Page 159: On Dame Juliana Berners and A Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle


There is an ongoing debate about the authorship of the ‘Treatyse’ (published 1496). However, few commentators ponder on the fact that the publisher saw obviously no marketing problem in a female authority on hunting, hawking and fishing. If Dame Juliana Berners was not the author why then choose her as a figurehead?


In FFP I wrote: “By elevating fishing into a socially acceptable fieldsport, Dame Juliana ‘invented’ English and European recreational fishing.” This is neither entirely accurate nor altogether beside the point. As Richard Hoffmann has shown, England was not the cradle of sport fishing but the “site of its preservation and its conscious evolution in the postmedieval centuries.”


Richard C. Hoffmann, Fishing for Sport in Medieval Europe: New Evidence, Speculum, Oct., 1985, Vol. 60, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 877-902


Also by Richard C. Hoffmann: The Catch –  An Environmental History of Medieval European Fisheries, Cambridge University Press, 2023