Medieval French Longbow of the Hundred Years War

Often forgotten today, the Franc Archers did use longbows during the hundred years war, but not as extensively as the English. The French and Burgundians also employed English longbowmen, and other European mercenaries for their missile troops such as Genoese crossbowmen and even early handcannons.
This 87lb@27" is obtained from Jean from https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/LongbowBelgique?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=872952036
Historical european archers during the medieval period were shorter than modern humans. so the draw length are naturally slightly less.
From my research the primary difference between the French longbow and the English ones during the hundred years war is the French one is generally cheaper than the English one. Also less bows used horn nocks and other bow woods are used as well.
1 English bow = 24 English arrows
1 French bow = 18 French arrows
it can be assumed that either the French arrows are better than English, or the French bows are worse than English. Assuming the latter, a less value longbow could mean they had less horn nocks, or the draw weights are on average less, or with less quality yew or using other bow woods.
Of course there are many factors that affect cost ratios such as market value, supply and demand, and labor cost, not to mention the sources of those are not based on the exact same year. It just gives us a glimpse of French vs English longbow values.
I have not found any archeological finds of french longbows yet of this period hence relying on artwork and text. (earlier Charlemagne bows are out of this scope).

Rough Translated French Source about the Franc Archers:


"The Free-Archers appear as a militia of non-nobles, relatively old, often married and in charge of families, comprising a small minority of the rich or sons of the rich and a strong majority recruited from the poor but not miserable part of the population. They swore an oath to the king, served in war, a few weeks or even a few months, almost every year, especially from 1465. Archers, crossbowmen, vougiers, pikemen, halberdiers, couleuvriniers: they performed all the functions of the infantry, under the direct command of captains and private lieutenants, nobles more and more often, coming in any case from another social background,"
"The bands of free-archers, several hundred strong men, were articulated in smaller units: the most frequent, the strongest was the "chamber", commanded by a chief of chamber"
"Were the Free-Archers, armed poorly? To a certain extent, indisputably. Poorly equipped army? Nothing really indicates it. During the reign of Charles VII, brigandines were supplied to them directly by the monarqy, thereafter the communities had to bear the costs of equipment alone, but, closely supervised by the captains, they carried out this task diligently"
"In 1465, out of 24 captains of free-archers that have been identified, only 2 are qualified as knights, 14 as squires, 8 without qualifiers can be presumed non-noble."

"In short, without even counting the expenses of supervision, maintenance and the salary of the 16,000 free-archers of the kingdom, amounted, at a rate of 18 l.t. per man, to a sum of 288,000 l.t., which, used differently, would have allowed the king to permanently have a staff of 6,000 footmen, paid 4 l.t. per month, or 48 l.t. per year. The suppression of the free-archers at the end of 1480 therefore had both military and financial causes: on the one hand, they had repeatedly demonstrated their mediocre value in combat; "
"In exchange for these tax advantages, they not only had to go to the royal convocations and campaign, for monthly wages of 4 l.t., but to bring a complete war garment, including a bow or crossbow, a sword, a dagger, a brigandine or a jack and a salad helmet.

for some more about medieval french archery, i recommend "THE ART OF ARCHERY PUBLISHED, WITH NOTES, FROM A MANUSCRIPT OF THE 15TH CENTURY.


Galway Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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