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Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking

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  • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
    Dear James and all, There is an old expression from Merry Ole England: 4 and 20 Scotsman on your belt which refers to the sheave of arrows that an archer
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 1, 2000
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      Dear James and all,
      There is an old expression from Merry Ole England: "4 and 20
      Scotsman on your belt" which refers to the sheave of arrows that an
      archer would be handed and take into battle. 6 of these would be kept
      long (a cloth yard) drawn to the ear for flight and be fitted with
      different heads,
      usually broadheads for injuring horses and taking down the rider, and
      the remaining 18 would be fitted with more common bodkin types and were
      usually shorter for more accurate closer shooting.
      My source for all of this comes from various sources, an old book
      on weaponry by Farris (it's for young readers,but the illustrations are
      great) The History of Marksmanship by Trench, and don't laugh, but an
      article written by Ben Pearson that I read when working on my archery
      Merit Badge in the Boy Scouts back around 1960. ( Okay, my secret's out,
      before I became a mean biker in the late 60's, I was a Boy Scout.)
      How accurate any of this is, is debatable, but these are the
      tales that have come down to us. Most of the writing that we have on
      medieval archery(Western Euro.) are at best from later period writers
      that looked back with a bit of romance and exaggeration. The types of
      men(and women?) that were archers were common, and not literate as a
      rule. The tales of battle were usually written about the nobles, and the
      period writers had a big problem with accuracy and numbers, i.e.: Does
      anyone really know for sure the actual numbers of French to English at
      Agincourt?
      -Geoffrei



      http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
    • Alberic
      Greetings: On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere that many military arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads, so
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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        Greetings:

        On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
        that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads, so
        they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot back.
        This apparently didn't have much effect on target damage, but I expect
        they switched types when firing against hardened/armoured targets.
        (Volley fire against peasants is one thing, knights another.)

        Cheers-
        Alberic
      • Karl Sandhoff
        I ve also read this about crossbow bolts but not about arrows. In fact, I ve read a number of accounts af gleaning shafts from the field between engagements.
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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          I've also read this about crossbow bolts but not about arrows. In fact,
          I've read a number of accounts af gleaning shafts from the field between
          engagements.
          In service to the dream,
          Carolus von Eulenhorst

          On Sat, 02 Dec 2000 00:32:59 -0800 Alberic <ALBERIC@...>
          writes:
          >Greetings:
          >
          >On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
          >that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads,
          >so
          >they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot
          >back.
          >This apparently didn't have much effect on target damage, but I expect
          >they switched types when firing against hardened/armoured targets.
          >(Volley fire against peasants is one thing, knights another.)
          >
          >Cheers-
          >Alberic
          >
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          >

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        • Mike O'Toole
          ... From: paul kaveshan To: Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2000 7:15 PM Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "paul kaveshan" <pkjdw@...>
            To: <SCA-Archery@egroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2000 7:15 PM
            Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking


            > >From: Alberic <ALBERIC@...>
            > >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
            > >Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000 00:32:59 -0800
            > >
            > >On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
            > >that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads,
            so
            > >they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot
            back.
            >
            > Greetings.
            >
            > I read this too somewhere. Once a 600 grain point is in flight, a
            150(?)
            > grain shaft wont help that much in penetration. I am trying to find
            the
            > book in which it had the specs of this type of arrow.

            You may want to double check this fact about 150 grain shafts.

            The only verifiable arrow shafts that I know of from the middle ages are
            the ones recovered from the Mary Rose and they were about 1/2 inch in
            diameter and made of poplar. This size may be hard to conceive but when
            you think that the Mary Rose bows with draw weights of 110 to 185 lbs
            would need very strong shafts. Now when I consider 5/16 Port Orford
            Cedar shafts weiging in at ~350 grains I can easily imagine a half inch
            piece of poplar having a mass of 800-1000 grains

            In Toxophilus Ascham writes

            "Yet, as concerning sheaf arrows for war, (as I suppose) it were better
            to make them of good ash, and not of asp, as they be nowadays. For of
            all other woods that ever I proved, ash being big is swiftest, and again
            heavy to give a great stripe withal, which asp shall not do. What
            heaviness doth in a stripe, everyman by experience can tell; therefore
            ash being both swifter and heavier is more fit for sheaf arrows than
            asp: and thus much for the best wood for shafts."

            Toxophilus, Ascham, Simon Archery Foundation, p120

            This quotation certainly leads me to believe that in the medieval
            mindset that the "stripe" or striking power was also dependent on the
            material of the shaft and not just in the mass of the head.

            Michael O'Byrne
            Montengarde
          • paul kaveshan
            ... Greetings. I read this too somewhere. Once a 600 grain point is in flight, a 150(?) grain shaft wont help that much in penetration. I am trying to find
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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              >From: Alberic <ALBERIC@...>
              >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
              >Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000 00:32:59 -0800
              >
              >On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
              >that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads, so
              >they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot back.

              Greetings.

