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hunt buttonsFoxes were referred to as beasts of the chase by medieval times, along with the red deer (hart & hind), martens, and roes, but the earliest known attempt to hunt a fox with hounds was in Norfolk, England, in 1534, where farmers began chasing foxes down with their dogs for the purpose of pest control . The first use of packs specifically trained to hunt foxes was in the late 1600s, with the oldest fox hunt being, probably, the Bilsdale in Yorkshire.

By the end of the seventeenth century, deer hunting was in decline as land was enclosed with fences to separate open land into fields, deer forests were cut down, and arable cultivation increased. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, people began to move out of the country and into towns and cities to find work. Roads, rail, and canals split hunting countries, but also made hunting accessible to more people. Fox hunting developed further in the eighteenth century when Hugo Meynell developed breeds of hound and horse to address the new geography of rural England.

Since that time hunting has had to cope with many new developments as the railways divided up the country, farmers embraced wire fences in preference to hedges, towns and cities grew into the countryside and motorways were built across  the countryside. Hunts, however, have always adapted and survived and carried on in to the 21st century in a form that would have been entirely recognisable to Hugo Meynell and the pioneers of modern foxhunting. From Kent to Cumbria, and fron Cornwall to Norfolk, foxhunting has remained an valued part of rural life even after the passing of the Hunting Act in 2004.