Nursery Rhymes

Bow and Arrow

Medieval life and Times

Facts and Information about the Medieval Bow and Arrow - The Bow
The weapons used the Medieval times included the simple bow and arrow. The following description of the Medieval Bow provides basic facts and information about the weapon:

  • The Medieval Bow was constructed in two parts

  • A strip of flexible material, such as wood, was linked at the two ends with a cord, or string, to form a tension from which is propelled the arrow
  • The Medieval Bow was generally made from yew but ash, hazel and elm were also used
  • The strings of a Medieval Bow was made from hemp as it was the strongest and least elastic fibre available
  • The string was then soaked in glue as some protection against moisture
  • Type or group of weapons - The Bow and Arrow was a ranged weapon which caused a projectile to leave the soldier and  strike a target

Medieval Archer

Facts and Information about Medieval Bow and Arrow - The Arrow
The following description provides basic facts and information about the type of arrow used:

  • The arrow was a straight shaft with a sharp point on one end and with feathers attached to the other end
  • The first arrows were broadhead arrows
  • But the the large arrow head, after which the broadhead was named, would distribute the impact over a large area and just bounce off or break against armor
  • The Bodkin point arrow was invented to address this issue
  • Long bodkins were used for piercing mail
  • Short bodkins were used for piercing armor plate
  • The range of the new bodkin arrow reached 275 yards

A maker of the Medieval Bow and Arrow and other archery goods was called an Artillator.

Medieval Bow and Arrow Training
Skill in the use of Medieval weapons and understanding the strategy of Medieval Warfare was necessary and a played a vital part in Medieval life. The training required by an Archer to use the Medieval Bow and Arrow was extremely time consuming - it was necessary for them to become expert marksmen. Special places were assigned for the archery training called the Butts.

The Butts

The Bow and Arrow was eventually supplanted by the crossbow and then the longbow. The crossbow range was 350 400 yards but could only be shot at a rate of 2 bolts per minute. The crossbow was easy to use, requiring minimal training and required little strength to operate. But it shot too few bolts! The longbow launched arrows faster than the Medieval Bow and Arrow. A skilled longbowman could release between 10 - 12 arrows per minute - but required considerable training.

History of the Bow and Arrow
The Medieval times were an extremely violent era in history featuring battles in both Europe and the Holy Land when the crusades, and the crusaders who fought them, were numerous. Feudal Lords and Knights and their men at arms used such weapons as the Medieval Bow and Arrow in different types of warfare. The quest for power led to invasions of lands and territories which had to be fought for. Warfare during the Medieval era called for a variety of weapon expertise. The importance of the archers and the Medieval Bow and Arrow grew in importance. In 1252 the 'Assize of Arms' was passed which decreed that every man between the age of 15 to 60 years old were ordered to equip themselves with a Bow and Arrow. The Plantagenet King Edward III took this further and decreed the Archery Law in 1363 which commanded the obligatory practice of archery on Sundays and holidays! The Archery Law "forbade, on pain of death, all sport that took up time better spent on war training especially archery practise". King Henry I later proclaimed that an archer would be absolved of murder, if he killed a man during archery practise with a Bow and Arrow!

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