A Fraternity that is not for gain
A Fraternity of archers that welcomes all
A Fraternity that organizes Europe's Premier International Longbow shoots
Affiliated to the International Longbow Archers Association
at the Marks
in the Cloth of Gold
Money raised for Charities
March of the Archers 1530, in the City of London .
> 500th Anniversary 1509 -2009
You do not have to be a member to join. Archers from all walks of life just turn up, pay their shooting fee and join the event – all thereby become shooting members of the Fraternity. Openness and welcome that originate in the ancient tradition of free association. Freedom to shoot in glorious surroundings.
The Fraternity of Saint George organises 9 shoots a year; always on the finest Estates that are Archer-friendly. Fraternity shoots “do exactly what it says on the tin”. Shoots are never cancelled. Safety and enjoyment are paramount. Events start, run and finish exactly as advertised.
Main activity is shooting at the Marks, but other traditional forms of archery are also encouraged; Speed-shooting; Distance (flight) shooting; the King’s Target; the Wand etc.
First ever to organize the International Championship at the Marks in 2005, the Fraternity was also the first to organise the British Longbow Society’s Flight Championship in 2007. It also runs the premier all-round competition for heavy longbows, known as the International Mary Rose Warbow Trophy (IMRWT).
On the scientific side, the Fraternity has developed the Universal Longbow Flight Scale (ULFS), which measures Archer’s loosing / shooting efficiency over distance. Data have been published and are available to Archers during the shoots. The Fraternity cooperates closely with the main archery structures both in the UK and abroad.
It is affiliated to the I.L.A.A. one of the UK’s three mainline Archery Associations providing insurance cover. The International Artillery Archers Association (I.L.A.A.) encourages and defines the benchmarks of shooting at the Marks as well as all other traditional forms of Longbow Archery; flight shooting, speed shooting, target and clout shooting, field shooting and popinjay.
How it all began
In 1509 King Henry VIII commenced making annual payments to a small company of Archers called the Fraternity of St. George. These payments were made every 23rd April to encourage their practise of the Longbow. In 1537 King Henry VIII formalized these arrangements, granting a Charter in the name of the Fraternity and Guild of Saint George later known as the Honourable Artillery Company of London. The word artillery comes from the French “Arc tirer”, to pull or draw the bow. The longbow was indeed Europe's medieval artillery. The King's Bowman in France were called “Artilleurs du Roy.”
From the early 1500’s the Archers of the Fraternity practised the longbow in the Finsbury fields, Moorfields and Spitalfields just North of London Wall. South of the Thames they shot in the fields of Southwark. They regularly organised tournaments in which many thousands of archers presented themselves.
Shooting in the Longbow was greatly encouraged by the Sovereigns of England for obvious politico/strategic reasons. King Edward III enjoined upon the Sheriffs of London the general proclamation to learn and practise the art of shooting with bows and arrows. King Edward IV passed a statute limiting the price of Longbows. King Richard II passed an Act commanding all servants to exercise themselves at all times of leisure and on all holidays. Henry VII did the same. Henry VIII passed an act for the maintenance of archers and concerning the import of adequate numbers of bow staves into the realm.
In 1594 a book by the name “Ayme for Finsbvrie Archers” was published, describing in detail the activities of the archers using the above areas and the targets set out in the Saint George and Finsbury fields in the 1560’s. It was a complete guide as to the rules and distances of every mark in and around the fields of London. These marks enabled archers including those now in the Honourable Artillery Company to shoot and practise at various lengths. At that time the Longbow was a weapon of war and distance was all-important, so the marks were set out at a greater range than practised in modern times.
By far the most important aspect of the Longbow men's training from a military standpoint was the ability to keep a good length over any range. Consequently pricking, or shooting at a fixed target, was considered of less importance than roving, i.e. going across country shooting at marks of unknown and varying distances. Through this exercise Longbow men acquired a good judgement of terrain and became redoubtable all-round archers, good at keeping the length. The rules and various lists of winners of Easter and Whitsun meetings from 1653 are still to be found in the Guildhall library in London. These distances, the type of shooting and the scoring method are still the basis of shooting today when shoots of the Fraternity of Saint George are carried on in the grounds of great houses and country pastures.
The Fraternity of Saint George, now known as the Honourable Artillery Company ceased shooting in the 1760’s. Surviving members became founder members of the Royal Toxophilite Society in 1781, at which time the Company of the Finsbury Mark also merged.
The present day Royal Toxophilite Society was for a short time associated to the Honourable Artillery Company under the Saint George Bowmen, but subsequently reverted to its separate status. At present the Royal Toxophilite Society no longer shoot roving marks, but confines it's shooting to target and fixed clout rounds.
The Fraternity of Saint George was reformed by its current Custodians under the captaincy of B. E. Mooyaart and commenced shooting in the County of Kent. Its home ground is at Godinton Park. The reforming of the Fraternity of Saint George was due to an upsurge in the demand by Longbow men and women for a revival of the traditional Longbow shoots in the manner of the Medieval Longbow men, but without the need for re-enactment and costume.
Captain Brian Mooyaart
Secretary Catherine Mooyaart
Hon. Treasurer Oliver Brealy
Hon. Recorder David Cammish
François de Pontalba
Major General D.A. Grove, OBE DL † (1941-2005)
Sir John Swire and Lady Swire,CBE DL
Général H. Chauchart du Mottay, Ancien Président de l'Association des Gueules Cassées
A. Matzneff,Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur, Grand Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérite,Conseiller du Président des Gueules Cassées, Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, Officier de l'Ordre Souverain de Malte
Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter and Lady Webb-Carter, KCVO OBE DL, was the Chief Executive, ABF The Soldiers Charity
E. Seabrook, Member of the Court of Assistants, The Honourable Artillery Company
Rear Admiral John Lippiett and Mrs J.Lippiett,CB MBE Chief Executive, the Mary Rose Trust
Brigadier P. Dunbar-Johnson,OBE
Mme. Mireille Scart, Vice Présidente de L'association des Amis du musée de l'archerie et du Valois