Meeting of the Royal Surrey Bowmen on Epsom Downs

The print shown here was first published in September 1794 as the cover page for 'The Sporting Magazine' or 'Monthly Calendar of the Transactions of the Turf, The Chace, and every other Diversion Interesting to the Man of Pleasure and Enterprise,' to give it it's full title!

The Royal Surrey Bowmen were founded on St Georges Day 1790 with H.R.H. The Duke of Clarence as Patron. The club disbanded during the Napoleonic Wars and was reformed in 1937. The original venue for the club was the 'Everglades', Epsom Downs, and the present club is still based in the vicinity. A snake has appeared on all club records, and is thought to have originated because of the adders natural habitat in the Everglades. The club motto "LABOR IPSE VOLUPTAS" (Labour Itself is Pleasure) has been used since 1790.

A copy of the original club constitution can be seen in the British Museum. The club also holds the original hand written minutes of the meeting held on August 29th 1937 at which 'it was decided to form an Archery Club with the title "The Surrey Bowmen" reviving the name of the ancient Archery club now extinct'. Those present were Messers Oscar Lundberg, Harold A. Titcomb, A. H. Mole, M.J. Griffith, J.T. Jones and DR. C.H. Bulcock. Mr Titcomb generously promised 25.00 towards the expenses of forming and equipping the club.

The club holds much correspondence from the early years of the reformed club, such as the challenge to an archery competition issued to the 'United Bowmen of Philadelphia' in 1938. The proposal was written in old English on vellum. Not to be outdone, the reply accepting the challenge was returned in the form of an embroidered scroll. The club still regularly shoots a postal match against the 'United Bowmen of Philadelphia', and the embroidered scroll is one of the many trophies awarded to members of Surrey Bowmen at club shoots each year.

Some time before 1939 Surrey Bowmen held their shoots at 'Tattenham Corner Stables', Epsom Downs, where on one shoot Lady Sybil Grant (Daughter of the Fifth Earl of Rosebery) was the 'Lady Paramount'. Lady Sybil granted Surrey Bowmen the right to shoot in perpetuity on the land that is now owned by United Racecourses on Epsom Downs.

For more information on the history of the Surrey Bowmen club trophies click here.

For any other information about Surrey Bowmen please contact us.

Local Archery article by Linda Jackson for the Epsom & Ewell History Explorer click here.

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