The Parsons Years
Herbert Parsons did not abandon his love of hunting when he moved into Elsfield Manor. Ethel May Allam recalls that on hunting days, the hounds met at the Manor where a supply of sandwiches and beer was distributed by the butler and his footman to the huntsmen on horseback. The ladies and the runners were given food in the servants’ hall , the home-brewed beer being served by Mr Barnet, the footman, and later by Mr Webb, who later became chauffeur to John Buchan. The Stable Yard with its horse boxes was filled with hunters and carriage horses, grooms and coachmen. The farmers in the village may not have been pleased at the damage wreaked by the hunt as they galloped across fields of corn or leaped fences and hedges. They would have been instructed not to use wire fencing, a cheap alternative to the traditional hawthorn, and anathema to the hunting fraternity, even before the invention of barbed wire in the 1880s. Nor would they have been allowed to shoot foxes, even if they did carry off the poultry.
Shooting was also a regular pastime in the autumn. Herbert Parsons seems to have had scant regard for the education the school provided since he regularly took older boys out of school to act as beaters. Vermin such as stoats, weasels, polecats, magpies, crows and hawks would be killed by the gamekeeper to preserve the partridges and pheasants to be shot by Herbert Parsons and his friends.
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