A HISTORY OF THE SOUTH EAST BRANCH OF THE BASSET HOUND CLUB
by Tony Roberts
The beginnings of the
South East Branch of the Basset Hound Club are
firmly rooted in the Sussex countryside of the
Downs and the Weald.
In the 1960’s, Norman
Burgis, an architect and devoted Basset
Hound man, designed for himself and his wife a
contemporary, modern house in Ringmer, East
Sussex. This was built on a plot of land
below No. 1 Church Hill. With some wit he
called his property ‘Nought’.
Both Norman and Winifred were
very keen on hunting with their hounds and had
established their own pack called the
Burgonet in the late 1950’s. The
hounds, which at times numbered 15 couple (30
hounds) were kept in purpose-built and
continually improved kennels within the grounds
The Burgonet pack of pure-bred
Bassets - not to be confused with the
English Basset, a longer-legged hound
favoured by many other packs -attracted
numerous supporters and
By the mid-sixties, the pack was
hunting every week during the season in an area
between Uckfield and Seaford with meets even to
Stanmer Park, Brighton. The Burgonet had a
dedicated staff to help with the management of
the pack - our own esteemed Treasurer,
Michael Errey being one of the
whippers-in. Other Basset Hound owners would
attend the meets and would sometimes be invited
to augment the pack.
In the seasons when hunting did
not take place, followers would descend upon
Nought in their vehicles and take the hounds
for exercise on Ashdown Forest.
In late 1967, this group of
enthusiasts conceived the notion of forming the
South East Branch of the Basset Hound Club and
applied to both the B.H.C. and the Kennel Club
to sanction this idea. After some
consideration, in late 1968, the branch came
into being, helped upon its way with a handsome
cheque from the parent club for £25. 0s.
Norman Burgis became the first
Chairman and Michael the Hon.
After forty years, the branch still holds many
of its walks on Ashdown Forest following the
footsteps of those founding
Further history about the early years of the
branch will be found in the
Summer 2008 issue of LOWDOWN.
If you haven't, read
Hound a Short History