A lifelong supporter of the Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt has recently completed converting a room at the pack’s kennels at Sudbury into a museum.
Simon Hinks, who based the idea for the museum on the Dukes Room at the Belvoir Hunt kennels in Lincolnshire, has restored the room and has managed to acquire a great collection of photographs and newspaper articles, paintings and hunting clothing amongst other treasures which cover hundreds of years of history.
Simon hopes that it will provide enjoyment for all those who visit the kennels in the future, giving everyone the opportunity to donate suitable items and to learn more about the hunt’s long history.
“I have received a lot of interest and great feedback with regards to the museum with people visiting from all over the Meynell country and from further afield,” explained Simon.
“We continue to be contacted by supporters from other hunts who want to visit too,” continued Simon. “A gentleman recently travelled from Somerset to gift a red coat which his grandfather wore when he was Master of the South Staffs. This was an excellent piece with the original hunt buttons still on it.”
“The room itself is an excellent example of restoration which adheres to traditional styles and colours sympathetic to the hunt with an air of walking back in time - this alone has proven to be respected by those who appreciate the funds and time required for such a project.”
Paul Dunn, a Board member of both the Meynell & South Staffs Hunt and the Countryside Alliance, who has visited the museum enthused: “The hunt is very proud of its foundations and this museum is a wonderful way to celebrate that history. We hope that both newcomers and those who have followed hounds all of their lives will appreciate and enjoy the hard work that has gone into this project while getting a better understanding of our hunt’s history.”
The history of the Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt can be traced back to 1793 and the Vernon family from Sudbury, in Derbyshire. Lord Vernon died in 1813 and the Meynell family took over the hounds, changing the name from Sudbury Hunt to Hoar Cross Hunt.
In 1872 the present kennels were built at Sudbury and it became a subscription pack called the Meynell Hunt. It wasn't until 1970 that the name changed again, when the Meynell amalgamated with the South Staffordshire.