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Archery in Manchester
in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.
By William E. A. Axon
From: Transactions of Lancashire and Chestershire Antiquarian Society
Vol. XVIII, pp. 61-69, Manchester 1901.
Part 1 of 4

IT will probably be a surprise to many to know that, although gunpowder was discovered and guns were employed in the fourteenth century, bows and arrows continued to be used long after that date, and did not entirely cease as weapons of British warfare until the seventeenth century. Of the importance attached to exercise with the bow and arrows there are abundant evidences in our local records. Military archery is now so completely obsolete amongst civilised nations that we are perhaps apt to forget its former importance. The bow has been used for fighting purposes in many ages and in many lands.

The historian of archery will have no easy task when he essays to trace its progress from prehistoric times to the present day, in which it is still the favourite weapon for hunting and fighting of the many savage races who in so many parts of the world are now slowly coming under the influence— not always salutary— of the white man and his ways.

In Great Britain the numerous discoveries of flint arrow-heads show that long before the arrival of the Roman invaders our wild prehistoric forefathers were well acquainted with the destructive skill of the archer. For at least seventeen hundred years the bow and arrow played an important part in British warfare, and behind these centuries are ages of uncounted history, in which the ancestors of our race trusted largely to these weapons for the destruction of animals in the chase and of men on the battlefield.