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Home > Articles > The Archer's Register > 1894 > An adventurous shot into the past
An adventurous shot into the past
Part 3 of 3

Now, though the dexterity of these Alains was, as has been shown, highly unpopular at the time referred to, and even fatal to their employer, it does not appear to have been otherwise than highly advantageous to themselves in the many successful but cruelly conducted raids in which they were engaged, either on their own account or in the employment of the leaders of other savage hordes, or even occasionally in the pay of the holders of fairly well constituted authority, yet it appears to me highly improbable that, if these same Alains, who may have been Caucasians like ourselves, had any special superiority in bow-arrow craft, they could have kept the secret of their skill from the dawning intelligence of the West through the whole century or so during which they seem to have occupied a prominent and separate existence amongst the other equally incongruous items, out of which have grown the elements of some of the now existing western amalgamations of people or nationalities.

In conclusion, I fear that I cannot show how the long bow (which it is quite possible these Alains did not use) originally came into vogue in England; but I think I can show that it is not necessary to agree with some writers who maintain that it was first introduced by those who had seen the skill of Eastern archers as practised fatally upon the Crusaders.

As I am writing I learn that the Queen's Royal St. Leonard's Archers is to be congratulated on a revival, and I draw this further conclusion—that the Normans arriving thereabouts in Sussex before the Conquest, implanted there a solid taste for archery, which they had gathered from those who had been taught by these original professors, the Alains, and brought it over with them in 1066 A.D.

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