United Kingdom and MFHA Hunts
      Regions of the U.K.

Region 1: Scotland and Borders
Hunt territory for Lauderdale hunt

Region 2: North England and Northern Ireland
Hunt Territory for Meynell, Belvoir, Morpeth, Grove and Rufford

Region 3: Midlands and North Wales
Hunt Territory for Oakley, Monmouthshire, Belvoir, Bicester, Wheatland, Meynell, Warwickshire

Region 4: South Wales and Southwest England
Hunt Territory for the Exmoor, Devon, Cattistock, Cotswold, Duke of Beaufort, Vale of White Horse, Warwickshire, Monmouthshire, Hursley Hambledon, David Davies, West Somerset Vale

Region 5: Southeast England and Isle of Wight
Hunt Territory for Oakley, Bicester, Essex, East Essex, Hursley Hambledon, Heythrop, Warwickshire

History of Fox Hunting in the U.K.

Numerous small packs of hounds were kept by people in all walks of life, as they rambled through the countryside pursuing their quarry. From Tudor times the culling of vermin was subsidised through bounty schemes administered parish by parish. The bounty on foxes was often twelve times that on other species, and until the late-seventeenth century most fox-hunting was for pest control. Even in the 1760s informal town packs, or 'town cry', were still billeted among the community in 'babs'. Hounds were fed horseflesh and collected on hunt days with the sound of a horn in the street. People then hunted in earlier hours to suit the fox's nocturnal nature, horses and hounds were slower, and distances were longer.

As deer and other game populations dwindled, so the sport of formal fox-hunting became increasingly popular. Scientific breeding of hounds, knowledge of scent, and increased speeds were cultivated. Private, exclusive hunts invited privileged guests to accompany hounds and hunt servants. Horses were usually provided and no charges were made. The patronage system worked well, that is until agricultural prices waned and money became tight.

Subscription hunts were formed, beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, and an annual fee was charged as a contribution towards hunt expenses, though generally the Master of Foxhounds shouldered the majority of expenses, needing deep pockets to warrant his title. The Master oversaw the training and rearing of hounds, maintained the skills necessary for the chase, entertained and gained the respect of the field. Guests were occasionally invited to subscription packs, and capping, or the daily charge for non-subscribers, was not prevalent until the end of the nineteenth century. It was not until 1893, for example, that a Northamptonshire hunt began charging 2 [pounds sterling] per day--for non-members.

The Charlton Hunt was an early formal fox-hunt, dating to 1732 and its members hunted south of the Thames, whilst the Berkeley Hunt (with kennels at Charing Cross, Ascot and Berkeley Castle) hunted north of the river. By 1750 the Badminton and Belvoir hunts switched from deer to fox. At the end of the eighteenth century at least twelve major subscription fox-hunts existed. Hugo Meynell and Ralph Lampton established Melton Mowbray and the Quorn and Cottesmore hunts as the elite centres for fox-hunting. Each member required seven or eight horses, costing about 1,000 guineas (1,050 [pounds sterling]) each, some three times the value of the average hunter. This elite crowd maintained themselves in style, tending to ride hard during the day and giving rise to the expression 'painting the town red' at night.

The financing of subscription hunts was composed of two facets. The hunt paid the Master a set fee per annum and incurred ancillary expenses of an indirect nature. The Master undertook full financial responsibility for the hounds, paid hunt servant wages, accommodation, horses and clothing for up to two whipper-ins, a kennel feeder and several kennelsmen.

Hunting was certainly not cheap: in 1771, for example, a Cottesmore subscriber contributed 1,400 guineas per year while the huntsman was just paid 35 [pounds sterling] annually, an average wage for semi-skilled service. Subscriptions varied enormously and the Hampshire Hunt Club, formed in 1795, charged its twenty-five members 25 guineas annually. At this time, domestic or outdoor employees were paid around 10 [pounds sterling] per year (excluding keep) and small squires earned from 100 [pounds sterling] to 300 [pounds sterling], so only the select few could afford the sport. A typical annual subscription fee of 2,000 [pounds sterling] today is relatively less expensive.

