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The website is open for membership applications.

If you need help accessing the application on line, please let me know by calling me at (818) 489-9603 and I’ll meet you at Starbucks in Sunland and help you out. Marc Debbaudt.

The gate locks will be changed on Saturday 6/26/21.  

New keys and ID Cards will be handed out from 8:30 A.M. to Noon on 
Saturday 6/26/21.

To ensure that all expired members have uninterrupted access to the range, please fill out the application, sign the Joining Agreement, and pay your dues before Friday, June 18th. 

As soon as gate Keys and membership IDs are distributed, no one will be permitted on the range without wearing/displaying their IDs.

Anyone not wearing/displaying a current membership ID will be asked to leave. If they do not leave, the police will be summoned, and future membership will be denied. Duplicating gate keys or tampering with gate locks will result in permanent membership revocation.



Please read the following as it may answer many of your questions and concerns: 

On 6/3/21 John Knox, Brian DeSoto, Bill England, Earl Bruner, and Marc Debbaudt  met and discussed what happened on 5/22/21. Subsequently, we communicated with Vigen Shahbazian and David Roach who agreed with the solution we reached. These individuals constitute the current officers and directors of VHA and the organizers of the 5/22/21 meeting as well as the canceled 6/5/21 meeting.  This group believes the immediate issues have been at least temporarily resolved and we can move forward on the best path available to restore membership harmony and build a better Club.

This group was able to come to an understanding and agreement about how the Club should proceed which this post will seek to explain.

First, everyone, DeSoto and Knox included, unanimously and totally agreed that the 5/22/21 meeting was hijacked. Knox and DeSoto’s intentions for their 5/22/21 meeting were completely derailed. They didn’t like what happened and they regret that they didn’t do more to stop it. Their reasons for holding that meeting were not meaningfully considered or discussed because of an angry few with personal agendas. The issues of the hijackers were not about the best interests of the Club or its members. None of us then, and none of us now, agreed with the end result which was the questionable (likely invalid) “removal” of the current officers and directors.

This group believes that filling the elected officer/director positions as soon as possible by a membership vote facilitated by the website should be the top and first priority and is both urgent and necessary.

After that, adopting new bylaws by a membership vote should be the next important step, but obviously that will be a decision of your newly elected officers. 
After the election for officers, the website will facilitate the ability of all members to participate in considering, discussing, and voting to adopt new bylaws; approving new purchases, and even revisiting and changing the dues structure. Of course, all of these matters will be a decision of the next elected officers. More explanation concerning any and all of these points, in particular regarding the election of officers/directors, will be posted on this website as necessary.

Please read the following about HARDSHIPS regarding DUES and upcoming ELECTIONS of OFFICERS/DIRECTORS:

What will happen next:

  1. Reactivate the membership website. 

  2. Everyone is encouraged to join and pay the dues as they appear on this website.

  3. Elections for officers/directors will be scheduled as soon as possible.

  4. HARDSHIP: If you have a true hardship and cannot legitimately afford to pay dues, you may petition the future officers for a dispensation. However, that will delay your membership until new officers/directors are elected.

  5. Your current bylaws at Article II, Section D, Paragraphs 1 & 2 state:

    “1. Anyone who has a grievance of hardship circumstance concerning membership may submit a written request to the Board of Directors for discreet deliberation.”

    “2. Under hardship circumstances, the Board of Directors may approve membership with a unanimous yes vote.”

    As soon a new Board of Directors is selected, you should submit a statement by email, (the email addresses you will be able to obtain from the membership website after the election) to all three elected Directors, explaining your circumstances and why you are unable to pay the dues, or what portion you are able to pay, or what you might be able to contribute to the Club in exchange for a dues waiver. It won’t be sufficient to just state I can’t afford the dues.

  6. ELECTIONSAnyone who wants to run for office should email the webmaster with their name, contact info, photo, the position they desire and the message they want to share with other members about why they want to be an officer and what they intend to do as an officer. That message should be no more than half a page long; one-inch margins top, bottom and sides; double spaced; using 12 point font. Candidates should seriously considered the obligations they will incur when they volunteer to assume a position as a leader of this Club. You might want to talk to the former officers and directors about what their job entails and what they have done and tried to do for the Club.

