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English or "British" longbows

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  • Evian Blackthorn
    Taillear wrote: In 1542 an Act established that no man who had reached the age of 24 years might shoot at any mark at less than 11 score (220yds) distance.
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 8, 2002
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      Taillear wrote:

      "In 1542 an Act established that no man who had reached the
      age of 24 years
      might shoot at any mark at less than 11 score (220yds)
      distance."

      Verbatum from Longbow, A Social and Military History, Robert
      Hardy

      Let's see. 1542 was just three years before the Mary Rose
      sank, and also just three years before Roger Ascham
      published "Toxophilus". It might also be mentioned that it
      is one thing for a bow to have a range of 220-250 yards (as
      indicated by Conrad Von Zollern), and quite another to be
      REQUIRED to shoot at a target at a mimimum of 220 yards (as
      indicated by Taillear). I just looked at a box of Remington
      .22 caliber short cartridges, and it claims a range of 1 1/4
      miles. How many shoots are held today using .22 shorts with
      the target a minimum of a mile and a quarter away? Or even a
      mile away? Or using any other cartridge, for that matter?
      There is a BIG difference between the range of a projectile,
      and the distance at which a person can actually hit a target
      consistantly. My 62# longbow might actually be capable of
      shooting an arrow 250 yards (I doubt it, but I have never
      tried for maximum distance), but I know I would only
      accidentally be able to hit a target at 220 yards with it.

      YIS
      Evian Blackthorn of THE WEB
      http://www.spider-strands.com
      Editor, Bodkin and Bolt Magazine
      http://www.dskonline.net/bodkin
      APD TEST Site
      http://users.ev1.net/~theweb/apdintro.htm
    • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
      Greetings, and especially to Evian, I m sorry but I must disagree with you on this one M Lord. In many of the mundane shoots that I participate in, especially
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 8, 2002
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        Greetings, and especially to Evian,
        I'm sorry but I must disagree with you on this one M'Lord. In many
        of the mundane shoots that I participate in, especially the BLBS shoots,
        we regularly shoot the clout at 180 yards and although I personally
        shoot a heavier bow than most, none of the participants have any
        difficulty reaching the target and scoring with some level of accuracy.
        The BLBS has a draw weight ceiling of 70# ( that's what I shoot
        there,... one of my lighter bows) but most men are shooting bows that
        draw at between 45-55#. The arrows are of course standard target
        arrows(lighter weight) and there are some pretty far overshots.
        Given the weight of bow that the medieval archer shot, the amount of
        time that was spent at it, the availability of space and the many
        existing period plans for roving courses, I have no doubt to the
        accuracy of the distance claims. It is a bit humbling to us in today's
        overpopulated and under available spaced society. These things did
        happen,
        and heavy war arrows were propelled at amazing speeds and ranges by
        enormously "shoulder crushing" strength bows . Their's was a different
        life than ours. We use our great technology to try and undrstand what
        they did. But if our understanding still makes us stand in awe of them,
        let's not discount them, they were just that darn good. Dontcha think?
        Respectfully,
        -Geoffrei


        http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
      • conradvonzollern
        Greetings, I find it interesting that a post that I made, merely pointing out that English longbows were probably originally from the continent or
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 8, 2002
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          Greetings,

          I find it interesting that a post that I made, merely pointing out
          that "English" longbows were probably originally from the continent
          or Scandinavia took this tangent...

          I do not claim to be an expert, but I do have a science degree, and I
          did do some archaeology in college, and I have done some research on
          this subject...

          Let me clarify, the Mary Rose had one very powerful bow on it, and
          probably a magnificent archer to match to it.

          That really doesn't scientifically prove very much...

          A few years ago Howard Hill used a 172 pound longbow to shoot an
          arrow 391 feet...

          If somebody 450 years from now digs up a hard drive with that single
          line from this post on it, that doesn't mean they should assume that
          we can all typically do that. I don't doubt that there were many
          archers who could do tremendous things with bows in period, they did
          it from childhood, and the best did it for a living... But, I also do
          not believe that typical English archers were all massive fellows
          over 6 feet tall, and pulled bows of the maximum computer generated
          theoretical weights of nearly 200 pounds. Maybe a few did, maybe just
          one did, or maybe the computer model is wrong.

