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Medieval arrow fletchings. Source: David Pimborough / Adobe Stock.

The Exceptional Craftmanship Behind Medieval Arrows (Video)

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Discovering the craftsmanship behind medieval arrows is a journey into the precision and dedication of ancient fletchers and arrow smiths. These arrows, such as the one modeled after a 1545 Mary Rose artifact, were meticulously crafted from black poplar and ash. Swan feathers were carefully bound with silk into a beeswax and copper verdigris compound, forming a sturdy seal. Each arrowhead, like the wrought iron plate cutter, was a work of art, bearing witness to the expertise required to penetrate armor. Intriguingly, these arrows were not just a commodity; they represented countless hours of labor.

From the forging of the arrowhead to the assembly of fletchings, and even the placement of the cow horn nock, each step showcased the skill of these craftsmen. These arrows were not meant to be wasted; they needed to count. They struck a balance, being neither too heavy nor too light, a perfect match for the bows of the time. Indeed, these arrows were valuable, not only in material but also in the skilled hands that created them. The complexity of their construction speaks to a time when every arrow was a work of art and a powerful tool, highlighting the dedication of those who supplied medieval armies with hundreds of thousands of them.

Top image: Medieval arrow fletchings. Source: David Pimborough / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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