Ernest Isles (1883-1954)
According to his obituary in The Gamekeepers’ Gazette, Ernest Isles began working as a gamekeeper at the Tangley Estate in Andover at just 10 years of age where he worked for nine years.
Ernest Isles and RAMM
After working at Steventon Manor in Hampshire for six years he was employed as head gamekeeper at the Beech Hill Estate in Morchard Bishop, near Crediton in Devon. He worked here for Lord Portsmouth and C. Comyns Tucker Esquire for 29 years.
His duties included caring for, and protecting, the game birds owned by the estate. Since the Protection of Birds Act in 1954 it has been illegal to kill or injure a wild bird, but during his time as gamekeeper at the Beech Hill Estate (1909-1938) it was perfectly legal for Mr Isles to shoot any bird that was seen worrying the Estate’s game.
In 1923 Mr Comyns Tucker donated a male hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) that was collected by Mr Isles, and 10 years later Lord Portsmouth donated an eagle owl (Bubo bubo) to the Museum which was shot by Mr Isles when it was seen killing hen pheasants in their pens.
After working with Lord Sandys at Ombersley for two years, Mr Isles was employed as head keeper on the Whitacre Hall and Hallhoughton Estates in Warwickshire.
Mr Isles died on January 6th 1954 at the age of 70 at his home in Warwickshire after a short illness.
Biographical information taken from The Gamerkeepers’ Gazette, Number 277 April 18th 1954