Nursery Rhymes

Bows

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Facts and Information about Medieval Bows
The weapons used during the Middle Ages include the bows - the simple bow and arrow. The following description of Medieval bows provides basic facts and information about the weapon:

  • Bows were 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

  • Most bows were made from yew but ash, hazel and elm were also used
  • The strings of bows were 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
  • The hammer struck with force could apply significant injury to a knight in armor
  • The spike end was used for grappling the target's armor or the reins of a warhorse
  • Type or group of weapons - Ranged Weapon which caused a projectile to leave the soldier and  strike a target

Facts and Information about Medieval Arrows
The weapons used during the Middle Ages include the bows and arrows. The following description of Medieval bows provides basic facts and information about the arrows:

  • 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
  • Bodkin point arrows were 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 bows, arrows, and other archery goods was called an Artillator.

Bows 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 bows and arrows 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 apparently 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 any previous bows. A skilled longbowman could release between 10 - 12 arrows per minute - but required considerable training.

Middle Ages Weapons
Middle Ages Index

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