Chetwode Charles Hamilton Hilton-Green was born in Berkley hunting country. His father was Francis Hilton-Green. He spent much of his time at Badminton as a boy, watching Will Dale and Will Rawle handling hounds. They, and the 9th Duke of Beaufort, were his mentors.
Major Hilton-Green went on to become a huntsman and enjoyed a career that spanned a period of some fifty years. During the course of his lifetime he hunted nine packs of foxhounds and two packs of beagles.
His life as a huntsman began at the Eton and Christchurch Beagles. After the First World War, in which he was badly wounded, he took on the Mendip Harriers with H. A. Tiarks. Almost at once, it became a foxhound pack - thanks to a gift of some hounds presented to them by the 9th. Duke of Beaufort who believed in Major Hilton-Green's potential as a huntsman. Three seasons with the Mendip were followed by five seasons with the North Cotswold and then two with the Meynell which latter he handed over to the famous breeder of hounds, Sir Peter Farquar. In 1929, Major Hilton-Green had married Lady Dorothy (Alice Margaret Augusta) Grosvenor, daughter of Lord (Henry George) Grosvenor and Dora Mina Wemyss - but the marriage (her third of four marriages) ended in divorce in 1938. She married again in 1939.
By 1931 however, Major Hilton-Green's reputation as a huntsman had been made and in that year he began the first of some fifteen seasons with the Cottesmore. The accompanying image has been adapted from a photograph which was taken in the early decades of the 20th century. It shows Major Hilton-Green as a comparatively young man - possibly when he was starting out with the Cottesmore Hunt. The photograph itself is some 18 inches long by 15 inches deep and presents hounds, horse and rider in perfect pose and and under full control.
His time with the Cottesmore was interrupted by the Second World War. He re-joined his regiment - the Royal Dragoons - yet, even in France, he kept in touch with the Cottesmore and actually financed them until hostilities were over. Lady Helena Hilton-Green acted as Master in his absence. She was Helena (Albreda Marie Gabriella) Wentworth, the youngest child and daughter of William (Charles De Mueron) Wentwoth, 7th Earl FitzWilliam, and his wife, Maud (Frederica Elizabeth) Dundas, youngest daughter of the 1st Marquis of Zetland.
Major Hilton-Green remained with the Cottesmore until 1946 when he went to the Berkeley to hunt with Capt. R.G.W. Berkeley. In doing so, he left behind one of the finest packs of hounds in the country because of his astute and meticulous hound breeding programme. He had a prodigious memory for hound pedigree. The following season, he spent in Ireland with the Ballymacad and then went to the Old Berkshire to hunt with the Hon. Mrs. R.G Berkeley. Here he remained for six seasons and then followed three seasons as Joint-Master of the Craven.
Thereafter, he 'retired' and returned to his home above the club in Badminton; but some two years later it took little persuasion for him to relinquish an uneasy and restless retirement, despite infirmities, in order to help restart the Tivyside - one of the oldest packs in Wales - as Joint-Master with Dicky Drew-Smythe. On his retirement from the Craven, he had presented Dicky (who was then Joint-Master and Huntsman of the North Hereford) with eight and a half couple (17 hounds) of his favourite bitches, mostly by Old Berkshire Peter (1949) and others by Duke of Beaufort's Peasant (1946), Old Berkshire Comrade (1949) and Duke of Beaufort's Granby (1952). These brood bitches and two stallion hounds - together with several couples of bitches from the VWH Cricklade and the North Hereford - formed the nucleus of the re-formed Tivyside pack which was further strengthened by gifts of hounds from the Duke of Beaufort and Lord Daresbury, Master of the Limerick.
During 1960 Major Hilton-Green's mobility became severely restricted and he seldom rode a horse. However, in that same year, he oversaw the purchase (mainly from his own funds) of Cefn Lodge in Cilgerran and new kennels were built on the property. Completed in 1961, the year in which Jean (Anstruther) Drew-Smythe died, hounds were moved from Boncath and the kennels were presented by him to the Tivyside Hunt Committee by Deed of Gift.
The following year, as a result of his increasingly poor health, Major Hilton-Green resigned and returned to his home at Badminton where his decline continued. He was eventually transferred to a nursing home in Bath where he died in 1963.
Few stories survive of his time with the Tivyside. Family memory places him as a jovial guest at Christmas gatherings and recalls him to have been both thoughtful and generous in his Christmas gifts. It is also remembered that he would never miss his Milo at bedtime - not even at Christmas. But one tale of disaster does live on. Generally, Major Hilton-Green followed the hunt in his car. On one occasion during his last (1962) season, one of the grooms from kennels (who often drove for him) left him parked, in the heat of the chase, with the car doors wide open and engine running, facing nothing but a whitewashed brick wall.
With the hapless - and helpless - Major left staring at the wall, he, the field and numerous other foot-followers enjoyed an excellent view of one of the best hunts of the season from a vantage point some fifty yards away. The Major sat in the car for two and a half hours, blowing at intervals the whistle he normally used when viewing a fox. Everyone knew the sound well enough and it caused no concern. When he was finally rescued his reproofs were quite unprintable. Nor does history record the fate of the young groom-driver. Certainly, his action that day relegated the capital crime of riding ahead of the Master in the field to the realms of a mere misdemeanor.