Medieval and SCA Archery Sources

Aoife shares annotated links pertaining to medieval archery, including many SCA-related sites, Archery periodicals and sites for archery groups.

Hello everyone.

This week's Links list is on Medieval Archery. It is NOT a repeat of last year's Medieval Archery Links list. Many of those links are no longer with us. Instead I started my search from scratch, and due to a recent request for images, included a few links with historical images at those sites.

I hope that, now that archery season is gearing up, you'll all find something useful to use in the list. As always, please feel free to pass this list along wherever it will find interest.

Aoife, dusting off her bow

Medieval Archery Homepage
(Site Excerpt) This site is dedicated to traditional Bow shooting. A first part is focused on medieval Archery; a second part on the history of Archery throughout the world; a third part concerns various information about Archery, such as types of games, reviews books and films, an English/French/German glossary, calendar of our activities, links, etc ...

SCA Archery Homepage
Lists interkingdom archery choots, archery websites, archery lists, etc....

Interkingdom Combat Archery Competitions

On Target Online!
The official An Tir Royal Archer Web site magazine

Making Flemish Bowstrings
(Site Excerpt) General Instructions for Crafting the String Prepare and Cut Bundles
Using the table and formula above, prepare and cut the bundles of B50 to the appropriate length. (It is assumed you are making a traditional two-color Flemish string. Keep the strands of the same color in their own "bundle".)

Stephan's Florilegium--Archery

Regia Anglorum Anglo-Saxon Archery
(Site Excerpt) One of the most common arguments against bows is 'If they were at all common why have we never found many?'. At first this seems a valid argument until you consider that from the period of the longbow's greatness ( c.1250 - 1500 AD ) not one bowstave 1, of the tens of thousands known to have been produced, has survived. Indeed, until the discovery of the Mary Rose, we had no medieval bows at all. It is therefore quite surprising to consider that from the first millennium somewhere in the region of 40 - 50 bowstaves have survived with traces of many others having been found. As with most weapons finds, most of these come from pagan grave finds, but they can give us a very good idea of the type of bow in use shortly before, and probably during, our period.

(Site Excerpt) Don't let the word 'physics' put you off - read the article for an insight into how modern science can help us understand the history of the weapon we now use for sport (and ignore the formulae if you must!) It is generally believed that the main factor responsible for the English victory at the battle the Agincourt in 1415 was the longbow. Gareth Rees describes from a physicist's point of view why we believe this simple weapon was so devastatingly effective.

The Plantagenet Medieval Archery and Combat Society

Traditional and Medieval Archery Links

Traditional & Medieval Archery Association at the University of Missouri
(Site Excerpt) Our purpose is to promote local research of historic archery activities & practices, and to provide members and guests the opportunity to engage in archery activities, both historic & modern.

Yahoogroups Medieval Archery

Medieval Archery on Ebay
Three items found: Three replicas: A Quiver with arrows, a cross bow, and a recurve.

3 Rivers Archery Traditional Bows and Arrows
A retailer

The Archery Center: The specialists in field, traditional, and re-enactment archery.
Another retailer

Wolfshead Bowmen Medieval Archery Group
(Site Excerpt) Based in the "1066 Country", our headquarters can be found at Michelham Priory,near Eastbourne, East Sussex,where meetings and practice shootings are held on the first and third day of each month, where applications for new membership are welcome. Wolfshead Bowmen have appeared, as extras, in several film and television productions.
For further information contact the club secretary here: Welcome to the official site for Wolfshead-Bowmen. The premier medieval archery group.

Eric's Archery Page
The bowyer's home on the web
(Site Excerpt) The focus of this site is primitive/traditional bow making and archery.

Sticks and Stones Primitive Archery

Crossbow Books

Crossbows FAQ

Make Your Own Crossbow

Medieval Longbow at AEMMA
(Site Excerpt) AEMMA through a partnership with the Canadian Association of Ancient and Medieval Archery and the Royal Ontario Museum continue the research and development in the resurrection and reconstruction of medieval martial arts now extends to the realm of medieval longbow. The longbow is constructed in the traditional manner of a minimum of 5' 6", of a historical authentic "D" cross-section in which the shooting style is by an instinctive method not incorporating artificial aids such as scopes, arrow rests or sites.

