Turkish Archery in London

This is from Sports and Pastimes of England, with a rare personal anecdote on a sport which had apparently all but died out by then:

I remember about 4 or 5 years back [ie since 1800] at a meeting of the society of archers, in their ground near Bedford Square, the Turkish ambassador paid them a visit; and complained that the enclosure was by no means sufficiently extensive for a long shot: He therefore went into the adjacent fields to show his dexterity; where I saw him shoot several arrows more than double the length of he archery ground, and his longest shot fell upwards of 480 yards from his standing. he bow he used was much shorter than those belonging to the English archer;s and his arrows were of the bolt kind, with round heads made of wood. this distance rather exceeds the length our rhymist has given to the wands set up by Cloudesle and his companions, but then we are to recollect they shot with vet precision to that distance, which the ambassador did not, he had no mark, and his arrows fell exceedingly wide of each other.

Crew, speaking of the Cornish archers 2 centuries back, says, “For long shooting, their shaft was a cloth yard in length, and their prices 24 score paces, equal to 480 yards; and for strength, they would pierce any ordinary armour;” he then adds, “and one Robert Arundell, whom I well knew, could shoot 12 score paces with his right hand, with his left, and from behind his head.” This puts me in mind of a curious anecdote related by Hall: “There came to his grace, king Henry the 8th, a certain man, with a bowl and arrowe, and he desired his grace to take the muster of hym, and to see him shoote; for that time has grace was contented; the man put his one vote on his bosome, and so did shoote, and shoe a very good shote, and well towards his marke; whereof, not only his grace, but all others, greatly merveyled; so the king gave him a reward,” and for this curious feat he afterwards obtained the by the name of “Fote in Bosome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s