North Cotswold Hunt Ball 2019

Tickets for the North Cotswold Hunt Ball, which will be held on 7th December this year, went on sale at the end of September and, having had a look at the details and the hosts, we decided that a post about the hunt was needed.

The North Cotswold Hunt (NCH) has been a hunt that we have attended the meets of for several seasons, sometimes only a few times a season, occasionally focusing on them more. Nigel Peel was huntsman for many a year, until Ollie Dale took over the role. Guy Fitzearle has been kennel huntsman for both of these men. William Haines (junior) has acted as terrierman for a number of seasons and Chris Trotman joined the hunt as terrierman for the 2019 – 2020 season.

Location: Nayles Barn, Cutsdean

During this cubhunting season (August 2019) the hunt have met in this area weekly. They have met here several times each season and often end up running into Stanway Stone, which is the quarry situated between Toad’s Corner and Nayles Larch, right by Nayles Barn (who in their right mind would lay a trail in a working quarry full of machinery and steep rock piles?) There is at least one artificial earth in this area, one which we know has had foxes blocked into it before hunt meets in the past, one which has been blocked on occasion to stop foxes escaping into, one which has badger sett entrances nearby which have also been blocked up and one which has had chicken carcasses left next to it during the hunting season in order to feed and therefore encourage foxes to use it.

He also owns other land near Nayles Larch / Barn where badger cages were found in a covert right next to where hounds were hunting, often in full cry, for around 4 hours on this day in October. As badgers can be shot anytime up to midday in the culls once they’ve been trapped in cages overnight and the hunt were in the area between 7.30am and 11.30am, there could easily have been badgers in these cages whilst hounds hunted just metres away – imagine the fear of hearing hounds in full cry and being able to do nothing to escape…

Host: Lord Wemyss

Also known by the title ‘Earl of Wemyss and March’ or James Charteris (also by the surname Neidpath) Lord Wemyss owns the Stanway Estate, including the quarry, Nayles Barn, Nayles Larch, Toad’s Corner and plenty of the surrounding area.

Wemyss owns tens of thousands of acres of land in total and this also includes land near Hailes Abbey, where hounds marked to ground in an active badger sett on 11th October (see picture on left above) and land in Didbrook where hounds killed a fox on 13th September (see two remaining pictures above) and hunt servant Tim Pearce-May (formerly of the Ledbury Hunt*) was filmed trying to head cubs back into the hounds in a maize field.

*Tim Pearce-May was questioned over theft from his time at the Ledbury Hunt when he stole a banner from Three Counties Sabs at a protest. He was made to reimburse the group by the police. He is also on film on numerous occasions being involved in illegal hunting as part of the Ledbury Hujt over the seasons

The video above, from 10th March 2018, is also from land near Didbrook, not far from where the fox was killed in September of this year.

Land is also owned elsewhere in Cutsdean, including the covert through which hounds chased this fox back in November 2018, Guy Fitzearle shrugging at sabs when he was informed that hounds were indeed chasing a fox and continuing to encourage them on…

In January 2019 hunt supporters were filmed by a sab driving home from work as they alerted hunt staff when a fox ran across the road just the other side of the above covert. “Tally Ho” can be heard and the hunt supporter points to show that the fox has run into the covert opposite then tells hunt staff where he was seen. Again, this covert is owned by Lord Wemyss.

We would be incredibly surprised if Lord Wemyss believed that this hunt are lawfully following a false scent, especially as up until 2 seasons ago they were claiming to flush foxes to a bird of prey, using the ‘Falconer’s Exemption’. As they were not claiming to be following trails, how are we supposed to believe that they were from allowing hounds to find foxes and flush them from their hiding places out to a bird of prey* but are now fully trained to follow a false scent instead…

*for those who are unaware, several hunts used to pretend to use the Falconers’ Exemption. This exemption was written into the Hunting Act in order to allow falconers to use a couple of dogs to scare out of hiding certain animals for their birds of prey to chase. Fox hunts picked up on this loophole and tried to use it for themselves, though many of them didn’t even bother pretending very hard – they would have a bird of prey present but instead of stopping hounds as soon as an animal had broken covert, they allowed the pack to continue chasing. The exemption has pretty much been abandoned by hunts since last season

We haven’t touched on Mr R Deutsch, mentioned on the above invitation, as he is a much smaller landowner and lives in the part of the country which the NCH share with the Warwickshire. As a smaller, and less wealthy, landowner he is far more vulnerable to legal action if the hunt are found to be illegally hunting on his land with his permission – Wemyss is far more likely to be able to afford good legal defendants…


The Chip Shop Boys will be playing at the Hunt Ball – despite being told about the hunt’s activities over the seasons they have chosen not to even respond to polite messages asking why they want to be associated with a criminal group.

