|English archers at Agincourt by Matthew Ryan|
While the subject is one for debate, there is good evidence that the longbow was in England long before William the Conqueror rode up Senlac Hill.
Today I share some of my research from my Medieval Warriors series.
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|
E.G. Heath, author of The Grey Goose Wing and A History of Target Archery, notes that several well-preserved longbows were recovered from Saxon burial galleys found at Nydam Moor in Denmark in 1863. They have been dated to between 200 and 400 A.D. Dr. Elizabeth Munksgaard has verified that the Nydam bows in the National Museum of Denmark number seven and are self-wooden D-shaped bows between 5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet long. One of the bows has a nock of horn.
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.
See my Medieval Warriors series on Amazon, now in a boxed set for your Kindle! (You can still order the individual books both in ebook format and in print.)
HE SEIZED LIFE BY THE THROAT