  7. As soon as everyone has been given a sufficient opportunity to join the Club and pay dues, the website will conduct an election.

  8. The “removed” officers/directors can obviously be considered for their same positions or any other position. Whether President David Roach, Vice-President Ryan Walsh, Directors Bill England and Earl Buner, want to run again or not, is obviously up to them, and they also are completely entitled to remain as officers/directors serving the Club and dealing with the City until the election is finalized in order to keep the Club operating.

  9. According to Article IV Section F of your Bylaws: “The out-going President shall serve as a non-elected Officer of the Club for the ensuing fiscal year.”  Therefore, David Roach, per your current bylaws, is, unless he resigns or refuses, an officer for another year whether elected again or not. 


Why has this group decided to recommend and support paying the increased dues and not granting the worker’s discounted rate up front? We will try to answer that as succinctly as possible.

To understand why, there are two inescapable, undeniable and indisputable duties which are mandatory and prerequisite to the continued existence of the VHA Club. Our Club will not survive without compliance with these duties.

  1. Securing and maintaining insurance for the range.
  2. Complying with the compulsory mandates of the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks. (These two obligations are mutual and interchangeable. The City requires that VHA file an insurance bond with the City without which there is no Club.)

Our range is located on CITY OWNED property. To be able to use it, we must secure permission from the City. The City places on our privilege to use this property several obligations. If we don’t comply, we lose the property. It’s that simple.

One mandatory rule, for example, is we must keep the gates locked so that people do not wander onto our range. If the gates were left open and someone were to get hurt, we would lose our insurance and our permission to access this land.

Two, since it is City owned property, no alcohol or smoking is permitted.

Because our Club involves the use of lethal instrumentalities, that’s just another clear reason why alcohol is not permitted.

Because the range is located in a severe fire hazard zone, that is another reason, on top of the general city ordinance, why smoking is not permitted.

On top of that, to continue to utilize this range we have a contractual obligation to the City to clear the brush and debris. There is no way around that obvious and mandatory duty. 

As you know, we had a series of major fires in this general area these past few years and it was to our great fortune that no fire destroyed our range. Although, perhaps it would have been better if our range had suffered a fire as it might have consumed and  eliminated the potentially catastrophic debris scattered around the range thereby ending our duty to clean it up; but then we may have lost the range permanently when they realized we neglected our duty to maintain the range.

You also know we had a series of intense work parties this year that barely made a dent in this obligation to clear fire hazard debris. I’m sure you are also aware that many members who paid the worker’s discounted dues did not fulfill their obligations to work the range. Frankly, that is inexcusable and intolerable.

One primary reason to raise the dues and delay the worker’s discount, and there are plenty of other quite legitimate reasons, is the infusion of funds that will enable the leaders of your Club, whoever they may be, to afford to hire a crew to come onto the range and to address the 40 years of neglect. If we don’t do that, and do it soon, we could lose access to the range. 

While no one will enjoy paying the increased dues (who would?), the additional funds that the increased dues will raise for this coming year will provide the Club with much needed funds to pay for a clean-up crew and, thereafter, possibly new or additional targets and other improvements.  While these dues seem high, if you checked around, in comparison to other clubs, they are not high high at all, and our range is significantly better and more beautiful than all the other ranges.

Furthermore, this initial higher dues adjustment realistically has an impact for only one year, after which members who work will be granted a discount for the following year and their dues as individuals will be a modest $100.00 if they work the range. 

Again, after the coming election of officers which will take place as soon as possible, your new officers/directors can always move to adjust the dues structure if they are so inclined. However, because a failure to deal with range maintenance as soon as possible might very well lead to the closure of our range, everyone who understands this situation agrees with the dues increase. It is with this understanding and belief that this group urges that we move forward with the dues as suggested and allow the next officers and directors, as they learn about the Club’s obligations to the City and to our insurance, decide what the appropriate future dues should be and how the discount should be handled.

Finally, if the range is cleaned up, while there may be a continuing need for some ongoing maintenance, the need for extensive multiple work parties could be greatly reduced and the worker’s discount possibly granted with little to moderate work in subsequent years, with nothing as extravagant as the massive cleanup that we had to do a few months back.

