Target Archery

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Historical Context

In the medieval period, the place where archery was practiced was known as the "Butts." Thus, Butts was the name of the archery field. These Butts were situated on the borders of towns of villages on common land. The Butts were made of a level flat area of land that had a length of about 200 meters. Initially, these were made up of several round flat topped and turf covered target mounds. These mounds were positioned at one end or both ends of the range of 200 meters. The dimensions of the mounds were as follows – the diameter was 2 meters to 8 meters and height was 1 meter to 3 meters. Around the mound, there could be a small ditch from where the soil to build the mound was taken.

In medieval archery, it was made compulsory for all males starting from the age of seven, to undergo archery training. During the 14th and 15th centuries, several laws were passed which prohibited many field sports and other games. The objective was to enhance regular archery practice. Edward IV has issued a law regarding archery. As per this law, each Englishman aged sixteen to sixty had to own a longbow that was equal to his own height. Also, he had to practice archery on feast days and every Sunday after church.

In 1542, an Act was passed regarding archery distance. As per this Act, the minimum target distance was 220 yards for anybody who was aged minimum 24 years. The longbow had a maximum range of almost 400 yards. A trained archer was supposed to be capable of two issues. He should be able to shoot 12 to 15 arrows per minute. He must be able to hit a man sized target at a minimum distance of 200 yards. All those aged 16 to 60 were morally bound to protect the country in the time of crises. The English army of Edward III in the battle of Crecy in 1346 had a total strength of 19000 men out of which there were 7000 to 10000 archers.


  • The Royal Round is a way for an archer to compare their skill with other archers around the kingdom.


Archery Practices in the Known World:





This is a list of digitized books located at The Archery Library. Although the books and articles are in the public domain, the texts and files are not. Please honor the maintainers wishes and do not copy the files for use off his website.

Author Title Year
Anon The Art of Archery

ca. 1515 Edited by Henri Gallice, Translation by H. Walrond

Ascham, Roger Toxophilus

The fchole of fhootinghe conteyned in tvvo bookes

Markham, Gervase The Art of Archerie 1634
Moseley, Walter Michael The Art of Archery

Describing the Practice of that Art in all Ages and Nations

Hargrove, E. Anecdotes of Archery

From the earlieft ages to the year 1791

Roberts, T. The English Bowman

or: Tracts on Archery, to which is added the second part of The Bowmans Glory

Waring, Thomas A Treatise on Archery

or, The Art of Shooting with the Long Bow

Hastings, Thomas The British Archer

or, Tracts on Archery

an Old Toxophilite The Archer's Guide 1833
Hansard, George Agar The Book of Archery

Being the complete history and practice of the art, ancient and modern

Ford, Horace A. Archery, its theory and practice

2nd. Edition

Thompson, Maurice How to train in Archery

Being a Complete Study of The York Round

Thompson, Maurice The Witchery of Archery

A Complete Manual of Archery

Morse, Edward S. Ancient and modern methods of arrow-release 1885
Mason, Otis T. North American Bows, Arrows and Quivers 1893
Longman, C.J.

Walrond, Col. H.

Badminton Library of Sports: Archery 1894
Morse, Edward S. Additional Notes on Arrow Release 1922
Pope, Saxton Hunting with the Bow and Arrow 1923
Duff, James Bows and Arrows

How They Are Best Made for All Kinds of Target Shooting.

Hunt, W. Ben

Metz, John J.

The Flat Bow 1936
Stemmler, L.E. The Essentials of Archery

How to Use and Make Bows and Arrows

Faris, N.A.

Elmer, R.P. (Trans.)

Arab Archery

An Arabic manuscript of about A.D. 1500


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