Born in 1850, Assheton was the second surviving son of Francis Biddulph of Rathrobin, and Lucy Bickerstaffe.
Mr. Biddulph entered the 57th Regiment as Ensign in 1869, and retired four years later. (Obit. Irish Times Thur., Jan 20, 1916).
He married Florence Caroline Boothby in 1880, the youngest daughter of the Reverend Cunningham Boothby, Holwell Vicarage, Oxfordshire, and Jane Tod. They lived in Moneyguyneen, Kinnitty, County Offaly. Assheton’s income came from the land and from dividends. They had five children, one son, Robert, who died from rheumatic fever in 1916 having served at the front for ten months, and four daughters. His son in law, John Goold-Adams, husband of his daughter Ierne, died at Ypres in 1915. His eldest daughter, Kathleen, had eloped and married Shaen Magan in 1906, against her father’s wishes. Assheton never saw his daughter again.
Assheton’s wife Florence played her part in the social life of the area.
BALL IN BIRR
A "small and early" ball was given in Oxmantown Hall on Tuesday evening by Mrs. T. A. Drought, of Lettybrook, and Mrs. Assheton Biddulph, of Moneyguineen. Invitations were issued to as many as the hall could comfortably hold, and all were accepted. The attendance of young people was a feature of the social event, which passed off in the most pleasing manner. The afternoon tea and other arrangements were faultless, and the music conducted by a local gentleman of known skill and taste, gave the greatest satisfaction to competent judges
(Midland Tribune January 9th 1897).
According to Maurice O’Connor Morris in his book ‘Memini, or Reminiscences of Irish Life’ Assheton Biddulph was ‘one who knew as much as most men about horses of all sorts, hounds, hunting, racing, &c; in fact, he was an encyclopedia of sport and could ride to perfection.’
But Florence too could match her husband in her enthusiasm for hunting.
In connection with the meet of the Ormond and King’s County Hunt at Harristown on Friday, the wife of the MFH, Mrs Assheton Biddulph, starting from Rockforest, Roscrea, at 9 am, joined the meet at seven miles distant at 11.o’clock, was in the front in the subsequent six hours’ hunting, and then crossed the Slieve Bloom Mountains, reaching her home at Kinnetty at 8 pm, having been in the saddle for over ten hours, and covering over 55 Irish miles. In November last, this lady, attending a similar meet, rode 60 Irish miles in ten hours with changed horses on both occasions. [Kerry Weekly reporter, Sat, Feb 01, 1896]
Assheton played a large part in the sporting life of the county and wider area, not only as Master of Foxhounds but was also instrumental in introducing a Foxhound Show to the Clonmel Horse Show in 1895.
The season 1894-5 may be said to have already commenced with the cubs. Mr. Assheton Biddulph, the popular Master, along with Mrs Biddulph, who accompanies him on all occasions and rides to the finish, got his beauties together at Lacca, Queen’s County, on Wednesday 3rsd inst. A good field assembled, although the hour was as early as 7 a.m. A new cover was tried, ad a few hours work resulted in a pair of finds. The cubs worked admirably and pleased the Master immensely. He said he never found them answering so well, as they settled down to the labours of the morning more like two year olds than yearlings. He had two dozen of them ‘walked’ since last season, and this number, after the usual weeding of the old stock, brings the two packs up to their normal strength. [The Irish Times, Tue, October 9, 1894]
However things did not always run smoothly as the following news clippings demonstrate.
The King's County and Ormond Hunt Club
Resignation of the Master.
"All is not gold that glitters" and "uneasy is the head that wears a crown" are proverbs as true as they are trite. As master of the King's County and Ormond Club Mr. Assheton Biddulph's career has been, to describe it mildly, a very unhappy one. To his kindly disposition and his recognition of popular rights, must be attributed a large share of the success which has characterised hunting in the Ormonds and King's County in recent years. In the memorable days of the Eighties when popular opinion expressed itself so forcibly on the famous Knock against hunting being permitted to follow the hounds, Mr. Biddulph had a very difficult card to play. But he was then dealing with honourable men - men sacrificing their own interests for principle's sake - and when that principle had been satisfied he experienced no further difficulty in hunting the district. It is now apparent that Mr. Biddulph had not half so much to fear from the open and mainly opposition of the people, as he had from the secret machinations of his own "invincibles." Some years ago a section of the Hunt formed a conspiracy for the purpose of extermination Mr. Biddulph as M.F.H., and of replacing him by a needy but more aristocratic scion of the British Garrison in Ireland, and so far has that active section succeeded in "making it hot" for Mr. Biddulph, that he has found it necessary to address the following circular to the members of the hunt -
Moneyguineen, Kinnitty, 31st March, 97.
Dear Sir - As I have just heard that some members of the Ormond and King's County Hunt are dissatisfied with the existing arrangements regarding the hunting of the country, and as I am most anxious (as I have always been) not to in any way jeopardise the interests of sport, I hasten to tender my resignation as M.F.H. of the country which I have now hunted for the past thirteen seasons, and in doing so it is almost unnecessary for me to say that I return my best thanks to my many friends and supporters, and most cordially wish success to whoever may come after me. - Yours very sincerely,
Assheton Biddulph. (Midland Tribune 10th April 1897).
King's County Hunt - First Meeting
On Friday last the first meeting of the King's County Hunt took place in the Charleville Arms Hotel, Tullamore, in one of the rooms which had been kindly placed at the disposal of the hunt by the proprietor, Mr. James Hayes.
Amongst those present in addition to Mr. Biddulph were:-
Captain Daly, High Sheriff of the county; Major Hall, Colonel Biddulph, Dr. J. P. Kennedy, James Hayes, George Matthews, W. A. Going, William Murphy, Joseph Going, J. Davis, Dr. A. J. O'Grady, A. B. Ramsbottom, G. M. S. Enraght-Moony, J. P.; R. J. Robinson, C. J. P. Banon, Richard Bull, sub-sheriff; Michael Kinsella, W. J. Kinsella, A. R. McMullen, W. R. Power, W. H. Harvey, V. S.; T. S. Elcoate, P. Richardson, T. J. Lalor, T. R. Elcoate, P. Richardson, T. J. Lalor, T. R. Tarleton, William Adams, John Moran, James McBryde.
Mr. T. R. Garvey wrote:-"I am very glad the hunting business has been so peaceably and I trust, happily settled. Until I got your letter I never thought there could be a doubt as to what the Ormond country meant in the resolution, viz - The old Ormond country which took in all the King's County south of the Brosna, and that the 'alternate' ground could only refer to the country between the Camcor and Brosna. Not being a hunting man I am unable to say how the 'alternate' plan will work, but from an outside point of view I should say its success depended on the good will and good feeling of the respective masters.
Mr. Biddulph said that the hunt having undergone a change he thought the first thing was to christen it. They started under the name of the King's County Hunt in 1830, and he thought that would be a good name for it now (hear, hear). (Midland Tribune 29th May 1897).
Assheton Biddulph died on the 16th January 1916, in Bath, of heart failure. He is buried at Killoughey. His widow, Florence, died in 1942. She is buried at Warnham St. Margaret Churchyard, Warnham, Horsham District, West Sussex, England.
BIDDULPH - September 2, 1942 at her residence, Pan's Garden, Warnham, Sussex, Florence Caroline, widow of the late Assheton Biddulph, M.F.H., of Moneyguyneen, Kinnity, King's County, in her 85th year. (The Irish Times, Saturday, September 5th, 1942).