betty Worth (Heathcliffe) purchased Suzette from the litter and enjoyed showing her although she never quite made her show Championship (1CC & 2 Res.CC’s).  The only male in the litter was purchased by Miss Helen Flyn of Scotland and was subsequently used at stud.

Pedigree of Progeny from the last litter Mrs. Eileen Walker bred


Conscious of her own mortality Mrs. Walker had bequeathed the majority of her dogs together with her Hartsbourne affix to Miss Sybil Lennox, her long standing friend and colleague.  For a while the Hartsbourne breeding ran parallel to that of Sybil’s Brackenfield kennels, but the Hartsbournes never reclaimed the prominent position they enjoyed in a bygone era.

As Gilbert Leighton Boyce reiterated ‘Mrs. Walker aimed throughout her long career at a standard of visual excellence in her Setters, which she achieved with remarkable consistency.  At the time of her death she had breed thirty-two different challenge-certificate winners under British Kennel Club rules’ and many more overseas champions around the world.  They remain an everlasting tribute to her expertise as a breeder.

This article is compiled and written by Bridget & Mark Simpson, Oakdale Irish Setters, Napier, Western Cape South Africa. e-mail

August 2014

NOTE: Every effort has been made to cross reference material used in this article to ensure its accuracy.


We particularly express our thanks and appreciation to Henk ten Klooster of O’Conloch Irish Setters in the Netherlands for his contribution of photographs and memories from the past which enhanced the character of this article.

Thanks also to SA’s Mrs. Rose-Marie Cabion – Sleepy Hollow Labradors & Whippets for the photograph of Mrs. F. Hill’s Terrence of Donegal

We further thank Michelle Webster of  Hooley Irish Setter Pedigrees website whose unfailing co-operation and assistance are greatly appreciated.

Gratitude must also be extended to the General Manager and staff of the Kennel Union of Southern Africa for their assistance in retrieving archived material to enable the production of this article


Irish Setter by Gilbert Leighton-Boyce published in 1973

This is The Irish Setter by Joan McDonald Brearley published in 1975

The Irish Setter by Janice Roberts published in 1978

Irish Setter Show Champions in Great Britain 1947-1982 published by SEISC


Newsletters by The Irish Setter Breeders Club (UK)

Winter 1982 – Winter & Spring 1983 – Spring 1984 – Autumn 1984 –Winter 1985

Irish Setter Association, England – Annual Review 1993


Joop Buiten – Brian Boru O’Cuchulain

Hooley Irish Setter Pedigrees