On the 17th of September 1583, the London Archers to the number of three thoufand, with each a long-bow and four arrows marched to a place near Shoreditch, called Hodgfon's Fields, where a tent was pitched for the chief citizens. Proclamation was made by found of trumpet that every man fhould ftand at leaft forty feet from each fide of the butts.
This exercife lafted two days ; on the evening of the fecond day the victors were led off the field mounted on horfes, and attended by two hundred perfons with each a lighted torch in his hand.
The dreffes of this affembly would, at this day, be thought a little fingular. The Archers were diftinguifhed by green ribbons and fafhes; moft part of the company had hats and jerkins of black velvet, doublets of fatin and taffety; and upwards of nine hundred perfons, each of whom wore a chain of gold.
PRINCE HENRY, fon of JAMES I. at eight years of age, learned to fhoot both with the bow and gun ; at the fame time this prince had an officer in his eftablifhment who was ftyled Bow Bearer.
CHARLES I. appears from the dedication of a treatife, entitled The Bowman's Glory, to have been himfelf an Archer. And, in the eighth year of his reign, he iffued a commiffion to the Chancellor, Lord Mayor, and feveral of the Privy Council, to prevent the fields near London being fo inclofed as to interrupt the neceffary and profitable exercife of fhooting; as alfo to lower the mounds where they prevented the view from one mark to another.
This Prince likewife iffued two proclamations in 1631 and 1633, for the promotion of Archery ; the laft of which recommends the ufe of the bow and pike together.
On the 21ft of March 1661, four hundred Archers marched with flying colours to Hyde-Park, where feveral of the Archers with crofs-bows fhot near twenty fcore yards; and fome of them, to the amazement of the fpectators, hit the mark at that very great diftance : There were likewife three fhowers of whittling arrows. So fplendid was the appearance, and pleafing the ex-ercife, that three regiments of foot laid down their arms to join the fpectators.
JOHN KING, of Hipperholm near Halifax, in Yorkfhire, was efteemed the beft Archer of his time in England. He was fent for to the court of CHARLES I. and won great wagers. Being victor at a great fhooting match at Manchefter, during Cromwell's adminiftration, fome of the gentry caufed him to be carried upon men's fhoulders, crying " A KING, A KING !" Great numbers of republicans being prefent, were alarmed, and cried out as eagerly " Treafon, treafon ! " A plot, a plot ! He died in January 1675.
IN the year 1675, three hundred and fifty Archers, moft richly habited, appeared in Moorfields to compliment SIR ROBERT VINER, then Lord Mayor: From thence they marched through Moorgate, Cripplegate, and through Woodftreet into Cheap-fide; then they paffed by the north-fide of St. Paul's, and marched round into Cheapfide again, and fo to Guildhall; where they waited to receive the King, and the then Lord Mayor. When the king had viewed and paffed by the Archers, they marched to Chrift church, where a very noble dinner was given, at the expence of the Lord Mayor. Their ftandard was guarded by fix crofs-bow men; all the officers wore green fcarfs, and every bowman a green ribbon.
The principal officers were SIR ROBERT PEYTON, Knight, and Mr. MICHAEL ARNOLD.
On the 26th of May following, the Archers rendezvoufed in the military ground near Bloomfbury, and marched from thence through part of Holborn, Chancery-Lane, Temple-Bar, and the Strand, to White-hall, being fix abreaft; yet, when the van reached Whitehall, the rear was not paffed through Temple-Bar. From Whitehall they paffed to Tothill-Fields; here they drew up and were reviewed by the King, who marched along their front feveral times. He was attended by the DUKES of YORK and MONMOUTH, and moft of the nobility. The Archers were in number about a thoufand ; the fpectators near twenty times that number. During the courfe of the day feveral fhowers of whiftling arrows were difcharged, with which the company were exceedingly entertained.
CATHERINE of PORTUGAL, (Queen to CHARLES II.) feems to have been much pleafed with the fight of this exercife : For in 1676, by the contributions of SIR EDWARD HUNGERFORD and others, a filver badge for the Marfhal of the fraternity was made, weighing twenty-five ounces, and reprefenting an Archer drawing the long-bow, with the following infcription:
The fupporters were two bow-men, with the arms of England and Portugal.