All arrows are to be armed with a recognised Museum of London Type 10 short bodkin profile, which is to be set on in such a way, that the length of the arrow will be measured from the base of the nock to the end of the socket taper, with a maximum of ¾” of the tip or point protruding beyond this limit. From this constraint, no arrow shall be allowed in competition any shorter than 30”, and no longer than 32”. This is to reduce the amount of overdraw that is available to the competitor, as drawing beyond this constraint could increase the poundage of the bow beyond the 110lb limit - or alter its efficiency.
The shaft dimensions shall be no less than 3/8” (9.5mm), and no greater than 7/16” (11mm) in diameter at any given point along the length of the arrowshaft.
All shaft profiles are to be either parallel, barrelled or of the bob tailed design.
Chested profile arrows are not to be allowed, as these are principally a Victorian clout design.
The minimum weight of the arrow is to be 52g, and the shaft shall be made from any native or indigenous European wood chosen by the competitor.
Fletchings are to be no shorter than 7” in length, and to be cut no lower than ½”, with all profiles conforming to the established long low triangular “Standard Arrow” specification.
All fletchings are to be taken from goose, swan or any other bird that was available to European fletchers in the 13th and 14th Centuries.
A cow or ox horn sliver (of 2” in length) may be used to protect he nock if so desired, but all fletchings must be whipped with a natural thread, and to the EWBS Livery arrow specifications.
By Jaroslav Petrina
The Welsh Class
A new historical shooting class for the EWBS
All strings are to be of a single loop Flemish twist design, and should be preferably made from a natural fibre - such as hemp, linen, silk or gut. However, for safety reasons, synthetic strings are allowed, but there is to be a bonus of 10 yards added to the distance achieved - by the archer using a natural string. It has been well proven that 100lb bows can be safely shot with natural strings, and this will also serve as a research platform for dedicated period string makers to work from.
The bow is to accurately represent the early Medieval-period military weapon, which is believed to have been used by the Welsh Archers of the 13th and 14th Centuries. This shall comprise of the following:-
The bow shall be a self bow, made from a single stave, and of any native or indigenous European wood chosen by the competitor.
This then means that both yew and all other type meane-wood bow will compete together.
The minimum length of the bow shall be 72”, and shall bend full compass - with no risers, handles or grips being allowed. It must also be tillered to be able to shoot a maximum arrow length of 32”.
All profiles are to conform to the 5/8ths ratio, and the belly shall not be flat in section.
The Governing draw weight for the class will be no more than 110lb, and no less than 95lb, which will help to both constrain the limits to a competitive level - yet allow for an undetermined drop in bow weight and performance.
All bows are allowed to be selfnocked, but may also be protected by an antler, cow or ox horn nock - if so preferred. It is advisable for any yew bow to be protected with a horn type nock, but the use of Black Water Buffalo horn or any other synthetic material is not permitted to be used.
Any antler or horn reinforcement should be of the side nock style. Other versions of historically accurate notches are allowed, but all Victorian horn nock designs are not allowed under any circumstances.
The General Rules of the Competition
The Welsh Class is to be used in specific and designated Roving, Target and Distance shooting Competitions, where a matched set of six arrows are to be used.
However, for the main distance shooting event, the designated Shoot Captain will randomly select two arrows out of each competitor’s set of six matched arrows.
This is to promote the use and idea of a military issued arrow – rather than having individual archers building “Medieval Style” flight arrows.
Such arrows may conform to the above agreed specifications, but would be deemed to be unsporting and would also detract from the objectives and academic potential of the Welsh Class.
As long as the main and specified parameters of all the equipment are adhered to, it is felt that a degree of experimentation should be allowed to happen. This will not only promote diversity to the individual archer, but will also give an understanding of the capabilities and effectiveness of this class of weapon.
All arrows are to be checked that they confirm to the agreed specifications before shooting commences.
However, the winning bow of any competition must also be weighed, to check that it conforms to the agreed upper and lower limits of the class.
It is recognised, that there would not be the time to weigh every bow that is used in the competition, but the Shoot Captain shall reserve the right to weigh a bow at any time – should they so feel that its integrity is in question.
To further promote the sport of war bow archery, and to represent an earlier version of the Tudor weapon in an unprecedented manner - a new concept is to be adopted, where single stave self bows are used, which have their weight limit fixed by certain governing parameters, and shall be known as the Welsh Class.
This will be run in conjunction with the prestigious Mary Rose and the Meane Wood Classes, but would in effect supplement and create a new competitive motivation to the archers at all official EWBS Open shoots.
This is certainly not meant to downgrade the sport in any way, but is intended to appeal to a greater section of the membership - where more people will have the chance of setting an individual Society Record.
The Mary Rose and Meane Wood classes are a benchmark in experimental archaeology, and they increase our understanding of the historical weapon.
They are also extremely enjoyable to participate in, but they unfortunately limit the number of winning archers to just a select few - due to certain limiting factors.
It is felt that there are many archers in the EWBS who have an excellent technique, but the main problem with an unlimited draw weight - is that the more physically disposed archers will always have an advantage.
By constraining the weight limit of the bow, the field of competition is opened up, and it will also have the added bonus of increasing our knowledge of these earlier type war bows from the 13th and 14th Centuries.
There is a lot of documented and contemporary evidence in existence, which suggests that these earlier dedicated military weapons were a development from heavy hunting bows, and that their weight would be around 100lb from a draw length of up to 32”.
The governing parameters are listed below, which should then help to explain the criteria needed to participate in any official EWBS event that shall be supporting the Welsh Class.