At the risk of sounding dumb how long was a clothyard shaft?
I assumed it to be 36 inches until I recently read Horace Ford's book. He claimed it to be 27 inches?
I have had a look on line and found varying measurements for a clothyard, 27, 36 and 37 inches?
The only reference I could find to an existing war arrow was 27 inches in length, this kind of puts pay to the war archer drawing his bow back to his ear?
Are there other ancient arrows in existence longer than 27 inches?
I understood a clothyard to be over 36" as it includes the selvedge,the bit on the edge of the woven cloth that stops it from unravelling.
I thought a clothyard went from your thumb - held up like an OK - to your nose. I guess if you were selling by the clothyard you wouldn't be overly generous
Its the unknown that makes life so rich. Paul Arden
I seem to remember seeing drapers measuring out cloth as you describe Muriel.
I guess short drapers sold short measure that way.
The selvedge that I mentioned would be on the long edges of the cloth, so a piece of cloth on a roll one yard WIDE would have an extra width down both edges. The width would not vary according to the size of the person's arms in the same way, it would be already made 1 yard+ across, I suppose.
Its the unknown that makes life so rich. Paul Arden
So the tailors have rolls of cloth for suits, but are they folded as they seem quite narrow when still rolled up?
I wonder if I have a bit of confusion mixed up with the selvedge and yard. Could the yardstick I metioned earlier have been longer than a yard so that a cloth with a selvedge could be measured with the yardstick which had built in allowance for the selvedge .Meaning the buyer would get a yard of useable cloth.
The earliest "standard yard" I can see a reference to was the distance between Henry I's (1100-1135) nose and thumb, which apparently was similar to a modern yard. More to the point for length in inches, if the 27 referred to an original source it may not be especially like what we have now, as there was no standard inch until the 1300's, and that was three barleycorns. The term comes from a Roman measurement of 1/12 of a foot, which itself was not standardised until the 1800's. Therefore 27 inches may be correct... in bigger inches?
Or, it could be a typo. I haven't read the book in question.
Never pet a burning dog
How long are the arrows found with The Mary Rose?
1.a medieval unit of measure for cloth, fixed at 37 inches by Edward VI of England: also used as a length for longbow arrows
just found this.
The English Medieval war arrow, like the longbow, is a controversial subject. Known as the clothyard shaft, it was efficient, cheap, capable of being mass-produced, and "made in greater numbers than any other type of arrow in history".50 But few sources agree to its length: estimates range from 27 to 36 inches.51
A close examination of the sources tend to point to approximately 27 inches as the correct figure. The clothyard was not a standard yard.The term comes from the reign of Edward III, when he introduced Flemish weavers into England. The weavers brought their own system of measurement with them. Known as the "clothyard ", "clothier's yard", "ell", or "Flemish yard", it was 27 4/10 inches long.52 The late John E. Morris, the acknowledged authority on the military organisation and tactics of Edward I, supports this conclusion by noting that a draw length of 36 inches from a 65 pound or strong bow is biomechanically impossible.
"A cloth-yard was used to measure cloth. It is an inch longer than an ordinary yard. A natural way to measure cloth is to hold one end in one hand, and measure along the edge to the nose, then repeat, and these would be cloth-yards. I measure thread for making lace in the same way. A cloth-yard shaft was an arrow a cloth-yard long." from the following
Imperial Measures of Length
The clothyard, or clothier's yard, was a unit of length measure from the times of Medieval England. It was an important unit in that many sources available tell us that it was the commonly accepted length of the arrow used in the British Longbow, a critically important technological and sociological weapon from around the era of the Hundred Years' War. It is fixed in popular culture, as the introductory quote demonstrates, by its use in the tale of Robin Hood, whose arrows were described to be of such length. Robert E. Kaiser (MA) writes in the Journal of Archer-Antiquaries that the origin of the term clothyard dates to the reign of (King Edward III), who introduced the Flemish weaver into England. These weavers, makers of fine cloths which were prized by the nobility, had their own unit of measure; their 'yard' was 27.25 inches, as opposed to the standard 36 inches. This was the 'clothier's yard.'