Similarly Toke’s Food and Drink of Chipping Campden will be catering for the hunt and, despite being sent a polite message informing them of the hunt’s activities, they also decided not to even acknowledge the message.

Possibly somewhat less surprising that they support the hunt, as we believe that a prominent hunt member and stalker-of-anti-hunt-people works for the company, Fews Marquees will be providing shelter for party-goers on the day.

R&R Catering and Event Hire will also be providing services for the hunt ball.

The hunt:

The following information is about the activities of the hunt elsewhere than on land mentioned above.

Far from helping to ‘Conserve the Cotswolds’, the North Cotswold Hunt have been filmed on countless occasions over the seasons tampering with badger setts (an offence under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992), trespassing on locals’ land, blatantly chasing foxes and cubs and putting their hounds, horses and terriers at risk, not to mention the safety and lives of others in the areas in which they hunt.

The next video shows terrierman William Haines (junior) at a badger sett which he had started digging into during cubhunting in 2016. He has a police caution for attempting to run over a sab in December of that same year and has been reported to us more recently for causing the death of some of his terriers that same season.

It is not just badger setts which Will Haines likes to put his terriers into, but also artificial earths, particularly when the hunt ‘need’ a fox to chase in the area (for example when they are trying to impress their mates from the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt). In this next video you can see Will Haines at the entrance of an artificial earth and he admits that his dog is inside, but claims that the dog is ‘trapped’ (he should probably keep them away from drains and setts and earths, etc. then…).

The hunt have met on a number of occasions at Ryefield Farm in Wormington, and use the above artificial earth on the Wormington Estate when they are in the area. Not only have sabs been assaulted by hunt members when the hunt have met there, but the farm itself has had several bTB breakdowns… the hunt have met there while there are open cases, meaning that the farm has not yet been cleared of the disease! One example of a hunt meet at Ryefield was when Kingston Hunt Sabs were in the area in September 2017 and came out to the hunt with us, filming hunt hounds walking through slurry and between separation crates with calves in them, running to nearby bTB-free dairy and beef farms and potentially spreading the disease to other cows and wildlife…

The next video is from only a few fields away from that meet at Ryefield Farm, though much closer to the near bTB-free farm. Saddle-slapping can be heard in the clip, a way of making noise as to try and prevent a fox from escaping in a particular direction.

This is certainly not the only time when, or place where, the hunt have met at a farm with an unresolved bTB issue. On 27th September this year the hunt met at Clopton Orchard Farm (where they have met several times previously).

This farm has had an ‘open’ (unresolved) bTB status since June this year and yet the hunt believe it sensible to draw hedgerows by piles of manure, mark to ground in active badger setts and run hounds, horses and vehicles across a number of different fields and through coverts, going from the meet with bTB via other landowners’ properties and then right back to the meet. The following short video clip shows the hunt picking up on the scent of a fox in a hedgerow – as can be seen from the video, it would not be an area that any hunt who were following a false scent would actually lay a trail. Luckily for this fox the presence of sabs filming and rating caused the hunt to gather the pack and move on – they returned later on the way back to the meet to try again but were unable to pick up on his scent.

This is the same area (and almost the same hedgerow, only slightly closer to the main road) where the hunt killed a fox in November 2018. On the other side of the hedgerow we found further evidence of the kill and, whilst filming, the landowner arrived and asked us why we had brought a quadbike into her field of horses – we explained that the quad belonged to the hunt and that we were anti-hunt and she told us that the hunt had had no permission to be in her field. As she checked on her distraught horses she realised that as the terriermen had ridden off with the fox’s body on their quad, they had turned off and failed to turn on again the electric fence – with vehicles (including HGVs) driving at speed on the road adjacent to the field these horses had been put in serious danger.

Speaking of hunt trespass, later in 2018 the hunt were caught digging out at a badger sett by a sab. Hunt servants were holding up the pack of hounds just along the hedgerow which is done while waiting for a fox to be released for them to give chase. The fox ran through local gardens, hounds following behind and outraged residents told sabs that the had obviously not given the hunt permission to go through their land… once again, the hunt were obviously not following a false scent…

Choosing to be more concerned about the odd bit of trespass from sabs, hunt members often lie about being landowners – this can be quite amusing when it happens in front of the actual landowner, particularly if the hunt are the ones trespassing at the time. Tens of anti-hunt (and even pro-hunt, but anti-arrogance) landowners have been referred to the fantastic advice of Hounds Off over the seasons as they provide assistance to landowners in stopping hunt trespass and taking further legal action if required against hunts persisting in their activities.

