Green Dragon Bowmen

A friendly club of archers of all ages and abilities
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VOICE FROM THE PAST (A Founding Member’s Perspective)

Hi, let me introduce myself, my name is Bob Ward and I am one of the original 4 archers who got together one warm sunny Sunday afternoon and decided that we needed an Archery Club in Stevenage. What better place to start it but in the grounds of Knebworth House. Below is an account of my archery career and how the Green Dragon Bowmen started.

I have been interested in archery since the age of 14. I became County Champion of Lancashire for 2 years running, then I moved to Norfolk and was County Champion there for a further 3 years. I moved again this time to Welwyn Garden City where I got involved with 3 other archers and started the Howard Bowmen. Due to the lack of a suitable shooting ground (our old ground was taken away from us for building on) we moved again and started the Hatfield House Bowmen. During a shoot at the house one of our archers unfortunately shot a cow belonging to the estate (the safety aspect was not as strict then as it is now as we shared our field with a herd of cows). Two years later I moved yet again to Stevenage. While walking in Knebworth Park I met up with 4 of my friends and we decided to start what is now the Green Dragon Bowmen.

I went to see the old Lord Cobbold and asked if it would be possible to start an Archery Club on his ground and behold the answer was that provided we made ourselves available at the weekends to put on a show for the public it would be OK. So we were off the 4 of us shot for 12 months before the club really got going in I believe 1962. About that time I took a GNAS Course and became an instructor. I designed the club logo (why we called it the Green Dragon I will never know). I think the 4 of us that started the club may have had too much to drink one evening when we were trying to think of a name. Anyway Green Dragon it was, as the years passed I became quite a good archer and was asked by the GNAS to officiate at the World Championships held at York in the 1970s.

I also at that time got very interested in the Medieval side of archery and with that in mind joined the Medieval Society making friends with a chap called John Waller. He was very much involved with the society and we both had plans to build a full set of armour from scratch, so I spent a lot of time studying armour at the Wallace Collection in London. I also spent time studying the aerodynamics of arrow flight at Cranfield. I designed the first take apart bow - we in the old days were fed up with the limbs breaking on a one piece bow so I decided it would be a good idea to have the limbs separate from the handle so I made one (I have the original still in my possession if anyone is interested). My biggest mistake was to take it to what was then one of the biggest bow manufacturers in the country - they looked at the idea and told me that there was no future in it. So there you go.

I stopped shooting in 1976 for personal reasons and I have not picked up a bow since. Now at the age of 64 my doctor has told me I have a back problem and taking up archery would do it good (well who would have thought it).



Please be reminded that you MUST carry your Green Dragon membership card and display it on your quiver and display your car badge at all times when you visit the shooting field. Knebworth Estates staff will now check these regularly. Also remember that access for archery members is limited to the huts, the shooting field, and the toilets. We do not have open access to the park itself.

Green Dragon Bowmen is a member of ontarget, Archery GB’s Club Development Programme. Clubs joining ontarget are making a public pledge to be open and friendly, to advance archery and to proactively work with Archery GB and in return clubs will be recognised, rewarded and given support, guidance and advice to develop and improve.