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Nottinghamshire Rifle Association

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The Chancellors' Plate and the Fourth Annual Volunteers Match.

On 3rd June the Nottinghamshire Guardian carried a small mention in its general news section of the inauguration of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities annual shooting match for the Chancellors' Plate.

The edition of the 5th August 1864 carried the report of the fourth annual prize meeting. This was less extensive than the prior year's report; but still contained shot-by-shot score tables. These have been omitted from the transcription. The format of the match had changed as indicated below and also tie shooting was replaced with highest score at longest range to break ties on aggregates.

The Match opened on the Monday afternoon with some general pool and sweepstake shooting. The main matches began on the Tuesday morning with Match A for Enfields at 200 and 300 yards and attracted 57 competitors at 3s. each. The winner was Private Toplis of 8th R.H.R, with Private Coles 1st R.H.R second and Sergeant Bloom also of the 8th third. All had scored 30 points out of 40 over the two ranges.

Match B followed at 500 and 600 yards for Enfields. Entrance was again 3s. and there were 57 competitors as for match A. First was Private Sharpe of the 8th with 30 points, second Sergeant Webster of 9th with 29 and third Sergeant Bloom 8th with 28.

Match C was the aggregate of A and B and was won by Swergeant Bloom on 58 followed by Sergeant Webster 56 and Private Wilson 55 points.

Match D was the Bronze Medal of the National Rifle Association, which entitled the winner to shoot for the Prince of Wales' Prize of £100, at the Wimbledon Meeting in 1865 and receive £5. It was open to the winners of A B and C and was shot at 200, 500 and 600 yards, five shots at each range. The winner was Private J Toplis 8th RHR with 50 ex 60. Second was Captain Hadden 6th RHR with 44 and third was Private T Lambert 5th RHR on 42. This concluded the Tuesday shooting.

Wednesday began with Match E for the Yeomanry Prize; but it did not take place for the reasons reported.

Match F the Association Prize went to Corporal Bass on 31, counting out Captain Hadden who had the lower score at 500 yards. Ensign Brewster, Private Toplis and Colour–Sergeant Sollory also won prizes with scores of 30, 29 and 29.

G, File Firing from 300 yards was won by 5th RHR from 2nd RHR on a tie shoot, both having made 32 bull's eyes and 17 outers and 1 miss for 162 points. In the tie shoot 5th RHR made 156 but the 2nd only managed 136.

The 5th RHR were also successful at the Volley Firing (Match H) at 400 yards scoring 158 for a clear win.

The Earl of Derby and the Duke of Devonshire, as Chancellors of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, have presented to the National Rifle Association a challenge plate to be annually shot for at Wimbledon. This is to be called the Chancellors' Plate.


The fourth prize meeting of the Nottinghamshire Rifle Association commenced at the Nottingham Town Butts on Monday. The range was opened at one o'clock for pool and sweepstakes at various ranges. It was well understood, however, that the proceedings on the first day would be merely preliminary, and the attendance was by no means large. Adjutant White, of the Robin Hoods, was not present, having been requested to proceed to Boston to inspect the range there. Sergeant Owen had charge of the "coming man", and this novel target was experimented upon pretty extensively.

On Tuesday the real business of the meeting was entered upon. Operations commenced at nine o'clock, and the shooting was continued with but slight intermission until after six. The weather was fine but gusty. No rain fell; but the wind was of the most inconstant character, boxing the compass in the most baffling manner, and sometimes blowing apparently from all points of the compass at once. Colonel Wright and Adjutant White were on the ground with the first, the former competing for and all but winning a prize. Captain Smith, Captain Baker, R. R. Patterson, Esq. (late Captain of No. 2 Company), Sergeant-Major Thompson, and Sergeant Malony had charge of the firing squad during the day.

The shooting at the "Coming Man" was not generally successful. This mystic individual "comes like shadows, so departs." At the right hand side of targets, from behind the mantlet, he mysteriously makes his appearance in a white shell jacket and red trousers, and, with a cautious regard for his safety, his stay is always limited to ten seconds. He was potted at persistently during the day without a single mortal wound being inflicted. The effigy of the enemy is of life size. If hit on the legs, arms, or head, the shot goes for nothing, the limbs not being considered vital parts. The bull's eye is made when a bullet strikes within a space of about four inches square on the breast, and the centre is counted when the ball hits between the waist belt and shoulders. It was only at five o'clock that this evanescent enemy received his coup de grace at the hands of Dr. Wright, who planted a bullet right in the centre of his breast.


The opening competition on Wednesday morning, was, according to the programme, for the E series of prizes, £10, for Yeomanry, to be shot for with smooth bore Government carbines and ammunition, at the 80 and 120 yards ranges, five shots each from the shoulder. There was no competition for this series of prizes, owing, it is to be presumed, to some misunderstanding. The Adjutant of the South Notts. Yeomanry Cavalry issued an order that no member belonging to the regiment would be allowed to compete for the prize unless he had previously passed through a regulation drill. This order was not complied with, and, as a consequence, the Government ammunition suited for the carbines was not served out to the intending competitors. On the ground, in the morning, at nine o'clock, only eleven members of the South Notts. Yeomanry Cavalry attended, and as they were not provided with the Government ammunition they, of course, could not be permitted to shoot.

Colonel Wright, Major Strutt, and Adjutant White were early on the ground, and remained during the greater part of the day. Sergeant-Major Thompson and Sergeant-Instructor Maloney had charge of the firing squad; and Sergeant-Instructor Owen had especial charge of "the coming man."

F—£15 Association. For Enfields. No entrance. Ranges 200 and 500 yards, five shots each. Hythe position. &ndsh;1st prize, £5; 2nd, £4; 3rd, £3; 4th, £2; 5th, £1. Open to members who have paid their subscription for the present year.

Corporal Bass shot splendidly, and Captain Hadden but little less so. Both made 31, but, as the Corporal, who is a remarkably steady shot, had made the highest score at the longer range, he was adjudged the premier winner.

G—£10. File-firing. Entrance 10s. Open to five files from any Company in the County. 5 shots at 300 yards. 1st prize, £6; 2nd prize, £4.

The following are the names of the members of the successful squad (No, 5 squad):— Lieutenant Lambert, Surgeon Wright, Colour-Sergeant Hart, Privates T. Lambert, T. Worth, T. Danks, Rastall, Wilson, R. Brown, and E. Wright.

H—£10. Volley-firing. Entrance, 10s. Open to five files, as in G. Five shots at 400 yards. First prize, £6; second, £4.

The names of No. 5 squad have already been given. The following are the names of the members of No. 8 squad, the winners of the second prize in this series:— Sergeant Bloom, Sergeant Pearson, Sergeant Selby, Corporal Judd, Corporal Read, Privates Warsop, Hutchinson, J. Hynes, Ailcock, and Frearson. The weather during the day was favourable, and the shooting excellent. The "coming man" was less patronised than on the day preceding. Only two shots were planted during the day in a vital part, and those who had the honour of this achievement were Mr. Bradley, of the Administrative Battalion, and Captain Baker, of the Robin Hoods. Sergeant Instructor Owen had charge of the effigy of the enemy during the day, and regulated his exits and entrances with extreme precision, and to the satisfaction of all present, both spectators and competitors.

The armoury department was under the superintendence of Mr. Jackson, junior, armourer to the South Notts. Yeomanry. The refreshment shed in the cutting was well supplied, and the dinner gave general satisfaction to those who partook of it.

Transcripts from Nottinghamshire Guardian Friday 03/06/1864 and 05/08/1864
British Library Newspaper Archive