Hacking Merlin's in Yorkshire

Date Created: 01 July 2008

Author: Capt. C.W.R.Knight

Source: Alan Gates

Owner: Alan Gates

Location: Yorkshire, England, UK

Click link to download the file: Gordon with hack board.jpg (512 KB)

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Hacking Merlin's in Yorkshire This photograph was taken circa 1920 -1930 and shows Adam Gordon, head keeper and falconer to the Feversham family in North Yorkshire at Duncombe Park Estate. It shows a clutch of young Merlin's being fed on a hack board in the grounds of the park. Capt. C.W.R. Knight, falconer and film maker became friendly with the third earl of Feversham between the wars. Capt.Knight particularly enjoyed flying Merlin's at lark and an arrangement developed which was to continue for many years. Gordon knew of Merlin's nesting on the estates moorland and collected the eyasses each season. They were hacked in the Park in the trees near Gordon's house, as soon as they showed signs of independence they were caught with a bow-net. They were collected together and transported in a padded hamper by train to Sevenoaks. Capt.Knight and his brother Hugh together with a collection of friends would all assemble at Avebury, on Salisbury Plain every season to fly the Merlin's at lark. At the seasons end the Merlin's were returned to Gordon in Yorkshire to be released on the same moorland. This was of great benefit to the local Merlin population as it insured many more fledgeling Merlin's reached maturity.

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