The History of the Jeux St George: post 1858

Another extract from the Monthly Illustrated Journal, July, 1888.

The Jeux before 1831. For details of the years 1831-1858, please consult the original article. See also British conscripts under the Union Jack, 1900.

In 1858 the range was altered from 100 yards to 130, and all prize-winners were to fire ten yards further from the target than the others. The competition had hitherto always been held at Vazon, but in 1859 the locale was altered to Grande Rocque, where it remained for two years, when Vazon was again chosen.

A change also came over the character of the meeting in 1859, for the target was painted in different sections, the white being six feet in diameter, and the bulls' eye two feet. The range was increased to 350 yards, and Enfield-Snider rifles and ammunition were supplied by the committee. Entrance fee was increased to 3½ francs.

The range was again increased in 1861, this time, this time to 500, the number of shots was increased to five, and the meeting was conducted under Hythe regulations.

In 1862, civilisation in the matter of rifle-shooting began to be felt. Two ranges were established, namely 400 and 600 yards, five shots at each distance. The Enfield rifle, pattern 1853, such as was supplied to the militia, was used, Hythe regulations, and the scoring was marked. On this occasion Mr. W. Ferguson made twenty-five points, gaining the first prize; Mr. A. Collenette made nineteen and gained the second; Mr. Le Poidevin nineteen for third; Mr. N. Ferguson eighteen for fourth, and Mr. M. McBride seventeen for fifth.

The foot-race in connection with the firing was discontinued after the year 1859, and a pool-target was added to the programme in 1870.

From this date until the present [1888] the jeux have been held annually, with slight changes. Sometimes the ranges have been changed, and the number of prizes altered, but in the main the general character of the institution remains the same. Of course on the abolition of the Snider-rifle a few years ago the Martini-Henry took its place at the Jeux St George as elsewhere. A glance at this hastily written sketch will show that however much the good old days may be lauded, our crack shots of today would feel anywhere but at home if placed at Vazon with their ancestors rather more than sixty years ago pour tirer au blanc at a distance of a hundred yards with an antiquated flint-lock, and to wind up with deux verres de liqueur par homme, and a foot-race to follow! F.J.C.