History of The Hursley Hunt
On the death of that grand old sportsman Mr Henry Villebois, Master of the HH in 1836,
the Rev Sir John Barker Mill obtained a loan of the country west of the River Itchen, he
having been a member of the Hampshire Hunt Club for many years. The loan was granted
for three years, the HH reserving the right to draw certain coverts – Northwood, Crab Wood,
Worthy Groves and the Crawley Belts as far as Chilbolton. Sir John, who was more of the
sportsman than the parson and had several horses in training, hunted the country for three
seasons, when he handed over to Mr Joseph White.
The HH now made a further loan of the country for three years on the same conditions and
the Hursley became a subscription pack. In 1843 Mr R D Cockburn, nephew of Sir Robert Peel,
took the hounds and a seven years extension of the loan was granted. The Master was a good
amateur huntsman and showed fine sport in a somewhat difficult country. According to the
local historian, Aesop, Mr Cockburn was known as ‘Mahogany Bob’ on account of the rather
unfashionable colour of his tops. He was universally popular and his death in 1850 was a sad
loss to the country.
Mr George Wall of the Kingsworthy Harriers, then bought Mr Cockburn’s hounds and hunted the country for two seasons before going on to the Hambledon, whither he presumably took the hounds. His successor, Mr Stanley Lowe bought Parson Jack Russell’s North Devonshire pack and put on Will Summers, from the HH as his huntsman.
Mr William Standish was Master from 1862 to 1869 after which he took over the New Forest Hounds. Colonel Samuel Nicoll, whose father had been Master of the New Forest some thirty years previously, then began his twenty seasons Mastership, the longest in the history of the Hunt, getting together a fresh pack. Summers continued as huntsman till 1885 when he returned to the HH. Mr Arthur Dean then hunted hounds and in 1888 succeeded Mr Nicoll as Master.
On Mr Dean, who had shown wonderful sport, giving up in 1893, Sir Charles Frederick and Mr Joseph Baxendale were joint Masters for three seasons, after which Mr Baxendale carried on single handed till 1902. There then followed three short Masterships; Mr Philpot Williams had one season, after whom came Mr F C Swindell, an experienced Master of Hounds, who had previously been hunting part of the Puckeridge country. After three seasons Mr Walter Long, son of the Hambledon Master, took over for two seasons.
The sequence was broken by Sir George Cooper, always one of the Hunts best supporters, who was Master from 1908 to 1916. The same may be said of Mr Herbert Johnson who had two spells of Mastership, 1916-22 (one season joint with Lieutenant Colonel G Phillipi) and again from 1927 to 1930, with Lieutenant Colonel E R Kewley. The Duke of Beaufort brought his hounds to the Hursley on two occasions during this Mastership.
Major L A Jackson, former Master of the Cotswold and later of the Garth, was Master from 1930 to 1934 having as joint Masters for his three latter seasons, first Mr Eric Cattley and then Sir Gordon Ley from 1932-34. Sir Gordon carried on alone for the next two seasons before going to the Tedworth.
Mr Grant Singer had a promising Mastership from 1936 to 1940 cut short by the War, in which he was killed on active service. He had youth and enthusiasm on his side and was the owner of a large estate in the Hursley country. Charles James was now put on as huntsman. During the War, the Committee took charge, with Fred Gosden, a veteran of the Monmouthshire, West Kent and Cattistock, as huntsman.
In 1947 Captain F S Faber undertook the Mastership and the task of pulling things together after the difficulties of the war time period. For the season 1949-50 he was joined by Mr J Craig Harvey and from 1951-53 Mrs Jepson Turner came in as joint Master. Captain Faber relinquished the Mastership at the end of the 1953 season and Mrs B W Jepson Turner was sole Master for the ensuing season. Captain Faber resumed the Mastership in 1954 jointly with Mrs B M Scott but he died in July of that year. Although she was a complete stranger to the country, Mrs Scott very gallantly continued alone in the Mastership for the remainder of that season. In 1955 she was joined by Captain J A F Dalgety but after two seasons Mrs Scott remained as sole Master until 1959, when Mr A W H Dalgety joined her for one season, after which Mrs Scott became a Joint Master of the New Forest Hounds.
In the 1960 season Mr A W H Dalgety then had Mrs George A Jones as his Joint Master and remained in office until 1964 when Mr D R W Blackadder, Mrs J Rawson-Smith, Mr J M King and Mr B Roberts came in as Joint Masters. Mr King and Mr Roberts retired in 1965 and Major RR Penney became third Joint Master.
In 1967/68 Mrs J Rawson-Smith was joined by Mrs J H F Halford from Broughton as Joint Master. 1968- 69 Mr J M King was Joint Master again with Mr J Bowker from Ringwood. In 1969-70 Mr J M King from Embley was acting Master. 1970-71 Colonel D B Drysdale DSO OBE from Upper Somborne, Mr J Bowker and Mrs N R Herring from East Dean were Joint Masters. 1971-74 Colonel Drysdale was Master and in 1974-75 Colonel Drysdale was joined by Mr H G M Olden. 1975-76 Mr H D Dalgety and Mr H G M Olden were Joint Masters and finally the 1976-78 seasons before the amalgamation in 1978 with the Hambledon Hunt, Mr H D Dalgety and Mr H G M Olden were joined by Mrs Anne Dalgety as third Joint Master.
The Hunts amalgamated in 1978 to form and the Hursley Hambledon Hunt was formed.
Reproduced from ‘Foxhunting in Hampshire’ by Ralph Greaves. Although every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the contents, we accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions which may have occurred.