Stacia Novy, Conor M. Jameson, Laura Hazelett, Dr. Marc Adams,
Stephen Bodio, Marie Winn, Jose Edrich, Richard Hines, American
Falconry, Inc.
Mr. White’s first book was Loved Helen, a volume of poetry published while
he was at Cambridge. Shortly thereafter he again appeared in print as
collaborator in a detective story, Dead Mr. Nixon, and then as the author of
another, Darkness at Pemberly. He has also published a delightful picture of
Victorian England, four sporting books and a volume of short stories, leaving
up to England Have My Bones, which was the Daily Mail choice in 1936
and one of England’s best-sellers during that year. Mr. White was for some
time a schoolmaster and now lives in a gamekeeper’s cottage near Stowe.
He is keenly interested in falconry and is engaged in a book on the subject.
“My occupations,” he states, “are keeping out of London; not owning an
automobile; wondering why nobody cares about the country laborer; meeting
him and other non-bogus people.” The Sword in the Stone has already
appeared in England where it has been widely proclaimed as “ Gorgeous,”
“Brilliant,” “Remarkable” and “Extraordinary.” It is all of these, but it is also
amusing, learned, flippant, profound, and at time anazingly beautiful.
Biography on
By Stacia Novy
erence Hanbury White was a prolific
author, producing no less than 22
major literary works during his lifetime.
White continued to write until his untimely
death in 1964, several books being published
posthumously. Additional manuscripts still
remain unpublished to the present day and are
housed at the University of Texas at Austin.
White, known as T.H. in literary circles and
as Tim to his closest friends, was born in
Bombay, India under British rule. He later
moved to England and studied at Cheltenham
College, Gloucestershire, and at Queens
College in Cambridge, earning an English
degree in 1928. He developed an early
fascination with medieval history and wrote
a collegiate thesis on Thomas Malory’s Le
Morte D’Arthur.
His interest in archaic field sports ultimately led to the study and practice of falconry, in which White was well-
known, albeit his reputation as a falconer was tainted by the publication of The Goshawk in 1951. The book
documents Whites tenuous first attempts to tame and train a wild-caught goshawk for falconry and, although
hailed as a masterpiece by literary critics, it was often scorned by masters of the art for its naiveté. Despite his
early failings, White continued to fly trained falconry birds for over 20 years and some of the best descriptions on
hawking appear in the pages of his later books. The Godstone and the Blackymor (1959) reveals rustic scenes of
hunting cottages, shooting, and grouse hawking on Irish moors. His Arthurian novels, published as a set titled
The Once and Future King, contain famous scenes from an imaginary Royal Mews. The young King Arthur,
called “Wart”, is transformed into a merlin and placed inside the mews to spend an unforgettable night with a
matriarchal peregrine falcon, two merlins and a crazy tiercel goshawk. The magical evening erupts in adventure
and chivalry and song. The storyline is reminiscent of Whites personal experiences and the raptor characters
were, in fact, named after his own--and very real--falconry birds.
White maintained a lifelong interest in natural history, falconry and birdwatching. He corresponded with Jack
Mavrogordato and was a member of the British Falconers Club from 1937-1939, publishing an article “Predatory
Birds of Great Britain in its 1939 Journal. While touring America from 1963-1964, he kept a travel diary that
included a list of avifauna sighted along the way. His portfolio in Texas contains unpublished manuscripts on
peregrine falcons and merlins, books that White was currently writing at the time of his death. He passed away
on a docked cruise ship in Athens, Greece, out-of-country and far from his homeland of England, at the age of 57.
T.H. Whites novels were adapted for Broadway plays and movies. His legacy continues to inspire contemporary
authors, especially those with a focus on falconry or birding, and contemplations on his life appear in such
books as On the Edge of the Wild (Stephen Bodio 1998); Looking for the Goshawk (Conor Jameson 2013); and
H is for Hawk (Helen MacDonald 2014). Due to his transient and wandering lifestyle, no memorial existed to
commemorate the literary and falconry achievements of T.H. White until one was established at The Archives of
Falconry in 2015.
White continued to
fly trained falconry
birds for over 20
years and some of the
best descriptions on
hawking appear in
the pages of his later