Let me just add here that the bylaws do not specify the manner in which discounted dues are to be paid. There is no specification in the bylaws that the reduced dues are paid up front with a promise to do work, as opposed to discounted at the end of the year. Therefore, the switch to a system where full non-working dues are paid up front and the discount credited at the end of the year is not prohibited by the bylaws. In fact, the prior system where dues are discounted up front just leads to unnecessary grief placed upon your officers/directors which may have been one reason for the painful meeting that occurred on 5/22/21. 

The meeting also discussed what can be done to repair the deterioration of relationships, and rebuild the harmony, or at least restore quiet and minimize personality conflicts, once enjoyed at this Club. The 5/22/21 debacle hopefully was merely the long release of festering unaddressed problems that we can now put behind us as we all rebuild our Club into a professional organization of archers. 

We all believe that the new website as a forum to discuss our issues without rancor, conduct immediate votes and surveys in a civil manner, end in-person meetings where arguments and disagreements undermined productivity, might just enable us to create a better future for Verdugo Hills Archers.

John Knox

Brian DeSoto

Bill England

Earl Bruner

Marc Debbaudt

Vigen Shahbazian

David Roach





Welcome to our new Website!

This isn't just a place to post pictures, although we will be doing more of that. This website was created primarily to facilitate membership renewal, but it will also enable us to amend and rewrite our outdated Bylaws and to conduct an election for Officers of the Club and Directors of the Board by the end of this year. It will improve our ability to gather information from members through surveys about their priorities, and significantly improve communication with members and the public about upcoming events. Although most likely we will have some initial glitches, the hope is that this site will make everything much easier for everyone. Take a look around!

Assuming you have an email account, the first thing you will want to do is go to the Membership page to learn about your Club’s plans for the future. 

On that same page we discuss membership dues and the reasons for a $15.00 dues increase — from $85.00 to $100.00. 

The Membership page will also explain how the “worker’s discount” will operate from now on. 

If after reading that page you decide you want to renew your currently expired membership or become a new member, you will then scroll to the bottom of the page, click on New Member Signup and then provide the information required. 

NON-MEMBERS: Should you decide not to be a member, you might still want to provide your name, email and text number so you will get updates about future VHA events.

NOTE: The initial look of this website will change significantly after this first round of membership applications are submitted. We’ve included a lot of explanations and instructions to try to smooth the transition to this system. Those details will be unnecessary and reduced if not eliminated after our current expired membership base has had an opportunity to rejoin/renew with our Club. 

Membership Application Instructions

The membership process requires that you have an email account.

You can get an email account for free. If you don’t have one, go to:

Go wherever! There are many servers and hosts that provide a free email address.

For this first round of signing up on our new site, everyone is considered brand new member so that we can obtain complete information. Renewals next year should be much easier and fairly automatic.

You can go straight to the application by clicking here New Member Signup, but you probably should read the instructions first on the Membership page to avoid frustration.

You MUST enter the required information on each page before the system will permit you to advance to the next page.

The personal information which is required is necessary for the Club’s liability insurance in the event there is an accident or injury on the range.

The membership application process also requires that you read, and then electronically sign that you understand and accept the rules and necessary liability waivers.

The City mandates a signed COVID liability waiver! We will attempt to satisfy the City’s need with your electronic acceptance of the Joining Agreement.

When you finish the membership application, the system will send you an email acknowledging receipt of your application. 

When your membership is approved by the President or the Board (hopefully within a week), you will receive a second email. That email will direct you to return to the website and login with your user name and password. You will see the Member Login at the top right corner. Click on Member Login, enter your information and the system should connect you to the final step in the application process which requires payment of your dues.

The site was designed so that you can pay your membership dues online by directly entering a credit/debit card through the system provided by Stripe, or by using your PayPal account. If you choose, you can mail your membership payment by check directly to ClubExpress, but we are charged a processing fee. By using any of these methods your payment will be deposited directly into the bank account of Verdugo Hills Archers. In the future the Club may decide to completely eliminate payment by check so that the system is entirely electronic.

When payment is authorized and received, you will receive an invoice. Eventually you will be issued an electronic membership card which you can carry and display from your phone. The production of tangible plastic cards to display on the range has yet to be determined.

You will also be sent notice of when new gate keys will be available to be picked up, at which time it may be necessary to physically sign a City Mandated COVID Liability Waiver. (We hope that they will accept your electronic signature, but this has not yet been confirmed.)