          We simply do not have enough pieces of the puzzle yet, to say for
          sure... For now, with the existing evidence, I would have to agree
          with the two current authorities Count M. Mildmay Stayner, Recorder
          of the British Long Bow Society, who estimates the bows of the
          Medieval period drew between 90 and 110 pounds, maximum; and Mr. W.F.
          Paterson, Chairman of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries, who believes
          the weapon had a supreme draw weight of only 80 to 90 pounds.

          I also believe that most people over estimate the weights of
          period "war arrows." Robert Hardy suggests 73g total weight for a 31
          1/2" birch, hornbeam, oak or ash (Ascham's preferred woods) shaft
          with a 13g Type 7 bodkin on it... The Mary Rose had both poplar and
          alder shafts on board, that would have dropped the weights to 46g and
          71g respectively, put on a 7g Type 16 warhead and your weights are
          now down to 40g and 65g respectively. 42g being the weight of a Type
          16 arrow found in Westminster Abbey above the tomb of Henry V.

          The maximum average was probably between 80 - 110 pounds, and the
          fellows on the Mary Rose were probably all above average fellows,
          having been selected to serve on the king's flagship as archers.

          Maybe Henry VIII's personal guard of archers were all massive six
          foot tall Danes from York, I really doubt it, but maybe they were...
          I can argue that if they were, there is some archaeological evidence
          to support that they were shooting "Norse longbows," not English or
          Welsh longbows, and their ancestors may have been doing the same
          thing since the 4th or 5th Centuries...

          Conrad Von Zollern
        • Mike O'Toole
          ... Actually this is a topic many of us are familiar with and has been covered here several times. Even though the English did not invent the English
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 9, 2002
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            conradvonzollern wrote:

            > Greetings,
            >
            > I find it interesting that a post that I made, merely pointing out that
            > "English" longbows were probably originally from the continent or
            > Scandinavia took this tangent...


            Actually this is a topic many of us are familiar with and has been
            covered here several times. Even though the English did not invent the
            "English Longbow" you certainly can't deny that they used it to great
            effect both on the continent and at home.

            >
            > I do not claim to be an expert, but I do have a science degree, and
            > I did do some archaeology in college, and I have done some
            > research on this subject...
            >
            > Let me clarify, the Mary Rose had one very powerful bow on it, and
            probably
            > a magnificent archer to match to it.
            >
            > That really doesn't scientifically prove very much...
            >
            > A few years ago Howard Hill used a 172 pound longbow to shoot an arrow
            > 391 feet...


            I think you mean yards. My 51 pound longbow can easily toss an arrow
            130.3 yards.

            >
            > If somebody 450 years from now digs up a hard drive with that single
            line from this post on it, that doesn't mean they should assume that
            > we can all typically do that. I don't doubt that there were many
            > archers who could do tremendous things with bows in period, they did
            > it from childhood, and the best did it for a living... But, I also do
            > not believe that typical English archers were all massive fellows
            > over 6 feet tall, and pulled bows of the maximum computer generated
            > theoretical weights of nearly 200 pounds. Maybe a few did, maybe just
            > one did, or maybe the computer model is wrong.


            I don't see how you could possibly think the computer model or Hardy
            suggests (or anyone else on this list for that matter) all of the bows
            are at or near 185 pounds. I have just looked at Table 1 and Table 2
            again. One bow of the eight that had draw weights calculated by
            mathematical modelling had a draw weight of 185 pounds at thirty inches.
            The calculated value dropped to 172 at 28 inches draw. Over half
            (five) of the bows are calculated to have draw weights between 110 and
            136 pounds

            About the only things you can generalize from these tables is that none
            of the eight (of 138 bows recovered in total from the Mary Rose)
            matched the computer model for draw weights (not hard to believe with
            the bows being almost 500 years old.) The two bows stored in the Tower
            of London since 1842 had the lowest calculated draw weights (these were
            not tested.) Finally, the recreation bow made by Roy King with Oregon
            yew matched almost exactly the calculated draw weight.

