Duke of Beaufort's Hunt

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The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt (the Beaufort) is one of the oldest and largest of the fox hunting packs in England.


Hunting with dogs in the area dates back to 1640, primarily deer but also foxes, and was led by the Marquis of Worcester. In 1762, Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort, decided to focus on foxhunting after an unsuccessful day hunting deer. From that point on, the Dukes of Beaufort have participated in the hunt, often acting as Master of the hunt. Henry Somerset, 10th Duke of Beaufort held the position for 60 years,[1] gaining a reputation as "the greatest fox-hunter of the twentieth century",[2] and was eventually simply by the nickname, 'Master'.[1]


The hunt covers a 760 square miles (2,000 km2) area of land between Cirencester and Bath to the north and south and between Malmesbury and Nailsworth to the east and west, although only 500 square miles (1,300 km2) of land was useable by 2013. The hunt occurred four days a week during hunting season, approximately 125 days per year.[1]

Legal background[edit]

Although "hunting wild mammals with a dog" was made unlawful in England and Wales by the Hunting Act 2004, which came into effect in 2005, the Beaufort Hunt continues to meet to hunt. A number of exemptions stated in Schedule 1 of the 2004 Act permit some previously unusual forms of hunting wild mammals with dogs to continue, such as "hunting... for the purpose of enabling a bird of prey to hunt the wild mammal".[3] Trail hunting and mounted exercising of hounds are both unaffected by the Act and consequently are favoured by many hunts in the UK; in 2005 the Beaufort changed its rules to hunt within the law.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Duke of Beaufort's Hunt". Masters of Foxhounds Association. Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Masters, Brian (1975). The dukes; the origin, ennoblement and history of 26 families. (2d impression with additional material. ed.). London: Blond & Briggs. pp. 9–32. ISBN 0856340294. 
  3. ^ Moss, Stephen (7 November 2006). "The banned rode on". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Home page". The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt. Retrieved 29 August 2016.