Titus had a black Labrador, Puck, of whom he was very fond. Puck lived at Crow Nest mansion, Lightcliffe, where he enjoyed family life with the Salts and the run of the extensive grounds.Beloved by Titus, Puck died on 27 September 1876 just three months before his master.
As a result of the affection he held for Puck, Titus commissioned a memorial stone that was placed at the top of the steps that led down to the boathouse. After Titus’s death Crow Nest was sold and the family dispersed to several locations. The private Crow Nest Park Golf Club now occupies what was once home and garden for the Salts.
Crow Nest changed hands several times and ended its working life in World War Two as a prisoner of war camp for Italians and a billet for Belgian troops. The grand mansion was later demolished but what became of Puck’s stone?By the late 1960s its existence was largely forgotten and no longer in the original location, its whereabouts became a mystery.
One hundred years after its installation, Michelle Moroney, daughter of local historian Noel and his wife Sylvia, noticed “a curious stone with a round top” lying semi-exposed in the bank of the Crow Nest lake that Titus had had built. 1976 was an extremely dry summer and the level of the lake had fallen several feet revealing the touching memorial.
Noel, who remembered the stone from his childhood, organised its removal from the deep mud with the aid of a vehicle that could cope with dragging more than two hundredweight. Although it had suffered minor vandalism it remained a magnificent tribute to a much missed pooch.
The Moroneys have looked after Puck’s stone for more than 40 years, taking care to transport it intact during each of four house moves and at their own expense. It is thanks to Michelle, Noel and Sylvia that this charming evidence of a Victorian man’s love for his “best friend” has survived.
Daniel Cooper, sculptor and stonemason has discussed how best to restore Puck’s stone with Sylvia and Noel and this work will be sponsored by Salts Walks & Talks. Daniel’s work can be seen on his website:www.danieljamescooper.com & www.twitter.com/CooperSlateman
With many thanks to the Moroney family and the Brighouse Historical Society
For more information contact Maria Glot, Salts Walks & Talks – M: 07801 44 91 05