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Robinson's Guide to Richmond (1833)


Part 12

Archery

BEFORE the English nation attained the naval superiority of which she now so justly boasts, the main defence of the kingdom lay in the stout arms and sturdy hearts of the yeoman-archers; and however the prowess of individual knights might be extolled, the archers, as a body, were the main agents in gaining those victories which, though productive of no direct benefical consequences, gave England a temporary advance in the scale of nations. The use of fire-arms banished from the field both the lance of the knight and the bow of his vassals; but the use of the latter is still preserved "as a wholesome exercise for the health and strength of mens' bodies,"-and has been zealously kept up for a number of years by the inhabitants of Richmond and the neighbourhood.

The earliest record of the Richmond archers, is a body of regulations drawn up in the year 1673: they award, as the captain's prize, a Silver Arrow, which still continues to be shot for every year. It is supposed to have been the gift of Henry Calverley, Esq., by whom it was won at the first contest after the regulations were established. In addition to this, a subscription Silver Cup has been annually contested for, ever since the year 1818; and is given to the archer who pierces the target nearest to its centre:- this prize, moreover, is renewed yearly, and becomes the property of the winner; whilst the arrow gives but an honorary possession until won by another; there are, also, several minor prizes shot for at the same time.

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