Eton pupils protest over fears school wants to scrap hunting society

Eton schoolboys launch protest over fears that £42,000-a-year public school’s woke leadership wants to scrap its 160-year-old hunting society

  • Eton pupils launched Leggit to protest over fears hunting society will be axed
  • School failed to recruit new Kennel Huntsman for the Eton College Hunt (ECH)
  • The hounds have subsequently been relocated as a ‘temporary measure’ 
  • Footage, posted to TikTok, showed hundreds of pupils protesting to headmaster

Eton schoolboys have launched a protest over fears that the £42,000-a-year public school’s woke leadership wants to scrap its 160-year-old hunting society. 

The prestigious institution, attended by the likes of David Cameron and PM Boris Johnson, failed to recruit a new Kennel Huntsman for the Eton College Hunt (ECH) to replace the previous incumbent who recently left for another role.

Trustees of the ECH, made up of former Etonians and the Hunting Office, claimed there is a national shortage of Kennel Huntsmen and seven other hunts have also been unable to fill the position. 

The hounds have subsequently been relocated as a ‘temporary measure’ despite many parents offering to keep the pack together at their own estates, reports The Telegraph. 

In response to news, hundreds of pupils dressed in white tie and black tailcoats gathered outside Eton’s main building for a ‘Leggit’– a rare and powerful gesture which is supposed to give the boys a voice – on Friday morning to protest to masters about the future of the hunting society.

Eton schoolboys (Pictured) have launched a protest over fears that the £42,000-a-year public school’s woke leadership wants to scrap its 160-year-old hunting society

Students and parents are worried the college is quietly terminating the society as displeasure continues to grow over its woke headmaster Simon Henderson (Pictured), nicknamed ‘Trendy Hendy’, who is said to have lost the confidence of some staff with his ideas for cultural changes at Eton

Beagling is the hunting of hares and rabbits by beagles – who track them by scent. 

A beagle pack (10 or more hounds) is usually followed on foot, but in a few cases mounted.

The beagling club at Eton dates back to 1858. It is only one of three public schools which still have a beagling pack – the others being Radley and Stowe.

The school classes beagling as one of a host of ‘minor sports’ offered to pupils alongside other activities such as clay-pigeon shooting, the Wall Game, mountaineering, archery, aikido and fencing.

In a video, posted to TikTok over the weekend, pupils could be heard chanting ‘what do we think of Gregg? S*** What do we think of s***? Gregg,’ at the Leggit, thought to be the ‘largest in a decade’, referencing Eton’s deputy head for pastoral matters, David Gregg.

The beagling club at Eton dates back to 1858. It is only one of three public schools which still have a beagling pack – the others being Radley and Stowe.

The school classes beagling as one of a host of ‘minor sports’ offered to pupils alongside other activities such as clay-pigeon shooting, the Wall Game, mountaineering, archery, aikido and fencing.

Despite ongoing fears that the college will axe the long-running tradition, the college has stated that the current arrangements are ‘solely because we have not yet managed to replace the Kennel Huntsman’. 

An Eton spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Eton’s beagle pack is currently being looked after by other hunts as a temporary measure while the College continues its search for a new Kennel Huntsman, at which point the hounds will return to Eton.’ 

Students and parents are worried the college is quietly terminating the society as displeasure continues to grow over its woke headmaster Simon Henderson, nicknamed ‘Trendy Hendy’, who is said to have lost the confidence of some staff with his ideas for cultural changes at Eton.

The prestigious institution, which was attended by the likes of David Cameron and PM Boris Johnson, failed to recruit a new Kennel Huntsman for the Eton College Hunt (ECH). Pictured: A view of Eton College in Berkshire

How ‘Trendy Hendy’ is overseeing a woke revolution at Eton 

Simon Henderson took over his role as Eton College headmaster five years ago and was nicknamed ‘Trendy Hendy’ by pupils.

He is said to have a habit of wearing chino trousers and open-necked shirts, overseeing what has been viewed as a cultural change at the famous school.

Mr Henderson once suggested he might get rid of Eton’s traditional tailcoats and is known to be interested by modern management techniques.

In 2016, he announced plans to split Eton’s deputy head-master role into two, creating one deputy head for ‘academic’ affairs and another for ‘pastoral’ matters.

He has also created a new role of ‘director of inclusion education’ to oversee diversity at Eton, and made a woman the Lower Master, or deputy head, for the first time.

A source has told the Daily Telegraph that Mr Henderson ‘feels strongly’ about changing perceptions of Eton as an ‘old fashioned pillar of social and male elitism’.

It comes after Eton College sacked  English teacher, Will Knowland, following a dispute over a controversial lecture on ‘gender roles’.

Mr Knowland was removed from his role and referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) after refusing to take down a lecture challenging the theory of ‘toxic masculinity’ from his own personal YouTube. 

Mr Henderson, who is said to wear chino trousers and open-necked shirts, has previously suggested getting rid of Eton’s traditional tailcoats and is said to want to change perceptions of it as an ‘old fashioned pillar of social and male elitism’.

An unnamed former Etonian previously said he feared that Mr Henderson was ‘capitulating to the plagues of liberal society in 2020 where intolerance is dressed up as tolerance, bullying is cloaked by moral self-righteousness and there’s a less-than-critical acceptance of the doctrines of radical political movements.’ 

It comes after the school sacked English teacher, Will Knowland, last year following a dispute over a controversial lecture on ‘gender roles’.

Mr Knowland was removed from his role and referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) after refusing to take down a lecture challenging the theory of ‘toxic masculinity’ from his own personal YouTube.

More than 1,000 pupils signed a petition calling for his reinstatement and more have donated to his legal fees amid claims he was subject to the ultimate censorship over the planned lecture in which he was due to question ‘current radical feminist orthodoxy’.

The school, whose old boys include princes William and Harry, and author George Orwell, was accused of being ‘heartless and merciless’ in its treatment of Mr Knowland and of ‘prioritising emotional safety over intellectual challenge’. 

Sarah-Jane Bentley, who is a colleague of Mr Knowland, slammed the school over his removal and previously criticised Mr Henderson for ‘damaging the school’. 

She wrote: ‘Eton has been brought into disrepute for a matter that could have been resolved amicably … The lack of management of this matter has damaged the school.’

Bentley also added that the sacking had created ‘deep divisions and a climate of fear’ in the teachers’ common room, as well as a ‘bad feeling in the wider Eton community’.

In 2016, the college was forced to ‘urgently’ investigate claims its beagling club took part in an illegal hare hunt that was captured on video.

Undercover investigators say they took footage of a hare being pursued by dogs at a hunt in October last year.

The footage includes a huntsman shouting ‘Tally Ho!’ and a pack of beagles pursing a hare across fields at Aldby Park in Buttercrambe, North Yorkshire.

The League Against Cruel Sports alleged that the hunt involved the Eton College Beagles and said it has passed the footage to police.

The group said that they acted on a tip-off and that the huntmasters are identifiable by their distinctive brown velvet jackets. 

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