            >
            > We simply do not have enough pieces of the puzzle yet, to say for
            > sure... For now, with the existing evidence, I would have to agree
            > with the two current authorities Count M. Mildmay Stayner, Recorder
            > of the British Long Bow Society, who estimates the bows of the
            > Medieval period drew between 90 and 110 pounds, maximum; and Mr. W.F.
            > Paterson, Chairman of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries, who believes
            > the weapon had a supreme draw weight of only 80 to 90 pounds.

            And while I'm sure these two gentlemen are knowlegeable, in the absence
            of anything other than their opinions I'm more inclined to believe
            Hardy, Kooi, King and their physical recreations and methematical models.

            > I also believe that most people over estimate the weights of
            > period "war arrows." Robert Hardy suggests 73g total weight for a 31
            > 1/2" birch, hornbeam, oak or ash (Ascham's preferred woods) shaft
            > with a 13g Type 7 bodkin on it... The Mary Rose had both poplar and
            > alder shafts on board, that would have dropped the weights to 46g and
            > 71g respectively, put on a 7g Type 16 warhead and your weights are
            > now down to 40g and 65g respectively. 42g being the weight of a Type
            > 16 arrow found in Westminster Abbey above the tomb of Henry V.

            Very nice paraphrase of the last half of Hardy's paragraph 6 on page
            212. Where is your evidence to support "I also believe that most people
            over estimate the weights of period "war arrows."

            My experience is with a number of ash arrows I have made. Two of which
            I have just pulled from my quiver and weighed. They both have 54 pound
            spines and weigh in at 28.1 and 27.8 grams and are 29.75 inches long. I
            can easily believe that adding another 1.75" in length and roughly
            doubling the spine could result in an arrow that weighs 60 grams. I'll
            post my results when I build one that big. I've also got some lovely
            poplar curing to build half a dozen 110 pound spine Tudor war arrows
            which I will also post specs for when finished.

            > The maximum average was probably between 80 - 110 pounds, and the
            fellows
            > on the Mary Rose were probably all above average fellows, having
            > been selected to serve on the king's flagship as archers.

            There is no evidence that I know of to support this, Perhaps you could
            post a list of sources.

            >
            > Maybe Henry VIII's personal guard of archers were all massive six foot
            > tall Danes from York, I really doubt it, but maybe they were... I
            > can argue that if they were, there is some archaeological evidence to
            > support that they were shooting "Norse longbows," not English or Welsh
            > longbows, and their ancestors may have been doing the same thing
            > since the 4th or 5th Centuries...

            I don't understand why you seem to think you had to be a "massive six
            foot tall Dane from York" to draw a bow in the 125-135 pound range. I
            probably cannot do it myself at this moment but then again I haven't
            tried nor practiced.

            Look at the last page of colour plates in Hardy's Longbow. On the left
            is Simon Stanley drawing MRA 1 (102lbs) Simon doesn't look particularly
            massive to me. Perhaps you should check out the video Blood Red Roses.
            There is a section with Simon shooting a substantial looking longbow.
            To quote him on the type of man shooting the heavy bows "The people
            that shot the bow, they'd have been physically strong men, used to using
            their bodies. All your upper body comes into play with these heavy
            bows. Right the way from your lower back to the tops of your shoulders
            and neck."

            In your example above, Howard Hill could draw a 172 pound bow. From
            pictures I remember he was tall but not particularly "massively" built.

            Shooting a heavy longbow isn't a question of mass but of coordinating
            several parts of your body together to work efficiently and draw the bow.


            Michael O'Byrne



            >
            > Conrad Von Zollern
            >
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          • eulenhorst@juno.com
            I would like to emphasize Geoffrei s point by mentioning that at a 90 yd clout we held some 4 yrs ago a lady with a rather inefficient solid fiberglass bow
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 9, 2002
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              I would like to emphasize Geoffrei's point by mentioning that at a 90 yd
              clout we held some 4 yrs ago a lady with a rather inefficient solid
              fiberglass bow drawing 25 pounds was able to accurately hit the target
              consistently. Requiring practice at a distance of 220 yds did not mean
              flat shots at a vertical target. Its purpose was to develop skills used
              in volley fire.

