Learning Resources

For Teachers, Pupils, Parents and more

  • Longbow

  • About

Total Length: 150-180 cm
Draw Weight: 80-160 lbs

Description

The best longbows were made of a single piece of yew wood, and were nearly as tall as the men shooting them.

Strung with a waxed linen string, the longbow could shoot a heavy war arrow a distance of up to around 250 metres, although it was most deadly at between around 45 and 90 metres.

At this shorter distance longbow arrows had a chance of defeating textile, mail and plate armour, and were devastating against targets wearing little or no armour.

Longbow arrows were usually between around 68 and 91 cm long. They had an ash shaft, which was fletched with goose feathers and tipped with an iron or steel arrowhead.

How was it used?

Despite what many people think, longbowmen did not launch their arrows high into the air to fall down onto their enemies. While some height would be needed to reach longer distances, in battle medieval archers appear to have usually shot level at close range, in order to be more accurate and get the best effect from their valuable and beautifully made ammunition.