The present day Zetland Hunt is at the very core of the fabulous Raby Hunt Country which was established by the third Earl of Darlington (later to become the 1st Duke of Cleveland) in 1787. That Raby Hunt country is legendary and almost impossible to define, since it covered nearly all of Yorkshire and a large part of Durham. Indeed, in order to cover such a large expanse of land Lord Darlington moved around the country, taking his hounds with him and staying at the various Kennels he had established throughout the country for the purpose. In doing so he hunted parts of what is now The Braes of Derwent, the Sedgefield or South Durham country, the Boroughbridge country and the Badsworth, the present day Bedale and the Raby itself. By the time of his death in 1842, however, the scale of the hunt had significantly diminished. And his son, the Second Duke of Cleveland, having hunted the pack for another twenty seasons gave up the hounds in 1861.
In 1866, however, the Old Raby country was re-established when Mr Christopher Craddock of Hartforth Hall started to hunt the country at his own expense. It is from this time that the modern history of The Zetland commences. In these days the hounds were kennelled at Hartforth Hall. In 1879, however the Earl Of Zetland bought Mr Cradock’s hounds and moved them to his residence at Aske Hall.
Lord Zetland remained Master of the Hunt until 1910, during a period which many contemporaries recall as the golden age of the Zetland. At this time Bridger Champion was the Huntsman and Tom Harrison was the first Whipper- in. Between them they guaranteed magnificent sport, showed by a pack of hounds which was beautifully bred and perfection in its work. When Lord Zetland gave up the hounds in 1910 it was decided that, to commemorate his Mastership the hunt should hence forth been known as the Zetland, ‘Z’ surmounted by a coronet on the hunt button.
When Lord Zetland gave up the Mastership he was succeeded by Mr Herbert Straker who had already been hunt secretary for the past 17 seasons. By common ascent no more popular or suitable choice could have been made. And it was under his Mastership in 1912 that the hounds moved to their current home in Aldbrough St John.