John Paston asks for a Goshawk

Meet a young John Paston III as he daydreams about one day having a hawk of his own to go hunting. Our animated story is intended for younger school children, Key Stage 1 if you're following the English system.

We're gradually adding information and activity sheets to go with the story of John Paston and his goshawk. You can click on the buttons on the right to download sheets. There is also a topic map with classroom ideas across the curriculum at the end of the activity sheets.

Food Chains - Act01

The goshawk is a hunting bird and was used in medieval times to catch rabbits for food. The rabbits themselves would eat vegetation - so can you draw a picture of the food chain?

Where do Hawks Live? - Act02

John Paston tells us a bit about where hawks live. Can you find out more about their habitat and complete this activity sheet?

A Topic Map on Hawks

Here's a topic map for classroom activities around the theme of hawks. There are ideas for across the whole of the curriculum.


This is a short video, about a minute, of children enjoying seeing hunting birds, including hawks. Such display can often be seen at carnivals and fairs.

The idea for the hawk story comes from Paston Letters of 1472. John III was somewhat older than we've made him in our story - and there's the complication of the two brothers having the same name - but the letters provide an insight into obtaining and looking after hawks - not always a straightforward process! If the original text is a bit difficult, then try the 'The Letter Today?' option.

John Paston to Sir John Paston, 21st September 1472

John Paston to Sir John Paston, 16th October 1472

Sir John Paston to John Paston, 4th November 1472

John Paston to Sir John Paston, 24th November 1472