One of the sole surviving examples of a Medieval British war arrow, in the libraries of Westminster Abbey, is of a length of one clothyard. The term itself survives in many writings of the day. Further evidence for its use (as distinct from a standard yard) as the unit of measure of a war arrow lies in a proof, by John E. Morris (modern scholar of Edward III's military) that a 36 inch (standard yard) pull from a period yew longbow of 65-70 lbs. is biomechanically improbable, if not impossible - tending to support the theory of a shorter standard arrow.
On the other hand, an SCA guide to period archery claims that the arrow length was, in fact, not a clothyard but rather around 36 inches - despite the latter investigation above. To continue the confusion, some modern sources put the length of a clothyard at 37 inches or longer - Russ Rowlett's dictionary of units at UNC states that the clothyard, in the form of the English ell (a unit for the measuring of cloth at the time] was in fact "45 inches (1.143 meters)...but the 'clothyard arrows' used with longbows in late medieval times were closer in length to the 37-inch Scottish ell."
One point of agreement, however, appears to be that the clothyard was indeed a unit of measure specific to the textile industry of the day. The second is that it was (and is) popularly applied to the length of at least one type of longbow war arrow; this is the usage modern folk will be most familiar with.
- The Medieval English Longbow. Robert E. Kaiser, http://www.student.utwente.nl/~sagi/...w/longbow.html
- The Handbook of Archery (SCA)
- The Dictionary of Units. Russ Rowlett, http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/dictC.html
A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on. -- (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)
"A cloth-yard was used to measure cloth. It is an inch longer than an ordinary yard. A natural way to measure cloth is to hold one end in one hand, and measure along the edge to the nose, then repeat, and these would be cloth-yards. I measure thread for making lace in the same way.
Thanks for the replies, I like the idea (rightly or wrongly) of a cloth yard being a method of measurement rather than a unit of measurement.
A method of measuring an arrow shaft against the body dimensions of the archer sounds fitting. Much like the Longbow fitting the height of the man using it, and the bracing height fitting the rule of thumb.
There is much misinformation in archery and bowmaking, and making everything fit the archer using it sounds logical to me.
It just occurred to me that if you do the measurement technique mentioned (thumb up to nose), then turn your head to look at the thumb that is up - the other thumb (the one that was on your nose as you looked forwards) is now pretty much touching your earlobe....
If you follow me.
I know nothing of warbows etc, but one thought strikes me.
I'm 1.94m tall - I think that's about 6 feet 4 inches? That makes me a tall man in today's world, but in the time when the warbow was a standard weapon on a battlefield I would have been a giant.
My arrows are 29 1/2 inches. Admittedly my anchor point is on my lips/tip of my nose, but even if I drew back to my ear I wouldn't be drawing anything like 36 or 37 inches. Given the average height of a medieval man was somewhere around 5 feet 5 inches, I would have thought a 27 inch arrow would have been long. Why would men who we would now consider short be shooting arrows so much longer than they could usefully use? The extra length in front of the bow wold have contributed nothing except weight and shortened their range in the process?
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I lie awake at night, stare out at the stars and wonder if there really is a Dog...
How are they measuring the arrow?
i.e. if its the arrows total length then you can take off at least 2" to convert this to draw length
The Mary Rose arrow shafts very in length but I understand the most usual is around 31"
but then these were from a ship so may have been different to "usual" arrows?? (and these are Tudor, not Medieval)
We shoot with a fella who is somewhere around 6'4" and (I believe) his draw length is somewhere around 34" (possibly a bit longer) drawn to the ear.
I don't know if you've seen this before.
Myth debunked: Our medieval ancestors were just as tall as us says a new study | Mail Online
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