Medieval Bowyer

Learn about the Medieval Bowyer who made the Bows used by Longbowmen to devastating effect during the Hundred Years War!

During medieval times, various tradesmen such as Blacksmiths, Carpenters and Stonemasons were important for medieval Cities, Towns and Villages.


As time progressed these skills became more established and organised and eventually Guilds were set up with rigorous apprenticeships.


wall painting g7b43e3fb8 640


Originally longbow-makers (Bowyers) and arrow-makers (Fletchers) were joined together as one organisation.

However in 1372 Fletchers asked for their own organisation to be created, eventually they were given permission to become a seperate entity from bowyers and formed the Worshipful Company of Fletchers In 1429


Arrow Feather Heads added by Fletchers

The medieval bowyer who was among the most in-demand of these medieval craftsmen who made and sold weapons.

Medieval Bowyer Making a Longbow

Medieval Bowyer

In the case of a medieval bowyer, the main weapons made as the name suggests were bows, commonly known as longbows that were made to the same height as the user, so that the bow could be drawn back toward the users chest.

English Longbowmen Medieval Bowyer

English longbowmen

The longbow was an important weapon in Britain, less so in continental Europe where they favoured the crossbow. It was used to devasting effect during the 100 years wars of the Plantagenet period.

Advanced warfare tactics using longbowmen were used at the

  • Battle of Crécy 1346
  • Battle of Poitiers 1356
  • Battle of Agincourt 1415
Thousands of Longbowmen were grouped into tightly packed formations who would fire thousands of bodkin tipped arrows simultaneously at the enemy forces.
Medieval Footsoldiers Battle of Crecy

Medieval Crossbowmen in the battle of Crécy 1346

The crossbow was in high demand in Britain and a skilled Bowyer could produce one quality bow from a strip of yew wood in around two hours.

Bowyer *Training

Just like every other medieval Craftsman, a bower required specific training to become an expert in his profession. The training of a medieval bowyer generally took place under the supervision of an experienced bowyer.

Medieval Longbow Close up

 Longbow Detail

Thus by learning from the expert of the field, a bowyer would become an expert medieval Craftsman himself. In time Guilds and structured apprenticeships were created.

Medieval Guild Sign

Medieval Bowyer Life

A bowyer spent most of his time in a workshop making bows. Of course, the nature and burden of work would vary from time to time.

Medieval Bowyer

During periods of war, a bowyer would be busier than usual. He used a variety of wood

        • Ash
        • Hickory
        • Poplar
        • Yew


        • Where did Bowyer Craftsmen Work?
        • Tools used by a Medieval Bowyer
        • Who bought Goods from a Bowyer Craftsman?
Medieval Bowyers Longbow


Where did a Bowyer work

Medieval bowyers were among those medieval Craftsman whose work was quite demanding and they needed dedicated space for their work.

Thus medieval bowyers would work in their workshop which is where they would put their tools and works in progress. It required much expertise to produce bows using different kinds of wood while retaining the flexibility and durability of the weapon.

Bowyer Tools

A medieval bowyer used a variety of tools for the making of Longbows in his workshop

        • Axes
        • Draw knives
        • Chisels
        • Toothing planes
        • Scrapers

Bowyers Tools

He used tools to cut the wood into the required shape and hammers for nails whenever required. He also needed different kinds of wood, mostly poplar, ash, yew, or hickory.

Medieval Bowyer Tools

Medieval Bowyer Tools

A rack was used to bend the bow into the required shape. This also required treating the bow with warm water and steam. Bowstrings were usually made from fibrous plants, animal sinew, or leather strips.


Who Were a Bowyers Customers

The most important customers of a bowyer medieval Craftsman were, of course, the soldiers. Thousands of bows were made every year for the need of the military and this single factor retained the status of bowyers as important medieval Craftsmen.

Battle of Crecy longbowmen

Battle of Crecy *Longbowmen defeat the French Knights

However, sometimes common people would also require arrows and bows, including the nobility. Thus the customers of medieval bowyers were quite diverse.

Medieval Bowyer Summary

During medieval times, the need for weapons was always high due to constant wars and conflicts. A medieval bowyer who made arrows and bows was thus considered a very important medieval Craftsman.

A Bowyer would make arrows and bows in his workshop through a long and careful process. These weapons were mainly made for the countries military although common people would also buy products from a medieval Bowyer.

  • Bowyers were highly skilled craftsmen and part of a Guild
  • Bowyers had shops in medieval towns and villages
  • Bowyers served long apprenticeships

We hope you enjoyed this article on medieval Bowyers, medieval bowyers were important people in medieval towns and villages, you can find out the other medieval craftsmen that worked in medieval towns, villages, and cities by visiting our medieval craftsmen pages, the links are at the bottom of this page about medieval bowyers.