William Somner- The antiquities of Canterbury, 1640

Somner chose to include the segment from John Bingham’s book Aelian Tactiks where he discusses archery. The segment from John Bingham will get its own separate post. Somner’s comments are interesting in themselves.


Here, as from a fit occasion, let us observe by the way the alteration of the times in point of martiall and military weapons. The Bow, (the long Bow) and the Bow-man, we all know, were those which did the deed, and bare away the Bell in martiall brunts in former times, the Bow then the prime weapon for offensive service, and the chiefest instrument warre knew wherewith to try the mastery; the Gun, and Gun-shot being but of late (though too soone heaven knowes whilst earth rues) invented: and yet so cryed up and magnified, by Martiallists especially, that the Bow the whilest is quite rejected with contempt as uselesse, and doomd and deemd at best as onely fit for men of peace in way of recreation to sport withall. Now being grounded in a good opinion of Archery my selfe, and not unwilling to vindicate the under valuation of it with other men, I desire here to recommend unto my reader a worthy and judicious Elogie one commendation of (Englands ancient glory.)  Archery ; not my owne, nor yet any meere Mercurians, one able to judge only by theoreticall speculation, but a learned disciples both of Mars and Mercury, one equally experienced in both warfares, the armed and gowned; Master Iohn Bingham I meane, in his Notes upon Aelians Tactiks, where he playes the part of a most excellent advocate for discarded  Archery. The Booke is now somewhat deere and scarce, and there∣fore to save their labour and cost (of searching the originall) who can endure to see despised Archery commended according to it worth, I shall present them with a true Copy of that whole passage verbatim, as there it lyes, pag. 24. and so forward.

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