Papingo (1)

This painted wooden pigeon is known as a papingo. On a yearly basis since 1483 a papingo shooting contest has been held in June at Kilwinning Abbey's tower. At the contest the wooden birds are attached to a pole and put out at the top of the tower. The contesting archers then take turns shooting at it straight up from the foot of the building. The first to bring down the bird is the winner. Papingo was a training method for mediaeval siege warfare. Archers would conceal themselves at the base of a castle’s walls. If a defender looked down over the parapet he risked an arrow in the eye! Papingo is a corruption of the English word 'popinjay', meaning parrot.
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North Ayrshire Council
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