Have a go with a long bowash at the sky

The longbow, measuring around the height of a man, dates back before medieval times. As a tactical weapon the longbow was the deadliest weapon of its day. Everyone had to train, and at one point all sports except archery were banned on Sundays. Considerable practice was required to produce the swift and effective combat shooting required.

A longbow must be long enough to allow its user to draw the string to a point on the face or body The draw forces estimated from the Mary Rose were 100–185lb based on the length of the arrows commonly found on the ship. A modern longbow’s draw is typically 60 lbf (270 N) or less.

def04cA record of how boys and men trained to use the bows with high draw weights survives from the reign of Henry VII.

[My yeoman father] taught me how to draw, how to lay my body in my bow … not to draw with strength of arms as divers other nations do … I had my bows bought me according to my age and strength, as I increased in them, so my bows were made bigger and bigger. For men shall never shoot well unless they be brought up to it.”

Laying his body into the bow was described thus:

The Englishman did not keep his left hand steady, and draw his bow with his right; but keeping his right at rest upon the nerve, he pressed the whole weight of his body into the horns of his bow. Hence probably arose the phrase “bending the bow,” and the French of “drawing” one.

The preferred material to make the longbow was yew and we have many old yew trees in the village.  Although I’m told by the expert bowmen from Lions and Lilies that the soil here is probably too fertile to make the best bows.   The Bow strings were, and still are, made of hemp, flax or silk.

In medieval times a peasant armed with a longbow was able to kill a knight wearing full plate armor. One arrow shot by a peasant could kill the most powerful knights on the battle field. They were the machine gun of the medieval period and changed history.

crossbowThe longbow was a Welsh invention adopted by the Normans some time after the conquest.  The Normans would have been using a form of crossbow.  In Rogo’s battle with King Richard against the Turks we find the following in the account:-

Between every two of the men who were thus covered with their shields, the king, versed in arms, placed an arbalester, and another behind him to stretch the arbalest as quickly as possible, so that the man in front might discharge his shot whilst the other was loading.

The picture shows an Arbalest with the Arbalester.


Established by Royal Charter in 1241