Another spectacular event at Herstmonceux Castle medieval weekend were the falcons. Not only are they beautiful in flight and endearingly cuddly-looking when sitting quietly on the falconer’s (strong leather) gauntlet they make real the medieval search for food. And these aerial killers are the goods. An eagle hawk can bring down a small deer, enough to feed quite a few hungry knights in a feast or two. We didn’t see that but we did see an unfortunate mouse fulfilling its destiny. Two gulps, a sad, last look at a disappearing tail resulted in one very satisfied peregrine. Vegetarian they are not. Despite that, I decided I’d really like one but when I found out how much they cost I reluctantly changed my mind.
Hildegard herself was quite shocked when the falconer in The Parliament of Spies sobbed at the death of his newest falcon brought over from Norway. It had cost his abbot today’s equivalent of an extremely smart Italian sports car.
A day out with the falconer learning how to fly them is definitely on the books.
This is the sort of research I love. Just as much as sitting in the mead tent…
Somebody asked how I write (nothing to do with mead tents) so tomorrow I’ll let you into the way I go about it.