Croxton Park hunt

Many thanks to Phil for tracking down this tremendous photo of the Duke of Rutland’s Hunt at Croxton Park. (Click on the image to expand it.) The image comes from the 10th anniversary issue of Life Magazine dated 25th November 1946. The caption reads: ‘Out for a brisk run, the Duke of Rutland’s hunting party winds across the meadow in the mist of an English morning’.

The photo is taken from a farm track which leads from Croxton Park up between two medieval fish ponds (click here to view the same scene today). These fish ponds once provided food and income for Croxton Abbey.

There are no signs of the Abbey today, beyond a few pieces of obviously medieval stone carvings balanced on a stone wall beside the house in the distance. In some information we found, copied from an 1877 Leicester & Rutland directory (click here to view), it states that the Abbey was founded in 1150, and adds the interesting fact that the bowels of King John are buried here (although the exact site has been lost in the mists of time).

Today, the house is rented out by the Duke’s Estate (the family still own all the land around here). Just behind it lies the ruins of what was once a very grand Georgian mansion. It can’t be seen in the photo, but is now in a very dangerous condition, although it has a great deal of spooky charm (if there is such a thing) with rooks nesting in the large trees surrounding it. (Click here to read about the ruins.)

The track carries on to the right and eventually comes out at Croxton Racecourse. But the main approach to the course would probably have avoided the Duke’s properties, down either Bescaby Road from Waltham, or along a now-overgrown bridleway from Croxton. It would be wonderful to find photos of the track in its heyday. If anyone has any, please let me know.

3 Comments

  1. Phil has emailed me with links to photos taken at Croxton Park hunt and races.

    These show the Duke of York (future George V), as well as local aristocracy, attending the Belvoir Hunt in 1921:
    http://www.tophampicturepoint.com/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?SF_GROUP1_BOOLEAN=and&SF_FIELD1_MATCHTYPE=all&SF_FIELD1=croxton

    And this one was taken at Sproxton Races in 1910: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/3166732/Hulton-Archive

  2. CROXTON races David!! – typo error I know! What fabulous photos are coming to light, and coming together in one place..

  3. Just checking you were paying attention, Richard :o)
    I’ve just posted a page from a history book of lost UK racecourses. It’s got some good info on the racecourse:
    http://remember.org.uk/waltham/pages/history/croxton-racecourse/