The History

The Rev. Ogle was the first Secretary of the Leckford Fishing Club, possibly in 1798, and by 1826 was renting the Fishing Cottage in Leckford for the use of its members. Richard Darnford, whose own water adjoined the Leckford stretch wrote, on 2nd June 1809 that he had met “the Leckfordians (who) had taken some fish with artificial Mayfly and some with natural fly”. This is interesting as the usual method was to impale a live Mayfly on the hook and use a blow-line, much as is done on the Irish Loughs today. The use of an artificial fly was still a rarity.

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On the other side of the Valley in 1809, the Longstock Fishing Club had a stretch rented from the Etwall family. George Tate and Robert Snow ( pictured) along with 3 other gentlemen were using “The Grange” in Longstock as their Headquarters. They employed John Haines as a River Keeper and in 1815 were responsible for introducing Grayling to the River Test.

The Rev. Frederick Beadon had fished the Longstock Water as a guest since 1816. Fly fishing had become his great passion and he went on to become one of the founding members of the Houghton Club in 1822, although he continued to be a member of the Longstock Club for 5 more years before leaving for Stockbridge.

In 1827, the owner of Longstock Estate took back the fishing, resulting in Longstock Club looking elsewhere, fortunately, the Houghton Club has recently acquired the Mottisfont stretch so were looking to increase their membership.

Shortly after this, the Leckford Fishing Club moved across the Valley and took up residence in “The Grange”.  Regaining the Longstock fishing after a change in the fortunes of the Etwall family in 1830, the “New Longstock Club” was founded. In 1902 the Estate was sold but the Club continued to use “The Grange” and was known by the name of one of its distinguished members, a Mr Craven. The Craven Club was said to be one of the oldest Fishing Clubs in England and continued until 1908.

The founder of the John Lewis Partnership, Spedan Lewis, bought Leckford Estate from the Ansdell family in 1929 although the fishing rights were let to a Dr. Stills who lived in the “White House”.  When he gave them up in 1932 the Estate took on the fishing and employed a Mr. Joyce as River Keeper for the new water. Spedan later added the Longstock side of the River by purchasing the Estate from the East Family in 1930 and by 1934 “The Grange" was being used as a residential house for Partnership employees.

With such a wealth of Fly Fishing history surrounding us ,it was decided to reinstate the Leckford and Longstock Fly Fishing Club and offer Membership to the Season Rods that fish on The Estate.