Archers at Practice: The Luttrell Psalter

This charming image of English archers being taught to shoot at a target is at the foot of one of the pages of the Luttrell Psalter and dates to 1320-1330.

An order issued by King Edward III in 1363 required every man between 15 and 60 years old, on feast-days and in leisure time, to practice archery or risk imprisonment if they pursued other pastimes such as football.  As late as the reign of King Henry VIII, fathers and guardians were obliged to give their male charges of 7 – 17 years of age a bow and two shafts.

The benefits of such diligent training were clearly demonstrated in the successes of the English archers in the battles against the French at Crécy in 1346 and at Agincourt in 1415.


Image reproduced by kind permission of the British Library:

Ref: Additional 42130 f.147v