Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/385

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364
ARCHERY

(foreign mercenaries), but at that engagement Warwick’s centre consisted solely of bows and bills (1471). The new weapons gradually made their way, but even in 1588, the year of the Armada, the local forces of Devonshire comprised 800 bows to 1600 “shot,” and 800 bills to 800 pikes. But the Armada year saw the last appearance of the English archer, and the same county in 1598 provides neither archers nor billmen, while in the professional army in Ireland these weapons had long given way to musket and caliver, pike and halberd. Archers appeared in civilized warfare as late as 1807, when fifteen hundred “baskiers,” horse-archers, clad in chain armour, fought against Napoleon in Poland.

As a weapon of the chase the bow was in its various forms employed even more than in war. The rise of archery as a sport in England was, of course, a consequence of its military value, which caused it to be so heartily encouraged by all English sovereigns.

The Japanese were from their earliest times great archers, and the bow was the weapon par excellence of their soldiers. The standard length of the bow (usually bamboo) was 7 ft. 6 in., of the arrow 3 ft. to 3 ft. 9 in. Numerous Japan. feats of archery are recorded to have taken place in the “thirty-three span” halls of Kioto and Tokyo, where the archer had to shoot the whole length of a very low corridor, 128 yds. long. Wada Daihachi in the 17th century shot 8133 arrows down the corridor in twenty-four consecutive hours, averaging five shots a minute, and in 1852 a modern archer made 5583 successful shots in twenty hours, or over four a minute.

The Pastime of Archery.—The use of the bow and arrow as a pastime naturally accompanied their use as weapons of war, but when the gun began to supersede the bow the pastime lost its popularity. Charles II., however, History of Sport. and his queen, Catherine of Braganza, interested themselves in English archery, the queen in 1676 presenting a silver badge or shield to the “Marshall of the Fraternity of Archers,” which badge, once the property of the Finsbury Archers, was transferred to the keeping of the Royal Toxophilite Society, when in 1841 the two clubs combined. The Toxophilite Society was founded in 1781; for though in the north archery had long been practised, its resuscitation in the south really dates from the formation of this club by Sir Ashton Lever. This society received the title of “Royal” in 1847, though it had long been patronized by royalty. It is an error to suppose that the Finsbury Archers were connected with the Archers’ division of the Hon. Artillery Company, but many members of the Toxophilite Society joined that division, and used its ground for shooting, securing, however, a London ground of their own in the district where Gower Street, W.C., now is. When this ground became unavailable, the shooting probably took place at Highbury, and later in 1820, on Lord’s cricket ground, the present ground in the Inner Circle of Regent’s Park, near the Botanical Gardens, not being acquired till 1833. The society may be regarded as the most important body connected with archery, most of the leading archers belonging to it, though the Grand National Archery Society controls the public meetings. Among its more important events is the shooting of 144 arrows at 100 yds. for the Crunder Cup and Bugle. In the early days of the club targets of different sizes were used at the different ranges, and the scores were recorded in money (e.g. “Mr Elwin, 86 hits, £5 : 5 : 6”). The Woodmen of Arden can claim an almost equal antiquity, having been founded—some say “revived”— in 1785. The number of members is limited to 80; at one time there were 81, Sir Robert Peel having been elected as a supernumerary by way of compliment. The headquarters of the Woodmen are at Meriden in Warwickshire; the club has a nominal authority over vert and venison, whence its officers bear appropriate names—warden, master-forester and verderers; and the annual meeting is called the Wardmote. The master-forester, or captain for the year, is the maker of the first “gold” at the annual target; he who makes the second is the senior verderer. The club devotes itself to the old-fashioned clout-shooting at long ranges, reckoned by “scores,” nine score meaning 180 yds., and so on. (Vide “Clout-shooting” infra.) The chief matches in which the Woodmen engage are those against the Royal Company of Scottish Archers. The Royal British Bowmen date back to the end of the 18th century. Like many others, during the Napoleonic war they suspended operations, revived when peace was made. The club was finally dissolved in 1880. The Royal Kentish Bowmen were founded in 1785, but did not survive the war. John O’Gaunt’s Bowmen, who still meet at Lancaster, were revived, not created, at the same time, and still flourish. The Herefordshire Bowmen only shoot at 60 yds., while the West Berks Society is limited to twelve members, who meet at each other’s houses, except for their Autumn Handicap, shot on the Toxophilite Grounds— 216 arrows at 100 yds. The Royal Company of Archers is the chief Scottish society. Originally a semi-military body constituted in 1676, it practised archery as a pastime from the time of its foundation, several meetings being held in the first few years of its existence. It devoted itself to “rovers,” or long-range shooting at the “clout,” among its most interesting trophies being the “Musselburgh Arrow,” first shot for in 1603, possibly even earlier, in that town; the competition was then open to all comers, for archery was long popular in Scotland, especially at Kilwinning, the headquarters of popinjay (q.v.) shooting. Other prizes are the “Peebles Silver Arrow,” dating back to 1626, the “Edinburgh Silver Arrow” (1709), the “Selkirk Arrow,” a very ancient prize, the “Dalhousie Sword,” the “Hopetoun Royal Commemoration Prize,” and others, shot for at ranges of 180 or 200 yds. The most curious is the “Goose Medal.” Originally a goose was buried in a butt with only its head visible, and this was the archers’ mark; now a small glass globe is substituted. The “Popingo (Popinjay) Medal,” for which a stuffed parrot was once used as the mark, is now contested at the ordinary butts. The Kilwinning Society of Archers, founded in 1688, did not disband till 1870; the Irvine Toxophilites flourished from 1814 till about 1867. But of all societies the Grand National Archery Society, regulating the great meetings, though comparatively young, is the most important. Various open meetings were already in existence, but in 1844 a few leading archers projected a Grand National Meeting, which was held in York in that year and in 1845 and 1846, and subsequently in other places. But the society did not exist as such till 1861, after the meeting held at Liverpool, since when, notwithstanding some financial troubles, it has been the legislative and managing body of English archery. The chief meetings are the “Championship,” the “Leamington and Midland Counties,” the “Crystal Palace,” the “Grand Western” and the “Grand Northern.” For some years a “Scottish Grand National” was held, but fell into abeyance. The “Scorton Arrow” is no longer shot for in the Yorkshire village of that name, but the meeting, held regularly in the county, dates back to 1673 by record, and is probably far older. The silver arrow and the captaincy are awarded to the man who makes the first gold; the silver bugle and lieutenancy to the first red; the gold medal to most hits, and a horn spoon to the last white.

In the United States archery has had a limited popularity. The only one of the early clubs that lasted long was the “United Bowmen of Philadelphia,” founded in 1828, but defunct in 1859. There was a revival twenty years later, when a National Association was formed; and various meetings were held annually and championships instituted, but there was never any popular enthusiasm for the sport, though it showed signs of increasing favour towards the end of the 19th century. The longer ranges are not greatly favoured by American archers, though at some meetings the regulation “York Round” (vide infra under “Targets”) and the “National” are shot. Other rounds are the “Potomac,” 24 arrows at 80, 24 at 70, and 24 at 60 yds.; the “Double American,” 60 arrows each at 60, 50 and 40 yds.; and the “Double Columbia,” for ladies, 48 each at 50, 40 and 30 yds. In team matches ladies shoot 96 arrows at 50 yds., gentlemen 96 at 60.

The Bow.—As used in the pastime of archery the length of the bows does not vary much, though it bears some relation to the length