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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1
by Ian Heath


Some mounted archers clearly enjoyed a superior social status to that of their comrades-in-arms - William Jauderel, for example, described by the Black Prince himself in the famous Jodrell Pass of 1355 as ‘one of our archers’; he had his own coat-of-arms and was probably a member of the Prince’s personal 100-strong guard of archers. The existence of such men probably explains why a large number of mss., particularly in the 15th century, show archers in half or even full plate armour. Undoubtedly it was such well-equipped men who provided the mounted archer element of most indentured retinues.

Mounted archers carried their arrows in leather quivers, which were presumably slung from the saddle on the march along with the bow in its canvas bowcase. It should be noted that contemporary illustrations demonstrate categorically that during this entire period quivers used in England were no more than soft bags, usually with a draw-string at both ends, used as a means of holding a bundle of arrows together for carrying. In battle the quiver was usually discarded and the arrows were stuffed through the waist-belt at the right, points downwards, or laid out on the ground in front of or alongside the archer. 17a and b show examples of quivers from 15th century mss.

[For quiver 17a see Chroniques by Jean Froissart, Bruges, Belgium, c.1470-1475AD, f.312v Battle of Najera (1367), Spain
For quiver 17b see Recueil des croniques d’Engleterre (Collection of chronicles of England) by Jean of Wavrin, BL Royal 14 E IV, f.14v Battle between the garrisons of Cherbourg and Montebourg]

Next: 18. ENGLISH ARCHER c.1450, in Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1 by Ian Heath