The two fingered gesture attributed to 100 years war archers does
have some documentation of a sort to back it up namely the 1/2 American
great brit Winston Churchill and the tale is still being told by guides
at the Tower of London collecton.
The "pluck yew" version is a hoax and was originally intended as a
joke. After it was first introdoced over 10 yers ago on the internet it
was picked up and circulated worldwide and showed up on a number of
history sites and I have received countless mailings of it from well
meaning friends that know of my archery interests.
The creator of the "pluck yew" hoax/joke happens to be a member of
this very list (from the East Kingdom as a matter of fact) and I will
not mention the name of this good gentle but I know that this good
gentle is quietly enjoying the fervor for which people on both side have
been pursuing this. I must add that this was NEVER intended as a hoax
but only as a humorous anecdote that was shared in a private publication
and some where along the line it became public and was taken as the
truth (by some). So...fuhgeddabodit!
The origin of the two finger "salute" is something I have heard
all of my life since childhood (I'm in my mid-50's now). Once from my
uncle, Lord Robert (not sca, mundane Lord) and many times from other
friends and family from the UK. It may not be actually true, but it is a
wide held belief from beyond the realm of our little sca archery
community. So I am open to the belief that there may be something to
In the study of anatomy we use Latin words to describe diferent
body parts and the ancient Latin word for the middle finger is the
"obscenist" which leads me to believe that this gesture was considered
rude long before there was a hundred years war.
Incidentally, I have always heard the tale that the French had
threatened to cut off the index finger and the middle finger of any
captured British archers. So this would support he claim for the two
fingered salute, but not the other.
It's a great story anyway.