1509 - 2009
Fraternity of Saint George
500th Anniversary March, raised funds for Armed Services Charities
The Fraternity today >> En français
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.
Shoots are regularly held in a variety of grounds of country estates and maintain the tradition of shooting at the marks. 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.
The Fraternity seeks to unify and encourage Longbow men and women from many countries. To serve as a reminder that their sport lies at the basis of all sporting and Olympic archery. By the testimony of its shoots it seeks to encourage a sense of tradition without formality and thereby perpetuate both the sport and its link with history.
The shooting traditions of the Fraternity of Saint George maintain a direct link with the Longbow man of old. Members of “the Fraternity” shoot over considerable distances to drop their arrows as close to a designated mark as possible. A typical shoot has up to a dozen different marks set out at distances that often deliberately hard for participants to estimate. All members shoot three arrows at each mark. Scoring is not to hit the mark but to be the closest to it. Scores are measured in segments in the Fraternity’s colours of white, red and blue. Arrows are scored at 12 points within half a bow-length (white), 7 points within a further three-quarters of a bow-length (red) and 3 points within a further one and three-quarter bow-lengths (blue).
The names and designs of the marks date back to those that used to be set out in the 16th Century Finsbury, Moorfields, Spitalfields and St. George fields of London. “Botless star”, “Sea-griffin”, “Kirby’s castle”, “Swan’s stake”, “Turke’s whale”; names many of which had direct associations with City of London establishments. A day's shooting is usually rounded off with a distance shot, known as the shot in the Cloth of Gold. It follows King Henry VIII ability to shoot 12 arrows into the Gold at 12 score yards, as he did in 1520. Shot in spectacular volleys of arrows it is a glorious finale to a days shooting.
The Fraternity of Saint George was part of a core of Citizen Soldiers whose records go back to 1509.
It is the oldest regiment in the world and therefore maintains a direct connection between the Army of today and the Civilian Archery companies of Medieval England. Raising funds for the Charities of the Armed Services is inherent to its activities.
Today's Fraternity is about building bridges, about arranging the best, varied and most reliable shoots for the largest numbers of Archers in safety and in friendship.