Lord Montagu has rekindled Beaulieu's ancient association with the art of falconry by appointing the first official falconer in three centuries.
The history of falconry at Beaulieu can be traced as far back as the 11th century and Paul Manning is believed to be the first falconer endorsed by the Montagu family for over 300 years.
Paul Manning, Lord Montagu's falconer
Paul will be based in Abbot’s Mews in the grounds of 13th century Beaulieu Abbey. The former ticket kiosk at the old gateway to Beaulieu will become a classroom for falconry tuition and activities, as well as an exhibition for attraction visitors to learn more about kings, queens and nobleman who practiced falconry.
Paul will give falconry demonstrations at Beaulieu as part of Summer Living History from July 21st - August 31st, sharing his extensive knowledge of the history, care and training of these magnificent birds.
Paul said: “It is a real honour to be Lord Montagu’s falconer, particularly with Beaulieu’s rich history of falconry. The wonderful thing about falconry is that it is truly living history, as what I do is exactly the same as 700 years ago. Nothing has changed, from the birds to the skills or equipment.
“I’m really pleased with the Abbot’s Mews exhibition and it is a wonderful base for the falconry school. UNESCO has classed falconry as an example of intangible cultural heritage, as it was traditionally practiced all over the world by many different cultures. However, today it is seen as quintessentially British and has been enjoyed by some of the most powerful people in Britain, including King John, King Henry VIII and King James I.”
Visitors to Abbot’s Mews can discover the full story of falconry at Beaulieu and its royal patronage, which has been researched by Paul. He has been delighting visitors with the sight of his magnificent birds of prey in flight as part of Beaulieu’s Living History for 10 years.
A majestic falcon in Abbot's Mews
Paul also offers introductions to falconry, corporate events and photography days on a bespoke basis. See www.amews.com for details.
The new Abbot’s Mews exhibition and Summer Living History activities are included in a general admission ticket to Beaulieu, which also includes entry to the National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the Montagu ancestral home of Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. You can plan your visit or buy your tickets online in advance. For more details call 01590 612345.