Director – Paul Beecroft

Paul Beecroft

After a career in the Royal Navy, Paul became a police officer with Thames Valley Police and has pursued his passionate interest in falconry and its heritage since 1974, flying a variety of species but with a preference for hawks.  He has served on the committee of the British Hawking Association as well as on the Hawk Board, which represents the interests of falconers and raptor keepers to central government.

Paul remains an active supporter of the Archives of Falconry in the USA, for which he is a Research Associate, and has been at the forefront of bringing the British Archives into being.  His knowledge of aspects relating to falconry and the law has seen him contribute a number of chapters and articles on this to various publications.

Paul is undoubtedly best known to falconers for the “We Were Falconers” series of articles, working with Peter Devers.  This has covered the lives and careers of a number of notable falconers from the early to mid-twentieth century – exactly the kind of falconers who have done much to shape the sport yet who have gone largely unchronicled.  All made significant contributions to British and wider society (like George Blackall Simonds, sculptor of the statue of a falconer in New York’s Central Park) and many saw active military service:  some, like Major RH Barber, Kim Muir and Bobby Spens, were killed.

Paul’s research and writing partnership with Peter Devers recently led to the publication of what must be unique in the annals of falconry – a ghost story centred on the sport and written, before being long forgotten, by a relatively unknown 19th century falconer, Major Charlton Anne.  Paul also undertook a great labour of love in transcribing, editing and publishing the correspondence of Richard Hamond, an 18th century falconry aficionado who moved to Valkenswaard in the Netherlands, then centre of European falconry, and helped to establish the town’s subsequent commercial success.

Publications:

The Hamond Letters (2012)

Transcribed and edited:

Maj. E. Charlton-Anne (2011) Fletcher’s Mad Haggard (edited/layout with Peter Devers)

L. de Bastyai (2013) Memories of a Master Falconer (edited with Mark Upton and David Horobin)

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