Besides our hope that this website system ultimately makes your membership renewal and dues collection much easier, it definitively creates an independent record of monetary transactions that will make the process more secure and the Club’s financial accountability above reproach. Furthermore, the system is automatic so that next year you will receive notice of when renewal and payment is required.

More Benefits of this New Website:

The site also provides the ability to generate a newsletter as well as to send out texts and emails simultaneously. We should be able, with a slight learning curve, to improve our communication with members about upcoming events. calendar. The site permits you to post photos. Check that out. Please use good judgment and not post anything inappropriate otherwise you subject yourself to potential suspension or termination of membership.

If in the future you learn that you are not receiving texts or emails, return to the site and check to make sure your contact information is correct. Failure to receive notices will no longer be a result of error on the part of the Board. That’s one complaint that is totally eliminated. 

Again, this site makes it possible to hold secure elections for Officers and Directors of the Club through an independent process managed by our service provider’s programming.  We will be conducting elections by the end of the year.

We also desperately need to rewrite our dysfunctional and outdated Bylaws. That process is already underway. Our website will enable our members to read, make suggestions, and vote to approve the new Bylaws all of which will help us to modernize our Club and address ongoing operational problems. 

The site also enables us to survey members about their priorities for the Club. What should the Club spend its membership dues on? We will be conducting several of these surveys right away.

Since it is a Club, when you sign up you will create a user name and password to gain access to the private areas of the site many of which are still under development. Forums.

Take a look around! If you have any suggestions for improvement or page additions you might like to see, please let the webmaster know. The site is still growing and improving. 

About our Club


Verdugo Hills Archers Club [VHA] is a Four Star NFAA Archery Range nestled between the hills of Sunland-Tujunga. Members are all toxophilites (lovers of the ancient art of archery). Deers frequently wander our range and no poaching is permitted. Our Club members use both traditional and compound bows. Crossbows are not permitted. Broadheads are forbidden except in one limited area we call the Broadhead Pit.

There are multiple courses, including a large practice target area with 10 targets and a 3D range with 28 Targets (field/hunter/3D animals), picnic and restroom facilities, and ample parking.

The range is open to our membership 7 days a week, but access requires a gate key.

It is also MANDATORY that members display their membership ID at all times!

We do not rent or loan equipment.  We do provide equipment for lessons, but currently instruction is not available.

No Crossbows are allowed on the range. Broadheads are strictly prohibited except in a very limited area.

Verdugo Hills Archers is non-profit Archery Club. No one gets paid for their time. Volunteers agree to help maintain the range and keep it safe in exchange for a future dues reductions.  


At this time we are no longer offering 
beginning Archery classes to Boy/Girl Scouts, school groups, etc.  If you are interested in lessons/classes please visit the Lessons page for updates as to the status of their availability.  If the instruction status changes, typically lessons will occur on Saturday mornings by arrangement only.


When traveling South on the 210 Freeway, exit at Sunland Blvd. and turn left (head towards Pasadena) passing Ralph’s Market on your left. Stay on that street (Sunland merges into Foothill Blvd. at the park on your left which is just past the Ralph’s Market mall). Stay in the left lane and proceed to Oro Vista and turn left (there is a 7-11 on the right corner and a Jack-in-the-Box on the left corner). Follow Oro Vista until it ends at the desert wash at which point you will turn right. When you turn right Oro Vista becomes Big Tujunga Canyon Road. Follow the road up the mountain towards Mount Wilson. Pass the Little League baseball fields on your right and, immediately after you pass the entrance to the ballpark, prepare to turn right. Our entrance is marked by our Club sign (check out the picture of the sign above) a short distance past the baseball fields. Pass thru the gate, turn right and follow the dirt road which turns left just before the baseball fields. Pass thru the second gate and the range is straight ahead behind a large berm. Follow the dirt road which turns right and then turns left. You have arrived and will find plenty of parking. 

We have provided here both an active map, through a link you can click on, and a fixed map with red arrows (see below):

Click on this link to access a Google Map to our location:


Access to the VHA Range requires a key when there is no scheduled shoot or other club activity. This helps dissuade non-members from parking, off-roading, hiking and wandering the range when arrows are whizzing by. When you become a member, you will receive a key that will unlock the two gates. If you’ve made arrangements for Archery Lessons the gate should be unlocked and open for your arrival.

