Profile

Raphael Historic Falconry arms

We are the longest established professional historic falconers in the UK and were the first to turn historical falconry into a profession. We have a hard-earned reputation for being the best in our field, a reputation that has taken more than 20 years to proudly build.

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 two bird of prey centres in the region and ran bird control contracts at landfill sites and power stations. 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 and have sacrificed a lot to produce what you see today.

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 educate, entertain and illuminate audiences with our theatrical style performances brimming with historical fact and period stories. 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 are very lucky to have worked for some of the most prestigious historic properties, organisations, institutions and companies in the UK.

We have an incredible team of experienced birds who make us perpetually proud and we provide them with the best care possible. We fiercely campaign against the stroking and petting of birds of prey and use our public platform to spread the word. We NEVER allow visitors at public events to handle our birds like toys and believe that watching a majestic hawk in natural free flight is entertaining enough. Welfare matters to us so we have always been a 100% flying team, every bird we care for flies and all our birds are free lofted when not flying. They live in the peace and comfort of our private home and are flown free on our hawking grounds every day.

We fly captive bred birds that are appropriate to history. We take great care to select birds of the right character for each event we do and those few species 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! We fly ALL the key species commonly used in English history and more.

If you are genuinely looking for the best quality historical falconry, the most broadly knowledgeable practitioners and falconers who work to the highest ethical standards - that's us! So let Raphael Historic Falconry astound you with the glittering heritage of the world's oldest sport!

Artwork, design and text are copyright of Emma Raphael 2019