A GROUP of local longbowmen have made history by marking history.

The Flodden Marks Company of Longbowmen has been recognised as the official archers to commemorate Bolton’s part in the Battle of Flodden.

Earlier this month, they decided to mark the 505th anniversary of the greatest battle between English and Scottish armies.

The event, held in fields around Turton, was a huge success, attracting 45 longbowmen from across the country.

Now, the Duke of Norfolk and the Royal College of Arms have asked the company to make it an annual event.

“We’re very proud that our efforts have meant those Bolton archers who took part in the battle will be remembered for ever more,” said Jason Stokes, who helped found the company 14 years ago.

They were originally commemorated with an inscription in the wall of the old Bolton Parish Church, but this was demolished in 1701.

“It’s great that we helped to get their involvement acknowledged by the Duke of Norfolk, whose ancestor took part in the original battle, ” said Mr Stokes.

The Flodden Marks Company of Longbowmen was formed to continue the tradition of shooting and roving with the longbow at the marks in the meadows and fields around Bolton. Marks are symbols painted on wood which longbowmen use in much the same way as golfers use flags by holes.

Thomas Woodcock, garter principal king of arms, of the College of Arms in London, wrote to Mr Stokes, praising the company’s efforts.

He said” Five hundred and five years after the battle of Flodden it is excellent to find the archers of Bolton still practising and commemorating the great victory over the Scottish army on 9 September 1513.”

For the inaugural shoot, Mr Stokes spent months creating 11 marks depicting the coats of arms of nobles who fell in the Battle of Flodden.

Explaining his interest in the sport, he said: “At first I got into traditional archery but I discovered longbow archery required more skill and was more instinctive.

“There’s no shelf, no sights, it’s just you the wood and the string. It’s much more challenging and I think of it as the fly-fishing of the archery world.”