It is not always like this, however, and we do not lie about the fact that we often trespass. Unlike the hunt, however, we cause no damage to crops, fences, cause no harm to farm or domestic animals or other wildlife and do not put lives at risk. Hunt members are known to be far less concerned about risks posed to sabs and others by riding horses at us or by paying more attention to us filming their illegal hunting than to what the hounds are up to at the time – the railway line in the following video is a live railway, not a disused one… if a false scent has been laid there or near there then the hunt staff are posing a great risk to the hounds, railway staff and any passengers aboard trains using the line. If no trail has been laid there then it should be fairly obvious to hunt members that the hounds have followed the scent of a fox or are looking for the line… either way there is a severe lack of urgency shown as no hunt servants attempt to call hounds away from the line and allow hounds to continue to cast for a scent. The railway company were contacted and confirmed that the hunt have been told to stay away…

It is not just railway lines which the hunt like to pose a risk to members of the public and their own hounds on. Main roads are another common feature in a hunting day out with the NCH…

The next video shows terriermen (and self-proclaimed landowner) at an area where hounds had just marked to ground – we also have film and pictures of the badger sett which hounds had damaged). Despite sabs being on footpaths, and therefore not trespassing, they were driven at and pushed when checking on the sett. In an adjacent field the hunt were filmed as one of their members removed a gate from its hinges due to the fact it was locked – no permission had been given for the hunt to be present on that land on the day. This is a common occurrence as you cannot accurately predict where a fox will run to during a chase…

Hunt members and supporters do not only remove gates for trespassing hunt servants, drive vehicles / ride horses at sabs on footpaths and push them about and alert hunt servants as to the location of running foxes, they also ‘head’ foxes into the hounds during chases…*

*for more information about some of the terms you may hear / read on our page or used by the hunts, check out our page ‘Glossary of Hunting Terms and Instructions’

This next video shows footage taken by a sab from Three Counties and also one from Bristol Hunt Saboteurs who met up at a meet of the NCH. At around 2mins 30secs you can see hounds in Guiting Quarry, an area which has confirmed on previous occasions the hunt have no right to be in. At 3mins 35secs vice-chairman of the hunt Jamie Smith (who has more recently stalked, assaulted and pushed around another sab from Three Counties Sabs whilst pretending to be an agent of the landowner) tries to force the sab from Bristol off the footpath that she was on. At around 4mins 50secs you see a brief fox chase, members of the hunt head the fox back into the hounds and others grab the two sabs present and restrain them while the hounds kill the fox…

This last video shows hounds in Guiting Quarry back on November 1st 2017 when the manager of the area confirms that the hunt have no permission to be on the land, that they would not be given permission to go there to lay a trail or chase foxes and that they would be getting in touch with the hunt about this… even if no communication was received by the hunt, our video was posted online at the time and hunt staff and members commented on it at later hunt meets. But when you’re chasing a fox, apparently the safety of your hounds is apparently less important than your sport…

The information written and shown on this page is certainly not an exhaustive list of what the hunt and supporters have been up to and what they will get up to, but should be enough for any reasonable member of society to wish to dissociate themselves with the ‘North Cotswold Hunt’ name and reputation. The Chip Shop Boys, R&R Catering and Events Hire, Fews Marquees and Toke’s are only a few of those who are supporting the hunt and are only involved in helping criminals to have a good time at a party…

Lord Wemyss (or whatever James Charteris wishes to be known as) will not only be hosting a party for the hunt this year but continues to allow them to illegally hunt on his land. Chicken carcasses left outside of a well-used covert containing an artificial earth. Badgers traps set in coverts which the hunt draw their hounds through to pick up on the scent of foxes. Blocked setts and foxes blocked into artificial earths. Blatant fox chases which often head off Wemyss’ land and on to neighbouring fields and woodlands which the hunt have no permission to be on. Assaults of sabs and monitors when they gain evidence of illegal hunts, fox kills and even when they’re on footpaths. Hunt supporters heading foxes and cubs back towards the pack of hounds. Badger setts damaged and obstructed as hounds mark to ground in them, foxes trying to escape while being chased. Until this hunt are stopped, they will continue trying to ‘Con the Cotswolds’.