English longbow

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The English longbow, also called the Welsh longbow, is a powerful type of medieval longbow (a tall bow for archery) about 6 ft (1.83 m) long used by the English and Welsh, both for hunting and as a weapon in medieval warfare. English use of longbows was effective against the French during the Hundred Years' War, particularly at the start of the war in the battles of Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356), and most famously at the Battle of Agincourt (1415). They were less successful after this, with longbowmen taking casualties at the Battle of Verneuil (1424), and being completely routed at the Battle of Patay (1429) when charged before they had set up their defensive position. The term "English" or "Welsh" longbow is a modern invention to distinguish these bows from other longbows.

The earliest longbow known from England, found at Ashcott Heath, Somerset, is dated to 2665 BC,[1] but there are no surviving longbows dated to the period when the longbow was dominant (c. 1250–1450 AD).[2] This is probably because it was in the nature of bows to become weaker, break and be replaced, rather than be handed down through generations.[3] There are however more than 130 surviving bows from the Renaissance period. More than 3,500 arrows and 137 whole longbows were recovered from the Mary Rose, a ship of Henry VIII's navy that sank at Portsmouth in 1545.

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