On the Englifh Long-Bow.
Part 10 of 12
The fame idea with refpect to Archers, was preferved for many centuries. The Achoeans, we are told by Polybius, deemed the Bow an infidious weapon; and as they difdained to gain battles, and to extend territories by unjuft practices, defpifing conqueft bought by artifice, they refolved with the Peloponefians, that Archery fhould not be ufed among their troops; efteeming the manly clofe encounter, as the only honourable means of victory.176
The Archers of later times, were more favourably regarded, and as they were armed with a fhield, a fword, and javelins, as well as the Bow, they were not afraid to venture into the midft of the battle.177
Vegetius complains, that the Roman Archers had in his time, laid afide their armour, and were flain like cattle by the Arrows of the Goths.
Leo, in his tactics, directs that every Archer fhall be clothed in an entire coat of mail, fhall have a polifhed iron helmet, ornamented on the top with a creft; a. Bow rather above, than beneath the power of the fhooter, having its cafe large and proper. Plenty of bowftrings, and a Quiver with a lid, containing thirty or forty Arrows, a javelin and a fword fufpended to a belt, and alfo a dagger.
The Englifh had formerly Archers both on foot, and mounted on horfes; but the latter do not appear to have been very generally introduced in war, before the fourteenth century.178 Lord Lyttleton fays, " I read of no Archers on horfeback in the age of Henry II, unlefs they were comprehended under the term fervientes, fome of which were light horfe-men: but in the time of Edward III. mention is made, in a roll of parliament, of two hundred Archers on horfeback; and in the feventh year of Richard II. the bifhop of Norwich, offered to ferve the king abroad with three thoufand men at arms, and two thoufand five hundred Archers, well horfed and appointed. And when Lionel Earl of Clarence (fon of Edward III.) went with an army into Ireland, he carried with him thither many Archers on horfeback, whofe pay was fix-pence a man per diem, 'fquires in the fame army, being rated at one fhilling a man per diem, the knights at two fhillings, and the baronets at four fhillings. There were likewife fome Archers at four-pence per diem, who, I prefume, ferved on foot. The Earl of Ormonde had under him, Befides his knights and 'fquires, twenty hoblers armed, and twenty not armed; the pay of the former being fix-pence a piece per diem, and of the latter four-pence. Thefe hoblers were Irifh horfe-men, fo called becaufe they ferved on hobbies."179
Montfaucon in his work, entitled, "Les Monumens de la Monarchie," Pl. 30, Vol. IV. has given a reprefentation of the meeting of Henry VIII. and Francis I. on the "field of the cloth of gold" between Guifnes and Ardres, in France.180 The kings are on horfeback, followed by their refpective attendants; and thofe of Henry are principally Archers mounted on horfes, carrying their Long-bows with them,
I have not difcovered, that the drefs of the horfe Archers, differed in any material point, from that worn by the foot. The latter were well fortified from the attack of fwords, or Arrows, by the ftrength of their defenfive apparel. Their limbs were guarded by a coat of mail, in which they moved at liberty, and in which they drew their Bow without reftraint. They wore an helmet or fkullcap fitting clofe to their head, and had body-armour.
Befides the Bow, they were armed with a Target and fword, which, while they were engaging with Arrows, was fufpended on the left fide. They carried a Quiver containing twenty-four Arrows, fometimes on the back, and fometimes on the right fide; but the Arrows ufed in action, were held under a belt, to which the fword was hung.181 Eight of thefe Arrows were generally lighter than the reft, and were ufed to annoy the enemy at a great diftance. We may well fay, at a great diftance, for an ancient Bow, we are told by Mr. Grofe, (who quotes Nead) would throw one of thefe four hundred yards.182