In various forms, are among the oldest styles of bows known to man. They are more truly in the category of “straight” bows, descending from their shorter ancestors used by early man and still prevalent in many tribal civilisations.
Straight bows grew longer and more powerful in the need to reach farther and hit harder as it became more of a weapon than a tool for hunting. The English longbow is perhaps the culmination of this type of bow. Its mark in history places it at the highest rank of respect in the world of archery.
The Medieval English longbow was a superb weapon, and used most effectively by the English from the end of the thirteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth, many battles being won on its deadliness. It was particularly decisive in the battles at Crécy and Agincourt against the French. Its long range and armour piercing qualities made it a formidable weapon.
Traditional style longbows are difficult and time consuming to master, but have their benefits. Modern longbows utilise advances in design that make them more efficient with greater speed and accuracy. Many people have turned back to longbows because of their inherent “pointability” and instinctive accuracy. The lack of a “cutout” shelf is less distracting to the vision and helps bring the shooters focus to the mark, thereby reducing the time between target acquisition and release to a scant few seconds.
The English longbow can be made from several different types of wood. It can be crafted from either a single piece of wood (self bow) or from a mixture of different woods glued together to form a laminate.