Anecdotes of Archery
Part 24 of 34
As to the diftance to which an arrow can be fhot from a long bow, with the beft elevation of forty-five degrees, that muft neceffarily depend much both upon the ftrength and flight of the Archer; but in general the diftance was reckoned from eleven to twelve fcore yards.
According to NEAD, an Archer might fhoot fix arrows in the time of charging and difcharging one mufquet.
Arrows are reckoned by fheaves; a fheaf confifting of twenty-four arrows. They were carried in a quiver, called alfo an arrow-cafe, which ferved for the magazine. Arrows for immediate ufe were carried in the girdle. In ancient times phials of quicklime, or other combuftible matter for burning houfes or fhips was fixed on the heads of arrows, and fhot from long-bows. Arrows with wild-fire, and arrows for fire-works, are mentioned among the ftores at Newhaven and Berwick, 1ft of EDWARD VI.
To protect our Archers from the attacks of the enemy's horfe, they carried long ftakes pointed at both ends: Thefe they planted in the earth, floping before them. In the firft of EDWARD VI. three hundred and thirty of thefe ftakes were in the ftores of the town of Berwick ; there were alfo at the fame time eight bundles of Archers' ftakes in Pontefract Caftle.
THE following defcription of an Archer and his accoutrements is given in a MS. written in the time of QUEEN ELIZABETH.
" Captains and officers fhould be fkilful of that
" moft noble weapon ; and to fee that their fol-
" diers, according to their draught and ftrength,
" have good bows, well nocked, well ftringed,
" everie ftring whippe in their nocke, and in
" the myddes rubbed with wax,—brafer and
" fhutting glove,—fome fpare ftrynges trymed
" as aforefaid; every man one fheaf of arrows,
" with a cafe of leather, defenfible againft the
" rayne, and in the fame fower and twentie ar-
" rows; whereof eight of them fhould be lighter
" than the refidue, to gall or aftoyne the enemy
" with the hail-fhot of light arrows, before they
" fhall come within the danger of their harquebufs
" fhot. Let every man have a brigandine or a
" little cote of plate, a fkull or hufkin, a maule
" of lead, of five feet in length, and a pike,
" and the fame hanging by his girdle, with a
" hook and a dagger; being thus furnifhed, teach
" them by mutters to march, fhoote, and retire,
" keeping their faces upon the enemy's. Sumtime
" put them into great numbers, as to battell ap-
" parteyneth, and there ufe them often times
" practifed till they be perfect ; for thofe men in " battell ne fkirmifh cannot be fpared. None
" other weapon maye compare with the fame
" noble weapon."
THE ancient records of the Royal Company of Archers in Scotland, having been deftroyed by lire, about the beginning of the prefent century, no authentic traces of their inftitution now remains. It is faid, that they owe their origin to the Commiffioners appointed in the reign of JAMES I. of Scotland, for enforcing and over-feeing the exercife of Archery in different counties. Thefe Commiffioners, who were in general men of rank and power, picking out amongft the better fort of people, under their cognizance, the moft expert Archers, formed them into a company, and upon perilous occafions made a prefent of their fervices to the king as his chief body guards. In which fituation they often diftinguifhed themfelves for their loyalty, their courage, and fkill in Archery. This rank of the King's principal body guards, the Royal Company ftill claim within feven miles of the metropolis of Scotland.
The Company at prefent confifts of about one thoufand in. number ; among whom are moft of the Scottifh nobility of the firft diftinction. A number of thefe gentlemen meet weekly during the fummer feafon in Edinburgh, and exercife themfelves in the Meadows, fhooting at butts or rovers. In the adjoining ground they have a handfome building, erected within thefe twelve years, with fuitable offices, whither they adjourn after their exercife, and where they hold their elections, and other meetings relative to the bufinefs of the Society.
The prizes belonging to this company, and which are annually fhot for, are; 1 ft. A Silver Arrow, given by the town of Muffelburgh, which appears to have been fhot for as early as the year 1603. The victor in this, as in other prizes, except the King's prize, has the cuftody of it for a year, and then returns it with a medal appended, on which are engraved any motto and device which the gainer's fancy dictates. 2d. A Silver Arrow, given by the town of Peebles, A. D. 1626. 2d. A Silver Arrow, given by the city of Edinburgh, A D. 1709. 4th. A Silver Punch Bowl, of the value of about fifty pounds, made of Scottifh filver, at the expence of the Company, A. D. 1720. 5th. A Piece of Plate, value twenty pounds, called the King's Prize, given in 1627. This prize becomes the abfolute property of the winner.
All thefe prizes are fhot for at what is termed rovers; the marks being placed at the diftance of one hundred and eighty-five yards.
Befides thefe there is another prize annually contended for at butt, or point-blank diftance, called the Goofe. The ancient manner of fhooting for this prize was,—a living goofe being built in a turf-butt, with his head only expofed to view; the Archer who firft hit the goofe's head was entitled to the goofe as his reward. But this cuftom, on account of its barbarity, has been long ago laid afide; and in place of the goofe's head, a mark of about an inch diameter, is affixed upon each butt; and the Archer who firft hits this mark is captain of the butt-fhooters for a year.
The affairs of the Company are managed by a Prefes and fix Councellors, who are chofen annually by the whole members. The Council are veiled with the power of receiving or rejecting candidates for admiffion, and of appointing the Company's officers civil and military.
The uniform of the Royal Company of Archers is tartan, lined with white, and trimmed with green and white fringes ; a white fafh with green taffels; and a blue bonnet, with a St. Andrew's Crofs and feathers. The Company have two ftandards : The firft of thefe bears on one fide Mars and Cupid encircled in a wreath of thiftles, with this motto, " IN PEACE AND WAR." On the other a eugh tree, with two men dreffed and equipped as Archers, encircled as the former—motto, " DAT GLORIA VIRES."
The other ftandard difplays on one fide a lion rampant, gules, on a field or, encircled with a wreath; on the top a thiftle and crown,—motto, "NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT." On the other, St. Andrew on the crofs, on a field argent; at the top a crown,—motto, " DULCE PRO PATRIA PERICULUM."