A handful of aristocrats might agree to even higher subscription fees. One such was the Duke of Wellington, who in 1878 contributed a subscription of 100 [pounds sterling], though bitterly complaining that he was paying nearly twice as much as those (including Lord Portsmouth) considerably richer than himself. They were also called upon when deeper financial troubles arose. The Master, however, met the bulk of expenses and enjoyed the admiration of well turned-out liveried hunt staff complete with matching coloured coats, insignia buttons, and Napoleon-style top boots.

In the late eighteenth century, a hunt that turned out twice a week and maintained twenty-five couple (fifty) of hounds and six horses incurred annual expenses of at least 1,000 [pounds sterling]. In 1793 three months' hunt wages and the expenses of whippers-in, helpers, hounds and horses kept at Gerrards Cross totalled about 200 [pounds sterling], roughly 53,800 [pounds sterling] a year in today's money. These costs were besides incidentals, such as those found in a 1790 bill sent from Richard Lane to Earl Spencer for twelve breakfasts (12s), the laying of 14 fires (14s), and thirty-three days' supply offish totalling 1 13s [pounds sterling] 0d.

"Hunt stables was also costly. The Oakley Hunt dates to 1793 when the 4th Duke of Bedford, one of the wealthiest landlords in the country, established a pack of hounds at Woburn Abbey and stables were built to accommodate thirty-six hunters. Both horses and hounds had central heating by flues and the dog kennel alone measured 405 feet long with numerous separate compartments for bitches, puppies and dogs. There were seven hospital rooms dedicated to sick hounds, a handsome house for the huntsman, and apartments for the two kennel keepers. One of the first covered riding schools was also erected. Even during the summer, seventy couple of hounds were fed upon flesh and oatmeal on benches topped with straw.

Many extravagant Georgian and Victorian hunt stables were built. Chatsworth, Dunster Castle, Seaton Delaval, Latham Hall (Lancashire), Moor Park (Hertfordshire), Belford Hall (Northumberland), Tredegar House (Newport, Gwent), Goodwood House (West Sussex) all have grand fox-hunting stables. In 1804 stables for William Porden at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton cost 80,000 [pounds sterling], one of the most expensive. A more modest yard built in 1865 (twenty-four stalls, four looseboxes, and ten servants' rooms) cost 3,460 [pounds sterling] at a time when a small terraced house cost just 100 [pounds sterling].

Yet by the end of the eighteenth century, fox-hunting was feeling the pinch of costs. The Napoleonic Wars brought heavy taxes and the Duke of Bedford, with his Oakley hounds, was taxed on an additional twenty-five more servants and twenty-seven more horses on top of an existing twenty-six servants and thirty horses. On March 20th, 1798, the Duke wrote to Samuel Whitbread: 'I will continue my subscription of 500 [pounds sterling] so long as the hounds are kept at Oakley and Mr Pitt leaves me the money'. Difficulties ensued, and in 1809 the Duke of Bedford's eldest son rescued the hunt when the expense of the hounds totalled 2,850 [pounds sterling] per year. 'You will be glad to hear Tavistock has determined to undertake the arduous task,' the Duke wrote on April 4th, 'although it is rather hard on him to exact the sacrifice of half his income for the gratification of a few gentlemen who are unwilling to contribute anything towards their own amusement.

Organised fox-hunting expanded in the nineteenth century, however, and the golden age of coaching, from 1825 to 1845, is regarded as the height of fashionable foxhunting. If anything, fox-hunting became more expensive, and one estimate in 1825 puts the costs of hunting in provincial country for four days a week at 1,825 [pounds sterling], while that lot the extravagant shires totalled anything between 4,000 [pounds sterling] and 6,000 [pounds sterling].

The hounds themselves were a considerable financial burden. A sum of 20 [pounds sterling] for a single hound in Shakespeare's time (and not the best in pack either) was a significant figure. In the early 1800s, however, a pack of foxhounds at 1,000 [pounds sterling]-1,200 [pounds sterling] was cheap. Around the middle of the nineteenth century, when the Master of the Hampshire Hunt, Mr Villebois, died, the hunt purchased his pack of foxhounds, horses, saddlery and equipment needed to hunt for three days a week for 3,550 [pounds sterling] 16s 4d--at a time when their subscription fee was 10 [pounds sterling]. This was at a time when the average skilled London artisan earned about 78 [pounds sterling] per annum and net national income per head averaged 20 [pounds sterling]. In 1842 a notorious sale of hounds occurred when Mr Combe sold hounds at Tattersalls for 6,511 guineas.

