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SELKIRK SILVER ARROW COMPETITION ON 25 MAY 2013

 

The Queen’s Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers will be visiting Selkirk on Saturday 25 May 2013 for the traditional Shoot for the Selkirk Silver Arrow.

The Silver Arrow has been shot for by the Royal Company of Archers since 1660    The 2013 Shoot is the thirty-first occasion on which the prize has been shot for. The shoot at Selkirk now takes place every six years in rotation with the Royal Company’s three other country prizes at Biggar, Peebles and Montrose.

The Shoot will take place at The Haining at 3.00 p.m. following a civic lunch hosted by the Convener of Scottish Borders Council, Councillor Graham Garvie, for the Archers and local dignitaries at the Victoria Hall, Selkirk. The Royal Company will then march to the Shoot from the Victoria Hall at around 2.30 p.m. They will be accompanied by Hawick Pipe Band.

Following the Shoot, the Royal Company will march back to the Victoria Hall at about 5.30 p.m. The Royal Company will then entertain a number of guests to the traditional Dinner at Bowhill, courtesy of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch 

Notes provided by Secretary – Royal Company of Archers

At around 2.30 p.m. on 25 May, the Royal Company of Archers will parade through Selkirk, led by the Hawick Pipe Band on their way to the Haining to shoot for the Arrow.  With thanks to Andy White of Middlestead Farm for the use of his field.

The Arrow is on display each summer in the Selkirk Courthouse, mounted on a silver frame created by the Royal Company to hold the medals detailing each winner. This will be the thirty-first time the Royal Company has shot for this prize, although the frame also holds the 9 medals recording the winners over the first few years of its existence, before it fell into abeyance.

The Arrow frame rests, in its display cabinet, on a plinth which was donated by the Royal Company to the local Ettrick Forest Archers, who were founded in 2007 and who hold an internal club shoot for the Arrow each year. These winners are recorded on this plinth.

The Arrow was first shot for in 1660, at a time when the bow and arrow was still an important weapon in battle and towns were expected to be able to provide a corps of archers for any campaign. However, as the efficiency of guns and gunpowder improved, archery fell into abeyance.

This eventually sparked the formation of ‘The King’s Company of Archers’ in its initial form, in 1676, to “encourage the Noble and Useful Recreation of Archery, for so many years much neglected”. Its title was changed to ‘The Royal Company of Archers’ in 1704 when it was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Anne. There was a further title change to The Royal Company of Archers, King’s Body Guard for Scotland, following the visit to Edinburgh by King George IV in 1822 where the Royal Company provided a ceremonial guard.  This visit had been organised by one of its members, Sir Walter Scott.  Now with 570 members, 420 of whom can be called upon for ceremonial duties to support the monarch in Scotland.

Sir Walter Scott was also key to the renewal of the competition for the Selkirk Silver Arrow. He found it in a dusty cabinet in 1818, and organised a shoot for it.  However, given that there were not many archers around other than the Royal Company, it was almost inevitable that the Arrow was won by a Royal Company member, and was taken for display at Archers’ Hall in Edinburgh.

Since then, it has become one of their principal prizes, in conjunction with other Silver Arrows also created initially before the Royal Company and resuscitated in later years. These include the Peebles Arrow dating from 1628, the Musselburgh Arrow dating from 1603, and most recently the St Andrews Arrow dating from 1618, for which the Royal Company first competed, in the rain, last year.

The shoot on Saturday 25 May will start, in the Haining, at around 3pm and go on till 5.30  p.m. The Arrow will be awarded to the winner by the Convenor of Scottish Borders Council, Councillor Graham Garvie. The Royal Company will then march back to the Market Square, again preceded by the Hawick Pipe Band, and members of Scottish Borders Council, where they will be dismissed.

Let us hope that the day is sunny, as the pipe band will play, and spectators are welcome during the afternoon.




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