The Elveden Game Department.
Game shooting increased in popularity during the last half of the 19th century. Many of the large estates in East Anglia were renowned for the quality of their shoots and during the ownership of H.H. the Maharajah Duleep Singh Elveden grew into a nationally famous sporting estate.
The two previous owners of Elveden the 4th Earl of Albemarle and Mr. William Newton, had also used the Estate mainly for the shooting it provided, but, Lord Albemarle was described as promising to be 'a very active and experimental farmer; and will, by improving and planting, change the face of the desert that surrounds him', neither did he 'neglect afforestation'. The Earl of Albemarle was a friend and 'disciple' of the famous agriculturist Thomas Coke of Holkham, Norfolk. Newton made improvements and continued to enlarge the plantations adding to the 'agreeableness of the situation'.
The department continued to evolve over the next 39 years up to the outbreak of the second world war. During this time Elveden, together with many other estates, developed her own method of managing game-birds with a prodigious number of birds being reared and released to augment the supply of wild birds; the success of which can be found by looking at examples of the bag records from the period.
the exception of periods during the First and Second World Wars the Game
Department has been in existence for over 140 years, it is therefore the single
most continuous activity in Elveden's history
These rearing methods are preferable in most parts of the country as they give a certain amount of predictability to the game shooting as well as being more easily integrated into modern farming systems.
Many changes have occurred in game shooting, not only in the system of management but also in the technology used by the sportsmen.
The demands of today's sportsmen are much lower therefore a balance can be found to accommodate modern farming and all forms of wildlife.
Some photographs and Game Bag record taken from 'Memoirs of a Gamekeeper' by T.W.
Turner - Geoffrey Bles.
A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival ©2000 Designed by ArtAtac