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Legends of the chase: Will Dale *H&H Plus*

Frank Houghton Brown explains the story of this understated celebrity who was the Duke of Beaufort’s huntsman for 14 seasons

“The best of nature’s gentlemen,” Will Dale hunted hounds for 33 seasons, the final 12 of which were at the Duke of Beaufort’s in an era when hounds met six days a week.

The quaint little church of St Arild’s at Oldbury-on-the-Hill can only be accessed through a farmyard or across fields of the Beaufort country, and is the perfect resting place for a throng of huntsmen. Among them are Philip Payne, who hunted the Beaufort hounds for 27 seasons, and Will Long, who did so for 41. Bertha, Long’s favourite hunter, is buried nearby in “Bertha’s field”.

But perhaps the most famous of all the hunt staff to grace this hallowed graveyard is Will Dale, the Duke of Beaufort’s huntsman for 14 seasons.

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