|English archers at Agincourt by Matthew Ryan|
The Welsh bow could have been of yew or, at least by the 12th century, wild elm. The arrow shafts might be of hazel, pine or ash and the fletchings of goose, swan or eagle feathers. The traditional bow prior to the beginning of the 14th century was a self bow between four and five feet in length, known as the “shortbow.” This weapon was drawn to the chest rather than the ear, and was much weaker than the longbow. In 1985, Jim Bradbury reclassified this weapon as an ordinary wooden bow, reserving the term “shortbow” for short composite bows.
|Four Breton archers in the Bayeux Tapestry|
I found all this fascinating, so it is not surprising that archers are featured in all of my medieval stories where I give the Welsh credit for their skill. In The Red Wolf’s Prize, Rebel Warrior and the latest, King’s Knight, it is the Welshman Rhodri who teaches the longbow to several of my characters and fashions smaller bows for the women, including my heroines, Serena and Merewyn. In Rogue Knight, the Conqueror’s archers shoot at the Danes from the castle in York in 1069. I hope you enjoy the battle scenes where the archers are in the forefront. And the scenes where the Welsh archers are shooting from the trees.
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