Usually the Master had his own hounds, and agreements were drawn up with the hunt indicating to whom the hounds and their offspring actually belonged. Many hunts, however, rapidly adopted a policy that hounds were the property of the sporting public, in order to avoid inconsistent breeding and new packs coming and going as Masterships changed.

Masterships could be delicate positions. If the field of subscribers wished the Master to hire a professional huntsman and not hunt the country himself, this more than likely resulted in his resignation, or in one case almost in a pistol duel. Ill 1831, for example, Lord Berkeley resigned as Master from the Oakley Hunt when asked to hire a huntsman. Masters incurred constant criticism and one creative solution, found by Sir Richard Sutton (who had the Quorn from 1847 to 1856), was to sack his subscribers and hunt the country at his own expense, with satisfaction to everyone. Richard Sutton admitted that one year's expense amounted to 12,000 [pounds sterling].

Master of Hounds often were the bumbling 'Jorrocks type' (the original being a butcher by trade); they often came into the hunt when no one else could be found and met their costs by dealing in horses. Anthony Trollope described the position as 'thankless, ill paid, and closely watched'. Each hunt became impressed by the particular qualities of the Master. Some were autocratic, others eccentric, many magnanimous, and others notably stingy. Although the Master received annual contracts of 1,000 [pounds sterling] to 2,000 [pounds sterling], Trollope estimated 500 [pounds sterling] per hunting day was needed for a Master to break even.

Despite the strong demand for fox-hunting in the Victorian age, subscription rates remained relatively static and throughout the nineteenth century total subscription revenues for many county hunts grew only slightly, even during buoyant times when the magazine press promoted fox-hunting for social reasons. New hunts were established as older hunts either could not or would not accommodate newcomers. However, hunt accounts reveal that fox-hunting was never more than marginally profitable, even on a good day when 300-400 might show up. It is not clear whether the Master pocketed various monies, though none of the Master agreements indicate such an arrangement.

Victorian subscription fees also varied, as did numbers of subscribers. In the 1862-63 season, the Old Berkley Hunt had 89 subscribers and total subscription fees of 2,143 [pounds sterling] 10s 0d, while the Craven Hunt consistently averaged 1,000 [pounds sterling] subscription fees per annum from 1830 to 1873. By the late 1880s the Pytchley Hunt (established in 1755) had 99 subscribers with total fees amounting to 4,110 [pounds sterling] 10s 0d. If royalty were expected to attend, people flocked to hunt. For example, during the Pytchley's 1877-78 season, rumours that the Countess of Austria was attending a meet encouraged 500 riders to enter the field.

Various estimates have been made of the total numbers of people hunting. Colonel Cook (born in 1773) moderately estimated that 10,000 people hunted constantly throughout season with fox-hounds only. Historian David Itzkowitz has reckoned that there were about 50,000 people riding to hounds during 1885. His optimistic calculation was based on an average of 150 riders per meet, 150 packs of bounds, and that people hunted twice a week.

A day's fox-hunting was a full day's occupation either in the saddle or travelling to a meet. The horsebox was not widely available until the 1930s. For the dedicated enthusiast, fox-hunting was a huge commitment and not only did the Master fork out tremendous sums, but serious fox-hunters needed private incomes to afford the time to hunt. Tailors were engaged, boots commissioned, and saddles and bridles made and repaired. Hunts took their toll on animals too. The Master rode five horses in the famous 'Waterloo run' on February 2nd, 1866, with the Pytchley Hunt. This lasted three hours and forty-five minutes and covered twenty-one miles: several horses were seriously injured and destroyed during it. In addition, hounds could go missing or contract distemper or rabies.

The enormous economic and technological changes of the nineteenth century impinged on the character of foxhunting. The Enclosure Acts of 1801 and 1836, for instance, increased the planting of hedges, thus leading to more jumping in the field. The agricultural depression later in the century had a more serious impact on foxhunting, threatening a traditional way of life and, with it, the prosperity of the landed classes.

