The Essex Hunt Club was founded at a meeting of subscribers and supporters of the Essex hunt on March 11th 1882. The meeting was held at the Cock Hotel, Epping. 17 members were elected onto the committee and this was followed by an inaugural dinner at Down Hall, Hatfield Heath.
Membership of the Hunt Club permits, and it recognized by, the wearing of the Hunt Button, and is not, as is popularly misunderstood, the wearing of a scarlet coat. The inscribed Hunt Button is available in two styles: white on black as worn on a black or dark blue coat, and engraved brass as worn on the scarlet coat. Traditionally, scarlet is worn with a black silk (top) hat, white gloves, stock and breeches, and mahogany topped boots. Hunting farmers wore a black coat with black boots, buff breeches and a hunting bowler. In recent years with safety regulations deemed more important that fashions, safety hats are worn with black or scarlet, and to differentiate between members of the field scarlet with the Hunt Staff, a grey riding hat was introduced, but with limited success. The ribbon at the back of the hat is only to be worn ‘down’ by Masters and Hunt staff. Members of the field should cut or sew the ribbon up.
In the 1800’s the Essex Hunt wore a scarlet coat with a white collar, which harked back to the days of powdered wigs. This collar was changed to black, in recognition of the fact that the Pytchley had a prior claim to the white collar. This collar was changed to a mahogany one. On July 25th 1926, a meeting was held by the ladies of the Essex Hunt Club at Down Hall, to propose and adopt the wearing of a blue birdseye collar, worn to this day by lady members of the Hunt Club. The men stopped wearing a coloured collar altogether.