DERBYSHIRE HERITAGE Derbyshire Peak District - higger-tor
 

arrow sharpening grooves on St Leonard's church porch at Thorpe

The south porch of St Leonard's church in Thorpe has some interesting grooves on either side of the doorway - these are arrow sharpening marks.

Since the 14th century, after the black death had seriously reduced the number of available archers needed to protect king and country, a general decree was passed ordering Sunday afternoons to be set aside for archery practice, and those marks were made by the sharpening of arrows.

Edward III, finding archery was being neglected, ordered men to stop playing football and other games to practice archery instead. The people kept their arrows at home, but generally living in wooden houses had no means of sharpening them and found the stone porch at the church the most convenient place. Shooting at butts took place after the Sunday service, usually at the bottom of the churchyard.

arrow sharpening grooves at St Leonard's church
arrow sharpening grooves at St Leonard's church arrow sharpening grooves at St Leonard's church

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