Archery was quite a popular pastime in the 19th century. It was then considered a graceful exercise that helped learn dexterity. In fact, Queen Victoria was an enthusiastic player and practised archery.
As a princess, Victoria was the patron of the Society of St Leonards Archer, which was founded in 1833 and they planned, decorated, developed and maintained the archery grounds. When Queen Victoria ascended the throne, she renamed the society to “Queens St Leonard Archers”.
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Equal Participation of Men and Women
Women were also allowed to participate freely in this sport. It was one of the first most organized competitive sports of the Victorian era in which women could participate.
They were also included as members of different archery clubs and any women, who had the skill, could participate regularly in tournaments. Victorians used bows which were lighter in weight and smaller in size as compared to the war bows.
Even though the bow was not in much use by the military, it was always cherished in Great Britain, especially among the upper classes of society. It was considered as a tool of delightful and healthful recreation.
It was one of the outdoor activities equally suited for delicate ladies as well as strong men. It is an exercise beneficial for both, men and women. For ladies, it helps exercise all the muscles into healthy action making both, mind and body into gentle and healthy play. It was considered most elegant and graceful.
History of the Art of Archery
One of the noticeable eras in the history of art is when the archers of Great Britain and Ireland held a national meeting at York in 1844.
This was the time after which archery was considered a national pastime and year after year when bowmen and bowwomen came forward due to the competition, passion, and enthusiasm for the sport, the art began to be performed up to the mark of perfection.
Along with increased skill, this led to enhanced taste and liking for entertainment. The most amazing and most noticeable fact was that many female archers competed in the National Round Archery event during the 1908 Olympics in London.
Under the sponsorship of “The Grand National Society” archery has gone through different stages of real revival and has been established as the favourite British pastime with time.
Rapid progress in archery has marked its modern look and career. By the year 1845 ladies began to participate publicly for prizes. In fact, an equal number of men and women participated in the match shooting.
It was only with the establishment and meetings held by the Grand National Society that the need for fixing an order in the shooting was realized. Gradually the order of shooting was fixed and lots of tournaments were held during the Victorian era and after as well.
Archery as a Modern Sport
Archery was a part of the military for a long time in history. It got replaced by firearms starting from Europe and then progressively elsewhere.
However, archery continues to be a popular sport even today, the most common one being target archery. Mounted archery is being practised as a popular form used for competitions and tournaments nowadays.