Eboracum Supremum: The Story of the York Archers Emblem

Current York Archers emblem

We cannot be entirely sure when the York Archers Emblem was created. Dr. Bowser believes he first owned a patch in either 1950 or 1951, sewing one onto his back quiver. We are fairly certain that the design belonged to Merrill Briggs, club president in 1948. Mr. Briggs, a designer for the Harding Foundry, created cast bronze pins in the shape of Susquehannock arrowheads, given to club members each year who took big game with bow and arrow. He also had extensive botanical knowledge, and was able to readily identify local trees and flowers by both their common and scientific names.

It should be no surprise that such a fellow would want a Latin phrase on the emblem. Why eboracum supremum? The short version is that “Eboracum” was the name given by the Romans in 71 A.D. to what is now the city of York in northern England. “Eboracum” can be loosely translated as “place of the yews”, making it even more appropriate for the motto, given the importance of the yew tree to archers and bowyers. “Supremum” means just what it sounds like – the highest or the best.

What about the flower? This puzzled us for a while. It would make sense that it was intended to represent a white rose, since York is the White Rose City, but it does not look like the garden roses that we are used to seeing. However, York is called the White Rose City after the symbol of the House of York, a Yorkshire Rose. The similarity between the York Archers flower and the Yorkshire Rose on the silk patch seen below is undeniable. The other possibility is that Mr. Briggs fashioned the patch flower after the wild white rose, native to this area.

Yorkshire Rose Wild white rose