Your entry key is for opening the locks to the range and to the restrooms. You are responsible for locking both gates  behind you when entering and exiting the range. Also, please lock the restrooms after use! Please do not give your key to anyone else. 

Map to: 11966 Big Tujunga Canyon Road


The Verdugo Hills Archers was founded in 1953 by Dick Garver Sr. and Ted Ekin.

In 1952 Ted Ekin saw Howard Hill putting on an exhibition for the Los Angeles Sportsman’s show. At the time, Ted was a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. Ted was so impressed by Howard Hill’s shooting, he immediately went out and bought a bow. According to his son Craig Ekin, Ted loved archery so much he quit the LAPD. He then dedicated himself fully to the archery shop he opened.

Ted and his wife, Betty Ekin, and Dick Garver, Ted’s brother-in-law, were co-owners of Shawnee Sports Center Archery Shop in Sunland, also started in 1953. I’m told it was located where Leon’s Chainsaw and Lawnmower Shop currently is, next to The Burrito Factory, across the street from Sunland Park.

Garver and Ekin discussed it with Hill and decided to go into business with Howard Hill, making Howard’s archery equipment and giving Howard Hill a check for everything they sold with the Howard Hill name on it. Howard Hill Productions was set up and officially began selling Hill’s equipment at Shawnee Archery Shop in Sunland in 1958. Ted made most of Hill’s arrows from 1955 until Hill left the state in 1965. After the passing of Ted in 1979, Craig stepped in to take over the Howard Hill Archery Company which is still in operation in Hamilton, Montana.

Thirty Three archers attended that first VHA Club meeting, and thereafter held meetings twice a month to establish a Constitution and elect officers. After three months, the members decided on the Verdugo Hills Archers name. 

VHA then located property in the Big Tujunga Canyon for our roving range in the "wildwoods" located in the Angeles National Forrest. After 10 years, the Club was forced to move the range to Roger Jessup Park in San Fernando Valley for a couple years. The VHA relocated to our present range in Big Tujunga Canyon on June 30th, 1963.

The first club shoot was held at the present range on February 27th, 1966.

Every year Howard Hill was invited to be the guest speaker at the annual banquet of the Verdugo Hills Archers Club. Though he never joined the Club as a regular member, he spoke at so many of our banquets that VHA made him a lifetime honorary member.

This photo depicts Howard Hill (center), Ted Ekin (left) and Dick Carver (right)


One of our Club’s famous and frequent guests was Howard Hill (born 11/13/1899 – died 2/4/1975) considered The World’s Greatest Archer. Howard Hill is known, for example, as the stand-in who split the arrow in Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn.

Hill stood 6’2” and weighed 220. It was said: “Never has one man so completely dominated his sport as Howard Hill.” If you are a VHA member and toxophilite, you might just be inclined to learn about The World’s Greatest Archer who walked our range. 

You can learn more about "THE MAN AND THE LEGEND HOWARD HILL" by reading this book, copyright 1982, written by Craig Ekin, Ted’s son. Craig’s book, covering everything embraced by instinctive straight bow and traditional longbow archery enthusiasts, was dedicated to Craig’s father, Ted Ekin, and his wife. You can find that book here:

The Ekin’s worked closely with Hill until his death in 1975. Craig was personally instructed by Hill on the Verdugo Hills Archery Range. Above you can find a few photos of Hill with the founders and on the VHA range. The pictures and a few facts shared below come from Ted’s book.

There are lots of Howard Hill stories. He killed more game with the bow and arrow than any other individual in history and was the first person to be named in the Hall of Fame because of his skill as an archer. Ted’s book claims Hill killed more than 4000 animals.

Besides Robin Hood, he did the shooting in Elizabeth of Essex, They Died With Their Boots On, Dodge City, Buffalo Bill, and Bandits of Sherwood Forest. In They Died With Their Boots On Howard Hill was on horse back chasing a man on horseback. They were in a dead run. Hill used an 80-pound bow and shot the man in the back, hitting a one-foot square piece of balsa wood and steel.

Hill built bows for Gary Cooper, Roy Rogers, Iron Eyes Cody, Errol Flynn, and even Shirley Temple, who he took out behind his shop on Chandler Boulevard in North Hollywood, and gave her some tips.