The nineteenth century had begun with wheat prices, kept artificially high by protective legislation, at 113s 10d per imperial quarter. Yet by 1849, following the repeal of the Corn Laws, prices slid to 44s 3d, followed by a further decrease to 32 s 10d by 1885. In 1899, at the end of the century, wheat raised no more than 25s 8d. Meanwhile, agriculture as a percentage of total net national income, which was 15.7 per cent in 1867-74, halved by 1899, while industrial production grew by leaps and bounds. It was said that new industrialists bought themselves into the upper classes and took tap field sports, but cavalry, officers certainly sustained fox-hunting too, possibly as a hardening practice for war and undoubtedly as a social outlet.

Despite declining agricultural wealth, the number of foxes required for hunting soared. By 1860, one third more foxes and double the amount of land was needed for the same number of days hunted, compared to the previous century, according to an anonymous Hampshire huntsman writing at the time. More people were hunting--one suggestion being that unlike France or Germany, British hunts were never entirely aristocratic. Also the character of the hounds required more 'blooding' to remain motivated. Increased acreage was due not only to railways but increasing boundary disputes between hunts making the hunting of more acres of less agreeable land a necessity.

Recent debates on fox-hunting have unearthed deep-rooted prejudices going back centuries, some of them relating to discriminatory poaching laws, repression, and now intolerable social behaviour. There are many misconceptions on both sides and fox-hunting makes an interesting study of prejudice and image. It has also been seen as a social barometer, adapting to changing fortunes and social structure. Despite the possibility of fewer archetypal participants, it retained its unique language, customs and powerful Lordship 'Master' figure.

COPYRIGHT 2003 History Today Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

Hunts in the U.K.

There are 174 MFHA recognized hunts in the U.K. Those listed below are some of the most notable ones as far as Russell bloodlines are concerned or are some of the older hunts established in or prior to the 1800s.

Avon Vale Hunt

Hunt Country
The Avon Vale Hunt is a well established Wiltshire Hunt and the country, centered on the town of Melksham, is thirty miles by twenty-five miles and is located from West Kennet to Slaughterford, down to Rudge near Frome, along the edge of Salisbury Plain to Urchfont and back to West Kennet.

The Hunt enjoys great support in North Wiltshire and has very good relations with all its neighbouring Hunts. It is not a grand Hunt and is very much a farmers and local pack.

Hunt History
The Avon Vale Hunt was originally established in 1888 when the 8th Duke of Beaufort found his own hunting country too large and decided to loan what is the present Avon Vale Hunt Country to Captain Spicer of Spye Park. The Avon Vale Hunt was then formed as it is today with the kennels originally at Semington. Kennels were moved in the mid 1980s to a new property purchased by the Hunt in Spye Park, where they are currently situated.

Berkeley Hunt

Hunt Country
The country lies in Gloucestershire and Avon between Gloucester and Bristol. The hill country above Dursley and Wotton-under-Edge is hunted mainly in March and early April, and adjoins the Duke of Beaufort's. The vale country comprises largely dairy and stock farms with much grass, although arable is increasing.  Obstacles are mainly hedges and rheens (man-made ditches), and some timber, with stone walls in the hill country. Woodlands and withy beds are old and well-established. A bold, quality horse that can both jump and gallop is required in this good scenting country.

Hunt History
Hounds have been kept at Berkeley since the 12th century, at first to hunt the stag and the buck, but since the 18th century to hunt the fox. The Berkeley family still own the hounds and the kennels.   Originally there were hounds kennelled at Berkeley, Cheltenham, Broadway, Nettlebed, Gerrards Cross and Cranford, Middlesex, but in the late 18th century and during the 19th century, much of the huge country was relinquished by the 5th Earl of Berkeley and his sons and grandsons, the Fitzhardinges. The parts around Cheltenham and Broadway became the Cotswold, North Cotswold and Cotswold Vale Farmers' Hunts.  

Old Berkshire Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which is in Oxfordshire is mixed, with grass, set-aside and corn crossed with timber and some hedges with quite a few streams and ditches including the infamous Rosie Brook. Hunt-owned coverts include Longcot Thorns.  

Hunt History
The Old Berkshire Hunt - The "Old Berks" dates back to 1830 in its present form but the country has been hunted since about 1760. See The History of the Old Berks Hunt, 1760-1904 by F C Loder-Symonds and E Percy Crowdy (Vinton & Co Ltd, 1905).  

Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt

Hunt Country
: Beaufort Hunt territory lies in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire stretching from Bath in the South to Malmesbury in the East to just short of Cirencester in the North and to Nailsworth and Chipping Sodbury in the West. The north is typical of the Cotswolds - light land and stone walls with heavier pasture in the West and mixed arable and pasture in the South much of which is Vale country with fly fences. The whole comprises some 760 square miles but due to urbanization and the M4 about 260 square miles have been lost.

Hunt History
The earliest records of hounds being kenneled at Badminton date back to 1640 when the then Marquis of Worcester hunted mainly deer, but hare and fox as well. A detailed history can be accurately traced from 1728 but it was not until 1762 that the 5th Duke of Beaufort, returning with his staghounds after an unsuccessful day put his hounds onto Silk Wood - now part of the Westonbirt Arboretum - and had such a fine run with a fox that henceforth he concentrated on foxhunting; hunting the country around Badminton - now the Beaufort - as well as a large area of country north of Cirencester now the Heythrop.  

Dukes of Beaufort have either hunted hounds themselves or have been in the Mastership since the title was created in 1682 and the hounds, kennels and stables still belong to them. The 10th Duke was master from 1924 to 1984 and so great was his contribution to foxhunting he became universally known as "Master".  The Beaufort is one of the few remaining private packs although it is basically financed by subscription.  

The hunt dress is peculiar to the country in that the Huntsman and Whippers-In wear green and the subscribers a bluecoat with buff facings - the Beaufort Liveries.

Belvoir Hunt

Hunt Country
The country lies in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire and extends from Melton Mowbray and Newark in the west to the North Sea in the east but on the Lincolnshire side is a large area of fenland which is unhunted.     Best centres: Melton Mowbray, where the Belvoir, Quorn and Cottesmore meet, and Grantham in the middle of the country. Newark on the South Notts and Rufford borders, and Sleaford, on the Blankney border, deserve mention.

Hunt History
The Belvoir Hunt dates from 1750 and, according to "Cecil", became a foxhound pack in 1762. Save during Lord Forester's time (1830-57), the Mastership had always been held by the reigning Duke of Rutland until 1896.

Bicester Hunt

Hunt Country
The country, which lies in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, is long and of irregular shape, stretching some 50 miles from near Daventry in the north to beyond Aylesbury in the south and 20 miles east to west.  Adjoining Hunts: to the north the Pytchley, to the west the Warwickshire and Heythrop; to the south the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks; and on the east the Grafton and Oakley.   Although mainly plough country, there is much grass in the southern part, with flying fences and much timber. Good scenting country, it needs a horse that can gallop, jump and stay, and get through the deep.

Hunt History
The Hunt was formed from an amalgamation of the Bicester and Warden Hill and the Whaddon Chase at the commencement of the 1986/87 season. The original Bicester Hunt dates back to the late 1800s.

Cattistock Hunt

Hunt Country
The country, which lies in Dorset with a small portion in Somerset, extends 27 miles in greatest length north west to south east, by 15 miles in breadth. On the north it adjoins the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale, on the west the Seavington and on the east the South Dorset; to the south is the sea. Much is still grass, on rolling chalk hills with two grass vales, the Hardington Vale and Rhyme Valley, both having stout fences with ditches. The remainder of the country holds a variety of fencing timber, Hunt jumps, and walls in the south. The whole country is home to a wealth of fox-holding coverts and gorse.

Hunt History
Originally known as the True Blue Hunt, it was started by the Rev.W. Philips, of Cattistock Lodge, who hunted the country until 1806.   Mr. J.J. Farquharson then assumed office, hunting the hounds at his own expense for more than half a century until 1859, from which year the country as now constituted is considered to date.  

Cotswold Hunt

Hunt Country
The Country is in Gloucestershire, extending 17 miles North to South and 15 miles East to West. The Cotswold has variety of beautiful country, mainly the Cotswold Hills, with stone walls and Hunt jumps. The steeper hills and wooded valleys are hunted on weekdays, the more open country on Saturdays.

