The story of the noble art started over a century ago in Torbay. From 1873 the Paignton Local Board started removing sand from Paignton Green, replacing it with soil. As soon as part had been grassed, various sports were allowed to utilise the space, at first only archery but later football.
Torbay Archery Club was one of the first users of the new Queen's Park in Paignton when it opened with major competitions being held there in the first decade of the century. It cost the Club £26 a year for the privilege, and an extra 10s. 6d a time for using the Pavilion (including gas and water used) for 'prize meetings' on 3 July and 18 September.
Archery at Queen’s Park, Paignton
(Courtesy of Chris Hassel)
In 1907 a storm warning was issued to (A. C. James) the secretary of the Archery Tournament; he must 'ensure that all his members wear rubber shoes' during the event.
It is probable that Torbay Archery Club, like many other sports clubs, 'closed down' at the outbreak of the 1914-18 War. The story since that time is something of a mystery. Although not listed in any directory between the Wars, the Minutes of Torquay Corporation record that the Torbay Archery Club 'sought a suitable ground for its activities' but was told in March 1931 that none was available.
The Club was active for a short time after World War II when Devon County Council bought Shiphay Manor (the then Shiphay Manor Private Hotel) with Torquay Archers holding their meetings on the lawn in front of the house during 1949.
Torquay Company of Archers was re-formed in 1985 by Bob Ambridge, who was the Chairman of the club until 2002