SCA Juried Merchants List: Archery

Feudal Archers
(Site Excerpt) Feudal Archers was formed in February 1998 by an experienced group of re-enactors, as a living history group based on the period 1135 to 1216, spanning the reigns of four kings--Stephen, Henry II, Richard I and John.Although the accent is on archery and our members are all skilled with the bow, Feudal Archers aims to present a full picture of the times with an authentic campsite, wood fire, cookery, crafts and, at suitable locations, a working replica ballista (siege engine).

The Bow Magazine online

Silver Flower Company of Archers
(Site Excerpt) Though "Compagnia del Fiore d'Argento" (Silver Flower Archers Company) is only of recent constitution, its members - archers and swordsmans - are active (individually or through other associations) already from many years in the fields of re-enacting.

Longbow Archery 'unplugged'
(Site Excerpt) Good things about these longbows:

* Single piece of timber, genuine self bow.
* The bow bends through it's entire length.
* You can fee the limbs move in your hand.
* No "handle". (detachable lace up leather grip)
* No arrow shelf. (with the leather grip)
* Tested by shooting 500 arrows.
* Horn limb tips can be added - but you don't need them. The timber is "as hard as the hobbs of hell".
* They're tough. You could, if you wanted to, throw this bow as far as you can and pick it up and shoot it ...... without having to readjust anything.

"Not so good" things.

* No components to blame for a bad shot.
* If you have one you will be mobbed by people saying, "Wow, that's beautiful".
* You might miss out on conversation because a White Fox longbow shoots so quiet others might forget you are shooting next to them ....... ....... except when you hammer arrows into the gold and other archers will envy you for using a longbow style from 600 years ago.

Mary Rose Ship Find: Archery and Bows
(Site Excerpt) The longbow was the English weapon. Most other countries were changing to using guns, but the English loved the longbow. Boys started training to use the bow at seven years old. They weren't allowed to play football, they had to practice their archery!

A paper on the Battle of Agincourt, a battle which utilized considerable numbers of archers to claim victory.

Medieval Archery and Crafts webring

Bibliography for The Hunt (medieval hunting sources)

Archery Terms (Archery A to Z)
(Site Excerpt) Actual Draw Weight
The measured or calculated draw weight of an Archer. eg. a marked bow of 30 lbs. at 28" draw when used by a person having a 27" draw length will have an actual draw weight of 28lbs. (a 1" difference in draw length will make approx. 2 lbs. difference in draw weight.) Aim
To superimpose a sight pin on the centre of a target or, when not using a sight, the placement of the tip of the arrow on a particular point for a given distance. Anchor
A combination of points to which the bowstring and/or index finger of the drawing hand are drawn to on the face and neck.

Primitive Archer Magazine

Precision Arrow Matching
by Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf, R.C.A.,R.C.Y
(Site Excerpt) If you have a set of properly matched arrows you can greatly improve your archery scores. Most archers think that if they buy a set of matched wood arrows from a supplier that they are fully matched. However the arrows are only matched in weight (within five grains), diameter (all five sixteenths or eleven thirty seconds, etc.) and spline (within five pounds-twenty five to thirty or thirty to thirty five, etc). So you see that they are not matched exactly.

The Medieval English Longbow
by Robert E. Kaiser, M.A.
(Site Excerpt) From the thirteenth until the sixteenth century, the national weapon of the English army was the longbow. It was this weapon which conquered Wales and Scotland, gave the English their victories in the Hundred Years War, and permitted England to replace France as the foremost military power in Medieval Europe. The longbow was the machine gun of the Middle Ages: accurate, deadly, possessed of a long-range and rapid rate of fire, the flight of its missilies was liken to a storm.

Some Speculations on the Nature of Longbowstrings
by Philip D. Hartley
(Site Excerpt) So much new information is now at hand concerning the longbow - that remarkable weapon which is English so much a part of English history -- that the whole study would seem to have reached a new level of understanding. Even so, as often proves to be the case in matters of history and archaeology, answers to long-standing questions bring further questions in their train, and the exact nature of the longbowstring of the early and mid-XIVth century is just such a case.

