by Mark North

Shropshire Fraternity of Longbows  “Agincourt 601”

Saturday 29th October is, as all archers know, four days after the anniversary of the battle of Agincourt! Teme’s Bonfire Rove took on the Agincourt theme again this year and why not, it seemed to strike a chord as we had a record number of archers shooting: 57, not quite the 5000 they had in 1415 but we did our best.  

By very kind permission of Moffats School, and with some archers suitably attired in costume of the period, we roved over their estate grounds, up hill and down dale shooting at marks, possibly... vaguely... sort of… similar to the archers of the 15th century who used the same exercise to hone their range finding skills in preparation for shooting the longbow in anger in the 100 Years War and the Wars of the Roses. 

At the end of the morning round we tried our best to shoot as many arrows as we could in 30 secs at… pumpkins! Well it was halloween too.

Lunch, served in the 18th century grand front hall of Moffats, was a triumph with AoT members pulling out all the stops to provide home-made wholesome soups and proper puddings with lashings of custard. I know that for many the lunch we put on has become a key ingredient to the proceedings of the day.

Reenacters from the Freemen of Gwent came again this year with noble ladies in their finery, Knights in full armour and lowly archers too. We were given a very entertaining and instructive display of the armour and weapons that would have been prevalent at the battle of Agincourt, ending with a clattering display of 50 archers shooting arrows in volley at the armoured knights -brilliant.

See the video on the photo album here - no Freemen of Gwent were hurt in the making of this video. 

After a further rove across the grounds including high trajectory volleys at the knights from the top of a hill, we returned for a cup of tea and to present prizes, notable as our very own Martha won the junior section at her first attempt and with a longbow too, and in the gents Rupert secured second place and Roland third.

The grand finale was the lighting of a bonfire with fire arrows, made in a myriad of designs, some authentic...ish and some ingeniously modern.

Many of our friends from other Shropshire clubs see this as one of the highlights of the longbow year and you know what – I agree.

See the whole photo album here

by Jim Daborn

Upon this day in Yesteryear, many stout hearts of England gathered upon the eve of victory, Warbows in hand and arrows by their sides... Upon that day almost six hundred years hence, the Shropshire Fraternity of Longbows gathered to celebrate, to let fly the clothyard shaft and drink a stoup of mead to 'Harry, England and St. George' and the Longbow!
Clad in garb of the period, with hose and hood and tabard bright, the company, nigh two score and ten, set forth about the grounds of Moffats School in Kinlet, and sent their arrows flying at banners of many foes! Shots short and long, sighted and blind were loosed, with good cheer and merriment through the day.
The morning was wound up with three mighty volleys at the royal banner of France, followed by a volley of whistling arrows, impressive indeed to the ear! After luncheon the company was entertained and instructed by a group of knights and skirmish archers upon the armour and weapons of the period. There followed a brief bout of hand blows, ending in triumph for the archers! 
Upon the conclusion of this action, the company of Longbows was assembled to loose three volleys of (re-enacting blunt) arrows at the five armoured figures, at little more than thirty yards, many strikes were achieved upon their plates!
The day progressed, with several fine shots at distance, whereupon the armoured folk re-appeared around the Royal French standard, and were duly shot upon once more at one hundred and fifty yards.... though without success!
The main shooting was concluded for the day with a speed shoot at a row of hanging pumpkins, with many strikes achieved, though several deflections left a number of archers feeling understandably frustrated!
There followed soon after the presentations, in honour of the event and the enjoyment of the day, the assembled company turned their attention to the final highlight of the day... lighting the bonfire, shaped as a castle for the event. A hard task it proved to be, though at last an archer pieced the walls and the fortress of cardboard was razed to the ground!
A fair day was had by all, with many thanks due to the hosting club, the Archers of Teme, for their efforts in setting up for the day and the provision of hearty good fare for the luncheon! Many thanks also the archers who attended, it would not be the same without the good fellowship that comes with your company!
All the photos for the event can be found in the Agincourt Rove 2015 album.

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Agincourt Rove 2016 at Moffats School

Agincourt Rove 2015 at Moffats School

Agincourt 600 - 2015

Blunts information for Longbow Roves can be found here

by Mark North

Most of you will know that this year is the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt; if you didn't then shame on you as an archer!

You may also know that I spend many of the summer weekends re-enacting life as a medieval archer/bowyer/fletcher which explains my absence from club and Heritage shoots on Sundays.

July 23rd-26th July saw the living history fraternity at Azincourt in NE France re-enacting the battle. Planning started 5 years ago with the rather ambitious aim of getting 1000 archers to enlist. After a series of difficulties and near collapse of the whole event it did take place with 220 archers and probably the same number of men-at-arms. The battle was scripted to reflect some of the recorded events of the actual battle (without the horses and of course the bloodshed) and was watched by a huge, very appreciative crowd (considering they were mostly French).

For the archers amongst us there were 2 other displays: firstly a war bow demonstration with bows of 100lbs and more shooting sharps at mail and plate armour targets, then at a wooden pavise 150 yds away, and secondly a "Big Shoot" with all 220+ archers shooting in volley at a band of knights - only blunts of course.
It was a wonderful event with a huge encampment, a trader's market, tavern etc but it was also very moving at times to realise the tremendous but awful events that really took place only a stones-throw away from that very spot 600 years ago.

The pictures will give you an idea of the event and of what I do with my weekends.

Mark

All the photos for the event can be found in the Agincourt 600 - 2015 album.