              I read this too somewhere. Once a 600 grain point is in flight, a 150(?)
              grain shaft wont help that much in penetration. I am trying to find the
              book in which it had the specs of this type of arrow.

              Keep em flying.



              Ld James
              Shire of Tempio
              Archery marshal
              Chronicler
              Cadet to OEngus of Greymist

              _____________________________________________________________________________________
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            • James W. Pratt Jr.
              For those not use to weight of wood. Poplar is lighter than ash. Until I find my book on weight per cubic foot poplar feels lighter than norway pine. I have
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 3, 2000
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                For those not use to weight of wood. Poplar is lighter than ash. Until I
                find my book on weight per cubic foot poplar feels lighter than norway pine.
                I have shot a poplar arrow off a 36 lb recurve and it went over 150yards.
                Plus it is very brittle and broke the head off when it hit the road(which
                was a good 40yards behind my intended target).

                James Cunningham

                > You may want to double check this fact about 150 grain shafts.
                >
                > The only verifiable arrow shafts that I know of from the middle ages are
                > the ones recovered from the Mary Rose and they were about 1/2 inch in
                > diameter and made of poplar. This size may be hard to conceive but when
                > you think that the Mary Rose bows with draw weights of 110 to 185 lbs
                > would need very strong shafts. Now when I consider 5/16 Port Orford
                > Cedar shafts weiging in at ~350 grains I can easily imagine a half inch
                > piece of poplar having a mass of 800-1000 grains
                >
                > In Toxophilus Ascham writes
                >
                > "Yet, as concerning sheaf arrows for war, (as I suppose) it were better
                > to make them of good ash, and not of asp, as they be nowadays. For of
                > all other woods that ever I proved, ash being big is swiftest, and again
                > heavy to give a great stripe withal, which asp shall not do. What
                > heaviness doth in a stripe, everyman by experience can tell; therefore
                > ash being both swifter and heavier is more fit for sheaf arrows than
                > asp: and thus much for the best wood for shafts."
                >
                > Toxophilus, Ascham, Simon Archery Foundation, p120
                >
                > This quotation certainly leads me to believe that in the medieval
                > mindset that the "stripe" or striking power was also dependent on the
                > material of the shaft and not just in the mass of the head.
                >
                > Michael O'Byrne
                > Montengarde
                >
                >
                >
                > Get medieval at Mad Macsen's
                > http://www.MedievalMart.com/
                >
                > Sponsored by House Wyvern Hall, BBM, East Kingdom, SCA
                > [Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]
                >
                >
              • paul kaveshan
                ... I agree that they may not have been 150 grain shafts. Thats why I put the (?) in there. I was not quoting a fact. I really dont know how heavy a shaft
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 3, 2000
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                  >From: "Mike O'Toole" <mike.otoole@...>
                  >Reply-To: SCA-Archery@egroups.com
                  >To: <SCA-Archery@egroups.com>
                  >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
                  >Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000 15:15:01 -0700

                  >You may want to double check this fact about 150 grain shafts.
                  >The only verifiable arrow shafts that I know of from the middle ages >are
                  >the ones recovered from the Mary Rose and they were about 1/2 >inch in
                  >diameter and made of poplar.

                  I agree that they may not have been 150 grain shafts. Thats why I put the
                  (?) in there. I was not quoting a fact. I really dont know how heavy a
                  shaft they may have been. But it still holds that once the arrow is in
                  flight, most of the energy will be put on the target. Even if the shaft
                  breaks on impact, the point still has the mass & speed behind it.

                  Ld James
                  _____________________________________________________________________________________
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                • Brad Boda d'Aylward
                  Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking ... (snippage) ... My understanding is that for some of these battles, the local clergy performed religious
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 22, 2000
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                    Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking


                    >Dear James and all,
                    (snippage)
                    > How accurate any of this is, is debatable, but these are the
                    >tales that have come down to us. Most of the writing that we have on
                    >medieval archery(Western Euro.) are at best from later period writers
                    >that looked back with a bit of romance and exaggeration. The types of
                    >men(and women?) that were archers were common, and not literate as a
                    >rule. The tales of battle were usually written about the nobles, and the
                    >period writers had a big problem with accuracy and numbers, i.e.: Does
                    >anyone really know for sure the actual numbers of French to English at
                    >Agincourt?
                    >-Geoffrei
                    >
                    My understanding is that for some of these battles, the local clergy
                    performed religious rites just prior to the battles and then waited in the
                    wings, as it were, to perform the death rites afterwards. These men were the
                    chroniclers of these after action reports and being quite litterate,
                    provided more accurate reports than usual.

