HISTORY OF THE BOWMEN OF PENDLE & SAMLESBURY
The Pendle Archers were formed in 1902 by “prominent” families in the Clitheroe, Downham, Chatburn and Waddington areas. Shooting took place in the grounds of member’s homes until a base was found with Clitheroe Polo Club.
In 1926, a young Blackburn Solicitor, Mr John Yates, joined the club and in 1930, with a few friends, formed a new Club: the Samlesbury Bowmen. On 5th July 1932 in the Hall at Samlesbury the decision was made to amalgamate the two Clubs and the Bowmen of Pendle & Samlesbury came into being. Mr Yates was voted President and continued in this position for the next thirty six years. In the early years only the Longbow was shot – two way shooting, target days Tuesday afternoons, the grounds man putting out targets, tea in the Hall and provision for chauffeurs’ meals.
At the outbreak of World War II in 1939 shooting was suspended and the members left their equipment in the pavilion and locked the door. In 1950 the archers returned to revive the Club and found all their archery equipment just as it had been left eleven years earlier. When the Club restarted there were twenty members, including two juniors.
Eventually, steel bows took over from the Longbow but Pendle and Samlesbury always maintained a degree of tradition. Now, in the new millennium, technology has taken over and recurve and compound bows dominate the shooting line.
In 1962 Mrs Gillibrand succeeded John Yates as President. An accomplished archer in her earlier years, the Club was to enjoy her patronage for 27 years. On Mrs Gillibrand’s death it was decided that in the future the office of President would be held for one year only and subsequently there have been twenty Presidents before the current holder of the honour, Peter Clarke.
In 2004 the Bowmen left their ground at Samlesbury Hall, 74 years after archery had been started there. In May 2006 they were pleased to open a new ground at Nabs Head Lane, only a stone’s throw from the previous one.
For newcomers, trying to find the Bowmen of Pendle & Samlesbury, the postcode is PR5 0UQ. If you go down Nabs Head Lane from the A677 (Preston New Road) the entrance is 300 yards further on the right hand side.
© Bowmen of Pendle and Samlesbury 2014
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