Profile

Raphael Historic Falconry arms

We are the longest established professional historic falconers in the UK with a hard-earned reputation for being the best in our field. If you want a flavour of our work and a sample of our character - read on! This website is written by our own hand.

Often nick-named The Raphs we are Emma and Mike Raphael; a husband and wife partnership privately based in East Anglia. We established Raphael Historic Falconry in 1998 after pre-existing careers in commercial falconry deliberately customising ourselves for the heritage sector due to a rising demand for period falconry. We were members of The White Company for several years so have served our time in the living history field. Before that we managed The British Bird of Prey Centre in Suffolk (now an owl sanctuary) and prior to that Mike designed and managed The East of England Falconry Centre. Many years on we remain the only genuine professional historic falconers in the country earning our living entirely from historical falconry and very proud to be exclusive suppliers of fine period falconry to both English Heritage and Alnwick Castle.

We specialise in performing and presenting exclusively at historic properties, heritage events and cultural venues all around the UK. We are not re-enactors but true professional falconers with an extensive knowledge of the heritage of our own sport. We earn our keep exclusively from falconry so we live the very lifestyles that we portray and we respect our craft which is both a privilege and a responsibility to practise. We were not created overnight, what you see today has developed over many years of hard work and has been refined and shaped by time and trial... experience is our master!

Our primary role is the performance of period falconry displays at historical events; the thrill of the chase recreated in live action with free flying hawks, owls and falcons. We inform, entertain and illuminate audiences with our theatrical style performances however you will find no thigh-slapping pantomime foolery - although you will find the odd injection of humour! We are exhibitors of authentic period falconry spanning the entire heritage of English hawking from late Antiquity to modern times. We are museum quality, have an extensive knowledge base, strong interpretation skills and a respected style of presentation but most of all we are reputed for our beautiful birds, exquisite period costumes and commanding commentary.

Hawk image

The majority of our work is at public events where we provide a high quality arena attraction but our service also extends to schools, museums, charitable bodies and heritage organisations. We assist literary researchers, authors and television documentary producers, photographers, artists and even teachers. We have worked for some of the most prestigious historic properties, organisations, institutions and companies in the UK... but rather than bore you with a list of testimonials, simply browse through our website for proof of work. There are references and pictures aplenty!

Fortunate are we indeed to have an incredible team of experienced birds who make us perpetually proud. For that reason we do not allow stroking, petting or handling at any of our public events - it is utterly inappropriate. We believe that watching a majestic hawk in free flight should be entertaining enough so we make no apologies for placing bird welfare above entertainment value.

We fly captive bred birds that are appropriate to history. To cope with public exposure some birds have to be imprinted or hand reared which makes them comfortably sociable around people, and some birds have to be trained from a young age around horses and dogs so they are not intimidated when they see them at events. We take great care to select birds of the right character and those few which are not authentic are very cleverly and discreetly represented. If we use a substitute species we always explain the reasons to our audiences. Because we offer a lot of later periods we have the luxury of flying many exotic species that our competitors do not - birds do not have to be native to be "authentic" because falconers have been travelling abroad and importing foreign species into Britain since the Dark Ages!

If you are genuinely looking for the best historical falconry - let The Raphs astound you with the glittering heritage of the world's oldest sport!

Artwork, design and text are copyright of Emma Raphael 2017