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In 1385, every parish had to provide a place where shooting the longbow could be practised.

So important was the longbow to the defence of the realm that the importation of yew staves for the manufacture of longbows was made a condition of the importation of certain other goods - a sort of import duty.

Arrows were made with long, tapering and barb-less iron tips which, powered by the 120lb of force exerted by the longbow could pierce armour at three hundred yards. The three flights were cut from goose feathers and the arrow was loaded into the longbow with the "cock flight" pointing away from the bow otherwise it would catch on the body of the bow ensuring a "cock-up" - the origin of the modern expression.

In the 29th year of the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547), five bowyers were paid £200 13s and 4d for the making of 6,000 bows from bow staves. Yew was imported fro the purpose from Spain and Italy and several hundred longbows were recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose which sank in 1545.

By 1595, firearms had supplanted the bow to such an extent that the Privy Council ordered that bows are no longer to be issued as weapons of war.

Sports were slower to abandon the bow and, by the early 17th century, the 'long gun' had become common amongst sportsmen fro hunting wild fowl (although 'to shoot on the fly' was a rarity).

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Henry V of England   (1413-1422)

Commander of the royal army at the Battle of Shrewsbury (July 21st, 1403), the 16-year-old Prince of Wales was hit in the face by an arrow which lodged at the back of his skull. Remarkably, his life was saved by the physician John Bradmore who had a special tool made for the purpose.

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1385Every parish required to provide a place for the practice of archery
BAAAGCCE paris
1552.Aug.31Henry VIII proclaims limitations on prices for bows and arrows for footmen and horsemen(see Archery)
BAAAGEIB
1595Privy Council decrees that bows are not to be issued as weapons of war
BAAAGDDK BAAAGCLM
1621The Archbishop of Canterbury accidentally shoots a game-keeper with a cross-bow while hunting deer

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Longbow
  by Robert Hardy, publisher
Bois d'Arc Press

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