While boating on Errol Flynn’s yacht, Hill took the cork out of a barrel and threw the barrel overboard. He then threw the cork out next to the barrel. While they were bobbing up and down in the waves, Hill shot the cork with an arrow that had a line attached, pulled the arrow back and then shot the arrow again with the cork still attached, perfectly plugging the barrel. It was filmed and you might find it searching the internet.

It’s recorded in Ripley’s Believe It or Not that a man named Howard Hill shot a shark underwater with a bow and arrow.

On 1/26/28 he set a new flight record of 391 yards, 1 foot 11 inches, using a 172-pound bow at 24-inch draw.

He hit a 800-pound elk in the chest cavity at 185 yards.

He could shoot 12 arrows fast, his record being 12 arrows in 24.4 seconds, and all were in the gold or center of the target. He could also loose 8 arrows in the air before the first one hit the ground. “Time and time again I’ve seen him shoot an arrow into the air and as it was coming down, he’d take out another arrow, shoot, and hit that first one.” — Skeet. It was reported he once shot 12 dimes in the air before missing one. A sportswriter reported that Hill shot a dime in the air at 100 yards. This made Hill angry. “Heck, I couldn’t even see a dollar at that distance, much less a dime - and hit it!”

Some believe that Hill, a frequent VHA visitor, successfully, without killing anyone, pulled a William Tell and shot an apple off someone’s head possibly at one of the VHA's earlier Range sites. When Hill next tried to shoot a grape off this person’s head, the person fled the scene. You can find this video and other videos of Howard Hill by searching on the web. Try The guy he shot at was wearing a wig which, it is speculated, probably concealed a helmet that protected the head of the target. 

Howard himself stated: “I shot an apple off the head of Kenneth Wilhelm, a friend of mine, at 60 feet...I’ve never lost a field archery tournament and I’ve been in six national archery-gold tournaments and won all of them.” Hill won a phenomenal 196 consecutive field archery tournaments without losing one. In 1945 Hill would be paid a phenomenal amount, $2000 on up, for a 30-minute exhibition.

Howard Hill once shot an eagle at a distance of 150 yards. He apparently did it on the first shot. An impressive, if not impossible, shot with a traditional bow at a time when killing an eagle wasn’t regulated or considered abhorrent as it is today.

In 1950, long before game hunting was considered controversial, Howard supposedly trained for a year with really heavy longbows in preparation for an elephant hunt (something most bowhunters wouldn’t do today). It is said that his bow was a 115 pound draw. Because the elephant was rogue and had gone on a rampage killing natives, the Tanganyikan government gave Hill, who was there filming the movie Tembo, the rare privilege of hunting the bull. He used a 41-inch aluminum arrow with a broadhead welded onto it for a total weight of 1700 grains. The elephant was 60 yards away and the arrow penetrated the lung one-inch above the heart. The arrow penetrated 31 1/2 inches deep. The bull was 5-tons and his tusks 7 feet long weighing 110 pounds. There is a video of Howard’s elephant hunt on YouTube.

During his life Hill set a world record of pulling a 172 pound bow. That record was later broken by Gary Sentman who pulled a 176 pound bow. In 2018 Mark Stratton topped that by pulling 200 pounds according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Howard, however, was known to have put two 100-pound bows together and draw them a full 28 inches.

Howard once, in front of a large crowd, ricocheted an arrow off a boot jack which then passed through a swinging wedding band before it hit the bullseye.

Hill wrote two books edited by his wife: Hunting the Hard Way (1953) and Wild Adventure (1954). The movie about his hunting adventures in Africa is called Tembo. 

On February 17, 1955, Hill appeared as a contestant on You Bet Your Life, a popular American quiz series hosted on both radio and television by comedian Groucho MarxIn that televised broadcast, Hill describes the most challenging trick shot he ever performed and also briefly discusses his experiences hunting elephants with a bow and arrow. Watch that episode here: He and his game partner then attempt to win the show's grand-prize of $1,500; but they lose, failing to answer correctly a question relating to the Battle of HastingsIronically, considering Hill's profession, archers played a pivotal role in that battle, which occurred in England in 1066. According to some historical accounts, the Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II, died in fighting after being "struck in the eye" by a Norman arrow.