Longbow archers


Association Internationale des Archers du Longbow (A.I.A.L.)

More information on www.longbow-archers-association.org

Shooting at the Marks shoots (every month)
Speed shoots (every month)
Flight shoots (every month)
Two-way York Championship shoot (May)
Two-way Clout Championship shoot (September)


The International Longbow Archers Association (I.L.A.A.) is a not for profit society which upholds the concept and standards of all traditions of longbow shooting including Artillery Shooting with traditional bows as practised into the 16th Century, together with all forms of Target, Clout, Speed shooting and other aiming traditions.

It seeks to inform archers and other interested parties of their history and of requisite best practise. It encourages historic research into these forms of shooting in all countries where it took place as a form of training and/or in battle.

The I.L.A.A. helps in the safe organisation of traditional longbow and Artillery Shoots. It offers advice in dealing with and finding Estates for shooting. It offers legal, insurance and safety advice. A standard Constitution and Rules is available to those wishing to set-up Longbow Archery Companies.

The I.L.A.A. makes its logo available to Affiliated Companies of archers and shoots which support its standards by issuing a copyright logo on a yearly basis.

The word "Artillery" comes from the French "Arc-tirer"; to draw the bow. Many still current expressions in the English language come directly from Artillery Shooting or shooting at the Marks. Are you "up to the Mark". To "up the Stakes". To "hit the Mark". To “make your Mark”. To "lower your sights". To" have Clout". Even "on your Marks" is nothing to do with athletics; it meant do you have your eye on the Mark, i.e. are you ready to shoot.

The Medieval Artillery

The longbow was Europe's Medieval Artillery. The reason for practising a high trajectory distance shot was to be able to get at one's adversary behind hedges, trees, battlements, escarpments etc. In order to do this the longbowman had to be able to "range" his shots very accurately. It was an ability that was decisive in battle, because it disrupted the adversary's ability to form up for attack. Today in peacetime, it is a form of archery where you really get to see your arrows fly high up into the distance. It is truly about mankind extending his reach.

A series of stakes is set out in big rolling country. On these traditional emblems are placed. The purpose is to land one’s arrows as near to the bottom of the stake as possible from the shooting line. Distances from the shooting line to the Mark are always unknown and vary between 120 and 240 yards. Average distances are 170 yards and lighter bows should always be taken forward to cover the longer distances. All archers (including beginners) are able to do this from of archery and with a bit of practise to do it well ! One has to compensate for wind, the lie of the land etc. but with practise this can be achieved by all archers, including those that have never held a bow in their hand before. Within half a day's practise most beginners will get their arrows to within three bow-lengths of the Mark. That means they get a score. Many beginners will have double digit scores within a day's shooting.  

Shooting is easier than organising

A large and suitable Estate is a prerequisite. Big rolling country/parkland is best. Tall trees, but not too many. Where fortifications are used there must be a balance between inward and outward shooting. The shoot must be safe and have a good complement of supporting Officers in relation to the number of archers. There must be good line discipline. Lighter bows should be taken forward to reach the longer distances. Banding of lighter bows should be by poundage draw-weight, not by age or gender. The Marks should be single stakes fixed firmly into the ground and provide a fixed reference point for accurate measurement of distance and for scoring.

No weight limit

The I.L.A.A. has no restrictions on the draw-weight of participating longbows in any of the traditions it supports.

It believes that appropriate decisions regarding bow-weight are best left to be judged by organizers according to the event, the degree of over-shot and other features particular to the ground. This open policy on draw-weight applies to all the longbow shooting traditions the I.L.A.A. supports and encourages. These are; Artillery shooting; Target shooting (one and two-way), Clout shooting (one and two-way), Flight shooting, Speed shooting, Wand shooting, Popinjay and Line shooting.

Definition of the longbow

The I.L.A.A. supports a full and detailed engineering definition of the longbow. This definition takes account of and includes all forms of the longbow from the heavy-weight Artillery / Livery bows to the lightest target bows; from full compass bows to limb-flexed bows; from horn-nocked to self nocked; from bows with or without handgrip; from laminated to self-bows. Bows must be made of wood. Bows must be straight when unbraced and carry no artificial reference points or sight marks of any kind. The I.L.A.A. thereby deliberately includes both the bow-types found on the Mary Rose and bows made by the finest craftsmen in the "victorian" tradition.

Arrows must be of wood with feather fletchings. Save for Popinjay, there is no restriction as to the type of piles.

Highest arrow-weight found at the Mary Rose site was 1500 grain. This is the "Military Arrow" and is the upper weight-limit used in I.L.A.A. shoots. The category known as the "Standard Arrow" at 800 grain is also supported, as are Bearing arrows down to 500 grains. The I.L.A.A. does not define a minimum arrow-weight.

What you can do to maintain and enhance these traditions

The I.L.A.A. helps in the organisation of Artillery Shoots. It also encourages traditional club events in Target, Clout and related aiming traditions described above.

Please use the contact form if you want your shoot to qualify as an Artillery shoot or Shoot at the Marks.

Perhaps you want advice in finding Estates for shooting, or legal advice and advice on insurance and safety.

Are you setting up an Archery company ?

The I.L.A.A. has a standard Constitution and Rules for you.

You may wish to become one of the I.L.A.A’s Official Shoot Inspectors.

You might like to submit a report of a shoot you have been to.

You may also want to submit a report in order to enter someone else’s shoot as a candidate for the I.L.A.A. logo.  

For more information or visit the website

Postal Address: ILAA c/o Mrs C. Mooyaart, Hickmans Green, Boughton, Kent ME139NT, Tel: + 44 (0)1227752375