              In service to the dream,
              Carolus von Eulenhorst
              eulenhorst@...

              On Tue, 8 Jan 2002 22:37:00 -0500 (EST) jrosswebb1@... writes:
              > Greetings, and especially to Evian,
              > I'm sorry but I must disagree with you on this one M'Lord. In
              > many
              > of the mundane shoots that I participate in, especially the BLBS
              > shoots,
              > we regularly shoot the clout at 180 yards and although I personally
              > shoot a heavier bow than most, none of the participants have any
              > difficulty reaching the target and scoring with some level of
              > accuracy.
              > The BLBS has a draw weight ceiling of 70# ( that's what I shoot
              > there,... one of my lighter bows) but most men are shooting bows
              > that
              > draw at between 45-55#. The arrows are of course standard target
              > arrows(lighter weight) and there are some pretty far overshots.
              > Given the weight of bow that the medieval archer shot, the amount
              > of
              > time that was spent at it, the availability of space and the many
              > existing period plans for roving courses, I have no doubt to the
              > accuracy of the distance claims. It is a bit humbling to us in
              > today's
              > overpopulated and under available spaced society. These things did
              > happen,
              > and heavy war arrows were propelled at amazing speeds and ranges by
              > enormously "shoulder crushing" strength bows . Their's was a
              > different
              > life than ours. We use our great technology to try and undrstand
              > what
              > they did. But if our understanding still makes us stand in awe of
              > them,
              > let's not discount them, they were just that darn good. Dontcha
              > think?
              > Respectfully,
              > -Geoffrei
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            • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
              Greetings List and Good Day Conrad, Wow! Lots said here. Let s be real careful about our math and our conversion tables. To figure out grams to grains we
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 9, 2002
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                Greetings List and Good Day Conrad,
                Wow! Lots said here. Let's be real careful about our math and our
                conversion tables. To figure out grams to grains we multiply by 15.43.
                by this table usng Hardy's estimate of a 70+ gram war arrow that comes
                out to over 1100 grains. The arrow that you mentioned that is over the
                tomb of Henry V that weighs in at 40+ grams is almost 600 years old and
                has degraded, lost moisture and is bound to be much lighter and using
                your statement from before, it is only one arrow. There are hundreds of
                others recovered from the "Mary Rose" that would dispute that .
                Please look at the table on projected arrow flighs in the back of
                the Hardy book and you will see that tha Howard Hill shot with the 170+
                # bow sent a light flight arrow 391 YARDS not feet. Please also note the
                projected range of other weight arrows and bows and you wil see that
                they are in line with reported projections of distance ranges.
                I am curious what type of warhead was only 7grams (108 grains).
                Where did you get that figure? Most bodkin points that I know of are at
                least 15grams and then go up considerably from there.
                There were 138 bows recovered from the "Mary Rose" not seven or
                eight. The estimated poundage of these bows is at 90-180. They have been
                submerged under the sea for over 400 years and the degradation is to be
                expected.
                A couple of years ago an American
                fellow named Chief A.J. shot a 200# yew longbow made by Gerald Welsh and
                set a new flight record with a hand held self bow. This gentleman
                although very strong is not of exceptional height (and was also 60 years
                old).
                Yes, you are correct that most scholars feel that the
                Welsh/British Long-Bow had it's roots in the Norse countries. Some
                Native American tribes also shot bows of similar cross section as did
                other cultures.
                I am 5'10" tall, I am 50 years old, I am strong, but hardly a
                "body builder" type and I currently am shooting a British Long-Bow that
                is 74" tall and draws at well over 90# @27". The target arrows that I
                shoot are at least 700 grains.
                I don't think the conclusions in Hardy's book are out of line
                and they do have the facts as we know them to support .
                Just adding my more than two cents worth.
                Respectfully,
                -Geoffrei


                http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
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