This section is from the book "A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Sporting Division)", by Rawdon Briggs Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: Sporting Division.
In these few pages about foxhounds I have not endeavoured to lay down any law as to management and conduct of the pack, which may well be left in the able hands of the masters and huntsmen; and, indeed, to deal fully with all appertaining thereto a whole volume rather than a few pages would be required to make the story complete. Farmers and agriculturists complain of hard times, and require all the support which can be given them. Hunting men can assist them materially in purchasing their hay and oats in the country which affords them sport; even their horses, too, in many cases. That master of hounds who purchases his chief provender from round about the kennels is the true friend of the farmer; and wheat and oats, ground together, form an excellent hound meal. When required, steep in cold water, and then place in the copper of hot water; boil to a pudding, which allow to cool, and there is the healthiest of food for the pack. Add to the mixture flesh, if it is handy, or whenever it can be procured, and you will find the cost per hound per week not more than tenpence. A well-known master of hounds recommends the above, but twice a week a little powdered sulphur is mixed with the food - his hounds never have mange, and are as sleek and glossy as can be desired. Masters, too, must not omit to pay the "poultry bills" when such are put in, for the loss to the farmer's wife of her ducks or fowls or geese is a serious matter in these days of struggling to keep the wolf from the door. Of course, one knows the heavy expenses connected with hunting a pack of hounds, and was it not stated by an old and respected master that he calculated the cost of a good run was £5 a minute? However, be that as it may, there is no doubt that every pains ought to be taken by the foxhunter, the shooter, and the farmer to act in unison, give and take a little from each other, and thus try to promote the sport, the pastime, and the work of all.
The. season 1896-7 commenced in a notable way, inasmuch as three of our leading hunting establishments underwent very great changes. The Field, in its summary appended to its annual hunt table, says:" The decease of Lord Fitzhardinge has caused the Berkeley to become a subscription pack without a Berkeley being at the head of it, a circumstance which may not have happened before; as for the dozen or so of years during which the hounds were in the hands of a sort of company, Berkeley Castle was strongly represented in the management until a private pack was once more started, which was the second beginning of that owned by the late Lord Fitzhardinge, the subscription pack becoming the foundation of the Old Berkeley, that country being comprised in the wide area hunted by the original Berkeley Hounds in the last century. No longer, again, do we find the Duke of Beaufort's name in the list of masters, as the head of an establishment with a lengthy and interesting history. The family connection with the hunt is still maintained by the Marquis of Worcester being joint master with Mr. R. E. Wemyss; but, nevertheless, the present is a noteworthy period in the history of the Badminton Hounds, which were originally staghounds, and according to tradition only changed to fox as the result of an accident; for, had not the staghounds been allowed to run riot and hunt a fox after a blank day in search of their proper game, the transition might have been longer delayed. Thirdly, we come to the Belvoir, a famous pack, established as far back as 1730, when five noble lords, viz., John, Duke of Rutland; George, Earl of Cardigan; Baptist, Earl of Gainsborough; John, Lord Gower; and Scrope, Lord Howe, met and drew up a formal agreement as to how the hunt should be carried on. All details were provided for, the sum and substance being that each of the above-named proprietors should pay a hundred and fifty pounds 'into the hands of Alderman Child,' of Temple Bar, and that more money should be paid if the hunt required it. The agreement further specified that the hounds should be nineteen in number, and not more than twenty inches high. The establishment was to consist of a steward, one huntsman, six whippers-in, and two cooks, 'to be turned off, paid, and disposed of by the majority of the party.' Twice within its long history has the Belvoir pack received outside help. On the death of the fourth Duke of Rutland, in the last century, Sir Carnaby Haggerston was at the head of a committee appointed to carry on the hunt during the minority of his son, and once more, about 1830, when the then Duke of Rutland resigned and 'became a mere subscriber,' the hounds were lent to Lord Forester and another to carry them on until the Marquis of Granby came of age, which would have been in three or four years' time; but, as a matter of fact, the late Duke of Rutland did not take to them until the year 1857, when he inherited the title. Still, the temporary masters were but warming-pans, pending the happening of a certain event; but now the severance from the family is complete, save for the subscription, which is doubtless forthcoming from the Castle. Sir Gilbert Greenall has pluckily stepped into the breach, and we may expect that he will worthily uphold the traditions of this historic hunt."