Did Women Hunt?
One of the questions that is furiously debated on author loops and historical loops is: Did women hunt (before the common use of the leaping head, c. 1830)? I’ve always maintained that they did. Not in large numbers, and not all the time, or with every hunt, but there are certainly documented cases of women hunting during the Georgian era.
I recently got an amazing book, The History of Foxhunting by Roger Longrigg, which gives quite a bit of supporting evidence for my position:
1711 (from a period magazine): “I have very frequently the opportunity of seeing a rural Andromache, who came up to town last winter, and is one of the greatest fox-hunters in the country; she talks of hounds and horses, and makes nothing of leaping over a six-bar gate.”
1734 (from a period magazine): “Princess Amelia, out with the duke [her brother,
1775 (from Pierce Egan): “Lady Salisbury constantly hunted the Hatfield Hounds . . . riding as hard as any sportsman in the field.” It should be noted that this was her own hunt, which certainly put up some peoples' backs (there are cartoons lampooning her as too masculine, going so far as to show her with 5-o’clock shadow!).
1787 (Rowlandson’s “The Return” from his hunt series; comment from Longrigg): “The lady being helped to the ground is most certainly a member of the pack owner’s household, since . . . only such ladies rode to hounds.”
1810 (From Nimrod’s
No exact year (Lennox, Merrie
No exact year (early to mid 18th century): The historian of Goodwood [estate of the Duke of Richmond] states that large numbers of ladies came out with the Charlton hounds.