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Circles under churches
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Wild Wooder
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Re: Circles under churches
May 17, 2005, 10:34
Not quite the same sort of yew. The best longbows would have been made of wood with grain that was straight, close and free of knots. Churchyard yews tend to be rather twisted and knotty, ideal for very attractive furniture but not for longbows. In the middle ages the best staves came from Spain and I think the Mary Rose bows were all extremely good quality yew, Henry VIII was a keen archer and wanted the best artillery for his troops (artillery from artil roi - king's archer) At one time there was a tax on imports from Spain in the form of specified numbers of yew staves, so that an English army could be readily equipped and the French readily wopped!

Nowadays, the best yew comes from Oregon. I am the proud possessor of a longbow made from Oregon yew by Roy King about 20 years ago. A very fine bowyer, he was also involved in the research into the bows excavated from the wreck and, I believe, made a number of the replicas on display in the Mary Rose Museum.
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