20th January 2022
So far 2022 looks promising, there’s plenty of bookings in the diary and planning discussions are already underway. Covid appears to be subsiding and that should give event organisers the confidence to forge ahead with projects. We are really pleased to announce that our first public event of the year will be back at an old haunt not visited for over 10 years – The Royal Armouries Fort Nelson near Portsmouth. We will be performing our Edwardian “Birds of the Empire” show in collaboration with Time Will Tell theatre on the 9th and 10th April. It’s such an interesting topic and great to be doing something different!
Easter will see us at our favourite castle, Alnwick, with further returns there in July, August and October. Maybe we should move North???!!! The castle will be releasing a series of podcasts over the next couple of months which you can tune in to on their various social media platforms, and Emma features in one which investigates the history of falconry and its relevance to the castle.
The majority of the summer and autumn will be spent travelling around for English Heritage and there are some exciting new events and venues scheduled. We will feature as a small part of the celebrations taking part on Hadrian’s Wall this year, collectively known as HADRIAN’S WALL 1900 which is as long as the wall has stood! There will be lots of events through the year in a 12 month programme starting on 24th January (Hadrian’s birthday) until 23rd December. We will be found at Chester’s Roman Fort in late July and Birdoswold Roman Fort in early August performing Roman Falconry.
Even bigger news, we will be working at Stonhenge in September! What other falconers get to work at a globally famous World Heritage Site and all on their own too? Well, frankly none. There are very rarely ever events staged at this iconic venue, because it receives so many visitors it doesn’t need it, so honoured are we.
14th September 2021
How did summer become the autumn so quickly? We have journeyed in excess of 10,000 miles since mid July to complete our summer programme. All events were well attended and enormously successful. Our bird team, as always, were exemplary and are now enjoying having their mid weeks back at home. As are we! We have a handful of autumn events to keep us pleasantly busy until late October, and a few exciting mid week projects in planning details of which will be revealed in due course.
More importantly, we are now taking bookings for 2022 so feel free to get in touch before they all go. Several summer dates are already gone!
9th June 2021
We have some sad news. Bella our black labrador sadly passed away on 24th May. She was 13 years old and had been part of the falconry team all her life. She participated in her first event at only 7 months of age, retrieving dog dummies and demonstrating flushing. She went on to become a regular feature at our events as a WWII rescue dog, a trench communications dog, and even the black shuck in our gothic shows. She was a gentle soul with a great vigor for life, but more importantly she was our friend and companion. She left such a huge void in our life that after just 2 weeks of absence we have welcomed another dog on to the team. Little Cosmic has joined us at 14 weeks of age, she is from the same breeder as Bella and the same bloodline of field champion gun dogs. Now she’s a falconry dog! The breeder just happened to have one puppy left from a recent litter – and it just happened to be a black labrador bitch, which is exactly what we wanted. Fate!
14th April 2021
We finally have a first public event of the year! We will be appearing at Wrest Park Gardens on 24th/25th April as part of the St George & the Dragon event. However it will only be a static exhibition of birds as public falconry displays are not currently permitted, this is because no public performances are allowed until after May 17th under the government’s coronavirus legislation. We don’t mind, it will still be great to be out working!
21st March 2021
A short run of Private Falconry Sessions are now available to book. Once social measures relax a little on 29th March, we can meet outdoors with a limited number of private guests once again. Want to meet Imperious the Eagle, fly a hawk, watch a peregrine falcon, handle an owl, help train Griffin the kestrel..? Then drop us an email to secure your date before they run out!! Some of the advertised dates have already gone.
4th March 2021
This is the title of our new show and a separate branch of service. New for 2021, The History Birds is our second commercial identity distinct to Raphael Historic Falconry. We are the same people but offering two very different services. Our primary ID is synonymous with falconry and flying birds in public demonstrations, but we understand that this limits our appeal to venues as many do not have the right spatial or geographical requirements for falconry. It’s a shame those venues miss out on staging events of our nature. Not any more! Now we can offer you The History Birds instead, perfect for museums and heritage sites with limited outdoor space. We can even stage The History Birds indoors.
The distinction is simple, Raphael Historic Falconry focuses specifically on falconry practice, past and present, i.e. demonstrating live birds in flight and hunt simulations. Conversely, The History Birds does not focus on falconry at all, it is specifically about birds in story – so historical storytelling. We still bring live birds but there is no flying display and no mention of falconry. The focus is purely on the birds themselves, on the history of natural history, genuine historical tales involving birds of prey, and folklore.
The stories are not period specific, that would be too narrow a field, so they are drawn from across the centuries and woven into an enchanting tapestry of tales. Presented in historic costume and with real birds for reference, The History Birds will hopefully become a popular addition to our repertoire.
3rd March 2021
After years of searching for the perfect late medieval headdress in which to perform, something sturdy and robust enough to cope with an active wearer, Emma has perfected the art of making the HENNIN. Sometimes known as the flowerpot hat, its proper title is the truncated hennin, in other words a cone with the point lopped off. The pointy cone style, the steeple hennin, was more fashionable on the continent, but here in England the truncated hennin was popular; some plain, some wired with veils and some sculpted into the style of butterfly wings. Of notable practicality is the truncated hennin with chin strap – particularly good if you fly a falcon or ride a horse!
Our headdresses are of various styles and sizes, all covered in pure silk, lined with white linen and decorated with contrasting metallic braiding. They are constructed of buckram and wire so they hold their shape well and can be easily restored with a steam iron should you get caught in a rain shower. Veils, where included, are also pure silk. Every headdress is completely hand made – not a machine stitch in sight. They range in price from £50 to £85 so are utterly affordable for their superior quality. Prices include postage but delivery within the UK only.
If you would like more details you can either scroll through our facebook page and find each headdress advertised in our posts, or you can drop us an email and we will send you information and pictures.
23rd February 2021
Sadly our first public event of the year at Easter has been cancelled following the government’s announcement of the pandemic road map. It is bitterly disappointing that outdoor venues are being forced to remain closed until after the Easter holidays. Many businesses were relying on a partial re-opening to start their financial recovery but now face yet further losses. We can only hope that venues will be allowed to open in mid April as planned.
17th February 2021
We have just launched a new page on our website; a publishing page, which can be found in the first section after you “enter” the site. When you click on the tab it will take you to an area specially dedicated to the publishing of information. Here you will find stories and articles of interest, published periodically through time, which will appear for a limited time only. To kick off the development, you can read Emma’s original work which will be published chapter by chapter over a period of weeks. It’s a short story about the life and adventures of her favourite bird who passed away in 2020. It is free to access so we hope you enjoy it.
22nd January 2021
We are pleased to announce we have been awarded the English Heritage Falconry Services Contract once again. That makes it year 17 of being official supplier to the organisation and charity. Things have changed a lot behind the scenes courtesy of the pandemic, so this season will run very differently. Events will be fewer and mostly focused in the summer and autumn months, they will have lighter content and may not be confirmed until relatively late. This does not make it easy to continue trading in the manner we always have, so you may notice some changes to our service too. We hope to be able to announce some dates very soon with events hopefully commencing at Easter.