January 14, 2006


Queen's archers asked to return silver arrow (ROBERT FAIRBURN, 1/14/06, The Scotsman)

THE Queen's ceremonial bodyguard in Scotland, whose members number some of the country's most eminent public figures, faces one of the toughest battles in its 350-year history after a town demanded the return of an ancient silver arrow.

The Royal Company of Archers have kept the 17th- century target-shooting trophy since they won it almost 200 years ago.

The arrow is locked away at the Royal Company's Edinburgh headquarters at Archer's Hall and makes a ceremonial return to the Borders town of Selkirk for just one day every six years, when the company's period-dressed bowmen come to the royal burgh to shoot among themselves.

But the Royal Company of Archers - who include Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Tory peer Lord Lyell of Kinnordy, the Earl of Airlie and former Grampian TV chief Sir Iain Tennant - now have a fight on their hands after the local community council decided it wanted the arrow back so it can be put on permanent display in the royal burgh.

However, the 530-strong company rejected a similar request in 1835 and is likely to take the same stance this time round.

The 10in-long Selkirk Silver Arrow was commissioned in 1660 after a quarter-pound of silver was taken from a roaming gypsy and competed for locally, before being stored.

It was discovered by the writer Sir Walter Scott in 1818, who invited the Royal Company of Archers to Selkirk to compete for it. When one of their members won the trophy, it was taken to Edinburgh, where it has remained ever since.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 14, 2006 7:57 AM

Shouldn't they find the gypsy's family and return it to them, plus interest?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 15, 2006 5:50 PM