Ten Basic Steps in Archery
(Site Excerpt) The following sequence of figures shows the basic steps of shot execution. Although it is depicted as a sequence of separate events, you should execute these steps in one single smooth motion. Also keep in mind that these are Basic steps, individual adjustments are possible, but these are usually given by the instructor/trainer.

Magyar Traditional Archery
Hungarian Archery - Revival of a long lost tradition Csikos Balint
Reconstruction of the Niya Bow
Stephen Selby etc...

Archery Games on the 'net.
Includes links to archery clubs around the world.

Medieval Bookstore's The Medieval Archer
(Site Excerpt) This is a classic on the subject, being first published in 1986, and having been reprinted several times since then. The author starts with a chapter on attitudes towards archers in the middle ages and then proceeds chronologically from a few Anglo-Saxon references on through the centuries.

Les Accesoires
This page is entirely in French but shows an archer detail (my french isn't good enough to tell you what the source is).

Book Reviews: The Medieval Archer
(Site Excerpt) This book traces the history of the archer in the medieval period from the Norman conquest to the wars of the Roses. It opens with a definition of the different kinds of bows in use and challenges the usual assumption that the "longbow" was a new and devastation weapon used only by the English armies from the late thirteenth century onwards. The book continues with a chapter on twelfth century battle tactics, (something quite rare in historical texts) following on to the Battle of Agincourt.

Malter Galleries
This site retails medieval and historical coins. One of the images is of a coin with an archer depicted with bow and quiver---I found it by doing an image search using the search term "medival archery." I'm not sure how to point out the exact image, so if you don't want to search through the lengthy page but want to see the image, email me directly and I'll forward the photo of the coin to you as an attachment.

Horace Mann's Medieval War, Warfare, Weapons, Armor, and Castles webpage
I include this webpage for the simple reason that there is a medieval illustration included in the article of a Turkish Archer shooting in mid-gallop.

The Medieval Welsh Archer (an article on Welsh Costume)
(Site Excerpt) The accompanying Welsh archer (graphic omitted from Links list) is to be found in a 13th. century manuscript . He wears a simple tunic with a cloak in thin material over his shoulders and appears to have removed a shoe to aid his grip on the greensward. One must assume that his strange hairstyle and miniature bow illustrate the limitations of the artist!

Robin Hood Society
(Site Excerpt) Historians and researchers have a range of views but generally believe that Robin Hood was alive around the thirteenth century. The earliest reference to Robin Hood is in William Langland's poem "The vision of William concerning Piers Plowman" which was written in 1377. The poem says: "I do not know my paternoster perfectly as the priest sings it. But I know the rhymes of Robin Hood and Randolph, earl of Chester".
Farther dwon the page is a link for the Khazaria Image Gallery, and the sample image is of an archer.

Puck Robin
This Robinhood website has a Robin Hood Screensaver, A Robinhood Picture Gallery, and lots of Robin research. Some of the images are historical.

CONSTRUCTION OF A MEDIEVAL ARROW, & Other Considerations. . .
Prepared by HL Peregrine Elric of Courtenay, AIR, CTC, CGP, CSH
(Site Excerpt) Many changes came about between 600 and 1600 A.D., but arrow use and construction remained relatively constant well into the twentieth century. Spears, archery, slings, and catapults were the primary weapons available that reached beyond hand to hand combat in the literal sense - but for this treatise we will explore only the western European and English arrows of our later period. I will address the following: Woods used, length, fletching materials and how they were applied, construction and use of points, and nocks. By no means complete, I hope that this will give you enough information to be able to construct an arrow accurately representative of the period of our study.

Medieval Arrowheads
(Site Excerpt) From bottom to top:
From Kindrochit Castle, Aberdeenshire; from the site of Flodden; from Craigmillar Castle, near Edinburgh; from Hunthills, Roxburghshire; unprovenanced.
National Museum of Antiquities, Scotland.