Today I wanted to look at one of the forms of entertainment the aristocracy used to engage in. Falconry was a very popular pastime and status symbol amongst medieval aristocracy for both men and women.  It was often referred to as the sport for Kings as peasants could not afford to keep or train the birds. The Plantagenet’s and many women, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, took great joy and pride in the sport. Depending on your ranking within society you would be permitted a different bird as listed below:

  • King and Queen: Gyrfalcon (male & female)
  • Prince: Female Peregrine
  • Duke: Rock Falcon (subspecies of the Peregrine)
  • Earl: Peregrine
  • Baron: Male peregrine
  • Knight: Saker
  • Squire: Lanner Falcon
  • Lady: Female Merlin
  • Yeoman: Goshawk or Hobby
  • Priest: Female Sparrowhawk
  • Holywater clerk: Male Sparrowhawk
  • Knaves, Servants, Children: Old World Kestrel
    Gyrfalcon 1

    In the middle ages falconry was used as an entertainment to show off the skills of the birds rather than for the purpose of hunting for food.


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