Hunt History
Hunting was carried out in this country in the late 18th century. Mr Bulkeley Fretwell of Upton Wold established a pack in the vicinity in 1773 and hunted the Cotswolds for 20 seasons. When Mr Fretwell's pack was given up, the Duke of Beaufort's hounds and the Warwickshire hunted the country until, in 1810, the country was reunited under the Mastership of Lord Seagrave, who built kennels at Broadway. Lord Seagrave, having succeeded to the title Lord Fitzhardinge, died in 1857. The following year, there being some concern as to the succession, Mr Cregoe Colmore agreed to fill the breach, and the Cotswold Hunt was founded. It hunted what is now the North Cotswold and most of the present Cotswold country. The Cotswold gave up the Broadway area of the country in 1868, and the North Cotswold Hunt was formed. Upon the death of Mr Colmore, in 1871, the hounds were purchased by Sir Francis Goldsmith, Sir Alexander Ramsay, Mr Agg-Gardner, Mr F Mowatt and Mr C Fletcher. Then, in 1885, they were secured on behalf of the Hunt (through the exertions of Mr A Le Blanc), and vested in Trustees, for the benefit of the Cotswold country.  

The Adjacent Hunts are North Cotswold, Cotswold Vale Farmers, Heythrop and Vale of White Horse.

David Davies Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which is in Powys varies from open moorland hill country to steep-sided valleys of small enclosures. There is not normally a great deal of jumping. A sensible horse that can go up hills is required.

Hunt History
The pack was established by the first Lord Davies (then Mr. David Davies) in 1905, and hunted by him privately at his own expense.  A light-coloured broken-coated Welsh hound was developed from the original foundation stocks of South Wales, with great cry and outstanding hunting qualities.    

The first Lord Davies died in 1944, and his eldest son was killed in action a few months later. At the end of the War, the Hunt was reorganised under the Mastership of Henrietta, Lady Davies, as a subscription pack, with a committee under the Chairmanship of Charles James.

Essex Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which lies in Essex, is about 35 miles north to south and 21 miles in breadth from east to west.  The country is largely arable with a reasonable portion of permanent and rotational set-aside and a little grass.  There are some large coverts in the northern part of the country with smaller well-scattered woods in the southern part.  A shortage of coverts in the Saturday and Monday countries leads to foxes being found well in thick hedges and odd corners.  The country requires a good three-quarters to seven-eighths bred which can cope with large ditches and a few jumps: an ability to go on well in the deep is vital.  

Adjoining Hunts: the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chase to the south west; the Puckeridge to the west; the Thurlow to the north; the East Essex to the east; and the Essex Farmers & Union to the South.

Hunt History
Records exist concerning the Hunt beginning in 1785.  The country as now constituted has existed since H.J. Conyers took the Mastership in 1805.

East Essex Hunt

Hunt Country
The country, which extends some 23 miles north to south and 16 miles east to west, lies in north west and east Essex. It is mostly arable and the ploughs can ride very heavy in the wet. There is little woodland but a fair proportion of both rotational and permanent grass, particularly on the marshes. A strong clever jumper able to gallop through the deep and to negotiate wide ditches and post and rails is the most suitable horse.  

Adjoining Hunts: to the west the Essex; to the north west the Thurlow; to the north east the Suffolk; to the east the Essex and Suffolk; and the south the Essex Farmers and Union.

Hunt History
The Hunt dates from 1820, since when no change has been made in its boundaries.

Exmoor Hunt

Hunt Country
The hunt country lies both in Devon and Somerset and extends some 20 miles East to West and 12 miles North to South at the widest part. The Devon and Somerset Staghounds hunt all the Exmoor country and our adjoining packs are the Dulverton West, the Dulverton Farmers, the Minehead Harriers and the West Somerset. Hunt History
The Exmoor Foxhounds dates from 1869 when Nicholas Snow hunted the country with a pack known as The Stars of the West. In 1889 the Hon J.L. Bathurst, another fine sportsman and hound man, took over the hounds and they were renamed the Exmoor Foxhounds.

Grove and Rufford Hunt

Hunt Country
The country extends about 30 miles east to west and 40 miles north to south, and lies in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. There are three distinct soils - sand, limestone and clay; in the two latter there is a very fair amount of grass.

