Home to the earls of Warrington, Dunham Massey has formal gardens laid out by the 5th Earl in the late 18th century. Dating from before his time through to that of his son the 6th Earl, there is a dog cemetery located on the lawn in a significant situation opposite the moat south-east of the main house (note: subsequent to initial posting, I’ve had it confirmed these gravestones are not the originals, but replicas to prevent damage to the original memorials).

The guidebook by Susie Stubbs says:

‘The English love their pets, and the Booths and Greys were no different, burying their most-loved canines in full view of the house. In the avenue on the far side of th moat lie the graves of several family pets, including ‘Pugg, als. Old Vertue, who dyed February 17th, 1702’, the dog so loved by the 2nd Earl that he had it immortalised in the painting that hangs in the hosue between the great Gallery and the Tea Room. A walk of birch trees and bluebells, known as Emily’s Walk after the daughter of the former head gardener, leads back to the canal path

Stubbs 2012: 51

9 memorials, all recumbent and orientated on the house in a single line, record the names of 15 hounds from 1702 to 1836, four of whom were named ‘Lyon/Lion’ (an 18th-century ‘Lyon’ and three early 19th-century ‘Lion’s).

The first two, of early 18th-century date, have incised double borders. The second of these is more elaborate, with modest hour glass symbol above the inscription ‘Alas! Poor Tipler’ and scallop ornamentation in the lower corners.

Within this landscape of power, landed wealth and opulence, the expression of loss and love for pet canines was a key emerging component for over a century, with gravestones operating as media for emotive dialogues with the dead dogs. The inscriptions tell of the family’s loss, but also, in one instance at least, of the staff’s love for the deceased beasts. The iterative naming gives a disturbing further dimension of animals with distinctive identities and graves, but connected together in ancestral association in death.

Here Lyes


Als old vertue

who Dyed Feb 17


Also Old Towzer

15th July 1754 Aged 14

Alas! Poor Tipler


Poor Turpin

died 17th July 1783

Poor Cato

died 20th April 1786

Poor old Lyon


23rd September


Poor Bijoux

died 11th September


Faithful old Pop

Died June 4th


Also Poor Faithful

One Dred Novem

ber the 7th 1793

Poor Beau


Poor old Dash



died 10. Oct 1806

aged 11 Years

Poor Old Lion


Poor Old Lion

died 1825

Poor Lion died November 1836

Now Poor Lion is dead and gone

once by joseph thought much on

And the servants once and all

Do regret poor Lion’s fall

Poor pooches!

Stubbs, S. 2012. Dunham Massey. Swindon: The National Trust.