Where we came from..
"No colour like scarlet, no sport like hunting"
Hunting in Worcestershire is well recorded as far back as the mid eighteenth century with many private packs kept by great land owners, the Earls of Coventry, Vernons of Hanbury and two branches of Berkeleys of Spetchley and Cotheridge. Kennel accounts from 1732 record some of the expenditure, the Squire of Cotheridge records the hounds cost £60. 5s.6d during the year.
Hounds moved from their old kennels at Froxmere to new kennels at Fernhill Heath in 1871 where they remain today, the cost of building the huntsman's house, cottages, stables and kennels was £4745.5s. The country was then divided, the northern portion staying as the Worcestershire, the southern portion became Lord Coventry’s (Croome).
A well remembered huntsman, William Shepard came to the Worcestershire in 1888. A fearless rider and undoubtedly one of the best huntsman in the country, his reputation spread far and wide which encouraged many visitors. William Shepard should have been a wealthy man but although he did not suffer fools and had a razor sharp wit he would often pass his money to the sick and needy.
After struggling through his 24th season following a fall in the Autumn, 23rd March 1912 would be the last time he hunted his beloved Worcestershire hounds. After developing pneumonia, he lay on his sick bed hunting hounds in his own imagination, his voice could be heard by hounds causing them to sing and howl. William Shepard died on the 29th March 1912 and was laid to rest in the churchyard at Martin Hussingtree church, in sight of the kennels. A large sum of money was raised by his friends and a large marble memorial was erected at the church.
A close friend of William Shepard, Arthur Jones was MFH of the Worcestershire Hunt from 1906 - 1929, as well as hunting a private pack of his own on Saturdays.
He a colourful character with the language to match, his horses were of the finest quality, his men turned out immaculately and his hounds were carefully bred. He was reported to have bred one of the smartest Belvior type pack of foxhounds.
Arthur Jones was made a Remount Officer for the Midlands during the Great War, he requisitioned thousands of horses for the war effort and he was made an OBE for his work.
Great attention has always been given to the working qualities of the Worcestershire hounds, and at present great success has been achieved by the introduction of Old English blood. This has had the effect of completing a breeding cycle in that nearly all our own bitch lines trace back to the early nineteenth century Fernie pack. There are many records of several outstanding runs, and of bold feats of horsemanship throughout the Worcestershire Hunt history.
Following the dissolution of the North Warwickshire Hunt in 1985, a new area between Redditch and Warwick was incorporated into the country.
In more recent times, and currently, Worcestershire hunting farmers have played a large part in the Mastership and the welfare of this hunt.
The Worcestershire Hunt is a vibrant community with many young followers and supporters who work hard to raise funds and assist in very many unacknowledged aspects to enable us to keep hunting. There is also enthusiasm within the hunt to promote the very young riders and supporters - here is to a strong future!
The Worcestershire Hunt has a strong link with the Worcestershire Hunt Pony Club. We have several junior riders who can be seen crossing the country in better style than most and are regularly out until dark hacking home with hounds. We also host two children’s meets per season, hound exercise and a kennel tour for the Pony Club each summer. We always welcome and encourage young followers.