Looking for a longbow

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John Waller
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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:40 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:Further to my previous post: My sources tell me all the MR arrows, and the Westminster arrow, are whipped with silk.

It is possible the arrows are whipped with a very (very!) fine linen; certainly far thinner than the 'bailing twine' used by most re-enactors. For recreation purposes I would use a single-ply silk thread.


Your sources being? I don't doubt you but unless people are prepared to offer references and sources then we are in danger of perpetuating myths or creating new ones.

For example. Anyone heard of horse hair being used? I have heard re-enactors say it said it was used but have never come across a reference.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:52 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:It is possible the arrows are whipped with a very (very!) fine linen; certainly far thinner than the 'bailing twine' used by most re-enactors.


What are people using for binding their arrows? :o
I've got some hemp thread (2 ply) that does look a bit like baling twine, but that is much thicker than I would consider using for sewing fabric. Surely a good sewing linnen would be fine for the purpose?


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:18 pm

Colin,

You can use the hemp, but it will badly compromise the performance of the arrow and will tend to split the barbs of the feather (which looks scruffy). If it's too thick for sewing it's almost certainly too thick for whipping arrows.

I would use nothing thicker than a Gutermann's silk thread (which is a staple spun silk and tends to be slightly thicker than a filament silk) Personally, I use a 2-ply silk from Ruth Goodman. Although thicker than the Gutermann's silk I find it is softer and lays flatter to the shaftment; especially after 'fixing' with glue/verdigris.

Also, unless your bow is over 100lb draw-weight, don't bother whipping the nocks of your arrows. It's not necessary. And certainly don't continue the fletching whipping down the shaft to the nock.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Richard Scott » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:18 pm

Would silk thread be cheap enough (in period) to use for war arrows? I guess the economics mean it would be more viable for hunting arrows (which would be shot more accurately and recovered more often), but for something likely to be trampled into oblivion I don't see the benefit of silk over linen.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:55 pm

There are quite a few references to "timber for arrows, and silk and wax and other necessities" for arrow making.

That said, silk-whipped arrows were probably 'Grade-A' equipment for favoured archers; it is likely that 'Grade-B', linen-whipped arrows would also be made.

Even so, the linen used would still be very fine compared to what we tend to see today; and probably little different in thickness to the silk used (just not as strong).

There seems to have been a good trade in 'bespoke' arrows for those that could afford it - presumably make with more exotic materials and more attention to detail.

Then, just as now, you got what you paid for.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:06 pm

John Waller wrote:Your sources being? I don't doubt you but unless people are prepared to offer references and sources then we are in danger of perpetuating myths or creating new ones.


My sources being a Master Bowyer and Master Arrowsmith who have examined the arrows at first hand. I have no reason to doubt their experience or judgement. Especially as there is recorded evidence of silk being used. (For simplicity I will quote Richard Wadge's 'Arrowstorm' and leave it to you to follow his references; again, I have no reason to doubt Richard's scholarship)

I haven't heard the horse-hair story; although it sounds reasonable I certainly don't have any references for it.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Richard Scott » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:13 am

EnglishArcher wrote:There are quite a few references to "timber for arrows, and silk and wax and other necessities" for arrow making.


I can't argue with that! :)



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Alan E » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:35 am

EnglishArcher wrote:My wife warned me the 'crass and cack-handed' comment would raise peoples' heckles. I really should learn to listen to her! :D

The 'replica' arrows in the MR museum are a source of frustration to me. Given access to the original arrows how did the craftsman manage to produce artefacts that differ so significantly?

What you find acceptable (and what you find 'crass and cack-handed'!) alls comes down to preference, experience and personal standards.


The English Warbow Society (EWBS) uses a replica of an MR arrow as its 'Livery' arrow. The Livery Arrow is used for flight shooting and is a measure of the performance of the bow, the arrow and the archer. This page explains the rationale behind the arrow (and the use of silk for whipping):

http://www.englishwarbowsociety.com/tud ... arrow.html

This page gives specifications for the EWBS arrows:

http://www.englishwarbowsociety.com/EWB ... TIONS.html

As to the subject of cow horn versus buffalo horn: The MR arrows were reinforced with cow horn. Several cow horn slivers were recovered but until recently nobody at the museum knew what they were for. They are a perfect fit for the arrow slots.

