The welsh longbow

“In the war against the Welsh, one of the men of arms was struck by an arrow shot at him by a Welshman. It went right through his thigh, high up, where it was protected inside and outside the leg by his iron cuirasses, and then through the skirt of his leather tunic; next it penetrated that part of the saddle which is called the alva or seat; and finally it lodged in his horse, driving so deep that it killed the animal”

(Left) Warrior King and Welshman Henry V

Another inseparable link between archery and Monmouth is the eponymous cap. Monmouth became a centre for woollen goods production during the 15th and 16 century. Henry the V issued Monmouth caps to his archers during the Agincourt campaign to help with the inclement weather and are often referred to as an early example of army issued uniform. Archers wearing Monmouth caps knitted by Kirstie Buckland. The design is faithfully reproduced from an original Tudor cap presevered in Monmouth Museum (below). Kirstie Buckland believes the cap is designed to also be worn under a helmet as an arming cap.

Her website link is

IMAG0538 (2)
archers mon caps

“Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty know, to this hour is an honourable badge of the service; and I do believe your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Davy's day.”

“I wear it for a memorable honour; For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.”

“Supposing I were in yonder sloping wood opposite, and in my hand a bow of red yew ready bent, with a tough, tight string, and a straight round shaft with a well-rounded nock, having long slender feathers of a green silk fastenting, and a sharp-edged steel head, heavy and thick, and an inch wide, of a green-blue temper, that would draw blood out of a weathercock. And with my foot to a hillock, and my back to an oak, and the wind to my back, and the sun towards my side; and the girl I love best, hard by, looking at me; and
I conscious of her being there; I would shoot him such a shot, so strong and far-drawn, so low and sharp, that it would be no better there were between him and me a breastplate and a Milan hauberk, than a wisp of fern, a kiln rug or a herring-net!”

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