Eccentric English Laws
All of these extracts have been taken directly from the old, dusty English Statute collection.
In 1541, the Parliament of England was deeply concerned that the men of the realm were losing their archery skills, whittling away the time playing senseless board and coin games. This concern is clearly set out in the first paragraph of the BILL FOR THE MAINTAINING ARTILLERY AND THE DEBARRING OF UNLAWFUL GAMES, as well as a requirement for all men to practice their bow and arrow skills on a regular basis.
"Every man being the King's subject, not lame, decrepit nor maimed (except spiritual men ... justices and barons)... shall ... use and exercise shooting in longbows and also have a bow and arrows ready continually in his house to use himself ... in shooting; and also that the fathers, governors and rulers of such as be of tender age, do teach and bring them up in the knowledge of the same shooting; and that every man having a man-child ... of the age of seven years and above, till he shall come to the age of 17 years, a bow and two shafts to induce and learn them and bring them up in shooting...."
Henry the VIII's unlawful games statute was not so silly as it seems at first glance. England was horrified of not only its men of fighting age losing their bow and arrow skills, but that such skills would be taught to their enemies.