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Crossbows - Everything about Building, Modding, and Using your Crossbow Gear

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3 posters

    Mary Rose Crossbow?

    backgardenbowyer
    backgardenbowyer
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    Post by backgardenbowyer Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:55 am

    This week I was able to go to the new museum for the Mary Rose in Portsmouth.  Henry VIII's battleship sank in 1545 and the wreck was raised in the 1980's.  Hundreds of longbows and arrows were recovered and I have seen these several times in the old museum.  There are now, however, a small number of crossbow bolts on display which I have never seen before.  The museum labelling was ambiguous as small arrows were sometimes shot from early firearms though I dont know if that was still the case in the mid C16th. These bolts were narrowed and flattened on either side of the butt/nock end to fit between the fingers of a crossbow nut so they clearly were not made to be shot from an arquebus.  So far as I know no evidence of a crossbow was found on the wreck, but there must have been at least one on board amongst all the longbows. 

    I had thought that military crossbows were pretty much extinct in England at that time.  Might the crossbow perhaps have belonged to a foreign soldier or be the personal possession of one of the officers?   What would it have looked like - my guess is something like one of the Spanish Padre Island style bows, which we know were carried on Spanish galleons of the period.  The bolts were a bit lighter than some of the medieval ones I've seen and that would fit with the smaller Spanish style bow.  Who knows but it's fascinating to speculate!

    Sorry I don't have a picture

    Stan
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    Post by Geezer Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:44 am

    Well, the Padre Island shipwrecks date from 1554, which what... 9 years after loss of Mary Rose?  So it makes sense that there could be one or more crossbows on an English warship.  Perhaps they were used in the tops, where longbows would be inconvenient, or from behind cover in fore or after-castles.  And yeah, they could well be personal weapons.   I would wager they were very much like the Padre Island bows or maybe the Maximilian I bows... that was a very popular pattern throughout western Europe, and at least as far East as Vienna.  I'd certainly like to hear more.  I've been buying the large-format Mary Rose archaeology books as they come out, so perhaps something will leak out eventually. The English have never been enamored of crossbows, so it may take a while.  Geezer
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    caspar.staal
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    Post by caspar.staal Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:42 pm

    There were short arrows for the longbow in a siege when the archer shoots down they used those short arrows because it was easyer to shoot those than the the long(normal) arrows

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