April update

Today has felt a little warmer than almost any day since last autumn and it felt quite uplifting. Not so uplifting is the wetness of the ground which has necessitated cancellation of at least one event but apart from this disappointment we are now in the process of getting our whole team of birds of prey flying in readiness for the season ahead. This includes Brian our exceptional Lanneret, Pete the Kestrel with Sprite our Peregrine soon to follow – from their winter lofting aviaries. They join our winter team who will continue flying everyday although ‘Leah’ our older Lanner Falcon will just fly at Thornbury Castle and Blenheim Palace along with her daily exercise at home.

We made time just before Easter and went down to Stroud to find the grave of Major Charles Hawkins Fisher the noted Stroud falconer who family home a fine looking property called the Castle on Castle Street. He died in 1901 and I remember as a school boy in Stroud visiting the local museum to look at a few of his artefacts – some stuffed falcons including a merlin, a photograph of him, plus various bits and pieces of falconry furniture that had at some point had been donated to the museum.

He was a remarkable character – a victorian gentleman – who was Champion archer of England 3 times! and was a noted and brilliant falconer who left one of the best books on falconer ever written called ‘Reminiscences Of A Falconer’ an anecdotal book of his falconry experiences, thoughts and observations. It is a timeless historical document.

He died in October 1901 ‘Fisher’s long time falconer, James Rutford attended his master for the last time. a hooded falcon on his fist, at the Stroud graveside’ (from Roger Upton’s intorduction to the reprint 1997).

I did some research and visited what I thought would be the graveyard where he was mostly likely to be buried.We were most surprised to find not only his grave but it also happened to his family grave – as they were a well known family. It was a great moment an we felt a real sense of history.

I will sign off with a couple of picturesĀ  where he used to liveĀ  ‘The Castle’, Stroud, Gloucetershire

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