Thomas Assheton Smith (1776-1858), the owner of Tedworth Hall, was one of the most celebrated sportsmen of his day. At Eton and then at Oxford he was an active cricketer but his foremost passion was hunting. From 1806 until 1816 he was Master of the Quorn, in Leicestershire, and from 1816 to 1824 of the Burton Hounds in Lincolnshire. At Tedworth, where he moved in 1830 following the death of his father, he built up his own pack by acquiring hounds from a number of other esteemed packs. In 1826 he bought Sir Richard Sutton's celebrated pack, and in 1834 he purchased a large number of Sir Thomas Burghley's famous hounds, adding in 1842 the entire pack of the Duke of Grafton so that he usually had one hundred couples of hounds in his kennel. Sir John Eardley Wilmot in his Reminiscences of the Late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq., London, 1860, mentions that with Mr Richard Sutton's hounds 'Mr. Assheton Smith's were the only hounds belonging to a private gentleman ever known to hunt six days a week'.
Thomas Burton was Huntsman of the Quorn when Assheton Smith was Master, and returned to work for Assheton Smith, as Huntsman of the Tedworth Hounds, following the purchase of Sir Richard Sutton's hounds. Sir John Eardley Wilmot wrote of him:
'A neater or better Horseman than Dick could not be seen, nor one more active in Kennel or Field.... When Dick and Tom Day whipped in for Mr. Smith nothing could be more perfect than the tout ensemble of master and men. All were light good hands, all first rate horsemen; and a fox, when they conspired against him, had about as much chance of escape as a felon, when Brougham or Scarlett held the adverse brief.'
Ashetton Smith's love of hunting was reflected in his early and extensive patronage of John Ferneley. The high esteem in which he held Dick Burton is evident in the large picture he commissioned from Ferneley in 1829 of himself together with Dick Burton and some favourite hounds in the park at Tedworth (see Major G. Paget, The Melton Mowbray of John Ferneley, Leicester, 1931, p.137, an engraving of the latter picture illustrated as the frontispiece).