Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theory About Warbows of #180lbs!

In my time reading an old warbow forum I ran across an interesting theory.  The theory pertains to the warbows that are percieved to have a draw of close to #180 pounds.  The aforementioned warbows were square in the handle cross section, which would make them painful and undesireable to shoot by hand.  They also fit into "U" shaped brackets on the gunwhales of the Tudor flagship the Mary RoseThe brackets are spaced about seven feet apart, enought for a longbow.  The theory is that these extreme bows were used as mounted crossbows whereas the archer would place the bow in the bracket and use both hands to draw while using the rock of the ship to gain elevation. 

An interesting theory no doubt!  I've tried researching for pictures of these brackets but haven't come across any yet.  This theory is not outof preportions and it would be interesting to see more investigation.

Here is the link to the original forum post. Go near the bottom of the page and look for the name 'glennan' on the left.


  1. Steve Stratton makes 200# bows and Mark Stretton can handle them. They are made for hand using. I am just 165# body weight and I can easily draw 130# longbow. Nothing special for some strong guy to draw 150+ pounds.

  2. Nice! Someday I would love to travel to the U.K. and meet some of the fine archers over there. A man from the Netherlands recently came to our archery club here in the U.S. and he shot his #130 bow with us for a day. That was fun.

  3. Hi. Just stumbled across your blog while looking for info to make my own arrow bag and I must say you have a great site here.

    Just to add to this discussion, most of the guys in the English Warbow Society (EWBS) in the UK shoot bows around 120 - 130lbs draw weight. There are a few exceptions, such as Joe Gibbs and Mark Stretton, but not many. We shall never know how common it was in the middle ages for English archers to use bows in the 150 - 200lbs range but common opinion in the EWBS is that a 130lbs draw weight bow does everything we believe it needed to with regards to range and hitting power.

    For what it's worth, I have been fortunate enough to go behind the scenes and handle one of the slab-sided 180lbs draw weight bows in the Mary Rose museum and the profile felt very comfortable in the hand. That's not to say I disagree with the theory of it being used as a form of crossbow on the gunwhales, only that I saw nothing to suggest it couldn't have been used as a 'normal' longbow. The huge draw weight may still suggest otherwise!

    Best wishes,

    Nick Birmingham (BigBowBrum)

  4. Hello Mr. Birmingham!
    It is my pleasure and honor to have you following this blog! I became interested in English Warbow archery after coming across you and Martin on your Youtube channel! Very inspirational!
    Thank you for that information about the EWBS! Someday I would like to loose some arrows with everyone over there.
    That is very cool that you have been behind the scenes! Oh how I dream, haha. Now that I have seen Joe Gibbs and Mark Stretton pull such heavy bows I do believe that this bow mentioned in my post can be just another mans bow and not meant to be mounted to the ship. Those two, Joe and Mark, are really groundbreakers in the warbow field and it is interesting to watch their progress.
    Thanks again!