The Hurworth Hunt
History of the Hurworth Hunt
The Hurworth Hunt is steeped in history, being one of the oldest hunts in the country. The early history of the pack is not easy to unravel, but the first official records commence in 1803 when the Wilkinson brothers of Neasham Abbey took over the pack.
There is however, earlier reference to a pack being kept by a Mr Turner of Hurworth in 1775, and in 1790 “Nimrod” refers to the Hurworth’s foxhounds.
The Hurworth’s history has not always run smoothly and in 1926 the pack was sold due to financial difficulties. However, the following year, Colonel Bell of Mount Grace Priory financed the construction of the Hunt kennels at West Rounton, near Northallerton, where the hounds are kennelled to this day.
The first puppy show was held there in 1929, under the Mastership of Colonel R.G.S.Gordon who retired in 1936. In 1936 Eleanor Mary Furness became Master. Known to all subsequent Hurworth devotees as “Miss Mary” she continued in the Mastership until 1971, joined for a time between 1946 and 1955 by Mr F.W.Furness.
Miss Mary was greatly respected as an authority on the Old English Foxhound and remembered for her enormous contribution to the rejuvenation and maintenance of the Hunt.A small book of the time “Foxhunting in Yorkshire” refers to her successful mastership as follows:-
"She hates publicity, her sole aim being to maintain the long tradition of the pack and to show sport to her friends and neighbours – be they landowners, farmers, townspeople or foot folk" ....a commendable view!!
Miss Mary had an excellent relationship with the local farmers. Indeed, to mark their appreciation of her work during the war years with the hunt, they presented her with a figure of a silver hound. They also formed a committee during the war “running dances and raising funds”,according to records of the time.
The Hunt continues to be ably supported by its various committees;
The Hunt Farmers Committee, which continues with its fundraising activities, together with the Hunt Supporters Committee, formed in 1957, are to be commended for their enthusiastic contribution to the maintenance of the Hunt in these difficult times.
We have an annual point to point, held at Skutterskelfe Park near Hutton Rudby each March. The point to point committee ensure that this is a successful day of traditional racing set against the marvellous backdrop of the Cleveland Hills.
Fifty years ago Old English Foxhound packs were prevalent, but now the Hurworth is one of only six packs remaining in the country. The Old English Foxhound is predominantly tan in colour and has a slightly thicker and heavier set than the modern foxhound.
The Hurworth country is traditionally a well foxed area within North Yorkshire, Durham and Cleveland. It is mainly grass and arable with some plough and some forestry to the east. Baily’s relates that "obstacles are plentiful and varied, and are mainly timber and hedges, with some hunt jumps"
Our neighbouring hunts are the Zetland,Bedale, Cleveland, Bilsdale and South Durham.
Our days are entirely dependent on the support and goodwill of local landowners and farmers, for which we are immensely grateful.
Adrian Dangar of "Horse and Hound" magazine described us as an immensely friendly and sporting pack and we welcome visitors at all times. We meet on Saturdays and Tuesdays with a 10.45am start. Visitors are also welcome to visit the kennels by prior arrangement with the Huntsman, Joe Townsend.
Any other enquiries should be directed to the Hunt Secretary, Carol Pattison.
Please see the contacts page for telephone numbers
The Hurworth Hunt The Kennels West Rounton North Yorkshire DL6 2LN