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Hunting

Mendip Gymkhana 1936This picture was taken in the 1936 Mendip Hunt gymkhana.  It was The young lady on the right was not a Chewton Mendip resident but was the mother of he author of this website. She was a keen horse woman and admits that she enjoyed the social side but she hoped the fox got away. Refer to the Mendip Hunt Website for more information about the Mendip Farmers hunt.
 Hunting probably predates farming as the earliest occupation followed by the people who lived in or near Chewton Mendip. A Royal Hunting Forest was established by the Saxon period.
Some of the earliest specific records about hunting are Churchwarden’s accounts from the early 18th century. These record payment for polecats and other animals.
The policy was ‘successful’ in exterminating polecats from the area but fortunately other target species such as hedgehogs and sparrows have survived as have foxes. Some people still hunt ‘for the pot’ but most forms of hunting and related activities are now social or sporting events. Horse racing is a closely related sport.
Shooting Party This picture was probably taken in the 1930s. Edgar Speed is third from the left.The rabbits had probably been flushed out of their burrows with ferrets. These skills proved to be essential during World War Two when the locals were able to supplement their rations with rabbits
Jeff Ford remembers that he was sent out before the rest of the hunting party to put nets over some of the rabbit burrows in preparation for the main party.
The American troops stationed in Chewton Priory were somewhat embarrassed to see the young Jeff Ford carrying home a plentiful supply of rabbits because their attempts to catch rabbits had failed.
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