A Social History of English Foxhunting, 1753-1885
This landmark book provides a clear understanding of the ways in which landed society functioned, and of the assumptions that governed it. The work emphasizes the strength of older pre-industrial assumptions and relationships as it moves through the railway age, concluding with the Great Depression of Agriculture when hunting changed irrevocably.
In the years between the mid-18th century and the British agricultural depression of the 1880s fox-hunting assumed a key cultural role. it was transformed from the private, informal recreation of a few country squires to a highly organised, extremely influential public institution.
It never ceased to be viewed as a sport – paradoxically, both of the aristocracy and of the people – and it took on a significance out of all proportion to its role as a mere sport. Hunting and the chase became, in the words both of hunting and non-hunting people, a full, legitimate feature of rural society, one that could affect the lives of everyone in the society.
The author is Emeritus Professor of History, Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota.