with Horse and Hound

New Book Explores Origins of Mounted Foxhunting

second duke of buckingham2George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham died of a chill caught while foxhunting. His mother bred some of the earliest Thoroughbred racehorses at Helmsley Stud. Portrait by Peter Lely, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.A new book on the beginnings of mounted foxhunting in the English shires—From the Deer to the Fox: The Hunting Transition and the Landscape 1600-1850—has been published by the University of Hertfordshire Press and released on September 15, 2013. Written by Bandy de Belin, the book disputes one commonly-held theory of why English sportsmen shifted from hunting the deer to hunting the fox as the primary quarry.

Traditional theory, according to de Belin, suggests that the disappearing woodlands and increased enclosures of the open space led to the decline of the deer population, so hunts, by necessity, turned to the fox.

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