Strings are the subject of much ongoing work. At least one author has claimed the bows could be no more than 100lbs draw-weight because a 1/8" linen string cannot take a load of more than 100lb for more than a few arrows. I would like to see this author's research findings because I have a linen string 1/8" diameter which has been used on a 120lb bow for many dozens of arrows without failure. Other archers have had similar results.

Secondly, the draw-weight of the MR bows has been validated from several independent sources, including mathematical modelling and building identical replicas.The average draw-weight of the MR bows is currently estimated around 150lb @ 32".

With modern synthetic fibres producing a bow string to support the weight of an MR replica bow is straightforward. Materials like FastFlight only require about 18 strands for a 140 - 150lb bow; for a flight bow as few as 14 strands may be used!

There are two concurrent threads (no pun intended) of research: The string material itself and the oft-recorded string 'glue'. At present the work is ongoing and nothing has been published on the subject.

No hackles raised here, it's nice to know someone else is puzzled by the arrow replicas in the MR museum!

Thanks for the links also - I see they say that linen is "acceptable" for arrow binding there, although records show that Henry V imported silk for arrows.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Dave Brown » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:23 pm

Why not try STEVE RALPHS IS THE BOW & ARROW MAN.
Value for money.
Give him a call and ask if he can go down to 25lb.
Hope this helps
Dave


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Langley » Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:33 pm

On the MR arrows... We should remember the MR was the Kings pride and joy and his flagship. It may well have been carrying his personal bowmen who were known to distinguish themselves from the hoipolloi by binding with red silk...



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby gregory23b » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:05 pm

I was not aware the Westminster Abbey arrow had any thread left, I saw it when it was on display and all that appeared was the glue, with recesses where the threads had rotted away.

"Strings are the subject of much ongoing work. At least one author has claimed the bows could be no more than 100lbs draw-weight because a 1/8" linen string cannot take a load of more than 100lb for more than a few arrows. I would like to see this author's research findings because I have a linen string 1/8" diameter which has been used on a 120lb bow for many dozens of arrows without failure. Other archers have had similar results."

what is interesting is the ratio of strings to bows when bought together, you will find that 12 strings to one bow is not unusual, that plus the almost breaking point that string is at suggests a very short lived string. Plus, how long was a warbow meant to last, an issued one that is? As long as the battle/campaign.

The WA arrow did not seem to have a very large knock either, but cannot remember exact measurements.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:32 pm

gregory23b wrote:I was not aware the Westminster Abbey arrow had any thread left, I saw it when it was on display and all that appeared was the glue, with recesses where the threads had rotted away.



I agree. I'm sitting here looking at a photograph of it in Strickland & Hardy's book and there is no sign of any remaining thread. Nor does the book mention any findings of silk threads from the MR material. Like I said I don't doubt it may have been used but would just like to see firm evidence rather than hearsay.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:08 am

what is interesting is the ratio of strings to bows when bought together, you will find that 12 strings to one bow is not unusual, that plus the almost breaking point that string is at suggests a very short lived string. Plus, how long was a warbow meant to last, an issued one that is? As long as the battle/campaign.


I'm not sure you can imply too much from the orders; beyond that bowstrings were a consumable item. For example, the Chamberlain of Chester's accounts from 1360 - 61 state there were 148 bows, 377 sheaves of arrows (9048 arrows), 6472 arrowheads and 5548 bowstrings. That's 37 strings for every bow, or one bowstring for every 2 arrowheads (approximately). Oh, and not enough arrowheads for all the arrows!

You could argue from that evidence a bowstring only lasted two arrows (one of those possibly being shot without a head!).

It is perhaps more likely that a bowstring would be changed regularly to avoid it breaking. A broken string can lead to a broken bow, which is the last thing an archer wants in the middle of a battle. One of the problems with a linen string is not its ultimate strength, but the fact that it does not have a predictable life. You cannot tell when a linen string will break. Beyond obvious wear, there are no visible signs to indicate a string is about to break.

