good archery

30 January, 2015

Am currently watching the BBC’s big-budget adaptation of Tudor epic Wolf Hall, resplendent in its complex plotting, full-service costuming, and dense candlelit dialogue.
This week’s episode featured some hot longbow action involving the leads, and incredibly… they got it right. Have a look:

The clip shows Damien Lewis (as Henry VIII) and Mark Rylance (as Thomas Cromwell) shooting, and the form is… pretty good, really.  The target butt and quoit appears to be correct too.

.Untitled 2

Cromwell draws to his ear (pretty much) and doesn’t hold, and from the tension at full draw from both actors it even appears they are using real longbows, instead of the stick-with-a-bit-of-elastic of your average Robin Hood knockabout. Although: should they be wearing shooting gloves, in the 1500s?  Perhaps someone can confirm.

Thanks to Rik, Butt Face, Bimble, Raven’s Eye, and Matthames over at A.I. 

3 comments on “good archery

  1. Simon

    It’s near impossible to convince people to let go of the arrow as soon as they reach draw. Experienced archers and beginners alike really cling to the idea of “aiming”. They must have had a serious trainer.

  2. Pedro F Santamaria Grant

    In the 15th century archery gloves were a standar peice of kit for the gentry. Henry gave a bow, 6 arrows and shooting gloves to Catherine as a wedding gift. The Bullen woman only got 3 arrows and a glove. Queen elizabeth is supposed to have been a keen archer and left holes in the panneling of several of the houses she lived in as a child.

  3. Alastair McAtee

    They’re probably using modern longbows with a draw of 60 lbf. A medieval longbow had a draw of 150–160 lbf – significantly higher than the modern one. There are very few people these days with a physique robust enough to draw the medieval longbow.


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