John needs little introduction to many falconers. A stalwart of the British Falconers’ Club for many years, John has flown many species of longwinged and shortwinged hawk with great success, enjoying partridge hawking in Lincolnshire with Steven Frank and Gordon Jolly in the 1960s, though has concentrated on the smaller hawks in particular, flying sparrowhawks and muskets and, most notably, merlins.
Alongside his passion for falconry, he pursued a successful career in education, specialising in English, which placed him in the perfect position to both write with characteristic insight and aplomb on all aspects of our sport and to edit, proofread and review others’ contributions. As such, he has been very much the “go-to” man for authors looking for frank and constructive comments on their work. He has contributed several articles to publications such as “The Falconer”, writing on subjects as various as Shakespeare’s involvement (or otherwise) with falconry, flying muskets and the need to preserve British falconry’s unique lexicon.
His devotion to falconry’s history led to him producing English translations of, firstly, the French classic by Charles D’Arcussia and, more recently, the somewhat less well-known works of Pierre Harmont and Francois de Saincte-Aulaire. These are immensely valuable for the English speaking student of historic falconry and, as anyone who has attempted translation of a foreign text will attest, masterful renderings of originals which, even in their native tongue, take some deciphering today. They give a remarkable insight into not just French falconry of the Renaissance, but of methods in vogue across Europe, reminding us that our falconry heritage links inextricably to that of other nations.
Alongside this, his valuable contribution to English falconry literature in the form of A Merlin for Me, filled with rich reflections, prose and poetry and justly acknowledged a modern classic, plus his commitment to maintaining our sport’s cultural values, standards and heritage, make him the ideal Honorary Patron. We are delighted to welcome John aboard.
A Merlin for Me (1999)
D’Arcussia’s Falconry Translation (2004)
St Aulaise Translation (2013)