Draw Weight: 125- 330 lbs
The early fourteenth-century crossbow was made up of a strong wooden bow (often yew like the longbow). This was fixed to a stock or tiller.
The tiller was fitted with a long trigger of iron, which released the nut, a small cylinder which held the bowstring.
Crossbow bolts were heavy and short, around 30cm long. They were usually fletched with wood or leather flights rather than with real feathers.
Bolt heads were usually heavy and square, although normal barbed arrowheads could also be used.
Loading a crossbow was hard work. The crossbow was fitted with a stirrup, just like that of a horseman. The crossbowman placed one of his feet in the stirrup. He had a hook attached to his belt which he then bent down and attached to the bowstring.
When the crossbowman then straightened his body, he pulled the string up and allowed it to be set on the nut. A crossbow bolt was then placed in front of the string and the weapon was ready to shoot.
Squeezing the trigger released the nut, which then released the string and launched the bolt at its target.
It could take as little as a day to train a soldier to use one of these, although practice was needed to become really effective.