Where to see us
When the Summer is over and Autumn hound excercise is about to begin, If you can get up early and would like a morning stroll in the country contact: Julia.Porter73@btinternet.com
A Very Warm Start to
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Early Morning meet at the start of the season
Past Masters of the Stour Valley Beagles
Tim Fogden (1994-95)
Lt.-Col. Tim Illingworth (1994-99)
Nigel Hutchinson (1994-98)
David Giles (1994-99)
Jeremy Walters (1997-98)
Martin Morgan (1999-2000)
James Fairbanks (1994-99)
Thomas Firkins (2008-12)
Deborah Pratt (1999-2014)
Frances Melton (2014-2017)
Nick Dodson - (2017 - 2020)
Julia Porter (2017 -
Hounds & Kennels
The hounds from the combined packs are housed at the kennels of the Sproughton Foot near Ipswich. We currently maintain some 25 to 30 couple of hounds. The Eastern Counties Mink Hounds are also kennelled with us.
The Hunt engages in a breeding programme to improve continuously our strain of working hounds. We have an excellent reputation as a hunting pack, bred for their abilities to be quick off the mark, to hold the line of scent and for stamina. Recently we have also started breeding for longevity, and for ease of handling.
At Hound Shows held in the summer, hounds are judged on appearance and character. Stour Valley hounds are generally not so successful in the ring as we would like, as we do not breed primarily for show qualities - but sometimes they surprise us.
The Colchester Garrison Beagles.
The Reverend Philip Honywood of Marks Hall, Coggeshall gave up his famous pack of beagles in 1853, which left a hare hunting gap in Essex. In 1861, Capt. Margesson of the 56th Regiment, inspired by his memories of Parson Honywood, started a military pack of hounds and became the first Master.
In 1871 a subscription pack of 14 hounds, called the Garrison Beagles, was started but this lapsed after two seasons. The 7th Royal Fusiliers kept a pack in 1875/6 and the 105th Yorkshire Light Infantry took them over for two more seasons. There was then a gap until the Norfolk Regiment established a pack in 1890, which it ran until it left in 1892.
Various regiments stationed at Colchester Garrison subsequently kept these hounds until the pack was disbanded for the duration of the First World War. After the war, in 1920 Lt.-Col. Guy Blewitt of Boxted reformed the pack obtaining 15 couple of the former Riverdale Beagles from Col. Russell-Johnson.
The pack carried on until the Second World War when they were again disbanded in 1940 and hounds were sent to a Scottish Regiment for safekeeping. In 1955, Ted Marsh, a Royal Artillery Major, brought some hounds back from Troon in Scotland and started it again. As the army's commitments began to make it more difficult for serving officers to take an active part in beagling, civilian support became stronger.
The Garrison Beagles continued hunting with both civilian and military Masters in the latter years, though with greatly decreased official support towards the upkeep and provision of facilities for their pack. In 1993 with the need in mind for improved accommodation for its kennel huntsman, it made renewed overtures to the Sproughton Foot with a view to a merger, which took place in 1994.
Masters of the Garrison Beagles since the Second World War
Lt. D. Coles (1954-55)
Capt. J. J. Ventham (1969-70)
Major Ted Marsh (1955-58)
Major Johnnie Grosch (1970-78)
Lt.-Col. J. E. Spencer (1958-59)
Col. Donald Easten (1973-1988)
Major D. C. Clapham (1958-60)
Major Vic Freeman (1980-1983
Col. H. Foster (1960-67)
Mr David Hindle (1983-1986)
Major G. Bailey (1967-68)
Mr James Fairbanks (1983-1994)
Lt. R. I. Bailey (1967-69)
Lt.-Col. Tim Illingworth (1988-1994)
Major G. A. Charrington (1968-69)
Mr David Giles (1990-1994)
Mr T. J. Cockerill (1968-1971)
The Sproughton Foot Beagles
In 1909, George Gill, (always known as Gill or Gillie - never George) manager of the Capital and Counties Bank, in Ipswich, aged 34, was living at Honeysuckle Cottage, Sproughton when he decided to form his own pack of beagles. He bought hounds, about ten couple in all, from 4 packs - Christ Church, Oxford, Leigh Park, The Stoke Place and Trinity College, Cambridge. Early in 1911 he was presented with a railway carriage for the use of hounds, which remained their breeding quarters for close on twenty five years.
Hunting took place generally on Saturdays, with the occasional Wednesday bye-day. Initially there were no subscriptions and no 'cap' but in the hunt's second season subscriptions of three guineas for a single and four guineas for a family were requested - rates which remained much the same for the next forty years. By the 1913/14 season there were 110 names in the subscription list.
With the coming of the First World War in 1914, there were a number of keen military followers from units stationed locally, though civilian financial support diminished. By 1917, there was a shortage of feed for hounds and with one exception (Caution, a bitch whose descendants were still in the pack in 1939) all the hounds had to be destroyed.
In 1919, Gillie re-established the pack by buying eight couple of hounds from the Lichfield Garrison Beagles and hunted on thirty two days in the 1919/20 season, accounting for seven brace. Prior to the 1921/22 season, Gillie was appointed manager of Lloyds Bank, Cambridge and presented his hounds to a committee, headed by Robert Beaumont Bond as chairman, and Percy Turner became Master.
The hunt generally flourished in the inter-war years despite the depression and by 1935/36 there were nineteen and a half couple of hounds in brand new kennels, the largest number in its history so far.
With the advent of the Second World War, the number of hounds was reduced, but by the end of 1940 it had become impossible to continue. Six and a half couple of hounds were loaned to the Essex Yeomanry and the rest destroyed or dispersed. Somehow the Sproughton breeding lines were kept in existence.
Hunting resumed on 26th January, 1946 with four and a half couple of hounds, the majority of whom had never seen a hare. Gradually the pack was built up again and hunting flourished under a new generation of Joint Masters, including brothers-in-law Alan Crockatt and Gordon Goodchild.
1961 saw the start of the era of Miss P. M. (Bela) Paul as Master which lasted for an unrivalled 33 years until the amalgamation with the Garrison. It was during her time, in 1965, that new kennels and housing for the kennel huntsman were built - a great improvement. Jock McLelland returned to Suffolk in 1970 as kennel-huntsman, and Bela Paul relinquished the horn to him on Wednesdays until his reluctant retirement in 1986. Ken Harrison, with his wife Joan, were the next incumbents, and remained until the amalgamation, 1987-1994.
During this long time hunting continued to thrive with a succession of capable amateur huntsman, of whom it is no disparagement to say that Tim Fogden was the most outstanding. Normally around 50 hunting days were achieved each season, with a record 59 days in 1989/90. The final meet of the Sproughton Foot was appropriately at Brundish Lodge on 19th March, 1994.
Masters of the Sproughton Foot Beagles since 1945
Reggie Le Mare (1945-46)
Bela Paul (1961-94)
Wallace Morfey (1946 53)
John Kingston Smith (1961-70)
Allan Gotelee (1949-53)
Michael Mason (1970-74)
Alan Crockatt (1953-60)
Tim Fogden (1974-83 & 1992-94)
Gordon Goodchild (1953-61)
Michael Waspe (1983-92)
General H. J. Parham (1961-62)
Sproughton Foot Beagles 1909-1994 by Margaret T. Nockold, published 1996 in a limited edition of 230 copies.
For anyone interested in the history of the Sproughton Foot this excellent history is thoroughly recommended. A few copies are still available through the hunt.
Opening Meet Dennington Hall 1977