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A Hare Coursing Programme from 1916

Hare Coursing
All photographs provided by Chris Cock.

These events took place in Thetford Forest, just at the top of the Old Brandon Road.

Wheat must be up to cover a hare
        Before it is time for the Feltwell Fair.

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One country pursuit which seems to be on its way out is the Coursing Match. The Feltwell Coursing Matches were held on the Heath every year on the two days following Christmas. As the last of these took place over twenty years ago and we may never see another, I will explain briefly what was involved. On each of these mornings a line of beaters was strung out along Wilton Road and these men, armed with sticks, then walked slowly over the land, driving hares eastwards up to the Heath where the hares were guided into a wire-netting enclosure.

Once the match started a hare was released and simultaneously two dogs were "slipped". The hare was chased by the dogs until it either got away or was caught, while the judges in their colourful "pinks" rode horse-back. This was a very popular sport, lots of money changed hands and large crowds were drawn from a very wide area.

The beaters were paid 7/6 - 10/- each for about two hours work, whereas, when beating or "brushing" for a shoot, they received for a whole tiring day's work, 5/-, half a loaf of bread, half a pound of cheese and a bottle of beer.   
Taken from the recollections of A. J. Orange in 1970.

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In July 1958 the proceeds of a hare-shoot (arranged by local farmers) were given to the Church to augment the Churchyard Fund.

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Note the 'judge' on the horse