A key member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt – based at Milton Park, Peterborough – has been fined after being caught on camera fox hunting.
Shaun Parrish, 32, is the huntsman at the Fitzwilliam, responsible for controlling and directing the pack during a day’s hunting.
A huntsman operates under the general direction for the day which is traditionally discussed in advance with the master(s).
He was seen on 5 March last year hunting on horseback with dogs in Sutton Wood near to Upton, Peterborough.
— John Elworthy (@johnelworthy) May 15, 2023
Parrish, who gave his address as Milton Park, Milton, pleaded guilty to hunting a wild animal with dogs at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court last week.
He was ordered to pay a fine and costs – in total £613.
PC Megan Vanstone, from the force’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT), said “Disrupting and prosecuting illegal fox hunting across Cambridgeshire is a priority for RCAT.
“We will always investigate reports and, where there is sufficient evidence, prosecute offenders.”
Parrish pleaded guilty on the day of the hearing after earlier indicating he would defend the charge.
Peterborough Hunt Saboteurs and Beds and Bucks Hunt Saboteurs released a joint statement, saying,
“We are obviously hugely pleased with this outcome. The strength of evidence supplied in this case meant that the Fitzwilliam had no defence to offer.
“The Fitzwilliam are fast becoming one of the most convicted hunts in the country.”
A Hunt Saboteurs Association A spokesperson said: “Police investigations are currently ongoing around numerous other hunts and the evidence that fox hunting is rife not only in Cambridgeshire but throughout the UK is now totally irrefutable.
“Well done to our Peterborough and Beds & Bucks groups for keeping the pressure on this criminal hunt and saving the lives of many foxes targeted by it.”
HISTORY (provided by the Fitzwilliam Hunt website)
The Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt has a considerable history attached to it, going back over 250 years in its present form, and probably longer than that.
The Kennel records of hound pedigrees go right back to 1760, but the Hunt was probably formed in the 1740s when several of the Governing Packs of English Foxhounds, of which the Fitzwilliam was one, were formed.
An unfortunate fire destroyed earlier records meaning the exact date of foundation cannot be pinpointed. Prior to this period, the family would certainly have kept hounds to hunt the hare on their property at Milton, near Peterborough, which they had occupied since 1502.
Before the Fitzwilliam’s own involvement in the area, the Abbots of Peterborough used the lands at Milton to hunt over, and it is therefore suggested that there have been hounds kennelled continuously at Milton since the reign of Richard II.
The pack is still kennelled at Milton Park today and has never been out of the ownership of the Fitzwilliam family, the current representative being the senior Joint Master, Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland Bt. The other joint-masters are Lady Isabella Naylor-Leyland, Lizzie Thomas, Philip Baker, Etti Dale and Charlie Rearden.
Our Huntsman is Shaun Parrish. Shaun is assisted in kennels and in the field by the first whipper-in.
The Hunt goes out two days per week in the main season, which usually starts at the beginning of November and ends, depending on farming conditions, at about the end of March.
Autumn hunting starts as soon as possible after harvest is in, usually at the beginning of September.
The country hunted by the Fitzwilliam is some 30 miles by 20 miles, from Stamford in the North to Higham Ferrers in the South and covers an area of some 600 square miles.
In this considerable expanse of country are over 800 farmers, over whose land the Fitzwilliam considers itself lucky to hunt and is very grateful for the support that it enjoys.
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