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Book of late Victorian and early Edwardian hunting reports reissued

One of foxhunting’s golden eras, the late Victorian and early Edwardian years, is brought to life in a new edition of Memories of the Shires, the 1920 collection of hunting reports by Otho Paget.

Capt Paget spent six days a week hunting with the Quorn, Cottesmore and Belvoir and writing reports, under the pseudonym Q, for The Field and other publications including Horse & Hound.

Now his grandson, Sir William Jaffray has worked with the publishers Methuen to reissue the book, adding period illustrations and information about the author.

“I read the original book a couple of years ago and thought it was a fun thing to put back out in print,” said Sir William.

“My grandfather would be amazed by the situation hunting is in today.”

One highlight of the book is an account of the Melton Mowbray Midnight Steeplechase in March 1890 — Capt Paget was one of only four competitors to complete the course int heir nightshirts.

Sir William will talk about the book at Imperial College, London, on 21 November, from 4.20pm, and on 29 November, from 12.30pm.

For tickets, at £10 each including sandwiches and wine, email william.jaffray@gmail.com.

And Sir William will talk at the Hunting Museum in Melton Mowbray on 22 November, from 6.30pm.

Admittance is free but a charge will be made for refreshments. Contact the museum on 01164 3053860 or meltonmuseum@leics.gov.uk to book a place.

Memories of the Shires is available through the Countryside Alliance online bookshop for £25 plus £3.95 p&p.

A donation of £5 will be made from every sale to the campaign for the repeal of the Hunting Act.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (25 October 2012)

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