The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > Archery, its Theory and Practice > Chapter 15
Chapter XVI
On the Formation, Rules, and Regulations of Societies

There are certain special requirements applicable to all Societies, of which economy, convenience of place of meeting, and a proper system of prizes are perhaps the most important. Without these, however favorably a Society may commence its career, it will, sooner or later—and much oftener the former than the latter—dwindle away, and come to an untimely end. For if, in the first place, a judicious economy in conducting its affairs be not studied, many will be prevented joining at all, and others be compelled after a time to quit its ranks; for a locality is seldom so wealthy that the larger portion of its society is not limited in its expenditure, in matters of mere amusement. In the second place, should the place of meeting be too distant, or devoid of the necessary accommodation, few will make a point of attending any but the grand prize meetings, neglecting those established for practice, which, after all, conduce the most to the general improvement of the shooting, and to keep alive the spirit of emulation and that social fellowship which ought to prevail amongst the members. In the third place, if there be not such an arrangement of the prizes as that, while merit meets with its due reward, the novice may not be altogether hopeless of success, many a young Archer will be discouraged at the outset, from the knowledge that none but the most skilful have any chance of appearing on the prize-list. Not that I mean to say that the mere money value of any prize is, or should be, the motive to exertion; but it is a fact, amply borne out by experience, that, without the hope of gaining these trophies of success, though they may be of no intrinsic worth, sufficient inducement to the practice necessary for improvement is, in the majority of cases, wanting. With these few preliminary remarks, I will now proceed to the subject of this chapter.

The first step towards the formation of an Archery Society in any locality is, for those who are really ardent in the cause, to meet together as a Provisional Committee, to draw up rules and regulations applicable to the neighbourhood; then to invite, by circular or otherwise, all likely to take an interest in the Society, in order to discuss those rules and regulations so drawn up, and adapt them, as far as may be, to meet the views of all. The following, I conceive, to be such as will in general be found to work the best, but subject, of course, to any modifications called for by the special circumstances of the locality in which the Society is formed:—


1.—The Society shall be called . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. The place of meeting shall be . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Any person residing within fifteen miles of the same shall be eligible as an actual member; beyond that distance, as an actual or honorary member. No person resident within the prescribed limits shall be admitted to any meeting of the Society unless an actual member.

[If this be thought too stringent a rule, it may be relaxed by allowing invitations to be issued by the Committee. In some Societies the rule is to meet, not at any fixed place, but in private grounds, by invitation; but this cannot be recommended for general adoption, inasmuch as few possessing places suitable for a meeting, the onus falls almost invariably upon those few. Another objection to this custom is, that there is no fixed place of meeting for practice.]

3.—There shall be a Lady Patroness, a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Committee; all but the Treasurer and Secretary to be elected annually, by the members,— these two by the Committee, from their own body.

4.—There shall be an Annual General Meeting of the members of the Society, to audit the accounts of the previous year, elect officers, and transact any other business of the Society. In case of any special emergency, a General Meeting of the Society may be called by the Committee.

5.—The election of new members may take place at any meeting of the Society, provided the name of the party, with his proposer and seconder, shall have been entered in the Secretary's book one month before the election, and that the members be duly notified of the same.

6.—The election shall be by ballot; one black ball in to exclude; . members to vote, or no election.

[If the system of balloting be objected to, the following rule may be substituted:—the name of the patly, with his proposer and seconder, shall be submitted to the Committee, and if approved by them, to the first meeting of the Society; and the candidate declared duly elected, unless a ballot be demanded, when the same shall at once take place. The member desiring the ballot should be allowed to do so privately.]

7. The annual subscription for actual members shall be £1 1s. for a lady or gentleman, or £2 2s. for a family; only one gentleman above the age of twenty-one years to be included in the family subscription. The entrance fee to be half the subscription.

[These amounts are not arbitrary, but are intended to be either increased or diminished, according to the decision of each individual Society.]

8. The subscriptions shall become due on the in each year; such subscriptions to be paid into the hands of the Treasurer as soon as possible after they become due, or at the first meeting. No one to shoot for prizes until the subscription is paid. Any member wishing to withdraw from the Society shall give at least one month's notice to the Secretary previous to the expiration of the current year, otherwise his subscription shall be considered due for the year following.

[The enforcement of this rule will be found absolutely necessary, to enable the Committee satisfactorily to conduct the financial affairs of the Society.]

9.—Persons residing beyond the fifteen mile limit, but temporarily staying within it, may be admitted for a shorter period than one year, according to a certain scale of payment to be determined by the Committee.

[This rule would apply only to certain localities, such as large towns and watering places!]

10.—At all Meetings the President shall preside, but if absent, the Vice-President. Should neither be present, a Chairman shall be elected for the day, who shall have a casting vote.

11.—No new rule shall be made excepting by the vote of the majority of the members at a General Meeting.

12.—The Secretary shall enter all the proceedings of the Society in a book kept for the purpose.

13.—The costume of the Society shall be. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[I think this is a point too generally neglected, as certainly the variety of inelegant dress now so often seen at an Archery Meeting, more especially amongst the gentlemen, is anything but conducive to a good effect. Not that I would advise anything like an approach to conventional Robinhoodism of costume; but at the same time, it is difficult to associate the idea of Archery with trowsers a la peg-top, a coal a cross between a railway wrapper and a dressing-gown, and a wide-awake, whose original shape it would be difficult even to guess at. I think we may go to the extent of a dark-green coat and cap for the gentlemen, whilst for the ladies, a combination of green and white will always be becoming and elegant. I can only add, that simplicity and economy should go hand in hand.']

