The Essex hunt was established in 1785 by Messrs J & D Rounding, who were Masters, and on their retirement in 1805 new boundaries were constituted. It is reported that hunting was carried out in the district almost a century earlier by a pack which was bought down from the Essex and Norfolk country.
The hunt has a long and interesting history which is well worth researching . One of the longest standing Masters was H J Conyers Esq. He devoted over 40years to the Essex hunt.
Normal hunt colours are worn, but the ladies (by invitation) can sport a distinctive Birds-eye blue spotted collar. Evening Dress: Scarlet coat, white facings, Hunt buttons. (Only members of the Hunt Club and farmers to whom it has been presented are qualified to wear the Hunt button.)
The opening meet attracts more than 200 spectators and is held on the last Monday in October. The Essex Hunt at present have two Masters.
Mr Andrew Smith :- Master since 2010
Mr Christopher Padfield :- Master since 2014
Mrs B Collins :- Master since 2018
THE ESSEX HUNT STRONGLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE INTERESTED IN COUNTRY SPORTS TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE.
NEW KENNELS FOR THE ESSEX HUNT
For a number of years hunting the Country from Harlow Kennels had been difficult and this would only get worse. Tom Watchorn had spent 30 years there and it was home to Muriel and himself. Tom never commented on the conditions of his job. At the changeover of Huntsman Graham Sutton drew our attention to the extreme difficulty of any horse or hound movement from Kennels other than by horsebox. Until we moved to Barnston, Graham had never once hacked hounds on to the meet.
When, in 1985, the committee heard that future development was planned at Harlow, the Trustees were advised to examine the possibilities of selling and moving to another place. The Trustees commissioned Messrs Savill to value our asset which we had occupied as tenant and then as owners for 150 years. The valuer revealed that The Essex had an extremely valuable property at Harlow Kennels.
Various opportunities were explored and advise was sought. However, at almost exactly the right moment – 15th October 1985 Paul Dixie heard from Tim Trembath of John Welch & Co that the premises of a dog and cat boarding kennels, with a bungalow and four acres, was on the market, for sale at Barnston. Immediate action involved the Trustees and Master’s in a “cloak and dagger” reconnaissance. It was realised at once that the spot called “Barnsfield” was almost ideal. We put in an offer which was refused and we replied with an increase which was accepted and we finally got possession on 20th April 1986. We were lucky in that the buyer of Harlow Kennels was prepared to buy in two stages. The first provided us with the money to buy our new site – but left us retaining the kennels and stables housing our animals whilst the new all-purpose building was built. Then when the building was complete the second part of the sale gave the money to pay for it, together with enough to spare for the two bungalows we had permission to build.
Meantime a great deal of investigation was in hand to get permission to develop the site. We engaged Nick Jones, of Nelson Bakewell. who, in conjunction with the Joint Masters produced what was praised by Uttlesford Council as the best application they had ever seen. Our Architect Mr Bareham drew the plans and prepared the specification and the Trustees then went out to quotations. It had been decided that a single roofed steel building to house the horses – hounds – transport – flesh & feed was our aim. Fire precautions were studied and above all a minimum labour requirement was paramount.
At the first meeting to discuss our plans Uttlesford Council put back our application for a visit to Harlow Kennels by some Councillors, who were aware that some of our new neighbours had fears that Kennels might be a health hazard, or create unwelcome noise.
The Councillors were greatly impressed by what they saw and on June 9th we got the splendid news that our application was granted. Work started at once. In June the concrete road was laid after demolition of the old buildings. The steel frame was up by July erected over a very comprehensive system of drainage.
The date for the vacation of our old home was September 29th 1986, the horse got to Barnston one day earlier and were looked after by Graham Sutton who had already moved there, whilst Martyn Blackmore held the fort at Harlow. The hounds arrived in the twilight, on the due day, we were in !
In November, the next job in hand was the building of a flat for the Groom and a Bungalow for the Whipper In, exercise and draft yards with galvanised railings and the fence around the site.
When things were ready at Barnston we sent out invitations for July 14th 1987. This was the Official Opening of the Kennels by the Chairman of the M.F.H. Association, Captain R.E. Wallace MFH, on what turned out to be the best Summer Saturday afternoon of the year. Ronnie Wallace applauded “the courageous” decision to move a Pack of Hounds and approved the premises before some 250 hunting enthusiasts including neighbouring Masters and their wives and hunt Staff.
This was followed by Puppy Judging by Ronnie Wallace, James Barclay MFH and Tom Watchorn. Tea was taken at High Easter Village Hall followed by speeches and Prize giving to puppy walkers.
A whole host of people are thanked for their part in the accomplishment of the move from Harlow to Barnston and in the provision of what must be the best purpose – built Kennels establishment in the United Kingdom.