Archery References

References for further data on archers and archery equipment

Ascham, Roger; Toxophilus: the school of shooting; The Simon Archery Foundation; Manchester; 1985 This is the earliest surviving English archery manual; it is from 1545. We rely on it for many details on early practice. The style is often strange and the terms sometimes obscure, but it is the closest we have to a period guidebook. The serious archer portrayer is encouraged to use it as a resource to learn technical jargon and pre-modern phraseology, as well as attitudes toward archery.

Hardy, Robert; The Longbow, a social and military history; Bois d’arc Press; Azle, Texas; 1992 This book is an excellent source for details of construction and function of bows and arrows. The latest edition includes dense technical data on the Mary Rose bows.

Mary Rose armaments book: THE place for hard data on the archery tackle raised along with the Mary Rose. Visit the Mary Rose.

Tim Baker and others; The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible (3 volumes); Bois d’arc Press, Azle, Texas; 1992, 1993, 1994 Full of excellent technical detail on the construction, operation, and physics of bows, bow woods, and arrow, but they also contain much of limited interest to re-enactors. You can build a bow (and arrows) from these books. Highlights: Volume 1: bows and arrows; Volume two: strings. Volume 3: bowyer’s tools and footed arrows.

Smythe, Sir John; Certain Discourses Military; Cornell University Press; Ithaca; 1964 This book dates from after our period, indeed from after archery has declined, but it does offer nitty-gritty details of some use to re-enactors.

Bartlett; English Longbowman 1330-1515, Osprey Warrior series #11; Reed Consumer Books Ltd., London, 1995 In general the text is excellent, but it only gives a background in service, operations, and equipment. Unfortunately for us, most of the illustrations cover archers operating well past our 1382 scenario and even beyond the Hundred Years War. Illustrations useful to a 1382 portrayal appear on pages 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, 17, 21, 23, 30 (glove only), 45, 46, 47, 48 and in plates A, B, and C as well as some details G. Plate J offers a reasonable speculation for an archer in traveling rig although the details of his canteen and dagger aren’t suitable to our time period. Plate F’s layout of a personal kit should be taken as “inspirational” regarding the sort of things that might make up a complete personal kit, because most of the details, styling, and decoration of the items are 15th century, and late at that.  

Bartlett, Clive and Embleton, Gerry; The English Archer c.1300-1500 (1&2) in Military Illustrated Past & Present; No. 1 & 2; 1986  This is a very good article on reconstructing the appearance and equipment. Their 14th-century archer re-enactor has pretty high class hosen for a commoner and his shirt is questionable, but the color illustration gives a very good feel, despite the purse being almost certainly datable to later than the 14th century and the undocumentable (as far as we have been able to determine) gourd canteen.

Bradbury, Jim; The Medieval Archer; St. Martin’s Press; New York; 1985  This book provides a good background for military operations and the archer’s place in them. 

Egan, Geoff and Pritchard, Frances; Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 3: Dress Accessories c.1150–c.1450; London: HMSO 1991 Extensive and well illustrated coverage of dress accessories (buckles, strap ends, strap mounts, buttons, lace chapes, rings, etc.) and personal items (mirrors, combs, cosmetic sets, needle cases, etc.). This book is usually our first stop when researching such items. Visit the Museum of London.

Jones, Peter N.; The Metallography and Relative Effectiveness of Arrowheads and Armor During the Middle Ages; Materials Characterization 29:111-117; 1044-5803/92  This is a detailed analysis of physical characteristics and performance that was conducted using high quality reproductions.

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