The origin of our Prefix


Drake’s Leat

In the 16th century the importance of Plymouth grew and accordingly so did its population. It then soon became apparent that the existing water supply was insufficient for the demands placed upon it. So in 1559/60 a Mr Forsland of Bovey Tracy was commissioned by the Plymouth Corporation to carry out survey with a view to bringing a supply of fresh water to the town. For some reason this survey never took place until 1576 when Robert Lampen lead a team of surveyors in search of a route for a leat. Thus having found that the River Meavy and it's watershed would provide the water source a Water Bill was submitted to Parliament in 1584. The Bill gave permission to:

 "digge and myne a cliche or trenche contayninge in breathe betwene sixe or seaven foote over in all places throughe and over all the lands and grounds lyeing betwene the said towne of Plymouth and anye part of the said ryver of Mewe als said Meyve and to digge, myne and breake, baulk, cast upp all and al mener of rockes, stones, gravel and sandes and all other lets in anye place or groundes for the conveyance or necessaire conveyenge of the same ryver to the said towne..."


Prefix Drakesleat

The origin of this West Country prefix is very much tied up with the history of Plymouth and Dartmoor. Sir Francis Drake, hero of the Armada and scourge of the Spanish main, was also a practical man. He constructed the first fresh water system that led from Dartmoor springs into the market town of Plymouth in the 1580’s. This beautifully made “Leat” - still perfect in parts today, was built with granite sets, it is about four foot deep and about the same in width.

When Zena lived in Plympton near Plymouth, she used to walk her two Irish Wolfhounds and Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds on the moor along side this water course called Drake’s Leat. The hounds loved to jump from side to side, and paddle in it when they could. In tribute to the Devon hero, Zena’s first Irish Wolfhound carrying the prefix, was named Drakesleat Sir Francis. He later became an International & French Champion, and is still the top winner of CACIB’s in France for the breed.

Jeff Horswell who also lived very close to the moor was given a separate interest in the prefix after he successfully campaigned several Drakesleat Dachshunds to their titles. To date the Drakesleat kennel is responsible for 139 British Champions, which is an all time record since records began in 1873.

Reprinted from the Kennel Gazette

      written by Zena Thorn Andrews for the gazette     

Part of the old Leat at Roborough



A former home of the Drakesleat kennels in the Mid 80's

Beam Cottage dated to 1540

Drakesleat from the end of the 80s

The Drakesleat kennels in the 70's

Heathdown Cottage dated to 1870 .. after renovation 



And before.. Just moved in .. Musyk sitting in the sun above, below Ailis