That said, a string would probably last over a hundred arrows or more; a good bow (and remember the bows we have from the MR are of a wood far superior to anything we can get today) should last many hundreds, if not thousands of arrows. My high-altitude Italian yew bow, which draws a 'mere' 120lb+ has been shot regularly for 3 years, shooting hundreds of arrows - every arrow at full draw (33"). I expect it to last several more years before retirement.

It is reasonable to expect a bow to last a whole battle; and possibly even a whole campaign. There is nothing to suggest, based on the replica bows we have today, that a bow would not last that long. Spare bows would of course be carried because you cannot be certain of the failure behaviour of natural materials.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:51 am

Langley wrote:On the MR arrows... We should remember the MR was the Kings pride and joy and his flagship. It may well have been carrying his personal bowmen who were known to distinguish themselves from the hoipolloi by binding with red silk...


Although Mary Rose was reportedly Henry's favourite ship, his flagship was the Henry Grace a Dieu, also known as the Great Harry. It was the Great Harry the King was aboard in 1545 when the French fleet attacked. The King left the Great Harry to go ashore before the battle.

See: http://www.maryrose.org/ship/great_harry.pdf

So, by your argument, the best equipment would have been on the Great Harry.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Langley » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:49 pm

EA - you are absolutely right and I am ashamed especially since I had been re-reading a lot of the MR stuff again recently. Still - might have had some of the elite archers on it - there were more of them than room on one ship methinks. It is SOOO difficult to draw conclusions from the paucity of evidence we have.

I am glad to see my recollection of the WA arrow not showing evidence of thread confirmed. I could not recall any from my several hours of staring at it but have only been able to look at it behind glass despite much begging. (Did get to spend a lovely half hour with the MR arrow they now have on show and tell though). The nock on the WA arrow surprised me when I saw it because of the shallow depth rather than width. It did look like it would fit on my linen string which had a serving as well as it's natural thinckness. Never measured my string thickness but it lasted me something like 5 seasons before breaking at the loop with ho other sign of distress at all. I'm afraid my drive for authenticity is thus drawing a line at linen on my lovely new yew 25Kg bow.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:36 pm

Langley wrote:EA - you are absolutely right and I am ashamed especially since I had been re-reading a lot of the MR stuff again recently. Still - might have had some of the elite archers on it - there were more of them than room on one ship methinks. It is SOOO difficult to draw conclusions from the paucity of evidence we have.

I am glad to see my recollection of the WA arrow not showing evidence of thread confirmed. I could not recall any from my several hours of staring at it but have only been able to look at it behind glass despite much begging. (Did get to spend a lovely half hour with the MR arrow they now have on show and tell though). The nock on the WA arrow surprised me when I saw it because of the shallow depth rather than width. It did look like it would fit on my linen string which had a serving as well as it's natural thinckness. Never measured my string thickness but it lasted me something like 5 seasons before breaking at the loop with ho other sign of distress at all. I'm afraid my drive for authenticity is thus drawing a line at linen on my lovely new yew 25Kg bow.


The depth (or lack thereof) of the nocks on medieval arrows surprises most people. A nock is typically not more than about 1/4". You don't need any more, since the string is only 1/8". A shallow nock is much stronger than a deep nock and far less likely to shear. The deep nock beloved of most re-enactors is more a comfort blanket because they're worried the arrow will fall off the string.

A 1/8" linen string on a 25Kg bow is plenty safe. You only need to really start worrying when using bows over about 50 - 55kg.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby gregory23b » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:46 pm

"It is perhaps more likely that a bowstring would be changed regularly to avoid it breaking."

That kind of adds to my point rather, that the ratio of strings to bows is high, there has to be an implication of an expectation of a short life span for the string, whether through breakage or removal upon wear.

The serving on the string needs to be factored into the picture, if the serving is for the 1/8 knock, then the string diameter is substantially narrower.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:22 pm

gregory23b wrote:"It is perhaps more likely that a bowstring would be changed regularly to avoid it breaking."

