How Long is a Long Bow?

The length of a longbow varies, but all of them must be long enough so the person can pull the string to the body or face. That is the reason why the sizes vary.

The Traditional Lengths

In Europe, the term was applied to any bow that is longer than 1.2 m (4 ft). According to the Society of Antiquaries, the term is applicable to a bow that is 5 or 6 feet (1.5-1.83 m) long. Other researchers say the bow then was 6 feet (1.83 m) long.

The arrow lengths vary, but with the 6 ft bow, the length is usually 3 foot (914 mm). Still others like Gaston Phoebus said the bow was 70 inches (178 m) long. According to some historians, the length of a longbow then was 5 ft 8 inches. However, many experts believe the average then was around 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in).

Draw Weights

For the contemporary longbow it is 60 lbf (270 N) maximum. With modern measurements, this is at 28 inches (71.1 cm). The historical weights were 50–60 lbf (220–270 N). These days, few models utilize 180–185 lbf (800–820 N) bows.

But not all experts agree on it. Some believe that the bows during the medieval age drew 90–110 pounds-force (400–490 newtons) at most. However, the Society of Archer-Antiquaries held that the maximum weight was 80–90 lbf (360–400 N).

The Welsh Longbow

The modern bows are derived from the Welsh longbow. This was used by the Welsh and English as a weapon. It was also used for hunting. The weapon was used by the English during the Hundreds Years War against the French. It was most prominent in the battles at Poitiers (1356), Crecy (1346) and the Battle of Agincourt (1415). However, it was less efficient in the Battle of Patay (1429).

The oldest bow goes back to 2665 BC. It was discovered in Ashcott Heath, Somerset. However, no longbows from 1250–1450 AD have been uncovered.

While the length of a longbow varies, they are not recurved much. The majority of them are shaped like a D or circular. Flatbows are about the same length; the difference is in the cross section. The longbow limbs are rectangle in shape.

The antique bows were constructed from yew. Modern ones are made from various materials. While styles vary, those used in archery competitions adhere to strict specifications. This sets them apart from the medieval types.

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