The bow, although important as a hunting weapon, was not regarded by the Saxons
as an effective weapon of war. Alternatively the Normans seem to have made good
use of the bowman. The type of bow most likely in use at this time was the Danish
short bow. This is indicated by the method of drawing the bow to the chest as
opposed to the ear as is characteristic of the long bow. Bows were made of yew,
elm or ash with an effective killing range of 50 yards against an armoured knight.
Long bows, although not in widespread use at this time, may have been used by
those of higher rank.
Cross bows are not shown but their use cannot be ruled out as crossbows are referenced in French texts from 950 AD.
The Longbow - two ells in length with a thicknes of four thumbs it could discharge a "clotharrow" a meter long. Made of yew and shaped in a characteristic D-shape before stringing.
The Turkish Bow - A composite bow one-and-a-half ells in length which fired a shorter, barbed "wolfarrow." Made of yew, horn and glue, with its two arms bent forward.
The Elm Bow - Shorter than either the longbow or the Turkish bow. It was made from elm and fired a barbed "Scottish arrow."
In 802, Charlemagne declared bows the chief infantry weapon. All infantry
soldiers were ordered to carry a bow, a spare string and a quiver of twelve
Henry I (1100-1135) ruled that if any archer should kill a man whilst practicing archery, then he should be absolved.
In the reign of King John, a captured garrison was ransomed, except the crossbow-men, they were ordered to be hung.
The Lateran council of 1139 ruled that if anyone were to be caught using crossbows against Christians or Catholics, then they were to be excommunicated.
In 1363 it was made compulsory for all men to practice archery on Sunday.
In 1365 archers were forbidden to leave England without obtaining a royal license.