That kind of adds to my point rather, that the ratio of strings to bows is high, there has to be an implication of an expectation of a short life span for the string, whether through breakage or removal upon wear.

The serving on the string needs to be factored into the picture, if the serving is for the 1/8 knock, then the string diameter is substantially narrower.


I think you're right.

The modern idea that a bow and its string are together for life doesn't seem to fit into the medieval or Tudor viewpoint. A string was changed regularly. It makes sense, then, to have plenty of strings available. One string may have a life of a hundred arrows; the next may start to wear after a dozen. I guess they factored in a high percentage of wastage/bad strings.

Roger Ascham has a paragraph on strings. He mentions different stringsfor different needs. He says thick strings are safer, but slower; thin strings have more cast but can potentially break and destroy the bow. Today, many warbow archers will use a heavier string for general shooting, then switch to a thinner string for flight shooting their bow. My own flight bow, despite being heavier than my general shooting bow, has a thinner string (which could do with being even thinner!)

Unfortunately, there are no extant bowstrings, so everything is guesswork. There is no evidence (that I know) of strings being served (Ascham certainly doesn't mention a string serving) but there is mention of 'glues' for strings. At present we have little idea what this 'glue' was, or what it was made of. One must suspect it both strengthened the string (possibly by binding the fibres?) and protected it from moisture and wear. As I said previously, there is ongoing research in these areas by the English Warbow Society, but no results yet.

Curiously, on a modern (synthetic) string, serving the string tends to compress the string fibres together making the served area about the same, if not smaller, than the unserved string.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby gregory23b » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:36 pm

Good point re serving, esp if the string has a limited life expectancy, then the serving might not be needed at all.

That makes guessing a bowstring diameter a bit easier. Yes as well to the modern servingm, I was only mentioning it from a serving made from fine linen, but as you say that is conjectural.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby stevesjem » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:54 pm

I just thought I would step in here as there seems to be a bit of confusion on the whipping materials of both the MR arrows and the Westminster Abbey Arrow.
My name is Steve Stratton and myself and Mark Stretton have been fortunate enough to have examined and recreated arrows from both the MR and the WA, what is interesting is the similarity of the arrows even though the WA is medieval and the MR arrows are Tudor, I can categorically say 100% that they were all bound with silk, Dark Red Silk, the remnants of this are still there on arrows from both locations, Myself and Mark Stretton were asked after our research on this arrow to recreate as close a copy of The Westminster Abbey Arrow as possible, to do this we were given access to examine the arrow very closely and the result is they now have a close copy of the arrow which they now use as a prop for other researchers. The same at the MR, I am a bowyer and I make the closest replica bows to those fournd on the MR, I use the correct wood and the MR have allowed me and Mark to study these bows and the arrows at length.
The English Warbow Society Livery arrow spec is as close a replica of an arrow off the MR as you will find, using the correct wood (Aspen), fletchings (Goose), binding materials (Silk) and binding spacing, the head we use is a copy hand forged by Mark Stretton of the head found at Porchester castle near Portsmouth which is dated as tudor.
I hope this helps.

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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby gregory23b » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:22 pm

Hi Steve,

thanks for that, there is indeed confusion, but still your post leaves a few more to be asked.

Question re the WA arrow:

1) is there a published conservation analysis of the fletching thread, if so, where and by whom?

2) is the thread red because of the glue, or is it pre-dyed, refers to question 1.

3) 'dyed red', which red, madder, brazil, or other? again refers to question 1

4) is there one for the glue, what type of glue, the colouration, I recall a reddish colour on the WA arrow?

5) what glue did you use for your replicas?

cheers


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby stevesjem » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:46 pm

gregory23b wrote:Hi Steve,

thanks for that, there is indeed confusion, but still your post leaves a few more to be asked.

Question re the WA arrow:

1) is there a published conservation analysis of the fletching thread, if so, where and by whom?

2) is the thread red because of the glue, or is it pre-dyed, refers to question 1.

