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The Silver Archery Medals

The archery medals, which date from 1618 to the 1750s, are from the Silver Arrow competition. This was an annual event, organised by the Faculty of Arts, to identify the champion archer of the University. The competition seems to have died out after the 1750s, possibly as a result of the unification of the two ‘Arts’ colleges in 1747. Before this date there were an equal number of winners from the Colleges of St Salvator and St Leonard. As there were no winners from St Marys, we can assume that students studying divinity did not take part.

The prize for winning the Silver Arrow competition was the right to provide a medal to be hung from the Silver Arrow, which was carried at the head of the procession down to the Bow Butts (the town’s archery field, beside the golf links) for the annual competition.

The University has three silver arrows and seventy medals, all of which are on display in Gallery 2. Some of the winners went on to become important Scottish historical figures including James Graham (1612-1650), later first Marquis of Montrose and leader of the Royalist armies in Scotland during the Civil War, and his main military opponent Archibald Campbell (c. 1607-1661), first Marquis of Argyll.

You can find out more about the individual medals, the goldsmiths that crafted them and the winners in Gallery 2, MUSA.