Shooting in the Bow. 250

Shooting in the Bow.

another, and for the most part either one or both overthrow, nand well ducked.

On the Holy Days in Summer, the Youths of this City have in the Field exercised themselves, in leaping, dancing, shooting, wrestling, casting of the Stone or Ball, &c.

Leaping, dancing, shooting, wrestling.

This Shooting in the long Bow, as it formerly was an Exercise of War, so afterwards it became an Exercise of Recreation also. And the Citizens used to go out into the Fields bordering upon the City with their Bows, where divers Butts and Marks stood for the Purpose. And being so useful and healthful an Exercise, it had the Countenance and Encouragement of several Princes, viz. King Henry VIII. King James I. and King Charles I.

The Exercise of Shooting.

J. S.

King Henry VIII. Anno Regni 29o. granted by Patent to Sir Christopher Morris, Master of his Ordinance, Anthony Knevyt and Peter Mewtas, Gentlemen of his Privy Chamber (who were Overseers of the Fraternity or Guild of St. George) that they should be Overseers of the Science of Artillery, that is, for long Bows, Cross Bows, and Hand Guns: and others were appointed to be Masters and Rulers of the said Science. And for the Continuance of the same, he granted that the said Masters and Rulers, and their Successors, Masters and Rulers, might begin, found and establish a perpetual Fraternity of St. George, and full Power to admit into the Fraternity all honest Persons, whosoever they were; and to be a Body Corporate. And for the better Increase and Maintenance of this Science, they might for their Disport and Pastime, from Time to Time, use and exercise shooting at all Manner of Marks and Butts, and at the Game of the Propinjay, and other Games; as at Fowl and Fowls, as well in the City as Suburbs, and in all other Places. And there was one remarkable Passage in this Charter, that in Case any Person were shot and slain in these Sports, by some Arrow shot by any of these Archers, he was not to be sued nor molested, if he had immediately before he shot used the common Word, FAST.

King Henry's Patent for a Fraternity of Shooting.

Fraternity of St. George.

A special Privilege.

King James I. in the Eighth, of his Reign granted a Commission to a great many Persons of Quality, in behalf of the Archers: mentioning divers good Statutes, Ordinances, Provisions and Proclamations made by Kings on their behalf. This Commission was to stop a Practice then begun to be used, of enclosing the Ground formerly used for this Exercise, by making of Banks and Hedges in such Fields and Closes, as Time out of Mind were allowed to be shot in; and by plucking up the old Marks of ancient Time standing in the said Closes: or where the Banks and Hedges being of indifferent Heighth, the Ditches were made so broad and deep, that wanting Bridges the Archers were much hindred thereby. The Commissioners therefore were empowered to go upon these Places, and to view and survey, in such Grounds next adjoyning to the City of London, and the Suburbs within two Miles Compass: And the same to reduce in such Order and State for the Archers, as they were in in the Beginning of the Reign of King Henry VIII. and to cause the Banks, Ditches and Quickless to be made plain, and reformed.

King James I. his Commission in Favour of the Archers.

There was also another Patent of King Charles I. to certain Commissioners, concerning Archery, to the same Import with the former.

King Charles I. his Commission.

In King Henry VIII. his Time, the Citizens used to exercise their Sport of Shooting at Mile-End. The chief of these Archers was called Prince Arthur, and the rest of them his Knights. The Exercise whereof was so manly and useful, that as that King used it himself, so he disdained not sometimes to come to Mile-End, and see and commend it.

Shooting at Mile End.

And another Time, at a shooting Match at Windsor, the King was present: and the Game being well nigh finished, and the Upshot thought to be given, one Barlo, a Citizen and Inhabitant of Shoreditch, shot and won them all. Whereat the King greatly rejoyced, and told him he should be named The Duke of Shoreditch. On which account the Captain of the Company of Archers of London, for a long Time after, was stiled by that Name.

The Captain of the Archers of London called Duke of Shoreditch.

In the Year 1583. on the 17th of September, the Citizens set forth at their great Charge a shooting Match with much State, the Duke of Shoreditch and all his Nobility and Officers marching through the City of London to the shooting Place. And first, he gave a Summons to all his Marquisses, Earls and Barons, with all their Trains of Archery in and about the City of London, to be in a readiness to accompany him into the Field, every one with a long Bow and Four Shafts, on the aforesaid Day, to meet him in Smithfield. And so they did. The Duke with his Company set forth from Merchant Taylors Hall. There repaired unto him all those that were appointed for conducting of his Person to the Place of Meeting; as his Barons, and a multitude of good Archers in their Habits, under his own Ensign: Who with Sound of Trumpet, Drums, and other Instruments, past along Broadstreet (where the Duke dwelt) through Morefields to Finsberry, and from thence to Smithfield. There was also the Marquess Barlo, and the Marquess of Clerkenwell, with Hunters, who wound their Horn; and the Earl of Pancridge, and the Marquess of Islington, and the Marquess of Hogsden, and the Marquess of Shakelwell, and other such Nobility, with all their Trains, making a suprizing Show. For they marched in very great Pomp odly habited, through several Places and chief Streets of London. The Number of Archers that now shot were 3000. The Number of them that accompanied the Archers, as Whifflers, and those that guarded them with Bills, was 4000, besides Pages and Hencemen. Their Attyre was very gorgeous, a great many wearing Chains of Gold; the Number of these Chains were 942. But he that will have the Description of the whole Show, must read it in an old Book, intitled the Bowman's Glory, reprinted 1682.

The Show of the Archers Septem.17. 1583.

The Bowman's Glory.

But tho' the English Nation were such Masters in Archery, yet it was as much as ever Kings and Laws could do to make that Exercise prevail. For even in the Reign of King Edward the Third, who got such Victories over France by his Bows; yet in the Progress of his Reign, the Exercise grew much into Disuse, and in the Room thereof Hurling of Stones, and Wood and Iron, and Hand-Ball, Foot-Ball, Bandy Ball, Cockfighting and other Sports, came altogether into request; Insomuch, that the said King sent a Command to the Sheriff of London, to forbid the Citizens all other Sports but that. And the like Letters were sent to all the Sheriffs of England. The Letter was to this Tenor:

King Edward 3d. to the Sheriffs of London, concerning Shooting in the Bow.

"Rex Vicecomitibus London, Salutem. Quia Populus Regni nostri, tum Nobiles quam Ignobiles, in Jocis suis artem sagittandi ante hæc tempora communiter exercebant, unde toti regno nostro honorem & commodum, nobis in Actibus nostris guerrimis, Dei adjutorio cooporante, subventionem non modicam dignoscitur provenisse: ac jam dicta arte quasi totaliter dimissa, idem populus ad jactus Lapidum, Lignorum & Ferri; & quidam ad pilam manualem, pedinam, & baculorem, & ad Cambucam & Gallorum pugnam: quidam etiam ad alios ludos inhonestos minus utiles aut valentes"

Ars Sagittandi. Rot. Claus. 39. E. 3. m. 23. dors.

G. Holmes.