Thomas Assheton Smith MFH at Penton Lodge, near Andover, Hampshire, 1829.
Between 1806 and 1817 Thomas Assheton Smith was Master of the Quorn in Leicestershire and from 1816 to 1823, Master of the Burton Hounds, Lincolnshire.
During the period 1824 and 1826 he hunted with the Craven and New Forest.
In 1826 he returned to live in Hampshire where he established a pack at Penton Lodge near Andover, with draft hounds collected from various kennels, and began hunting the country in the vicinity of Andover.
Following the death of his father, in 1828, he purchased Sir Richard Sutton’s pack and had new kennels built at New Farm in Tidworth Park and then, in 1830, moved his kennels from Penton to South Tidworth.
In 1834 he bought many of Sir Thomas Burghley’s hounds and in 1842 the whole pack of the Duke of Grafton together with the huntsman, George Carter.
From 1842 until a year before his death he hunted hounds, using two packs, four days a week, those being Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. George Carter, his huntsman, hunted with a third pack on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Although Thomas Assheton Smith hunted the country under his own name, (Hobson’s Hunting Atlas 1850 list’s it as Mr T A Smith’s country) frequent reference was made at the time to the Tedworth Hounds. It must, therefore, be considered that Mr T A Smith MFH was the founder of the Tedworth Hunt,
Thomas Assheton Smith died in September 1858 and his widow, Matilda, presented his hounds to the country.
It was reported in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 2nd October 1858, by the Marquis of Ailesbury that Mrs. Assheton Smith “ will have great pleasure in presenting the Tedworth hounds to the country and that it will be a great satisfaction that they remain in the country instead of being disposed of to strangers”.
A committee was formed with the Marquis of Ailesbury as Chairman and Master of Hounds together with Sir John Pollen and Sir E Antrobus. The hunt would thereafter be known as the Tedworth.
NB. Sources for this brief history of the Tedworth are from contemporary reports from newspaper records, Baily’s Hunting Directory (online), Sir John Eardley-Wilmot’s account written in 1860, “Reminiscences of Thomas Assheton Smith” and “Hound and Horn”, “The life recollections of George Carter, Huntsman”.
The Tedworth country lies in the counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire and extends some twenty five miles North to South and by about twenty two miles East to West, an area of approximately five hundred square miles! Hunts adjoining the country include the RA, the Avon Vale, the Vine and Craven and the Hursley Hambledon. Much of Tedworth country, which includes the Vale of Pewsey and part of Salisbury Plain, consists of downland covered by numerous coverts and some extensive areas of woodland. There is a lot of wire but in nearly every wire fence there is a timber jumping place. Although Savernake Forest lies within the country it is no longer permitted to hunt there. There is some country to the East, South and South East that is not hunted at the present time.
When the War Office became the new owner of Tedworth House in 1897 hounds continued to be kennelled in their old quarters in Tedworth Park, the Hunt being charged a nominal rent. They remained there until 1942 when, due to the ongoing hostilities, the pack was dispersed and the Hunt disbanded. In 1946, following the end of the war, the Tedworth was re-established by Mr. J C Porter MFH who collected a new pack and provided kennels on his farm at Sunnyhill, in the Vale of Pewsey. In 1957 the farm was sold and the committee purchased Westcourt near Burbage, the former racing stables of the late Herbert Braime, and where hounds are still kennelled.
The Tedworth Hunt –date and artist unknown as is the whereabouts of the painting
The information provided on this page, is kindly credited to Mr Mike Beere.