3) 'dyed red', which red, madder, brazil, or other? again refers to question 1

4) is there one for the glue, what type of glue, the colouration, I recall a reddish colour on the WA arrow?

5) what glue did you use for your replicas?

cheers

Well I will try and asnwer your questions.
1) No there is no conservation analysis on the thread, this is because when the original people examined the arrow they damaged it and at that point the WA decided that no more tests would be carried out on such a rare item, after all it is the only surviving medieval arrow in existance.
2) The thread is visually a dark red colour, why its red is hard to tell, its obviously been dyed and is a similar colour as was found on the MR silk.
3) Just dark Red thats all I can tell you.
4) The glue is as you say a brownish red colour and again no conservation data is available for this.
5) We used a mixture of Rosin and Beeswax, this gave it a distinctive brownish red colour of the original, this we had to make up as we were not allowed to analyze the glue on the arrow due to the decision of the WA after it had been damaged.

Thats about it, I wish I could tell you more.
Steve



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby gregory23b » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:47 pm

Hi Steve, thanks for that. Frustrating isn't it, analysis would answer a lot of questions. I am surprised the WA have kiboshed it, I didn't think modern analysis need damage an item all that much.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:33 pm

Date assumed for of the WA arrow is only based on the circumstantial evidence of where it was found within the Abbey structure. No scientific analysis has been done to establish it's age that I am aware of.

I appreciate Steve's post but am not sure how a layman can say with certainty of what the binding material is composed without access to scientific analysis. Perhaps Steve has had access to such data, as yet unpublished? I would imagine an expert could tell under a microscope.

I'm sure the War Bow fraternity are correct but would like to see definitive evidence.

Weapons of Warre where art thou? It was due to be published a year since.

Ref servings. I have a reference somewhere to strings being 'whipped'. But this could be interpreted as on the end loop(s) or a serving. I'll try and dig it out.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:59 pm

John Waller wrote:Date assumed for of the WA arrow is only based on the circumstantial evidence of where it was found within the Abbey structure. No scientific analysis has been done to establish it's age that I am aware of.

I appreciate Steve's post but am not sure how a layman can say with certainty of what the binding material is composed without access to scientific analysis. Perhaps Steve has had access to such data, as yet unpublished? I would imagine an expert could tell under a microscope.

I'm sure the War Bow fraternity are correct but would like to see definitive evidence.

Weapons of Warre where art thou? It was due to be published a year since.

Ref servings. I have a reference somewhere to strings being 'whipped'. But this could be interpreted as on the end loop(s) or a serving. I'll try and dig it out.


I think I'm much too empirically-minded to over-focus on details like this. If the records say silk was used, and examination reveals silk-like material, then I'm happy to except that silk was used to whip arrows ("if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck...")

Knowing the constituent components of a system only gives you the merest hint of what it's actually like. It's like cooking: knowing all the ingredients of a recipe and their proportion doesn't really give you an idea of what the dish is actually like to eat - what it tastes like, what components affect the flavour most, what the texture is, etc. You can only get a real feel for a recipe once you've cooked it and experimented with it.

Understanding the warbow is similar. Just having an intellectual notion of the components of the system doesn't give any feel for what it's like to actually shoot a warbow. Try shooting a Tudor military arrow over 220 yards and you'll begin to see what was important to the military archer - how your body has to move, what the bow feels like as it is drawn, what features are important in the design of the arrow, etc. Many of these are physical or emotional qualities that can't be captured in words or numbers. Yet I believe they are just as important to understanding your subject as knowing whether a bow string has a serving or not.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby gregory23b » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:34 pm

"If the records say silk was used, and examination reveals silk-like material, then I'm happy to except that silk was used to whip arrows ("if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck...")"

That is fine up to a point, there are many species of ducks and to keep the avian metaphor going, one swallow does not make a summer. Silk may well have been used, that does not mean it was used universally, just that we have a good idea that it was in at least two instances, that logic applies to all things of course.

We as reenactors are very keen to hang our coats on one or two 'definites', these then become absolutes and standards, something that we should be wary about.

