Falconry is referred to in some of the earliest documents relating to the transfer of land in the 12th Century associated to the Stareton estate and its Lords.

This is an extract from British History Online published as A History of the County of Warwick (Volume 6) Author/editor L.F. Salzman in 1951.

Henry II at the beginning of his reign gave, or possibly confirmed, to Simon the Cook, or Hasteler (i.e. turnspit), land worth 20s. in STARETON. Simon held this until his death in 1175, when the king granted it to his brother William the Cook, who stated in 1198 that he held it by serjeanty of the kitchen. The performance of culinary services seems to have been commuted for a rent of 20s., which was later changed to the yearly render of a sparrow-hawk. William had been succeeded by his son Geoffrey de Staverton, or de Arderne, before 1224, when the Abbot of Stoneleigh claimed that, as King John had granted to his house the entire manor of Stoneleigh, Geoffrey should pay the hawk to him. He denied that he held anything of the abbot and said that he would continue to give the hawk to the king unless the king with his own mouth ordered him not to; he was still holding the serjeanty and giving the hawk to the king in 1232, and in 1235. Geoffrey's son Rhys de Arderne gave Stareton, in exchange for land in Ireland, to Walter Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, who at once assigned it to Geoffrey de Langley and Maud his (second) wife and their heirs; the grant being confirmed by the king in 1245. Geoffrey held by render of a pair of gloves, or 1d., to the earl and his heirs, and of a hawk, on the earl's behalf, to the king. Geoffrey had a grant of free warren in Stareton in 1246 and in 1247 conveyed his manor of Stareton to Stoneleigh Abbey, to be held by a rent of £20, of which he later remitted half and his son Geoffrey the other half. On the elder Geoffrey's death in 1274 the manor had passed to his son by Maud, Mr. Robert de Langley, who presumably died soon afterwards and was succeeded by his brother the younger Geoffrey. In 1279 the Abbot of Stoneleigh was lord of the manor and had in demesne a mill and 2 carucates of land, worth 20s. each in 1291, when the rents of the tenants were valued at £4. By 1535 the manor was yielding £6 15s. 4d. After the dissolution of the monastery the Duke of Suffolk, to whom its estates were granted, conveyed Stareton to Mathew Wrottesley, who in 1549 made it over to Anthony Forster. It was then acquired by Thomas Marrowe, from whose grandson Samuel it was bought by Sir Thomas Leigh; after which time it descended with the main manor.


Falconry dates back thousands of years, but during the Middle Ages in England a social custom evolved in falconry known today as the Laws of Ownership. Birds of prey were allocated to social ranking. The hierarchy seems to have evolved around the cost of the bird and it is not known how strictly it was adhered to. The original list was documented in the 15th Century 'Boke of St Albans' on hawking, hunting and cote-armour as follows:

Emperor - The Eagle, Vulture, and Merloun
King - The Ger Falcon and the Tercel of the Ger Falcon
Prince: The Falcon Gentle and the Tercel Gentle
Duke: The Falcon of the Loch
Earl: The Falcon Peregrine
Baron: The Bustard
Knight: The Sacre and the Sacret
Esquire: The Lanere and the Laneret
Lady: The Marlyon
Young Man: The Hobby
Yeoman: The Goshawk
Poor Man: The Tercell
Priest: The Sparrowhawk
Holy Water Clerk: The Musket