Longbow Day at Burnham, Sunday 27 July 2014
Sunday 27 July 2014 was the perfect English summer's day: afternoon tea with the sun shining in the Buckinghamshire countryside setting of the Archers' Lodge in Burnham, with the privilege of watching forty or so of the country's best longbow archers showing their skills.
The occasion was the annual invitation Longbow Day of the Royal Toxophilite Society, and as usual they were competing for the Bowyers' Plates, the Ballenden and Hardy Coasters, the Seaton Goblets and the Model Rose Bowls donated by Bowyer Past Masters to be awarded annually for the Gentlemens' and Ladies' categories of highest score, most hits, most golds and best gold.
The Bowyers' Company was represented by Master Bowyer John Hayton, Upper Warden Tony Kench, Past Masters Peter Seaton and Richard Model, Liverymen John Clark and Andrew Sharpe, and Freeman Hugh Soar. At the end of this most enjoyable afternoon, the results were announced by Freddie Fairfield, the Royal Tox Field Captain, and the prizes were awarded by the Master Bowyer. A special presentation was then made by the Master to the President of the Royal Toxophilite Society, Luanne Tilley, of a Bowyers' Company Coat of Arms for Archers' Lodge, which was warmly received. We were also particularly glad to see Alan Rogers, Bowyer Freeman and Royal Tox member, who has been undergoing some gruelling medical treatment but was in good spirits.
Quite a stir was caused by Richard Head, Bowyer Liveryman and also Royal Tox member and invited longbow competitor on the day, who had brought along what appears to be a medieval arrow complete with its metal arrowhead and the remnants of its goose-feather fletchings intact. It had recently been passed to him after having apparently been found in an old barn. If it is authenticated as genuinely medieval its state of completeness will be unique, and it caused immense interest, not least from Hugh Soar, Royal Tox member and widely respected archery historian. The arrow can be seen in detail on the Richard Head Longbows page on youtube.com.
The Bowyers' Company greatly values this annual Longbow Day event at Burnham, along with the Bowyers' Prize Day for modern bows at the beginning of each July, and it's always the greatest pleasure to be present at such charming events in such a splendid location.