St Bede’s Fair,
Friday 24 – Monday 27 May 2024
Held at Manor Farm, Bourn, Cambridge

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Fun Shoot held on Saturday 25th May 2024
As reported by Áfríðr Eiríksdóttir: Marshal in Training Archery

Roland, Prince and Jahanara, Princess of Insulae Draconis are VERY keen that the populace engage in the ‘art of boasting’ and with these encouraging words from the May 2024 edition of the Baelfyr - to wit “and it was rare to allow strict veracity to interfere with a good story” echoing in the back of my mind that I write my very first formal Marshall in Training Archery report of how the term ‘Archery Butt’ came into existence.

The ancient and true tale of how the term ‘Archery Butt’ came into the Anglo Saxon language. This is “The Tale of the King’s favourite and mythical destrier, ‘Snowflake of the Mountains.’

‘….. And so it came to pass that on that fateful hot, humid afternoon fifteen intrepid and brave heroic archers hailing from all corners of Insulae Draconis secretly gathered together in the historic tithe barn, ‘somewhere’ in the southern end of the Isles.

Each and every brave, deadly accurate archer present had answered the Princes’ summons that had gone out throughout the fabled lands of the Dragon and had travelled many, many, many weary hours to add their bow arm to the dangerous and as yet unknown mission that lay before them.

Hilda of Whitby
Hilda of Whitby (photo by Lord Colin of Okynfirth)

The excited chatter increased in volume as bows were strung, arrows checked and muscles flexed, increased by the minute… but then quickly subsided as the formidable presence of the Captain of the Archers and her retinue swept into the barn.

Her commanding eyes reviewed the assemblage, assessing each one in turn and then gave an imperceptible nod to her terrified assistant to begin the briefing.

The assistant, known only by her undercover name as ‘Hilda of Whitby’ began by clearing her throat. Then holding one finger in the air addressed the crowd “Our beloved Prince of the Dragon Isles has recently received greatly troubling news. There is a spy in our midst.”

Astonished gasps reverberated throughout the barn with loud cries of ‘nay’ and ‘ooo-er’ could be heard. The skywards pointing finger was raised higher and then waggled imperiously over the shocked band.

“Tis true. Worse - reports state that the ‘spy’ has taken on the guise as ..” she paused to ensure that she had everyone’s full attention…. ‘an English knight.’” Boos and other noises of displeasure at this dastardly news again rumbled around the barn.

The assistant continued.. “AND there is even more troubling news - this despicable knave has stolen the King’s favourite and mythical destrier, “Snowflake of the Mountains’. They have been sighted fleeing southwards. It is assumed that the nefarious intention is to steal the magnificent beast away out of our fabled lands. There last sighting was on the road to London. From there is is but a short days work to gallop to the nearest sea port.”

Her voice raised an octave or two…

“YOU” (the illuminating finger was now encompassingly pointing at the assembled archers) “….. YOU, cannot permit this to happen.”

An archer butt with a picture of a knight on a white horse
"Snowflake of the Mountains" (photo by Lord Colin of Okynfirth)

It was just at that moment that the second assistant, who had seemingly melded himself into the shadows - stepped into the light and waved his hands excitedly towards the north …

“‘Snowflake of the Mountains’ is sighted!!!!” He cried in a loud voice.

All eyes turned northwards. There in the great distance, a magnificent white beast could be seen rearing on the far distant hill. It was clear to all that the fantastic destrier was angry at such rough treatment and was doing his utmost to dislodge his rider. Astonishingly, his rider was a superb horseman and remained very firmly in the saddle.

As those assembled watched the deadly struggle, each was moved as to the plight of the beast and resolved to come to the aid of such a noble creature. As one, these virtuous, brave and deadly archers formed a line. Each determined to kill the dastardly, duplicitous spy and return ‘Snowflake’ safely back into the King’s grateful hands and thusly, it was fervently hoped, receive a stunningly generous prize.

With the loud, excited cries of ‘Do NOT hit the beast!!’ issuing forth from ‘Hilda of Whitby’ ringing in their ears the archers formed a long line and loosed volley after volley at the fleeing spy.

The same target, full of arrows
'Wounded' (photo by Áfríðr Eiríksdóttir)

The Princes’ Company of Archers’ aim was true and sure - with every arrow loosed finding its mark. The Prince would have been immeasurably proud of their efforts.


There were, of course, tall tales of the ‘one that got away’. Viscount Yannick, contesting, rather hotly, a disputed helm shot. However, this was very firmly declared as a ‘bounced off the bonce’ miss by those who were watching intently as the action unfolded.

Poor Snowflake unfortunately suffered (as can be seen in the later rendition of the action) an arrow to the butt. But due to the tender and miraculous ministrations of Hilda of Whiby, everyone was releaved that Snowflake was once more made whole again. And perhaps more so that the wrath His Majesty, the King, would not fall upon their heads.

All’s well that ends well.


  1. Due to placement of ‘Snowflake’s’ injury - the Prince has declared that all Principality Archers will spend TWO hours after Sext service practising their aim at the newly formed “Butts.” Thus it is to be hoped that the Archers will remember the grievous pain they caused to ‘Snowflake’ and be determined to do much better in future. The Shire of Flintheath have recently installed their new ‘butt’ at the village green alongside the ‘White Horse Ale House’. It is expected that each shire will do likewise in the very near future.
  2. It has been declared that due to the miraculous healing of ‘Snowflake of the Mountains’ under the tender and loving ministrations of the devout holy woman, Hilda of Whitby - that some have declared Hilda to be a saint. Others are not quite so sure. One thing is for sure. The Crown will be watching Hilda of Whitby in future.