Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cat Out of the Bag

Now that the BBC has announced the Tudor Abbey Farm series I'm at liberty to let the cat out of the bag.
The Tudor stuff I was doing was for one episode of the program. I did some work on a bow (on camera), tillering it from floor tillered to full draw. This was filmed in the Tudor barn at the Weald and Downland Museum. It was a mad rush using an extremely knotty stave which had been destined for a character primitive bow. Hopefully it showed the tools techniques and processes.
 In the afternoon we were shooting with the presenters and three of my friends.
A great time was had by all, and I'm given to understand they were very happy with the filming. I'm not sure how it will be cut or what will be shown, I just hope it comes over as entertaining and I don't look an arse!
Here's a pic (Taken by Roy one of my friends who came for the shooting part of the filming) of Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn, me and a mic boom on the South Downs!
Peter has my 50# Yew longbow with horn side nocks, strung with linen, Ruth has my little 35# Hazel primitive which could be slightly controversial, although I suspect only the most avid toxopholite will notice. I think I have my old self nocked Yew longbow in that shot.
The little Hazel bow is a primitive flatbow in style, more reminiscent of Neolithic or maybe Iron age however we can't know that such bows were not in use still in Tudor times. So it's not anachronistic in the usual way of something modern appearing before it was invented (yes I had to tke my watch off) but it could be too early for that period!
My guess is that bowyers always have and always will try different woods and styles of bow and will hark back to the bows of the past. We only have a few surving bows to study, the Mary Rose bows are a great source of material but they represent a snapshot in time and usage. Do they represent the workaday bow of the farmer, peasant, child, woman, poacher or vagabond?... probably the longbow was ubiquitous but we can't be certain.
You can see Peter is drawing a bit short with rather a modern style, he'd done some target archery before which meant he was a pretty good shot. With the relatively heavy poundage and his target style Ruth was equalling him for distance! She was pulling the much shorter and remarkably forgiving Hazel to almost the full 32" of the arrows (it's only tillered to 28", but didn't seem to take any set from it's exertions)
See  this blog entry for an explanation.

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