14.—There shall be a pic-nic dinner at each bow meeting, each member or family to bring sufficient for themselves, friends, and servants, also plates, dishes, knives, forks, &c., &c, unless the funds of the Society will admit of the purchase of a sufficient stock of these necessary articles.

[I have had some hesitation as to this rule, being aware that in the majority of cases it is not adopted; nevertheless, I have found the dissatisfaction and inconvenience caused by other plans so great, as to convince me of its being, on the whole, the best.]

15.—Dinner shall be served at that hour most convenient to the shooting, and tea and coffee, provided by the Society, immediately after the shooting is over.

16.—No smoking to be allowed on the ground in the presence of the ladies, under a penalty of a fine, to be fixed by the Committee.

17.—All bets to be forfeited to the Club.

18.—The wife and family of any member shall be eligible, without ballot.

19.—A discretionary power shall be given to the Committee to meet any circumstances not contemplated in these rules.


1.—There shall be three prize bow meetings, at least, during the Archery season.

[These will be probably found sufficient in country clubs, where the members have mostly to come a considerable distance to the place of meeting; but in town clubs, and those established in populous districts, it will be found highly beneficial to have weekly target days also, at which minor honorary prizes may be contended for.]

2.—The shooting at these prize meetings shall commence at . . . . . . . . o'clock, and continue until dinner time; after which it shall be resumed, till the appointed number of arrows have been shot; when the scores shall be made up and the prizes awarded.

3.—The prizes shall be awarded as follows:—the first lady's prize for the greatest gross score; the second, for the highest number of hits; the third, for the most central gold; and if there be a fourth, for the most golds;—and the same for the gentlemen.

[It will add considerably to the amusement of the day if an honorary wooden spoon be given for the lowest gross score, or the greatest number of outer whites.]

4.—The distances for the ladies shall be 60 yards and 50 yards; and for the gentlemen, 100 yards, 80 yards, and 60 yards; the targets, in each instance, being pitched about three yards further to allow for standing room; their centres shall be exactly four feet from the ground.

5.—The number of arrows shot shall be—for the ladies,. . . . at 60 yards, and . . . at 50 yards; and for the gentlemen, . . . at 100 yards, . . . at 80 yards, and . . . at 60 yards.

[As uniformity is desirable, it would be as well were the national round the number fixed on, namely, 48 at 60 yards and 24 at 50 yards for the ladies; and 72 at 100 yards, 48 at 80 yards, and 24 at 60 yards for the gentlemen,—but this must be determined by the wishes of the majority.]

6.—Before the shooting commences, a captain shall be appointed at each target, to have the command of it, to superintend the marking, and to see that order and regularity are observed throughout. If any Archer be not ready to shoot in his turn, he shall shoot last, and if not ready then, shall lose that end altogether. The order of shooting at each target shall be according as the names are entered on the scoring card, the captain shooting second.

7.—No one shall shoot out of his turn, or draw an arrow from the target until it has been registered by the marker, under the penalty of loosing its value altogether.

[This is a very important rule to prevent mistakes or disputes, and should be rigidly enforced by the captain.]

8.—Each shooter shall be ready in his turn, with his bow strung. Those who have not shot shall stand on a level with, or behind the target, on the left, each advancing in his turn to the mark in its front, shooting his three arrows, and retiring to the right. No Archer or spectator shall move from his place, or cross the ground, until all have shot, or distract the attention of the shooter by remarks, or loud talking.

9.—An arrow breaking two circles shall count for the higher; any dispute on this point shall be decided by the majority of the shooters at that target. The value of the circles shall be 9 for the gold, 7 for the red, 5 for the blue, 3 for the black, and 1 for the white. In settling the total of the scores, the score and hits shall be reckoned separately, and not added together.

[The plan adopted at the Grand National Meetings, is to add together the relative position of each Archer both in hits and score, and to determine his position by the lowest number. For instance, A. is 1st in score, and 3rd in hits, making a total of 4,—while B. is 1st in hits, and 2nd in score, making a total of 3 only; B. would therefore take precedence of A. by one point.']

10.—Members who have won prizes for gross score or gross hits, shall be weighted as follows:—Winners of one prize to lose the white circle; of two prizes, the black and white; of three prizes, the blue, black, and white circles, at all distances; but this shall not apply to any challenge or extra prize (unless expressly limited by the donor), nor shall more than the three outer circles be taken away. The loss of circles to be permanent, or until all the members shall be reduced to the red and gold, when they shall commence de novo.

11.—In the case of a tie for gross score, the prize shall be awarded to the one having the most hits; in the case of a tic for hits, to the one having the. highest score; in the case of a tic both in score and hits, or in the number of golds, or the best gold, it shall be decided by lot.

12.—None but actual members shall receive the Society's prizes.

[It is usual, however, to have a special prize for honorary members and visitors, when the funds of the Society admit of it.]

13.—In order to prevent confusion, each member shall have his arrows properly marked, or he shall forfeit any score made with such arrows.

14.—Any person presenting a prize to the Society, shall have full power to regulate the terms on which it shall be awarded.

15.—Every member shall be at liberty to introduce his friends to be present or to shoot at any meeting, subject to rule 2 and regulation 12.

16.—There shall be a challenge prize for the ladies, and another for the gentlemen, to be shot for at each prize bow-meeting, and shall be awarded to

[This may be either for gross score, or for relative gross score and hits, as explained in note to regulation 9.]

These prizes shall be the property of the Society, and be held by the winner for the time being, as a mark of superior skill.

17.—An extra prize shall be awarded at the last bow-meeting of the Society to the lady and gentleman making the highest aggregate gross score during all the meetings of the year.

[This is a very useful prize, as promoting regularity of attendance amongst the members.]