Foxhunters are often regarded by the uninitiated as a pack of wealthy horsemen in fancy clothes galloping gaily over the countryside. Truth be told, some foxhunters riding in their private and select world above the fray see it the same way.
James Barclay learned differently. In his just-published My Hunting England, he tells of his life in hunting with humanity, sympathy, and respect for all manner of hunting man and for his quarry.
A frequent contributor to the pages of Foxhunting Life, James Barclay was born to it. He, his sister, two brothers, mother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all served as Masters of Foxhounds—a family way-of-life that began in the 1870s when his great-grandfather abandoned the bank for a life of hunting. E.E. Barclay started with a pack of harriers and became Master of the Puckeridge Foxhounds in 1896. James has served as Master of five hunts from 1983 to 2012: the Essex and Suffolk, Fitzwilliam, Cottesmore, South Wold, and Grove and Rufford.
James’s new book is part memoir, part snapshot of hunting in the twenty-first century, and part tribute to those who left their mark on the sport of his life. He entered hunt service at the bottom and toiled alongside the other lads in the kennels. Nor, as he was to find, were all kennels equal.