                    Brad
                  • Michael vanBergen
                    Brad, I wish I had my notes on the book in hand but no such luck, so I will wing it. A book titled Eyewitness to History by ? found at Barnes and Noble, has
                    Message 9 of 14 , Dec 22, 2000
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                      Brad, I wish I had my notes on the book in hand but no such luck, so I
                      will wing it. A book titled "Eyewitness to History" by ? found at Barnes
                      and Noble, has a 2 page or so article on Agincourt written by a french
                      knight who survived the day. He said the 1st french battle sent 6000 to
                      the left wing of English archers and 6000 to the right wing, while the
                      rest of the battle went to the center. On one side, only 20 or so made it
                      into the wall of stakes while 6 score made it into the stakes on the
                      other side.He states the archers were on the wings and angled forward
                      with the English men at arms in the center. Further, he states that the
                      English threw down their quivers and bows ( no mention of arrows) ,
                      picked up their side weapons and waded into the gaps in the line that
                      they had created and continued to fight. The 2nd battle came on and got
                      caught up in the disarray ofthe 1st battle. The 3rd battle never tried
                      the field.

                      There is also a story on Crecy there as well.

                      Compared to today an d our in depth news reporting, they really werent
                      that specific. An article on KLing richard, from the same book as above
                      stuff, states the king was above average height with a ruddy complexion.

                      Michael

                      On Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:39:29 -0500 "Brad Boda d'Aylward"
                      <bradb@...> writes:
                      > Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
                      >
                      >
                      > >Dear James and all,
                      > (snippage)
                      > > How accurate any of this is, is debatable, but these are
                      > the
                      > >tales that have come down to us. Most of the writing that we have
                      > on
                      > >medieval archery(Western Euro.) are at best from later period
                      > writers
                      > >that looked back with a bit of romance and exaggeration. The types
                      > of
                      > >men(and women?) that were archers were common, and not literate as
                      > a
                      > >rule. The tales of battle were usually written about the nobles,
                      > and the
                      > >period writers had a big problem with accuracy and numbers, i.e.:
                      > Does
                      > >anyone really know for sure the actual numbers of French to English
                      > at
                      > >Agincourt?
                      > >-Geoffrei
                      > >
                      > My understanding is that for some of these battles, the local clergy
                      > performed religious rites just prior to the battles and then waited
                      > in the
                      > wings, as it were, to perform the death rites afterwards. These men
                      > were the
                      > chroniclers of these after action reports and being quite litterate,
                      > provided more accurate reports than usual.
                      >
                      > Brad
                      >
                      >
                      > -------------------------- eGroups Sponsor
                      >
                      > Get medieval at Mad Macsen's
                      > http://www.MedievalMart.com/
                      >
                      > Sponsored by House Wyvern Hall, BBM, East Kingdom, SCA
                      > [Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]
                      >
                      >
                    • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
                      Dear Brad, And your answer to the question of Agincourt is?....................? I have read conflicting reports written by very literate people of the period
                      Message 10 of 14 , Dec 22, 2000
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                        Dear Brad,
                        And your answer to the question of Agincourt
                        is?....................?
                        I have read conflicting reports written by very literate people of the
                        period as having anywhere between 25 to 50 thousand French and several
                        hundred to a few thousand English. Contemporary 20th century military
                        scholars who after counting the actual divisions that they knew were
                        employed have estimated that it was between 10 to 15 thousand French
                        against about 1 to 2 thousand English. But the actual true answer is:
                        unknown. The documentation conflicts and all that we really know is that
                        the English were greatly outnumbered.
                        Medieval census taking was notoriously wrong. Recounts of battles are
                        notoriously exagerated, and although they seemed to count just fine when
                        it came to commercial exchanges, they did seem to have a problem with
                        overstating numbers to flesh out a story or a census. Of course we can't
                        be so "cocky" about how we count, the election ya know.
                        Respectfully,
                        -Geoffrei


                        http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
                      • Brad Boda d'Aylward
                        Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking ... Aah. Tis of a truth you do speak. I know of which you refer. (sorry, Midsummer s on Cinemax) Try to get a
                        Message 11 of 14 , Dec 23, 2000
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                          Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking


                          >Dear Brad,
                          > And your answer to the question of Agincourt
                          >is?....................?
                          >I have read conflicting reports written by very literate people of the
                          >period as having anywhere between 25 to 50 thousand French and several
                          >hundred to a few thousand English. Contemporary 20th century military
                          >scholars who after counting the actual divisions that they knew were
                          >employed have estimated that it was between 10 to 15 thousand French
                          >against about 1 to 2 thousand English. But the actual true answer is:
                          >unknown. The documentation conflicts and all that we really know is that
                          >the English were greatly outnumbered.
                          >Medieval census taking was notoriously wrong. Recounts of battles are
                          >notoriously exagerated, and although they seemed to count just fine when
                          >it came to commercial exchanges, they did seem to have a problem with
                          >overstating numbers to flesh out a story or a census. Of course we can't
                          >be so "cocky" about how we count, the election ya know.
                          >Respectfully,
                          >-Geoffrei
                          >
                          Aah. 'Tis of a truth you do speak. I know of which you refer. (sorry,
                          Midsummer's on Cinemax) Try to get a head count of the fighters on the
                          field at Pennsic............ and this in an age of people who are known to
                          be able to count.

                          Brad
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