THERE is one branch of archery lore which has not hitherto been noticed in the ARCHER'S REGISTER, but which is interesting in an archaeological sense, namely, the mention of archers and archery tackle in old charters. Many years ago, in feudal days, when lands, estates, and messuages were held direct from the Kings of England by grant and petty serjeantry, on condition of performing certain military and other services, these constantly consist of providing archers and archers' equipments.
One of the oldest examples of this is a rhyming charter, said to have been granted by William the Conqueror to the Hopeton family, which is as follows:
To the heyres male of the Hopton lawfully begotten,
To me and to myne,
To thee and to thyne,
While the water runnes and the sun doth shine
For lacke of heyres to the Kynge againe.
I, William, Kynge,
In the third yeare of my reign
Give to thee Norman Hunter,
To me that art deare,
The Hoppe and Hoptowne,
And all the bounds up and downe
Under the earth to hell,
Above the earth to heaven,
From me and from myne
To thee and to thyne,
As good and as fayre
As ever mine were.
To witness this is sooth
I byte the waxe with my tooth
Before Jugg Marode, and Margerie
And my third son Henry,
For one bowe and one arrowe
When I come to hunt upon Garrow.
A common form of tenure was to have to furnish an archer for a certain number of days in time of war. Thus, Aston Cantlow, in Warwickshire (called after the family of Cantelupe), was held by the service of "finding a foot soldier with a bow without a string, with a helmet or cap for 40 days when there was war in Wales." Brineston, in Cheshire, was held of the King in capite by the service of finding a man in the army of the King, going into Scotland, barefoot, clothed with a shirt and breeches or drawers, having in one hand a bow without a string, and in the other an unfeathered arrow. In Gloucestershire Nicolas le Archer, of Stock, owed the service of one man on foot, with a bow and twenty-four arrows.
The tenure in capite by Roger Corbet, of the Manor of Chetting-ton, Salop, was a curious one. He was bound to find a footman in the King's army in Wales with one bow, three arrows, and a pale, and carrying with him one bacon, or salted hog. When he came to the army he was to deliver to the King's Marshall a moiety of the bacon, the Marshall was daily to deliver to him some of that moiety for his dinner as long as he stayed in the army, which he was to do as long as that half of bacon should last. This appears to be a singular method of conducting the commissariat of an army, and it must have been rather embarrassing for the Marshall to remember to whom each particular piece of bacon belonged.
Ralph le Fletcher held a messuage and six ox-gangs of land in the town of Brudeley, Lincolnshire, by service of paying twenty fletched arrows into the Exchequer. Nicholas de Dagginworth paid the King three fletched arrows feathered with eagle's feathers for certain lands which he held at that place.
Many of the Devonshire tenures enjoin certain services conditionally on the King's coming to hunt in the forests of Exmoor and Dartmoor. At Auri and Hole, Walter Aungerin held one carracute of land by serjeantry, that whensoever the King should hunt in the forest of Exmoor he should find for his use two barbed arrows, Geoffrey de Alba-Marlia (Albermare) held the Manor of Limptone, by sending to the King, as often as he should hunt in the forest of Dartmoor, one loaf of oat bread worth half a farthing, and three barbed arrows with peacock's feathers. Eight acres of land were held by Morimer de La Barr, at La Barr, Devon, by the serjeantry of paying the King one salmon and two barbed arrows whensoever he should hunt in the forest of Exmoor.
Many other similar tenures could be quoted, and can be found in "Blount's Tenures," the Gentleman's Magazine for 1835, and other works, from which the above extracts are made.