SYMON LATHAM’S FIRST BOOK OF FALCONRY 1615
Transcribed by Bob Dolton 2017, Illustrated by David Rampling
Limited edition only 250 copies were made so this will not last long.
Symon Latham has long been regarded as one of Britain’s most respected falconers and his written work on the subject among st the finest ever produced on the sport of falconry in general but in bringing into condition and flying longwings in particular.
Gilbert Blaine described Latham’s work “as probably the finest work on falconry in the English language”. In today’s world, the opinion of a great many top flight British and European falconers, is that this statement is a true now as when it was first uttered in 1935.
Latham was a man of education in an age where that in itself made him stand out from the crowd. The fact that he decided to turn his attention to the sport of falconry, at a moment in history where it was deemed to be of far greater importance than a mere recreation, is a bonus for the generations that followed on. Latham himself states that he only wrote the book at the constant behest of others wishing to share his knowledge of bringing hawks to the field in first rate condition, both mentally as well as physically. Within the first book, which deals mainly with Peregrines with the addition of one chapter as to how the training and handling of Gyrs should differ, there is still a fountain of knowledge available to those that will read the book with an open mind. The chapters on moult, its preparation for and drawing the hawk out of afterwards are as true today as ever they were.
What has held many falconers back from enjoying the book is the plain fact that it was written in Elizabethan English. So much time is sent trying to unravel the archaic spelling and phrasing that it becomes exceedingly hard work just to read a couple of pages, never mind a whole chapter. Because I personally have always loved the book and found it nothing less that inspirational I thought I would try and redress the situation so that others could it enjoy it as much as me. It was a long slow process transcribing the work as I didn’t want to change any of it and I resisted the temptation to tidy things up and make it more modern. I simply worked away transcribing the actually spelling and finding alternatives for obsolete words.
I lost count of the amount of times I decided to give up ad shelve the project but did eventually manage to finish it. Now I am so glad that I did. Because things have changed so much in four hundred years I didn’t bother transcribing the ailments and medicines section. Now that I can sit and read the first book without constant need of pen and paper or dictionary book two, written in 1618 on Goshawks and Sparrowhawks, beckons.
For many years Bob Dalton a lifelong falconer admired and put into practice, where possible the writings of Syman Latham, particularly where passage and haggard falcons are concerned. He also felt that many more falconers would want to read these writing. So eventually be began transcribing the book and thereby bringing it to a larger number of falconers.
5174 – SYMON LATHAM’S FIRST BOOK OF FALCONRY 1615 . $49.00
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