Stag Hunting





On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Tew, Huntsman of the East Kent Harriers on his return from a chase with the East Kent Foxhounds, heard of a stray stag being seen in a cover at Hougham, and which some countrymen had been endeavouring to shoot.

Tew lost no time in procuring six couple of crack hounds from the kennel at Buckland; and the stag breaking cover dashed across the valley from West Hougham to Stepping down, and from thence descended to the Folkestone Road, which he took in the direction of Dover Priory; but being headed by some men in the road, he turned up the Heights; and after being chased through the trenches descended again into the road by Farthingloe. Then regaining Stepping down he made for the Elms Farm; but being headed by the men at plough, he turned back through the late race-course to the Priory Farm yard, which he gained by leaping the wall; and being closely followed by the hounds, took to the pond, where they for some time held him at bay. Leaving the water, he cleared the Priory walls into the Folkestone Road, and leaped back again, he then crossed the meadow to the high wall opposite the Maison Dieu, which he cleared at a bound, and took down Biggin Street with the hounds close at his heels, passing through St Marys churchyard and the Antwerp Stables to the Castle Hill; but meeting a wagon he turned into the Shoulder of Mutton battery, out of which he sprang down into St James churchyard, the lower wall of which he also cleared, when he was captured alive and conveyed to an adjoining stable. Throughout the chase, the hounds kept well up to their game, which they hunted “rus in urbe” for more than half an hour in most gallant style.

The stag is not as was supposed, one of those from Waldershare Park. He is in high condition in Mr Kennett's coach-house; and it is intended to turn him down for a day's sport at Martin Mill, on Monday at ten o'clock. His Grace the Duke of Wellington purposes being present.

(Dover Telegraph Oct 28 1837 back page col. 3)

and later:

STAG HUNTING, WITH THE HARRIERS: The stray stag mentioned in our last was taken from Mr Kennett's stables on Monday in a van and turned down at Langdon Abbey at about 11 o'clock, before a field of 50 horsemen, who were joined by His Grace the Duke of Wellington, the Marquis of Douro, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Sir James Urmstone, several gentlemen from Walmer. The gallant animal, seemingly conscious of the sport which he was expected to afford, went immediately off in a playful style. Tew, the huntsman of the East Kent Harriers, then brought up his pack in excellent order; after 20 minutes' law had been given they were laid on the chase, the stag dashing over Sutton Down, made for the village; but being headed by the people coming out to view the sport, he turned into Willow Wood and from thence crossing the plantations, turned to the right until near Betteshanger House, when he inclined the other way, down the Sandwich road. Leaving Tilmanstone on the left, and crossing the valley, he passed Dane Court in splendid style, the whole of the pack being close up to, and baying their game, in a manner beautifully interesting to the sportsmen who could keep up with them; but these were few, after the racing pace the chase had led them, though for only three quarters of an hour, over a country rendered heavy by the drifting rain. The hounds fairly beat the horses over the lands towards Knowlton Park, where the stag took to a cover near Thornton Farm, the inmates of which rushed in and assisted in securing him, the hounds having entered the cover, with their expected prey. Mr Freeman Payn was the only one up with the Huntsman at that moment; but the Duke of Wellington, at the head of the whole field, almost instantly appeared. His Grace, who had throughout the greater part of the chase, kept close up with the hounds, expressed himself highly gratified by their performance, and with the courageous bearing of the stag. The termination of the sport by his taking to the cover, seemed a welcome stop to the horses, most of whom were fairly distressed by the state of the country, and the speed with which they had followed. Mr Rice having furnished a convenient vehicle from Dane Court, for the conveyance of the hunted stag, he was re-instated in his box at Mr Kennett's stables on the same evening.

On Thursday morning the antlers, those impediments to the natural fleetness of the animal, having been locked, he was again turned down at Shepherdswell; but did not afford the sport of the previous occasion, and was captured after a short run. A hare was however shortly found, which furnished an excellent chase and gave a satisfactory termination to the meeting. The Countess of Mahon and other ladies were in the field, which included the Duke of Wellington, the Marquis of Douro, Lord Mahon, Sir Henry Hardinge, and numerous gentlemen from Deal, Walmer, Dover and the neighbourhood.

(Dover Telegraph Nov 4 1837 back page col.3).