The Rev John Ashley, of the Belvoir country, has died, aged 82.

He had continued a long tradition of hunting parsons in the Shires.

John Ashley served for 27 years up to 1993 as rector of Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir and he and his wife Margaret were keen supporters of the Belvoir, riding to hounds regularly.

He was also a member of the St Hubert’s Society, for hunting clergy of all denominations, and chairman of the Belvoir Hunt Supporters’ Club for 15 years, from 1969.

In 1973, he warned members of the “political threat hanging over our sport”, saying “promoting goodwill is just as important as raising money”.

John and Margaret Ashley retired to Harlaxton in the Belvoir country and continued to take a great interest in the hunt.

Rev Ashley died on 14 December and is survived by his wife and their twin children, Charles and Caroline.

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 6 January 2011