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
Leaping, dancing, shooting, wrestling.
This Shooting in the long Bow, as it formerly was an Exercise of War, so
became an Exercise of Recreation also. And the Citizens used to go out into the
bordering upon the City with their Bows, where divers Butts and Marks stood for
Purpose. And being so useful and healthful an Exercise, it had the Countenance
Encouragement of several Princes, viz. King Henry VIII. King James I. and King
The Exercise of Shooting.
King Henry VIII. Anno Regni 29o. granted by Patent to Sir
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
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
Rulers, and their Successors, Masters and Rulers, might begin, found and
perpetual Fraternity of St. George, and full Power to admit into the Fraternity
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
from Time to Time, use and exercise shooting at all Manner of Marks and Butts,
the Game of the Propinjay, and other Games; as at Fowl and Fowls, as well in the
as Suburbs, and in all other Places. And there was one remarkable Passage in
Charter, that in Case any Person were shot and slain in these Sports, by some
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
Closes, as Time out of Mind were allowed to be shot in; and by plucking up the
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
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
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,
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
Mile-End. The chief of these Archers was called Prince Arthur, and the rest of
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,
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
rejoyced, and told him he should be named The Duke of Shoreditch. On which
the Captain of the Company of Archers of London, for a long Time after, was
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,
a Summons to all his Marquisses, Earls and Barons, with all their Trains of
and about the City of London, to be in a readiness to accompany him into the
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
his Person to the Place of Meeting; as his Barons, and a multitude of good
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,
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
Places and chief Streets of London. The Number of Archers that now shot were
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
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
Kings and Laws could do to make that Exercise prevail. For even in the Reign of
Edward the Third, who got such Victories over France by his Bows; yet in the
of his Reign, the Exercise grew much into Disuse, and in the Room thereof
Stones, and Wood and Iron, and Hand-Ball, Foot-Ball, Bandy Ball, Cockfighting
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
And the like Letters were sent to all the Sheriffs of England. The Letter was
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
guerrimis, Dei adjutorio cooporante, subventionem non modicam dignoscitur
provenisse: ac jam dicta arte quasi totaliter dimissa, idem populus ad jactus
Lignorum & Ferri; & quidam ad pilam manualem, pedinam, & baculorem,
Cambucam & Gallorum pugnam: quidam etiam ad alios ludos inhonestos minus
Ars Sagittandi. Rot. Claus. 39. E. 3. m. 23. dors.
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