Llantwit Major Archery Club was founded by Ross Llewelyn Jones, a member of nearby Aberthaw Archers in 1984. The club originally served as a sister club to Aberthaw Archers with most of the original members being those who worked at Aberthaw Power Station.
The club first began meeting at the gymnasium at Llanilltud Fawr Comprehensive School in Llantwit Major. However, within a year the number of members had outgrown the venue and the club moved next door, into the main sports hall of Llantwit Major Leisure Centre.
The early years
The mid-1980s saw rapid expansion of the club with the majority of the members being juniors during this time. In 1986, the club hosted the Welsh Indoor Championships for the first time and the event was such a success that Llantwit Major Leisure Centre became the venue for this tournament for several years afterwards. Members networked with other clubs in the area during this time and the standard of shooting steadily improved due to exposure to more experienced archers at the Aberthaw and BP (Barry) clubs.
In 1985 members of the club began getting involved in the IFAA tournament circuit and Andrew Lloyd became the club’s first national champion at the age of ten. Further successes followed and the club went on tour for the first time in 1986 to the EFAA National Championships, which were held at Spye Park in Wiltshire. Success came thick and fast thereafter and 1988 saw the club gain 8 national champions coming from both the junior and adult ranks.
The club made a leap forward in 1989 when it opened the Fonmon course jointly with Aberthaw Archers after the local course at Llancarfan (belonging to BP Plastics Archery Club) was forced to close. Fonmon quickly gained a reputation for its challenging shots and terrain and it was the venue for the UK Field Archery Championships in 1988.
The 1990s saw a period of decline for the club. Most of the members who had been juniors had entered jobs or left for college and university and this left depleted numbers for some years. During this time, nearby clubs, Aberthaw Archers, BP Plastics Archery Club and RAF St Athan Archery Club all folded as funding dried up. The lack of members and resources forced the club to give up Fonmon Course. Luckily for all, a deal was reached whereby the WFAA took over the running of the course to ensure its future.
Left to right: Nathaniel ?, John Old, unknown beginner, Rod Umney, Sarah ?, Stan ?, Fred, Robert Umney, Mark Old, Adrian Johanson-Brown, Francis Lyon, Mathew Symmonds, unknown, Rhys Bevan, Tom Winters, Rene ?, Richard Purnell, Ben Hood, Jon Norman, Tom Purnell, Colin Ketley, Ross Llewelyn-Jones, Marcus Ragg
The dawn of the new century saw a dramatic change in the club’s fortunes. Many of the former members rejoined the club and a steady flow of new archers gradually rebuilt the club. This actually became a problem by 2004 when the number of members was greater than the capacity of the Llantwit Major Leisure Centre. This prompted the search for a new home. Boverton Archery Court was the medieval archery court of the Demesne (feudal Manor) of Robert Fitzhamon, Lord of Glamorgan and Earl of Gloucester. The compound had been disused for more than ten years and work on its restoration began in April 2005 after its owners agreed to allow the club to make the place its home.
The club grew in other ways in 2005 as the members endeavoured to break down the political barriers within the sport. Members began shooting at GNAS and NFAS tournaments, making Llantwit the only club in Wales to actively support all 3 governing bodies of the sport.
In 2006, the club assisted in reforming the RAF St Athan club and also formed the Llantwit Major Junior Archers. The Junior club was formed to give specialised instruction and coaching to the younger generation and are a club within the club. Early in 2007, the efforts of Mark and Yoke Lunn, who ran the LMJACs, came to fruition when several promising youngsters took medals at the WFAA Masters Tour, Welsh Indoor and Welsh & Open Championships.