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Chantry Bowmen of Rotherham

Club History

This section is the history of Chantry Bowmen as remembered by founder member Noel Lawrence who sadly passed away on March 27th 2020.

It is fair to say without Noel and his wife Audrey there would be no Chanty and many of it's members would never have become archers at all. The world will be a poorer place without him and Chantry will never be the same without his guidance and support.

Just his presense improved peoples shooting and he will be missed by many dearly.

If ever a man deserved a send off to rival royalty it was Noel and sadly due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its' restrictions we were unable to pay him a full tribute. He gave so much both to Chantry and the wider archery community it will never be enough to simply say it but thank you friend we will miss you.

It all started in 1957. I wanted a bow and arrow. My thoughts were I could shoot them and fetch them back all for the same price. Audrey my wife worked at Plessey an electrical firm down Fitzwilliam Road in Rotherham, one day she came home and informed me that the sports and social club wanted to start an archery club. Were we interested? You bet! They bought three targets and stands 8 Galloway flat bows, tabs and braces. Serving tool Slazenger wooden arrows. The sports field was behind the Three Magpies (before it was built). We had six regular members Audrey, Noel, Derek, Jas & Peggy Neath and John Hurley.

In 1959 Plessey and Co moved to Swinton lock, stock and barrel leaving us on our own. They did donate all the equipment to the club but we lost the field. We changed the name of the club from Plessey Archers to Chantry Bowmen (today we are Chantry Bowmen of Rotherham to avoid confusion with another club from down south).

When I left school I started work at Rotherham Co-op Main Street Rycroft, I had to pay my sixpence a week to the sports and social club even though I didn't play football, cricket, tennis or bowls. We shot on a farmers field near Rycroft, stored our targets etc. in an old stable behind the Queen Hotel next to the field.

One day the secretary of the sports and social club was visiting his mothers, whose house backed onto the field where we were shooting on. So we got an invitation to shoot on the Co-op ground Wickersley Road near the Stag roundabout. We shot there from 1959 to the late '80s when sadly the ground was too small.

Equipment improved bows and arrows from steel bows, alloy arrows to fibreglass, to carbon all improved efficiency. So that safety wasn't a problem we needed more room behind the targets. The ground was too small so we were invited to shoot at Rawmarsh sports field, the field belonged to the steel works who had some spare unused ground, that was okay for a while. We had it more or less anytime we wanted but the agreement we had was for Tuesday and Thursday which became our usual days. Then they started to tell us when we could have the ground as the football team also wanted to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So for a while we went back to the Co-op ground.

Shortly after this Stephen Sharman a valued member won the Scorton Arrow which then required him to organise the next years event and this again led us to seek a larger ground. Stephen found the ground that has since become the Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park and used this to hold the Scorton. We used this ground until they decided to level it and build a new pavilion which left no space for outdoor archery again.

We now find ourselves at our current home Phoenix Sports Club, although we do still use the SHU ground for indoor shoots and lessons.