In 1279 Edward I granted a licence to hunt foxes in the Holderness area. This would have been nothing like the hunt today. It would have been very similar to you owning a few hunting dogs and going out on your own to hunt a fox.
The ‘founder’ of the Holderness hunt was William 'Squire' Draper of Beswick hall, who hunted hounds from 1726-76. He was summoned to the Holderness country by Sir Mark Constable of Burton Constable. For over 50 years he hunted the vast country of Holderness and his hounds were described as "the best pack in Europe". This marked the formation of the hunt you see today.
The more immediate Master of the Holderness was William Bethell of Rise Park, who from 1765 began to hunt a large part of today's country from Bishop Burton and northwards. He eventually sold the Holderness hounds to Sir Tatton Sykes.
In 1804, Sir Mark Sykes began to hunt the whole of present Holderness country from Burton Agnes in the north to Patrington and Skeffling in the south east.
In 1815, Digby Legard revived the old Bethell country, collecting a scratched pack and constructed kennels at Etton. He planted the gorse coverts and opened much of toady’s country up. Scenting was so good that a master said "you could hunt a fox with an old sow and a litter of pigs”!
In 1932 the Holderness hunt split forming two separate hunts! The Holderness hunt remained at Etton however a new pack called “Holderness East” was formed, kennelled at Rise Park, the residence of Capt A. Bethell MFH. The Holderness pack was mastered by H. Hall MFH and His Grace the Duke of Norfolk MFH and hunted by B. Goddard and F. Woodward. The Holderness East pack was mastered by Major W.N. Hillas MFH and hunted and mastered by Capt A. Bethell MFH of Rise Hall.
The Rise pack as known as the “Holderness pack” and the Etton pack was known as the “Wold pack” due to the variation in country in which they hunted.
Due to there being two packs two different hunt buttons were needed. The Holderness kept the brass and silver buttons with the fox head and mask and the Holderness East adopted a black vulcanite button with the H emblem surrounded by a banner.
In 1938 the imminent outbreak of war caused the Holderness and Holderness East to amalgamate thus reforming the Holderness Hunt that hunted both countries.
By the 1950's they were a famously well-bred pack of Old English foxhounds, full of Middleton blood, with the best Quorn and Tynedale lines. After the war the pack had diminished slightly so York and Ainsty and Heythrop strains were added.
Holderness Hunt (HH Yorkshire) 2016