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