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THE PROPERTY OF THE LATE SIR JOSEPH NICKERSON
Sir Joseph Nickerson (1914-1990) was a brilliant shot and a world-famous agricultural pioneer. He will remain, perhaps, most famous for his record bag of partridge taken on 3 October 1952 - 'The Great Day', when a team of six guns accounted for 2,119 wild birds. The partridge remained a subject of fascination for Sir Joseph and in the course of his life he made himself an authority on that bird. He had a profound love of the wild and the countryside, and devoted much effort and an immense amount of time to the successful propagation of a variety of game, particularly grouse. His establishment of the Joseph Nickerson Heather Improvement Foundation in 1985 was designed to promote the improvement of moorland and other areas, to protect these natural environments and to provide a more effective management of sheep and grouse.
He had much to say about the correct management of shoots and shooting, and in his book 'A Shooting Man's Creed' he provides a wealth of advice and observation. Sir Joseph was a stickler for etiquette and planned his shooting days with military precision - shooting was, for him, a religion and he was a great exponent of its ritual. He shot primarily with over-and-under guns and maintained that the best guns of this type were built by Woodward, although he had trios of lightweight Purdey 20 and 28-bore guns built. These were his favourite guns and in order to save weight the guns were built without ribs, the barrels being joined only at the breech and muzzle. Sir Joseph had a passion for wildfowling which he pursued avidly on Read's Island in the Humber Estuary, but even here he maintained that his 20 and 28-bore guns could bring down anything really shootable.
Sir Joseph's shooting interests were geographically widespread - from pheasants at his Rothwell estate in Lincolnshire, and grouse at Middleton-in-Teesdale, to wild redleg partridges in Spain and bobwhite quail in the United States.