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Longbow Key Dates

1252 Longbow was accepted as a formal military weapon.

C.1280 Longbow adopted by Edward I during the Welsh campaigns after seeing how effectively the Welsh used the bow.

1298 Edward I fought the Scots. Having defeated the Scottish cavalry, the English cavalry found themselves unable to attack the Scottish spear blocks, however the archers weakened their ranks with a barrage of arrows. They were weakened so that the cavalry could sweep in and mop up the remaining spearmen.

1332 In the reign of Edward III, in another battle against the Scots the English archers were able to rain arrows down on the attacking army killing most of them before they could reach their defensive position.

1337-1453 The hundred Years' War with France: During this time, the English and Welsh longbowmen were the most prominent part of the English army, sometimes outnumbering the Men-at-Arms by as much as 10:1. The average was a ratio of about 3:1.

1346 The Battle of Crecy. Crecy was one of history's most decisive battles. Edward III decided to halt near Crecy in Normandy and to prepare for battle the next day. However, the French who outnumbered the English 5:1, made contact and started to attack without the benefit of a plan. The French made as many as 15 attacks and the English checked each one in turn mainly because of the English longbowmen. At the end, the French were decimated and the English had a decisive victory.

1356 The Battle of Poiters: Edward III, The Black Prince of Wales, with 6,000-8,000 men defeated a French army 3 times as large.

1415 The Battle of Agincourt was perhaps the greatest victory of the Hundred Years War and the most spectacular for the longbow. Ten thousand of the French army were killed, whereas the much smaller English force survived with very minimal casualties possibly less than a couple of hundred.

1461 During the civil war in England the longbow was used on both sides at Towton Heath, inflicting massive casualties, an estimated 25 000 killed or wounded. The archers shot all of their arrows, then fired the enemy's arrows back until finally the remains of the two armies crashed together.

1513 (Flodden) The last battle at which the longbow made a significant difference was once again the English against the Scots.

1588 Longbow replaced by firearms during the Spanish Armada War.

1595 Longbow finally retired from military service.

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