Interested in Medieval Archery and want to learn more? As well as coming to train with us, you can also find a large array of books on this important medieval weapon.
Bowmen of England
From the 12th to 15th centuries the longbow was the weapon that changed European history more than any other. In the skilled hands of English and Welsh archers it revolutionized all the medieval concepts and traditions of war. No other weapon dominated the battlefield as it did, and it was the winning factor in every major battle from Morlaix in 1342 to Patay in 1429.
Donald Featherstone’s study of the English longbow from its early development until the Wars of the Roses is an inspiring and authentic reconstruction in human terms in an age of courage, vitality and endurance. He provides an enthralling footnote to the history of the longbow by recording the engagement in which it was last used – in France in 1940
The Crooked Stick
Although the longbow is best known for its deployment during the Hundred Years’ War, its origins lie with ancient Saxon seafighters and Welsh craftsmen, while today the bow is a vibrant part of the traditional archery scene.
Through a remarkable command of primary sources and a judicious use of material evidence—including his own important collection of rare longbows—Hugh Soar establishes the deep connections of this bow to England, Scotland, and Wales and chronicles its use in warfare. In addition to the illustrated text, the book contains appendices detailing the history and design of bracers, tabs and tips, quivers, and arrowheads associated with the longbow.
An iconic medieval missile weapon, the deadly longbow made possible the English victories at Crecy and Poitiers at the height of the Hundred Years’ War. The longbow was the weapon at the heart of the English military ascendancy in the century after 1340. Capable of subjecting the enemy to a hail of deadly projectiles, the longbow in the hands of massed archers made possible the extraordinary victories enjoyed by English forces over superior numbers at Crécy and Poitiers, and remained a key battlefield weapon throughout the Wars of the Roses and beyond.
It also played a leading role in raiding, siege and naval warfare. Its influence and use spread to the armies of Burgundy, Scotland and other powers, and its reputation as a cost-effective and easily produced weapon led to calls for its widespread adoption among the nascent armies of the American Republic as late as the 1770s.
Longbow: A Social and Military History
Robert Hardy is famous throughout the world as an actor. Not so widely known is his deep interest in archery and its history. An acknowledged expert on the longbow, he is a Trustee of the Royal Armouries at HM Tower of London, and of the Mary Rose Trust.
His meticulously researched book begins by describing the earliest known examples of the longbow, revealing that it was in use worldwide at least 8,000 years ago. With drama, vigour and enthusiasm, he chronicles the arrival of the longbow in Britain, its curious temporary disappearance, its return and gradual adoption as the most important weapon in the English military arsenal, and its coming of age at the battles of Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt.
“Longbow” describes the archers themselves, where they came from, their equipment, training, uniform, way of life and terms of service; the fact and fiction of the Robin Hood legend; the reasons why the French never took to the weapon; the devastating effects of longbow against longbow in the Wars of the Roses; the eventual decline of the bow and Henry VIII’s campaign to maintain it. Also examined is the longbow as a sporting and hunting weapon, and its status in Britain today.
There is a detailed account of how to make a longbow from scratch, including all the tools and materials required. Another bonus for the enthusiast is an important technical appendix written by three experts on the longbow – Henry Blyth of Reading University, Prof. P. L. Pratt of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, and Peter Jones of the Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment. The chapter on the Mary Rose has been co-written with Prof. Pratt and Prof J. Levy, also of the Imperial College, and is the result of over ten years of study. “Longbow”, beautifully illustrated in both colour and black and white, is a compelling story and a major contribution to the history of archery.
War bows dominated battlefields across the world for centuries. In their various forms, they allowed trained archers to take down even well-armoured targets from great distances, and played a key role in some of the most famous battles in human history. The composite bow was a versatile and devastatingly effective weapon, on foot, from chariots and on horseback for over a thousand years, used by cultures as diverse as the Hittites, the Romans, the Mongols and the Ottoman Turks.
The Middle Ages saw a clash between the iconic longbow and the more technologically sophisticated crossbow, most famously during the Hundred Years War, while in Japan, the samurai used the yumi to deadly effect, unleashing bursts of arrows from their galloping steeds.
Historical weapons expert Mike Loades reveals the full history of these four iconic weapons that changed the nature of warfare. Complete with modern ballistics testing, action recreations of what it is like to fire each bow and a critical analysis of the technology and tactics associated with each bow, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in ancient arms.
English Longbowman 1330-1515
The English military ascendancy which lasted from the mid-14th to the early 15th century was founded upon defensive tactics based on the use of the longbow. This weapon, distinctive in that it was used by English forces alone, was probably the most effective missile weapon of the Late Middle Ages: its arrow had the same penetrative ability as a modern day bullet and the bow’s rate of fire was not equalled by any weapon used by English forces until the adoption of the Lee Enfield rifle at the beginning of the 20th century.
Secrets of the English War Bow
A Complete Recreation of the Deadliest Medieval Arm
Dominating medieval battlefields for more than two centuries but requiring long and arduous practice to command, the English war bow and its battle shaft are the symbols of the rise of British power in Europe. Despite being crafted for hundreds of years and wielded by generations of archers, no example of the war bow—the military version of the longbow—exists, outside of a single broken limb. Now for the first time, expert craftsmen use all available evidence including applied archaeology to unlock the secrets of the English war bow.
Historian Hugh D. H. Soar is joined by Mark Stretton, master blacksmith, and Joseph Gibbs, bowyer, in order to demonstrate how a war bow and its associated arrow heads and shafts may have been constructed and used. In addition to showing the complete manufacture of a bow from tree selection to stringing and how specialized arrowheads were forged and attached to shafts, Secrets of the English War Bow provides information on the actual performance of the war bow, including the bow’s effectiveness against various materials and, for the first time, its use against moving targets, since bows were often drawn against mounted soldiers. Armed with this new information, Soar provides an analysis of both successes and failures of the war bow in several important battles. Illustrated in color and black and white, Secrets of the English War Bow provides an invaluable service for those interested in medieval military history, archery, and technology.
Arrowstorm: The World Of The Archer In The Hundred Years War
This book chronicles the overwhelming importance of the military archer in the late medieval period. The longbow played a central role in the English victory at the battles of Crecy and Agincourt. Completely undermining the supremacy of heavy cavalry, the longbow forced a wholesale reassessment of battlefield tactics. Richard Wadge explains what made England’s longbow archers so devastating, detailing the process by which their formidable armament was manufactured and the conditions that produced men capable of continually drawing a bow under a tension of 100 pounds.
Uniquely, Wadge looks at the economics behind the supply of longbows to the English army and the social history of the military archer. Crucially, what were the advantages of joining the first professional standing army in England since the days of the Roman conquest? Was it the pay, the booty, or the glory? With its painstaking analysis of contemporary records, Arrowstorm paints a vivid portrait of the life of a professional soldier in the war which forged the English national consciousness.< BACK