There is an obituary in for Ernest Isles in ‘The Gamekeepers’ Gazette’. It says he began working as a gamekeeper at the Tangley Estate in Andover at just 10 years of age. He worked there for nine years.

Ernest Isles and RAMM

Mr Isles held a number of gamekeeping positions. He worked at Steventon Manor in Hampshire for six years. Later, he was the head gamekeeper at Beech Hill Estate in Morchard Bishop, near Crediton. Lord Portsmouth and C. Comyns Tucker Esquire employed Mr Isles at Beech Hill for 29 years.

His duties included caring for, and protecting, the game birds owned by the estate. Shooting birds seen worrying the Beech Hill Estate’s game was legal during Mr Isles’ employment (1909-1938). Yet, since the Protection of Birds Act in 1954 it has been illegal to kill or injure a British wild bird.

In 1923 Mr Comyns Tucker donated a male hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) that was collected by Mr Isle. 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. The eagle owl is on display in RAMM’s ‘In Fine Feather’ gallery.

Later life

Mr Isles worked with Lord Sandys at Ombersley for two years and as head keeper on the Whitacre Hall and Hallhoughton Estates in Warwickshire.

Mr Isles died on January 6th 1954 at his home in Warwickshire after a short illness. He was 70.

Biographical information taken from The Gamerkeepers’ Gazette, Number 277 April 18th 1954

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