J N Thomas at his last meet at Gurnards Head as master in 1986

J N Thomas at his last meet at Gurnards Head as master in 1986

Tom Davies, Robin Bolitho's last huntsman

Tom Davies, Robin Bolitho’s last huntsman

History of the Western Hunt

The Western Hunt was originally founded by Sir Rose Price around 1820, who, ran it with others before it became a recognised private pack in 1864. The Bolitho’s and others remained in control of the Western Hunt until the outbreak of WWII when the majority of the hounds, like many other packs in the country, were put down. A couple of brood bitches were retained however, and around 1945, Colonel Bolitho handed over the country and the hounds to a newly formed committee  with M L Oates Esq as Master, and the Western Hunt as we know it today was formed. Thanks to the generosity of various hunts, a pack of hounds was established on pre-war lines and excellent sport was had.

 

B R W Sparrow leading off from a meet

B R W Sparrow leading off from a meet

Capt B W B Sparrow started his long association with the Western in 1950 becoming joint master for a year with M. Oates Esq who then retired in 1951. Capt B W B Sparrow carried the horn for some 26 years, being joined by H T Lutey Esq as joint master in 1966. Lady Bolitho joining them both as joint master from 1970 – 1976 with C J Richards Esq becoming a fourth joint master for two seasons, 1974 – 1976. 1976 saw a further change with Lady S D Bolitho remaining master jointly with J N Thomas Esq and the other three masters retiring. Lady S D Bolitho retired from the mastership in 1984 with J N Thomas Esq remaining Master for a further two years. 1986 saw a complete change and three new masters stepped up comprising of C J Richards Esq, F C Berryman Esq and Mrs M Ansell for two years, C J Richards retired in 1988 with the remaining two staying on for a further season.

L-R R Tresize Esq, Ms R Semmens, A Richards Esq

L-R R Tresize Esq, Ms R Semmens, A Richards Esq

In 1989 Mrs M Ansell was joined by B RW Sparrow Esq as joint masters and the committee employed a professional huntsman. B R W Sparrow Esq became the sole master in 1991, and later in 1995 also became huntsman and carried the horn for a  further 16 seasons. Many followers out today enjoyed excellent sport during his 22 seasons as master before he retired in 2011.

For the next two seasons, the mastership was jointly held by Ms R Semmens, R Tresize Esq and A Richards Esq before the masters I Alford Esq, P Osborne Esq and C J Parsons Esq took up the mastership in 2013.

2015 saw D Hume Esq, I Alford Esq, C J Parsons Esq and B Roskilly Esq as joint masters of the Western. Since the 2016 season, B Roskilly Esq and I Alford Esq have remained as masters and have been joined by C Watts Esq and P Osborne Esq.

 

 


The Western Hounds

Tom Davies with hounds pre WWII

Tom Davies with hounds pre WWII

The Western currently have 30 couple of hounds owned by the committee which are kept with the hunt horses at the Western Kennels near Madron. Since the pack was reformed in the 1940’s, the hounds have been bred along modern English lines.

Western Hounds today

Western Hounds today

Traditionally, as other hunts do, the kennelman picks up fallen stock from local farms in the area which is then skinned and fed to the hounds. As well as feeding the hounds, providing this service helps to say thank you to local farmers who allow the hunt over their land throughout the season.

 


The Country

The country covered by the Western includes land from the road linking Portreath to Porthleven down to Lands End. The country is relatively small compared to some other hunts, and we are very grateful to all landowners who give permission for the Western to hunt over their land. The country is typically made up of small fields and heavy cover, with jumps mainly consisting of Cornish Hedges which are best banked!

A typical bank with the Western

A typical bank with the Western

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There is always a way around a jump!

Western Hunt 18 01 2014

A young thruster flies a wall near Gurnards Head