Hunt History
The Grove and Rufford was formed by the amalgamation of the Grove and the Rufford Hunts in 1952. The Grove country was constituted in 1827 by Mr. George Savile Foljambe. From 1832 to 1837 Mr. Foljambe hunted the sand and clay portion of the country, while Colonel Fullerton, of Thryburgh Park, hunted the limestone portion, with kennels at Sandbeck. In 1837 Mr. Foljambe resumed Mastership ofthe whole Grove country. In 1860 a portion of the Grove county, east and south of the Rivers Rother and Don was lent, with defined boundares, to the 6th Earl Fitzwilliam, and this arrangement was continued to the present Earl Fitzwilliam until May 1929, when Lord Fitzwilliam's (Wentworth) having been given up, the country reverted to the Grove. By a fresh arrangement a portion of the county previously lent to Earl Fitzwilliam is now lent to the Barlow. The Grove kennels were first established at Bilby, but were shortly afterwards moved by Mr. Foljambe to Grove, where the hounds remained until 1887, when Viscount Galway built new kennels at Serlby. When Viscount Galway resigned the Mastership in 1907, Earl Fitzwilliam bought the entire Grove pack, and building new kennels at Barnby Moor, he placed the hounds and these kennels in the hands of trustees, to be used by himself and further Maters of the Grove Hounds, for hunting the Grove Country. Prior to the amalgamation with the Rufford, the name of the Hunt has reverted to its old one of the Grove Hounds instead of Earl Fitzwilliam The Grove Hounds.

The Rufford country with Lord Harrington's formed part of the tract hunted by the 4th Earl of Lincoln in 1667. Lord Castleton hunted it in 1709, as also did Lord Scarbrough and Mr. F. Foljambe after him.

Heythrop Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which lies in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, extends about 15 miles in greatest breadth north to south by 30 miles east to west.

Hunt History
The Hunt dates from 1835, since when it has existed in its present form. Prior to 1835, the country was hunted by the Duke of Beaufort, who spent part of the season at Badminton and part at Heythrop.

Lauderdale Hunt

Hunt Country
The country adjoins the Duke of Buccleuch's and Berwickshire from Lammermuir Hills to the rivers Tweed and Yarrow, 20 miles from east to west and 15 miles from north to south, centred on Lauder. It consists of hill country, grass and a little plough with timber hunt jumps and dry-stone walls. It is a farmers' pack. Hunt History
The district now hunted was in the first quarter of the 19th century, part of the very large country hunted by Mr. Baillie, of Melerstain; in 1826 it was taken over by the Duke of Buccleuch. At a later period the north portion was lent to the now extinct Lothian Hounds, who hunted it until 1882, after which date it was seldom drawn. The south and east portions up to 1889, formed part of the Duke of Buccleuch's.

Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt

Hunt Country
The country lies in Derbyshire and Staffordshire and includes a large vale country with plenty of grass intersected by stout hedges and strong timber: a testing country to cross. To the north, around Ashbourne, is the hill country - old sheep pasture with a mixtrue of stone walls, hedges and timber. The Staffordshire side is a mixture of arable, grass and woodland.  Adjoining Hunts: The Quorn, Atherstone, South Notts, North Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorland, and High Peak Harriers.

Hunt History
The Hunt was formed in 1970, by the amalgamation of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunts. Prior to that time the Meynell Hunt was a stand alone hunt dating back to the late 1800s. 

Monmouthshire Hunt

Hunt Country
The country, which lies in Monmouthshire with a few coverts in Herefordshire, is over 18 miles wide and 22 miles in length.  

Hunt History
In 1695, Mr. Powell kept a pack of hounds that hunted anything.  Mr. John "Squire" Lewis, master from 1738-88, married Miss Powell, kept hounds at Llantilio, and hunted fox, hare and otter. From 1788-1832 hounds hunted fox and hare.  In 1832, Mr. Lewis wished to give up keeping hounds, and Captain Stretton, then quartered at Brecon, volunteered to take them; Mr. Lewis presented him with the pack, which was installed in kennels near Abergavenny.  Captain Stretton hunted hounds from 1832 to 1835.    

The Monmouthshire Hunt Club was established about 1835. The Hunt Club ceased to run the Hunt in 1945, since when control has been vested in a Committee of farmers and representatives of the Hunt Club.

Morpeth Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which lies in Northumberland is triangular in shape.  Only limited hunting is available East of the A1.  Most jumping is over rails.  The northern (Tuesday) country is mostly grass and the southern (Saturday) country is part arable, part grass.  On the north, it adjoins The Percy and West Percy, to the north west The Border and to the west The Tynedale.  A small part in the north is on loan from the Percy.  The pack spends occasional days on foot in the hills.