"and examination reveals silk-like material,"

but that is important, it was a visual examination, that is not enough to make definitive statements, that should not be simply accepted as fact, hence the query about conservation analysis. What if this turned out to be a totally new material that looked like silk and was not, we would be missing out on a very important piece of new information, not saying that it is, but you get the point that more information is better and should be sought for than simply being satisfied at some.


"Just having an intellectual notion of the components of the system doesn't give any feel for what it's like to actually shoot a warbow. Try shooting a Tudor military arrow over 220 yards and you'll begin to see what was important to the military archer - how your body has to move, what the bow feels like as it is drawn, what features are important in the design of the arrow, etc. Many of these are physical or emotional qualities that can't be captured in words or numbers."

Question,

why does only or seem to apply to a Tudor warbow, why does it not apply to all archery, surely they are adaptations and variations on themes, the main theme being sending an arrow into something over a given distance? Not all of us have shot warbows or war arrows, but then when anyone is learning to shoot, they do not start with the heaviest bows, the principles remain the same (for each bow type).

I would also like to offer a well known historical archery contradiction to your comment, Ascham (Toxophilus), he intellectualised and philosophised about archery, he was not specifically talking about warbows either, just archery, he was as keen to get across how important the body and mind set were as well as the materials, in words.

"It's like cooking: knowing all the ingredients of a recipe and their proportion doesn't really give you an idea of what the dish is actually like to eat - what it tastes like, what components affect the flavour most, what the texture is, etc. You can only get a real feel for a recipe once you've cooked it and experimented with it."

Agreed, especially as you have used a historical cooking analogy, but, from personal experience, the experiment in cooking proves very little, given that people are prone to cook in their own way using basic principles, ie they tend to individualise things like that and all outcomes will be to some extent correct, that can't be the same with something like archery, which has more finites, few of which relate to personal taste.

But we are veering away from the key issue, that there is lots of guesswork still associated with archery, we are very reliant on limited archaeology and experimentation.


middle english dictionary

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John Waller
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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:44 pm

Continuing the avian theme. Have not the MR trust published that the analysis of the scant few remains of fletchings is suggestive of swan not goose? The more you learn the less you 'know'.


Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

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EnglishArcher
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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:52 pm

John Waller wrote:Continuing the avian theme. Have not the MR trust published that the analysis of the scant few remains of fletchings is suggestive of swan not goose? The more you learn the less you 'know'.


John, I think I've given up 'knowing' anything! I just have 'this is what I believe; today.'


English Warbow: When you absolutely, positively have to kill every muthaf**king Frenchman on the field. Accept no substitutes.

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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:13 pm

Agreed, especially as you have used a historical cooking analogy, but, from personal experience, the experiment in cooking proves very little, given that people are prone to cook in their own way using basic principles, ie they tend to individualise things like that and all outcomes will be to some extent correct, that can't be the same with something like archery, which has more finites, few of which relate to personal taste.


There are a number of definites in medieval archery, but fewer than most people suspect (and I believe they are different to what most people are taught!). There are a surprising number of ways to achieve these 'fixed points' and much of that is down to body dynamics, physique and, indeed, personal preference.

If you watch warbow archers, no two archers shoot the same. There are often distinct differences in 'style'; even though both will hit all the 'fixed points' required to shoot well. So I have a different style to Steve Stratton; who has a different style to Mark Stretton; who shoots very differently to Simon Stanley; and so on.

The archery many re-enactors are taught has its roots in Victorian archery (Horace Ford, to be more exact). Ford's technique lends itself particularly well to the systematic teaching of archery. That is, using the techniques developed by Ford most people can be taught to shoot a bow with reasonable competence. With this 'modern' technique there are a large number of fixed points - because that's how a systematic approach works.
However, it is almost useless for teaching the body mechanics required to draw the heavy war bows (it's got nothing to do with starting at seven years old) To shoot a heavy bow you must learn how to utilise all the strong muscle groups, in the right order, to bear the weight of the bow. And that is something you can only teach heuristically. As a result there are almost endless variations.


English Warbow: When you absolutely, positively have to kill every muthaf**king Frenchman on the field. Accept no substitutes.


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