The Natural History of Wiltshire eBook

John Aubrey
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Natural History of Wiltshire.

[At this place in Aubrey’s manuscript is another “digression”; being “Remarks taken from Henry Milburne, Esq. concerning Husbandry, Trade, &c. in Herefordshire”. — J. B.]


        Ofhawks and hawking.

[A paper “Of Hawkes and Falconry, ancient and modern”, is here transcribed from Sir Thomas Browne’s Miscellanies, (8vo. 1684.) It describes at considerable length (from the works of Symmachus, Albertus Magnus, Demetrius Constantinopolitanus, and others), the various rules which were acted upon in their times, with regard to the food and medicine of hawks; and it also narrates some historical particulars of the once popular sport of hawking.-J.  B.]

Quære, Sir James Long of this subject, for he understands it as well as any gentleman in this nation, and desire him to write his marginall notes.

[From Sir James Long, Dracot.] Memorandum.  Between the years 1630 and 1634 Henry Poole, of Cyrencester, Esquire (since Sir Henry Poole, Baronet), lost a falcon flying at Brook, in the spring of the year, about three a’clock in the afternoon; and he had a falconer in Norway at that time to take hawks for him, who discovered this falcon, upon the stand from whence he was took at first, the next day in the evening.  This flight must be 600 miles at least.

Dame Julian Barnes, in her book of Hunting and Hawking, says that the hawk’s bells must be in proportion to the hawk, and they are to be equiponderant, otherwise they will give the hawk an unequall ballast:  and as to their sound they are to differ by a semitone, which will make them heard better than if they were unisons.

William of Malmesbury sayes that, anno Domini 900, tempore Regis Alfredi, hawking was first used.  Coteswold is a very fine countrey for this sport, especially before they began to enclose about Malmesbury, Newton, &c.  It is a princely sport, and no doubt the novelty, together with the delight, and the conveniency of this countrey, did make King Athelstan much use it.  I was wont to admire to behold King Athelstan’s figure in his monument at Malmesbury Abbey Church, with a falconer’s glove on his right hand, with a knobbe or tassel to put under his girdle, as the falconers use still; but this chronologicall advertisement cleares it. [The effigy on the monument here referred to, as well as the monument itself, have no reference to Athelstan, as they are of a style and character some hundreds of years subsequent to that monarch’s decease.  If there were any tomb to Athelstan it would have been placed near the high altar in the Presbytery, and very different in form and decoration to the altar tomb and statue here mentioned, which are at the east end of the south aisle of the nave.- J. B.] Sir George Marshal of Cole Park, a-quarry to

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The Natural History of Wiltshire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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