Long bows, longer bows

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Foxe
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Long bows, longer bows

Postby Foxe » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:14 pm

I have just read that after the 1497 Battle of Blackheath, in which Cornish rebels were defeated by Henry VII's troops, the victors noted that Cornish bows were six inches longer than their own, and Cornish arrows a full yard long.

What are the implications of that? How long were the Cornish bows? What difference would it make?


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Alan E
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Re: Long bows, longer bows

Postby Alan E » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:47 am

AIUI: Assuming (!) they are of the same draw weight, they would be slightly less likely to break drawing a longer arrow. They would 'probably'* have a slower cast (the limb ends having to travel further from full draw); this 'might' be accounted for by the longer arrow.


*but speed of cast is highly dependent on the grain of the wood used.


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Foxe
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Re: Long bows, longer bows

Postby Foxe » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:06 pm

I've just found another reference, this time from a century later, to Cornish arrows being a "cloth yard" long.

I wonder if this really is evidence of a regionally distinctive bow - two different sources and all that...*

(*The later one is a primary source, the earlier one is from a fairly trustworthy modern source, but worth following up to check).


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Fox
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Re: Long bows, longer bows

Postby Fox » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:52 am

Is that a Cornish "cloth yard" or a standard English one? :wink:



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Re: Long bows, longer bows

Postby Langley » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:14 pm

Were Cornishmen taller than the English then? If you have a bow longer than your height plus a fistmel it is pretty difficult to knock the thing...



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Foxe
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Re: Long bows, longer bows

Postby Foxe » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:40 pm

Dunno, but the late 16thC source I mentioned above (Carew's Survey of Cornwall) goes on at some length about the strength and longevity of Cornishmen.

For strength, one John Bray (well knowne to me as my tenant) carried upon his backe, at one time, by the space welneere of a Butte length, sixe bushels of wheaten meale, reckoning fifteen gallons to the bushel, and the Miller a lubber of foure and twenty yeres age, upon the whole


And

For health, 80. & 90. yeres age, is ordinary in every place, and in most persons, accompanied with an able use of the body & his sences.


If there's any truth at all in such statements it would suggest a good general health, which in turn might suggest a greater general height. But six inches taller? Seems unlikely.


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Re: Long bows, longer bows

Postby simonw » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:55 pm

It just may be as simple as the wood used to supply the bows for the army at the time of that battle needed the greater length because of a poor grain in the wood.




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