I have just obtained a copy of Toxophilus writted by Roger Ascham the tutor
to Lady Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I). For some on at the height of
16thC literacy he is amazingly inconsistant about his spelling!! However to
the point of my contribution.
He describes a shooting glove for the same purpose that nowadays we use a
tab to protect the shooting fingers from the string. The text is in Black
Letter and is difficult to read so I have copied the relevent passage from
the book and have tried to keep the original spelling except there the tilde
replaces a letter "n" and the funny squiggles that represent "that".
What I would like the group to discuss is:
Has anyone heard of or seen such a glove?
Has anyone made such a glove?
Why did they use a glove rather than the tab
When did the tab come into general use?
"A shootynge Glove is chieflye, for to save a mannes fyngers from hurtynge,
that he maye be able to beare the sharpe stryng to the uttermost of his
strengthe. And whan a man shooteth, the might of his shoote lyeth on the
formooste fynger, and on the Ringman, for the myddle fynger whiche is the
longest, lyke a lubber starteth backe, and beareth no weyght of the strynge
in a maner at all, therefore the two other fyngers, muste have thicker
lether, and that must have tickest of all where on a man lowseth moste, and
for sure lowsyng, the foremoste fynger is moste apte, bycause it holdeth
best, and for that purpose nature hath as man would sayw, yocked it with the
thoumbe. Ledder, if it be next a mans skynne, wyl sweat, waxe hard and
chafe, therefore scarlet for the softnes of it and thicknesse wyth all, is
good to sewe wythin a mannes glove. If that wylle not serve, but yet youre
fynger hurteth, you muste take a searynge cloth made of fine virgin waxe,
and Deres (sic) sewet, and put nexte your fynger, and so on wyth youre
glove. A newe glove pluckes many shootes bycause the strynge goeth not
freelye of, and therefore the fingers muste be cit short, and trimmed with
some ointment, that the stringe maye glyd wel awaye. Some with holdynge in
the nocke of theyr shafte to harde, run the skyn of there fingers. For this
there be ii remedyes, one to have a goose quyll splettyd and sewed againste
the nockynge, betwixt the lining and the ledder, whyche shall helpe the
shoot muche to, the other waye is to have some roule of ledder sewed betwixt
his fingers at the setting on of the fingers, which shall kepe his fingers
so in sunder, that they shall not hold the nock so fast as they did. The
shooynge glove hath a purse whych shall serve to put fine linen cloth and
wax in, twoo necessary thynges for a shoother, some men use gloves or other
suche lyke thyng on their bow hand for chafyng, because they houlde so
Will Styles/Dave Hewitt