archery practice

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pegs
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archery practice

Postby pegs » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:29 pm

Can anyone tell me when practicing archery on a Sunday stopped being normal practice - I know the law making it compulsary was not dropped until fairly recently - but I want to know when people actually stopped obeying it.
Also - does anyone have any idea where the butts were in Tewkesbury
thanks



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Re: archery practice

Postby Cap-a-pie » Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:04 pm

Actually stumbled upon this the other evening - so seems to suggest it was repealed some time ago with an act to try and tie up a variety of things.

http://www.loweringthebar.net/2010/06/d ... ctice.html
actual document mentioned in the above
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/184 ... 109_en.pdf
and then general comments from another site
http://archery.mysaga.net/archlaws.html


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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:14 pm

The fact that various monarchs from the 14th Century onwards introduced laws requiring men practice archery instead of 'morally unsound' pastimes such as football and dice, suggests that people weren't practising with the 'verve' they should be.

By the end of the 16th Century the bow had largely been deprecated from the military, and was become a hobby for the more gentile classes. This probably meant there was very little reason for the common man to practice archery any more; although I'm sure a few still did.


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Re: archery practice

Postby gregory23b » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:23 am

Something to do with unused statutes, ie if they were not active or had been superseded by new ones, they were seen to be defunct, some early 19th c legislation IIRC.

The archery still being obligatory is an old chestnut, still being toasted to this day.


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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:49 am

There are some of us out there that still uphold it; and still practice at the regulation eleven-score yards :D


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Re: archery practice

Postby pegs » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:57 pm

:* :*

Thanks for all that - I knew some of you clever folks out there would know
See you all in July



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Re: archery practice

Postby gregory23b » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:34 pm

EA, can you point me in the direction of the relevant statutes re archery, very keen on sussing out the actual obligations.

cheers


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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:19 pm

Here's the statute regarding archery from Henry VIII dated 1515:
Item: Whether the Kinges subjectes, not lame nor having no lawfull impediment, and beinge within the age of XI yeares, excepte Spiritual men, Justices etc. and Barons of the Exchequer, use shoting on longe bowes, and have bowe continually in his house, to use himself and that fathers and governours of chyldren teache them to shote, and that bowes and arrowes be bought for chyldren under XVII and above VII yere, by him that has such a chylde in his house, and the Maister maye stoppe it againe of his wages, and after that age he to provideb them himselfe: and who that is founde in defaute, in not having bowes and arrowes by the space of a moneth, to forfayte xiid.. And boyers for everie bowe of ewe, to make two of Elme wiche or othere wood of meane price, and if thei be founde to doe the contrarie, to be committed to warde, by the space of viii daies or more.

And that buttes be made, in everie citie, towne and place accordinge to the law of auncient time used, and the inhabitantes and dwellers in everye of them to exercise themselfe with longe bowes in shotinge at the same, and elles wher on holy daies and other times conveniente.

And that al bowstaves of ewe, be open and not solde in bundels nor close.

And that no stranger not being denizen, shall convey oute of the kinges obeilance (?) anie bowes, arrowes, or shaftes without the kinges speciall license upon paine of forfaiture, and also imprysonment nor use shotynge in anie longe bowe without the kinges license, uppon paine to forfaite the bowes and arrowes to the kinges subjectes that will Seaze them.

The Statute thereof is ANNO 6. H8. Cap:2.


I'm still trying to find the one on distances (the 11-score yards one)


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Re: archery practice

Postby gregory23b » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:21 pm

Thanks EA, do we have any earlier ones?


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Re: archery practice

Postby Simon Atford » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:29 pm

Presumably every village would have its' own butts and large towns would have several so as to accomodate all of the men and older boys needing to practice?



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Re: archery practice

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:58 am

Sandwich in Kent is a microcosm of medieval stuff, much of it preserved in buildings, place-names and so on. There is a modern pathway called "The Butts" near the course of the medieval town walls on the west side of the town - the stone walls were built in 1450 to replace much earlier earth ramparts and ditches that may be as early as the 12th/13th centuries. The Butts probably date from the same period, but I have not been able to trace the date of the final use for archery (no record seems to have been kept).

There is also a separate area called "Archer's Low" a short distance outside the town.


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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:51 pm

"The Butts" is a pretty common name for a lane. Quite often you'll find it near the town/village church.


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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:00 pm

gregory23b wrote:Thanks EA, do we have any earlier ones?


A judicious bit of Google-fu should be able to dig up some of the earlier laws.

Unfortunately, most of my reference books on archery are on loan at the moment. I'm trying to dig up the words of the 1542(?) law about minimum distance shooting. Paraphrased, it says something like:

No man, over 21 years of age, may shoot with pricking arrows at a distance less than eleven-score yards.

As of yet, I can't find the exact wording or statute.


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Re: archery practice

Postby Brother Ranulf » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:36 pm

Probably the earliest reference to archery practice is in Archaionomia, an Elizabethan copy of Saxon and Norman legal documents. It is one of Leges Henrici Primi (the Laws ofHenry I) and absolves any man who wounds or kills another during archery practice. This could be viewed as a encouragement to practice archery, but it also points to some drunken practice bouts, horsing about and ignoring Elf-n-safety legislation . . . :wasntme:


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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:05 pm

This could be viewed as a encouragement to practice archery, but it also points to some drunken practice bouts, horsing about and ignoring Elf-n-safety legislation . . .


Of course, these days the warbow community would never do such things.

Nope.

Never.

Not even once.


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Re: archery practice

Postby Hazelgrove Archers » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:33 am

Shoot Drunk whoever thought of such a thing ... with ye olde meade being ye olde cuppa tea.

i spose it could be an effective way of clearing the town of saturday night drunks ... practising sunday morning brings a whole new meaning.

seriously though This eleven score yards shoot would this be at your typical 128cm target?



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Re: archery practice

Postby Langley » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:54 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:"The Butts" is a pretty common name for a lane. Quite often you'll find it near the town/village church.

There are other variants as well such as Buthay Court in Wooton Bassett (in Church St) and a pub of that name in Wickwar near Wooton Under Edge. (Band called Area 51 playing there tonight!)



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Re: archery practice

Postby pegs » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:02 pm

There is nowhere in Tewkesbury called the Butts or anything similar. However looking at an old map recently we found an area
called Bow and Arrow, which suggests that could be it - it is near the end of Lower Lode Lane, next to the 1471 garden someone created a couple of years ago.
thanks for all your help



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Re: archery practice

Postby EnglishArcher » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:36 pm

seriously though This eleven score yards shoot would this be at your typical 128cm target?


Nope. There were no 128cm targets.

If I recall, the statute doesn't mention the type of target; only its distance. The statute mentions 'pricking arrows', which implies 'shooting at the prick' (I know, I'm waaay ahead of you! :D ). A prick in this case is a small (white?) peg mounted in the butt.

Also, the distance is 220 yards - a furlong, the traditional length of a ploughed field. A butt is the bank of earth that builds up at each end of the field as you turn the plough. This would suggest to me that men would be required to shoot a field's length for their practice (something available to 90%+ of the population). Another argument for this is anyone charged with enforcing this statute, seeing men shooting up and down their fields, would know they were shooting the regulation distance.

The luttrell psalter shows archers butt shooting at a garland, about 2' in diameter. That would be a sensible target at 220 yards, rather than a 'prick' (which you wouldn't be able to see at that distance)

Another option is a wand - simply a 4"-wide stake of wood. Wands make rather good targets at that distance.

Chances are, men would just use whatever they had to hand as a mark.

In many ways Tudor practice would have been much closer to modern clout shooting (but obviously further) than target archery.


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