Hunt History
The Hunt dates from 1818, and the country as now constituted has existed since 1854, when the division of the old Northumberland and Durham country was finally settled, and John Cookson of Meldon Park took office.

Oakley Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which lies in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire extends some 25 miles from north to south and 22 miles east to west.

Adjoining Hunts: to the west the Bicester with Whaddon Chase and the Grafton; to the north west the Pytchley; to the north the Woodland Pytchley and the Fitzwilliam; to the east the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace; and to the south the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks.

Hunt History
The Hunt dates from the year 1800, and the country as now constituted has existed since then.

Vale of White Horse Hunt

Hunt Country
The country lies in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and ranges from the Cotswold hills, mainly light going with stone walls and timber, to the grass vale in north Wiltshire. There is also some excellent woodland country around Cirencester.  A bold horse is essential in the vale, and must be clever for trappy places. Stamina is important - a three-quarter bred is ideal.  

Adjoining Hunts: the Cotswold, Heythrop, Old Berkshire, Vine and Craven and Duke of Beaufort's.  

Hunt History
The Vale of White Horse Hunt was founded in 1831, hounds having been kennelled at Faringdon since 1824. They were moved to Cirencester in 1835. In 1885 Mr. Hoare took them to Cricklade, and in 1886 Earl Bathurst raised a pack at Cirencester and the country was divided. It was re-united in 1964. The kennels are those of the old Cricklade Hunt.

Warwickshire Hunt

Hunt Country
The country which lies in Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire, is some 21 miles north to south and about 24 miles east to west.  The country is a mixture of grass and arable.  Obstacles are mainly a combination of timber and hedges.  A well-foxed country, much work has been undertaken conserving and planting coverts as well as building hunt fences.  A three-quarter bred type, able to gallop, and jump natural obstacles, sometimes in heavy going, is most suitable.  The Saturday country in and around the Todenham Vale near Moreton-in-Marsh provides some wild, well-fenced country.

Adjacent hunts are the Heythrop and North Cotswold to the south and south-west; the Biscester with Whaddon Chase to the east; the Pytchley to the north; the Worcesershire and Croome & West Warwickshire to the west.

Hunt History
The Warwickshire Hunt's history can be traced back to its formation in 1791 when a Mr Corbet, at his own expense, hunted the country 40 miles long and 20 miles wide.  Today, the country is some 21 miles N to S and about 24 miles E to W. The Kennels at Little Kineton were built on the existing site in 1839.  

The halcyon days for the Warwickshire were between the first and second World Wars. Very much recognised as one of the leading "Shires" packs, it had a succession of legendary huntsmen including Bob Champion, Ted Cox and George Gillson.

  From 1853 - 1985, the north part of the country was hunted by the North Warwickshire Hunt. Encroaching urbanisation forced this hunt to disband in 1985 whereupon some of the country was returned to the Warwickshire with the remainder being dispersed between the Worcestershire and the Croome & West Warwickshire Hunts.

West Somerset Vale Hunt

Hunt Country
The country in Somerset is bounded by the Bristol Channel to the north, Bridgwater and Spaxton to the east, and St. Audries to the west. It includes the vale, the central part of the Quantock Hills, with moorland and forestry, and a half circle of vale south of the Quantocks

Adjoining Hunts: the West Somerset, the Taunton Vale, the Mendip Farmers, the Weston and Banwell and the Taunton Vale Harriers. To the north lies the sea.

Wheatland Hunt

Hunt Country
The country, which lies in Shropshire, covers about 18 miles by 14. It takes its name from the good wheat growing area.  The terrain is stiffened clay, hock deep in wet winter, with large woodlands around Brown Clee Hill.  A clever horse with plenty of blood is needed to negotiate a large variety of obtacles.    The river Severn forms the eastern boundary, adjoining the Albrighton and Albrighton Woodland Hunts; to the north is the South Shropshire; to the west the United; and to the south the Ludlow.

Hunt History
The Hunt was instituted in 1811 by Mr. Skelding, who was joined a few years later by Mr. Baker, on whose death in 1818 the Hunt came to an end, though the country was hunted by a trencher-fed pack until 1843, when a brother of Mr. Baker took it until 1852.    

In 1903 the hounds were moved from Monkhopton to new kennels at Cleobury North. The kennels were moved by Mr. Buston from Cleobury North to Eardington in June 1919, at his own expense. He presented them to the country.