Archery in Medieval England

In the 15th Century it would have been almost impossible to have found a young male who wouldn't have been taught to shoot a bow. From the age of 7 it was a father's legal duty to provide his son with a bow and two arrows. From the age of 17 it became a young man's own duty to provide his own bow and four arrows.

For the upper classes it may have been seen as a past-time and something to occupy an idle hour but for the rural lad (90% of the population of England lived in the countryside), it would have been an essential skill, without the mastery of which, survival in a hostile and war torn world, would have been immeasurably harder.

Archery put into the hand of every man who was prepared to learn the skill, the ability not only to protect himself from attack but also the option to strike first and that from a range of several hundred yards.

The Military discipline was the first artillery - mass archery frequently confounded heavily armed, thoroughly trained and experienced oppositions who found that horses and armour were poor protection against the English war shaft loosed in anger.